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How to Choose the Right Mountain Bike?

Mountain biking, whether it’s cross-country, trail riding, downhill, all-mountain, or a free ride, is a sport that puts your endurance, skills, and balance to the test. But it’s fun! Maneuvering jumps or speeding down a slope sends a big rush of adrenaline into your body. Since the sport involves tackling various types of off-road trials, you must select the right bike that fulfills the purpose.

Nothing less than a bike that is sturdy, durable, high on performance, and strong will do the job, as websites like bikelvr.com will tell you. What are the different types of bikes for mountain biking, how to choose the right one, and what factors to remember when doing so? Read on to find out. 

Related Read: 6 Tips for Your Next Mountain Bike Trip

mountain bike and a sunset

Looking for a weekend thrill as well as a means to stay in shape? You might have just found the perfect method for accomplishing just that. Mountain biking has increasingly become a very popular sport amongst the public. Not only are cities, creating paths specifically for mountain bikers, but it’s a great way to stay in shape. However, before you go out and shell out hundreds of dollars for a mountain bike, there are a few things you should ask yourself.

The following includes four questions you must ask yourself before you delve deep into the world of mountain biking.

Common Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Mountain Bike

Why are you buying a mountain bike, and what model should you get?

There are a variety of reasons to buy a mountain bike. But the only one that matters is yours. Thus, it is very important that before you invest in this hobby that you understand clearly why you are choosing to do so. If the reason involves the phrase, “Well, everyone’s doing it,” then you might want to reconsider. However, if your reasons are clear, then you have to start thinking about the type of model you would like to purchase. One of the best types of bikes for beginners is the hardtail bike.

They have a strong frame and low bottom bracket height and length to provide you with a ride that is both fast and comfortable. These are often called “Do-it-alls” as they provide people with all the basic components needed to start honing their skills as mountain bike riders. It can also be worth remembering that you don’t have to buy brand new. You can purchase an almost new motiv mountain bike online if you want to save some money and be environmentally friendly too!

Do you have somewhere to Mountain bike?

Purchasing a mountain bike can be a great way to bring on the thrills each weekend, but you also need a location to experience these thrills. Therefore, before going out to purchase your own mountain bike, it is important to ask yourself this question, where and what type of locations do you have access to? Luckily for you, there are plenty of locations across the country that provide great beginner trails.

You might find that you enjoy shorter trails, which, according to the experts at MountainBikeReport.com, can be as short as 1.3 miles with little to no difficulty in accessing them. This question specifically is a very important thing to ask yourself, as you will need a bike suited for the type of terrain of your choice. After all, you don’t want to waste time and money only to find out that your bike isn’t suited for your chosen terrain.

For example, technical terrain (Difficult to Traverse) would require a mountain bike with full suspension. Beginners might not need all the bells and whistles and thus can go without spending a fortune. There are definitely a plethora of other options and questions to research within this area, so make sure you have all your information in order before investing in a mountain bike.

Are you willing to invest a large amount of money?

With anything you purchase in life, you tend to get what you pay for. However, you shouldn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to get a great bike. Sure, it’s still going to be expensive, but understanding what you want and actually need is possible.

So, don’t be too intimidated when stepping into your local bike shop or your favorite website and seeing all the varieties. More often than not, you will be met with helpful staff ready to answer any and all your questions. The important thing to do is ask a lot of questions.

What type of wheels do I need?

Two of the most talked-about areas that you will come across during your mountain bike purchasing journey is what type of wheels you will need. Mountain bike experts constantly debate on the type of bike size you will need to have an enjoyable experience.

The fact is that you don’t really need to look further than the standard 27.5 inches or 29 inches to have an enjoyable ride. We do recommend avoiding 26-inch wheels as they are quickly being removed from the newer models and thus will become more difficult to replace over time.

Types of mountain bikes

Trail bikes 

Trail bikes will do the job just fine if you are new to mountain biking and are just starting to negotiate uneven terrains. The speed, weight, design, and comfort come in an equal comfortable package. There is suspension travel of about 12-14 centimeters, which is the amount of movement allowed by the front and rear suspensions.

All-mountain bikes 

If you are ascending and descending a lot, that is, pedaling uphill and downhill in rough terrain, all-mountain bikes are the right choice for you. Also known as Enduro bikes, they feature a suspension of 1.4 to 17 centimeters. They are also suitable when you want to enjoy some easy cycling in a park or a similar place.

Fat tire bikes 

They are called fat-tire bikes because of the impressive width of their tires, which range between 9.3 to 12.7 centimeters approximately. The fat tires allow enhanced traction, making it easy to ride on snowy and sandy terrain. These are suitable for beginners as their wide tire design offers sturdiness, helps them negotiate uneven terrain, and prevents them from falling. 

Cross-country bikes

Cross-country mountain bikes are made for uphill climbs and are light and high on efficiency. Their build is similar to those of road bikes. The suspension travel on these bicycles is between 8 and 10 centimeters. Opt for these when you want to cover long distances, including steep climbs.

Downhill bikes

Downhill bikes have thick tires for more excellent traction and grip, since they are made for high-speed descent. Their 17 to 25 centimeters of suspension travel are built for challenging terrain, speed, jumps, and big drops. The materials used for making them are usually carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel.

women mountain biking

Things to consider when buying a bike

Suspension

Bicycle suspension is a system that suspends the bicycle and biker to protect them from shocks while landing. Mountain bikes have three main types of suspension styles: rigid, hardtail, and full suspension. It is called a stiff suspension when the cycle does not have any suspension in the front or back tires.

Although these bikes cost less, they are not suitable for mountain terrain. Hardtail suspension is referred to when the cycle has suspension in the front wheels instead of the rear. They are cheap and relatively easy to maintain. It also allows for more pedaling power. When there is suspension both in the front and rear parts of the bike, it is called a full suspension. They are easy to ride and protect the rider from all kinds of shocks. 

Wheel size

The speed of the bike and the size of the wheel are interrelated. Usually, mountain bikes will come with a wheel size of 66 centimeters, allowing the rider to tackle uneven terrain easily. You can find those with 69 centimeters on both hardtails, and full-suspension bikes. They allow for more rolling and easy tackling. 

Long-distance biking is best done with wheels measuring 73 centimeters. Although acceleration takes a while, they cross the roughest grounds effortlessly. They also maintain the momentum required for long-distance rides and are very popular with cross-country cyclists. Rigid, hardtail, and full-suspension bikes feature these sizes. Mountain bikes made for children have 60 centimeters wheels to fit their short legs. They are best for children between 11-14 years of age.

Frame material

The material used in the bike’s frame decides its longevity, weight, strength, price, and ride quality. Steel is strong and durable but makes the bike quite heavy, not something you want in mountain biking. Titanium is light, solid and allows the bike to withstand rough terrain. However, it can be a bit on the expensive side. Carbon fiber is found on all-mountain, fat tires, and cross-country bikes because it is light and significantly strong. Most of the bikes you will come across are likely to be made from aluminum alloy, which is sturdy, durable, and delivers optimum performance. 

Gears 

Different bikes have different gear options, ranging from none to twenty. Some mountain bikes have no gears, while others have twenty. The number you need depends on your biking level and the kind of terrain you will be riding on. For rough topography, it is best to select a bike with more gears. For flat landscapes, a bike with fewer gears will work just fine. 

Brakes

Mountain bikes have two types of brakes: hydraulic and cable-actuated. Hydraulic brakes provide the utmost safety and strong braking with less effort. They also adjust automatically when brake pads are worn out. Cable-actuated brakes are not as strong and have to be manually adjusted. Of these two, it is better to go with hydraulic disc brakes. 

Conclusion

Choosing the right mountain bike can be complex since there are so many factors involved. However, this guide can make the entire process simpler for you. Mountain biking is about performance and fun, and choosing the right bike guarantees a fair amount of both.

Mountain bike riding is an excellent choice for a hobby to get into. Not only are you able to work out, but you do so while obtaining a new skill. However, before this can happen, there are a couple of questions you must ask yourself. Although the questions above are a great start, it is highly recommended that you go beyond these questions to really gain a grasp of the exact type of mountain bike experience you want.

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