Mountain Bike Buyers Guide 2020 Buyer’s Guide is the best spot for you to look for your new bike. Our editors, ride, test, noddy, and audit each new cruiser model from each significant maker, creating far reaching surveys on each model so you realize which bike is the best bike for you.
The world of mountain bikes has evolved a ton in the last decade and whether you are buying your first bike or your 100th bike.
It is very confusing and there’s a lot to consider and take in today. we’re going to try and demystify all of that we’re gonna go over all of the types of mountain bikes, all of the different wheels and tire size shenanigans, ways to buy and price points, important things to note and the absolute most important thing
- Types of mountain bike
- Wheel sizes and Tyre shenanigans
- Ways to buys and price points
- Important tips about all bikes
- The most important things.
- Last words
1 Types of mountain bike
All right different types of mountain bikes we’re gonna break it into three categories and then go a little bit more granular, on each one of them hard tails full suspension and specialty in rare so to start out with hard tails.
there’s a number of different types of hard tails if you’re not familiar with the terminology that is a bike with no suspension in the rear hard tail and just front suspension.
so hard tails you have dirt jump bikes that are pretty rare. I probably could have put those in specialty rare but they’re hardtail bikes that are made for riding pump tracks.
BMX tracks and of course dirt jumps and skate parks the most common mountain bike out. there is a cross country bike so hardtail cross country bike / general mountain bike you’re typically gonna see about 4 inches of travel in the front fork 100 millimetres 4 inches of travel..
Those things go anywhere from like you know 200 bucks at a department store. all the way to ten thousand dollars depending on the weight, the components, the material of the frame, all of that sort of stuff.
Hardtails are the unadulterated mountain machines. They’ll associate you to the path and get you around it rapidly and effectively.
They’re ideal for cross country and trail riding.
It is one of the most common bikes out there and they’re typically used for more smooth trails out there. but you can do a lot on a hard tail and there’s probably gonna be a bunch of people in the comments that say oh hard-tails don’t just work for smooth trails my buddy does you know downhill trails and huge rock guards on it another person says oh.
I have a friend who uses a downhill bike and rides uphill on it all day.
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you can do all sorts of different stuff with mount bikes but hard tails when you’re talking that XC sort of general mountain bike hard tail.
they’re made for kind of like smooth flow more just general trails nothing crazy but you can have a lot of fun on them and the price points are all over the place another sort of rare category of hard tails is a free ride hard-tail so that’s gonna be something with like 130 to 170 mililani front fork free ride hard sails are a lot more popular in Canada ,
For some reason and they were a lot more trendy maybe 10 or 15 years ago is kind of this do-it-all bike that you could kind of use as a trail bike and then also kind of use as a downhill bike and also dirt jump it that’s sort of been replaced with a general trail bike these days.
But those are your categories of hard tails full suspension mountain bikes you’ve got suspension in the front and the rear and I’d break those down as cross country bikes which are typically four inches of travel for under 100 millimetres of travel trail bikes which generally are like 120 to 130..
The lines get blurred all over the place with these different sorts of segments of full suspension bikes but typically a full suspension cross country bike for hundreds a travel trail is about five inches of travel enduro would be about six inches of travel and then freeride and downhill full. suspension bikes
are about seven and eight inches of travel so the suspension travel does definitely have to do with the type of trails you’re riding
The less travel is obviously gonna be more tailored to a bit smoother trails. it’s gonna be lighter and faster and mate for smoother trails the more travel you get and the more gnarly stuff you’re going to be doing with it in terms of rock gardens and jumps and just all sorts of rough terrain so some of the most popular bikes.
These days at least in the States are gonna be trail and endure bikes so that’s your five and your six inch travel full suspension mountain bikes are the reason.
Those particular bikes are so popular because they’re so versatile you can ride them quite fastly and efficiently in cross country. smooth trails and you can also still take them because of the geometry
All the components and the good suspension on them you can take them to a bike park and ride downhill style trails on them so they’re very versatile that’s why people really enjoy those things
it’s what I personally ride all the time as a trail bike because it’s kind of just that
What people like to say cursive that you need one bike and you can do a whole bunch of stuff on it .
amazingly well for all those different disciplines of riding so that’s your sort of trailing
That’s really common these days at least in the upper ends of the price point .So that is your breakdown on full suspension bikes so last category special specialty spa damn it dang it so last category is specialty / rare bikes um.
there is a lot of different mountain bikes out there and to talk about some of the more specialty rare ones the common ones
.I sing in that category are + bikes so that could be anything from hard tails rigid bikes full suspension bikes of any type that I just mentioned but + typically refers to tire size so that’s usually about 2.7 to 3.2 or so.
It’s a pretty large tire. It gives you a lot more traction and it can be pretty nice for a beginner rider because all that additional traction and cushion of those larger tires is pretty nice .
so that’s what you are typically when you hear + bike it refers to almost any type of bike most commonly a full suspension or a hard tail trail or cross country bike.
Put it’s just a larger tire. A fat bike is an even larger tire so that’s a 4 to 5 inch tire. are almost always used in the snow they’re great year round bikes they’re really popular in the Midwest .where you have snowmobile trails that you can ride on in the winter time and that’s just a cool fun interesting segment of bikes
Put it’s not super common ,it’s a bit more of an issue could say but if you google fat bike that’s,
What you’re gonna see last one is e-bikes, so an e-bike is an electric motor that assists you. That’s becoming a lot less and less rare. they’re getting a lot more common these days,
it’s pretty cool to see a lot more riders that wouldn’t traditionally like the sport of mountain biking or think that it’s too aerobic and demanding. then they hop on an e bike
they can soar like their Lance Armstrong and really enjoy the sport so e bikes again those are typically going to be on hardtails or full suspension sort of XC and trail bikes.
but there are some enduro style bikes as well but the e bike is just an electric powered bike so there’s your categories of specialty and rare before. we go into the next chapter of wheel sizes entire shenanigans make sure to hit that subscribe button.
2 Wheel sizes and Tyre shenanigans
If you like mountain bikes and yeah that’s it back in the day all mountain bikes had 26 inch wheels that’s the outer diameter of the wheel .
then things evolved then we got a 29 inch mountain bike so that’s a 29 inch outer diameter wheel. they originally were made for just kind of cross country bikes
There were a lot of advantages to him especially because it’s that larger diameter wheel. It was really nice for rigid bikes rigid meaning no suspension at all, which is a super rare bike these days .
but hardtails and cross country bikes on 29-inch wheels people really enjoyed then 29er started making their way into all the other segments full suspension cross country bikes trail and duro.
Now even downhill bikes so downhill World Cups or even being one on 29 inch wheels these days then there’s also some mullet bikes .
where people put a 29 in the front and 27 5 in the rear anyways 26 basically doesn’t exist anymore dad it’s God exists in sort of a really really entry-level segment .
you might see here and there that’s probably under 500 or $1000 for a complete bike 26 is more or less dead they say
.I don’t believe you although a lot of people still ride it and have bikes that are 26 or if you’re buying a new modern bike that you know made in the last few years.
you’re probably not gonna see it 26 anywhere you’re gonna see 27.5 or 29 so that is a whole nother debate on itself and you can go down the rabbit hole of 27.5 versus 29 my take on it 27 5
It’s a little bit smaller wheel so it can feel a little bit more agile and a little more fun and flickable to ride 29 has it seems like
it has a bit more traction it’s good at rolling over stuff and it rolls fast and for me I ride a trail bike I prefer a 29er. I really enjoy that some people like 27:5 they like the playful feeling of it and they really prefer it .
so there is no right or wrong there just kind of depends on what you like and it’s also really good to just test those things out so 20 75 and 29 are gonna be the two common wheel sizes you’re gonna see modern-day mountain bikes some other shenanigans that we briefly touched on before plus bikes
so those are gonna come most often in 2075 but there are some 29 plus bikes as well so that’s just a bit fatter of a tire so most mountain bikes going from XC you’re gonna start.
It’s like a 2.0 2.1 tire going all the way to like a 2.5 maybe on a dural bike plus bikes are typically 2.8 to like 3.2 could be 20 75 could be 29 that’s a bit more rare again.
It offers a bit more traction and cushion which is really nice for a beginner rider but can also kind of feel like Roly and wobbly and a little bit heavier. so more advanced riders might not favor.
It again that’s a more niche segment fat bikes again are still one of the rare things that are kind of commonly using 26 inch tires still because it’s,
When you have a you know four five inch wide big fat tire 26 inches probably comparable in terms of diameter of the wheel so yeah that’s a whole fat by category but again that’s a more specialty rare category
So that is wheel size shenanigans feel free to dive into the 27 5 verse 29 debate there’s no answer to that that’s right or wrong.
If anyone says so they’re blowing smoke they’re both really fun they just have different characteristics
3 Ways to buys and price points
There are a lot of different Ways to buys and price points
t methods to purchasing a mountain bike and to me, I always like to steer people to the method of bike purchase that makes sense for their bike knowledge .
what I mean by that is if you’re kind of a novice to the sport and you prefer to have a professional work on your bike all the time .
Take care of it for you and all that sort of stuff a local bike shop is a great way to buy a mount bike so find a local shop near you to go in there hopefully. you can find a good one that gives you good customer support and get an awesome bike
you can constantly take it back there they can work on it and do all the maintenance for it.
so you don’t have to worry about it if you are further down the rabbit hole of the mountain bike world and you like to sort of work on stuff yourself or maybe have a good friend, who can work on it for you or you really do enjoy watching.
Buying a used bike is a great option as well so buying a used bike pink bike is a big website in the mountain bike world that you probably know of because they have a buy-sell form where it’s kind of just like a craigslist style thing.
where people post higher mountain bikes and you can just buy and sell there’s obviously some risk involved in that so be wary of that danger is my middle name you could buy a used bike on ebay you could buy one on Craigslist.
if you want to find something locally and sometimes local bike shops also have used bikes as well so that’s another route that you can go typically if you’re buying a used bike you’re not getting it from a shop .
so you’re gonna want to be able to know how to do all your own maintenance or hopefully you have a shop that’s cool with taking a used bike.
4 Important tips about all bikes
You bought a pink bike or something and did a service on it .So another option consumer direct bike brands.
This is a bit new traditionally pretty much the only place to buy a complete bike was from a retailer right a local bike shop then there were retailers that sold them online.
We do both with three brick-and-mortar stores. We also sell complete bikes online more on that high-end mountain bike segment but nowadays you have a lot of options.
you can buy sort of the entry-level lower end stuff on Amazon meaning mountain bikes under like a thousand dollars you can buy consumer direct with brands like
YT Canyon common saw a some other ones that are popping up here and there consumer directors where the bike brand them who man you fractures the product doesn’t use a retailer so they just have it .
they have a website and you can buy directly on that website the bike shows up and you assemble it yourself and ride it and you take care of your own maintenance and all that sort of stuff so if you’re a pretty knowledgeable mountain biker consumer.
Direct could be a great way to buy a bike typically the reason that model exists is because when you cut out the retailer you can offer more value to the customer so say you know a three thousand dollar bike from a consumer direct.
brand is gonna have a lot nicer components on it. than a three thousand dollar bike that sold to you at your local brick-and-mortar bicycle store so there’s advantages and disadvantages to buying a consumer direct brand.
There check out ,if you want to go more in depth of how all of that’s evolved and how that’s kind of shaking up the industry and obviously you can imagine consumer direct bike brands are making retailers in the industry very upset.
So those are some different ways to buy a bike. Another thing to mention is Velo fix is a mobile bike shop service.
I think they have close to like a hundred and fifty mobile sort of units all over the country right now and of them in Canada. That’s where they started.
That’s a pretty cool service so if you don’t have a bike shop near you or you don’t have a bike shop you like near you or you bought a bike from a consumer direct brand sometimes.
Velo fix will deliver it to you and you can utilize them and they have an app and you can schedule service they show up.
They work on your bike in your driveway and their van is pretty interesting and a little set up as well so that kind of gives you that broad overview again.
It depends on who you are do you like and you know appreciate going into a local store seeing someone face to face having them work .
Maintain your bike for you do you not like that or do you not have that option because it’s not when you’re by you so you want to buy an a-line.
You have, a Velo fix a lot of different ways to go kind of depends on where you’re at in terms of skill level of working and maintaining your own bike, and desire to do so as well.
In early 2020 some important things to note about all mountain bikes they have come a very very long way and in my opinion .
It seems like it’s hard for them to get much better, they’re a bit at like a product innovation plateau
I would say and what I mean by that is a high-end mountain bike these days it’s really really good.
If you were gonna spend say you know three to $10,000 on a bike $10,000 on a bike right now yeah.
It’s not gonna be too much different in terms of like features and stuff as it would have been like a 2016 or 2017 bike starting around 2016 2017
5 The most important things.
we’ve got some really good things reliable dropper post so that’s something that every mountain biker is absolutely in love with .
Its probably wouldn’t even want to ride my bike if I didn’t have one drop a post thumb actuated remote to lower and raise your seat it’s an amazing feature.
You can’t buy a mountain bike without him and around 2017 or so.
we started getting really good reliable ones, they were really reliable prior to that a lot of people in the mountain bike world know
How knowing those things were in the early days. when they first came out but dropper posts are sort of like a keystone aspect of a good mountain bike.
These days another thing is a 1 by drive train what I mean by one by is it’s a single chain ring in the front and typically 11 to 12 gears in the back that way you don’t have a front shifter .
So you don’t have anything to mess with on your left hand you just have your dropper lever.
There no front derailleur that adds a lot of simplicity the whole thing you just have all your gears on one side right there .
Shimano and Saran are the most commonly known drive trains out there that make one buy systems these days.
Those are amazing so dropper post one buy drivetrain.
Those are sort of like key things like you just gotta have .
If you’re buying a mountain bike of this day and age a lot of other advancements have happened in terms of geometry.
suspension and stuff but like I said I feel like where we’re at now with bikes like 2017 bikes.
Moving forward are all pretty similar and all really amazing prior to that there were things that.
we didn’t have like we didn’t have his wide range drive train systems. we didn’t have reliable drop a post wouldn’t have for things like that .but if you’re buying a bike this day and age 2017 and up make sure you’re getting to drop her and make sure you’re getting one by post that’s just really important stuff.
I didn’t even touch on carbon versus aluminum because price points are all over the place.
Aluminum carbon really kind of depends on price point carbons a bit lighter and has a bit of disadvantages.
If you like smash it with a rock does that happen probably not.
I don’t know if I write a carbon bike a lot of people do but I also still write aluminum here and there. they’re super fun you can dive into that topic
6 Last words
If you want yeah but those are important things to notice for modern mountain bikes before. I will tell you the most important thing.
Drop a comment below of what type of bike you have we’d love to know .
But the most important thing is that all mountain bikes are fun.
All bikes are fun in general because there are a million different types of bikes out there.
These days don’t get too caught up in decision paralysis and freeze up and stare at the shelf and not know what to do.
Just try and ride some. If you have buddies you can ride their bikes.
if you have local shops you can do bike demos there’s a lot of cool bike brands that travel around the country .
You can just ride different bikes try stuff test stuff ride bikes enjoy yourself get something in your price point that your,
if you can afford it right now, go out there, ride it, have a big smile on your face and remember that writing about bikes is about having a ton of fun .