Whether you are a beginner or pro, it can be a bit frustrating as well as time consuming when you buy a mountain bike and getting all the mountain biking gear. Below, you’ll find some tips and things to be aware of before you lay down the cash and buy a mountain bike and mountain biking gear.
Determining your price
There is really no limit as to how much money you can spend on a new mountain bike. To help you keep your spending under control, you should figure out what your price range is and how much your willing to pay for a new bike. When you buy, you shouldn’t buy from mass merchant stores such as Wal-Mart. You should instead support your local bike shop and get a much better bike and much better service.
Finding your style
All mountain bikes and mountain biking gear are designed with several different riding styles and terrain types in mind. You’ll need to figure out what type of riding you will be doing the most. Smooth riding, cross country racing, mountain cruising, or lift accessed downhill is something you need to figure out. Make sure that the bike you select fits your personal style and not that of the sale’s staff.
Full suspension or hard tail
If you can afford it, a full suspension mountain bike is always worth the purchase. A hard tail, without rear suspension, is much lighter weight and pedal more efficiently, although full suspensions offer more comfort and overall better control. You’ll want to make that decision based on your price range, riding style, and the type of terrain you’ll be riding on the most.
Finding your favorites
Comparing mountain bikes component to component is nearly impossible, as there are far too many combinations available. The best way to go about doing this is finding a few components that are the most important to you and making sure the rest or the minimums fall within your price range. You can start with the fork then look at the wheels and rear derailleur.
Sales and seasons
During the year, the prices of mountain bikes can fluctuate quite a bit. Spring through summer is the main buying season. If you can wait until the right price pops up, normally in the fall and winter, you can save a couple hundred dollars. Many bike shops will also offer discounts or other accessories if you buy from them.
Finding a good dealer
Finding a good bike dealer for bikes and mountain biking gear is more important than finding the best price. You should always find a dealer that cares more about selling you a great bike than selling you a high priced one. A great dealer will have a clean repair shop and give you the impression that you can really trust them.
You should test ride as many bikes as you can within your price range and riding style. You’ll find that some bikes will feel right, while others won’t. The more bikes you can test drive, you better you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t.
Different Types of Mountain Bikes
With mountain biking being a very popular sport, there are many bikes and mountain biking gear to choose from. Depending on what type of riding you like, the style of bikes you can choose from will vary. Below, you’ll find tips on the different types of bikes available.
- Cross country
Almost all mountain bikes will fit into this category. Cross country mountain bikes are light weight, making them easy to ride over most terrains, even up and down hills. This is the most common mountain bike and it can be used with ease for riding on the path or even commuting.
These types of bikes are for serious bikers who crave the ultimate adventure. Downhill bikes have front and rear suspension, strong parts, and disc brakes. Rarely available off the shelf, most riders like to custom build their own.
Trail mountain biking involves a great degree of skill and is classified as the precision riding of the sport. Similar to downhill bikes, trial riders will often build their own bikes rather than purchase one off a shelf. Generally very light and very strong, these bikes require a lot of discipline.
- Jump and slalom
Slalom and jump bikes are very strong and designed for jumping, street racing, and slalom. They offer a front suspension and use very strong components dedicated to what they do. These bikes are very popular with the sport of mountain biking.
Even if you are new to mountain biking, the sport can be a lot of fun. There are several bikes to choose from, all of which depend on your style. If you are still looking for the best style for you, all you have to do is try out several bikes and see which one suites you the best.
Sizing Mountain bikes
Along with giving you a better selection and expert advice, bike shop personnel can you help you get fitted to the right size bike. You can get the bike either too big or too small, which will cause your enjoyment to suffer. Follow the tips below, and you’ll have the perfect fit for your mountain bike.
Stand over height
When you check the fitting yourself, the first thing you want to check is the inseam clearance, or the standover height. You want to have plenty of room between yourself and the top tube when you come to a stop. There should be around four to six inches of clearance from the top of your inseam to the top of the top tube.
Leg and feet position
There’s a nifty formula for determining the leg position for riding a mountain bike. When riding a mountain bike, the terrain constantly changes, raising you off the seat constantly, sometimes just slightly, other times completely off.
Therefore, you’ll need to sit your saddle slightly lower than you would on any other type of bike. Be sure you take this slightly lower seat height position into effect when you factor the size of the frame.
The next thing you’ll want to check is the rider compartment layout (the distance between the saddle and the handlebars). Once the proper leg extension has been determined, be sure the handlebar is one to two inches below the height of the saddle. You should never have the handlebars higher than the seat, unless there is some type of upper body problem.
Dual suspension bikes
With suspension being at both ends, you’ll want your weight more in the middle of the bike so that your weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear suspension units, thus allowing the front and rear suspension to work as a unit.
This can be done quite easily by using either a higher or shorter stem to raise the hand height, which will in turn move the upper body up and the weight towards the rear. The increase in rise shouldn’t be no more than two inches, then the decrease in reach shouldn’t be any more than two inches.
Once you have taken all of these steps into account, go out and test drive the bike. Make sure you wear a helmet, even if you are going to be testing for a brief period of time. Be sure that the tires are set to the right pressure, and the shop has adjusted the bike for you properly.
You should have a shop employee observe your body position and ride height while riding, to determine is any further adjustments need to be made. Ride the bike around for a bit to get used to its handling and new equipment. Start off slowly, then give the bike a bit of time to present its personality.
After a few minutes, you might notice that something isn’t working correctly or just doesn’t feel right in general. If this happens, go back to the shop and have the problem corrected before you rule out the bike.
The more you ride bikes, the easier it will be to tell the difference in the ride types. Keep in mind, it may take months and even years to appreciate the way a bike handles. Talk to those who ride, and ask them if they ride the bikes they sell. This way, you’ll learn more about the mountain bikes you love so much!
Clothes For Winter Riding
Mountain biking in cold weather has always been a challenge. The problem is that you’ll start out cold then warm up and break a sweat, making yourself wet. Then, when you travel downhill, the combination of wet skin and windchill will be quite chilling.
Below, you’ll find a list of the cold weather clothing to add to your mountain biking gear that will make winter riding less of a bone chilling experience.
In cold temperatures, your feet are the most vulnerable part of your anatomy. Pressure from pedaling will tend to cut off the circulation to your toes, which can put you at a risk of frostbite. In cold conditions, neoprene booties are a must have. They will zip over your shoes and even have a pattern in the sole where you can cut out a piece for cleats.
There are several manufacturers that make “lobster gloves”, a hybrid glove that separates your index finger and thumb from the rest of your hand. These gloves are warmer than regular gloves, and the distinct index finger will allow you to operate your shifting and brake levers.
In case your hands get cold, you should carry a pair of lightweight glove liners will you as well. If you have to stop to take care of a problem, the liners will protect your hands from the cold.
Glasses that wraparound and provide maximum protection from the wind are best to wear in the winter. You can protect yourself from debris, as well as the cold.
You should wear heavy socks although not to heavy. A sock that is overly heavy will make your shoes tight, cut off circulation, even make your feet cold. You should try lightweight socks, as they will keep your feet warm without bulk. If you need an extra layer, try silk ski socks as they are very warm and also extra lightweight.
Polypropylene is the best material here, as it is lightweight and best for colder temperatures.
Moving air is the biggest cause for losing body heat. By having good wind protection you’ll be able to vent perspiration while also protecting yourself from windchill. You should choose pants and a jacket based on durability, breathing, and price as these types of clothing can get very experience.
Helmet and liners
Your head is very important, as you lose 50% of your body heat through your head. A helmet is designed to keep you cool in the summer, not warm in the winter. A fleece liner inside your helmet will keep your head and ears warm during winter riding.
Mountain Biking Accessories
When you first start out with mountain biking, it can be a bit overwhelming when you walk into a bike store to buy your first mountain bike and see all of the available mountain biking gear you’ll need when you first start riding.
There are a lot of mountain biking gear and related products that you can purchase. Although the sales staff will try to sell you anything they can, the real question for those on a budget isn’t what’s cool, but what accessories you need to make your rides more safe and enjoyable. By starting with these accessories, you’ll be just fine when you hit the trails.
The bike helmet is the most important part of your mountain biking gear that you can buy. No one should ever be on a bike without a helmet. There have been many people who have experienced serious head injury, when it could have prevented by wearing a helmet. All mountain bike helmets are comfortable and stylish and everyone who rides on the trails wears one.
Mountain bike gloves
No matter what season you ride in, your hands can take a beating. Beginners will normally keep a death grip on the handle bars, which can be very brutal for their hands. When you crash, your hands will be the first thing to hit the ground – and everyone crashes at some point. Mountain bike gloves are a must have part of your mountain biking gear as they will take the beating for you.
Mountain bike shorts
After the first few mountain bike rides you take, you’ll notice that your rear end will be quite uncomfortable. Even though your body will adjust, bike shorts are great to have as they will help keep it at a bare minimum. You can get shorts that are very comfortable, making them a great addition to your mountain bike ride.
Mountain bike shoes
Depending on the type of pedals you have and the type of riding you do, you’ll want to pick your mountain bike shoes accordingly. If your bike has clip-less type pedals, you’ll want to get shoes to accept the special cleat for your pedals. Good mountain bike shoes are durable, comfortable, and also a stiff sole for better efficiency when pedaling. Also, you should make sure to get the right shoe for the terrain you’ll be riding in as well.
If you get something in your eye, you can run off the trail in a matter of seconds. Sunglasses or clear lens glasses can help keep your eyes safe from debris, as well as protect them from the wind. When you buy your glasses, make sure they are non-breakable.
Bringing a water bottle or hydration backpack with you is always a great idea. It’s very easy to get dehydrated so you should always bring water with you and drink it on the trail to ensure that your body stays properly hydrated at all times.
Trail repair kit
It’s easy to get stuck in the woods or on the trail if you don’t bring the proper repair kit for your bike. To be on the safe side, bring a multi-tool designed for bike repair, tire levers, and a patch kit for fixing flat tires.
Things To Take With You
When you decide to go mountain biking on a long days ride, there are several mountain biking gear items that you should include in your mountain biking gear to take with you. Below, you’ll find the essentials that you should have with you.
- Back pack – a camel back or mule is a good idea here.
- Waterproof – the type that packs down very small is the best to have.
- Water – you need at least 2 liters for a long ride.
- Food – sandwiches and energy bars are the best to have with you to eat.
- Pump – take a good one with you, as the small mini pumps are a waste of time and money.
- Tire levers if you need them.
- Two small inner tubes.
- A piece of medium emery paper about 3 inches long and an inch wide.
- A cut up tube of Crest for pinch punctures or to use as a tire boot.
- A carpet needle.
- A card of linen thread to repair torn tires.
- A good chain splitter
- At least two black pins. You should tape these to the inside lid of your puncture repair kit.
- A set of Allen wrenches. The penknife style is the best to get.
- A small screwdriver.
- A first aid kit that includes an elastic bandage.
- A Spokey spoke key.
- A felt tip pen that will show on inner tubes.
- Some lunch and phone money.
If you take the above mountain biking gear with you, you should have no problems with long mountain bike rides. Everything on the above list will serve a purpose, all you have to do is give them a chance. If you’ve ever been mountain biking and ran into problems in the past, you should know first hand just how important the proper supplies can actually be.
Doing the research
Product reviews, bike reviews and mountain biking gear reviews are some of the best ways to find out about a mountain bikes reliability and overall performance. You should always look at what other owners and reviews think about a bike before you make that final purchase.