Mountain Bike Buyers Guide For Beginners

Thinking of buying a mountain bike and it can be a tricky business to choose the right mountain bike. There is a good variety of bike types to consider. Not to mention the array of technology and terminology surrounding them. This all can seem like a real challenge to figure out.

This mountain bike buyers guide will give you a low down on the things you need to know before buying a bike. I will go through the main considerations of the different bike types and styles plus considerations of the key features and differences you should look out for.

What you need to do is figure out what your priorities and preferences are, this will make it easier to decide what bike is going to work best for you.

In this post, we will go through buying a mountain bike with this buyer’s guide. Let’s get started!

Read more on common questions asked

What’s The Reason For Getting A Bike?

Let’s start by asking yourself why you want to get a mountain bike and you want to get into mountain biking.

  • Is it for exercise?
  • Do you want it to commute to work?
  • Where are you going to ride?
  • Through city streets or back road trails?

Once you have decided on your style of riding, it will be easier for you to choose the kind of bike you need.

There Are A Variety of Bike Options Available

There is a good variety of biking styles as well as bike types. Those are the most popular types of bikes.

Mountain Bikes – These are durable bikes you can take off the road. Mountain bikes have thicker tires, comfortably wider handlebars, and low gears for easier navigation of hills.

Road Bikes – If you plan on commuting to work or biking on the pavement, then this bike could be you. Road bikes have thinner tires and are built for speed, and are much lighter in weight.

Electric Bikes(e-bikes) – As well as having pedal power these bikes come with an electric motor. The motor can be used for propulsion. This type of bike is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get around but can be pricey.

All-mountain bikes are designed with specific riding styles in mind as well as different types of terrains. You will need to decide on the type of riding you plan on doing.

relax mountain biking

Where To Buy My New Bike?

You have multiple options as to where to buy a high-quality bike. Here is a list of your options as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

  • Local shop – The best option.
  • Online retailer.
  • eBay/Facebook – The last place to buy a bike.

Local Shop

  • Pros: Can test the bike out before buying and can get expert help if needed.
  • Cons: Normally a little bit more expensive.

Online Retailer

  • Pros: Often be can cheaper with a big selection of bikes to choose from.
  • Cons: Can not test the bike before buying, no expert help if needed and a return can be a hassle.


  • Pros: Be can cheaper.
  • Cons: It normally has no warranty and can be prone to scams and lesser quality.

How Much Should I Expect To Spend?

For most people particularly if buying a mountain bike for the first time. Price is usually an important factor when shopping for a new bike. Mountain bikes really have no limit as to how much money you can spend on a new mountain bike as you can get bikes as cheap as $150 or really expensive.

So the amount you are willing to spend can really reduce what bike you can buy. But there are some basic features you should expect at various prices.

Look at mountain bikes online and this will give you a great idea of your price range and what’s available. Once you should figure out what your price range is and how much you are willing to pay for a new bike.

Read more on what bikes are available with a budget

Full Suspension Or Hardtail Or Rigid?

Generally, mountain bikes fall under one banner like road bikes. While the purpose of each bike can be worlds apart. Mountain bikes are tailor-made for specific terrain and riding styles. While road bikes are made for the road and pavements.

Some bikes feature front and rear suspension. This helps to deal with big drops and rough trails. These without any suspension are lighter and faster on smooth trails. If you while others have limited suspension in an attempt to find the right balance between speed and support.

Below is a description of each three key mountain types and what they are built for.


Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Dual-suspension or full-suspension mountain bikes have suspension connected to the front and rear wheels of the bike. The suspension helps absorb the impact from the trails, reducing the impact on the rider and improving traction and comfort as a result.

If you can afford it, a full-suspension mountain bike will always be worth the extra it costs.


Hardtail Mountain Bike

A hardtail only has suspension in the front of the bike and no suspension in the rear. The benefit is its much lighter weight and you can pedal more efficiently. With hardtail bikes having fewer moving parts they are typically lighter. And more affordable than dual-suspension mountain bikes and also require less maintenance.

The limited suspension still offers plenty of comforts, so aside from the roughest of trails or steep downhill sections, hardtails are well suited to a variety of different off-road trails.


This simply is a mountain bike that has no suspension. A rigid mountain bike is lighter in weight and has lower maintenance. Without front or rear suspension limits the potential usage on more technical trails.

With advancements in suspension design and typically lower costs means rigid bikes are becoming less common. And are typically now only sold in niche categories.

Mountain Bike Wheels

This is straightforward. Everyone knows what a wheel is. There are three main sizes of mountain bike wheels that you will find on the majority of new mountain bikes. Wheels are referred to by numbers that indicate their size. The 3 main wheel sizes are as follows.

  • 26in.
  • 27.5in.
  • 29in.


The 26in wheels were the original mountain bike wheel size and are still used sparingly today thanks to being nimble and light.

The shift in recent years has been to larger wheels that offer more traction, greater roll-over ability, and better ride quality, meaning 26-inch wheels are rarely seen on new mountain bikes.


The 27.5in have essentially replaced 26-inch wheels as the norm in recent years, offering slightly improved roll-over ability, traction, and air volume than 26-inch wheels. 27.5in wheels are lighter, stronger, and typically more nimble than 29in wheels so depending on the type of riding you do, these might be a good option.


The 29in provides more traction, greater roll-over ability on technical obstacles, and a smoother ride thanks to their increased size and air volume. 29er wheels have become the most popular choice in many mountain bike disciplines. Their increased stability also means they’re good on the descent

They do, however, weigh more than the smaller wheel sizes, can be cumbersome in small frame sizes, and are slightly limited in the amount of suspension that can be incorporated around them.

For this, 29er bikes are best used in cross-country and trail-type riding, where generous suspension travel is usually not needed. Although, this is fast changing as many of the world’s best enduro and even downhill racers are making the switch to 29-inch wheels too.

Find A Good Local Bike Shop

Finding an honest and good local bike dealer is a very important step than finding the best bike for a fair price. You should try and avoid bike dealers that care more about selling you a great bike than selling you the right bike that suits your needs.

A good bike shop will be friendly and knowledgeable as well as have a clean repair shop and give you the impression that you can really trust them. Also, they should have positive reviews online.

Test Ride Before Buying

Really, you should be aiming to test ride as many bikes as possible that are within your price range and riding style. You’ll notice that some bikes will feel right, while others won’t.

The more bikes you test ride, you will get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Do The Research

Like buying any other product, doing some research and reading bike reviews are some of the best ways to find out about mountain bikes’ reliability and overall performance.

You should check what other owners thought of the bike and read the reviews about the bike before you make that final purchase.

Wrapping Up

Finally, that is a lot of information to learn about mountain bikes and we’ve only covered the basics, but this should give you a strong understanding of what’s available and what to look for in your own bike selection.

When it comes to picking out a bike, there’s always a little bit of an unexplainable but just do your research and go to your local bike shops and ask questions.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on the mountain bike buyer’s guides for beginners was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Mountain Bike Buying Guide For Beginners