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Mountain bike buying guide
Mountain bike buying guide
Updated over a week ago

Mountain bikes are tough, capable bikes built to perform over all kinds of terrain. A mountain bike will let you have fun hitting bush singletrack, purpose built off-road trails and paths, gravel roads and even the urban jungle. If you need one bike to do it all, a mountain bike could be a great way to go as they’re versatile, robust and reliable.

Mountain bikes vary, but their common characteristics are wide tyres and wheels, a strong frame, wide range of gears, riser handlebars and powerful brakes. Most mountain bikes feature a front suspension fork, which will soak up the bumps and keep the front wheel on the ground for comfort and control when speeding over variable terrain. This style of bike is called a hardtail, because it has front suspension, but a rigid rear frame.

Mountain bikes are also available with dual suspension, having a suspension fork and a rear shock absorber. This style of mountain bike is most appropriate to more technical down-hill riding or Cross Country (XC) racing. It’s commonly accepted that you need to spend well over $2,000 to get a dual-suspension bike that is worth the added complexity of the rear shock, pivot points and other components. This style of bike can be great for highly technical terrain, provided that you’re ready to pay for the extra upkeep and maintenance. Under this price point, the rear suspension may look the business, but won’t provide the required efficiency – it will instead just bounce you over the ground you’re trying to keep traction with. For most riders, a hardtail provides all the suspension you’ll need at a much more reasonable price. Hardtails are also generally more efficient and better at climbing.

The main things to look at with a mountain bike are the frame size, wheels and tyres, gears, brakes, suspension fork and the key accessories.

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