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4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Mountain Bike

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4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Mountain Bike

If you’re a newbie on mountain bikes or an avid road rider who wants to experience the thrills of hitting the dirt and off-road, then you’ll need basic knowledge on choosing the right mountain bike for your new adventure.

Here are essential factors to consider.

Hardtail vs Full-Suspension

When looking for mountain bikes, you’ll be faced with two kinds— full suspension MTB and hardtails. And according to bike experts, there is no straightforward answer to which is better. It all boils down to the person using it.

The vast majority of MTBs have full suspension. This means that they have front forks and shock gears at the rear. This allows the bike to roll over uneven ground, get traction on descents and ascents, and absorbing forces from jumps or landing drops. This is why full-suspension MTBs are perfect if you’re going to ride off-roads most of the time.

Hardtails, on the other hand, have a set of forks and a rigid rear. These are versatile, all-around bikes, suitable for learning basic skills and getting the grips with off-road riding before deciding to go full suspension.

Without rear suspensions, hardtails mean they are less complicated and cheaper, so you can buy a good hardtail model for less money than the full-suspension MTBs. Plus, hardtails are also a lot lighter, making them suitable for touring, commuting, and your weekend trail riding.

While most pro will choose one over the other, some professional cyclists and racers the likes of Emily Batty from Trek Factory Racing and 2016 Olympics Gold Medal Winner in Mountain Biking, Nino Schurter are said to have both hardtails and full-suspension for different purposes and terrains.

Tire and Wheel Size

Once upon a time, all MTBs were built with 26” wheels. Today, there are 3 sizes to choose from to suit different riding styles.

  • 29”

Also called the 29ers, these are the biggest MTB wheels you can find. Their larger diameter gives them more momentum, effortlessly roll over obstacles, and can hold speed over distance. They also offer increased stability and grip, ensuring confidence for beginners. Unfortunately, bigger means heavier, less agile and nimble on narrow trails, and takes longer to speed up.

  • 27.5”

Gaining in popularity, 27.5” MTBs are preferred for enduro and trail riding. They are much responsive and agile than the 29ers and still roll well through the technical terrains. They are the perfect compromise between 29ers and 26”, offering you the best of both worlds.

  • 26”

The previously dominant size, 26” MTBs offer agility and lightweight riding. They are popular on dirt jump and thanks to their small size, considered stronger, flexible, and more suited to hammering downhill. In addition, their compact size means they can navigate through technical and narrow trails. Unfortunately, they don’t easily roll over obstacles and handling feels twitchier.

Frame Material

Another important consideration is the frame material. It influences the bike’s strength, weight, ride quality, longevity, and price.

The most commonly used material for MTBs is aluminum alloy. Other frame materials include carbon fiber, titanium, and steel. Carbon fiber is common on fat-tire bikes, cross-country bikes, and high-end trail bikes, and MTBs since it is lightweight and durable. However, it comes with a higher price tag, due to the labor-intensive manufacturing.

Titanium, on the other hand, is strong and light. It is too expensive, so it’s mostly seen in high-end MTBs. Steel, is inexpensive, tough, and durable, offering you a smooth ride for years. However, this material is relatively heavy for MTBs.

Disc Brake vs Rim Brakes

Disc brakes are considered more reliable for off-road rides, especially during bad weather where a rim brake struggles to grasp the wheel. Also, they cope a lot better with grime and dirt, whereas a rim brake would get clogged up.

For the beginners, however, a rim brake shouldn’t be ruled out. Lighter and easier to maintain, rim brakes are recommended to the newbies. Plus, they’re also a lot cheaper.

Conclusion

In the end, choosing a bike will depend on your style, purpose, and skills. For example, 3 wheel bike is recommended to adults for their comfortably and stability. But when it comes to mountain trails, 3 wheel bikes are not the best choice. Whether you just want a commuting bike you can occasionally take on the trails during weekends or have your sights on enduro racing, there’s a mountain bike to suit you.

 

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