New models arrive on the bike-shop sales floor each year, typically in the fall as the riding season winds down. This is the best time to look for deals, because shops don’t want soon-to-be-year-old inventory lingering through the slower winter months. Advances in carbon fibre and component technology happen quickly, so a seemingly great deal may be only an average one. Carbon indeed has its merits, but the recent carbon craze seems to be heavily tied to bandwagon mentality; whatever the pros are doing is what the masses want to do too. It was true in the ‘70s with drilled-out components, in the ‘80s with copious amounts of hair gel and Brake shades, in the ‘90s with those horrific lira shorts designed to look like blue jeans, and today with carbon racing bikes.
The entire frame is laid up in a custom shaped mould. There are no tubes as such, just hollow carbon shapes that handle all the loads. Monologue construction method is the best method for working with man-made composite materials. Because carbon fibre can be laid up precisely as desired, any shape and performance parameter can be obtained through combination of layup and shape of the mould. There are several methods of making sure that the various layers are tightly packed together. This is generally accomplished by inserting air bladders into the laid up, raw frame, and inflating them once the frame is placed in the mould, prior to baking. This is still how most of the carbon monologue frames are made. A frame and fork weighs less than a six-pack of brew, they’ve got terrific road damping capabilities, are stiffer than an I-beam – at least initially – and most importantly, carbon fibre has an indisputable cool factor.
There are several different styles of mountain biking, usually defined by the terrain, and therefore bikes employed. Styles of mountain bike riding and mountain bikes have evolved rapidly in recent years leading to terms such as Freeride and “Trail bike” being used to categorise mountain bikes.