Best mountain bikes: Buying your first mountain bike is a great time, and it can be complicated if you do not know what you’re looking for.
That is why we have formed a very easy guide to follow: how to buy your first mountain bike. This in this guide we show you the most basic to know what mountain bike to buy and also the most specific characteristics that you must take into account.
Best mountain bikes
The most important thing when you want to buy your first bike, whether it’s a downhill bike, a trail bike, a cross-country bike or a free ride bike or whatever, is made of useful materials and has a good design. Take a look at our plan and become a specialist on mountain bikes.
Buy your first bike: Options
There are two main types of ride mountain bikes to choose from:
- Mountain bike hardtail: so called because it only has a front suspension fork
- Full suspension bike: it has a rear shock absorber, so, it provides more control and keeps the bike stable while you go on trails.
The type of bike you want should be based on the roughness of the terrain on which you will go, if you will make large jumps, and the price, of course. In the case of hardtail bikes, their price is lower than full suspension.
Remember, you have to know how to ride a mountain bike in all weather conditions and buy the specific kit to clean it. Maybe you find it stupid, but it’s not like that. The mountain bike is necessary to clean it after each route to keep it perfectly and prevent it from deteriorating or having an accident with it due to malfunction. Keep this in mind before buying any model!
It is advisable to use sunglasses for bicycles to protect the eyes from sun rays and small insects that can get in the eyes. The impact of a small insect on the eye can make us lose control of the bicycle and cause a severe accident when we go at high speeds in mountainous terrain.
When leaving the route, it is essential to take a first aid kit to act quickly in case of any small accident.
A hardtail can be used for most types of mountain biking. Bicycles are lighter, faster and softer than full-suspension bicycles, and you get more power from each bike.
Of course, hardtail bikes can be somewhat uncomfortable if you are in places with rough or bumpy roads. You will feel every branch, root or rock that you step on with the wheels and will cause tremors in the handlebars.
Hardtails usually have between 80 to 150 mm of travel, about the most length that the leading suspension fork will move when you pass through uneven terrain.
- Cross country bicycles. If you are going to go up steep slopes as well as downhill trails, you will want a cross-country bike. These bicycles are built taking into account the highest possible return of each pedal stroke and a suspension of 80 to 120 mm of travel.
- The trail bikes are designed for mountain trail and have stronger frames, slightly more massive than cross-country bikes, and a suspension of 120 to 150 mm. This allows them to adapt to the vibrations transmitted by the front wheel and provide more control and grip.
Full suspension bicycles
Full suspension bikes are precisely what his name says. They have rear suspension, as well as the front suspension fork and are much more durable, reliable and soft.
Full-suspension cross-country bicycles have around 100 mm of travel, while trail bikes have approximately 120 to 140 mm. Although they will be a bit heavier, the design of the bicycle will allow you to move quickly, in addition to the additional control.
Other types of full suspension bike that you can consider are:
- Enduro bicycles They are also often called mountain bikes, the enduro forks tend to have between 150 to 160 mm of suspension, are again slightly more cumbersome, but are even more durable and are softer to handle also if the trails become aggressive.
- Downhill bicycles These are specialized bicycles for those who are only going to go downhill. The suspension is more extensive, from 200 to 220mm, so the bikes will be more massive than the rest and are not suitable for climbing uphill. They have manufactured mainly for use on land with large slopes, very rugged terrain or only for really impossible descents. They have stronger frames, the lower saddle to accommodate the position of the foot and a smaller transmission ratio.
Features to consider when buying a mountain bike
There are three wheel sizes to choose from when you set out to buy a mountain bike – 26 inches, 27.5 inches / 650B, and 29 inches – and this choice is crucial when riding.
Twenty-six inches was the first wheel size that was used on a mountain bike, but the other formats have frequently become popular to the point that most people no longer use a 26-inch wheel.
- 26-inch wheels: the traditional choice, the 26-inch wheel has been around since the beginning of the mountain bike. The design allows great maneuverability and creativity on the bike, although it can be difficult to handle and control over more massive objects.
- 29-inch wheels: the 29-inch bicycle is much larger than the 26-inch, so it can take some time to adjust to the driving position. When you get used to this new size, the level of control and stability during driving is much higher, although many find their handling too rigid and difficult to maneuver.
- 27.5-inch wheels: many say that the 27.5-inch, or 650b, the motor is a perfect size. The size of 27.5 gives the runner a noticeably smoother ride, more controlled than the 26-inch one, but it does not feel as slow as the 29. It’s faster, stronger and more agile than larger wheels and much more fluid than the smaller ones.
Change of gears
You will observe a wide range of gear changes on mountain bikes, from one plate to two or three.
The more dishes you have, the more chances you will have to make when you run through roads. The triple plates add more weight to your bike, require more maintenance and have a certain overlap, so the double plate is the best for beginners.
Single plate gear changes are widespread among riders who do not make many uphill roads, and it is straightforward to maintain.
If there is one thing that is crucial when you go to buy a mountain bike, it is choosing the right size. If you select an inappropriate size, it will be complicated for you to control the bike in some situations, overexerting yourself and you can even hurt yourself if you lose control and fall. So, how do you know?
To be honest, the best option to know what is the best size for you is to ask people who are knowledgeable about bicycles, whether they are salespeople or professional brokers. No doubt the latter is the most experienced to be day after day in contact with the bike, and undoubtedly have tried several different with what can guide you. The sellers are a good option as well as they will know the specifications of the different bicycles and can advise you the best choice for your needs, height, and weight.
Most bicycles are listed by box size or by the small, medium or large standard box. Here we show the most common bicycle sizes that are on the market and that adapt to the height of the runners:
- The extra small bicycle is for people from 1.35 to 1.50m
- The little bike is for people from 1.50 to 1.65m
- The average cycling is for people from 1.65 to 1.73m
- The medium / large bicycle is for people from 1.73 to 1.76m
- The big cycling is for people from 1.73 to 1.76m
- The large/extra large bicycle is for people from 1.80 to 1.84m
- The extra-large bicycle is for people from 1.84 to 1.95m
It is important to check if the bike manufacturer has its size catalog, and remember because you wear a small size shirt does not mean you have to buy a small bike. The height of the person must be taken into account when choosing the size of the painting.
The most common materials used in the production of mountain bike frames are:
- Steel. It is the traditional material for mountain bike frames, steel is very durable and resistant to rust, although it is heavier than the rest of the alternatives.
- Aluminum. It has become the most popular material for the manufacture of mountain bike frames. Aluminum is not as strong as steel, but it is significantly lighter, and again resistant to rust.
- Carbon. The carbon frames recently arrived on the market, but they have revolutionized the concept we had on the mountain bike frame. The designers can mold the material and form different shapes that affect the dynamics of the bike. The carbon frames are super light, while they are also stronger and more durable than steel frames. The drawback is that they cost much more.
Traditionally, women’s bicycles have been mostly similar to men’s – certainly in terms of suspension, wheels, brakes, etc. – but where they differ is in the picture.
Women’s frames tend to have shorter tubes, which means that the seat and handlebars are closer together so that it better suits the woman’s anatomy. The saddle is also put differently.
The angle of the front of the bike frame is different.
The closer the fork is from parallel to the ground, the easier it will be to descend downhill, but the direction will be harder. The higher the angle of the front of the bike, the better the bike will be when climbing hills.
Most modern mountain bikes come equipped with disc brakes, and you should not settle for anything else.
No doubt the disc brakes are widespread, and most riders and fans use bicycles that incorporate this braking system. They come in two types: hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic brakes use the fluid to transfer force from the handlebar to the caliper to stop the wheel, such as cars or motorcycles, while the mechanical brakes use a cable traction system similar to the old-fashioned shoe brakes.
Hydraulic brakes have more power than mechanical brakes, but mechanical brakes are easier to maintain and cheaper. However, the benefits of hydraulics outweigh the negative part of the price.
4 Tips for choosing your first mountain bike
Aspects to consider:
- Look for bicycles with adjustable lever seat. This allows you to adjust your saddle a lot easier, which is brilliant to make sure you are always up to the task.
- Remember, if you are going to buy your first mountain bike, and you are new to mountain biking, you probably do not need the most expensive bike in the market. The more costly squares allow you to save seconds in competition, but you will not notice any difference in speed when you intend to enjoy it in the mountains.
- Focus on finding a reliable and robust bicycle that does not disappoint you with mechanical failures, and you’ll be more than happy. The latter is important; you do not need the most expensive bike but not one of poor quality that prevents you from progressing.
- Do not let your friends fool you into thinking that BMX or road bikes are the most fun. Mountain biking will make you enjoy incredible landscapes practicing your biggest hobby!