Mountain Bikes

A to Z about Mountain Cycles: Your guide to all things MTB!

  • Ninety One
    Team 91
  • 4-minute read
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Introduction to MTB or Mountain Cycle

Adventure sports are indeed a thrilling experience; putting our body, mind, and spirit to the extreme and interacting with nature in such a raw fashion makes an adventure sport so popular with individuals. An adventure sport allows you to be yourself; it is an experience like no other. One such adventure sport is mountain biking. Test your limit against your trustee partner's most rugged terrains, i.e., your bike. Whether it is Ladakh's dry terrains or Kangra's snowcapped hills, a mountain biking experience is unreal.

Ever since the deadly COVID-19 hit the world, the thirst for exploring the outdoors has increased. It is no surprise that one appreciates nature more; many cycle companies have reported a massive increase in bicycle sales. However, there are many types of bicycles, and a mountain bike or MTB happens to be one. A mountain cycle is specially designed for off-road cycling and adventures. The built mountain cycle is meant to tackle dirt roads full of bumps, potholes, and other obstacles. A mountain bike often has a lighter frame with either a full or front suspension. The tires are thick and knobby and offer higher traction and friction against the surface, ensuring the terrain isn't too treacherous. A mountain bike also has powerful brakes and gears to help us on steep inclines.

Types of Mountain Cycles

Mountain bikes are a highly versatile category with not one but four significant types of mountain bikes. Let's look at each of them and understand their significance.

1. Cross Country [XC] Mountain Cycles

These machines often come with an incline in mind; they are created for riding uphill and those who like to pedal a lot. This particular bicycle has larger wheels, and its anatomy is closer to a road bike than a mountain bike. However, that's where the similarities end. Despite being lightweight, it can ride for long on rugged terrains. Cross Country Mountain Bikes come with a wheel size of up to twenty-nine inches. They also have longer chainstays to support climbing uphill. The tires on this bike are better for their faster rolling Instead of maintaining traction with the ground. The head angles of an XC are also suited to inclines.

2. Trail Mountain Cycles

A trail mountain cycle is one of the most common types of bike available. They are what we call classic mountain bikes. A trail mountain bike is perfect for someone who wants to experience every aspect of mountain biking, including inclines, declines, and even riding for long hours on rugged terrain. Unlike Cross Country, a Trail Mountain Bike often comes with full suspension. The head angles are generally neutral, and the tires on this bike are efficient, durable, and maintain traction.

3. All Mountain Cycles or Enduro Mountain Cycles

So you want to compete in an MTB race? Perhaps you'd like to try out the Enduro Mountain Bike. These bikes are created for challenging situations and often test a rider's capability of riding downhill and his endurance on the trail, hence the name enduro. The Enduro Mountain bike comes with 27.5 or 29 wheels; they also have more suspension than a trail bike and come with a long wheelbase.

4. Downhill and freeride Mountain Bikes

These bikes are literal beasts on the road. They are created for steep terrains that are rugged and gnarly! If you like taking big drops or jumps, this is the bike for you. These bikes are excellent for downhill rides and often have burly frames. The tires on this bike are created for durability and traction. You need to be an aggressive rider to handle this bike!

Mountain Cycle as compared to other cycles

Now that we've read about the different bike types let's look at a few comparisons between a mountain bike and others. This comparison highlights the features of what makes a bike an MTB.

1. MTB Vs. FTB

One of the simplest differences between a mountain bike and a fat-tire bike is the tires. A fat tire comes almost twice the width of a mountain bike, if not more. Another difference, while the air pressure on the mountain bike tires needs to be correct, it is always advised to keep the tires of a mountain cycle underinflated to ride them through snow, sand, and mud. When it comes to mountain bikes, one also needs to have some professional handling to trudge through tougher terrains. The third key difference, an FTB is heavier than an MTB. It is also challenging to ride an FTB as they can be heavier and provide an intense workout to the rider.

2. MTB Vs. E-Bike

There are many differences between an MTB and an e-bike. The first and the most apparent difference happen to be the battery. The Meraki S7 27.5T by Ninety One Cycles is an e-bike with a chargeable battery. However, when it comes to an MTB, they are mostly ridden manually and don't require any charge. Most e-bikes also come with specific modes like the pedal assist, which are unavailable in an MTB. Most E-bikes are also heavier than an MTB, with the weight of the battery and the motor adding significant weightage.

3. MTB Vs. Hybrid Bike

Most MTBs and Hybrid Bikes look pretty similar; however, a Hybrid borrows only a few elements from an MTB, the rest it takes from a road bike. The handlebars and frame of an MTB and Hybrid bike are pretty similar; however, the tires of a Hybrid Bike are like that of a road bike. An MTB is also specifically made for tackling steep inclines and declines, and its body knows how to handle sheer drop-offs; this is not quite possible with a Hybrid bike.

MTB: Deconstructed

Now that we've understood the various aspects of a mountain bike, it's time to understand the parts that make up a mountain bike. Without understanding these parts, it'll be difficult to understand our mountain bike. A mountain bike is a highly specialized bike to tackle highly technical terrains. One must have a good understanding of their bike, and this is possible only by understanding the different parts of an MTB:

1. Frame: A frame is essentially the foundation of a bike, and the foundation needs to be strong and sturdy to withstand the rugged terrains of any off-road adventure you might be tackling. There are two types of frames mainly: a steel frame and an alloy frame. Both the frames are sturdy; however, an alloy frame is often lighter and sturdier. The Spitfire 27.5T at Ninety One Cycle comes with an 18 ultra-light alloy frame, while the Samurai 26T by Ninety One Cycles comes with a 17 carbon hi-tensile steel frame.

2. Wheels: Wheels are a big priority since they are the ones that keep you connected to the ground. Purchasing bikes with high traction and durability is essential when it comes to wheels. Most MTBs possess knobby and highly durable tires, which help with traction, and it's easy to steer them. There are mainly three types of tires: the 26 is a common size that's been around for many years. The Raptor 26T by Ninety One Cycles is an example in this category. The 27.5 wheels offer a middle ground between the two extremes of 26T and 29T, Viper 27.5T is an excellent example in this section, and lastly, we have the 29T, while they are not as speedy and easy to manoeuvre as the 26T. However, they are perfect for gentler trails. The Kamet 29T is an excellent example.

3. Gear System: Gear systems are essential for mountain bikes. They help in adjusting the speed of the mountain bikes. Many mountain bikes come with multiple speeds to adjust and choose from! If you look at the back cassette, that is where you'll find sprockets holding gears. At Ninety One Cycles, you have bikes with either single-speed or multi-speed. You can also choose from Shimano gears and LTWOO. The Direwolf, 29T by Ninety One Cycles, comes with 21 hi-speed Shimano Gears, while the Twister 26T comes with a single speed.

4. Handlebars: While terms like suspension, gears, sprockets, and cassettes sound so fancy and often draw the attention of cyclists, the handlebar needs a good amount of attention; after all, it's responsible for manoeuvring the front wheel and holding you in a good posture. It isn't a simple component. Handlebars for an MTB are flat. However, they may have an indentation when connecting with the stem, which further connects the handlebars to the fork.

5. Saddle/Seating: Again, like the handlebar, the poor saddle too may get ignored. However, it is responsible for our posture and comfort, and when purchasing an MTB, you must take a good feel of the saddle. The Panther 29T comes with an excellent saddle and should be considered.

6. Brakes: Brakes are again important; they manoeuvre the speed and, of course, pull the bike to a stop. There are two main types of brakes, one V Brakes, and the other Mechanical Disc Brakes. Mechanical brakes are powerful, and most MTBs come with F/R mechanical brakes. These give the bicycle the complete brake system and provide skid-free braking, which is important on treacherous terrains.

7. Suspension: We've all heard of suspension, which can often confuse novices. A suspension generally provides a buffer between the platform/terrain and gives the ride a shock-free experience. Suspension is essential because an MTB often rides over rugged terrains and needs full suspension, if not front suspension. There are two types of suspensions available, the first is a standard suspension, and the other is lock-in and lock-out suspension. There is also an option for the front suspension and full suspension. Front suspension is sufficient for more accessible trails and singletrack trails. However, you must opt for full suspension. You must go for a full suspension if you're going for tougher trails with many obstacles. Snow Leopard 26T comes with a Lock-In/Out Zoom Suspension that is perfect for rougher trails.

8. Pedals: Pedals aren't the most essential items for most bikers. However, a clipless pedal is mainly preferred as it helps the bike's manoeuvrability. A clipless pedal allows the rider to attach the shoe [and himself] to the cycle. It is essential for the shoe and the pedal to be clipped together to allow easy riding. However, you can also go for holster and strap pedals if clipless aren't available. Platform pedals are good too.

9. Accessories: While an MTB is a beast on its own, it's essential to elevate the look with some accessories. Most of the accessories for an MTB are functional and should be used by a cyclist. A water bottle cage is essential and can be attached to the bike. You can also add a light to your bike, which can be helpful when visibility is low. Seat covers are a good option as well! In today's day and age, we also need a phone mount, so get yourself one!

Difference between Men's and Women's MTB

The features of a men's MTB and a women's MTB come with mostly the same features. The differences between the two bikes are becoming less evident with the changing times. However, a woman's MTB will be slightly smaller regarding the frame. They are also slimmer in build, and the saddles also fit a woman's anatomy.

MTB Maintenance

While purchasing a mountain cycle is an easy task, however, you must care for it as well. A bike that's well taken care of offers better rides. Let's go over a few simple tips:

  1. Clean the bicycle with a mild detergent and water to remove all dirt and grime from its body, especially its chain. This exercise should be carried out after a strenuous and long ride across the mountainous trails.
  2. Make sure to check the air pressure in the tires before taking them out for a ride. You risk damaging the high-quality tires by not pumping them with enough air
  3. Make sure that the chains are well-greased to offer a smooth and easy ride.
  4. Always take your bike for regular servicing to ensure its longevity and good performance.
  5. Research the terrain, making sure your bike is primed for the ride.
  6. As a rider, you must also take care of yourself and ensure you have the endurance to tackle difficult terrain and carry a bike through it all. Your bike should be an equal partner and not a burden!

Buyers Guide

Now that we've understood the maintenance as well as the anatomy of a mountain bike. Its time to go over a few tips that'll help you make an informed decision:

  1. Do your research: It is essential to be educated about the types of Mountain cycles you wish to have! Educate yourself about the different parts, understand your personal preference and familiarise yourself with the terminologies and technicalities of a bicycle.
  2. A trial run: We always test-drive a car, then why not test-ride our cycle? Go to your nearest cycle store and try out the different bicycles present. Understand how it feels before making a purchase.
  3. Customer Care: If you don't want to purchase a bicycle through an offline showroom, you can ring up the customer care executives of the brand and explain your requirements. They'll be more than happy to help you out.
  4. Understand your requirements: What type of MTB do you need? Which type of wheel will you prefer? Do you need full suspension, or is front suspension alright? What locations do you have in mind? Can your bike be ridden in those locations? These questions are essential and should be answered.

Mountain biking is a thrilling adventure, and one needs to make sure one understands their bicycle before tackling a particular trail. Make sure to do your research! The customer service executives at Ninety One Cycles are always eager for your questions, and the range of bikes will impress you. With the information above, you'll be able to make a better decision about purchasing an MTB.

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