Guide to Buying a Mountain Bike

Mountain biking is one of the most adventurous, satisfying activities one can do. It's very envigorating to climb a daunting trail or fly down a technical downhill. It's exhilarating to watch the pine trees zip buy on a smooth single track. The key is to have the right bike.

One of the key methods to find a great bike is to read reviews from other riders. Riders sound off avidly. If they are pleased with their bikes they let you know; if they hate their bike they rant. Check sites like and others for a great sample of reviews.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Mountain Bike

  1. Budget - How much can realistically be spent on the bike?
  2. Technicality of the Average Trail - How flat and smooth or bumpy and difficult is the average trail you ride?
  3. Frequency of Ride - How often will you really ride?
  4. Skill Level - Are you a beginner or experienced?

Mountain Bike Structures

  1. Full Suspension - Both wheels are independently suspended to provide comfort, stability, control, and the best ride possible.
  2. Hardtail - Rear wheel is fixed to the frame while the front fork is often set on suspended shocks. 
  3. 29er - Outside diameter of the tires are 29 inches, whereas most are 26 inches.

Mountain Bike Types

  1. Cross Country - Cross-country cycling is defined by the terrain on which it is performed. XC courses and trails consist of a mix of rough forest paths and singletrack, smooth fireroads, and even paved paths connecting other trails.
  2. Freeride - Freeride is a discipline of mountain biking closely related to downhill cycling and dirt jumping focused on tricks, style, and technical trail features. It is now recognized as one of the most popular disciplines within mountain biking.
  3. Downhill - Downhill biking is a gravity-assisted time trial mountain biking event. Riders race against the clock, usually starting at intervals of 30 seconds, on courses which typically take two to five minutes to complete. 
  4. All Mountain - Mountain biking on single track trails (simple to technical), some cross country, racing, etc.

Common Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How serious am I about mountain biking?
  2. How adventerous am I? am I flying down hills? am I mozying along groomed trails? am I somewhere in between?
  3. How often do I go out?
  4. How experienced am I?
  5. Who will I be riding with?
  6. Do I use the bike for anything else?

Mountain biking is a rewarding activity. Take time to choose your bike and you'll enjoy it significantly.



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