A very brief assessment of the benefits of mountain bikes

Mountain bikes are purchased for a range of cycling applications, from the sport of mountain-biking through to more ordinary multi-terrain travel. However, while mountain bikes are indeed versatile machines, the decision to purchase one should be primarily based on their off-road qualities rather than their suitability as a road bike. Other bikes are better designed for utilisation on the road.

Mountain bikes are generally characterised by small but strong frames and wide wheel rims. Hence the bikes are specially built to withstand the extreme impacts that off-road cycling can generate. Moreover, the powerful front fork suspension can to help cushion the rider. Typically, the knobbly tyres are designed to provide maximum traction.

Some mountain bikes will also benefit from the provision of rear suspension. However, whilst rear suspension is generally advisable to lessen the harsh impact of downhill riding, it adds to the weight of the bike, making it more difficult to manoeuvre and more arduous to pick up speed or to climb hills. This is why front-only suspension mountain bikes, or ‘hardtails’ are sometimes more generally favoured.

Whilst mountain bikes are a boon for those cycling off the beaten track, their weighty, solid construction and suspension system make them less well suited for ordinary road cycling. Even where a journey involves some switching of terrain (a ride over a patch of wasteland for example), mountain bikes may well be over-specialised for this application. A more suitable alternative may be found in an adaptable hybrid bike, which is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike.

At Formby Cycles, we stock a wide range of mountain bikes, but also hold a host of other types of bike. We will be very happy to advise you on the most suitable model for your specific needs.

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