Buying a mountain bike? This complete guide to buying a mountain bike will help you find the best bike for your requirement.
Let us help you out with some tips and advice about buying your first mountain bike.
Before going to your local bike shop
Do your research first and have a good idea of your budget and what you can realistically get within the budget range.
A common mistake for many first time buyers is to overreach with their budget, so if you want to get the best value for money bike, be realistic with your budget. (For example if you budget is less than 90k, don’t go into a shop with the expectation you can get a carbon full suspension bike, as you will be disappointed).
Know why you want to buy a bike. Knowing this will help a shopkeeper show you the bikes suited to you. It could be for the following:-
- I want to commute to work
- I want to commute and also do social off road rides with my friends on the weekend
- I want to do morning rides and social rides
- I want to be a comparative rider and do races
- I am interested in All mountain and Enduro riding
Thinking about what it is you want to get out of your bike and what your budget is helps salespeople recommend the best bike for you.
Familiarise yourself with some of the terminology used:-
Hardtails – Refers to bikes that only have a front suspension or fork and are rigid in the rear (Most budget bikes under 1Lakh will fall into this category)
FS – Also referred to as full suspension, softail or Dual Suspension. A bike with both front suspension fork and rear suspension shock.
XC – Cross Country. It refers to both the type of riding you might do (ie undulating up and down hills, offroad, but not extreme technical or down hill) It also refers to a breed of bikes – XC bikes which are purpose built for XC riding and racing, they are normally light, have less travel (from90 to 120mm) and are built to be quite rigid.
Travel – the amount which a suspension goes up and down. The travel amount depends on what the bike is built for.
DH – Downhill, refers to tracks and trails specially meant for downhill riding, with big jumps, technical features. DH bikes are specially built for this and have a travel of 160mm plus. All downhill bikes are FS.
Enduro/All Mountain – Refers to a riding style and bike that is cross between XC and DH. Bikes are built to both climb and descend and have from 140mm to 170mm travel.
LBS – Your Local Bike Store – term widely used in the industry
Drivetrain – This refers to the moving components of the bike, the bits that make it move – The crank, chain, cassette etc.
Buying Online vs Local Bike Shop (LBS)
Nowadays it is very easy to search and purchase online and it makes sense and convenience for a lot of things. But here are a few reasons why you should invest the time, and a little extra cash in buying from your LBS.
- Your LBS will normally offer you after sales support like free servicing. (Himalayan Single Track offers free servicing, when you buy a bike)
- You will be able to actually test ride the bike and have it fitted properly for your long term comfort.
- You can see the actual colour. Sometimes colours look different online
- Damage return policy. It’s much easier to return a damaged bike to your LBS and claim warranty.
- Freebies and discounts. You can have an open and friendly banter with the salesperson about the best deal for you.
- Friendship and community. By becoming a regular at your LBS you are becoming a part of a community that will help you learn, get fit and find places to ride.
What else do you need to know?
To be able to go out and ride off-road you will need a few basics to go along with your bike so that you can enjoy the riding.
We highly recommend:
- A spare tube incase you get a puncture
- A pump
- A Patch Kit
- A Multi Tool
- Water Bottle
- A Small backpack to carry it all in
- A Helmet
- Chain Lube
Additional accessories to carry:
- Cycling computer to track your distance and speed
- Lights for riding at night
- SPD Pedals and Shoes for added performance
Maintaining your new purchase
- Bikes, like any type of machine, need maintenance.
- How much it will cost and how often you need to do it depends on where and how much you ride.
But you should at the least:
- Keep your drivetrain clean and well oiled.
- Get your bike fully serviced once every three months
The last word
Overall, when you go into a bike shop you should have an idea of the kind of riding you want to do, be it city ride, casual weekend romps into the countryside, racing or full on downhill and have an idea of the budget you want to spend.
As a general rule you should buy the best quality bike you can afford as in the long run it will cost you less to maintain and it will perform better.
Good luck and happy trails.