Clean mountain air, rugged trails, and the freedom to go where you want. Few types of exercise can be so invigorating… or gruelling… as mountain biking. To ensure you enjoy, and benefit from, your mountain biking experience, you need to be sure to have the right equipment. So how can you find the best mountain bikes?
Determine your budget.
Mountain bikes come in a dizzying array of options and features. The only thing that limits what features you want/get is strictly one of money. So it is important to have clearly in mind how much you plan on spending… and stick with it. Otherwise, you might find yourself with a bike far exceeding your budget.
Research the bike shop / online store
Think of your bike purchase as an investment, similar to a car. Just as you would buy a car from a dealership that you like and feel comfortable with, you should likewise buy a bike from a shop or online store that you like and are comfortable with. While a good quality bike will provide years of service, that doesn’t mean that it won’t occasionally need service or repair. So be sure to buy your bike from a shop or online store that has friendly staff and good support.
Different types of components offer different advantages for different circumstances and riders. For example, full-suspension versus hardtail (no rear suspension) is a factor that depends much on the rider. Some may prefer the more efficient and lighter hardtail, while others prefer the greater comfort and control of a full-suspension bike, being willing to accept the extra weight as a trade-off.
If you plan on spending any amount of time on your new bike, you want to be sure that you are going to be comfortable on it… for miles at a time. Therefore, there is no substitute for sitting on a bike and taking it for a spin. Almost all bike shops will allow test rides of bikes, and some will even allow off-road testing.
This is the only way to ensure that a bike will provide the level of comfort that you require. When testing, take special note of the seat and the height. The seat should be comfortable, and the appropriate size to support you. If the seat is uncomfortable, but you like everything else about the bike, the dealer may be willing to trade the seat for a more comfortable one.
Mountain biking can certainly be an excellent way to enjoy nature and stay in shape, and with the proper mountain bike, you can be sure to get the most from your experience.