Qualities to Look For When Buying A Mountain Bike

Whether you are buying your first mountain bike or upgrading to a newer model, buying a mountain bike is a serious business.

Qualities to Look For When Buying A Mountain Bike

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a mountain bike that it can be overwhelming to find the right bike for you, especially if you are new to the whole process.

The good news is that I’ve put together some of the essential qualities to consider before buying a mountain bike. Alright, let’s skip the chatter and get right into it.

The Big Questions

Before making that big purchasing decision, there are some questions you need to ask to ensure that you find a bike that’s the right fit for you.

“What are those questions?” you may wonder; let’s take a look at them:

Full Suspension Or Hardtail?

Ah – this is probably one of the hardest questions to answer for most people, but having a clear-cut answer will help you easily figure out the right mountain bike.

Most mountain bikes come with built-in suspension which helps the bike roll over, especially on uneven ground, sustain traction during ascents and descents, and absorb the impact of landing jumps or drops.

Full suspension bikes are designed with a shock at the rear and forks at the front. These types of bikes help you to cover technical terrain with more balance and speed.

On the other hand, Hardtails come with a set of forks and a rigid rear. While hardtails are great for climbing and cross-country riding and are typically cheaper than full-suspension bikes, they may not offer as much speed and confidence as full-suspension bikes, especially when navigating technical terrains.

What’s My Budget?

Perhaps, this is one of the first questions to consider, since your budget will go a long way in determining the type of mountain bike you can afford. Typically, the prices of mountain bikes range according to brand, type, and wheel and tire size, among other factors.


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    However, if you are running on a tight budget, the best option for you would be a decent entry-level hardtail. However, if you have some extra bucks to spare, then a full-suspension bike isn’t a bad choice.

    Remember that the higher the price, the better and more durable the bike is.

    What Type Of Terrain am I Going To Ride On?

    All mountain bikes aren’t built the same, so you shouldn’t expect that your mountain bike can be ridden on any terrain. This is why it is essential to know the terrain you will ride on before purchasing your mountain bike.

    Buying a mountain bike that is unsuitable for the type of terrain you ride on can make your whole riding experience a nightmare.

    Identifying where most of your riding will happen will help you figure out which mountain bike is right for you.

    If most of your riding will happen on remote mountains, then it is best to get a mountain bike that is built for that type of terrain.

    Now, let’s get into some of the qualities to consider before buying your next mountain bike.

    Wheel And Tyre Size

    Of course, there is still a heated argument about which wheel size is best. However, there are three main wheel sizes on mountain bikes. These are:

    • 29” wheels,
    • 5” wheels, and
    • 5+ wheels.

    I’ll briefly discuss each wheel size next:

    ●     29” Wheels

    Also known as 29er wheels, 29” wheels are the biggest wheel size you’ll find on mountain bikes. Many riders love this wheel size because it rolls more easily over rough terrain and reduces the impact of land jumps and drops.

    However, the 29” wheels are quite heavy, and this can add to the overall weight of the bike. Plus, they are not as easy to maneuver as other wheel sizes and may be unideal for smaller riders.

    Another downside of this wheel size is that it can have a lot of flex in the frame. However, you can purchase a stiffer and lighter option, although this may cost you some extra bucks.

    ●     27.5” Wheels

    Also known as 650b wheels, 27.5” wheels are very popular among trail and enduro riders. Unlike the 29” wheels, the 27.5” wheels are more agile and responsive. They are relatively easier to maneuver and roll well on rough and technical terrain.

    ●     27.5+ Wheels

    The 27.5+ wheels are popularly referred to as plus-sized wheels. These are typically like the 27.5” wheels but come with bigger tires and wider rims. The 27.5+ wheels offer users increased traction, making them the perfect wheels for slippering or muddy terrains.

    Size Frame

    Most mountain bikes come with a manufacturer’s size guide which indicates the seat tube length (in inches, for mountain bikes) and a frame designation (eg Medium or Large) determined by the rider’s height.

    While the size guide is great, nothing beats trying the bike’s fit yourself to see if it is the one for you. You should get a large frame that still maintains enough for ease of dismounting.

    Of course, the bike frame shouldn’t be too large or too small as it can make riding very uncomfortable for you.


    Apart from these qualities, there are other factors to look out for when buying a mountain bike. For example, you should lookout for a bike with a good set of brakes that still work on wet terrains.


    Mountain bikes with hydraulic fluid-operated disc brakes are an excellent choice in this regard. Also, you should opt for a bike with a very comfortable saddle to make your riding experience as stress-free as possible.

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    Qualities to Look For When Buying A Mountain Bike — Bike Hacks