If you’re new to cycling and don’t know how to choose your first mountain bike, this post was written for you.
Once you’ve decided on your first mountain bike, all you have to do is pack your backpack with everything you need and set off on new adventures.
Reasons why we love mountain biking: our experience
There are many reasons why you might love mountain biking.
Often some women come to off-road and decide to buy their first mountain bike after years of road cycling to try riding in a different environment Sometimes the same thing happens to runners. After years of asphalt, some decide to switch to tracks to try out new things in unique places and landscapes.
Others decide to take up mountain biking as a newcomer to two wheels, driven by the desire for an experience in contact with nature, on paths and dirt tracks, far from traffic. It’s a way of doing sport that provides a huge sense of freedom, and for many it quickly becomes a real lifestyle.
In any case, it’s useful to know how to go about choosing the first mountain bike that suits your needs as a cyclist. In complete safety.
1. Which off-road bike to choose to start: questions to ask when buying
When choosing your first MTB, having a clear idea of which model is right for you is important.
You might start by considering the following:
- What will I use it for?
- Which routes will I be riding on?
- Am I going to take part in any competitions?
There are many things to know and choices to be made when riding a mountain bike for the first time. . Unlike a road bike, you’ll be up against roots, stones and uneven terrain, sometimes even wet. The technical component should therefore not be underestimated even when choosing a bike.
2. Choosing the right size of your first mountain bike
When first getting into mountain biking, our advice is to choose a bike that is the right size and, if used, in good condition.
Before buying, it’s always better to ask for advice from more experienced friends to get an opinion on the condition and the quality of the bike you’re going to purchase.
When choosing your ultimate MTB, you might even consider renting one for a few rides. This will give you time to better understand what type of mountain bike is right for you.
A good alternative would also be to take advantage of the numerous promotional events organised by manufacturers to test different models of bicycles for free.
At the moment, because of the global COVID 19 pandemic, many of these events have unfortunately been call off. However, we are confident that we will be able to again share our passion for two-wheelers as soon as possible.
3. Front and full mountain bikes: the differences
For those who work in the field, it is normal to classify a MTB with the terms front or full. However, if you are a novice, the difference in terms of both features and functionality may not be so obvious.
When we talk about a MTB with front suspension, we are referring to a bike that is only shock-absorbed at the front (fork). By full suspension, we mean a MTB that is also equipped with a shock absorber at the rear (double suspension).
Choosing a full suspension MTB can help you to overcome the most difficult uphill and downhill sections right from the start. All this with the advantage of reduced back vibrations.
A full suspension MTB is perfect for you if you love the mountains and long backpacking trips in pursuit of new routes. However, they are usually heavier, more expensive and require more component maintenance.
On a full suspension bike equipped with a telescopic seat post you may feel more confident, especially when riding on the most difficult trails. Full suspension bikes with 130 mm or more of travel are designed to improve performance, especially on the descent. They are therefore ideal for all mountainor enduro trails.
On the other hand, afront suspension bike might be more suitable for you if you intend to ride purely along riverbanks, simple dirt roads or easy trails. In these situations the terrain does not pose particular dangers and a more rigid bike will allow you to cover more ground more easily and in less time.
However, having a front suspension MTB is almost a must if you intend to participate in some cross-country or Gran Fondo races where time is of the essence In fact, a single shock absorber at the front means that energy is not wasted when pedalling and the weight of the bike is limited.
4. Your first mountain bike: are 27.5” or 29” wheels better?
Another huge doubt to clear up when choosing your mountain bike is wheel size.
In the past, there used to be only 26” wheels and you didn’t have to give it much though. Now, many companies offer a choice of 27.5” or larger 29” wheels even for the same bike model. In fact, you might even find mountain bikes with a 29” wheel on the front and 27,5” on the rear.
Choosing a MTB with 29” wheels is definitely the current trend. Both for front suspension and full suspension bikes.
We recommend a 29” for those looking for greater stability, because it allows you to tackle uneven stretches with greater ease, both uphill and downhill. It is also particularly suitable for tall riders. On the other hand, it requires more decisive and aggressive riding on the downhill, especially on bikes with generous suspension.
5. Is it better to start with a regular or electric bike?
If you don’t have much time for exercise, but don’t want to miss out on spending time in the fresh air, you can choose an e-MTB, or pedal-assisted MTB.
The rules for choosing the right one for you are the same as for a regular one. All you have to do is work out how and what you intend to use it for.
Those who opt for an e-bike usually discover a new way of cycling and having fun..
You will no longer have to push yourself to the limit to keep up with your more trained friends. In addition, on an e-MTB you can discover new routes without the fear of taking a wrong turn: turning back, perhaps climbing a hill, will no longer be so tiring.
The costs are generally higher than those of a regular MTB and the bikes are heavier to handle. A good MTB riding course, as we always suggest, will help you master the technique of riding your bike as and enjoy yourself, tackling any type of terrain safely and fearlessly.
As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when buying your first mountain bike.
However, if you are already an off-road expert, choosing a MTB for you will be easier and you can have more fun getting into the details:
- • Which mountain biking discipline do I prefer?
- • Aluminium or carbon frame?
- • Quick release or flat pedals?
- • Type of suspension?
- • What tyres should you choose based on the terrain?
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is one rule that applies to everyone: always wear a helmet and fasten it securely. Safety always comes first!