MOUNTAIN BIKE BUYERS’ GUIDE

With an ever-expanding range of trails, mountain biking has become a sport as exciting as it is accessible. To make the most of it, it’s important to choose the right destination and the right type of bike. There are as many models on the market as there are buyer profiles. Your level of experience and the type of terrain you enjoy will dictate the type of bike you need.

Your riding style

What makes mountain biking such an exciting sport is that it allows for constant progression. What a joy it is to overcome an obstacle that previously seemed insurmountable!  With practice, by imitating your fellow riders or training with a qualified instructor, your skills will develop, your confidence will grow, and new horizons will open up. It’s important, however, not to rush things, and to equip yourself with a mountain bike suited to your current and future skills.

The first-time trail rider

The beginner will logically opt for trails that are not too rugged, classified as “easy” and marked with a green circle. Once comfortable on these wide trails, he or she can move on to “intermediate” trails, marked with a blue square, which are a little more difficult but still safe. To familiarize yourself with these accessible paths, a rigid frame and front suspension are all you need. And you don’t need a telescopic seatpost to have fun on this type of terrain.

An entry-level rigid frame bike like Spherik’s SMH2 is well suited to an affordable introduction to the sport. It will provide beginner riders with a stable position, guaranteeing comfort, stability and control, for a smooth introduction to the wonderful sport of mountain biking.

Built around the same frame, but with lighter, more robust components, the Spherik SMH4 is an interesting alternative for the beginner who demands a little more.

The kid taking his first turns on the trails will appreciate the experience if he’s well equipped. He needs a bike that’s well adapted to his current size (not the size he’ll be in two years’ time!) and with accessories suited to his short, underpowered limbs. His first bike will be a model equipped with 20″ wheels, like the Spherik SMK20, which, with its wide tires, front suspension and well-adapted components, will give him all the confidence he needs on the trails.

As soon as he’s a little older, the young rider can switch to a bike with 24-inch wheels like the Spherik SMK24, better suited to his weight and growing skills.

The novice rider who needs electric assistance

Electric assistance makes it easier to tackle the trails, no matter how steep. Unconcerned about the weight of their bikes, beginners will enjoy riding easy trails on a front-suspension bike with an efficient motor and battery. The Spherik SEMH does well in this context. Its rigid alloy frame and Shimano Step motorization pave the way for long, effortless rides with complete confidence.

The rider looking for versatility

As soon as they gain enough experience to enjoy rougher trails, serious cyclists need a better machine, a sturdy dual-suspension frame and a telescopic seatpost, in order to tackle steeper and steeper drops. This calls for a Trail bike like the Spherik SMT. With its carbon frame, the SMT is extremely versatile. The reasonable travel of its front and rear suspensions gives it superior traction on climbs and better control on descents, while absorbing obstacles on technical terrain.

The rider who likes to go downhill

As they improve their skills, many mountain bikers develop a preference for descents and jumps. These disciples of gravity are no slouches, and they need a very sturdy frame capable of withstanding the jolts and breaks of a double-diamond trail or a “pro” line. And because you always have to get to the top of the mountain before riding down it, they also need a platform that allows them to climb without wasting too much energy. Enduro mountain bikes, like the Spherik SME, offer the robustness and travel necessary to withstand any abuse. Its geometry is formidable on descents and surprisingly efficient on climbs.

The cyclist in search of performance

Some riders like to go up as well as down, and prefer cross-country trails on hilly terrain, where climbs alternate with descents. The cross-country bike, with its aggressive angles and minimal suspension, is perfectly suited to this type of riding. However, as the level of difficulty of the trails increased, an update was called for, and the geometries were modified, with a more open fork angle and slightly more generous travel, so that this segment is now called Down Country. In this category, the Spherik SMCL, with its lightweight carbon frame and well-chosen components, is ready for competition or for the simple pleasure of climbing and going fast on trails.

Experienced riders looking for a power-assisted bike that behaves like a regular bike

The electric-assist mountain bikes that have invaded the market are often genuine behemoths, equipped with powerful but very heavy batteries and motors. Their massive moving mass makes them difficult to maneuver, brake and generally move around. Fortunately, more recent generations offer an alternative to this situation. Indeed, a trend is emerging towards bikes with slightly less powerful motors and batteries, which provide moderate assistance, in order to maintain a weight approaching that of a ” muscular ” bike.

Spherik’s new super-light e-bike segment is represented by three models, all built around the same motor, battery and suspension platform, save for a few minor details. The E-SMT is a short-travel Trail bike, and its weight starts at 36.8 lb / 16.7 kg. The E-SMA, for All-Mountain use, offers medium travel and weighs barely a kilo more. The E-SME, meanwhile, starts at 40.3 lb / 18.3 kg and is intended for Enduro use, with more generous suspension.

The reduction in total mass translates into incredible sensations. Steering a super-light electric mountain bike feels like riding a regular bike, with superior pedaling power delivered smoothly. Jumping, braking and relaunching are effortless and very natural. Despite its higher purchase price, all insiders agree that this type of machine represents the future of assisted mountain biking.

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