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Evolution of mountain bike

Updated on September 25, 2015

The history of mountain biking is as long and rich as the bicycle itself. The very first bicycle to be adapted for off road use was developed in the 1890’s used by Buffalo Soldiers in the west. In the decades to follow, mountain biking increasingly gained in popularity and soon spread around the world. Groups began to form all over and a large surge in the sport was seen in the 1970’s when several companies began mass producing mountain bikes with lightweight materials and new designs. Today, as the sport is still evolving, we are seeing an ever increasing amount of land and parks used for mountain biking, including the emergence of several indoor mountain biking parks.

Riding styles

While a considerable list can be made for different type of mountain biking styles, two of the largest competitive mountain biking styles are the downhill and the freeride. The downhill is a time trial event usually competed on a steep terrain with high speed descents. The course is usually completed within five minutes and is comparable to cross country skiing in regards to rules and competition order. The freeride on the other hand is more of a technical competition focusing on tricks and style. Free riding often does not include a set course or goal and is judged on style, amplitude, control, and speed.

Mountain bike legends

One of the most notable contributors to the success of mountain biking is Sam Hill. Sam Hill first emerged on the mountain biking scene at age 16 in 2011. Since then, he has won many competitions and awards that include riding for the Monster Energy Specialized team on a Specialized Demo 8 II, the 2010 world championships in Mont Saint Anne, and the 2007 and 2009 UCI Elite Mens World Cup (Overall).

Another great contributor to mountain biking is Steve Peat. Steve Peat has won numerous championships and competitions in his career. However, he has made even further contributions to mountain biking through the design and manufacture of specialist riding clothing, involvements with young cyclist academies and the release of his own mountain biking game.

Through great competitors such as Steve Peat and others, even woman like Rachel Atherton, we are seeing the sport of mountain biking with a long and rich history continue to expand. The ever increasing number of terrains and participants gives foresight into the exciting future for the great sport of mountain biking.


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