Where's your kickstand?
Here are the top ten mountain biking “why” questions the general public are seemingly asking Google about. Some are obvious, other are rather unexpected.
Here’s the list of questions. We’ve done our best to answer them as best we can.
1. Why do mountain bikers wear baggy shorts?
Because no one needs to see any more lycra than is already on show from our roadie brethren thanks. There are some faintly practical reasons as to why we wear baggy shorts (it’s better crashing in baggies than just lycra, for example) but in all honestly it’s mainly a tribal and fashion thing.
2. Why do mountain bike disc brakes squeal?
To alert ramblers and/or bears that we’re approaching. Seriously though, disc brakes squeal either because the calipers are misaligned or there’s some contamination in there somewhere. And there are just some pads and rotors that honk when they get together no matter what you do.
3. Why do mountain bikes have fat tyres?
Much like why we have suspension; for traction, control and comfort (in that order). And because they look rad.
4. Why do mountain bike helmets have visors?
Much like with the whole baggy short thing, there’s a vague practical reason (it reduces glare) but arguably it’s really mostly to differentiate us from road cyclists.
5. Why do mountain bikes have wide handlebars?
The question here should be, why do road bikes have narrow handlebars? The answer there (like everything in road cycling pretty much) is aerodynamics. It’s aerodynamics over control and comfort all day long with roadies. Wide bars give you more balance, more leverage, more control. And they look rad.
6. Why do mountain bikes not have kickstands?
Really? Er. Just lean your bike against a tree or wall. Or just on the ground is fine (driveside up of course).
7. Why do mountain bikers wear gloves?
Aside from a rarified type of nutter who seem to forego gloves and yet still wear neck braces, most mountain bikers wear gloves. Why? Prevents wind chill, improves grip (usually), reduces soreness, crash protection.
8. Why do mountain bikes have gears?
In a word: gravity. The variation in gradient and surface of the trails mountain bikers ride requires a range of gears to deal with comfortably.
9. Why do mountain bikes cost so much?
Over to you Mr Bontrager: “Strong, light, cheap – pick two”. If you want a bike that’s strong enough and light enough to mountain bike on, it won’t be cheap. And have you seen how much tech and engineering is on a mountain bike these days? Sure some bikes do push a prestige price tag a bit much but never before can you get such sophisticated bikes for the prices you can get them for these days. Gone are the days of fully rigid bikes with rim brakes that somehow cost over two grand.
10. Why do mountain bikers wear knee pads?
Although this question is seemingly obvious (to prevent knee injury) we suppose there is a legitimate query as to why mountain bikers wear knee pads these days when in the past we never used to. Are we riding more sketchy stuff than we used to? Or are we just aping the freeride/downhill aesthetic more than the XC racers of yore? Maybe the average age of mountain bikers is creeping up and we’re all just that little bit more cautious than we used to be?