Below is a buyer’s guide that consists of factors to consider before investing in a mountain bike and the features to look for in a bike depending on the intended purpose.
Factors to consider when buying a mountain bike.
1. Intended purpose- the intended purpose will determine which style of mountain bike to go for. There are various types of mountain bikes in the market and each is designed to serve a different purpose. They include: dirt jump, downhill, cross-country, trail, all-mountain and fat bikes. Therefore, you should keep in mind the purpose of buying the bike and have background information about types of bikes for you to invest in the best mountain bike depending on the activity you want to carry out.
2. Fit- Mountain bikes come in small, medium or large sizes. It can be difficult to tell whether a bike fit you perfectly by just having a look at it hence it is always advisable to try and ride it. Therefore, you can test whether it is going to be comfortable to ride or not. This is very important to consider this factor to ensure that you will have maximum control over the bike when riding to get the worth for your money.
3. Wheel size- Nowadays, larger wheels are preferred because they allow the rider to roll over obstacles easily. Depending on the style of the mountain bike, some wheels come in small treads intended for smooth trails. On the other hand, some wheels have large, deep treads to offer you maximum traction on rough terrains. Consider the ground you will be riding your bike on before selecting a mountain bike to ensure that the wheels are designed for such type of trails.
4. Accessories-When it comes to accessories, consider the frame size and the material used to craft it, pedal position, stem length, handlebar length and the saddle. The frame should be made of a light material like steel or aluminum yet strong enough to ensure that the bike is light in weight for easier maneuvering. The handlebars should be of the same height as your seat for comfort. Lastly, the saddle and the pedals position should be at considerable position to prevent hurting your legs during the strokes.
5. New/Second hand- If you want to budget, then going for a second hand bike is the best option but it is not the safest. Investing in a new bike is the better option because you are guaranteed that the bike is not faulty. However, if you make up your mind on buying a second hand bike you have to question the seller on the number of times it has been repaired, whether it needs to be served regularly and any other questions that come to your mind. Remember to also ask for the serial number to make sure that it is not stolen to avoid putting yourself in unnecessary trouble.
Features of mountain bikes.
When it comes to the features of mountain bikes, there are a few key attributes that you should put into consideration. They include: material used to make the frame, number of gears, wheel diameter, suspension type and the type of brakes.
1. Suspension types- Mountain bikes suspension can be rigid, hardtail or full suspension depending on the type of the bike. Rigid mountain bikes come with no suspension. Fat bikes are the ones that come with this feature because the wide wheels that have low pressure absorb most of the shock. However, they are not as comfortable as the mountain bikes that have suspension.
Hardtail bikes are designed with the suspension fork at the front thus they basically absorb the impact exerted on the front wheel. Such mountain bikes have less moving parts hence they require minimal maintenance.
In full suspension bikes both the rear shock and the front fork have the suspension hence they guarantee maximum absorption of shock. This increases the traction and comfort when you are riding the bike.
2. Wheel size- The wheel size of mountain bikes varies from 24-29 inches. Bikes meant for sandy areas or terrains covered in snow tend to be over sized to provide maximum grip. This prevents you from getting stuck on the sad or snow. Normal wheels are preferred for the rest of the terrains. However, wheels that have deep treads are suitable for rough trails while average treads are best for smooth trails.
3. Frame materials- The frame should be made of a light yet strong material like steel, aluminum, carbon fiber or titanium. This ensures that the bike is light in weight hence the rider is able to maneuver through the trails without any difficulties. Aluminum and aluminum alloy is the most commonly used because it is affordable, strong and light in weight.
4. Steel is the heaviest among the four hence less preferred. However, it offers a smooth ride, tough and very cheap. Carbon fiber is strong and light in weight but requires a lot of labor to manufacture. Lastly, titanium is very strong and durable but it is also expensive.
5. Bike gears- If your adventure entails of riding through steep hills, then go for a bike with more gears. On the other hand, you will need a bike with as few as possible gears if you will be riding on flat terrains only. The fewer the gears the lighter the bike thus maneuvering becomes very easy. However, the gears shouldn’t be a major concern when choosing a bike because you can always customize them later according to your preference.
6. Brakes- mountain bikes can either come with disk or rim brakes. Most bikes have the disk brakes which are further classified into: hydraulic and cable activated (mechanical) brakes. Disk brakes are easier to maintain, more consistent and offer superior performance. Rim brakes are economical but they have a disadvantage of causing the wheel rim to wear out easily thus you will be required to keep on replacing the wheels and are less efficient on muddy areas.