Mountain biking started in the 1970's when adventure seekers in the North Bay (SF Bay) fitted modified cruisers with wide / knobby tires and took the bikes off-road. As the new sport of Mountain Biking took hold, a small number of enthusiasts started making their own high performance bikes to handle the demands of the off-road. Some of those original pioneers (Gary Fischer, Tom Ritchey, Joe Breeze, and others) started brands that are still popular today.
Over the years, technology has had an enormous influence on mountain bikes. In the 70's, mountain bikes were heavy bikes with fat tires used primarily to ride down hills as fast as you could go. Getting back up to the top of the hill was usually accomplished by hitchhiking or getting a ride from a friend. Soon, bike frames were designed with lighter weight road bike tubing, multiple gears and other light weight components. This weight advancement combined with better gearing drastically reduced the limitations on mountain biking. Mountain bikers could now ride up hill with much greater ease and many more trails became available.
In the 80's front suspension (1-2") became available on mountain bikes, followed by rear suspension. As technology developed the amount of travel increased for both front and rear suspension travel. This addition of suspension not only improved handling, but also made it possible for riders to maneuver more treacherous trails and ride safer at high speeds. As bikes advance with suspension, technology continued to drive down weight and the number of gears continue to rise.
Today's mountain bike benefits from years of advancement based on trial and error. High-end bikes that can cost over $5,000 have up to 30 gears making it easier to climb in the perfect gear, weigh under 20 lbs, have integrated shifter / brake controls, up to 8" of suspension travel, disc brakes, and advanced materials (composite, titanium, high carbon steel, etc).You can chose from many different mountain bike styles built for your type of riding:
In its simplest form, mountain biking is a class of cycling but a sturdy frame, good shocks and some wide tires can take you down new trails that a basic road bike could never handle. Mountain bikes are made to handle rough, rocky terrain and steep inclines. While there are many different types of mountain biking, every beginning mountain biker should know some general basics about equipment, safety tips and riding techniques.
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