Mountain bikes are super versatile. They can be used for hauling groceries from the market, cycling in the park, or traveling around the world. But the main purpose of a mountain bike is to help the cyclist overcome muddy trails, not necessarily mountain ones. Choose the best mountain bikes with help.
Mountain biking is a great way to reconnect with nature. Not every mountain bike can handle the most difficult routes. And as with any other type of bike, each model has its own capabilities. Whether you’re looking to buy a mountain bike – mountain biking, offloading, downhill or cross-country – a mountain bike must be reliable and capable of withstanding years of tough use. The bike should help you improve your riding technique.
Before you start choosing a mountain bike from a specialist bike shop, please understand the following questions:
- Decide on your riding style. See below for guidelines on determining your cycling style. Your riding style will help you limit your mountain bike range, which will greatly simplify your bike choice.
- Determine your budget. Basic mountain bikes start at around $500, but lighter, faster, full-suspension full-suspension models can easily top $3,000.
- If possible, test a few selected mountain bike models. It is very likely that one of them will suit you better than the rest.
Determine your riding style
To choose the right mountain bike, first determine what you will be using the bike for and evaluate your cycling technique.
Think about all the details of the upcoming purchase. What prompted you to buy a mountain bike? Are you an experienced cyclist looking for variety? Do you need a bike for family picnic trips and will probably be towing a special trailer with your child? Or are you just going to keep fit on local cycling routes?
Buyer Tip: The basic mountain bike is well suited for business trips, family outings, or occasional cycling trips. If you want to move on – go faster, higher, or harder – then you have to invest in higher quality components.
How fit is your fitness: Is this type of bike right for you? Are you ready to learn new skills? Or does your fitness prevent you from cycling regularly and you just want to occasionally explore new routes? Or will you use your bike for both of the above purposes?
Buyer Tip: If you are active enough and in good physical shape, then both a hard tail and a full suspension bike will suit you equally. If you have joint or back problems and prefer a relaxed ride, then a two-suspension mountain bike is most likely the best choice for you.
Route Difficulty: Route type can affect mountain bike selection. How wide or narrow, flat or steep, smooth or bumpy will your routes be? Ask experienced cyclists what type of mountain bike is right for your area.
Buyer Tip: The Hard tail is well suited for trails without steep inclines or for driving on muddy roads. For bumpy, rocky or wet roads, consider a full-suspension mountain bike or 29 “mountain bike.
Types of mountain bikes.
Many terms are used to describe and promote mountain bikes, which can help you choose a mountain bike. Some terms:
Off-road mountain bikes: General purpose bikes designed to tackle any route from muddy trails to single-track. Most mountain bikers are “off-road bikes” and are the most common bikes in any bike shop. Off-road bikes are divided into hard tails and full-suspension bikes.
All-Road Mountain Bikes: Compared to off-road bikes, they have a stronger frame and longer shock travel. They are best suited for difficult routes with steep descents, many obstacles, and small jumps. Most of them are bi-suspension bicycles.
Special types of mountain bikes that you rarely see in bike shops:
XC Mountain Bikes: Dynamic, light mountain bikes are best suited for competitions with steep climbs and sharp turns. Poorly tolerate strong shocks while jumping. The emphasis is on speed, climbs and turns.
Freeride and Downhill Mountain Bikes: Downhill bicycles are designed for downhill skiing on rocky, bumpy surfaces, for frequent bumps and jumps. They are usually transported to the top of the mountain by car or on a lift, as they are poorly suited for climbing the mountain on their own.
Dirt Jump Mountain Bikes: These bikes are for those who spend their time doing various mountain bike stunts. Dirt jumping in specially adapted bike parks is mainly practiced by teenagers and those who are young at heart.
What to choose – a hardtail or full suspension?
Until the early 1980s, mountain bikes did not have any shock absorbers at all, which are necessary to soften the ride and improve handling. Today you can choose a mountain bike with or without shock absorbers, a hardtail or full suspension.
Hardtail bikes only have a front suspension fork (or a one-leg fork like the Lefty on some Cannondale bikes).
Front suspension fork reduces hand fatigue. It also helps control the bike when riding on bumpy terrain. The entry-level suspension forks operate on a steel spring. High-quality bicycles use air forks that are lighter and better adjustable.
Choose a hard tail mountain bike if you want to buy your first mountain bike at an affordable price, designed for a variety of uses, for irregular trips or to improve your cycling technique.
Full suspension mountain bike.
On double suspensions, both wheels are equipped with shock absorbers. The front suspension is no different from hard tails. The rear suspension is attached with a swing frame – the rear wheel is simultaneously attached to the frame and the rear shock absorber. Full suspension is more expensive and sometimes adds weight, but increases comfort and reduces rider fatigue. The rear shock absorber provides better control at high speed in rough terrain conditions.
Choose a two-suspension mountain bike if you are looking to buy a bike designed for 1) riding on muddy roads; 2) driving at high speed; 3) driving with improved handling in rough terrain; 4) prevention of joint and muscle damage; 4) riding on any imaginable and unthinkable routes, where no other bike will pass.