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A Great Big List of the Best Mountain Bike Parts and Accessories on the Planet.
Mountain Bike Parts
Four of the best mountain bike companies in the US and UK are Kona, Specialized, Cannondale and Marin and all are leading mountain bikes manufacturers and offer the avid mountain biker some of the best mountain bikes and spares that you can fit to your bike. However most peole can't afford to spend vasts amount of money on a top bike so they buy the bike they can afford and then try to find better components to renew the parts as they wear. All bikes no matter who makes them will still require spare or new parts and a few mountain bike accessories from time to time. I am passionate about mountain biking and this article includes links to other articles where more information can be found on individual parts. I have also included all the items that I consider to be crucial to enhance your chances of success and to get the most out of your sport.
People say it's not what you include on a mountain bike list, it's what you leave out. And in a sport with so many categories I have tried to cut through this by showing you the items that all biking enthusiasts will want. So if your a downhill fanatic or XC cross country fan there are plenty of accessories for you, I hope by the end you have a much clearer idea of the mountain bike parts out there in the market place.
About me, firstly I am a mountain biker myself, secondly I buy and use most of the parts covered so I know what works and what doesn't. Like all mountain bikers I have a vested interest in seeing the sport grow and finally my list will have something in it for those just starting out in the sport, those who are seeking to upgrade to something better and finally those people who are at the top of their game wanting the latest gadget.
Who is this list is for, well it's for all those that love the sport, who read biking magazines, take part in any form of biking from biking down the canal path to the World Championships in 2012.
Great looking mountain bike helmets
- Five Best Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets
In this review of cycling helmets I am going to show you the five best full face mountain biking helmets. Full face cycling helmets are an essential piece of kit and should be worn at all times....
- Five Best Mountain Bike Helmets
In this review of the best five mountain biking helmets I am going to show you the five best helmets. Mountain biking helmets are an essential piece of kit and should be treated with the same respect as your mountain bike...
Mountain bike Helmets
Probably the most important accessory after buying the bike is going to be your helmet. You only have one head and one chance to keep it so make sure that you always wear a helmet and make sure it's covered by either the European standard mark (CEN) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) mark. See the link for more information about safety standards.
There are two types of helmet depending on what your category is, for roads, trails, open country side, canal paths and forestry sites a general all round mountain biking helmet will do the trick. For anything other than that eg. downhill, racing, XC, assault, jumping you need to get a full face mountain bike helmet like the one shown.
Full face mountain bike helmets are specifically made to fit snugly over the top of your head and be securely fastened. Most full face helmets come complete with a sun visor. All the helmets have some type of strap adjustment and come in a range of colours and sizes.Giro and Sixsixone have some terrific helmets all offer cooling with vents, sun visors and chin straps.
Mountain bike shops will sell many types of bags.
THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE ACCESSORIES.
The choice of bags that you can attach to your bike is enormous. Bags attach to the handlebars to the crossbar and fit under your seat. All are made of tough durable materials that shed the rain. Most have smaller inner compartments that you can fit tire levers, a couple of box spanners, a tube repair kit and a cell phone for emergencies.
They are all light weight, clip on an off and are made to be able removed in case you have to take it with you. The position on the front handlebars and under your seat being the most practical and favorite for most. Offering very little additional weight, remaining sleek in design so they are streamlining and offer little or no resistance.
Axiom, Avenir and Sunlite all make excellent bags that fit on the handle bars and Banjo Brothers, Top Peak and M-Wave all make particularly good bags that fasten behind your seat or tuck directly under the seat.
Mountain Biking Video
A WTB Mountain bike seat.
MOUNTAIN BIKE SEAT.
Mountain bike seats have changed you are no longer expected to ride on a triangular piece of foam, ache from dawn till dusk and rub some horrible smelly stuff on your bot!
Mountain bike seats are made so they don't interfere with your leg movement when riding. But they should still be supportive enough to offer the rider some comfort. Bike seats are a bit like buying a pair of trainers. Buy the wrong sort and you get problems. Buy the right one's and set the mountain bike saddle height correctly and your off !. Everyone should set the saddle up to their own requirements. Quite often a good seat can give you discomfort purely by not being set up correctly.
Mountain bike seat height.
Sit on your bike near to a wall for support, with one hand supporting you upright and your right heel on the pedal. Turn the pedals backwards so that your leg extends to the maximum position. At the correct saddle height, your leg should have only a very slight bend- not locked out. If this is not correct adjust the seat height and try again. Make sure the seat is not at an angle, left or right or up/down. That's it.
MOUNTAIN BIKE SHOES AND MOUNTAIN BIKE PEDALS
Some of the best mountain bike shoes are made to fit directly on to the pedals using cleats. Which is like an interlocking device. This is so the rider can use their momentum not only on the down stroke but on the up as well- this makes the rider much more efficient and increases their speed.
To release your mountain bike shoes from the cleat you either twist your heel inwards or outwards to free your foot, making it very quick to do so. The other major advantage is that some pedals have the cleat receptor on both sides so do not have to look down to find the position of the pedal, your foot slots in easily on either side.
Another type of pedal is the cage type- these are fastened on to the pedal with a strap and your shoe goes inside the cage. The problem with this type is that if you have to remove your foot quickly to put it down on the ground, your shoe can easily get jammed on the cage and cause you to have a nasty fall. They are also clumsy to get your foot in, once taken out.
Mountain bike handlebars
MOUNTAIN BIKE HANDLEBAR.
Mountain bike handle bars come in different shapes and sizes. Technology has played a big part in mountain bike handlebar design. Carbon fibre is now regularly seen on some mountain bikes, particularly those who are determined to keep there bike weight as low as possible. Depending on where your cycling interest is, handlebars take a formidable amount of punishment so they have to be durable enough to withstand it.
Jumping off rocks, or hillocks or even jumping continually over tree roots will have an enormous amount of stress and strain on your handlebar. Make sure you have invested in the right pair for your sport.
Changing your Handlebars
Mountain Bike Bar Ends
Bar ends are designed mainly for mountain bikes and touring cyclists. They are a great addition and investment and the main reason people buy them is for comfort. When your going uphill on your mountain bike and you get out of your mountain bike seat it is very useful to be able to move your hands into a better position. Being able to hold the bar ends which are at ninety degrees to your handle bars gives you a better grip position, and this in turn provides improved efficiency while peddling.
If you are planning to fit a pair of bar ends to your mountain bike you will find them a great addition for such a small amount of weight. Changing the angle of your riding position by alternately moving from the bar ends to your normal handle bars stops you from getting tired and stiff
Latest mountain bike parts include biking tops for men and women
Mountain bike Clothing.
Gloves are essential, firstly they keep your hands warm. Because the fingers are missing from the gloves this allow you to select gears and feel the brakes more dexterously. Cycling gloves have padded sections on the palm side, so should you fall off your bike the padded sections will protect your hands and act to break your fall.
Padded shorts - these are wonderful if you can't find a seat that suits you. These offer a little bit more respite if you are one of the unlucky one's that suffers after a couple of hours of being in the saddle. You can get varying thickness's of padding so this is no reason to leave your bike parked in the garage.
Cycling tops- come in short sleeves and long for summer and winter use. Most have pockets that are sewn in along the back to keep any personal items on you. There made from high wicking materials that keep the moisture away from your body- this helps keep you cool and fresh. Some have a long zip down the front to control temperature and ventilation.
Socks - again these are made specifically to control the temperature of your feet. High wicking to dispel moisture and some offer a no smell odour control. Padded where the pressure points are on your foot, these technically gifted accessories can make or break your day.
The latest wireless Computer for mountain bikers
Mountain bike Heart rate monitors and Wireless Computers.
Specifically, the heart rate monitor can tell you if what you are doing during your workout or training is hard enough, or too hard for your heart or just right to burn your body fats. Experts are suggesting that if you want to exercise to burn your body fats, you should exercise at a pace between 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes or more and do higher intensity at short intervals going up to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. This method will burn the stored body fats and will improve your metabolic rate as well.
For most mountain bikers, knowing the speed, the altitude, the distance traveled and even their heart rate while biking is the best thing they can get from their bicycle computer gadgets. Known as cyclometers cycle computers, these portable digital calculators for bicycles are actually computers that can indicate all what has been mentioned so basically a simple cyclometer does have its speedometer (speed), odometer (distance traveled) and the altimeter (altitude).
For the advanced type of cyclometers, we now have the wireless type and these can almost accurately provide information on the temperature of your environment, your heart rate through its built-in heart rate monitor, pedaling speed (cadence) and even the road slope angle (incline). So depending on which bit of information you need you should be able to find the information.
MOUNTAIN BIKING ACTION IN 2013
Mountain Biking is a brilliant sport for those that like to spice up their adventure, Inherently there are people who like to take a few risks, want to get fit and above all have some fun. If this sounds like you, get involved, once your kitted up and you can do this quite cheaply at first to see how you get on, then upgrade your bike and accessories when money becomes available. Not everyone starts at the top, but this shouldn't stop you getting out and about and finding which bits of the sport you like best.
Downhill mountain biking.
Do you like getting from A to B in the fastest time against the clock? Then this is the section for you, follow in the greats of downhill mountain biking, like-Sam Hill who won the 2012 downhill championship for the third time. Or Lauren Rosser from British Colombia, a brilliant 16 year old who won the women's junior downhill 2011.
Other 2012 top bikers include Jose Hermida from Spain who won the UCI championship. Nino Schurter from Switzerland and Steve Smith from Canada. All top riders waiting to be challenged during the 2012 season.
Going through deep forests on a 9" wide board at 25 mph, twisting and turning on ramps and inclines- jumping- dirt tracks, if this sounds like you there are a million places to start. All great fun and exciting as it sounds. Many ski areas are now showing an interest in utilising the pistes during the summer months watch out Roberto Tomba!!( the greatest slalom downhill skier.)
Cross Country XC
The most popular and common part of the sport where many riders start out. The only part of this sport which from 1996 became part of the modern Olympics- Generally follows a set course or terrain to complete a circuit. Some of the terrain is very difficult to pass so you have to be fit. Races vary in length from 30 minutes to 24 hours making it an endurance test as well as speed.
The Future of the Mountain Bike.
Is the 29'er the best bike ever?
One fairly new advancement in mountain biking is called the 29'er this is where you have one wheel slightly larger than the other. Some people who have tried this method are fully behind the change, others are more sceptical. I haven't tried so can't give my opinion but on balance I think there is probably a lot going for it.
The arguments for and against having larger wheels are still happening in mountain biking clubs and magazines on a daily basis. There are considerable reasons why this is a good idea,
- Larger wheels will roll over bumps and tree roots and other obstacles more easily. This will have the effect of smoothing out the ride.
- Larger wheels are less likely to get stuck in mud or soft ground.
- The bottom bracket and chain set is lifted slightly higher off the ground for greater clearance.
- Longer lasting tires and better traction.
Not everyone however is convinced and various 29er, or 96/ 69 options have been tried ( that is one larger wheel on the front or back the other being standard 600cc wheel.
Some reasons why some bikers think it's a poor idea :
- Spoke length. An increase in spoke length makes the wheel weaker
- Unstable wheel with more lateral (side) movement.
- Smaller riders find difficulty in finding a bike to fit them.
- Less acceleration-important on sprint type races.
Despite some draw backs the 29er has over come a lot of the problems and in Trek bikes they had the first mass produced bike. It wasn't a huge success, but since then Specialized, Cannondale and other top mountain bike manufactures all offer at least one 29er in their range. Pictured below is Cannondale's 2011 latest edition to the 29er range. A terrific looking bike, that I would love to own.
Best Mountain Bike brands.
Top Mountain bike brands for this year
Top Mountain Bike Manufacturers from around the World
Marin - Alchemist
After long delays Marin bikes have launched its new 4-inch bike, the Alchemist. We wanted to get everything absolutely right - according to Marins Marketing manger. We needed the bike to pass European testing standards, which are tougher than the U.S. standards. The Alchemist is Marin's attempt at a pure cross-country bike, which uses the company’s trademark Quad Link suspension. The top-end bike of the three built Alchemist uses XTR components, a RockShox SID fork and an Easton components for a complete weight of 24 pounds.
Modern changes to a classic bike
Marin Mount Vision
Changes have been made to Marins Mount Vision bike which should see it competing among the best in the world. The swing arm has 5-inch movement and had 200 grams removed to make it lighter. The bike has had the geometry completely revised. The front centre length is increased with a new longer top tube. Marin has claimed these alterations plus some others will make the bike better and more stable.
The best of the best
Specialized Mountain bike
Specialize normally make many tweaks to their bikes and don't let the grass grow under their feet. Well known nowadays as the company that leaves nothing alone or to chance.
Specialized have pulled a rabbit out the hat this year with this bike- a full 1.5 lb lighter than the 2010 Epic Marathon 29'r. There has been may changes to reach such a low weight. Front and rear triangles are both made from carbon. The top tube is now made from one piece. Specialise'd have always been at the front at trending new innovative ideas and the changes we are seeing today makes this an exiciting company to watch.
A new S-Works 29 'r is bound to get some heads turning with this great looking bike.
One for the ladies
Cannondale RZ One Twenty 4 Full Suspension Bike
Cannondale make great bikes and this beauty is about to hit the shops- made ideally as a unisex bike. Which should appeal to the ladies.
This is Cannondales latest bike for single tracks. It is a full suspension bike for those that prefer it that way. The frame is light weight aluminium for a very responsive ride. There is RST front forks with120 mm of travel to absorb all that you throw at it.
Shimano XT derailleur gears and Deore shifters make light work of the 27 gears. Disc brakes front and rear to stop you in your tracks. Mach 1 sub zero rims and Hutchinson all terrain Torro tires.
MOUNTAIN BIKE SAFETY
This is a serious sport where people have to be careful otherwise you can and will get injured. Take your own safety very seriously, it's up to you to check your bike and make sure all is well. The more you use your bike the more TLC it's going to need. There are bike shops all around who offer a maintenance programme- if you don't think your up to doing any mechanical jobs, entrust it to someone who knows and cares about bikes.
Wear the right clothing, it has been designed with your safety in mind. Most manufactures these days have an active interest in promoting safety in the sport. Mountain bike helmets should have the relevant kite mark showing it meets European or US approval.
There are organisations all over the world that look after the interests of cyclists and mountain bikers alike. Some offer training and advice on the sport, others sites are set up to make more aware of rules and regulations. But most of the best sites I use offer a combination to keep us as informed as possible. Where ever you ride make the most of it, and get out and enjoy it. Thanks for reading.