You must be overwhelmed with all the information you get about mountain bikes. Here's a list of important features to focus on as you go over your options.
1 – Bike Size
For your riding comfort, ease, and safety, it's important to find a mountain bike that's the right size for you.
You need to know your height and inseam measurement (the length of your leg from the crotch to the bottom of your feet).
Your bike inseam is different from your clothing inseam. Here's how to measure your bike inseam:
Without your shoes, stand with your back against the wall. Stand with your feet apart as wide as your shoulders.
Place a large book between your legs with the spine against your crotch. Another person will have to measure from the floor to the book's spine.
Bike frames and inseam are measured in inches. Bike shops have a sizing guide to help you pick the right one.
And don't forgo trying it out.
2 – Wheel Size
You have four options when it comes to wheel size.
26-inch wheels used to be the only wheel size for mountain bikes. But now they come in bigger sizes.
29-inch wheels: They give your bike good traction. It also gives a better attack angle. On the downside, they are heavy, making it harder to move around or bike uphill.
Since it's bigger in diameter, shorter riders will have a harder time on a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels than those with smaller wheels.
27.5-inch wheels: This is the middle option between 26-inch wheels and 29-inch wheels. This is ideal if you want to ride fast and move more easily.
3 – Full Suspension or Hardtail?
Mountain bikes have suspensions but the amount of suspension varies depending on your need for it.
Whether you need a hardtail or a full suspension mountain bike depends on the kind of terrain you'll often ride on.
Hardtails have suspension at the front only. If you're planning to ride on smooth grounds, a hardtail mountain bike is good enough for you. And, they're easier to maintain.
Full suspension mountain bikes have suspension in the front and back. If you're going to ride through rough trails, having a full suspension bike will give you more stability and control. Because of more moving parts, they're more expensive and harder to maintain.
If you're shopping for a bike on a budget, it's better to look for hardtail mountain bikes. Don't make the mistake of buying a full suspension that's cheap. It won't be a good bike.
4 – Materials
A mountain bike's frame determines its weight, durability, ease of ride, and the price.
Most bikes today are made of aluminum. It is much lighter compared to steel that used to dominate the bike market.
Aluminum became a welcome option because it's lighter weight but still strong.
Other materials used to make bikes are titanium and carbon. While both are lightweight and durable, they are both costly. And are only being used for high-end bikes.
Compared to other lightweight options, aluminum is the most affordable.