Mountain biking is a sport that consists of riding a bicycle on rough terrain. There are many different types of mountain biking, but the most popular is Cross Country (XC). This type of mountain biking takes place on marked trails that wind through forests and fields. Mongoose 26 mountain bike is a perfect example of Cross Country bike that is perfect for riders who want to experience the thrill of off-road biking.
Cross Country mountain biking is considered the original form of the sport. It is a fast-paced and challenging discipline that requires riders to have good technical skills. The courses are typically long and involve a lot of climbing and descending. In this article, we will give you details of the Cross Country modality in mountain biking. Learn from the characteristics of your routes, your bicycle, and more.
The Cross Country is certainly the best MTB mode known and most momentum has worldwide. It is known as cross country and in European countries as Rally. Given its popularity, it is not uncommon for those who do not practice cycling to believe that MTB is limited to this discipline.
The Cross Country enters the competitive mode of the MTB world so that everywhere there are national serials and domestic cups. As well as its respective world cup endorsed by the UCI. Since 1996 it has been a competition integrated into the Olympic games.
Although it is generally practiced in a competitive way, it does not mean that one cannot practice it recreationally. Let’s see what makes it so appealing to the Cross Country modality:
The terrain in which Cross Country is generally practiced includes places with dirt; in natural places such as forests, valleys, and mountains.
They regularly present an ascent with a demanding incline that requires much physical effort and legs. It is about going up and down the route as quickly as possible. If there are descents within the route, the majority are usually without demanding complications, many times by the same path that is climbed or similar to the one that is climbed.
The distances in the XC are greater than 25km on average. Many XC competitions or rides are 40km, 60km, 100km.
To practice XC, the bicycle is rigid with front suspension. These frames are usually made of very thin and light aluminum, and carbon frames and components are used to compete. If the track demands it, you can also use double suspension frames.
The bike’s geometry is designed to be a climber in nature. The handlebars are generally short and flat, with double height handlebars seldom used. These bars offer the rider a more comfortable position for ascents and more aerodynamics by keeping the elbows more aligned with the body. The disadvantage of these handlebars is in the descent since when avoiding obstacles, the bicycle is more “nervous.”
XC bike suspensions do not exceed 110mm of travel. They generally carry between 80mm and 100mm on both suspensions.
Currently, the most used wheel is the 29-inch with tires of width between 1.80 and 2.20. The studs or tread of the rim depending on the terrain, but for the most part, they come with a closed stud and small to medium.
The saddle stays up all the time to allow efficient pedaling at any time since they cannot waste time when lowering or raising the saddle, depending on the technical nature of the terrain.
The difference that is always mentioned between trails and Cross Country is the geometry. Trail bikes are generally longer, lower, and have handlebars with more height than those of XC. The suspension also varies depending on the need for each case, but it seems that the most flexible suspension travel ranges from 120mm to 150mm.
The tire width differences are noticeable between the two types of bicycles. On XC we usually see tires with a width between 1.80 and 2.20, and on trails, the size is more varied and sometimes exceeds 2.50 widths or even 3 inches official measurements (2.6).
The geometry of cross-country mountain bikes reflects their purpose: to go quickly and efficiently over relatively smooth, rolling terrain. These bikes have shorter chainstays, a steeper head angle, and a higher bottom bracket height than trail bikes. They also typically have more suspension travel- between 80 and 120mm- to cushion the rider over bumps and roots. Cross country mountain bikes often have 29er wheels, which are large for their travel, which provides a faster rolling speed.
TRAIL BIKES are designed to be more versatile than XC bikes. Trail bikes have slacker head angles and longer top tubes than cross-country mountain bikes, so they are more stable at high speeds on rougher trails. This makes them less efficient climbers but better descenders. Trail bikes also have more suspension travel- between 120 and 150mm- to absorb the big hits on descents. This makes them weigh more than cross-country mountain bikes, but they are still able to pedal uphill reasonably well.
The tires on trail bikes are also wider than those on CX bikes in order to provide more traction on the loose surfaces found on trails. They range in width from 2.10 up to 2.5 inches or even wider.
TRAIL MOUNTAIN BIKES are designed for high speeds over rough terrain and tricky features like rocks and roots, which is why they have more suspension than XC bikes- between 120mm and 150mm. They also have a slacker head angle and longer top tube than XC bikes, which makes them more stable at high speeds. This increased stability comes at the cost of some climbing ability, but trail mountain bikes can still pedal uphill reasonably well.
Trail mountain bikes typically have 27.5-inch wheels, which provide good rollover characteristics, as well as good traction and stability.
The tires on trail mountain bikes are wider than those on CX bikes in order to provide more traction and stability when riding over rough terrain. They range in width from 2.5 inches up to 3 inches, providing plenty of grip for fast riding.
The components on a cross-country bike are typically more lightweight than on a trail bike in order to save weight and improve efficiency. Cross-country mountain bikes typically have a single chainring at the front with no provision for a chain guide and a cassette with 10 or 11 cogs at the rear.
A helmet for MTB XC is used, which is very light and has good ventilation. In addition, a uniform is used with Mallot (jersey) and a BIB (lycra) very close to the body in order to generate the least possible resistance with the air. XC competitors do not use a hydration backpack, knee or elbow pads. What they do use are either full or half finger gloves. They take the spare parts or food in the Mallot bags.
In an XC competition, a place is chosen, either 100% natural or a circuit with man-made obstacles, but trying to imitate technical issues that would normally be found in the mountains.
A circuit is drawn and the competitors, depending on their category, must complete a certain number of laps. All runners start at the same time. However, the arrangement depends on the ranking that each runner has. The first places are the first to leave within the peloton. It is about pedaling as fast as possible around the circuit and passing how many riders are in front of you during the competition.
The definition of an XC bike is a lightweight, efficient mountain bike. Designed for climbing and riding fast on smooth trails. A cross country competition consists of riders having to complete laps around a circuit in the shortest amount of time.