How much are you willing to spend?
Bikes come in all shapes, sizes and prices! There is so much variety that one of the first things to start narrowing it down by is price range. By determining your budget, you can walk into the shop with a realistic take on what you want and can afford. The lowest price range for a decent mountain bike is $500 or less you’ll be able to either find a new entry-level hardtail from a name brand or a used mid-level hardtail. When considering this price range stay away from full suspension bikes, since they will either be poor quality or if used they’ll probably have some wear and tear that will cost you later. If you are willing to spend between $500 and $1,000 you can definitely get yourself a really nice hardtail and keep an eye out for deals on craigslist or ebay. If you your budget can go between $1,000 and $1,500 you can start considering full suspension bikes and many of the really good hardtails that are in this price range. In this price range you’ll find a combination of high-end frames and cheaper components. Getting one of these can put you in the position of slowly upgrading the parts as you get a chance to. If can afford anything between $1,500 and $3,500 you can easily find a bike that will last you many years, including race-ready hardtails and even carbon fiber models. Now, if you can fork out more than $3,500 for a bike you don’t really need to worry about budget. You’ll have the luxury of only considering all of the details that will make it yours and completely personalized. Although at this price range you could even consider getting two bikes for different purposes.
One last consideration in terms of budget is servicing. Make sure you take into considerations the costs for repairing or changing parts on your particular bike might cost.
There are many categories when thinking of mountain biking, but to briefly just go over the most common we can mention trail riding, XC (Cross Country) riding, and enduro riding. Trail riding is all about the downhill racing, so most will take their time riding up, but give it all coming down. This means your bike will need to have enough suspension to handle fast descents. Also keep in mind the geometry of the bike when picking it out to ensure that if offers you confidence when making your descents. You’ll want the wheels to be between 27.5 and 29 inches. Cross Country riding or XC is more focused on fitness and endurance than racing downhill. Here you’ll be riding pretty long climbs and riding fast terrain. You’ll need a lightweight bike of no more than 30 lbs, so you can steer quickly. Minimal suspension is up there on the list as well. The most used bike in this category is the 29er, although some 27.5 inch XC bikes are gaining momentum this year. Finally, Enduro riding involves racing through climbs and timed descents. It’s actually quite similar to trail riding, with the difference that it’s a race. These bikes should then have the capability of fast and aggressive descents, so it should be equipped with super slack head angles, long wheelbases and long reaches with long front ends. Wheel size will normally be 27.5 inches.
What to buy and where?
Once you’ve decided how much you have to spend and what you’re going to be using it for, now you can get out there and start shopping around. You can always go to a local shop, but don’t underestimate the deals you could get online through craigslist or even eBay. There are many types of bikes like rigid which is perfect for all around trail riding. You can also go for front suspension or full suspension which will give you greater comfort and the latter will offer less impact on the body. Freeride bikes are for serious downhill riders, whereas Dirt jumping bikes are more for fun bike rides, wheelies and tricks. All Mountain bikes will do it all, on the other hands downhill bikes are great for descents. The 29er and singlespeed are for all-around or cross country use.