Find your next XC bike on Amazon
One of the things that make cycling so exciting today is the access to so many great bikes at a wide price range. Many bicycles are built specifically for a certain type of riding – and cross country mountain bikes are no exception. But first, what makes cross country bicycling demand such a specific type of bike?
What Is Cross Country Mountain Biking?
Depending on what sort of mountain biking you find yourself doing most, the right bike for the terrain will make your experience a whole lot more enjoyable. Cross country bicycling can take you over a broad spectrum of terrain – from bumpy fire roads, winding single track, sustained ascents, or technical, forested descents. Consequently, this type of riding demands a bike that is light and stiff enough to be nimble, and to handle long climbs, and also comfortable enough on fast descents or all day rides.
XC Mountain Bikes Characteristics
A mountain bike that is ideal for this type of riding will have a number of key features:
- Weight – For climbing, a XC bike should be light.
- Suspension – While one can certainly use hard tail mountain bikes for cross country riding, full suspension mountain bikes with even a little bit of rear suspension will allow you to tackle a much wider range of terrain. Because cross country mountain bikes are not designed for the massive jumps and big mountain riding that free ride or downhill bikes are designed for, front and rear suspension is usually half of what a downhill bike would have.
- Lockable rear shock – Many bikes will have mountain bike shocks that can be completely locked out. Temporarily eliminating the rear suspension will ensure that the energy you expend goes directly into getting you up the hill.
- Frame geometry – Another noticeable feature of XC bikes is the aggressive geometry of their bicycle frames. That is, the shape of the frame places the rider’s position more forward than, let’s say, downhill mountain bikes. This geometry not only allows the rider to achieve a more aerodynamic position (for speed), but also accommodates for a better climbing position.
Tip: Your saddle height and position are crucial
Once you've purchased a decent XC bike, you need to ensure that the saddle height and position are comfortable.
As cross country biking will take you through some incredibly rocky and uneven terrain, your saddle adjustments must be very precise.
Your saddle should be high enough for your leg to straighten fully when pressing the pedal in the "6 o clock" position. Your saddle nose should also be very slightly raised to take some weight off your arms, though not enough to cause pain or numbness in the crotch.
Is There Anything These Bikes Can't Do?
The geometry, suspension, and lightness of these bikes make them ideal for many different types of riding: from short and easy spins to longer bicycling tours. However, these bikes are not meant for extreme biking. These bikes do not normally come equipped with enough suspension travel to handle big drops. As well, the aggressive geometry places the rider too far forward to make very steep descents advisable. If you are finding yourself riding big mountain terrain, I would highly recommend looking into, in the very least, an all mountain bike or downhill bike.
Should I Purchase a XC Bike?
As I mentioned, the best thing XC bikes offer is versatility. If most of your riding is relatively benign, you can simply lock out the rear suspension and enjoy a day in the saddle.
However, if the trails become rockier, bumpier, steeper, or more technical, rest assured that a mountain bike cross country will take you through comfortably and safely.
Cross country mountain biking is a lot of fun - offering you an opportunity to test your skills without have to throw yourself down terrifying descents.
I would recommend a XC bike for anyone beginner who thinks he or she will want to try engaging terrain in the future. I would also recommend this bike for intermediate riders who are thinking of racing.
Where to Buy XC Bikes?
If you are interested in buying XC bikes you can buy them in one of these trusted online stores: