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Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes come in two basic varieties:

Hardtail & Full Suspension Mountain Bikes
                  Hardtail bike                         Full suspension bike

Hardtail bikes have a front suspension fork and a rigid main frame with no rear shocks. Full-suspension bikes feature both front- and rear-suspension shocks, making them ideal for backcountry adventures and traversing more technical trails. These bikes are heavier and more expensive than their hardtail counterparts, but the added suspension and sturdier frame can handle more aggressive riding and make riding easier on your spine and sit-bones.

Bike-shop quality mountain bikes are equipped to handle rugged trails and gravel roads. They typically feature lower gearing, giving you the ability to climb steep terrain. The straight, wide handlebars give you better steering control and keep your fingers on the brake levers, so you are always at the ready no matter what surprise is around the corner. They also include lower step-over clearance frames, and wider tires than most other bikes. Some higher priced models also feature lightweight frames. Overall, they are amazingly durable riding in off-road terrain.

Although they’re designed to handle off-road riding, mountain bikes can also be a good option for commuting through urban areas. The shock-absorbing qualities of mountain bikes provide stability when riding over potholes, curbs, and other obstacles. If you regularly use a mountain bike on paved roads, you’ll want to consider switching out the knobby tires in favor of semi-slick tires, which do a better job of gripping blacktop and asphalt.

26" , 27.5"(650B) and 29er Wheels

The 26" wheel has been the mainstay of mountain bikes since their inception. For most leisure riding, it is still the best choice. It has the largest selection of tires and treads due to it's longevity. Also, designers have had many years to design bike frames to optimize for this size.

The larger diameter wheels of the 29er mountain bike can create the sensation of having an 1″ more travel than the bike is spec’ed due to the larger air volume and larger contact patch with the ground. For this reason, it has become the go to size for much of the hard tail and shorter travel mountain bikes in the industry. The racing world has really embraced the larger wheels size for these benefits it brings to the trail.

The 650B wheel size literally cuts the difference between the 29er and 26 wheel size in half at 27.5″. It averages the strengths and weaknesses between the two sizes. You get some of the benefits of 29ers without the size and you get some of the nimbleness of 26 while increasing the ability to roll over objects.
MTB Wheel Sizes
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