When you decide to take up a new hobby, it is always best to try it out first to make sure it is suited to you before spending a load of money on the gear then finding you hate it. Beginning with a mountain bike is a classic example of this – just because you enjoy biking to work or with the kids around town, doesn’t mean you will like mountain biking.
One solution is to hire a mountain bike for a weekend to try it out and see how it feels. If you find after initial experiments that the bug has firmly bitten you, then you are ready to get started with your first bike.
Getting your stuff together
Before you hit the trail, remember that it isn’t just a mountain bike you need to purchase: safety equipment is essential. Also, if you plan to do more distance than speed, invest in the best man bags for the job to carry your essential supplies with you: water, snacks, first aid supplies and such. They may increase your weight load a little but can be crucial when you are biking somewhere away from civilisation.
There are three main types of mountain bikes: rigid which have no suspension, hardtail that have front suspension and full suspension. There are also a range of different types of brakes including cable operated rim brakes and disc brakes. As a rule, the lower price you pay for the bike, the more basic things like suspension and brakes will be but this isn’t to say that they won’t do their job.
Perhaps the most important thing about the bike is the size of it in relation to you. A general idea is that a bike with 14-15 inch wheels would be suitable for someone between 5 foot and 5 foot 3 inches while 17-18 inches would be okay for someone up to 5 foot 9 inches. Someone over 6 feet should be looking at a 20-inch wheel.
Buying second hand
If you are unsure if mountain biking is for you or can’t quite afford a new bike, there are some great deals to be had on second hand bikes. Here are some tips what to look for when buying a second hand bike:
- Make sure the wheels aren’t buckled and that the tyres aren’t going to need replacing before you can even use the bike.
- Avoid bikes with cracks in the frame as these can hide greater problems. Alloys frames are the lighter option than steel frames but are also more prone to damage so if have existing signs, may not last lone
- Brakes must be in top working order with a smooth release and all cables in good order. Disc brakes may need new pads so check inside to see what they are looking like or ask for a picture if you are buying online.
- Make sure pedals rotate correctly and that the gears work as they should
If all of these crucial areas are in good order, then you may be looking at a really good second bike that isn’t going to cost you a lot to get on the trail. You could be out biking in no time at all.