History & Information
Mountain Biking is still a relatively new discipline. The bikes were first developed in the mountains of California and only went into mass production in the 1980s. MTBs are great all round machines which perform well on any terrain so they are a great choice of first bike for youngsters. The rider sits in an upright position, with straight handlebars, a comfy saddle and a wide selection of gears. Tyres are quite wide for extra grip, there are disc brakes and most bikes have some form of suspension either front only [hardtail] or full front and rear.
Mountain biking has only been a mainstream cycling discipline since the late 1980s. Races have several formats but they are generally either classed as Cross Country [XC] or Downhill. The first cross-country UCI World Cup series was held in 1989. The Downhill World Cup started two years later and the Dual Slalom World Cup was launched in 1998. Mountain biking made its first Olympic appearance in Atlanta in 1996.
Cross Country events are held on a mix of open and closed, technical and hilly terrain. Downhill races are shorter with no climbing involved. Both feature downhill slopes incorporating technical sections, berms, drop offs and other obstacles. Side by side slalom events have evolved into ‘4 Cross’ which see 4 riders tackle a downhill course at the same time. Enduro rides are like longer XC rides with more emphasis on downhill and in ‘Fox Hunts’ a large field of amateur riders try to catch an elite ‘fox’ with no fixed route across rugged, open terrain. So there is plenty for the ambitious mountain biker to aim for.