Recreational sport that enjoyed increasing popularity in the 1990s. Mountain bikes were developed from the rugged ‘clunkers’ ridden by a small group of off-road riders on the steep, rocky hillsides of Marin County, California, in the mid-70s. The fashion spread and the first mass-produced model appeared in the USA in 1981, and in the UK in 1984.
Although many mountain bikes are used for urban travel, where riders value their robustness and manoeuvrability, and for touring, a strong competitive scene has developed, with annual world championships for downhill and cross-country races. The first world championship was held in the USA in 1990 and has subsequently been held annually. National mountain-bike championships have been held in the USA since 1983 and in the UK since 1984. The sport was included as an Olympic event for the first time at Atlanta 1996, with men's and women's cross-country races.
Sometimes known as all-terrain bikes, or ATBs, mountain bikes have toughened frames with high ground clearance; wide tyres with a knobbly tread; wide, flat handlebars; powerful brakes (usually cantilevered); and a wide range of gears (typically 18 or 21).
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noun a wide-tyred heavy-duty bicycle with a large number of gears, orig designed to cope with rugged terrain mountain biker noun ...
http://www.helicon.co.uk/cgi-bin/redirect.pl4?w0007465 Virtual training for mountain bikers, with modules homing in on specific techniques and pro