Boulder Bicycle Commuters

How to choose your ATV?

How to choose your ATV?

In this article we will see the characteristics of the bicycles, the different geometries, which I hope will help you to choose or understand your next assembly according to your practice and your budget… This can be quite consistent in some disciplines, always look at second-hand before starting from the new.

First of all, we will determine which mountain biker you are.

“ATV” is a broad term. The word ATV covers several categories.

First of all, the different disciplines of “MTB”:

  • CrossCountry or XC: this discipline consists of cycling on flat, hilly or uneven terrain (in the mountains). During your outings you will have a series of kilometers. In competition, a start line, a finish line, the first to cross the line to win.
  • Enduro: recent discipline with a descending profile. In competition, only the downhill, special parts are timed. During the special stages, a maximum of 15 to 20% can be so-called physical parts.
  • DH or DownHill: only descent, often practiced in the mountains, the lifts are by mechanical lift.
  • Trial: a particular discipline of mountain biking which consists in overcoming obstacles (stones, trunks, nozzles, etc.) without putting feet on the ground.

This list is of course not exhaustive. That said, these are the most common practices encountered.


So you’re more like:

Going for miles, both uphill and downhill is your foot, the XC is your discipline

You don’t cover many kilometers but the descents, you’ll love it!!!!! Then enduro is for you!

Isn’t Monté a passion? But to go down, hoooo yeah!!!!!!! You’re a descender!!! DH!

That said, the boundary between each discipline is rather blurry or even invisible outside of competitions… Moreover, you have a good idea that each discipline has its own adapted mountain bike.

the wheelbase of the bike

The shorter it is, the more manageable the bike, the longer it is, the more stable the bike will be

In Blue of the bottom bracket axis on the ground, it is the ground clearance. The smaller the value, the more stable your bike will be, the lower the balance point.

In green between the axle of the rear wheel and the bottom bracket axle is simply the rear wheelbase. Once again, the shorter the wheelbase, the more manageable the bike, whereas if the wheelbase is long, the bike will be more stable.

And in purple it’s the caster angle. This is very important in practice. The smaller the bike, the easier it will be to handle, the bigger the bike will be, the more stable the enduro type will be.

A little technique done, let’s get down to business.

The wheelbases are different according to the bikes and are conditioned by the size of the bike. But the caster angle is a good feature.

The characteristics of ATVs

Enduro Practice

An All Mountain ATV, i. e. a bike that goes down as well as up, will have an open (large) caster angle to be stable on the bike. A global travel between 120 and 140mm. There will be a relatively upright posture on the bike. It is a very versatile bike.

An Enduro mountain bike is a bike that goes down better than it goes up. With a travel of up to 160 mm. He has a more aggressive profile. And the caster angle is larger than the all-mountain to be very stable on the bike

DownHill Practice

The Freeride is a bike that goes down but does not go up, usually with a 200mm travel, it is relatively heavy in a “normal” fork with adapted brakes.

The DH is a bike that only goes down and is relatively heavy! Equipped with a “double T” fork and oversized brakes. The geometry is picked up with a high caster angle!

XC practice

An XC is a mountain bike with a small travel, from 80 to 100mm, with a more elongated position than other practices. It is a lightweight bike that privileges performance. The caster angle is rather small.

An XC marathon is an XC optimized for comfort despite performance.

All these bicycles can be semi rigid or suspended!

Suspended or semi-rigid?

In pure DH the whole suspended will be an obligation.

For the XC, it’s a matter of comfort and weight! A rear shock absorber system necessarily increases the weight of the bike! Maybe a plus in XC Marathon, a minus in XC because the bike is heavier and the efficiency is reduced because the pedaling energy passes through the shock absorber.

For enduro, it’s another debate. Both exist: endurigid and enduros. For the choice no other solution than to try, and to choose according to the feelings. Namely, a suspended whole will forgive driving errors. Although a endurigid in 27.5+ also forgives. ( 27.5+ means very wide tires, between the traditional tire and the fat)

Disc brakes or v-brakes?

For a leisure practice in XC, V-brakes are sufficient. Cable disc brakes are not necessarily a good compromise in terms of fluidity of braking and adjustment. Hydraulic disc brakes are comfortable to the touch, and progressive or aggressive braking depending on the model.

In other practices the hydraulic disc brake is essential. However, the larger the diameter of the disc, the more powerful the braking will be.

Wheel diameter

Today for an adult there are 3 different wheel sizes.

The 26 inch has become “obsolete” you will find many used bikes for sale cheap in 26 inches. Few advantages except for the price, to date.

The 27.5 most responsive diameter. Allows easy driving with advantages on the 26 inches. The 27.5 mountain bike is slightly harder to train but inertia does the rest.

The 29 inch is more used in XC, more and more in downhill but is less manageable… big wheel so in the narrow and technical portions not necessarily obvious. You have to train it, but once the bike is gone, “it rides by itself”.

The larger the wheel, the easier it is to overcome obstacles.