State of the Art

Mountain Bikes

May 15, 2006
Outside Magazine

Following the lead of the downhill industry, dual-density tires—which place softer rubber on the outside for better traction and harder rubber in the center for longer wear—are increasingly popular among cross-country riders.

Bikes with 29-inch wheels (see the Ventana El Capitán) have been around for about five years but are just now making serious market inroads. Numerous manufacturers introduced 29ers this year, so you can finally test out the plush, momentum-carrying ride without breaking the bank.

Like 29ers, single-speed mountain bikes aren't new, but they are enjoying a surge in popularity. Once the domain of fitness freaks and tech-savvy bikeheads—with few complete bikes for sale until recently, half the fun was cobbling one together—single-speeds are now widely available as ride-ready factory bikes. Compared with their geared counterparts, they tend to be both both lighter and less expensive.

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