When shopping for a mountain bike, there are several questions to consider. Most who enter a bike shop or sporting goods store with a cycling department will fit into one of two categories. They either know exactly what they’re looking for, or they have no idea what they’re looking for. If you feel like you fit into the second category, don’t worry. You’ll have a much better idea of what you’re looking for in just a few minutes.
Types of Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes come in a range of brands, sizes and capabilities. The first thing you have to consider before purchasing a mountain bike is what the bike will be used for. If you’re planning to do more riding on the road and occasionally zipping off-road onto some groomed trails for a jaunt through the trees or fields, you won’t need to invest in a top-of-the-line full suspension bike. In fact, you’ll want to consider bikes of the hybrid variety which are great for light trail riding, while remaining efficient on roadways.
On the other hand, if you’re buying a mountain bike and are determined to keep the rubber on dirt, rocks, sand, mud and all other variations of soil found off-road, then you’ll want to consider a couple of quality options.
Choosing the Right Mountain Bike
Once you have decided to invest in a mountain bike, you’ll have the option of choosing between a hard-tail or a full-suspension bike. A hard-tail is just what it sounds like—a bike with no rear suspension. Few mountain bikes are manufactured with rigid frames (without any suspension). Even the hard-tails are equipped with impressive front suspension systems. When comparing full-suspension to hard-tails, it truly depends on the preference of the rider.
Nearly all competitive riders compete on full-suspension bikes, yet some still prefer hard-tails based on their proficient ability to climb and sprint. If you’re hoping for the most comfort during technical riding (jumps, bumps, hairpin turns, etc.) or downhill racing, full-suspension is tough to beat; however, if you desire to become the most skilled rider that you can be, you might consider a hard-tail as your introduction to the sport.
At Sport Chalet, we carry a wide variety of hybrid, hard-tail and full-suspension mountain bikes. You’ll find options within several of our brand offerings, including Diamondback, KHS, Haro, and the premier Santa Cruz brand as well as others. These top mountain bike brands offer a range of bikes great for beginners or as base models for the aspiring professional. Our Mountain Bike Finder can also help your decision.