Absolutely, these bikes are different, both in purpose and performance. Only because of the terrain that they must efficiently negotiate, they are geared up to take these additional challenges.
Gears had to be taken from the road bike technology until Shimano started to make equipment especially for mountain biking. This has now become a serious sport and is also a part of Olympics as an event.
Mountain bikes are so popular these days that over the years they have developed and evolved into a totally different class.
Ratings of Mountain Bikes
Starting from some simple beginnings, mountain bikes have made some tremendous changes, since they had to be made especially for climbing and moving around mountainous terrain. Special gears, tires, wheel rims, handle bars, stems and the biggest development was the suspension.
The gear levers for first were made to go on straight handle bars and then the indexed lever was made for accurate shifting. Different types of tires with treads for all conditions are now available to fit the standard wheel size that now many companies are making.
Stems and handle bars were first made in steel, then alloys, and now carbon and titanium have replaced, thus gaining on weight saving and enhancing strength.
Parts of Mountain Bikes
Majority of the bike parts were off shoots coming from the road bike, and modified according to the mountain biking requirements. However the present version that is available in the market is a specialty designed for this very purpose of mountain biking. With specific modifications derived to serve specific purposes, the mountain bike has come a long way.
Frames: These were made from steel originally, usually in nice shiny chrome, but as technology changed frames with the road bikes, so it did with the mountain bikes too.
Compact and sleek frame designs, lightweight alloy and now carbon fiber are the most popular materials these days. The specialized Stump-Jumper is a classic, and we can buy this in so many styles. Hardtail, Full Suspension, and for full Retro style this Stump-Jumper is classic.
Suspensions: Front suspensions were taken from the off-road motor-bike world, however they had to be lighter but was effectively made possible with the help of alloy steel. Springs were initially used, and later oil, then air for suspension, and which was adjustable for spring and the amount of rebound we got.
Where You Would Like To Go
Cross-country is definitely a though sport and is a mixture of strength and agility. While coming downhill is completely all technique and agility, with very little strength. These bikes are like motocross bikes minus the engine, suspension in the front and back with a lot of movement, and long wheel bases for comfort, with bigger tires and disc brakes.
All these features are now found on cross-country bikes, with the disc brakes being very popular. However many people still stick to v-brakes for controllability and also full suspension for both front and back.
There are many set ups that we can go for, but would be much better if we make sure what we need, so that we comprehend exactly what we want.