The Right Bike for the Dirt

People sometimes wonder what kind of bike they should use for the Alaska Dirt Diva rides. Or, sometimes they bring the wrong kind of bike and end of struggling with the ride. Here are a couple examples of bikes that would work well for our dirt rides.

First, here's an example of a 26-inch-wheel, full-suspension mountain bike. Notice the fatter, knobby tires and the shocks on the front and back of the bike. It has a wide range of gears for getting up steep hills and disc brakes for excellent stopping power.

This is a great choice for dirt trail rides.

 Next is an example of a hardtail (one with just front suspension) mountain bike. This one happens to have 29-inch wheels (the term is "twenty-niner"). Most have 26-inch wheels. Again, notice the knobby tires and the disc brakes. Many bicycles still use rim brakes and those are also acceptable on our rides.

Not all mountain bikes have suspension on the front of the bike. These are either older bikes or bikes whose riders just prefer no suspension.
(This bike also happens to have a bag attached to the handlebar which can be handy for camping trips or keeping snacks close by.)

Finally, this bike is a hybrid. It has 700c wheels (the same size as you'll find on most road bikes). While it may be great for pavement riding and commuting, it is not a good choice for the dirt trail rides. Notice the skinny, smooth tires. These wouldn't be good in the mud! (Not to mention, the lovely flowers would get all dirty!)

You may also notice that this bike has only one gear. Single-speed mountain bikes do exist and if you're a strong rider, they can be perfectly acceptable on our trail rides, especially if you want an additional challenge.
 Likewise, a rider who is experienced handling a cyclocross (or cross) bike may feel comfortable using that kind of bike on our rides, knowing that it will be more challenging than the mountain bike due to the skinny tires and the lack of suspension.
If you are relatively new to mountain biking (less than two years) and/or haven't spent much time on dirt trails, we recommend you use a front-suspension or full-suspension mountain bike for the Diva rides. You'll be much happier with the right equipment!