Showing posts with label Mountain Biking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mountain Biking. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mountain Bike Anatomy

Maintain Bike - Photo: Pixabay
A mountain bike is the one thing you need before you go mountain biking.  A mountain bike contains many parts, which will be covered below:

1.  Bottom bracket - This attaches the crankset to the body of a bike. 

2.  Brake cable - This is the cable that connects the brake lever to the brake mechanism.

3.  Brake lever - The lever on the handlebar to activate the brakes.  The left side is the front brake and the right side is the rear brake.

4.  Chain - The circular set of links that transfer power from the chainring to the cogs.

5.  Chainring - The toothed rings that attach to the crank to hold the chain.

6.  Crank - The lever that extends from the bottom bracket to the pedal, transferring the power to the chainrings.

7.  Derailleur - The mechanism for moving the chain from one cog to another.

8.  Downtube - The section of the frame that extends downward from the stem to the bottom bracket.

9.  Front shock - The shock absorber on the front fork.

10.  Handlebar - The horizontal bar attached to the stem with handgrips on the end.

11.  Headset - The mechanism in front of the frame that connects the front fork to the stem and handlebars.

12.  Hub - The center part of the wheel that the spokes are attached to.

13.  Idler pulley - The bottom pulley of the rear derailleur that provides spring tension to keep the chain tight.

14.  Nipple - A threaded receptacle that holds the end of the spoke to the rim.

15.  Pedal - The platform to pedal on; attaches to the crank.

16.  Rear shock - The shock absorber for the rear tire on dual suspension type bikes.

17.  Rim - The metal ring that holds the spokes on the inside and the tire to the outside.

18.  Saddle - The seat.

19.  Seat post - Offers support for the seat. 

20.  Skewer - The metal rod that goes through the hub, attaching the wheel to the dropouts of the frame.

21.  Spindle - The free rotating axle that the crank arms attach to; also a part of the bottom bracket.

22.  Spokes - The thick wires that join the hub to the rim.

23.  Stem - A piece that attaches the handlebar to the steering tube.

24.  Wheel hub - The center of the wheel that the spokes are attached to.

Monday, November 6, 2017

How Mountain Bike Gears Work

A broken gear on the rear hub gear drive on a Mountain bike - Photo_ Wikimedia
The gears in mountain bikes just keep getting more and more intricate.  The bikes of today have as many as 27 gear ratios.  A mountain bike will use a combination of three different sized sprockets in front and nine in the back to produce gear ratios.

The idea behind all these gears is to allow the rider to crank the pedals at a constant pace no matter what kind of slope the bike is on.  You can understand this better by picturing a bike with just a single gear.  Each time you rotate the pedals one turn, the rear wheel would rotate one turn as well (1:1 gear ratio).

If the rear wheel is 26 inches in diameter, then with 1:1 gearing, one full twist on the pedals would result in the wheel covering 81.6 inches off the ground.  If you are pedalling at a speed of 50 RPM, this means that the bike can cover over 340 feet of ground per minute.  This is only 3.8 MPH, which is the equivalence of walking speed.  This is ideal for climbing a steep hill, although bad for ground or going downhill.

To go faster you'll need a different ratio.  To ride downhill at 25 MPH with a 50 RPM cadence at the pedals, you'll need a 5.6:1 gear ratio.  A bike with a lot of gears will give you a large number of increments between a 1:1 gear ratio and a 6.5:1 gear ratio so that you can always pedal at 50 RPM, no matter how fast you are actually going.

On a normal 27-speed mountain bike, six of the gear ratios are so close to each other that you can't notice any difference between them.  

With actual use, bike riders tend to choose a front sprocket suitable for the slope they are riding on and stick with it, although the front sprocket can be difficult to shift under heavy load.  It's much easier to shit between the gears on the rear.

If you are cranking up a hill, it's best to choose the smallest sprocket on the front then shift between the nine gears available on the rear.  The more speeds you have on the back sprocket, the bigger advantage you'll have.

All in all, gears are very important to mountain bikes as they dictate your overall speed. Without gears you wouldn't be able to build speed nor would you be able to pound pedals.  The gears will move the pedals and help you build up speed.  

There are all types of gears available in mountain bikes, all of which will help you build up a lot of momentum if you use them the right way.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Style of BIKER Are You?

From touring to off-road riding to track riding to cyclo-riding to recreational biking—there are almost as many different styles of riding as there are bikes. The following is a discussion of three of the most popular styles of biking today.

Freeriding on a hardtail freeride bike.
Freeriding on a hardtail freeride bike. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Street/Urban Riding

Street/Urban riding is when you bike through urban areas, ride on ledges and other man-made obstacles. Some riders execute tricks as well as stalls and grinds. Hybrid bikes, sometimes called city bikes, are typically used for street/urban riding. Hybrid bikes are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. Most have front suspension with wide comfortable seats and upright handlebars.

Free Riding

The essence of free riding has it origins on the shores of British Columbia. As some free riders have explained it, free riding is more than just riding, it’s about riding with your friends and doing things on your bike that push the limits of both yourself and your bike. It’s not about being the fastest or coming up with a new trick. Rather, it’s about being totally free on your bike. Free riding is different for everyone. Essentially, when you ride for pure enjoyment, do your own thing, in your own way, that’s free riding--making it more of a mindset than a structured style of riding. For example, you could free ride downhill, cross-country or down the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.

Many free ride bikes closely resemble downhill bikes and weigh as much, although they are usually designed to be easier to pedal. Free ride bikes should be in the 30 to upper 50 pound range, have a steeper angled frame in order to make maneuvering on narrow obstacles possible, and be built from stronger, heavier materials.

Downhill Mountain Biking

If you think downhill biking is all about kicking back, stretching your arms and cruising at a leisurely pace, think again. Even though it’s all downhill, biking down a mountain demands concentration, quick reflexes and bike-handling skills much different than free riding or city riding. It’s also a blast! Downhill mountain biking races involve race courses that are designed for riders to speed down while navigating huge jumps, obstacles and more. It’s very similar to motor cross racing.

While it’s true that all bikes go downhill, bikes that provide the optimum ride for Downhill Mountain Biking have what is called full suspension. This means that the front and rear of the frame are equipped with shock absorbers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The first thing to do before purchasing a bicycle for any reason is to know what your primary riding is going to be. Most people initially purchase a dual use bike, something that can be ridden on road and off road. Eventually, when the bug bites big it'll be time to invest in a bike that is all muscle for the mountains. 

Marin MTB
Marin MTB (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the ways that mountain bikes differ from other bikes is that they have very strong, lightweight frames, multiple gears, powerful breaks and wide tires. A comfort bike, or recreational weekend bike, touring bikes and cruiser bikes are built more for comfort than durability. WIthin the mountain bike category there are several types of bikes available; the cross country bike, the trials bike, the downhill bike and the jump/slalom bike.

Generally the largest percentage of mountain bikes sold are in the cross country, or XC classification. These are good dual purpose bikes. They are lightweight and good for riding over tough terrain, but they are also comfortable for road riding.

Jump/slalom bikes are also good dual purpose bikes. They are very strong and have an excellent front suspension.

Downhill and trial bikes are for serious mountain bikers. The downhill bikes have both front and rear suspension, disc breaks and are very strong. A trial bike is for a very skilled rider. Trail riding itself is a very competitive sport demanding a lot of precision. Most riders of downhill and trail bikes build their bikes from scratch, choosing each component individually.

You will want to do a lot of reading about different types of bikes, and you'll want to visit many bike shops. A cross country mountain bike can cost between $600 and $800 or more. Some bikers say that your first bike should be the best bike you can possibly afford, even if you think that it's too much bike for you. If you buy a low-end bike initially and then find you want to change components later it can get costly. Before choosing a bike you will want to ride it. Most dealers allow for a 15 to 20 minute test ride. If you do a test ride make sure you go "off road" if you can, even if it's over curbs and grass. You want to get a feel for the bike.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Necessary MOUNTAIN BIKING Equipment

Being prepared while out on the mountain bike trail is an absolute must and a great rule of thumb is to always pack more mountain biking equipment the farther away from help you plan to be. There are a few important considerations you should also make regardless of the skill level of mountain biking that you plan to partake in.

mountain bike in downhill race in forest ski trail
Mountain bike in downhill race in forest ski trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The first consideration, for anyone planning on being active outdoors regardless of mountain biking or not, should be to have a well stocked first aid kit. You can purchase biker specific first aid kits, that are purposefully designed to fit nicely in a small pack, under the seat or even in saddlebags. A well stocked first aid kit will contain antiseptic, pain reliever, tensor bandages, band-aids, moleskin, and tweezers.

The second necessity is to have a mountain bike specific tool kit and there many options available as to the type of bike you have and the tools you want it to contain. The very basic tool kit should have the required tools needed to repair a flat tire and will fit nicely under your seat or in a saddlebag. Other tools to look for are an Allan key or small wrench, a chain breaker, a tire gauge, a Swiss army knife, and some strong tape.

Another highly recommended piece of mountain biking equipment to include is a spare mountain bike chain. Any experienced bikers know all to well how easy it is to bust a chain on the trail and the headache it can cause. Often a broken chain can be repaired but do not take the risk of being left without one.

Last but definitely not least is a portable air pump. These pumps come in numerous shapes and sizes and can be purchased specifically to fit your bike. Most can fit under the seat or in saddlebags, and often the repair kit includes one.

All these pieces of equipment are designed to be light weight and easily stored on your bike. Never risk traveling far from help without then because being prepared with the right mountain biking equipment can save you many hours of frustration.