Cross-country (XC) mountain biking may be the sport for beginners if they like climbing and descending at high speeds.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start looking at mountain bikes. It might be difficult to tell the difference between different kinds of mountain bikes. Since there are so many to choose from. At the same time, there’s a tug-of-war between very detailed and precisely defined categories. This is a lot to digest, so we’ve decided to perform a thorough analysis of cross-country biking. Like trail mountain biking, XC mountain biking is an all-encompassing term that encompasses a narrow subset of the sport.
Cross-country mountain biking’s fundamental concept is a preference for speed and distance over challenging terrain. Pedaling efficiency up the hill and capability down the hill are equally important. Endurance is a big aspect of the genre, and so are light, efficient bikes.
Cross-country mountain biking history for beginners
A thorough understanding of anything necessitates an examination of its origins. Cross-country mountain biking has a long and complex history that shapes its present and future. When it comes to cross-country bicycles, Chris Cocalis, creator of Pivot Bikes, is an expert. The roots of Pivot’s current World Cup XCO bike began in the 1990s, when he began working in the business. Pivot was created in 2007.
This is an intriguing category for Chris, since at one point, it was truly the genuine core of mountain biking. He says that the majority of mountain bikers are XC riders. These bikes were easy to ride and competent on the terrain that most mountain bikers desired. They were a popular choice. At some point in the tale Chris told, that broad ease of use began to erode. Due to advances in technology, more powerful and longer-traveling all-mountain bikes drew away riders with greater ease. Because of this shift in concentration from all-around performance to pure racing weaponry, many XC bikes began to compromise comfort and stability for speed and agility.
The pendulum ultimately began to swing the opposite way, as it does with everything.
Cross-country bikes began to incorporate looser geometry, greater suspension, and dropper posts from the gravity-focused side of the sport. Once again, today’s cross-country bikes are fantastic for a broad variety of riders. They are very light and efficient, but also quite stable and comfortable.
You may use our advice while selecting whether or not to purchase a cross-country bike: Many riders wind up ‘over-biking’ by purchasing a bicycle that is too large for the terrain they are riding on. It is important to be honest with yourself and your ability as a rider, as well as the terrain you are traversing. If you don’t plan on leaping and riding over huge ledges, then a cross-country bike with 100–120 mm of travel like the Mach 4SL will pedal better, ride better, and generally deliver a more well-rounded experience than something that has longer travel, is heavier, and less efficient.
What you should expect from a cross-country mountain biking gear for beginners
You may be ready to buy a cross-country bike if you have a basic grasp of the history of cross-country bikes and where they stand today. If this is the case, you may want to be more explicit about what to anticipate. You might begin by looking at some of the most recent technological disputes.
In other mountain bike categories, wheel size remains a controversial issue, but in the cross-country part, there is far less dispute. 29ers have mostly taken over this category of mountain bikes since they are better suited to the kind of riding that cross-country involves. Larger wheels can more easily float over rocks and roots, allowing the bike to go at a higher speed and use less energy as a result.
When it comes to wheels, hard tails and full-suspension bikes are still up in the air.
Since cross-country mountain bikes need to be very efficient while pedaling and traverse less harsh terrain, a hard tail can be the most appropriate option. To get the most out of smooth single-track and double track riding, choose a hard tail. It’s lighter and more efficient than a full-suspension bike.
Full-suspension may be the answer if you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle more rough terrain or if you’re looking for more comfort on long days. Travel should be in the 100-120mm range, regardless of whether you go with a hard tail or a full-suspension bike. Often, suspension systems have remote lock-outs that let the rider quickly connect or disconnect the suspension system from the handlebars, depending on what kind of terrain they’re riding on.
Dropper posts are the final significant controversy in cross-country biking.
Taking a cross-country bike and turning it into a trail bike is possible in this region as well. You can never go wrong with a hard tail with no dropper. If you want a more agile bike when you’re going down, you can add a dropper.
The geometry for cross-country bikes has always placed an emphasis on a low center of gravity, good pedaling efficiency, and a responsive ride. With their higher head tubes and thus less stability, cross-country mountain bikes follow this trend. In contrast, as the difficulty of XCO courses has increased, some geometry has settled on head angles in the 67-degree range.
The cockpit of cross-country bikes is another area where innovation is taking place. Cross-country bikes have narrower bars and longer stems than road bikes. The wider bars assist the rider in avoiding bar-height obstructions like trees on tight paths, while the longer stem brings the rider’s weight forward for increased pedaling efficiency. Handlebar width and stem length have increased in tandem with geometry changes to make it easier for riders to take advantage of the improved capabilities.
What about clothing suitable for beginners who want to do cross-country mountain biking?
It only seems natural that clothing for bicycles has been optimized as well, as every aspect of the design has been reworked. Many XC riders choose to match their faster speeds, longer days, and steeper climbs with XC-specific clothing.
Cross-country riders, on the other hand, are more prone to wearing tight-fitting Lycra than downhillers. In addition to improving seat comfort for extended days in the saddle, using bibs and jerseys comparable to those used in road cycling provides greater ventilation, aerodynamics, and muscular compression. Since there are no trail fashion police to tell you what to wear, try a bib liner and a tighter-fitting short with a technical T-shirt for a more casual style.
When it comes to cross-country racing, the lightest and most breathable XC helmets are peakless road-style models, but these models may not provide as much protection for the rider as the finest half-shell helmets made for trail riding. These are basically broad strokes that seem to better reflect the cross-country mountain bike experience. Follow your instincts and do what seems right to you. Cross-country cyclists often wear sunglasses to keep trail debris, foliage, or mud out of their eyes.
Cross-country mountain biking for beginners may be summed up as regular mountain biking, with the exception of the smoother routes and increased speed. Which kind of cycling you prefer—cross-country or downhill—really boils down to your own preferences. In fact, many riders like the variety of both road and track events.
In any case, mountain biking is a fantastic activity, and cross-country trails are a terrific opportunity to get started with less-challenging routes. As a bonus, you’ll get a great workout and reap a host of health advantages.
Always remember to have a first aid kit and a bike toolkit with you while riding.