Buy Mountain Bike Guide

A beginner’s guide to buying an all-around mountain bike as your first MTB

This information on this site will focus on the type of mountain bikes called the cross-country hardtail. Why a cross-country hardtail?

As a new comer to mountain biking and buying your first mountain bike, you should get a bike that will allow you the flexibility to handle most of the trails that you will come across. Most mountain bike riding that you are likely to encounter will be cross-country riding. These are rides on off-road trail with minimal to moderate obstacles where you usually pedal the whole ride under your own power, without ski lift access or van shuttle or any other special equipment to complete the ride.

Cross country, or XC, bikes are built for lightweight and pedal efficiency. They are designed to go fast but can also handle climbs and descents. The frames of these mountain bikes are usually made from light but strong material, such as chro-moly, aluminum, carbon or titanium. Expect a typical XC mountain bike to weigh in between 21 to 30 pounds.

You can get an XC bike either as a full suspension, a bike with suspension fork at the front and a suspension system in the back, or a hardtail, a bike with a suspension fork and no rear suspension. There are also fully rigid bikes, a bike with no suspension at all. Most Mountain Bikes nowadays come standard with a suspension fork. But rigid bikes are usually converted hardtail bikes where the bike owner swapped out the suspension fork for a rigid fork.

Full Suspension mountain bikes offer more riding comfort and less fatigue on long hard rides than hardtail but weighs more than the typical mid weight hardtails. And because of the increased weight and less rigid frame, a full suspension bike will require more energy from you during climbs. But the added weight and rear suspension, a full suspension bike will also improve your control of the bike on descents. A full suspension bike will also require more maintenance because the rear shock will need servicing and replacing.

Hardtail XC mountain bikes are ideal for riding off-road trails, single tracks and for racing. They tend to be lighter, more durable and cheaper than full suspension mountain bikes – lighter because there are less parts to the frame, and more durable because there are no pivots or rear suspension to maintain. And being less complicated than full suspensions, hardtails require less maintenance and are cheaper to own, as well as cheaper to buy initially.

Hardtail mountain bikes are usually 2 to 3 pounds lighter than full suspension bikes. Hardtails are usually more rigid and more efficient than full suspension bikes, meaning more of the energy that you use to push the bike pedals is converted to moving the bike forward instead of being absorbed by the bikes’ frame and rear suspension.

Buying your first mountain bike can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Mountain bikes come in hundreds of different models with a wide range of prices to choose from.

Buying a cross country hardtail as your first mountain bike is your best bet to getting the most all-around mountain bike for your money – a bike that you will enjoy riding everyday to learn and to improve your mountain biking skills.

Read the rest of the information on this site and learn where to buy your mountain bike, what kind of material to choice for a frame and how to pick the right components, and go out and buy your cross-country hardtail mountain bike and start riding.

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