Beginners Guide on How to Select Mountain Bikes

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Mountain Bikes

When deciding on the mountain bike that is best for you, you need to bear three things in mind:

Key features – check out the frame materials, the suspension, wheel size, brakes and gearing.

Bike style – decide how and where you intend to use the bike.

Fit – test the bike to make sure it fits.

Types of mountain bikes

Cross-country bikes

Cross-country bikes

It has a good climbing prowess and rides pretty fast. It focuses on low weight and efficiency. It can go all the way to 25 plus miles and is perfect for those competing in a race.

Downhill/park bikes

Downhill/park bikes

They are tough and big and can be used for jumps, on wooden ladders, rock gardens and berms.

Trail bikes

Trail bikes

This bike can be used for various rides as it does not focus on any particular type of race. Can be used for a normal ride and for some climbing and descending.

All mountain bikes

This bike can handle steep descents, but yet nimble and light enough to be pedaled uphill. It can handle any type of mountain challenges.

Fat bikes

Fat bikes

Good for handling traction when riding in the snow or sand. Beginners will do well starting off with this bike.

Features of mountain bikes

There are two things to consider and they are wheel diameter and suspension type.

Wheel diameter

Wheel diameter

26.in wheel – this was what most bikes used to come with.

27.5in wheel – This bike has the best of both worlds. It easily rolls over a terrain than 26.in but maneuvers better than the 29ers.

29ers wheel – to accelerate at first may be difficult, but you will cover more ground than the 26in no time. They are very efficient.

Others are:

24in wheel – Good for kids as it accommodates their short legs.

27.5+in – has wider tires, more comfortable and more accommodating of beginners.

Suspension types

Bike Suspension types

Hardtail – They have fewer moving parts and a front suspension fork to cushion impact made to the front wheel. It is a low maintenance bike.

Rigid – comes with no suspension but has low tire pressure and wide tires that absorbs bumps.

Full suspension – absorbs chatter and bumps better, increases traction, reduces rider’s impact, is more accommodating for beginners and equally enjoyable. It comes in different variations.

Frame materials of mountain bikes

The frame of a mountain bike is what influences the bike’s strength, weight, ride quality, longevity and ultimately the price. The most commonly used material is an aluminum alloy. Other less commonly used ones are titanium, steel, and fiber.

Gears of mountain bikes

Gears of mountain bikes
Image source: cyclingabout.com

A bike’s gear is determined by the chainrings which you multiply using the number of sprockets that is on the cassette. Opt for more gears if climbing is challenging for you and if you will be maneuvering a lot of steep hills. You can always modify your bike’s gear as the need arises.

Brakes of mountain bikes

Brakes of mountain bikes

Rim brakes – the pads on rim brakes grip the wheel rims very well. It is good for mountain climbing beginners.

Disc brakes – the pads grip the brake motor that is mounted to the wheel hub. Disc brakes come in cable-activated brakes and hydraulic ones.

Choosing a mountain bike’s fit

Check if the bike’s flexibility, height and the way it feels when riding it suit your needs. The size of a bike is made to correspond with the user’s height and comes in Small, Medium, and Large. Make sure you visit the seller’s shop to test the bike and see how it fits. It’s a good idea to test-drive it. If you are buying online, make sure you read the expert review before buying.

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