WHAT KIND OF RID­ING DO I WANT TO DO?

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Fetish -

At the top end of the dual-sus mar­ket, the lines are be­com­ing blurred be­tween what con­sti­tutes a cross­coun­try bike, a marathon bike, a trail bike and a ‘grav­ity’ bike – some­thing that can han­dle se­ri­ous bumps and jumps on a down­hill or en­duro course. When it comes to begin­ner bikes, how­ever, there are still two dis­tinct cat­e­gories: cross-coun­try bikes with sus­pen­sion travel up to 100mm, and trail bikes with sus­pen­sion of 120mm and more. A cross-coun­try bike usu­ally has a more race-fo­cused ge­om­e­try (shorter wheel­base, steeper head an­gle) for sharper han­dling; a trail bike has more re­laxed ge­om­e­try for sta­bil­ity on fast de­scents. A trail bike is of­ten a bit heav­ier. If you want to have fun at your lo­cal bike park, and if the down­hills are your favourite part of a ride, con­sider a begin­ner trail bike. The longer sus­pen­sion will soak up the bumps bet­ter and give you bet­ter sta­bil­ity and trac­tion when things get rough. But 120mm or more of travel is overkill if you plan to ride mostly jeep tracks, dirt roads and non-tech­ni­cal sin­gle­track. You’ll end up feel­ing like you’re sit­ting on a big marsh­mal­low. Ob­vi­ously a cross­coun­try bike can han­dle the odd trail ride, and a trail bike won’t stop mov­ing on a dirt road; but it’s worth think­ing about your favourite ride – the one you do most of­ten, squeezed in be­fore the school dropoff or on the week­end with your mates. That ride. Is it more of a cross-coun­try loop, or is it full of rocks, roots and heart-ham­mer­ing drop-offs? Got it? Now you know which kind of bike you need.

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