1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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Thread: XC, FS and AM

  1. #1
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    XC, FS and AM

    I am new to mountain biking and love it. Ive started reading a bit more on the subject to learn from others and compliment my rides, but there is so much terminology out there that I get lost. I have seen several posts that refer to XC, FS and AM and have no idea what they are talking about. I would appreciate it greatly if someone would take the time to explain this to a newbie like myself.

  2. #2
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    xc = cross country
    fs = full suspension
    am = all mountain

  3. #3
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    cross country (xc) usually means a hardtail - no rear suspension, and is good for climbing and moderate downhills but not big jumps or dropoffs. even if you want to do downhills, hardtail bikes are a great way to start so that you learn good technique.

    full suspension (fs) has suspension in the front and back. don't get a cheap fs bike - it will probably suck.

    all mountain (am) is a bike meant to do everything - light enough for climbing, but also strong enough for downhill, small to medium jumps, etc.

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    Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibeamcarver
    cross country (xc) usually means a hardtail - no rear suspension
    There are a lot of XC full suspension bikes. They usually have about 100mm of travel.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  6. #6
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    just in case you havent come across it yet, theres also things like HT = hard tail (front suspension only), DH = downhill, DJ = dirt jump, and many more im sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    There are a lot of XC full suspension bikes. They usually have about 100mm of travel.
    Yes, and there are some great ones, but perhaps a bit pricey for a first mtb. Anyway I still say to start with a hardtail for better practice on riding technique and learning how to get over obstacles instead of just relying on the bike.

  8. #8
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    All these terms are modern creations...back in the day we rode rigids, some lucky few rode hardtails, but we all rode 'em hard like a priest does a choirboy! Back then it was simply mountain biking, pure and simple.

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    A couple more questions

    Given all of this you guys are telling me, is a Giant NRS3 being an FS a XC or a AM bike?

    Term: Travel

    Is that the distance between the back wheel and the frame?
    How does this effect the ride?
    The more travel the better for ____.?
    The less travel the better for ____?

  10. #10
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