How to Buy a Mountain Bike: Must read Before Buying

The sheer variety of mountain bike categories can be overwhelming. But how to choose a mountain bike that is ideal for you? Stick still to the end of this article to know all about mountain bikes.

Technology develops year after year, recent mountain bike standards develop, and old ones swiftly become outdated. An ever-growing dictionary of the terminology means the mountain bike market can be a confusing place, even for seasoned riders.

Highly technical bikes sit side-by-side with devices that claim to exceed everything. And they’re all spread over such a vast price range that it can be complicated to understand where to start.

Our objective with how to buy a mountain bike

is to set out all the characteristics you should consider while buying a mountain bike. From wheel size and the amount of suspension trip to bike type and how to select the right size.

Here’s how to buy a mountain bike

1. Get the right size

First up, everything else is secondary to the perfect frame size. But don’t depend on the stated size – while numerous companies are changing to small, medium, and large instead of increasingly inaccurate numbers. There’s no systematic idea of how to buy a mountain bike.

Rather, you’ll need to ensure that your bike is the exact fit for you. Look for the reach and stack lengths. A long front triangle puts the axle further forward, letting you weigh it. It also ensures zero risk of going right over the bars at the first effect. And enables climbing by keeping your front wheel seeded.

2. Choose a wheel size

Diameters have sat to a simple, binary option of 27.5in or 29in. Still, wide-rimmed Plus sizes and the current trend towards 29in downhill wheels are muddying the waters.

While powerful, stiff, and light(ish) 29ers will become more popular in the following few years. Along with suitable tires and frames – for now, the choice stays largely the same: favor larger hoops for big miles, or tinier, tougher ones for smashing trails. 

3. Choose hardtail or full-suss

The back shock, bearings, connection, and additional manufacturing complications of full suspension all cost wealth. Therefore, you’re likely to get a nicer parts spec on a hardtail over a full-suss bicycle at a similar price. You’ll have less expenditure and limited things to go wrong, too.

On the other hand, full-suss bicycles are now more developed than ever, so their benefits can still outweigh their drawbacks. There’s no need to reject either, but forget the craving to ‘learn’ on a hardtail before buying a big bike’ – it’s a misconception. This one is a preference. 

4. Don’t obsess about weight

Weight is essential but off-road, strength is marginally more significant. Flimsy has no point when unexpected stones, roots, and trenches can grab at you from all curves – navigating precision, cornering, and confidence all suffer, pulling your speed down with it. It’s useful to carry a few additional pounds and maintain your bike out of the hedge. And out of the workshop, too.

5. Beware the flashy trinkets

Don’t be tricked by a nice back mech. It’s common for these to be up-specced to help sell the bicycle. A quality mech is crucial, but so too are the shifters and cranksets – even the chainrings aren’t too far backward. Be aware that lower spec elements are harder, more basic, and not worth spending a premium for, so factor in your plan for future upgrades. FSA has a mixture of quality MTB factors available.

6. Choose suspension quality, not quantity

Survey the analyses of the forks and shocks on the bike you’re glancing at, and utilize the manufacturer’s section to get the specific models. Note that original equipment units can be an unusual spec than similar-looking aftermarket ones. Quality damping and a good air spring will do far better for you than any amount of additional travel.

7. Look for a futureproof design

Test for current/popular axle diameters and spacing, plus headset, bottom bracket, and even Seatpost diameters – you’ll try to get the increasingly popular dropper post in the tiniest diameter, for illustration. 

Internal routing for ‘stealth’ droppers is moreover preferable, though what internal gear cabling/brake housing profits in appearance it can lose in noise and ease of care.

8. Keep some budget back

You will succeed with a dedicated trail helmet, with its enormous coverage, stronger construction, and decent peak. You may also need a backpack, plus glasses for heading off the flying crud. Then there are sticky shoes for horizontal pedals, mountain bike-specific shoes, cleats, and clipless pedals.

You may also need new tires to suit your landscape, or completely because OE tires may use harder, inexpensive compounds and/or massive steel beads than their aftermarket namesakes. You may similarly need to tune your gearing, and almost clearly customize the shape and size of your cockpit.

Set your budget

Mountain bicycles cost anything from £200 to £10,000, though as a common rule you can hope to get a good entry-level hardtail for around £500, and a full-suspension bicycle for around £1,000.

The VPP Suspension system emphasizes Josh Bryceland’s Worlds Santa Cruz V10 with complete carbon goodness

As you rise in cost, the performance and characteristics of the bicycle and its components will get better. You’re glancing at lighter, powerful parts, hydraulic disc brakes, single-ring or 1×11 chain sets, and carbon particles such as seat posts, handlebars, and cranks.

Carbon frames start at the £1,500 mark for hardtails and £2,000 for full-suspension bikes.

Decide your needs

Hardtail or full suspension?

A hardtail mountain bicycle has a suspension fork at the front, while a full-suspension bicycle pairs a suspension fork with a back suspension.

Hardtails are manageable to maintain too, requiring minor intensive servicing, as well as verging to be further budget-friendly.

Full-suspension mountain bicycles are further competent on technical terrain. Some folk recommends decent hardtail mountain bicycles for amateur riders, as they’ll instruct you about the significance of line choice.

How much suspension travel do I need?

Smaller suspension travel usually indicates a lighter, quicker bicycle uphill. Additional travel adds up to improve downhill ability. If you’re new to the sport and want to use a bit of everything, then a mid-travel trail bicycle is a decent all-rounder.

60-110mm: Cross-country sprint bicycle

Trail types: Fast-flowing, mellow

Excels: Climbing and acceleration

110-130mm: Cross-country/trail bicycle

Trail types: Man Made rings and less rocky normal paths

Excels: Covering distance rapidly

130-160mm: Trail bicycle

Trail types: More specialized trails with some greater characteristics

Excels: Equally competent up and downhill

160-180mm: Enduro bicycle

Trail types: Steep, gnarly off-piste; bumpy tech; bicycle park paths

Excels: Rapid on the downfall

180-200mm: Downhill race bicycle

Trail types: The fastest, roughest declines known to man!

Excels: Descending

What wheel size should I choose?

Any modern adult bicycle will probably come with either 27.5in or 29in-diameter wheels. 

The extra height of 29in wheels is a factor to consider though, particularly if you’re not very tall. Added in one line, we’d suggest 650b is fun, and 29in is quick – which, of course, can also be fun…

Which frame material is best?

Aluminum is often favored thanks to its stability and affordability

You have four major choices when it comes to frame material for bicycles: aluminum, steel, titanium, and carbon fiber.

Aluminum is the most generally used frame material for mountain bicycles because it gives a satisfactory balance of stability, weight, and price.

Steel is a prominent option with smaller boutique brands, not only because it’s widely accessible and effortless to work with

Titanium does the equivalent with less of a weight liability but foresees paying upwards of £1,000 for a Ti frame.

Carbon has long lived as one of the buzzwords utilized to ‘upsell’ to bicycle buyers. To some extent, this is justified, because carbon fiber puts on designers with near-limitless control over frame patterns and ride factors

What kind of mountain bike should I buy?

There’s a vast collection of mountain bicycle types, all manufactured to perform a specific task to perfection.

Here’s a quick run-through of the different types of bikes, what they are, and the features to look out for.

Cross-country (XC) mountain bike

Cross-country bicycles are all about covering the surface rapidly, whether it competes or just on a great day out on the cliffs.

They tend to have around 80 to 100mm of the trip at either edge, usually prepared with a lockout button that enables the suspension to sap pedaling stamina on smoother categories of trail and longer rises.

Cross-country bicycles manage to utilize larger-diameter 29 wheels, incorporated with lightly threaded, low-volume, and fast-rolling tires for full speed. 

Trail mountain bike

This is the most prominent style of bicycle because it can be utilized for pretty much anything.

Trail hardtails use powerful frames fitted to a fork of over 130 to 150mm trip, while full-suspension trail bicycles will utilize between 130 and 150mm of the trip at either end.

1x drivetrains are nearly common, offering a broad gear range with thorough maintenance and decent performance. Trail bicycles either utilize 29in or 650b wheels.

Down country bike

The recent category on the block, down the nation, matches somewhere between XC and trail, combining the best of both planets.

Fast, efficient ascending meets tremendous descending ability, with bicycles that are based on compact XC frames but with trail-friendly geometry and more aggressive tires than you’d normally find on cross-country race rigs.

It’s not shocking to see why these are booming in popularity once you’ve thrown a limb over them.

Enduro mountain bike

Enduro is a racing layout in which the declines are measured, but you still have to pedal yourself around the course between them. 

Most of them design with around 160 to 180mm of travel at either edge, paired with strong wheels and reinforced tires.

The suspension components they utilize are usually still air-sprung but tend to be heavier-duty with a vast range of damping adjustments to match their decline accomplishment, although there’s a growing trend towards builds featuring coil surprises for their lower maintenance and riding consistency.

What is a downhill mountain bike?

Downhill mountain bicycles have 180-200mm of travel at either end, frequently using coil-sprung suspension that’s optimized for genuine traction and assistance.

To put up with the big forces the bicycles are put under, the forks have limbs that extend above the lead tube and are then clasped together, known as a ‘double-crown’ or ‘triple-clamp’ fork.

What is an electric mountain bike?

Electric mountain bicycles are coming to be very popular certainly, with models corresponding to all domains from XC to downhill.

Ebikes combine a motor and battery, which give an increase to your pedaling input. The level of service is usually adapted via a control group on the bicycle’s handlebar.

These bicycles are considerably heavier than their non-motorized equivalents but can create light work of climbing up erect slopes.

What size mountain bike do I need?

When you are fortunate enough to test drive a bicycle, then the procedure is very simple – it feels good or it doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.

But what can you do when you’re purchasing online?

The answer is easy – use bicycle size charts!

We have numerous procedures on how to discover the exact bike size based on your length and/or inseam, so let’s take a nigher look at these below.

Method One: Bike Height Chart – The Easiest

This procedure needs your size and gives you a favorable frame size calculated in inches. We advise always seeking more knowledge from brands that you’re eager to.

Method Two: Calculating the bike height

  • Take off your shoes and stand with your limbs about 15 – 20 cm apart. Calculate the height from the floor to your crotch.
  • Be sure of the kind of bicycle you want

Some buying tips

Here is what to look for in a mountain bike ensuring that it is a good fit for you.

Set A Decent Budget

You cannot get a nice mountain bicycle that costs less. Mountain bicycles are an expensive product and for a valid reason. Your bicycle has to be of great quality and economical bicycles usually don’t show that. 

If you are intending to buy a mountain bike then make sure you save up enough cash for it and purchase a costly bicycle. 

Pick A Bike Fit For Your Terrain

Picking any bicycle won’t do. You require to examine what kind of terrain you’ll be riding your bicycle on and purchase accordingly. If you’re planning to go down some vertical cliffs then a Downhill bicycle is the path to go. If you’re just glancing to go on flat but rough surfaces, then pick out an XC or trail bicycle.

Don’t Buy One Online

You require to test out your mountain bicycle first. You will find a lot of them accessible on online shopping sites, but you should ideally be getting on to a store and surveying the bicycles physically. Ride it, see how heavy or light it feels, etc. 

Go to your regional bicycle shop and see which brands they store, read inquiries, etc. It’s good to understand the brand, models, etc before you commit.

Final words

With that, we have come to the end of “how to buy a mountain bike”.

Make sure you have at least the bare necessities for repairs and maintenance: additional tube, patch equipment, tire levers, pump, multi-tool, chain lube, and something to carry it all in. And, don’t miss a helmet. 

Many shops like REI give a free first tune-up. Be convinced to bring back your new bicycle to take benefit of that offer.

M. D. -Technology develops year after year. How to choose a mountain bike that is ideal for you? Stick still to the end of this article to know all about mountain bikes.