5Ws+1H: What It's About: Mountain bikes are better for certain terrain

May 9—Mountain bikes have various features specific to certain terrain, offering a better ride than other types of cycles.

Paceline Cyclery owner David Rogers said a mountain bike often has a fat and knobby tire, compared to the skinnier tires associated with comfort bikes.

A suspension front fork is usually found on a mountain bike, along with a full suspension.

"What they call a full suspension is a shock on the front and the shock on the rear to take out all the bumps and ditches and going off road, all the rocks and bumps," Rogers said.

Rogers said to help riders climb the terrain better, mountain bikes' gears are set lower than those of traditional bikes. There are many different bikes for various terrain and uses, such as road bikes for longer distances, a gravel bike for longer distances on dirt roads, and comfort bikes for less intense riding.

For those who need a mountain bike, but also the features of a road bike, a cross bike might be best.

"They make a cross bike that's kind of in between a mountain bike and a road bike, but it has a straight handlebar on it like a mountain bike," Rogers said.

The straight handlebar found on mountain bikes helps with controlling the vehicle, while the curved handlebar on a road bike will allow for different hand positioning.

"When you're on the bike for 30, 40, 50, 60 miles or whatever, you want to change up where you're grabbing instead of moving your upper body around and moving your hand positions," Rogers said.

There are various types of mountain bikes with different models and levels, so riders can find the right fit. Mountain bikes can even be found in the form of e-biked. Rogers said these e-bikes are similar to regular e-bikes, except they have fatter tires and shocks on the front and back.

E-bikes may be available in this format, but Rogers said traditional mountain bikes are more commonly purchased.

"A normal e-bike for around town will run up to 28 miles per hour. Mountain bikes by law can only go 18 miles an hour; due to being on a walking trail or mountain bike trail, they don't want you to go too fast on those," Rogers said.

Rogers said the best way to figure out which bike is best for an individual is to talk to someone at a bike shop and discuss what the item will be used for.

"If you do want to go down trails, an actual mountain bike trail, go camping, and go mountain biking, you need to buy a mountain bike," Rogers said. "Some of the cross bikes can go down a trail. Don't get me wrong; it's just like a lady could walk with high heels down a dirt road, but it's not very practical. She can do it once and she will probably be like, 'I'm not walking a dirt road with high heels again.' Can she do it? Yes, but it's not practical. You have to get the right bike for what you're doing."