Mountain Bike Basics
Mountain bikes are for dirt, dust and debris – what’s not to love?!
As it turns out, the whole concept of MTB riding dates back to the early 1860's in the form of cyclocross (or what at the time most closely resembled cyclocross!).
The modern era of mountain biking has taken a variety of forms and respectively each genre has its own mountain bike build. Some include; singletrack, pump track, dirt jump, trail riding, enduro, free riding, cross country and downhill. Though the difference's between some of these disciplines are minimal at best, there is still an overwhelming choice of what, how and where to ride. Manufacturers produce several different models of mountain bikes, each with their own attributes and intended uses.
So let’s check out the 27.5" hardtail mountain bike.
Clearing up any confusion about the 27.5”
So the 27.5” has suffered from a bit of misunderstanding in the past, which can be attributed to a few things. Firstly – there can be confusion around whether or not 25.5” refers to the frame size or the wheel diameter, as both are measured in inches (even for those of us in Metric land). To clear this up – it refers to the wheel size, not the frame size.
Secondly – the 27.5” is a reinvention – it first came onto the market as 650B, however it never really took off given it launched when the MTB industry was still in its relative infancy, and consumer demand just wasn’t there (obviously things have changed!).
Thirdly – 650C has nothing to do with MTB; this refers to smaller road bike wheels that were originally designed for small riders and youths.
So – now we’ve cleared up the confusion, we find out more…
Why choose the 27.5"/650B wheel size?
The 27.5 inch wheel size literally cuts the current mountain bike market in half. The 26" mountain bike provides superior manoeuvrability for technical terrain, whilst the 29er (also known as 29”) provides exceptional performance on uneven surfaces. The 27.5" MTB aims to balance the strengths and weaknesses of both these MTB sizes by providing a well-rounded MTB suited to the majority of conditions, and with few drawbacks. This makes the 27.5" wheel size ideal for the enduro and all-mountain categories (and the majority of the MTB's in the market fall into these categories). Some argue that the difference between categories is minimal at best and just a consumer gimmick others maintain the standpoint that there are real differences.
Some of the key advantages to 27.5" MTB are:
- Higher top speed than 26" mountain bikes.
- Quicker reaction times compared to 29ers.
- Smoother ride due to larger wheel size vs 26" bikes.
- Better traction compared to 26" mountain bikes.
- More forgiving than 26" mountain bikes.
- Less lateral wheel movement compared to 29ers.
Whilst the 650 hardtail is slightly less common than its counterparts it makes for an excellent choice for beginner mountain bikers that aren't quite sure which discipline to choose. It is perhaps best suited to XC and single track rides as the use of suspension has less of an impact.
Popular 27.5" Hardtail MTB Brands
Not sure where to start your search for the perfect bike? Below are some popular brands that offer a great range of mountain bikes.
- Search for Avanti 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Apollo 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Focus 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Giant 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for GT 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Malvern Star 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Merida 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Norco 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Scott 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
- Search for Specialized 27.5" Hardtail Mountain Bikes.
How to Make the Best 26" Hardtail Mountain Bike Purchase
Mountain bikes can be expensive, so set your budget first and then choose a mountain bike that not only fits it but also suits your style of riding.
Some of the things to keep an eye out for are changes in the drivetrain, frame material and suspension model when comparing bikes. Carbon frame bikes often feature the pinnacle of mountain biking technology resulting a fairly hefty price tag. If shredding seconds off your race time isn't a priority opt for alloy framed mountain bikes.
Size & Geometry:
Make sure the mountain bike fits you and is the correct size for your height.
Comfort is usually key here, "if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't." A poor riding position can result in health issues or impede your ability to control the bike. Sizing and geometry can be so detailed and involved, which is why we strongly recommend being sized and fitted by a professional no matter your skill level.
Compare different brands and models of mountain bikes, this will make it easier to find the mountain bike that you like. Remember to check previous years models in your hunt for the bike that's right for you.