Mountain biking is the best outdoor sport out there! Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but it really is a unique sport that alloys you to stay fit, fulfill the adrenaline rush, and get back in touch with nature. At the same time, if you don’t have too many close friends who ride mountain bikes it can be a little intimidating when you are first starting out. What bike should you get? Do you have to wear spandex? Do all mountain bikers have to jump off cliffs? A lot of these questions sometimes discourage people from getting into riding so we are here to help and show you just how easy it is to start riding the Cycleogical way!
The most important as well as most intimidating thing you need to start mountain biking is the bike of course! Without it you’re just another hiker! Walk into any shop and look at the wrong bikes and one can quickly become discouraged seeing bikes in the $4000-$6000 region. While bikes at these price points are often times worth every penny, as someone who is just getting into riding you do not need all of those bells and whistles! A lot of the technology found on those higher end bikes is often times only appreciated after a few months-years of riding. However, if you think this is going to be a sport that you are going to enjoy for a while, and you have the budget for a bike in this price range, you might want to consider one of these bikes to get ahead start and save yourself some money down the line. It’s like the old aged saying goes, you can’t miss what you never had! Now we are not encouraging you to go to your local Wal-Mart and pick up a bike there either because there is a fine line to what’s a great entry level mountain bike deal and what is unsafe. Very often, these bikes found at Wal-Mart and Target are assembled by people who aren’t bicycle mechanics, and a lot can be wrong with the bike right out of the box. Another downside is often times these bikes are poorly spec’d with low end parts and this quickly leads to not only safety concerns but reliability as well.
So just where is the sweet spot for someone who is just starting to ride mountain bikes but also doesn’t want to break the bank? This is going to depend on what style of bike you want. If you have walked into a bike shop or watched any video’s you probably have noticed that mountain bikes normally fall into 2 categories, a hardtail and a full suspension. A hardtail is a bike with no suspension in the rear and often time suspension up front. These bikes are for the rider that want the most efficient ride over flatter terrain on the climbs and is willing to sacrifice a little comfort on the downs. Hardtails are normally lighter than full suspensions in the same price point since they don’t have as much going on in the rear. A full suspension bike has suspension in the front and rear. These bikes are intended to be relatively efficient up but sacrifice a little bit in that category to be comfortable on the downs. If you are looking to do a lot more technical riding, these bikes are the go to because they alloy you to get out of trouble when you get in it since you have travel in the front and rear and inspire more confidence than a hardtail would. An entry level hardtail that is well spec’d and will be reliable for the miles to come normally runs between $550-$1500 all depending on how light you want the bike and how much technology you want right away. An entry-level full suspension with an equivalent spec as the hardtail normally runs about $1500-$2500 depending on the same factors.
Still not sure what style of bike is for you? The next question to ask yourself is what type of riding do you want to do. For the most part, there are a few major categories of mountain biking: XC, Trail, All Mountain/Enduro, and Downhill. XC riders prioritize efficiency and normally are on their bikes to go fast, get exercise, or just enjoy nature. XC bikes come in both hardtails and short travel full suspension (normally around 100mm ). Trail riders enjoy both being efficient up and tackling slightly technical trails, so they want a bike that will excel both up and down. These bike are normally mid travel full suspension bikes (normally around 125mm) but there are a few more aggressive hardtails that fall into this category. All mountain/enduro riders are the adrenaline junkies who believe that you have to pay to play, and are looking for bikes that will get them to the top of the climb but are not trying to win the race up, because their real fun begins when the trail gets steep. These bikes are traditionally longer travel full suspension (normally around 150mm of travel).
Figure out the right style of bike for you and are now trying to sort through all the brands out there? For the most part you can’t really go wrong with most brands on the market because bike technology has come such a long way and most companies do a great job at staying competitive. Here at Cycleogical we’ve brought in the brands we believe in and have given our customers a lot of options in the route they want to go. Some bigger brands we carry that have great bang for the buck entry-level mountain bikes are Norco, Jamis, and Devinci. These companies really have a bike for every budget, and a lot of people find themselves going this route for their first bike. Other brands we care that are a little more on the boutique side but are definitely worth every penny are Yeti, Ibis, and Pivot. These companies focus on higher end mountain bikes, but that’s not to say that Norco, Jamis, and Ibis cannot compete in the higher end market. So like we said you can’t really go wrong!
So after narrowing down what style of bike you want and trying out a few (we have a demo program that allows you to use your rental fee towards the purchase of any bicycle) you probably are getting pretty close to picking out your first mountain bike! When you are making your purchase, you probably are also wondering what other equipment you need to start riding. The first thing you should get for yourself besides the bike is a helmet! Helmets are essential to your safety, and we do not recommend riding without one. There are tons of helmets out there at all price points and the cool thing is that they all meet the minimum safety standards! Helmets that have higher price tags normally offer a few other bells and whistles such as extra ventilation, lighter weight, and additional protection. The other items we recommend getting are gloves, a hydration pack, and a basic tool kit with an extra tube just in case you get a flat. Don’t know how to fix a flat? Come join on of our tech sessions!
So there you go! You are all ready to hit the trails! Come join one of our shop rides whenever you want too! Happy Trails!