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Mountain Bike Buyers Guide – Everything you need to know about buying a mountain bike

mountain bike buyers guide

Find the mountain bike you’ve always dreamed of!

In this mountain bike buyers guide we give you the low down on the different types of mountain bike available and what to look for when you’re buying your next mountain bike. Born in California in the 1970s, mountain biking with its sporty profile has invaded our cities and our countryside. The beginnings of the mountain bike were synonymous of adventure … A group of enthusiasts amused themselves to descend the mountains against the clock.

Today, we are far from the first models. The mountain bike has been a huge success all over the world: it has even become the most sold bike. Manufacturers are redoubling creativity and ingenuity to offer ever more innovative frames and offer incredible sensations to mountain bike enthusiasts.

Many people use it every day to go to work. As for those who are looking for pure adrenaline, they turn to the more pointed models, to the ultra-worked suspensions: no bump resists them! There are several types of mountain bikes for each use: all rounder, semi-rigid, enduro, cross-country, small or big wheels … Are you a little lost? Whether you are a beginner or a confirmed mountain bike rider, you will be guided through the jungle of the mountain bike comparison so you can find the bike that fits your needs.

The mountain bike buyers guide to different frame types

In the ears of beginners, these words may not evoke much … The “Fully” and “Hardtail”, as the enthusiasts call them, are two types of mountain bike. All-suspension mountain bikes are equipped with a double damping system (fork and frame), while semi-rigid mountain bikes only have a fork hanging from the front of the bike. Which one to choose, and for what use? Bikester helps you to distinguish them.

Full suspension mountain bike

+ Comfort – Suspension guarantees unbeatable comfort, no matter the terrain!

+ Pleasure of riding and maneuverability – Pleasure and speed guaranteed, excellent maneuverability, suitable for steep descents.

– Weight – The joints, the suspension legs and the equipment make the Fully heavier.

– Price – Count at least 500 € for a fully: a small investment!

+ Equipment – Even bikes for beginners are often very well equipped.

+ Weight – A semi-rigid mountain bike weighs less than an all-suspended. It’s the suspended forks that increase the weight of the bike!

+ Maintenance – Their simpler structure facilitates their maintenance. No technical parts to repair!

– Comfort – In the rear, the shocks are only damped by the wheels. On very bumpy roads, the driver can be a bit rough!


The mountain bike buyers guide to beginners bikes

Technique and quality are not reserved for the pros, far from it. Even beginners can afford, at a lower cost, a beautiful machine that will allow them to enjoy beautiful hikes and ride on any type of path. Entry-level mountain bikes also have a good driving quality and are at least equipped with a solid fork and a stable aluminum frame: this is often everything you need to get started. As for the driving position, it is generally less stretched and therefore more comfortable.

This type of mountain bike is perfectly suited for hiking in nature, but also for daily trips to the city. They are versatile and offer a very pleasant ride, whether downhill or uphill, on road or on country road.

Typically, mountain bike equipment is rather minimalist. Mudguards, lights and crutch, considered to be of little use on this type of bike, are not part of the picture. However, a large number of mountain bikes for beginners are equipped with threaded eyelets that allow the mounting of accessories on the frame. At the level of the basic equipment, it is essential that your mountain bike is equipped with powerful brakes and a good transmission (Shimano and Sram are references in this matter), whether you drive in town or in the countryside. mountain bikes whose price does not exceed 500 € are often equipped with V-Brake brakes. Lightweight and easy to maintain, they have nothing to envy the disc brakes when the road is dry. But once the weather is rainy, mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic brakes take the lead.

Mountain bike buyers guide to prices
Less than $500 can provide you with a mountain bike robust and of good quality, on which you can pedal with confidence and venture on hilly roads. If you equip it with mudguards and lights, it will also be perfect to ride in town!

Starting at $500, you will find more technical mountain bikes (although equally suitable for city driving), equipped with high performance equipment and gearing systems with up to 30 speeds. The long climbs will not discourage you anymore! In downhill, you can trust the high quality brakes and the suspension fork.

Follow good maintenance practice

Performing simple repairs on your bike is within everyone’s reach.  A good bike stand can make this much simpler too. No need for an engineering degree! But to be effective and to keep your bike in good condition, it is better to have some tools and essential maintenance products. For example, regularly oiling the chain of your bike will allow you to enjoy a longer riding comfort! There are also many guides that provide basic advice for mountain bike repair and maintenance.

mountain bike buyers guide
mountain bike buyers guide top tip: regular maintenance is important

XC RACE AND MARATHON mountain bike

These mountain bikes are fast in climbs and effective in descents. Nothing resists them: whether you are a fan of technical trails or large unevenness, you will be served! Stability, lightness and rigidity are their greatest assets. It’s up to you to go for long hikes and runs at full speed!

You want to let off steam after a long day of work or to beat your friends in a downhill marathon? The XC Race and Marathon mountain bikes are the answer to your adrenaline desires. Suspended just right, they make the descent pleasant by softening the roughness of the road, but do not go as far as giving you the impression of rolling on air cushions. The sensations first!

The equipment of the XC Race and Marathon is quite spartan. A clearance of 100 to 120 mm is a must, and there is often the possibility of blocking the suspensions of your bike if you are about to climb a long climb. Most of the time, the derailleurs in this category are 2×10 or 1×11. Their frames are becoming more and more carbon, manufacturers are constantly looking for lightness. But a good aluminum frame will do just fine: it will cost you less and its weight will not be an inconvenience. Some mountain bikes are equipped with wheels and ultralight tires. In the XC category, the weight of the bike makes all the difference!

Mountain bike buyers guide to prices
You can find good lightweight rigid under $1000. Even at this price, their equipment is excellent and they are often equipped with wheels 27.5 or 29 inches. But for those looking for noble components, a carbon frame and a minimum weight, prices are higher! If you are a fan of long hikes, an all-hanging Marathon mountain bike will be the best choice. You will need more than $1500. If you want to enjoy the lightness of a semi-rigid while maintaining the comfort of good suspensions, you will need to invest in an mountain bike costing around $1000.


High mountain and very steep slopes: the field of use of these mountain bikes is quite reduced! All-mountain mountain bikes are designed for experienced drivers. Whether you want to cross the Alps or test your agility in very technical circuits, it is the mountain bike you need! The enduro mountain bikes, they are more oriented downhill. If they do not let themselves be defeated in the climbs, they descend the slopes with an ease that leaves speechless! That’s their big point.

These ultra sporty bikes have been designed for all those who place the challenge and the sensations at the heart of their practice. Are not the arduous ribs frightening you? Choose an all mountain mountain bike with big suspensions, up to 160 mm of travel. If, on the contrary, you are a true downhill bike fan and are willing to sacrifice a little efficiency to climb to be able to descend aggressive slopes on your gear, you have the enduro profile! Turn to an all-suspension mountain bike with up to 170 mm travel and a narrow angle. With this formidable machine, you extreme off-road or enduro sessions at the bikepark.

The most recent models are usually equipped with 27.5-inch wheels with tires and wide rims. In order to take advantage of the areas reserved for experienced drivers, 180 mm disc brakes and high quality adjustable suspensions (such as RockShox or Fox) are recommended. Equally important: the handlebar must be wide – not less than 740 mm. From $2000, your bike will have to be equipped with an adjustable seatpost. But even if your mountain bike is cheaper, do not hesitate to equip it with this type of seatpost, very appreciable for this type of sport practice.

The strength of these bikes is their suspended frame. It must be stable and the suspensions very effective: do not neglect the quality and put the price. Many manufacturers offer a basic frame and allow you to choose your equipment. From $1500, you can buy a mountain bike very well equipped! The higher the price, the higher the price … Our advice: for mountain bikes enduro and all-mountain, it is between $2000 and $3000 that the price-quality ratio is the best!

Mountain Bike Buyers Guide to Womens’ Mountain Bikes

More and more women go mountain biking: a new challenge for manufacturers! But do women inevitably have to turn to specially designed bicycles for them? Yes and no. Women can ride on a “normal” mountain bike, provided the size of the frame is suitable for them. Some manufacturers offer specially designed mountain bikes for women. And their arguments are good!

Some experienced bikers have no problem riding on a mountain bike for men. But for other women, the driving position is too “sporty”: the upper tube is a bit too long, the handlebars too wide and the handles too big. The mountain bike saddle for men is not the most comfortable either! Starting women will feel much better on a lightweight and manoeuvrable bike than on a very responsive mountain bike with big suspensions.

All these differences are therefore taken into account by manufacturers, who offer mountain bikes more suited to women: shorter frame, saddle for women, softer suspensions, handlebars and thinner and narrower handles. As for the choice of the model, it is like for the men: it depends on your use, your desires and your budget. If we were to recommend a bike to beginners, it would be a semi-rigid mountain bike, relatively light.

All you need is a little bit of elbow grease to make minimal changes (but that can change everything!) On your mountain bike. You can install a saddle for women, perfectly adapted to the female anatomy, without compromising on the sporty look. On the handlebar handles, smaller grips will be perfect for smaller hands – and come in several colors!

Mountain Bike Buyers Guide to Wheel size: a matter of inches

mountain bike buyers guide
mountain bike buyers guide to wheel sizes

A few years ago, all mountain bikes were equipped with 26-inch wheels. We could not imagine anything else! For thirty years, only this diameter was used. Until a bike designer wonders if we could not see things big … The 29-inch wheel was born! The principle is simple: a larger wheel passes without wobbling on small obstacles like roots or pebbles and the bike is therefore more stable. However, their large size makes them heavier and not suitable for smaller cyclists. An intermediate diameter therefore appeared: 27.5 inches. The ideal compromise!

26 inches

A great classic! This diameter ensures agile faultlessness and good stability. But in disciplines like cross-country or hiking, these wheels are less and less used. They are nevertheless perfect for enduro. If you like to pedal in winding paths, you must go to them. Their price has also dropped much!

27.5 inches

The new darling of manufacturers is likely to dethrone the 26-inch version. It combines the agility of a 26-inch wheel and the much more comfortable driving of its larger sister, the 29-inch. The winning combo for bikers who enjoy bikes a little more aggressive.

29 inches

The 29-inch version gave new impetus to cycling, literally. On hilly terrain, you can clearly see the difference: it provides traction power and unparalleled comfort. It is perfect for those who want to go straight without worrying about obstacles. These wheels are a very good choice for mountain biking all mountain! Even the athletes measuring less than 1m70, cross-country enthusiasts and long excursions, can be tempted without surprise. The obstacles will disappear under your wheels!

We hope you found this mountain bike buyers guide useful. Why not check out our latest range of mountain bikes.


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