So, you want to ride the trails. You want to get away from it all and enjoy the majesty and adventure of the great outdoors. You want to feel the sun and the wind and the thrill of it all. You…want a mountain bike. But where to start?
There are a lot of choices out there, and it can feel a little overwhelming at first. But that’s why we’re here. We’ve laid out all the information you need to find the style, size, and additional gear you need to fulfill your dreams of grand trail adventures.
Styles of Mountain Bikes
All mountain bikes have a few things in common. They typically have wide knobby tires, a sturdy frame, shock absorbers, and straight handlebars with a raised seat that keeps you in a more upright seated position than a road bike. These features add the durability you need when riding on the rugged terrain of the trail.
Hardtail mountain bikes have front suspension and a rigid frame. This style of mountain bike is best for dirt paths and trails. Hardtail bikes are lighter and more agile than their full suspension counterparts, but they’re not as well suited on ultra bumpy, rough terrain. Styles include the High Timber and Mesa 1.
Just like it sounds, full suspension mountain bikes have suspension built into both the fork and frame. These bikes are great for riding on super rough terrain, though they tend to be heavier than hardtail bikes. Styles include the Traxion and Protocol 1.0.
Electric mountain bikes are hardtail mountain bikes with pedal assist motors and throttle. While it’s probably not a great idea to use these on the most rough-and-tumble terrain, they do great on most trails and paths. And thanks to the electric motor, you ride the trails without worrying so much about long distances or steep hills. A couple great examples of this style would be the Healy Ridge and Ridgewood.
Mountain Bike Size and Fit
Schwinn’s mountain bikes are all single frame size bikes, which are designed to fit most adults. Single frame adult bikes may be available in a range of wheel sizes, from 24” up to 29”. While the wheel size can offer guidelines for the recommended height range, always check the product description for each bike, as it may vary a little by model. Check out the chart below for a complete list of height ranges.
For more on bike sizes and adjusting the fit, check out our Schwinn Sizing Guides.
Additional Gear for Trail Rides
Once you’ve found the right mountain bike, there are some other bits of gear you might find handy on your ride. First and foremost, of course, is a helmet to help protect your head; and a water bottle is a must, especially in the summertime. If you like to ride in the early morning or evening – any time or place with low light, really – then you’ll also want to invest in a set of lights. Perhaps less obvious but also handy are a repair kit (just in case) and a cell phone holder, especially if you use it for navigation. With the right gear, you can really take your trail ride to the next level.
You are now ready to shop for your mountain bike. As long as you keep the guidelines above in mind, you should be able to find just the right ride for you. Happy trails!