Mountain Bike is a sport that is characterized as being a variant of road cycling but practiced on rails of clay, stones and other adverse solos.
It has had a growing popularity as few sports have ever had and nowadays it is already practiced all over the world, from professionals such as Cross Country, or just for recreational and discovery purposes like in Cycling.
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History of Mountain Bike
This mode emerged around the 50 / 60 years as a group of young cyclists began exploring the rails and descents of the California mountains. We are not saying that no one had ever ridden a bike off the road, but only at this point began to have more impact, thus also giving rise to the first modifications in the bicycles for the practice of this sport.
The names that stand out in this mode as the “parents” of the Mountain Bike are Tom Ritchey and Gary Fisher, being the first to start the bikes for Mountain Bike.
In the beginning, they started using cruiser frames (often seen in Schwinn) and upgrading the brakes, also using thicker tires.
Currently, both have their own brands of this type of bicycle, thus becoming references in this environment.
Olympic Mountain Bike
With the great growth of popularity of this sport soon it became an Olympic modality, more specifically the variant of Cross Country. This variant has its own rules and specific rules that do not always apply to other events outside the Olympics, as with other sports.
In 1996, in the Olympic Games of Atlanta was when it practiced for the first time Cross Country in the Olympics.
More recently, at 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, another variant of Mountain Bike, the BMX, has also been added.
Main differences between Road Cycling and Mountain Bike
The biggest difference we all notice is the type of soil. In road cycling, the entire route is done on the road, and most of it is asphalt. On the Mountain Bike, you can also ride on roads or asphalt, but it will always be very little. The paths of dirt, mud, descents, climbs, twigs, stones, … are the things that characterize this sport.
Another difference is the amount of protection. As in Mountain Bike, many of the variants are to descend and/or climb dirt tracks with all kinds of obstacles, greater protection is needed to avoid injuries and injuries in the event of a fall, and this is much more likely than road cycling.
The bikes also change a lot of the ones of the road (the ones of Mountain Bike vary widely between variants) having more reinforced structures, rear suspension or complete for easier driving, more effective brakes, among other things…
Finally, as Mountain Bike is made on rails, there is no way to get a quick support from anyone in the event of a breakdown, so these cyclists usually have a reasonable knowledge of their bike and how to get things done right on time so they can continue the cycle. the test more quickly.
Mountain Bike Variants
There are a lot of variants of this sport, some of them even being regulated and organized tests for them. Let us now enumerate and explain the most common and popular variants:
This is the oldest variant of Mountain Bike, being the one that originated all this movement. As we have already mentioned, their rules vary from test to test, with the Olympics even having their own rules.
It is usually done in a closed course, where all cyclists leave at the same time and the route consists of ascents, descents, more technical parts, etc. thus putting to the test the athlete and showing how complete he is.
The one who reaches the goal first wins.
As the name already indicates, its main feature is to be made to descend hills with jumps, tight corners and all type of obstacles. The cyclists leave individually and the one who completes the course wins in the shortest time.
This variant is especially dangerous because of the high speed of descent and therefore also uses more protection like a Full-face helmet, knee pads and even a kind of vest that protects the chest.
It is not as practiced as other variants although it is quite popular mainly due to the high cost to participate with the downhill bikes being quite expensive and then it takes many elements of protection as well.
This mix a bit of leisure with a competition. With this, I mean that there are no professionals only trip trial, being practiced by cyclists of all variants of Mountain Bike and even amateurs.
It is characterized as having a long course, and may even last for days, and makes the connection from point A to B. These tests are usually more festive by connecting from one city to another, a bit like road cycling where spectators can see the edge of the road or the rail.
This is the recreational version of Downhill. It is not always downhill like downhill but it also has obstacles and jumps that bring adrenaline and spectacle.
Bicycles for Freeride are often a bit different from those of Downhill. Free Ride can also be done in the middle of the city, by the sidewalks, stairways and sometimes some temporary artificial jumps, being called Urban Assault.
4X is very similar to BMX, is also made in a starting 4 elements, and aims to reach first that the opponents to the goal. The course has inclined curves as the main feature.
Not so popular but maybe you’ve seen it on television, the Trial consists of making a certain course without touching your feet on the ground, being penalized whenever you do, going through obstacles like brass, trestles, rocks, walls or even cars.
The bikes for this modality are very specific with some features having smaller and reinforced frames, more tires and no camera, all to better withstand impacts and have more grip.
This is a very technical and requires a lot of skill to be practiced.
Basically it is the opposite version to the Downhill, having to make raises in rails and must do it in the shortest possible time. For this variant the cyclist must have a great physical capacity and resistance, using very light materials to facilitate the ascent.
Endurance of Regularity
The most interesting of this variant is that unlike most racing sports where you must first reach the goal or complete the course in the shortest possible time, here the evidence has a time to be complete predefined by the organization, basing on the estimated time taken to complete the various sections of the course.
For each second of delay, the rider is penalized with 1 points, while for each second in advance is penalized with 3 points.
This competition promotes regularity and does not try to go full speed towards the goal, thus having a better control of your performance and a good sense of time.
The last competitive variant of Mountain Bike is the BMX. As already mentioned, it is currently an Olympic modality, which is very popular and attracts all types of people, since it is usually done on a predetermined course (a track) with curves and jumps that make the public enjoy and appreciate the sport.
They are made on short routes, quickly. Of course, shape have similarities with motocross, hence also its great popularity.
Remembering that some of these can vary between Mountain Bike variants, let’s now see the most common protective gear:
This is essential equipment for your protection and should always be used. There are two types of helmet. The simple one that protects the top of the head and the Full Face, that is similar to the one of motocross and also protects the chin (this one is used in variants of more danger like the Downhill or the BMX);
These should be appropriate for the practice of Mountain Bike and fit well in the pedals so that they never end up by slipping and could cause an accident.
As is a sport practiced on dirt tracks, it is recommended that you wear goggles not to carry dirt or any stone in your eyes.
Knee Pads & Knee Pads
Everyone knows what they are for and they are only optional but it is recommended to use them especially in variants where they are made with many descents, jumps and tight corners, which have a greater probability of fall.
It is not a modality but a way of life. Bicycle touring consists of riding bicycles by road and rails in order to know and explore new places.
There are people who have adopted this way of life and go from parents to bike to know new places, people and cultures, thus also divulging this form of locomotion and living.