I’ve received a number of messages in recent weeks from people who have decided to buy a mountain bike but don’t know where to start. Take a look at this video from Tredz, they explain the basics of several types of mountain bike to help you find a mountain bike that suits you.
Of course for many people just getting started, cost is going to be something they will need to consider. This is the perfect time of year to get a lot more bike for your money with Black Friday deals having already started gathering momentum. Tredz is no exception and many of their current offers start at over 20% off the original prices. Some offers reach 36% lower than the RRP but it’s important to understand that most bikes offered in these categories are limited in how many they have to offer or frame size among other variables.
Check out the best frame size for you with the handy chart in this recent post. Know too that most sellers include a frame chart on their websites.
A hardtail MTB has suspension at the front but not at the rear. If you buy a hardtail for 1000 in your currency and a full suspension bike for the same price you will find that the hardtail will typically have higher-end components. To get better components on a full suspension bike will mean you will need to increase the amount you’re willing to spend.
If you’re able and willing to spend a bit more, high-quality, entry-level, full-suspension mountain bikes start at about 1,500. Don’t be fooled by Bike Shaped Objects (BSO’s) in certain hypermarkets.
Your Typical Ride
Mostly Technical Trails: If pedaling through rock gardens, up and over roots or steep drops is your idea of fun, then a full-suspension mountain bike is for you. This is the terrain that full-suspension bikes are designed for. Front and rear suspension offers a smoother ride, better traction, and positive handling. This can translate to more fun on rough terrain because the front and rear suspension will soak up most of the bumps even at high speeds and will help reduce fatigue and keep you riding longer.
Smooth over Technical: We’re talking about mountain biking. There are bumps everywhere once you get off-road but some areas such as forest trails are usually smoother and a little less demanding on rider and bike. If this type of terrain is going to be typical for you, a hardtail will be a great starting option.
There’s plenty of technical debate about which tires work with which depth of wheel rim and I will cover this in a post very soon. To get you started think about this:
2.1 to 2.4 inch tires can be considered typical but increasing tire width to 2.8″ or wider can return a better ride on a hardtail because wider tires with lower pressure will provide better traction and stability with more cushioning at the rear.
Always ask at your point of purchase if wider tires will work on the rims your new bike comes with because the wrong tires on the rim can lead to problems. Alternatively, leave some dimensions in the comments below and I will be happy to help out.
If a tire is too wide for the rim the tire shape becomes too tall and round, like a lollipop or light bulb. This makes it floppy at the top because the casing is constricted. This can result in poor cornering performance and tire squirm.
If a tire is too narrow for the rim it can get a square profile. The result is a more exposed sidewall, which can be prone to cuts. Poor cornering becomes a concern because the tire profile is squared off, making a tougher transition to the cornering knobs on the tire. The tire can also lose its damping characteristics if it becomes too square.
These are a great idea and will help with ride confidence because on steep downhill sections you can press a button to get the saddle out of the way to enable ease of movement and less worry about where the saddle will end up if you end up shooting forward. Arguably, droppers aren’t going to be needed quite so much on smoother trails but they are a handy extra if you can get one from the start. There’s a post about Droppers here if you would like to know more.
Demo A Bike
At Leisure Lakes Bikes in The UK, their demo bikes are available to take out over 1-3 day periods, at a set price of £85. This is a great opportunity to get to grips with a bike on your local trails, helping you decide if it’s really the right bike for you. They also offer £85 off any bike that you buy after demoing one of their bikes.
Wherever you are, there are similar opportunities but rather than turn this post into a list, simply Google “Demoing a mountain bike” in your area.
2nd Hand / Used Bikes
This is an option for many but like buying a used car, it’s not without pitfalls. Many sellers are entirely honest about the history of the bike but approach with caution and if you can, see if first and go for a ride. Pay by PayPal if possible because that gives you some buyer protection.
- Get the right sized frame for your height and inside leg measurement.
- Choose a wheel size. 27.5″ or 29er and ask about wider tires.
- Hardtail or Full-suspension?
- Don’t obsess about weight. Most modern MTB’s are light.
- Keep some money in your pocket. If you’re just getting started, you will at least need a good helmet and a pair of gloves.
Comments and Questions
Help is never far away if you need it and a prompt response is guaranteed. Buying a Mountain Bike is a big deal and it doesn’t have to end in tears.
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