Buying a mountain bike?

It can be a bit frustrating as well as time consuming when you buy a mountain bike.  Below, you'll find some tips and things to be aware of before you lay down the cash and buy a mountain bike.

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 best do not buy from mass merchant stores. You should instead support your local bike shop and get a much better bike and much better service.

Finding your style

All mountain bikes 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 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.

Test ride

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.

Doing the research

Product reviews and bike 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.

So, best of luck finding, testing and buying your new 2-wheeler! 

Getting into mountain biking

Mountain biking is an exciting sport that can be enjoyed by anyone who knows how to ride a bike. Compared to the average bike ride, it does present some danger. Therefore, you should master these basic skills before you hit the trails or the dirt.

You can practice these beginning skills at a local park, school, bike path, or simply around your house. If you can, try to find a location with a steep hill.

Get a feel for your pedals

Practice moving your foot away from the pedal, first while sitting on your bike with one foot on the ground. Next, move on to releasing and replacing your foot while pedaling around for a bit. Those with toe clip and clipless type foot pedals will want to spend a bit more time practicing.

Sit and spin for position

Simply sit on your bike and pedal around. You should keep your arms slightly bent. You should also adjust your seat height so your leg is 70 to 90 percent extended at the bottom of every stroke on the pedal. Keep your body relaxed, as there will never be a position where you should have either your knees or your elbows locked.

Shifting gears

Get a feel for shifting gears with your bike. The higher gears are harder to pedal and will go faster while the lower gears are easier to pedal and will help you ascend hills. As you get to steeper hills, its best to shift before you get to the hill rather than while your on it.

Coasting

You should spend a bit of time coasting while standing on your pedals, without actually sitting on the seat. Keep your arms bent but don't lock your knees. Now, try experimenting with shifting your body towards the rear end of the bike.

Pedal while standing

You should get as comfortable as you can with pedaling while standing on your bike. Try lifting yourself off the seat while standing on the pedals, then crank them around. You should try this in higher gears on flat ground then again in lower gears while on a hill.

Dropping down a curb

Try finding a curb where you can easily get to the upper portion of it. Practice at a moderate speed, standing and coasting right off the curb from the upper level to the lower level. Try this at different speeds until it becomes second nature.

Once you practice these techniques and get the hang of them, you'll be able to hit the trails feeling comfortable on your mountain bike. Even though it may take some getting used to, it'll become second nature before you know it.