Like a keen mountain biker, I am constantly looking for the best mountain bikes available. I have bought countless (well should be at least 10) mountain bikes over the years, and whenever I am looking to add to my collection or upgrade among my bikes nowadays, I don’t rush into it. Main reason for this gets stung on the past, when I select a new mountain bike and one with regard to my wife, from a local specialist shop.
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Looking back, I regret not taking my time, as the option was so limited to just a few brands and my wife and I were swayed by good salesmen, convenience and ultimately (for my wife more so! ) a decent looking machine.
I should have known better, as I worked in a large bike retailer in the UK for 5 many years when I was younger, and obtained seriously into mountain biking at the same time. I know that you need to decide what kind of bike you are after as the first step. Could it be pure off road riding you’ll be doing? Is it mostly on fairly level terrain, or are there lots of hills and mountains? Do you prefer an upright stance when riding to some more racy stretched out position? The list goes on…
There are so many brands around now, a lot of which are quite reputable and set up, but even when shopping within these types of brands, you have to be careful you are not offered something that isn’t suitable. I refer back to my experience after shifting to a new area… I wanted to obtain my wife into mountain biking, but she didn’t have a bike, or any type of experience. I too had a slight craving for a new bike, so we ended up buying his and hers – mine was too beginner like for my level, plus hers was a bit advanced… however they looked nice parked up alongside! Shortly afterwards I realised my mistake, but by then it was a bit late. It does vary, but some of the greatest brands are Kona, Specialized, Marin, Trek, GT, Cannondale, Mongoose plus Gary Fisher.
These days you can get many different types of bikes to suit all ages/sizes/styles and preferences. I am soon to start looking for a kids mountain bike to get my boy. And hopefully (funds permitting) a new bike for my wife that she will be much more comfortable upon.
So the moral or my story, and the reason for being compelled to write this article, is to do your research in advance. Never whatever you do limit yourself to a single store nearby. By all means if they stock some bikes that come up inside your search, head down and have a test ride (another essential matter to never forget before buying! ) yet don’t feel pressured into purchasing until you know exactly what will fit your needs best.
A few of the key areas to focus on:
Style of riding you do
Your size/shape – make sure the frame does match!
Your budget – set it plus stick to it!
Suspension – front, complete or none at all?
Extras : what accessories are you going to find essential?
Test ride… and test trip… and test ride again!
Choose a good dealer, one who you can rely on and go back to in the event of problems
If you choose wisely then you will be able to maximise the value, thrills, benefits and all round fun you can get out of your prized purchase. Appreciate!
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Simon is a willing Mountain Biker and has worked with bicycles for the last 20 years. He has been involved in the purchase of countless mountain bikes for friends and family, as well as having bought a significant amount of his own since their first purchase of a Black & White Raleigh Mustang back in 1988.