History of Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are one of today’s most popular types of bicycles. Thanks to the exhilarating effect that each ride gives, the sport has garnered millions of enthusiasts in different parts of the globe over the years. Though when speaking of mountain bicycle history, it is usually associated with the seventies. But looking far back into the end of the 19th century, we can see the earliest examples of off road bikes, which are considered to be the mountain bicycle of their time. In August of 1896, group of Buffalo Soldiers used modified bicycles that can efficiently be ridden off road during their expedition from Missoula, Montana, to Yellowstone and back.

The reason why mountain bicycle history is often associated with the seventies is because it was the time when the pioneers of the modern mountain bike and the sport gathered to organize a bicycling event which was later known as the first downhill time trial. The historic event was held on a fire road now referred to as Repack Road in Fairfax, California in 1976. Riders would start at different time intervals, and since there were no formal downhill mountain bikes at that time, riders used bicycles known as klunkers or modified balloon-tired cruisers with gears and BMX-style handlebars.

Bicycle companies started to manufacture this type of bicycle in the eighties and over the years, have been improving bicycle technology, making off road bikes more durable and ergonomic as ever. Today, off road biking events are held regularly in different parts of the world, and have branched out into a number of categories – cross country, downhill, free ride, and a few others. To commemorate the persons and events that have helped shaped mountain bicycling as to what it is today, the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1988 and is located in Crested Butte Colorado.