Dirt jumper bikes offer a great way to
build skills. These aluminum and steel
hardtail bikes are nearly like oversized
BMX bikes with short-travel suspension
forks. They’re designed for ripping through
rhythm sections and catching air at the
local jump spot. They’re durable enough to
be ditched in case of a bad landing without
being totaled. They’re also usually stripped
down to the bare essentials sporting a rear
brake only, single-speed or otherwise simplified drivetrain, and a fork that’s set up so
stiff it only moves on a hard impact. These
bikes are also the fastest around any pump
track, and will probably be the last, if ever,
to adopt a larger wheel size.
Weight range: 25–32 pounds
Travel: 3–4 inches (front)
Wheel-size options: 26 inches
Strengths: Durable, fun and flickable is
the name of the dirt jump game. They are a
blast in the whoops.
Weaknesses: Harsh for trail riding.
These bikes need a groomed course.
Price range: $–$$$
These bikes offer 8 to 10 inches of
ground-leveling travel to lend confidence
on the steepest of tracks. However, they
won’t do any of the work to make it back
to the top of the hill. These bikes rely only
on chairlifts and shuttles to feed their habit.
Their weight has been drastically reduced
in recent years thanks to design and mate-
rial technology. However, these bikes are
truly only at home when pointed downhill,
and preferably moving fast.
Weight range: 32–40 pounds
Travel: 8–10 inches
Wheel-size options: 26, 27. 5 inches
Strengths: Very stable on aggressive
terrain, these bikes offer the ultimate in
control when the trail is technical and
Weaknesses: Very use-specific. Don’t
even dream of trail riding these sleds. Plan
to use them only when a chairlift or shuttle
Price range: $$$$–$$$$$ ❏
These are use-specific trail bikes with
Lunar Lander-sized wheels and tires
designed to float over ultra-soft conditions
like snow, sand and mud. Fat bikes are not
versatile enough to be considered a do-it-all bike. Instead, they’re a perfect complement to a true trail bike for a rider who
lives in a place that can take advantage
of their ability to ride adverse conditions.
They are also best ridden with other fat
bike riders. Solo efforts in snow will quickly
demoralize most potential fat bike
Weight range: 24–36 pounds
Travel: 0-4 inches
Wheel-size options: 26, 29+
Strengths: Opens a whole new world
for riders who otherwise wouldn’t be able
to ride some seasons.
Weaknesses: Not very versatile. Period.
Price range: $$–$$$
FAT BIKES DIRT JUMPER BIKES DOWNHILL RACE BIKES