Designed for riding off-road and over rugged terrain, mountain bikes have strong, durable frames and wheels, strong brakes, low gears for hill climbing, and upright handlebars. Mountain bikes have either a front or a full--sometimes called dual--suspension built for absorbing trail shock.
Front Suspension If you're a beginner or a casual mountain biker, a front suspension mountain bike is a good choice. You can ride it on dirt roads and easy trails, but also on bike paths and paved trails. You'll benefit from the comfort and smooth ride of the front suspension but your bike won't be too bulky or aggressive for casual riding.
Full Suspension If you're a serious rider who likes to climb steep hills and rocky trails and take multiday mountain bike expeditions through the backcountry, a full-suspension mountain bike is for you. You'll benefit from the sturdiness and reliability of a full-suspension system as you come flying down rocky singletrack.