A mountain bike or mountain bicycle is a bicycle designed for off-road cycling.
There are several different styles of mountain biking, usually defined by the terrain, and therefore the type of bicycles employed. Styles have evolved rapidly.
Since the 1980s, mountain bikes have had anywhere from 7 to 36 speeds, with 1 to 3 chain-rings on the crankset and 4 to 12 sprockets in the cogset.
The first known use of bicycles used for riding on mountain terrain was in 1896 by the 25th Infantry US Army Bicycle Corps, or “Buffalo Soldiers.” This group of soldiers departed from Fort Missoula, Montana and rode all the way to Yellowstone, a distance of 500 miles covering various rough terrain. This was a first for the US Army at the time, which usually opted to use horses for traveling long distances.
The first known instance of off-road bicycle racing originated in 1902 from the road races of the time. In an effort to reach the finish line as quickly as possible, the road riders of the day would take detours through woodlands and farmer’s fields. This was so well-liked that it gave rise to the sport of cyclocross, which, astonishingly, is still flourishing in present times.
In Oregon in 1966, one Chemeketan club member, D. Gwynn, built a rough terrain trail bicycle. He named it a “mountain bicycle” for its intended place of use. This may be the first use of that name.
In England in 1968, Geoff Apps, a motorbike trials rider, began experimenting with off-road bicycle designs.
The sport became popular in the 1970s in Northern California, US, with riders using older, single-speed balloon tire bicycles to ride down rugged hillsides. These modified bikes were called “ballooners” in California, “klunkers” in Colorado, and “dirt bombers” in Oregon. Joe Breeze, a bicycle frame builder, used this idea and developed what is considered the first mountain bike.
The first mass production mountain bike was the Specialized Stumpjumper, first produced in 1981. With the rising popularity of mountain bikes, Randolph (Randy) Ross, executive vice president of Ross Bicycles Inc., was quoted in the New York Times saying I’d say these bikes are one of the biggest things that ever happened to the biking industry. Its basic look constitutes “a total shift in image” for the industry.
In 1982, Brian Skinner came up with the idea for the first-ever mountain bike suspension. Brian Skinner played a significant role in the development of mountain bike parts, most notably in the construction of the Shimano Deore and Deore XT components. Few people are aware that he created the first full suspension mountain bike, the MCR Descender, though.
By the 1990s, mountain bikes became worldwide phenomenon with regular drivers using them on all types of terrain and almost all manufacturers striving to produce better and better designs. Most popular wheel size became 29-inches, and bicycle models were separated in many driving categories – Cross-Country, Downhill, Free ride, All-Mountain, Trials, Dirt Jumping, Urban, Trail riding and Mountain Bike Touring.
In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, mountain biking was introduced as a sport to much fanfare. Over 60 bikers participated in the competition, with Dutch and Italian bicyclists, Bart Brentjens and Paolo Pezzo taking home the first gold medals of the sport. Mountain biking has remained a popular part of The Olympics to this day.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, mountain biking moved from a little-known sport to a mainstream activity complete with an international racing circuit and a world championship, in addition to various free ride competitions, such as the FMB World Tour and the Red Bull Rampage.
At $1 million the 24k Gold Extreme Mountain Bike is the most expensive bicycle in the world. It is also known as “fat bike”. It is gold-plated with pure 24k gold and It has a gold-plated water bottle. Electroplating process is used to coat the bike. There were only 13 bikes in the market. All of them customizable. Every bike bears a logo of “THSG” (The House of Solid Gold). Over 600 Black Diamonds and 500 golden sapphires were used to embellish the logo of THSG.
The greatest distance cycled in 24 hours on a mountain bike is 577.78 km (359.02 miles) and was achieved by Adrian Ellul (Australia) in McLennon Park, Walkerston, Queensland, Australia, from 9 to 10 October 2015.
The greatest vertical descent on a mountain bike in 24 hours (male) is 40,840.5 m (133,991 ft 1 in) and was achieved by Amir Kabbani and Patrick Schweika (both Germany) in an attempt supported by Mercedes-Benz Vans, in Schladming, Austria, on 11-12 October 2018.
The longest dirt to dirt mountain bike backflip is 100 ft 3 in and was achieved by Cam Zink (USA) at the ESPN World of X Games: Mammoth Flip presented by Monster at Mammoth Mountain’s Canyon Lodge in Mammoth Lakes, California, USA, on 21 August 2014.