• Mon September 01 2008
  • Posted Sep 1, 2008
Sam Cook Duluth News Tribune Duluth, MN Sunday, August 31, 2008 The News Tribune asked Nikolai Anikin of Continental Ski and Bike and Mick Dodds of the Ski Hut for mountain biking gear tips. Here’s what they offered:
  • The bike: “We always ask people where and how they’re going to ride,” Anikin said. “If they’re going to be riding aggressively, off-road, we tell them they’re best off spending a little more money,” Dodds said. Entry-level mountain bikes run about $350, but you won’t want to ride them aggressively on trails. As you move up in price, you can add features such as disc brakes, full (front and rear) suspension and higher-grade components. For aggressive trail riding, you might spend between $600 and $1,000 on a bike. As components get better, frames lighter and geometry more advanced, you can spend up to $2,500 or more for a mountain bike.
  • Wheel size: “This is the great debate,” Dodds said. Mountain bikes traditionally came with 26-inch-diameter wheels. (Road bikes are closer to 29 inches.) More recently, 29-inch mountain-bike wheels have become popular. Because they have more tread on the ground at any given moment, they tend to roll over rocks and roots better. But they’re a little harder to handle in tight turns at low speeds.
  • Disc brakes: These operate from the center of the wheel, as opposed to the standard rim brakes. Both work well. Disc brakes may work better on wet or dirty trails, but they’re also heavier.
  • Suspension: Most mountain bikes come with front suspension. As you spend more, you can get into those with rear suspension, too. That makes for a smoother ride and allows you to remain seated more of the time.
  • Helmets: You’ll need one to protect your brains. They start at about $30 to $35.
  • Gloves: Dodds and Anikin strongly recommend you wear gloves while mountain biking. Your hands will get sweaty, so you’ll need gloves to keep your hands from slipping on the handlebars. Also, they’re padded to offer more comfort.
  • Shoes and pedals: You can use either your own running shoes that slip in and out of toe clips easily, or you can buy biking shoes (starting at about $80) that lock into “clipless” pedals. The clipless pedals require some getting used to because you must twist your foot sideways to release the shoe from the pedal. But they’re much more efficient for riding because you have a direct connection to your pedal, and you can lift one pedal as you depress the other. Clipless pedals start at about $50.
  • Padded biking shorts: These will add a lot more comfort to your riding. You can get shorts that cling to your legs, or baggy ones that offer a relaxed fit. They all start at about $50.
Sam Cook / news tribune outdoors writer
Want to get involved with Mountain biking in the Des Moines area? check out the mountain bike rides on the BIKEIOWA calendar here and Mountain Bike Races here Check out the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) website: View Other mountain biking news and features here

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