Someone looking for a mountain bike that can run flawlessly in scary downhills, a rocky and muddy bay and long hard rides should consider either the hard tail or the light to medium weight suspension mountain bike. The full suspension is the popular choice for mountain bikers but have the following disadvantages:
- A full suspension mountain bike is heavier by at least two pounds compared to a hard tail.
- A full suspension mountain bike is more expensive, as it is designed to soften the impact of bumpy roads.
- More maintenance work needs to done in a full suspension bike particularly on its rear shock absorbers and pivot lubing.
- The increased weight of a full suspension bike makes it more difficult to use in climbing hills.
However, full suspension mountain bikes offer the following advantages:
- They are safer on the bail out line given that the mountain bike is running at moderate speed.
- Improved control and higher downhill speed.
- Long hard rides are less strenuous and fatiguing.
Given the following, full-suspension are inappropriate for:
- Those that want to be competitive in a cross-country race.
- Those that want to be competitive in an uphill race.
- Bikers on a tight budget
- Bikers that do not want to be bothered too much on maintenance.
A hard tail is ideal for those with limited funds, as this type of mountain bike can perform almost similarly to a full-suspension mountain bike with the additional benefit of being cheaper and easier to maintain. Lightweight full-suspension bikes are considerably better in terms of performance compared to those retailing for slightly below £800 and weighing at least 30 pounds. Bikers buying a hard tail should make sure that what they are getting is equipped with a strong suspension fork.
Those that choose full-suspension bikes claim that their rides are more fun to use, as they can ride swiftly in rough terrain. However, bikers that want to experience the benefits of the two selections should choose a £800 hard tail and a full suspension.
Bigger is not always better
Mountain bikes are designed with a low profile to ensure that the rider will not land on the cross bar if he bounces off the saddle. Those shopping for a new mountain bike should first lift the seat pin an inch about the top end of its travel. The bike might be too big if you cannot reach the pedals or the floor. The frame can be concluded as too big if the seat pin cannot be extended by more than half. However, a biker might need a larger frame if he can still pedal comfortably even if the seat pin is just slightly above its limit mark.
Mountain bike buyers should also consider a chainset with replaceable rings and choose those produced by established companies such as Giant, Specialized and Trek. These brands offer competitively priced quality mountain bikes. Good mountain bike shops add a free helmet, which is a necessity when riding on the road.
Important factors in choosing a mountain bike:
- Buy a product that fits your budget.
- A mountain bike should never be too big.
- Choose a bike appropriate for your riding style.
- Try to push for discounts and possible freebies.
- Purchasing from a local shop is advisable, as you can easily avail of after sales service.
Khieng ‘Ken‘ Chho – Mountain Bike
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