How To Choose A Mountain Bike

Whether you are a seasoned athlete or just a newbie like me, we all know that mountain bikes are quite expensive. In fact, some upgrade models cost upwards of $10,000. As you have to spend a decent amount of bucks for buying a bike, it’s pretty obvious you want to make sure you got the best one.

There are plenty of reasons why mountain bikes are so popular even at a high price range. Though they usually are pretty pricey, still you can find some top quality mountain bikes under 200 dollars. In this how to choose a mountain bike article, we will help you to understand some basic thing about the mountain bike. So let’s start.

how to choose a mountain bike

Know Different Types Of Mountain Bikes

Over four decades, this amazing two-wheeled mountain bike has dominated the cycling world. In fact, millions of people are addicted to mountain bike all over the world. As time goes, the mountain bike becomes one of the top sellers in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Cross Country Mountain Bikes
Cross country is the most popular and common type of mountain biking. The feature makes this types of mountain bike so popular. This doesn’t involve utmost obstacles like another type of mountain bike. The best thing about this cross country mountain bike is it allows long periods of climbing. The incorporated trails and banked turns make it more efficient.

All Mountains Bikes
Generally speaking, all mountains bike is more who want something like action-packed. However, it involves challenging obstacles and more varied terrain. At the same time, it comes with mountain’s all natural features like jumps and drops. As they are incredibly challenging, you need great skill and fearlessness to handle it.

Downhill Mountain Bike
Downhill riding is not for someone who wants smooth, buttery speed. In fact, novice rider doesn’t normally use any specific trail at all. As an alternative, they usually use focus and control at the possible fastest speed. Thus, downhill bikes got slack head angles of 65 to 66 degrees. And the Suspension travel of this type of bike is in the region of 140mm – 160mm.

Four Cross Mountain Bike
Four cross or 4X is actually for Rough Rider who pitted against each other in some kind of natural and human-made obstacles. In a word, it is actually for the race. As a result, it is pretty challenging. Hence, it comes with hills, bumps, sharp turns, jumps and steep drop-offs.

Dual Slalom Mountain Bike
You may see the Dual slalom is Olympic skiing events. In dual slalom, usually two bikers race to the bottom of a hill.
More Mountain Biking Categories

There are some other more leisurely yet potential daring categories of a mountain bike.

  • Trials: Trials are pretty exceptional regarding speed. However, it is all about balance, agility, and a little bit of creativity.
  • Urban/Street: Mostly known as freestyle, urban or bicycle motocross. The urban riders are sliding down handrails, banking the wheels off, jumping over benches or even playground or in the middle of cities.
  • Dirt Jumping: It pretty similar to urban BMX for those incorporates jumps and tricks. But the main difference is in the tricks are executed on mounds and dirt hills.
  • Freeride: This bike is perfect for do-anything, go-anywhere type. In a nutshell, it’s an all-around bike.

6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Mountain Bike

From the 1970s to 1980s, mountain bike had gained enormous popularity. As a result, numerous manufacturers tend to produce different types of bike on specifically designed. So when you try to pick a mountain bike, the options may seem staggering, from suspension to frame geometry, tire tread and brake. So some essential thing you should consider. Let’s have a look.

1. Choose The Right Size

mountain bike right size

First of all, the exact bike for you is heavily depends on what you plan to do with it. But as we mention earlier, the more aggressively you want to use, the more advanced features you will need for your bike.

Of course, advanced features bikes will be expensive. As a general rule, you will get these types of features on 1000 dollars mountain bikes. All we want to say is ensure that the bike is the right fit for you.

2. Get The Right Wheel

mountain bike wheelsWhat will be the right mountain bike wheel for you, it hugely depends on the way you feel the wheel underneath you. Though we don’t give much concentration on here, it an important factor. The way to understand it is to try the wheel by a demo ride.

  • 26″ Wheels: 26″ wheel is less common on this day. But they have some noteworthy features like strong, light and quick. But they are not perfect for rocky, technical terrain.
  • 27.5in. Wheels: Also known as 650b wheels, we usually see these types of the wheel in most of the Mtb under 500. They ensure fast start and Combine responsiveness with agility. But it comes with less traction compared to 29ers.
  • 29in. Wheels: After decades of 26in, 29ers changed the total wheel game. Though they are heavier than all three size, they come with more solid traction and amazing ability to overcome the obstacles.

3. Choose The Right Mountain Bike Frame

Most important feature to look for a mountain bike is its frame. Thus, the reason is pretty simple- you can upgrade brakes, gear sets, and other features, but the only thing can’t upgrade the frame. However, the two main aspects of frames to consider are geometry and material. Let’s see some common frame material.

  • High-Tensile Steel
  • Chromoly Steel
  • Aluminium
  • Titanium
  • Carbon fiber

4. Select The Right Suspension

mountain bike SuspensionWhich suspension will be right for you? Each element of suspension added weight and complexity to the bike. The bearing, rear shocks, and linkage of full suspension all cost money. Furthermore, you will be glad to get much better parts on a hardtail over full- suspension at the same price. In our previous article Best mountain bikes under $300 you can get a few such full suspension and hardtail bike. However, there are three types of suspension. Those are:

  1. Full Suspension: A rear suspension and front fork.
  2. Hard Tail: No rear suspension and a front fork.
  3. Rigid: There is no suspension at all.

5. Brakes Look for the Right Mountain Bike Brakes

mountain bike disc brakeThough there are two types of the brakes are available on the mountain bike, disc brakes are more familiar nowadays. If you need entry level bikes, then go for Rim brakes. Otherwise, Disc brakes have replaced rim brakes on all but entry-level mountain bikes.

Disc Brakes: Most of the cases Disc brakes have replaced rim brakes except entry-level mountain bikes. The best thing about disc brakes is it gives a more consistent performance in all condition. Disc brakes have two versions.
Hydraulic disc brakes come with strong braking and more progressive features. Cable-activated brakes are more manual adjustable.

Rim Brakes: As we mentioned earlier, you can see Rim brakes only on some entry-level mountain bikes. The main advantage of these types of brakes is they are pretty economic. But also have some downside like less effective in muddy or wet.

6. Choosing A Mountain Bike Saddle
Choosing A Mountain Bike SaddleYou can’t overlook the saddle while choosing a mountain bike. It supports the rider’s weight and provides lateral control. The wrong saddle can cause discomfort in a long ride and reduce the confidence to control the bike.

 

Three Questions To Think Twice Before Choose A Mountain Bike

1. What Am I Going To Use This Mountain Bike For?

The terrain you want to ride is all matter for determining what type of mountain bike is right for you. Some may want a mountain bike just as a commuting vehicle. Some people may want for both commuting on-road and some fun off-road. By knowing the different categories, you may determine your requirement and goal. We discussed the various types of detail in above.

2. What About The Budget?

More or less, we all know mountain bikes are pretty pricey. There are some models which may cost a few thousand dollars or even more. So the budget is a vital factor. But as a general rule, the more the price goes you, the more quality and better performance you may expect from. So before deciding what to pick first look at your budget.

3. Can I Try Before Buy A Mountain Bike?

Once you can narrow down your list with just a couple of options, try to go for a ride. Nothing could be better than try it and decide what will fit for me.

Preventative Mountain Bike Maintenance
To keep squeals painful creaks away, try to maintain some simple maintenance:

  • Keep the chain lubed and clean, and have bike’s tires pumped before you ride.
  • Before every ride check the brakes.
  • Clean your bike after every ride to wash Grit and dirt. And if you go for a ride on muddy condition, cleaning is the must.
  • Know how to adjust your suspension and fix a flat tire.

Wrapping Up

Mountain biking can be a very exciting and thrilling sport. To a passionate mountain biking enthusiast or even a new rider, knowing some basic things will be beneficial in choosing the right mountain bike for you. Therefore, in this article, we tried to focus on some crucial things you need to consider to stay safe and comfortable.Most importantly, a good fit mountain bike can make a big difference. Don’t be fooled by those fancy specification manufacturer attached with the bike. Before investing in such a decent amount, go for a test ride to understand which one is right for you.

David Echols
 

David Echols has designed, built, and repaired bicycles, and has extensive experience in the saddle, competing, commuting and riding for leisure. He has worked as a product manager for large and small bicycle manufacturers, raced competitively on the road and on the trails, and has worked as a metropolitan bicycle courier. David worked for several years as a Product Manager in the bicycle industry. In this role at Trek, he was responsible for testing, benchmarking, and performing hazard analysis during the design phase of several product lines, including children’s bicycles. As the Product Manager at Advanced Sports International, David was integral in the bicycle design process, determining frame geometry and component specification. He also was responsible for ensuring compliance with US and European safety standards across a variety of models within the Fuji and Breezer brands. He has traveled extensively to Asia to supervise and audit the production process and has also worked directly with component manufacturers to create custom parts. David’s race experience includes road, mountain, and cyclocross events. While working at Trek, David commuted by bicycle more than 20 miles each way and he regularly engages in recreational rides longer than 100 miles. David is a degreed engineer, he has completed formal training on bicycle frame building and regularly contributes articles and product reviews for bicycle publications.

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