How to Buy the Best Mountain Bike: 7 Things to Consider

3 min


Different types of terrain require different kinds of bikes. For those who like to take on the rigorous mountain tracks and climb to the summit or want to go downhill to enjoy eye-blinding speed, mountain bikes are a perfect choice.

Some distinct features make a mountain bike different from your regular road bike. Their size, shape, geometry, and components are all unique. In this article, we will go over these features so that you will be able to understand better where you need to put your focus.

Key Features of a Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes are specifically made and designed to withstand the mountains’ extremely harsh and bumpy tracks. 

They are also made by keeping in mind that people will use them to ride up the mountain. So, mountain bikes have some special features.

1. Different Types of Mountain Bikes

There are different types of mountain bikes. Although they serve the same purpose, riding them could provide a different experience. You can check out all these trail bikes from the following list.

XC Bikes

Also referred to as cross-country bikes, they are your standard downhill vehicles. Although their strong suspension makes them more stable, the narrow head of the bike could make the handlebar difficult to handle.

Trail Bikes

The jack of all trades. Trail bikes are just as good going downhill as they are going uphill. As they have much wider tires and longer body, they are much easier to handle. You can check out all these trail bikes from the following list since they are the go to option for most first time mountain bikers.

Enduro

The heaviest of the bunch. These bikes are the most stable bikes you will find on the market. Because of the added weight, they are terrible at climbing steep hills. But for downhill, they provide the most comfort.

Downhill

The perfect bike for speedsters who love the rush of adrenaline coursing through their veins. They are very light, making them difficult for newbies to control. But they do come with the best suspension and sturdy body frame.

2. Strong Suspension

Compared to other types of bikes, such as road bikes or BMX bikes, mountain bikes have the most advanced suspension system. This makes them perfect for long travels, especially when the road is uneven and harsh.

Suspension allows a bike to absorb bumps and shocks without sacrificing stability. How much a bike can absorb is dependent on suspension travel. They range from 80mm to 200 mm. 

The starting mountain bike should have at least 140 mm of suspension travel for beginners. They can change it later as they learn more about mountain bike riding.

3. Advanced Breaking System

Most older generation bikes came with rim brakes, where a piece of rubber attached to the rims were used to slow down the bike. However, over time, the rubber on these rims would deteriorate, making it difficult to stop, causing severe injuries.

Strong stopping power is almost essential for mountain bikes. Because if you cannot stop properly, you may fall thousands of feet below. 

That is why they come with the more advanced disc brakes, giving them better-stopping power and stronger control.

4. Wheels

Most Mountain bikes come with two different sets of wheels. The 27.5 inch wheels and the 29 inch wheels. The average bike will mostly have 27.5 inch wheels as a smaller wheel means better control and an easier time riding uphill. 

On the other hand, a 29 inch mountain bike can go much faster downhill than a 27.5 inch.

However, because of the larger wheels, it becomes a bit difficult to control the bike at higher speeds. Choose your preferred wheel size to make your mountain adventures more epic.

5. Changeable Gears 

Changeable gears are perhaps one of the most distinctive features of mountain bikes. Yes, other bikes have different wheels and suspensions, but gears were initially made only for mountain bikes. These gears help riders climb up without much hassle, and go down with swift speed.

There are two types of gears: low gear and high gear. Low gear is used when you are going uphill. This reduces the resistance of pedaling and allows you to climb fairly quickly. 

High gear does the opposite and lets you put more force into the pedal to reach higher speeds.

6. Frame Material

Most normal bikes are made from stainless steel. This makes those bikes strong and sturdy. But mountain bikes will not be effective at climbing if they are made from stainless steel as the weight would be too much.

This is why most mountain bikes are made from either aluminum or carbon. Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is sturdy as well. Since aluminum is a common material, bikes made from this material are relatively cheap. 

Carbon bikes, on the other hand, are much lighter than aluminum, but they cannot absorb impact as well as aluminum bikes. These bikes are much more expensive as well.

7. Handlebars

Many people do not pay too much attention to this part, but handlebars are just as important when riding a bike. Generally, a wider handlebar means that turning and maneuvering the bike is much easier as it gives a bigger space for control.

As we earlier mentioned about different types of mountain bikes, each bike has different shaped handlebars. For example, the width of an XC bike is 700-800 mm. and the width of a trail bike is around 740-800 mm. 

The width of an Enduro is around 760 mm, and the width of the downhill bike handlebar goes over 800 mm. 

Final Thoughts

Riding a bike can be very enjoyable if you select the right bike. Otherwise, not only will you have a hard time riding it, but you may also suffer from various injuries. As you gain more and more experience riding, the more advanced bikes will become your staple, and you can do more tricks.

We hope this article has helped you better understand mountain bikes and whether they suit your needs. If you feel a mountain bike is just the bike for you, pay attention to these features and get the perfect one.

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