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Learn How To Buy A Mountain Bike

By Keith Rejino

Before walking into your local MTB shop with the rest of your savings account, it’s a good idea to ask yourself what do you intend to do with your mountain bike. What riding style fits your interest? Do you dream of jumping off mountain tops at the downhill state championship or tackling the local trails in your neighborhood? Are you a newbie MTB rider or a seasoned veteran looking to upgrade your wheels?

Your new mountain bike is a long-term investment so determining your riding objectives is the first step to selecting your new MTB. With a number of riding styles, manufactures have produced a number of mountain bikes to fit your riding objectives.

Buy the best mountain bike within your budget. If mountain bike riding is in your long-term future, spending as much as you can is usually best. Buying a bike with mid-level components similar to Shimano’s XT group is usually best in the long-term as compared to its lower LX class sibling.

If you decide to upgrade later on, it will cost you more to buy the component group separately than if you paid the extra money to get a better bike with the upgraded components as manufactures receive volume discounts that most retailers don’t. In addition, there is no installation cost, or you having to do it yourself.

Is it best to purchase a MTB from your local mountain bike shop or go online? The main benefits of buying online are a lower price and greater selection. However, one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a mountain bike is bike fit. Everyone has a different body structure so buying a MTB that maximizes your comfort and energy distribution is usually best.

Buying from your local MTB shop may cost you more, but they can usually provide the best advice on bike fit. A disadvantage is that you are limited by their current selection in stock. Usually, bike shops are dealers for a few select manufactures so visiting a number of local bike shops can help determine which MTB brand is best for you.

Another choice is to pay for a good bike fit from your local bike shop then order online with the stats provided and have your local bike shop fit the MTB to your measurements. However, most local MTB shops will include the bike fit if you buy a MTB from them. Weigh the options and savings to see which approach is best for your budget and time constraints.

Ask your fellow mountain bikers. Asking other riders on the MTB forums or your team about a specific MTB brand or model you are considering can give you invaluable knowledge on the MTB’s performance. There is nothing like real world reviews from mountain bikers who have purchased and rode the specific mountain bike you are considering.

Here are five universal mountain bike styles you may want to consider:

1. All-Mountain Bikes – These bikes have a geometry that provide for excellent stability in rough, steep descents as compared to a trail bike. If climbing mountain trails, and steep declines are in your dreams, this is an MTB to consider.

With four to six inches of travel, an all-mountain bike can take you almost anywhere, and also can handle light stunt work too. An all-mountain bike is best suited for freeriders and downhillers who also like to ride trails.

2. Cross-Country Race Bikes – If off-road speed is in your dreams, then a XC MTB may be for you. With a steep angle geometry, and a suspension that ranges between three to four inches of travel, a XC MTB handles well, and are fast on moderate trails.

3. Cross-Country Trail Bikes – for all around terrain, cross-country trail bikes are a great choice. These MTB bikes provide good comfort while climbing with efficiency, and provide MTB riders with three to five inches of suspension travel. If like riding tough trails, this bike may be for you.

4. Downhill Race Bikes – if you’re a downhiller looking for speed, this may be the mountain bike for you. With six inches plus suspension travel and a strong, well built frame, these MTB bikes can take it down the mountain. However, if you love to climb trails, the added weight may make your climb a bit tougher.

5. Hardtail Bikes – If you like light trails or a fast MTB, a hardtail may be a good choice for you if maximum comfort is not at the top of your list. As hardtails have front-only suspension, they have less pedal bob and increased pedal stroke efficiency when compared to dual suspension MTB bikes.

When choosing a MTB, consider that each type has its strengths and weaknesses on the trail. Remember, when you have more suspension and a sturdier frame, you have more weight and tougher hill climbs ahead of you, but easier downhill’s.

Figuring out which MTB riding style is your favorite then working back from there to other styles may be a good approach to take when choosing your new mountain bike.

Keith Rejino is a personal trainer, mountain biker, and sports photographer for Dreamscape Images. His XC Mountain Bike website provides MTB race coverage, and training and nutrition tips for the mountain biker. For more information on how to Buy A Mountain Bike, check out Dreamscape Images MTB site.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Rejino, Keith "Learn How To Buy A Mountain Bike." Learn How To Buy A Mountain Bike. 25 Aug. 2010. uberarticles.com. 4 Aug 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/learn-how-to-buy-a-mountain-bike/>.

APA Style Citation:
Rejino, K (2010, August 25). Learn How To Buy A Mountain Bike. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/learn-how-to-buy-a-mountain-bike/

Chicago Style Citation:
Rejino, Keith "Learn How To Buy A Mountain Bike" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/learn-how-to-buy-a-mountain-bike/


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