MTB Categories: Enduro vs. Cross Country vs. Trail vs. Downhill

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. As it grows, the technology built put into the bikes gets smarter and more sophisticated. With that development comes new styles, different bikes, and words of advice for the mountain biking world. Sunglass Rob, Skills with Phil, and Stephane Rock explore the mountain biking stratosphere and all the classifications in the guide below.

What Bike Style Fits You Best?

The Enduro Bike

Enduro bikes are not easy to categorize. These bikes are somewhere in between trail and downhill bikes. This is because the overall structure is similar to trail bikes but they have tons of slack. Enduro mountain biking is a newer and evolving form of riding. These bikes are created for darting downhill as fast as possible. Unlike downhill bikes, they do have a dropper post. The handles for these bikes are steeper, much steeper. Like a downhill bike, this maximizes the opportunity for speed. They also have flat and thick tires that can handle any terrain. They are durable and strong and the added weight helps propel the bike with momentum. Enduro bikes are hybrids that allow the rider to experience a specific type of run. Naturally these bikes are expensive but they present a versatile option for serious riders.

The Cross Country Bike

Cross country bikes are the lightest mountain bikes. Their chassis are thin and not designed for exploring wild terrains. Stephane mentioned that these bikes, "Don't take care of you much." What they lack in protection they make up in smoothness. The wheels are large and carry momentum which helps dealing with obstacles. Tires are typically 29 inches long, but perfect for minimizing strain and getting you from point A to point B. These bikes are reliable and can take you on treks that other bikes couldn't handle. Capable of handling roots and rocks and other small issues but mostly prepared for smoother terrain. It depends on your style of riding but this is ideal for riders looking for a longer ride.

The Trail Bike

When talking about buying your first bike, Sunglass Rob makes it clear,  "With trail bikes....there's no other way". These bikes can be described as all around and versatile. To be fair, they can handle most terrains at a solid speed. If you're looking at the bike market this may be your best choice. It has full suspension and the wheels are normally 29 or 27.5 inches. The dropper post for these bikes is key. It allows for the rider to get a solid angle and approach each twist and turn with security. It's a really solid option for all bikers.

The Downhill

A downhill bike is designed for conquering downhill. However, the features are unlike any other bike. There's no dropper post. And on these bikes , they're tricked out with full suspension to counteract the bumps and cuts from the terrain. With downhill, all obstacles are hit at high speeds so control is key. Normally, downhill bikes are long and tougher to maneuver in comparison to the other bikes. Going downhill, the bike practically pedals itself. Your main focus will be the hurdles in your way. This is a thrill-seeker's dream bike.

So Which Bike Should You Choose?

Mountain biking is all about exploration, so grab the bike that matches your sense of adventure. If you're looking for more information on mountain biking, check out our SportRx Youtube channel. And if you're a serious rider, make sure to check us out for an enormous selection of mountain bike sunglasses, brands, and more. We even do prescription lenses for mountain bike sunglasses. Contact Us to speak with one of our in-house certified opticians who can help you customize your mountain bike sunglasses made specifically for you.