When you ask someone about a bike, a motorcycle may be the first thing that they think about. They may envision Harley Davidson, Norman Reedus, or BMW. When you mention biking as a sport, though, the names in their heads may change to Fox and Trek.

The world of sports is growing. From cheerleading, to gaming, to speed-walking, more and more sports are making their way to our televisions and hearts. America is reaching beyond football, basketball, and baseball to discover and appreciate more physical and mental feats. Among these new rapidly-growing sports is biking.

The history of two-wheeled trials

Not earning the name bicycle until 1869, the two-wheeled contraption was first deemed a "Hobby Horse" or "Swift Walker" when it didn't yet have pedals and "Boneshaker" when it did in 1858.

Then there was the brief period of the Ordinary, that steampunk-looking contraption with one giant wheel in front, and finally the Starley Safety Bicycle in 1884. One hundred years later, road racing became the first women's cycling Olympic event. The mountain bike trend began in 1981, with the Specialized Stumpjumper (the first mass-produced mountain bike). In 1996, mountain biking was introduced as an Olympic sport.

A lot has changed since the first recorded American bike race in Boston in 1878 (thirteen years before basketball was invented). Where bikes were once limited to cement and wooden tracks, mountain bikers today travel over all measures of terrain. Cross-country racing even covers terrain so rough that bikers may be forced to hop off their bikes and run or walk with them. These races allow bikers to use up to three bikes throughout the duration of the course.

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Mountain biking, on the other hand, requires that the biker bring all necessary tools in case there is a mechanical issue. While mountain biking usually takes place in a more downhill setting, there is a specific brand of mountain biking called downhill. For these races, bikers are often shuttled to the top of the mountain because the bikes' heavier frame tubing makes them harder to climb with. Finally, there's dirt jumping. It involves becoming airborne, and usually requires a bike of sturdier material (like steel handles) in case of crashes or bails. Finally, there's BMX. Bicycle motocross is the most recent biking sport, making its Olympic debut in 2008.

The latest and greatest happenings and technology

The key to these new forms of biking is technology -- how the bikes themselves are made. What originally separated the mountain bike from the standard road bike was wheel width. Road bike tires are narrow and smooth, made for even riding surfaces. Mountain bike tires are wide, toothed, and more durable -- made for rocks and roots.

Now, many other things play a factor in different kinds of bikes. For one, there's frame type. Mountain bike frames are heavy (again for durability purposes); road bikes tend to have lightweight aluminum, carbon fiber, or titanium frames. Another factor is suspension. This varies from mountain bike to mountain bike as well, depending on what type you're doing. Suspension is what makes the bike "bounce," and what absorbs the impact as you come down on it. Cross-country or free ride mountain bikes typically only carry lots of suspension on the front. For downhill, dirt jumping, and trials, suspension is usually required in the front and back of the bike.

Biking technology is always growing, though. Every day, a mountain biker tries to figure out how to go faster and handle terrain better. At the Red Bull World Cup, the beginnings of a new discovery were made. Up until this point, mountain bikers rode on 26-27.5in. wheels. This was big enough to get the speed, but small enough to keep the control (similar to how smaller handlebars allow for better control). The bigger 29in. wheels used by some road bikers were thought to bring too many complications. People got a new perspective in the last Red Bull World Cup, though, when three of the top six qualifiers were on 29in. wheels. Bad weather hit for the final race and hindered the last half of the bikers, so there was no definitive conclusion regarding whether or not the bigger wheels were better, but those big wheels certainly turned heads.

The modern manifesto of US mountain bikers

Phrases like "I'm okay" and "dropping in" are not new to the American biking world, but "on the podium" might be. While biking is becoming bigger in the US, it has been popular in Europe for a fairly long time. For this reason, most races are held tight by riders from England, France, and Spain. At the Red Bull Hare Scramble of 2016, a motocross trials event involving a variety of climbs and jumps (as well as a giant plane of rocks to maneuver through), American Cody Webb took second place and became the first American to stand on the Hare Scramble podium.

So, while the US may just be catching up to Europe in this new sport, it's clear that we've got a statement to make.