Choosing the right mountain bike

What to look out for in an off-road bike

Mountain biking is a brilliant way of staying fit and healthy but needs the right equipment to really prove beneficial. Buying the perfect bike for you is essential in setting you on the road to biking success. Here's's guide to choosing that all-important first mountain bike.

If you are looking specifically for a mountain bike, you should consider the following:

  • Does the bike have the suspension you need?
  • How heavy is the bike? The use of carbon fiber will drastically reduce the weight.
  • Does the bike have the right gears for the terrain you’ll be riding on? Don’t buy what you don’t need.
  • Does it have a quality gear system like those from Shimano? The better the gearing the more expensive it will be.
  • Are the brakes of a high quality? Top level brakes and gears are essential if you are going to do some serious off-roading.

If you are going to be putting some big demands on the bike, you should be looking to spend from about £500, up to as much as £3000 or more!

Technological advances in mountain bikes

Although the principles of mountain biking are very straightforward, the technological developments in the sport over the last 10 years have been extremely significant. The top bikes of the early 1990s are fundamentally different from those of today. Bear this mind when choosing your next bike ...

The key areas that have changed are:

  • The suspensions of the better bikes are now totally different. Some of them have programmable front and back suspension.
  • The material used in the frame is now far more developed, making the bike much lighter. Carbon fiber is now used in many bikes and the difference is immediately noticeable.
  • The brakes are dramatically improved. It is now fairly common to see bikes with disk brakes.
  • Wheel frames of bikes have been upgraded. You can often buy a mid-priced bike with alloys, which again helps reduce its overall weight.

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