How To Choose A Mountain Bike

When purchasing a new mountain bike, there are several factors that you must take into account to ensure that you get the right one. The most important of these factors include wheel size, suspension type, gearing, frame materials, and brakes. Think of the bike as a glove that should fit you perfectly for comfort and convenience.

Mountain bikes come in all sizes, shapes, and models. Purchasing one is very similar to getting a new car. You have to consider the features and functions and compare each model or brand against each other. This is why it's highly recommended that you get someone knowledgeable about bikes to accompany you to the bike shop.

Below is an overview of some of the most important things you should consider when buying a mountain bike.

The Materials The Bike Is Made Of
The four most common materials used in manufacturing bike frames are aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and titanium. Needless to say, each of these materials has its own advantages and disadvantages. A lot of mountain bikers prefer aluminum frames because these are durable and light. If you want something stronger and tougher, then go with a carbon fiber frame. Of course, titanium frames are the toughest but they are the most expensive as well. If you have a limited budget, then you can always go with a bike that has steel frames.

The Wheel Size
The standard wheel size for mountain bikes is 26 inches in diameter. This doesn't mean that you can't go beyond this mark. A lot of mountain bikers prefer bikes with bigger wheels because these are great for cross country racing. The bigger wheels provide much better traction and speed compared to their thinner counterparts. If you are going to use the bike mostly for downhill races, then you should stick with 26-inch wheels. These are easier to handle because of their responsiveness.

The Geometry Of The Frame
First of all, you need to consider the bike's head and seat tube angles. Head angles that are within the 65-degree mark are considered slack and those with higher angles that reach up to 72 degrees are considered steep. Again, the angle you choose depends on your personal preference. Slack angles are used in enduro and all-mountain bikes while steep angles are usually used in trail and XC bikes. Additionally, you must take into account the chainstay of the bike. A longer chainstay is more stable but a shorter chainstay is easier to maneuver.

The Suspension Types
There are three main suspension types in mountain bikes: rigid, hard tail, and full suspension. Rigid mountain bikes don't have suspension at all so they are easier to maintain and are usually less expensive. Bikes with hard tail suspension features a suspension fork in the front of the bike's frame. This fork helps a lot in absorbing impact from the wheel in the front. Last but not the least, the full suspension bike has suspension forks in both the front and back of the frame. These forks absorb most of the impact during a ride. The only drawback of these suspension forks is that they can cause you to bob too often over rough roads.

Mountain Bike Brakes
You can either choose from a disc brake or a rim brake. However, majority of mountain bikers prefer disc brakes because these are more consistent and more efficient. And of course, there's the fact that most mountain bike models have disc brakes instead of rim brakes. But if you are used to rim brakes, then by all means use them. They are very economical and easy to replace. Some bikers use both types of brakes in their bikes. One brake serves as a reserve in case the main brake malfunctions.

These are the most important factors you need to consider if you truly want to learn how to choose a mountain bike. You have a lot of options which is why you should take the time to look over every brand or model. Always keep in mind that there's no such thing as the best mountain bike. What's best for someone doesn't mean it will also be the best for you. Everything depends on your personal preferences. In many ways, finding the perfect mountain bike for you is a trial-and-error process.

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