As a keen mountain biker, I am always looking for the best mountain bikes available. I have bought countless (well must be at least 10) mountain bikes over the years, and whenever I am looking to add to my collection or upgrade one of my bikes nowadays, I don't rush into it. Main reason for this is getting stung on the past, when I choose a new mountain bike and one for my wife, from a local specialist store.
Looking back, I regret not taking my time, as the choice was so limited to just a few brands and my wife and I were swayed by good salesmen, convenience and ultimately (for my wife more so!) a decent looking machine.
I should have known better, as I worked in a large bicycle retailer in the UK for 5 years when I was younger, and got seriously into mountain biking at the same time. I know that you need to decide what kind of bike you are after as the first step. Is it pure off road riding you'll be doing? Is it mostly on fairly level terrain, or are there lots of hills and mountains? Do you prefer an upright stance when riding to a more racy stretched out position? The list goes on...
There are so many brands around now, a lot of which are quite reputable and established, but even when shopping within these brands, you have to be careful you are not sold something that isn't suitable. I refer back to my experience after moving to a new area... I wanted to get my wife into mountain biking, but she didn't have a bike, or any experience. I too had a bit of a craving for a new bike, so we ended up buying his and hers - mine was too beginner like for my level, and hers was a bit advanced... but they looked nice parked up side by side! Shortly afterwards I realised my mistake, but by then it was a bit late. It does vary, but some of the best brands are Kona, Specialized, Marin, Trek, GT, Cannondale, Mongoose and Gary Fisher.
These days you can get many different kinds of bikes to suit all ages/sizes/styles and preferences. I am soon to start looking for a kids mountain bike for my boy. And hopefully (funds permitting) a new bike for my wife that she will be much more comfortable on.
So the moral or my story, and the reason for being compelled to write this article, is to do your research in advance. Do NOT whatever you do limit yourself to one store nearby. By all means if they stock some bikes that come up in your search, head down and take a test ride (another essential thing to never forget before buying!) but don't feel pressured into buying until you know exactly what will suit you best.
A few of the key areas to focus on:
- Style of riding you do
- Your size/shape - make sure the frame does fit!
- Your budget - set it and stick to it!
- Suspension - front, full or none at all?
- Extras - what accessories are you going to find essential?
- Test ride... and test ride... and test ride again!
- Choose a good dealer, one who you can trust and go back to in the event of problems
For further info on MTB reviews and how to identify the best mountain bikes, check out the details below.
The Best Mountain Bikes Available Today
Simon is a keen Mountain Biker and has worked with bikes for the last 20 years. He has been involved in the purchase of countless mountain bikes for friends and family, as well as having bought a significant amount of his own since his first purchase of a Black & White Raleigh Mustang back in 1988.
You can find out more information and hints and tips on finding the best mountain bikes, by checking out the link below: