Choosing a mountain bike – No Nonsense guide for beginners

To choose a mountain bike to fulfill your mountain riding dream is a big moment and it may become difficult for you if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

That’s why we have put together this article for you in order to give the perfect and simple answer to the tricky topic ‘How to choose a Mountain Bike’- covering each and everything from basic level of information to in detail description.

The most importing thing while choosing mountain bike, whether it is cross country mountain bikes or all mountain / endure mountain bikes. You must figure out your budget and then try to look around with bike which matches your budget as well as your wish.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Knowing Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes are made for off-road cycling. They are typically ridden on mountain trails, logging roads, file roads, single tracks. Such environment commonly includes rocks, washouts, loose sand, loose gravel, roots.

Within mountain bike category there are numerous further variations; in accordance with their level of suspension. They feature high volume tyres as well as suspension, which allow them to comfort and reliability on rough off-road trails.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Easiest Option

Before going for purchase of bike you must ask and find out answers for following questions…

  1. What is my style of riding?
  2. For what you want to go- Hard-Tail or Full Suspension?
  3. What wheel size do I prefer?
  4. Do I want an Aluminium frame or a Carbon?
  5. How much travel do I want?
  6. What is my budget?

There are two main kind of ride to choose from when you’re buying your mountain bike: hard-tail, named like this because it features only suspension fork and full-suspension bike which features a rear shock absorber as well providing more control when you’re riding your bike.

While you’re choosing your bike it should be based on the roughness of terrain you will be riding, likely you will be taking on sizable drops or jumps, in this case full suspension bike can be quite a bit more expensive as compare to hardtail.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Hard-Tail Bikes

Hard-Tail bikes are used mostly for mountain biking. These bikes are lighter and faster than full suspension bikes and you will definitely get more riding experience with each of your pedal stroke.

But you may find hard-tail bikes bit uncomfortable while riding on a rough trial. You will feel every rock you pass over in the handle bars.

  • Cross Country: These bikes are perfect option if you are going to do more climbing; because they are light and good in climbing. Feature between 80-120 mm of travel.
  • Trail Riding: These bikes features heavier frames as compare to cross country bikes and feature between 120-150 mm which allows them vibration resistant and provide more control.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Full-Suspension Bikes

These bikes have got rear suspension as well as front suspension fork and more reliable, durable and ease to handle. Full-suspension bikes are designed such that they will move speedily and with proper control.

  • Enduro: These bikes are also called as all mountain bikes, are slightly heavier, bot are even more durable and features between 150-160 mm.
  • Downhill: These bikes are specially made for riding downhill as name suggest. These bikes are surely heavier than other bikes and not suitable for uphill riding. Features between 200-220 mm.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Sub-Types

Cruiser Bike: They are designed in such a way that they can cover a long distance easily. Main feature of this bike is that its riding position is relaxed. This bike have engine which provided with low end torque and place more importance on relaxed ride rather than faster ride.

Fixed-Gear Bike: These bikes are type of single speed that doesn’t allow rider to coast. This bike has fewer parts to purchase and maintain. It is easy to balance in place without putting a foot on the ground.

Women’s Mountain Bike: These types of bikes are specially designed for women. They have a Suntour suspension fork for safe and controlled riding. There are 21 gears to give the best imaginable experience.

Kids Mountain Bike: These are high quality professionally assembled kid’s bike. They range from push bikes to bikes with training wheels. The frame, fork and parts have been made to fit kids the start and keep pace as they grow. Its proper fit and quality build provides easier starting, easier stopping and safer riding.

Hybrid Mountain Bike: These bikes are combination of road bike and mountain bike, which makes them usable for general daily use as well as adventurous mountain climbing. Because of its all-round use it becomes cost effective.

Bike Type      Description        Features             Use
Rigid Basic mountain bike Grate braking and shifting All round riding on roads as well as trails
Front Suspension Suspension fork Rigid plus front suspension Increased comfort and control
Full Suspension Support front and rear suspension Features rear suspension Great for rugged trails
Downhill Rugged, fast full suspension Sturdy frames, forks and wheels Great for taking the sky lift
Single Speed Low maintenance and reliability Light, elegantly simple bikes Off road use
Free Ride Long travel full suspension Reinforced frame fork, long travel shocks Steep drop-offs, jumping and trail use
Dirt Jumping Low profile geometry Jumping and stunts Fun bikes for wheelies and tricks

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Mountain Bikes Made From

  • Aluminium: These are most common material used by modern bike manufacturer. It is durable, light and has a good right quality.
  • Steel: It is a heavy frame material and therefore despite of its good ride quality it is used less. These frames are known for their durability, comfort and strength.
  • Carbon Fibre: These frames are relatively introductory to mountain bikes. But as compared to all other frame material they offer high quality performance.
  • Titanium: Its main attractions are unique look and outstanding look. This is used in lot of aircraft manufacture.

 How to choose a Mountain Bike: Sizing Considerations

When you are planning to buy bike you must consider wheel size along with fame size. Measure your height accurately and check manufacturer’s measurement’s too. Right saddle height has very important role in choosing a bike. Mountain bikes are generally measured in frame size, which is distance from size of crank to the top of at the seat tube.

Rider Height Frame Size
4 f 10” to 5 f 3” 13 to 15
5 f 3” to 5 f  7″ 15 to 17
5 f 7” to 5 f to 11” 17 to 19
5 f 11” to 6 f  2” 19 to 21
6 f 2” to 6 f 4” 21 to 23
6 f 4” and taller 23-plus inches

Factors to take into consideration when choosing Mountain Bike

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Gear Ratio

You are definitely going to find wide range of gear ration with all mountain bikes. Which varies from one, two or three chain rings option.

Normally lot of riders do not do much uphill climbing, so they usually go with single setup.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Frame

For a mountain bike frame is an important aspect because it indirectly influences bike’s weight, strength, longevity, ride quality and price.

For mountain bikes frame Aluminium alloy is commonly is used material. It produces good looking, affordable, responsive, lightweight and strong frames. You should also check out manufacturers of the bike because they have their own chart.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Wheel

Mountain bike comes with reliable wheels and tires that are designed to withstand the rigors of off-road riding. Rider weight, terrain and technique are factors in how long off-road wheels last. If you pay more you will see wheels with fewer spokes and lighter hubs.

When it comes to choose wheel it is not easy task to do at all, because first question arises in your mind that for which size is better.

  • 26”: Wheels are most used for mountain bikes, because in past time they were the only option available.
  • 29”: Wheels are become in general. They are slower to accelerate but faster up hills.
  • 27”: Wheels are outcome of combination of 26 and 29 inch wheels.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Suspension

This factor also needy one for biker because its feature decides level of comfort and ease of use. It is desirable to have lock-out (LO). It means you can turn suspension on or off. Because locking the suspension out can improve performance.

Another important point about suspension greatly reduces the amount of beating your body takes. If you’re suffering from stiff neck or sore lower back on rides, you will feel amazed on knowing the amount of difference suspension makes.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Brakes

Now day’s disc brakes on mountain bikes are becoming must and should because of better braking and disc brakes are a quantum leap forward. Disc brakes have brake pads that however tends to last longer and hold up far better in muddy and wet conditions.

Rim brakes are traditional brakes that rubes on rim to slow and stop the bike. Rim bike have some weakness, however because they rub on the rims they gradually wear the reams, which may damage them in time. So current conditions disc brakes preferably in use.

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Technical Aspect

Whenever you are going to purchase new bike you must take into consideration its technical specifications. The specification you must take a look:

– Bike Type

– Brake Style

– Colour

– Frame Material Type

– Item Display weight

– Item Weight

– Number of Speeds

– Suspension Type

– Wheel Size

How to choose a Mountain Bike: Ready to Purchase

So now we will consider you find perfect bike for you and now really eager bring it to your home. But wait for some time and do your last research; whether you want to go for new or old bike.

Newer Bike:

  • Visit Shops:

Go and try to visit each and every bike store around you. Talk to customers and store staff, tell them that you are looking for a new bike. The more voice you listen and more trails you take, the more possibility that you will manage take strong and proper decision.

  • Meet Locals:

Go and do research at the trailhead. Inquire other bikers which shops they usually prefer to visit and purchase, listen to their good or bad reviews. Meet the club members of bike club because usually they have association with bike shops and these members usually get discount on bikes and other accessories.

  • Ask For Deals:

If you’re totally new into this kind of purchase then always ask all shops for discounts on package deals. Don’t hesitate to ask for package deal because local shops usually offer complimentary tune-ups.

  • Warranty:

When you usually purchase a new bike you may get assurance in the warranty. Usually top bike brands provide warranty details on their websites. Before sealing a deal you must ask for warranty details.

Used Bike:

  • Make Bike Bike Is Not Stolen:

Before purchasing used bike make sure that it’s not stolen. You must ask seller for all the related documents. Chances are less that you will face such situation but still you get confirmation.

  • Cost:

When you go for used bikes you get the opportunity to negotiate a better price and stick within a reasonable budget.

  • Take Test Ride:

This is the most important factor while purchasing used bikes. Because you surely want to know how your bike fees and seller should not have any problem for setting up a meeting and place for test ride. You must inspect components yourself and look for wear and tear.

  • Assistance Of Mechanic:

Before making deal final and paying cash first up all meet certified mechanic and ask him to inspect the bike. Tell them clearly that you are going for an old bike and ask them for advice. Choose the bike shop by yourself, don’t listen to seller choice.


  • Self-Assessment:

Ask yourself some questions what kind of personality you are and what you might like ride. Take into consideration what type circumstance you’re living in, what types of riders are there around you and what sort of trails are around you.

  • Best Bike Store:

Take reviews from other riders and take suggestion from them list of stores they prefer. Don’t go for shop in which you do not have 100 % surety that they will focus on your needs. Never hesitate to try out the bike which you more listened about.

  • Have patience:

Don’t go for a quick buy. Meet as much as people you can and ask them for advice. Listen to them clearly and make some notes about it. Before going for a buy complete your homework properly.