FAQ for the new [mtb] rider

Q. How do I know where to ride?
A. The best way to learn about local trails is to connect with other riders who ride them! Join our shop group rides or women’s rides to learn some. There are also great on-line trail resources about local trails; one of our favorites is http://www.singletracks.com which gives a description of the trails, rates them according to difficulty and also has user ratings.

Q. What is the difference in a hardtail and full suspension bike?
A. A hardtail refers to a bike that only has front suspension whereas a full suspension (or dual suspension) bike has suspension in both the front and the rear. Full suspension bikes come with various amounts of “travel” which refers to how much suspension they have both the front and rear shock.

Q. There are so many wheel sizes out there, how do I know which is right for me?
A. Ah wheel size. A big part of the wheel size debate will be determined by your riding style. 29 inch wheels are fast, 27+ (or mid fat) wheels have great traction, 27.5 inch wheels or 650B wheels(standard width) are more nimble and playful, 26 inch wheels are old school (or traditional), there are also fat bikes which can have either 26 or 27.5 wheels and 3-5 inch tires. Part of the decision is determined by your riding style and how you plan to use the bike (i.e. racing a lot of people will gravitate towards a 29er because they’re faster) but part of the decision is also based on height. Trek does what they call “smart wheel size” on many of their mountain bike models because a 29 inch wheel does not fit onto a 15.5 or smaller frame while maintaining a good ride quality/geometry.

Q. What’re the benefits of going ‘tubeless’ and what is required to do so?
A.  Instead of an inner tube the tire contains a sealant which will patch holes caused by thorns, or other smaller debris.  Tubeless tires will seal most small holes, in the event of a larger hole/cut you can install an inner tube and a tire boot in order to get home.  A tubeless tire set up allows you to run a lower tire pressure because you don’t run the risk of pinch flats (where the inner tube is pinched up against the rim causing two small holes).   Setting up your tires tubeless requires: tubeless ready wheels, tubeless ready tires, tubeless rim strips and valves and sealant.

Q. What are some equipment basics I need to get started?
A.  To get started off road riding there are a few basics we recommend: helmet (doh), full finger gloves which will protect your hands in the event of a crash or if you punch a tree, flat kit, multitool, sunglasses – preferably with orange or trail lenses depending on the trail conditions you ride in (i.e. how under cover it is, orange lenses will brighten the trail increasing visibility), hydration pack as not all mountain bikes accommodate multiple bottle cages, cycling shorts (either baggy or fitted depending on personal preference), decent pedals (either platforms with some grip or clipless depending on your personal preference).

 

For more information email amanda@newingtonbike.com or hop over to our ‘Ask Our Ambassadors‘ page to submit your own questions!