All-Terrain and Mountain Bikes

Looking at bikes with the wider tires (viz., about 2-inches wide to distinguish them from the so-called “fat-tire bikes) most call these mountain bikes. However, we tend to differentiate these into 2 separate classes: true mountain bikes and bikes we term “All-Terrain” type. Of modern bikes, both types will have a number of features in common: a shock absorbing front fork, multiple gears covering a wide range, linear pull brakes, and rider position more centered front-to-back. The true mountain bikes are used by somewhat more serious riders and have higher test components; they’re more likely to be ridden into tough terrain: trails with mud, rocks, tree roots, and the riders may crash through the underbrush or drop down a 20-inch cornice.

The “All Terrain” types are used by more casual riders and are often selected by youngsters because…. well because all their peers are riding them too. Although these bikes will work fine on trails and modestly rough terrain, they have certain adaptations which make them somewhat more efficient on streets and roads where they are apt to spend most of their time. To sharpen the distinction, true mountain bikes will generally have very knobby tires. These give the desired traction in sand, mud, and gravel. But on road surfaces, what produces traction in the woods becomes friction on the street, meaning the rider has to work harder. The All Terrain bike, however, has tires able to smooth out the ride for greater pedaling efficiency but still able to do O.K. on somewhat less civilized surfaces.

So what do mountain bikes offer the riders that the all terrain bikes lack? First, higher-performance components. This embraces many things but include some or all of these: Higher test shocks with a longer travel, stronger or double-walled wheel rims, double butted frame ( a lighter and stronger construction,) more gears with a wider range, and in the more expensive bikes, disc brakes (which are more immune to contamination from splashing water or mud,) and full-suspension, in which an additional shock absorbing mechanism suspends the rear wheel. Also in recent times there has been a trend towards larger diameter wheels typified by bikes called 29ers; the concept being the larger wheels will effectively smooth out the ride over very irregular terrain. The foregoing are the most salient although there are a number of other distinguishing differences better covered when you come in for a visit or better, a test ride.

Centre Ski and Bike offers all terrain bikes by Diamondback , the Outlook and the Lustre, and true mountain bikes, the most popular being the Nevada and the Tahoe by Fuji and by Norco, the Storm and the Fluid.

By the way, here’s what we don’t sell: those glitzy-looking ones you find at department stores like Walmart, Target, Sams Club and Dicks, for example. The way those can sell so cheap is just what “cheap” implies. They’re made with much lower quality and cheaper components which inevitably break down soon and often plus they’re assembled by non-professional part-timers who work by the piece, so hurriedly assembled, often to the detriment of the buyer.

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