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Unlike a regular bicycle, a mountain bike or all terrains bike (also known by the abbreviations MTB or ATB) is a more robust type of bicycle, particularly crafted for cycling in uneven, unpaved off-road territory. It's enhanced design provides it with endurance in the face of all hindrances it might come across and makes it adjustable to any kind of natural scenery. It is suitable for jumps and precipitous declines, dirt roads, muddy soil, forests; basically any setting a normal bicycle could not handle, and it is used in a sport called mountain biking, which has expanded into several different branches.
The first one was created in the mid 1960s, as a version of a heavy cruiser bicycle, which was adapted to suit freewheeling down mountain paths. However, it was only a decade later, in the late 1970s, that mountain bike became a recognized sport and the mountain bike was deemed profitable enough for mass manufacture and retail. Throughout the years, as technology progressed and the materials used in its fabrication enhanced the MTB's quality and effectiveness, its use exploded and turned this sport in to the industry that it is today. The last decade has been an important stage in its development. For instance, technology-wise, the early 2000s saw the replacement of the road bicycle frames with frames especially designed for off-road use. The difference is the latter have an increased resistance on impact with the various natural landscape features, as well as ease and quicken the surmounting of any obstacle.
As there are many types of mountain biking, mainly categorized in accordance with the shape of the landscape, to each corresponds a specific type of bike, made to meet the exact requirements of its designated destination. Thus there are freeride (FR) bikes, somewhat similar downhill (DH) bikes; then cross country (XC) bikes, enduro / all-mountain bikes (AM) and a cross between the two, trail bikes; dirt jumping bikes, single speed (SS) bikes, and finally north shore bikes, quite similar to the Freeride ones as well. Some are defined by giving an extra boost of adrenaline and some by stamina, but make an informed choice and you can't possibly go wrong.
Technically speaking, mountain bikes can be classified into four types: Hardtail, soft tail, fully rigid and dual or full suspension. The first category has got a frame with a front suspension fork and no rear suspension. The second kind, the fully rigid bike, has got no suspension at all and its frame has a rigid fork and fixed rear instead, and the third type, the dual or full suspension bike, has got a front suspension fork and rear suspension with a rear shock and linkage that allow the rear wheel to move on pivots. Meanwhile, the frame of a soft tail bike has got a small amount of rear suspension, which is set in motion by flex of the frame instead of pivots.
Owning and riding a mountain bike is without a doubt an empowering feeling. This sporting industry is very attractive to young people, yet not age is the main criteria, but fitness, or the desire to be fit, a matter which this enjoyable sport can successfully address. It takes wandering to another level, as it allows the exploration of territories otherwise difficult to cross. In these sedentary times, also dominated by the virtual world and the simulation of any sport, nothing beats the real outdoors experience.
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