This section is mostly aimed at beginners and those interested in mountain biking in general. Here we will briefly discuss some important aspects of the bike itself. Without a (good) bike it would be kind of hard to start your mountain biking adventures right?
So you’re new to biking and looking to buy a bike of your own. Most of us are probably not millionaires and don’t want to spend huge amounts of money on their first mountain bike. Luckily for us there are lot’s ‘cheap’ or entry-level bikes out there for under £500,-
However, there are some things to consider before going out and buying your first sub-£500,- bike.
There is definitely some good news to be told here. These days many of the sub-£500,- category bikes are well build, have a strong frame and are of decent quality lightweight material if you consider the amount of money you pay for it. Gears and brakes are made with to withstand some serious abuse and offer good performance on- and off-road.
Things are definitely much better than they were ten or twenty years ago.
However, there are some areas where the sub-£500,- category bikes suffer. The most important one would be the weight aspect of the bike. In order for a low budget bike to be able to withstand a fair amount of abuse (which is quite normal for a mountain bike) it needs to carry extra weight in pretty much all of its components.
This means a heavier bike, and a heavier bike means slower acceleration and substantially more work to make it to the top of that mountain you’re trying to climb with your friends.
Some other things
Next to the weight issues with low-budget bikes there are some other things to consider before buying one. The main complaint here would be the suspensions on most of these bikes. To explain our complaint we first need to explain some basic principles about mountain bikes.
There are generally speak three sorts of mountain bikes: rigid (without suspension), hard tail (includes a suspension fork at the front wheel) and full-suspension bikes which are obviously equipped with both front and rear-end absorbers.
Since we’re talking about budget mountain bikes we recommend to almost always ignore the full-suspension option within this price range. Simply put, they are way to heavy and partly because of this the suspension doesn’t work quite well as you may expect it to do on the road.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that hard tail bikes are always the best choice in this price range. Though many manufacturers tend to say that customers want one-way suspension (which is indeed usually the case) the quality of the suspension forks on these bikes are often poor. Not in the sense that they will break off and throw you of your bike, but they can often make riding harder rather than easier.
If you want to start out with some novice mountain biking we recommend you take a rigid bike (without suspensions) and patiently wait until the quality of low budget suspension bikes improves., which will most likely happen in the next couple of years.
For a list of some tested high-quality but sub-£500,- range bikes you can take a look at bikeradar.com. These guys can usually provide you with trustworthy information and reviews concerning mountain bikes.