How To Buy A Mountain Bike

By Alastair Hamilton

In a perfect world you could buy any bike you wanted at a price you could afford, but in the real world mountain biking prices vary wildly. We provide some tips on what to look for.

Buying a house is just about the most important investment you can make in your life. Various means of transportation come second - from yachts or boats and cars to motorcycles. Acquiring a bicycle is not quite as expensive as that - but there are so many brands available, at so many different price ranges, that it behooves you to do a bit of research before you go out and spend any money.

Bikes can vary from used beaters to the top-of-the line road or mountain bikes. This article discusses how to go about buying a mountain bike.

How Much Will You Pay?
Are you already a biker, or are you just taking up the sport? Do you intend to ride daily, or only on weekends? Do you have a safe place to store your bike when you're not using it?

All of these are questions you musts ask yourself before you purchase your first bike. If you've only just become interested in the hobby of mountain biking, you don't want to buy a top-of-the-line thousand dollar bike until you're sure you'll get the use out of it. Of course there's a catch-22 there. Top-of-the-line bikes are so light and soooo nice that you'll probably fall in one, whereas if you get a poor bike to begin with it might sour you on the sport forever.

The best thing to do is test-ride as many bikes as you can in the various price ranges. Your local bike store won't let you test ride their bikes down a mountain - but you can rent bikes at the trailheads and give them a try.

Where Will You Buy
Any book or article you read will advise you not to buy a bike from a mass merchant store such as Wal-mart or Target. Why? Because they buy bottom of the range bikes which they can sell cheaply, and the bikes are not necessarily put together well. Whereas if you buy even the most inexpensive child's bike from a bike store, it'll be lighter than the mass market version, and the store people will ensure that it fits your child.

So, you can either support your local bike store or buy online. It's usually best to buy from your bike store to begin with, as they can help you fit the bike and give you advice. If you've ridden for years and years and know what you need, buying online does make sense.

What Will You Buy?
You'll ask yourself this question in conjunction with "how much will you pay." Again, it all comes down to how often you expect to use the bike. If you're planning on doing mostly road biking with the occasional cross country trip, and only once in a while going down an actual mountain... then you won't need the same kind of bike as someone who is strictly a downhiller.

Mountain bikes come in two different kinds - hard tail and full suspension. The hard tail has suspension in the front but not in the back - hence the term "hard tail." Full suspension bikes are more comfortable... but correspondingly more expensive.

When Will You Buy?
Just as car dealers sell models off at a discount at the end of their selling season, so will bike stores. If you live in an area with a "winter season," you're bound to see some winter season sales.

So don't be impatient... but don't deprive yourself of a summer of fun, either!

Alastair Hamilton contributes adding content to http://www.bikecyclingreviews.com . A website with tips on mountain bike reviews, amongst many related topics.

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