History of Mountain Biking: When was the first MTB invented?

The first flat tire bicycle for rough terrains was invented by Joe Breeze from Marin country in California. He recognized the need of inventing this bike when he was riding on rocky and rough terrains with some friends. According to Joe, these flat tire bikes can also be used for mountainous trails.

However, before inventing mountain bikes, in the 1930s most people made use of retrofitted beach cruisers for making mountain bikes.

History Of Mountain Biking – Comprehensive Guide

History Of Mountain Biking

Evolution of Bicycle into Mountain Bike

The bike is amazingly engineered, having minimal negative environmental effects. The best thing about the bicycle is that it has beneficial effects on human health and is power efficient.

Furthermore, people from all classes and every walk of life regardless of poverty or wealth can enjoy the thrill and fun of riding the bicycle. Since its inception, the bicycle has undergone various evolutions with constantly changing designs, styles, and cutting-edge materials.

Construction of first Mountain Bike

Joe Breeze started constructing the first flat tire mountain bike in October 1977. For fat tires, Joe made use of lightweight tubing, making it suitable for fine and smooth roads.

Other specifications that Joe included in his bike are Schwinn S2 rims, Phil wood hubs, Uniroyal knobby tires, etc. In this way, Joe constructed a series of these bikes that were later on displayed in various museums.

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The Walking Machine

The walking machine was the first ever bike that was designed and constructed by Karl Drais, a German inventor. This bike used to be an alternative form of transportation to horses.

The Walking Machine

Furthermore, Drais was much closer to making a scooter, powered by scooting. However, his vision failed because of rough road surfaces at that time. Due to this reason, his wooden scooter was too harsh and uncomfortable to ride on rough roads.


The next generation of bikes was the Velocipede which was introduced in 1865. The appearance of this bicycle resembles the modern child’s tricycle. In terms of design, this bicycle was equipped with pedals and cranks that were directly mounted to the front wheel. The basic aim of this was to allow the bike to be self-propelled.


However, the combination of rough cobbled streets and metal tires offered an uncomfortable and harsh riding experience due to which the name was changed from Velocipede to Boneshaker.

Penny Farthing

Penny Farthing was invented in 1870. This metal-framed bike was constructed from high-quality alloy metal, making it highly durable. In terms of design, the bike was equipped with metal spokes, a large front wheel, and rubber tires, allowing the fast, smooth and comfortable ride even on rough road surfaces.

Penny Farthing

The best thing about this bike is that it became popular due to its iconic appearance and improved ride. However, due to the high riding position, this bike has rapidly gained a bad reputation.

US Army Off-Road Bicycle

In 1886, the US army made use of off-road bikes as a mode of transport to replace horses. There are various benefits of using bicycles for transportation including their low cost, comfortable and quick ride.

US Army Off-Road Bicycle

Moreover, these bikes were constructed from high-quality rigid forks and frames while their simple design shows their high reliability and durability.

The Klunker

In the early 1970s, retrofitted beach cruisers with balloon fat tires, wild hippies from California, upgraded brakes, and motocross handlebars, all these bikes were known as Klunker.

The Klunker

Later on, due to high popularity, the Klunker was transformed into Repack races due to the presence of grease in hub meltings, leaking, and then repairing them. Due to the crazy and high popularity of these races, the first mountain bike was introduced.

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In the early 1980s, the popularity of mountain bikes reached its peak stages. Therefore, the road bike manufacturers introduced the first mass-produced mountain bike in order to fulfill the growing demand of the masses. The first mass-produced mountain bike was introduced by the brand called Specialized Stumpjumper.


Furthermore, later on, the Stumpjumper was transformed into a modified road frame along with thick tubing to provide better strength. The larger and thick tires offer high stability on rough terrains and roads.

Mountain Bike Future

One of the major features of these mountain bikes includes their specific design and style that makes them distinct from other fleets. The manufacturers have focused on the structure of the bike, its brakes, and gears for improving the ride.

Mountain Bike Future

Furthermore, innovating various features while improving the structure and design was introduced for the riders to experience a comfortable and quick off-road ride. While talking about the future of mountain bikes, it totally depends upon the upcoming generations and how thrilling they find them.

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FAQs about Mountain Biking History

Who invented mountain biking?

The riders of Marin country on their modified Excelsior bikes were the ones who invented mountain biking and were also considered to be the forefathers of mountain biking.

Why is mountain biking so popular?

The reason behind the popularity of mountain biking is that most people feel connected to the world and nature around them while riding on high mountain trails. Furthermore, according to recent research, people spending more time in undeveloped nature makes them healthier and happier.

What country started mountain biking?

Mt. Tamalpais in Marin country was the first one to start mountain biking. This place is also considered to be the birthplace of mountain biking and various other sports.

What did the first mountain bike look like?

The first ever mountain bike was constructed from wider forks and frames to support the wider tires and was basically the road bicycle frame, having heavy tubing.

Why is mountain biking addictive?

Another name for mountain biking is thrill and adventure. Most people love doing thrilling stunts due to which the hormone called adrenaline is released, activating the body’s reward system. Furthermore, when you overcome the danger, the euphoria of dopamine is released which makes you feel alive. This makes mountain biking more addictive.

Concluding MTB History

Mountain biking is one of the most popular and adventurous sports, connecting people with nature and the world around them. In the early years, Joe Breeze was the first one who invented the first ever flat tire mountain bike for mountain trails.

However, with the passage of time and the evolution of bicycles, many innovative and technological features were introduced in the styles, designs, gear, brakes, and structure of the bicycle for providing a comfortable, fast and smooth ride even on rough terrains and roads.

Today’s mountain bikes are modern enough to offer a comfortable ride on even mountain trails and rough terrains and roads.

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