By Nathaniel Wu
If you want to buy a mountain bike, the options can seem overwhelming. Each mountain bike is unique, varying in type, size, parts, and riding feel. Rather than recommending specific bikes, this article will tell you what to look for when buying an entry-level bike. If you have not read “Introduction to Mountain Biking,” it is recommended that you do before proceeding with this article.
As mentioned in “Introduction to Mountain Biking,” mountain bike types should match the
riding style. Most beginners will ride trails that require pedaling but aren’t too intense, meaning Trail and XC bikes are typically the best entry-level bikes. They also tend to be the cheapest types.
Although most of the other categories are suggestions, disc brakes should continue or end your research on a specific mountain bike. Disc brakes have greater stopping power and work in bad conditions, while rim brakes are unreliable when covered with dirt. Therefore, your mountain bike should have disc brakes.
Generally, mountain bikes have two types of suspensions: hardtails and full suspension. The main difference is if the rear suspension is present or not. Hardtails are lighter, feel snappier, but can be difficult on rougher terrain. Full-suspensions are heavier, absorb shocks better, but often bob up and down while pedaling. Therefore, most beginners prefer hardtails.
Each mountain bike has various frame sizes to accommodate different heights. You can often find a sizing chart on the website. If there is no chart present, try finding the chart elsewhere, or the seller is likely not credible.
Wheel sizes generally come in 26’’, 27.5’’, and 29’’. 26’’ is more suitable for riders preferring agility and maneuverability, while 29’’ is great for speed and power. 27.5’’ offers a bit of both, but wheel sizes vary amongst mountain bikers.
Like anything we buy, price is often a factor to consider. Mountain bikes can range from $400 to $5000+, but there are great entry-level bikes around $500. More expensive mountain bikes tend to have better parts, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra if desired.
Buying a mountain bike can be a confusing and intimidating process, but after reading this article, we hope that the process feels easier. One of the best ways to see if a mountain bike is trail-worthy is through the reviews, so be sure to read reviews if there are any. If possible, try to test ride the bike before buying. As always, happy riding!