Mountain bikes come in a variety of styles. Geometry, tyre sizes, rigidity, weight, suspension, seat posts, and so on are all varied. The possibilities are limitless, but they can be categorised into the following groups:


The front fork and rear suspension on these mountain bikes are both missing. There’s not much to say here except that if this is your first pick for off-pavement / hard-pack dirt, you’ll be beaten to a pulp and despise mountain biking before you even get a chance to enjoy it. These are comfortable, versatile bikes that are safer and more user-friendly than road bikes for riding on pavement.


The front fork of this mountain bike has suspension shocks, while the rear fork does not. These are more economical, allowing you to get a bike with better, lighter components for your budget. Hardtail bikes also have greater handling than full-suspension bikes at the basic level. Hardtail mountain bikes aren’t only for budget-conscious beginners: their reduced weight and stiffness make them superb cross-country and racing bikes. See the list below.


Suspension in the front and back of full-suspension bikes enhances comfort and allows you to ride more challenging terrain. They’re usually more expensive and heavier. The majority of first-time mountain bikers wait until they have more experience before purchasing their first full-suspension bike.

Park or downhill

These full-suspension, hefty bikes have maximum suspension in the front (200 mm+) and back of your not-good-for-riding-uphill bike. They’re what I call motocross bikes without the engine. The tyres are large and knobby.

Enduro / All-mountain

Enduro is a motocross term that refers to a competition in which downhill stages are timed but uphill ones are not. All-mountain/enduro mountain bikes are more capable upward than downhill-only cycles, but they are less adaptable than XC or Trail bikes. They have longer front suspension travel (about 150 mm) and are generally beefier than XC or Trail bikes with bigger tyres.


With reduced weight, mid-range front fork travel (120-150 mm), and bike geometry that prioritises comfort over pure performance, these bikes are the most popular mountain bikes.

Cross-country skiing (XC)

For longer, spectacular rides in the backcountry, these mountain bikes are all about climbing and speed. Low weight and effective / smooth shifting are the most critical factors in XC bikes. Rolling efficiency and pedalling take precedence over the bike’s capacity to handle rough terrain portions. Here, ultra-light, ultra-expensive full-suspension bikes or commonly used hardtail mountain bikes are employed.