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What began as a bunch of bike tinkerers/racers/hippies has turned into a huge class of bicycles; the mountain bike. You might want a used mountain bike because you want to go over anything, to cruise on narrow paths called “single track” through a forest, because you want a bike that’ll keep up with your buddies.
When the first commercially produced mountain bike by Specialized, the Stumpjumper, came out it lacked suspension of any kind. Now, all mountain bikes have at least front shocks built into the fork and many also have rear suspension. The Specialized Epic above is a full suspensions bike meaning that it has front and rear suspension.
Full suspension or Hardtail?
If you’re in the market for a used mountain bike you’re going to be confronted with this question. Full suspension mountain bikes are going to offer a smoother, plusher ride over hardtails. They absorb the bumps and let you fly along without feeling every rock that you ride over. However, full suspension bikes are a little heavier, they rob you of speed in the smooth or uphill sections and because they have more moving parts and technology, they’re more expensive.
So really, the choice comes down to the kind of terrain you’ll be riding, your abilities and your budget. Because full suspension bikes have more moving parts there is also a greater likelihood of something breaking or needing repair.
Note: mountain bikes do measure in inches (partly because they were in invented in the USA not Europe).