Mountain Bikes come in many different shapes and sizes, tailored to meet the ability, riding styles, and budgets of anyone looking to get out about the trails. For someone just getting started, it can be incredibly confusing, and also frustrating, trying to figure out which bike is the right one for you personally. This post will provide some guidance, along with a spot to enable you to get started. However, the best advice I will give is to talk using a knowledgeable person in a reputable bike shop (NOTE: Not all bike shop personnel are knowledgeable). A knowledgeable person will know the features of the models of bikes they sell and can give you more specifics than I can in one post. Also, buying a bike WOn't be the last time you interact with your bike shop (think periodic tune-ups, fixes, and maybe upgrades). So, getting chummy with them isn't a bad idea.

image class="left" url=""WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?:

The first question to ask is how much are you willing to spend. It's important to understand that it's not just the cost of the bike. In the event that you're new to cycling, you might also need to buy accessories like a helmet, riding shoes, padded shorts, water bottles, bike rack, and pedals (WAIT... WHAT... My bike won't come with pedals! Generally, higher-end bikes do not come with pedals with the assumption that higher-end riders have their own preferences. And if it by chance will come with pedals, they have been just the basic pedals that came on your own Huffy when you were a kid, and you'll want to change them out, anyway).

The reason prices vary so dramatically is due to the type of components on the bike, and the material the frame is made of. We'll get into these later. For now, know what price range you might be looking for. No sense in "Jones'ing" for that bike you'd need to remortgage your house to even consider.

Assuming you are not just looking to buy a bike from Target, Most Bike Manufacturers offer Mountain Bikes from a few hundred dollars to, in some cases, over 10,000. In case you are reading this post, you probably don't need a 10,000 ride. However, in case your budget allows, you can consider spending anywhere between one to three thousand for a bike that you will be able to keep around to get a while, as your skill level increases.


What type of terrain are you currently planning to ride and what is the skill-level. This is important because, these days, Mountain Bikes are designed for specific types of riding and conditions.

TRAIL - Most people just getting into Mountain Biking will want to consider a Trail Bike. These are general-purpose bikes that can ride nicely on everything from dirt roads to singletrack. These generally come in hardtail (front suspension) or full-suspension (front and rear suspension)

CROSS-COUNTRY - These Mountain Bikes are fast and nimble. They are for those looking to compete. They ascend and corner well. However, their clearance and build aren't suited for technical rock-gardens or jumps

ALL MOUNTAIN - With heavier built frames and beefier and longer suspension, these Mountain Bikes are built for more technical terrain. They are well suited for steep technical downhill. But, because of their relative weight, are not as fast on the ascent as other categories. This could be overcome with carbon frames and lighter components should you be willing to spend the money.

FREERIDE - In The Event you want to just go downhill fast and jump high... This is actually the ride for you. Think skier on two wheels. People who Freeride, are often hitting the ski slopes during off season, and are being shuttled to the top. Ascending a Freeride bike isn't planning to be efficient.

FATTY - A fast growing market in the Mountain Bike Arena are bikes with Fat Tires. These were initially designed to be ridden on snow and sand. However, recent designs are equally as comfortable on trails. Similar to a 44 with bloated tires, these rides roll over obstacles, and due to more surface area, grip better than traditional MTB tires. They also provide more cushion, minimizing the need for additional suspension (although, some designs still have it). However, this is not a fast bike, and certainly will be extremely inefficient on hard, smooth surfaces.


HARDTAIL - Hardtails are called so because of the fact which they have no suspension in the rear. All these are generally cheaper than Full-Suspension bikes. Also, all things being equal, can be more efficient on the ascent.

FULL-SUSPENSION - These bikes have suspension in the front and the rear. This results in a more comfortable ride and reduces fatigue. An other benefit is that, due to less bounce, there's typically more tire contact with the trail. In the past, there was a significant drawback to full-suspension bikes. They were less efficient on the ascent, and one gave up a little control on cornering. Today, these types of bikes provide ways to adjust the amount of suspension (and even lock it out) depending on the conditions you're riding on.


Want to start an all out ruckus? Stand in the middle of the parking lot of your local Bike Park and yell, "29'ers RULE!!!!". One of the most heated debates on every MTB Forum, these days, is what size MTB wheel is best. The most common, as of the writing of this post (it's anybody's guess where this will end up) are 26?, 27.5?, and 29? wheels. If you have any kind of questions concerning where and how you can utilize, you could contact us at the web-site. For years, the only size available was 26?. Then, a couple of years ago 29'ers started showing up on the trails. The argument was that they roll over obstacles easier than 26? wheels. Also, they hold their momentum longer. Immediately, the battle began between the 26'ers and the 29'ers. Every MTB forum was heating-up with the debate regarding which is better. Then, to add fuel to the fire, MTB Manufacturers started offering 27.5? wheels. Since this really is not an article about which is better, I'll default for this article from Bike Magazine as a point of reference ( )


Bike frames come in many different materials. The things you want to consider are: durability, flexibility, weight, and cost.

STEEL - It used to be that steel frames, while providing good durability and flex, were too heavy. Nowadays, manufacturers are making some relatively lighter steel frames that now nearly eliminate the weight concern. However, the lighter, higher-end steel frames do come in a cost

ALUMINUM - Aluminum frames are significantly lighter than Steel. Also, aluminum frames are relatively affordable. The down side of aluminum is that it's very stiff and lacks flexibility. This may beat up a rider pretty quickly. In the event you are considering aluminum, also consider full-suspension.

CARBON - Carbon bikes are both light and durable. They also provide lots of flex. In the past, durability was the concern of carbon MTB's. However, these days, they're making very durable carbon bikes. As you're able to imagine... this comes in a premium cost

TITANIUM - The creme de la creme of frame materials is Titanium. Titanium is durable, flexible, and light. However, be prepared to empty your wallet. If you are reading this post, you probably don't need Titanium.


You will find really two major players in the Mountain Bike component market... Shimano and SRAM. Both manufacturers offer differing levels of components from entry-level to top-of-the-line. Bike manufacturers will often mix these levels on a particular bike (ex: XTR rear derailleur and Deore XT front derailleur), to fit a bike right into a particular price market. What you get together with the higher level components is lighter and more durable products that don't need to be tuned as often.


As you'll be able to observe, there's a lot to consider when planning to purchase a Mountain Bike. As mentioned earlier, talk with you local bike shop. Also, most reputable shops will allow you to demo bikes. This really is probably the best way to see which bike is most comfortable. Regardless of every one of the other factors, the best bike is the one that is comfortable. a comfortable bike is a bike which gets ridden. Which brings up a final point. Consider getting your bike fitted. 100 - 300 may seem as a lot. But, a professional fitter will adjust your bike to your own body and you'll be amazed at the difference.
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