Understanding the Basic Anatomy of a Mountain Bike

It’s a new year again! I wonder if more people are taking up mountain biking. Let’s have a quick recap of mountain bikes.

Mountain bikes originated from the United States of America in 1977 and were designed specifically for cycling on rough mountain terrains.

The most significant differences between a mountain bike and a road bike is that the former is equipped with shock absorbers and nailed tires to ease riding on sand or rough terrains.


About MTB frame and wheel sizing

Measurements of mountain bike parts are generally given in imperial units. The diameter of bicycle tires that you see today are usually 29/27.5 and 26 inches, with tire sizes ranging from 1.75 to 2.3 inches.

The size of tire frames is also expressed in imperial units, such as 14′′, 16′′ or 19′′, or represented by the alphabets S, M, L.


Hardtail or Full Suspension? 

Modern mountain bikes are mainly either fully suspended or come with front suspension. Full suspension means that the bicycle is equipped with shock absorbers in the front and rear, while bicycles with front suspension (also commonly called a hard frame), only have shock absorbers in the front.

Shock absorbers absorb the bumps as the cyclist rides over rocks, to prevent the shock from passing to the cyclist’s body.

The purpose of the shock absorber is to help the rider control the bicycle better as the shock absorber allows the wheels to roll over rocks with ease on mountain terrains, instead of riding over the rocky roads in an uncontrolled state, thereby making the ride more comfortable.


The picture below indicates the basic structures of a full suspension mountain bike:


Ken Cheng

Ken Cheng

Ken Cheng Chak Shing is Hong Kong’s Former XCO MTB Champion (2016), and represented his country in both road and mountain bike races. He is also a Hong Kong Cycling Association Registered Coach, TVB Commentator of the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympic Men and Women XCO MTB races. Ken is the first Epic Legend of Epic series in Asia, which completed Cape Epic in South Africa, Swiss Epic in Switzerland and The Pioneer in New Zealand, and he completed 3 times Cape Epic before he take the Epic Legend. Ken is currently the head coach of R3 Cycling Coaching.

For cooperation, please contact: chengchakshing@gmail.com

Ken Cheng

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