- Skis & Boards
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We carry a wide range of mountain bikes by Trek and Specialized. Both of these companies are passionate about mountain biking and devote great resources to make the best mountain bikes possible. Trek’s excellent and very well used trail network by their Waterloo, WI headquarters shows that these guys ride hard. Specialized has been pushing mountain bike design for over 25 years now and is not slowing down. But both companies know that not everyone has a 4 digit budget for a new bike so they pack as much durability and performance as they can into their less expensive bikes as well.
Mountain bikes are different things to different folks. They are quick and easy ways to get from dorm room to classroom, great companions on weekend dirt road explorations, and the tools for screaming down ribbons of singletrack with your summer evening riding group. Bike manufacturers know this, and so produce several distinct types of mountain bikes to satisfy these amorphous desires. So where do you fit in? Here are a few questions to give direction to your search:
“Singletrack” describes a mountain biking trail that is only wide enough for one rider at a time, with terrain that is smooth and flowing, steep and rocky or anywhere in between. Singletrack is to mountain biking as powder is to skiing. Consider where you’re going to ride. Maybe it’s the graded cross-country ski trail network near your house, dirt roads around town or back-and-forth to work. Perhaps singletrack is what you live for. Where you ride will play a large part in determining the right bike to take you there.
Front-suspension bikes, or “hardtails”, are built with front-suspension forks to absorb shock, which comes to you courtesy of the rocks, roots, waterbars, potholes and curbs encountered on a ride. A full-suspension rig has the addition of a rear shock engineered into the bike frame, providing even more suspension against trail obstacles. We love to metaphorically and poetically compare these “dualies” with fat powder skis. Full-suspension is more expensive than front suspension, but is absolutely more fun for trail riding. If you’ve a penchant for dirt roads or non-technical trails (relatively free of errant rocks & roots), the extra expense and complication isn’t necessary, and a hardtail is probably a better match.
So what do you get when you spend more money on a bike? Well, as your wallet gets lighter, so does your ride. High-end frames are made out of lightweight aluminum and some even carbon fiber. Wheels, suspension forks, cranksets, derailleurs; all the parts shed weight. It’s easier to pedal a lighter bike uphill. Suspension systems sprout more adjustments, including positive and negative air pressure, rebound, pedaling platforms, lockout and more, making them more tunable and better-performing over rough terrain. Shifters will click more precisely for longer in more adverse conditions, as will the all the other components. Consider how all this fits into your budget, and we’ll help you get the best bike bang for your buck.