Mountain Bike Buying Guide – Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes are very popular with cyclists as they are very versatile. Whether it’s going for an expedition, exercise, riding along a biking trail or even doing a nature tour; mountain bikes can serve all the needs. This is because; these bikes are very strong and thus, will be able to deliver good performance and comfort. 

However, many people find a lot of challenges when buying mountain bikes. This is because they do not fully understand the features that they are going to consider when buying the bikes. In the worst case scenarios, some buyers pick a mountain bike of the wrong size only to discover later that the bike is very uncomfortable. In this article, we will share the mountain bikes buying guides, hope this mountain bike buying guide article will useful for you when want to get one.

Below, we are going to look at the factors that you need to consider when choosing mountain bikes.  However, factors such as bike style, key features and fit are going to feature prominently in your search for the perfect mountain bike.  Here are the basics to look at when choosing mountain bikes. 

Types of Mountain Bike

The first thing in this mountain bike buying guide is know the different type of mountain bike. Although the mountain bikes are seem similar, but they all have the specific details for the style of using them.

Trail bikes

Trail bikes are the most popular type of mountain bike. This is because its ground is not based on any type of racing but modified to accommodate a wide range of riding styles and characters.  If you plan to either ride on a mountainous terrain or to have a spree on your favorite biking trail with friends then, this is the bike for you. Bikes in this category are normally designed for fun, efficiency and light weight.

Cross-country bikes

Cross country bikes are normally build both for the sped as well as climbing power. The bikes can also be ridden for long distances since the construction is mainly centered on low weight as well as efficiency. If you want to get into a cycling competition, this bike can be great. This is especially because it comes with a reduced weight that makes it easy to ride on an uphill.  In addition, the bike will prove being faster when riding along your usual biking trail. It can be more fun because of that. 

Fat bikes

If you constantly need to take your bike along a muddy, sandy or snowy path, you need to consider going for fat bikes. These come with thicker wheels both on the front and back that can measure about 3.5 to 5 inches wide. The big tires give the bikes a lot of traction on these challenging surfaces. Fat bikes are especially ideal for beginners who want to try out their luck along a biking trail. This is because the wider tires give the inexperienced riders some stability on the road. As a result, the bikes become very easy to ride. 

All- mountain bikes

All-mountain bikes are tough bikes. They are designed to handle tough terrains such as rocky paths and mountains. The bikes come with reinforced frame and structures that   make it withstand the difficult environments that they are rode on.  An all-mountain bike is also able to handle sharp corners as well as steep mountains.  

Downhill/ Park bikes

Park bikes are not designed for the road but rather as a recreation item in a controlled park. The bikes are usually used in stunt competitions around parks by experienced and highly trained riders. The riders wear full helmets as well as heavy body armors to protect themselves against accidents. The riders go over huge rocks, jumps, wooden ladders as well as bumps on the park. Although you can use the bike for other applications, they are primarily designed for events at the park.

Mountain Bike Buying Guide- The Features to Consider

While looking for the right mountain bike to buy, it is important to consider the general features of the bike. This is because the features will greatly determine the use of the bike. For example, the suspension type and wheel diameter are the two factors that determine the type of terrain that the bike will be able to handle.  

As you narrow down on the right bike that meets your needs, you also need to consider other things such as frame material, number of gears and the type of brake. Based on the applications that these bikes are put in, it is absolutely important that they be able to stop fast. Therefore, the type of brake used matters a lot. In addition, it can become a safety issue as well.  Brakes are very important as they can prevent you from crashing against obstacles such as rocky walls, bushes, valleys etc. below; we look at the factors that you need to consider when looking for your ideal mountain bike.

Suspension type

There are many types of mountain bike suspension systems available. This includes:

  • Rigid Fork.  Rigid mountain bikes mean that the bike has no particular type of suspension.  These types of bikes are the easiest to maintain but can be particularly be uncomfortable on a rough terrain. However, many riders like bikes with some type of suspension so that they can be comfortable on their bikes.  On the other hand, most fat bikes have a rigid suspension because their tires are wide enough to handle small roughness on the road. Furthermore, their tires are given low pressure so that they can not only be able to absorb shock on the road but also, improve tire contact patch with the road surface. But that set up is not ideal for fast rides on the road.
  • Hardtail suspension. These types of bikes have a suspension setup that features a fork on the front wheel but the rear one is rigid with no suspension components at all. The bike absorbs impacts with the front fork but the tail is left rigid.  However, these types of mountain bikes are less expensive when compared to the full suspension versions. Also, the bikes are easier to maintain since they come with less moving parts.  The good thing is that, these kinds of bikes have the ability to lock out the front forks when full rigid biking experience is desired.  Most cross country bike riders prefer Hardtail bikes for they offer better power transfer between the pedals and the rear wheels. As a result, the riders are able to move fast on the road. Also, these types of bikes are great for mountainous terrains. This is because they offer better control because of from grip on the road. And since they are easier to maintain, they save a lot of money from riders.
  • Full suspension bikes. The top of the range bikes normally come will full suspension options. Here, the idea is to include full suspension options that have a fork on the front wheel as well as a shock absorber on the rear end of the bike.  These two systems works in tandem to absorb shocks on the road making the ride smother and more comfortable. A bike with a full suspension will give you better control and traction. This is because it is able to maintain contact with the road at all times. However, it is important to note that the springs on this bike will make you bounce when moving uphill. As a result, you may lose control of your bike.

Mountain bike wheels size

Mountain bikes come with different types of wheels that are aimed for different situations. In this mountain bike buying guide, we will show you some basic mountain bike tires sizes including:

  • 26 inch wheels.  In the distant past, most bike wheel sizes came in 26 inch. This size is still available in the market but not very popular. When you walk into a bike shop today, you are most likely going to find wheel sizes above 26 inches.
  • 27.5 inch bike wheels. This is the wheel that falls between the 26 and the 29 inchers and brings the better of the two sizes.  It has better rolling resistance than the 26 inch wheels but is easier to maneuver than the 29 inch wheels. These wheels can be found on all types of mountain bikes
  • 29 inch wheels. The 29 inch wheels are slower to accelerate but once they come up to speed, they cover longer distances.  Furthermore, they are able to go over obstacles faster.
  • 24 inch wheels. These are normally installed on kid mountain bikes on the market to accommodate the shorter legs of the kids.

Frame materials

Frame materials influence the strength, weight and ride quality of the bike. This mountain bike buying guide will list out some basic bike frame materials and their characteristic so that you can consider to make a choice for your bike: 

  • Aluminum is the most popular frame material now, this material is strong as steel, but lighter and aluminum won't be rust.
  • Steel frame is strong and affordable, but the steel material is heavy and you must keep the bike more careful especially during the wet season, because the rust will appear when you don't take care of your bike.
  • Titanium is an metal alloy which the combination from aluminum and vanadium. So the titanium frame can have a light weight same as aluminum frame. Titanium frame is the strongest, longest lasting, so it make the bike more durable. The titanium frame bikes are more expensive, because of the high quality material and the need of high technique for making them.
  • Carbon fiber frame is not a metal frame, the material was made by the fiber and resin. So it bring to the bike the extreme light weight, but still ensure the frame strong and durable. People can see carbon fiber on the top high-end class bikes. The bikes with carbon fiber frame are usually expensive.

Mountain bike gears

Mountain bike gears play a big role in determining the speed that the bike will move at. Therefore, you need to consider the gear size and ratio between chain ring and the rear cog. The bike can come with anything from a single gear to 30 different gear choices. However, gearing should not bother you so much as they are one of the things that are easiest to change on a bike. You can alter them later according to your individual and riding needs.

Mountain bike brakes

Brakes for your mountain bike are one of the most important things to consider. This is especially if you are the type of person who is used to rigorous riding. The brakes can basically mean the difference between life and death. There are several types of bike brakes, but the two most usually brake types was used including:

  • Disc brakes. These feature brake pads that grip on the rotor that is attached to the hub of the wheel. The brakes come in two versions. There is a hydraulic brake that is operated using a brake fluid. These are easiest to use as they are self-adjusting. On the other hand, there are disk brakes that are operated using a cable. For these, you need to adjust them accordingly as the brake pads wear out.
  • Rim brakes. These comprise of a brake pad that grips on the wheel of the bike. These brakes are less expensive and easier to maintain than disk brakes.

Mountain bike size

A bike that fits well is the one that is right for your height, riding style, and flexibility.  With a bike that is fitting well, you can be bale to handle a biking trail with ease. This is because you have more control on the bike.  Most bike sellers have a fitting measurement kits that they use to identify the right bike size for the buyer.  But the advice from this mountain bike buying guide that you should try out the bike to see whether it fits well.

Price

Last but not least, you need to look at price when buying a mountain bike. It is important to have a budget before going out to buy a mountain bike so that you can gauge the price range that you want. The rule of thumb is to always stick with the prices that you can afford. In addition, ensure that the bike has the features that you love. We will not talk much about the price on this mountain bike buying guide topic, because the price of a bike will be various and depend on which which options we choosing on above factors.

trail riding

Conclusion

Buy a mountain bike is easy, but how to choose the best one for yourself is not. We hope this mountain bike buying guide article will help you much on your decision. Always do a through research on the bike that you are interested in as this will not only fulfill your current needs but also, ensure that you are comfortable with the bike for the long term using.

If you think that we missed something, you can point t out on the comment box below.

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Lauren Anderson
 

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