The correct mountain bike is an extension of the rider. As you ride, you should be aware of the sensation, the environment, and that mountain lion that looks hungry. What you should not be aware of is your bike.
Problems of not choosing the right bike
Feeling the shoulder tension of incorrect handlebars or the discomfort of sitting on the seat are things that take your enjoyment away. These discomforts can also be avoided if you have taken the time to choose the correct bike.
Purpose of this buyers guide
That is the purpose of this mountain bike buyers guide - to show you how to choose a mountain bike that matches your needs perfectly. This guide is specially written for newbies in the mountain biking.
Before going on how to choose a mountain bike, Let's get started with common mistakes or misconceptions among people about mountain bike. Those will definitely help you to keep updated and guide you to select the right way to find the perfect one.
Common mistakes or misconception about choosing a mountain bike
There are some common misconceptions and errors that can cause you to make an incorrect choice when buying a mountain bike.
All bikes work on all terrain
Mountain bikes come in a variety of styles and each is made with a different purpose in mind. One may be an excellent trail bike while another is created for jumps.
When purchasing a bike, you need to take the time to learn which bike works best for how and where you plan on riding it.
Having back and front suspension is the ideal choice
This is based on the "more is better" concept. The type of suspension that works best will depend on where you plan on riding. Your body size can also be a factor in which suspension style will work best for you.
Frame size doesn't matter
It can't be emphasized enough that every body size and shape needs a different frame size. A mountain bike that feels comfortable to someone with long legs is going to be uncomfortable for someone who has a longer trunk and shorter legs.
It is impossible to know which bike frame is best for you without actually getting on the bike and trying it.
Trust on your own judgment
The best bike is one that is comfortable to ride, fits your budget and is made to run well on whatever terrain you are planning to ride it on. Once you determine the physical characteristics that fit your needs, take a test ride. When you find your ideal bike, you will know it.
Choosing Your Perfect Mountain Bike
Choosing the ideal mountain bike takes a lot more time than many people realize. You can't simply buy the first bike you come across and expect it to be perfect. What do you need to consider?
Most important question to ask yourself
How will I be riding?
Do you want a mountain bike that can withstand rugged mountain terrain, one that is great for tricks or one that will be able to handle a variety of situations?
Knowing in advance what you expect of your mountain bike will help you avoid disappointment.
How much you should spend
Determine the amount you can reasonably afford without it impacting your regular financial obligations. One necessary thing...
You should set a budget after learning about your mountain biking needs and requirements. You need to spend some extra from the bike’s price.
In addition to the actual cost of the bike, you need to consider maintenance costs and the price of equipment, such as a helmet, biking cloth, light etc.
What Mountain Bike type you should choose
When faced with choosing your mountain bike, the number of choices can be overwhelming. One bike might look nice but you find out it doesn't handle the kind of activity you expect of it.
Three things, you should be aware of
- The kind of suspension you need
- What wheel size you want and
- Whether you want a bike designed for a male or female
Suspension determines ultimately how smooth your ride will be - and how bruised your backend feels at the end of the ride.
The suspension is what makes your ride easy or rough. It is designed to keep bumps to a minimum, allowing you to ride over small things like stones, sticks and other rough terrains without ending up with a bruised rear.
Mountain bikes come with three suspension systems choices:
- Rigid (with no suspension)
- Hardtail (with a suspension fork on the front), and
- Full-suspension (with both front and rear shock absorbers)
Now, We’ll discuss the suspension systems more fully...
Rigid: These bikes offer no suspension at all. They are the lightest of the three.
Hardtail: This means that there is suspension only on the front of the bike. That’s why it is called front suspension/fork suspension (since suspension system is on the fork). This makes steering easier and helps keep your upper-body more comfortable on long rides.
Full suspension: These bikes have suspension on both front and back and are designed to handle well under conditions that involve rough terrain and speed. This bike is called dual suspension bike too.
They offer a greater amount of comfort than hardtail bikes but are also heavier, which means they need a rider with a bit more strength and experience to handle.
Mountain bike wheels come in three sizes and each has its merits as follows
- 26-inch: Standard size tires that are considered the fastest on downhill trails.
- 29-inch: Better suited for taller riders, these can handle running over small rocks and sticks without a problem and are faster uphill.
- 27.5-inch: These tires take all the best elements from the above two and combine them into one tire.
Please, Keep reading, we have discussed this on later part in this guide titled as “Choose The Right Fit”.
Gender oriented design
There are three types too
- Male Bike
- Female Bike
- Unisex Bike
The main differences between male and female bikes are minimal, other than the actual physical design. Women's bikes are often lighter and the handlebars shorter. The saddle is also designed a bit differently.
Unisex bike is designed for male and female. Anyone can ride without any confusion.
In actuality, the bike that feels the most comfortable for you is the one you need. It is not physically problematic to ride a mountain bike designed for the opposite gender.
Now, let's look at the...
Five main mountain bike types
These are lightweight and built for both speed and fast turns. You want one of these if you plan on racing on downhill tracks that have few obstacles.
All Mountain (Enduro)
These are built heavier than cross country bikes because they are designed to withstand rugged mountain trails that feature steep hills and many obstacles such as rocks and branches. If you plan on spending most of your riding time off the beaten path, consider this bike.
These bikes have wider tires and rims. While not great at climbing, they excel at speeding down steep inclines. If you are looking to feel the wind racing toward you as you fly down the side of a mountain, consider this one. Just be prepared to give a bit of effort when going back up.
These are created with a heavier frame and are meant to do tricks on downhill runs. They are more easily maneuverable to offer control on jumps.
Dirt Jump Bikes
These bikes are a product of the marriage between a freeride and a BMX. They are designed for aerial tricks and long-distance jumps.
Choose The Right Fit
It is essential that you get a bike that fits your body well. Not only will that increase the amount of comfort you feel but it also a matter of safety.
There are a few things that you should have an understanding of before you choose your mountain bike. People are often confused about the three types of suspension, how to know if a frame size might fit and how to determine the best tire size. Here are some details to help you get started.
Once you've gone through the process of narrowing your choices to type and style of bike, it's time to pick one that fits you perfectly. Here are some important factors those help to narrow down your choice...
This can often determine how heavy a bike is, as well as how well it will manage what you put it through on your rides. Your choices will be steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon.
Both steel and aluminum can be found in lower-priced bikes. Aluminum is lighter and easier to handle when racing but steel is more durable. Titanium is extremely light and carbon, though expensive, is a very strong material and lasts longest.
Many people consider tire size the same as frame size and this is incorrect. The two measurements are different. In order to get a mountain bike that feels comfortable to ride, you need to do a few calculations. Since many people aren't thrilled about math, here is a handy chart to get you started.
Keep in mind that people come in all shapes and sizes and these frame sizes are just a starting off point. If you don't feel comfortable on the size indicated, move up or down a size accordingly.
Suggested Mountain Frame Size
4'10" - 5'2"
13" - 14"
5'2" - 5'6"
15" - 16"
5'6" - 5' 10"
17" - 18"
5'10" - 6'1"
19" - 20"
6'1" - 6'4"
21" - 22"
6'4" - 6'6"
23" - 24"
The basic rule of thumb, regardless of the frame material is that there be a three-inch clearance between you and the bike frame when you stand on it.
Start with the seat positioned at hip level when standing next to the bike. As you ride, notice if your bottom stays comfortably still as you pedal. If your hips rock, lower the seat a bit.
It used to be you didn't have much choice on what size of tire you could get on your mountain bike. Times have changed, however, and you now have a few choices. Each size has its good and bad points.
29" - These are often the choice for taller riders who feel smaller tires look out of proportion for their longer legs. The 29" tire is great for speed. They don't do well when on extremely rugged terrain but are often the choice for racers. Another advantage of the 29" is that it seems to be better at gripping on wet roads.Smaller riders may feel intimidated by the large size.
27 1/2" - These tires are the upgraded version of the 25" tire most long-time riders are familiar with. The width is often less, making them more efficient on turns than the smaller tires. They are not as fast as the larger ones, however. These are the tire of choice for most modern riders, offering better speed than the 25" and easier navigation than the 29".
25" - For years, this was the size of choice for mountain bikes. The wider tire and smaller size made for a stronger tire that could handle the more rugged ground. Today, those who spend time doing jumps and exploring mountain trails often stick with this tried and true size. It doesn't offer the speed available in either of the two larger sizes, but the control and durability are greater.
When your hands are on the handlebars, your elbows should be slightly bent. At the same time, you should not need to bend forward more than a 45-degree angle to reach the handles.
This should be wide enough so that it doesn't press into the center of your cheeks causing nerve pain.
Tires (and rims) are the key to an enjoyable ride. You need to determine what tire width suits your needs according to where you will be riding. Adventures tend to be less fun if you have to stop and get off your bike often to navigate obstacles fix a flat.
Where you plan on riding your bike the most must also be considered. Some people spend most of their riding time on city streets, others on flat highways, and still others on rugged trails. You need to know how well a certain bike handles the kind of terrain you will be navigating.
This mountain bike buyers guide gives a basic overview on how to choose a mountain bike.
Taking the time to consider all the above will give you the chance to buy a mountain bike that will give you hours of adventure wherever your chosen playground may be.
As with any new purchase, take the time to get to know your bike and what it can do. Build your skill and grow as you explore the capabilities. Finally, have fun and stay safe.
Last but not the least, if you have any query/confusion or find any mistake of our buyers guide, you can contact us at support(at)mountainbikesonly.com. We will respond as quickly as possible and help you or learn from you. Cheers!!