Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Mountain Bike

A complete guide on buying a mountain bike. Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Mountain Bike thegearhunt.com

Did you know that about 318 million Americans cycle yearly? Some use their bicycles to get to work or for leisure. Now, let’s say you are one of those Americans that love to cycle but have been looking for something a bit more extreme. That is where mountain biking comes in.

Mountain biking is a style of cycling that includes off-road terrain and a variety of obstacles to overcome. If you have been looking to get into a new sport and are looking for something a bit more extreme, mountain biking may be for you. The first step you will want to look into is buying a mountain bike. Below we have laid out exactly what you will want to look for when buying your new set of wheels.

What is a Mountain Bike?

A mountain bicycle is quite different from your standard road bicycle. When mountain biking you are cycling through rough terrain and are going to be cruising through the backcountry. So you want to make sure that your bike and gear will be up for the challenge and get you through the trails without issue. That is why you will have to invest specifically in a mountain bike.

Now you may be thinking, what exactly makes a bicycle a mountain bike? Well, the easiest way to tell if you are looking at a mountain bike is that it has a suspension system built into the frame. You will want your to frame to be lightweight and also have shock absorbers attached to the frame above your wheels. The reason you will want shock absorbers is due to the force that your bike will take as you fly up and down trails.  

Another feature you will want to ensure your bike will have will be traction tires. The reason you will want these tires is so your bicycle can gain a sense of grip. The grip is important as it will allow you to keep control as you race downhill. Overall, you will be able to look at a bicycle and decipher it is made for mountain biking. Just keep these features mentioned above in mind. 

Criteria to Keep in Mind When Buying Your Next Mountain Bike

Now to get to the juicy details! When looking to invest in a mountain bike there are some criteria you will want to keep in mind. Do not just look for a beginner mountain bike and think you will have everything you need. Like anything you look to pursue, do the research and make sure that you invest in the best possible bike for you. After you review these criteria you will know how to differentiate between good mountain bikes and junk.    


One of the first things you will want to look at is the mountain bike frame. Now, these criteria can be used when buying any bike, not only just a mountain bike. You want to ensure that the size matches your height. This way you are not putting any strain on your back or body when pedaling or sitting on the bike. 

The best way to ensure that you are getting the right size for you is to stand beside the bike and make sure the frame is parallel to your hip. Think of it like trying on a pair of shoes to make sure they fit right.

By standing beside it and making sure it is parallel to your hip, you are trying on the bike to ensure it will fit your body. You can also sit on it and test out the size that way. Make sure that your feet can comfortably touch the ground.  


As mentioned above, you will want to make sure your frame is lightweight. The reason for this is because you will be going up and downhill on rough terrain and do not want to feel like you’re being weighed down. This is important because if you end up with a heavy frame, you may find that you have some trouble cruising around easily and could lose your balance if you hit a rock or small obstacle.

Overall, ensure your frame is lighter so you can fly over obstacles with ease.     


Once again when looking to invest in a mountain bike, you want to make sure it has suspension. Now, you can have a full-suspension bike or just the front or back. The trails and terrain that you will be biking on will determine what kind of suspension you will want.

If you can land a full-suspension bike this will give the cushion and smooth ride you expect while toppling over that rough terrain. The more cushion, the less strain your body will feel while riding.


Another criteria to consider is the style of mountain biking you will be doing.

 You’ll want to figure out the style of mountain biking that appeals to you and invest in a bike that fits that style.

There are different styles? Yes, there are four styles to be in fact.

The four styles are cross country, trail, enduro, and downhill. They all differ in the terrain and the specifics you will want your bike to have. If you are looking to pursue cross country riding then you will want it to have the features that compliment it. Cross country riders will want their bikes to have a light frame, great suspension, and traction tires for additional grip.

Overall, make sure you know the style you will be involved in the most and invest in the bike that fits that style.


Criteria that gets overlooked is the seat and some could argue that this is one of the most important. The reason that the seat is such an important aspect to consider is that it is responsible for your comfort. If you find a great bike but after a bit of riding find that your seat is uncomfortable. It could affect your whole ride.

Yes, it is true that if you do have an uncomfortable seat, it can just be changed. But wouldn’t you rather try the seat out before you invest to save you from buying another down the road? Try out the seat and if you decide you love the bike but not the seat. Then you may have to bite the bullet and invest in an aftermarket seat. 


Other important criteria are your budget. Every one of us that goes into investing in something has a budget in mind. It can be hard trying to stick to that budget, though. You do not need to buy the most expensive bicycle in the market to ensure you are getting the best one.

In many situations just because something is more expensive does not mean it is better. If you follow this philosophy you could end up with a high priced bike that is junk. Do the research and make a list of the important features you want your bike to have. Then stick within your budget and find the best bike that will fit that budget and has the most features you want. this way you will have a bike you can afford and has the features you are after.   

Know Your Stuff When Buying A Mountain Bike

Now that you know the types of bikes and the features that are important when buying a mountain bike, you will now be able to make the best decision and have the perfect bike for your new extreme hobby.

If you know what features you are after but are wondering what are the best mountain bike brands are. Some top brands are GT, Trek, and Santa Cruz. Just remember to stick to your budget and ensure that you match the bike to the style of mountain biking you are looking to pursue. If you follow this, you will end up with the perfect bike that fits your budget. 


  1. REI Expert Advice, Mountain Bike Fitting Basics,
  2. David Fiedler, Mountain Bike Sizing and Fit,
  3. REI Expert Advice, Bike Suspension Basics,