How to Choose a Mountain Bike

If you are an adventure seeker, fun-loving, and want to try off-road, then a mountain bike is the toy you need. It has distinguishing features like rugged, broad tires to increase the friction on a wide range of terrains. You will see a variety of motorcycle models for mountaineering to choose from for the riding you want to do.

The mountaineering sport has evolved over the years, and deciding which bike you have to choose is the first step towards selecting your bike. So, here are a few tips to choose the right mountain bike for yourself.

buying a mountain bike guide

1. The right size

The size and fit of the bike is an essential aspect while choosing a bike. It makes sure that you are comfortable while riding it. If you choose a bike that small in size for you, then it would be uncomfortable, and you won't be able to ride for long. A bike that is too big for your size becomes difficult for you to handle and is dangerous to ride, leading to accidents.

Before buying a bike, make sure that you can sit comfortably, reach the handle, and saddle easily.

2. The wheel size

For years, bikers ignored the wheel size as a factor while buying mountain bikes as all the bikes came in standard 26-inch wheel size. Then came two wheel sizes 27.5-inch and 29-inch. While you are considering the right wheel size, remember the best way to understand their differences is to feel them by going for a test ride in each one.

3. Choose hardtail or full-suspension

Full suspension or hardtail is a huge decision to make while buying a new bike. The main attribute of a full-suspension mountain bike is that it has both rear shock and a suspension fork up front, whereas the hardtail bike consists of a suspension bike only. The comfort, bike's control, and traction depending on the type of suspension the mountain bike has.

The bearing, linkage, rear shock, and additional manufacturing difficulties come for a lot of money for a full-suspension bike. Whereas you get a better deal with parts for a hardtail bike at the same price as a suspension bike. Hardtail bikes are more economical to maintain and uncomplicated as compared to a full-suspension bike.

If you are looking for a bike to ride on a reasonably smooth trail, then buy a hardtail bike that will absorb the medium bumps with its front suspension fork and give you the speed for a fun ride.

4. Strength & Durability of Bike

As compared to the weight of the bike, the strength of the bike is more important. A mountain bike consists of powerful brakes for slippery descents and steep ascents. Lightweight and shaky bikes are not stable on uneven trails. Very light and flimsy bikes do not perform well on big rocks and over big tree roots as they can get stuck easily at weird angles, affecting your confidence, steering accuracy, and your speed.

Therefore, adding a few extra pounds to your bike can keep your bike away from the hedges.

5. Invest in oil cooler or radiator guards

One of the worst things that can happen to your on an off-road mountain trip is your oil cooler or radiator getting punctured because of a protruding tree branch or a rock. The puncture of the cooling system will end your adventurous ride very soon as the engine heats up quickly. Especially if you are riding one of the big boys like Suzuki sv650, you need to protect the powerful engine from overheating.

So, buy the right quality oil cooler guard for your Suzuki sv650.

6. Keep aside budget for bike accessories

Apart from the money you spend on your motorcycle, an off-road mountain trip will require some dedicated bike accessories. Start with keeping a budget for buying a sturdy trail helmet with proper coverage and protection. You may also need to buy a backpack and sun-protective glasses to prevent dust from entering your eyes.

Then, you may need to buy mountain bike specific shoes. You should change your old tires and get a tire suitable for mountaineering. Old tires may have cheap material and can wear quickly in the rough terrain. Upgrade your motorcycle with the latest gear that can easily fit into the storage space of the bike.

For detailed bike reviews and guides, one can even browse online and find a plethora of sites offering different compatible offerings.

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Apart from the technicalities in the motorcycle, you should also keep in mind what skill level you possess while choosing a bike. For example, if you are new to mountain biking, a 450R may be too difficult and expensive to handle for you. Similarly, whether to go for a kick-start arrangement or an electric-start model depends on how classic you want your bike to feel.

If you think that you might get stuck during your trip and might panic, a motorcycle with an electric-start is the way to go. Another important thing is your knowledge about repairing bikes. Mountaineering with bikes will often leave your motorcycles with a lot of repair work needed before and after the ride.

If you are mechanically adept, you can choose an old bike and repair it yourself. But, if you are a novice at bike repair, select a newer model for your trip.

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Kalyan Panja