Interested in learning about mountain bikes? Learn about what a mountain bike can do for you.

We Know: All About Mountain Bikes

What is a mountain bike?

A mountain bike is a multiple speed bike designed for off-road and rugged trail riding. Unlike the traditional road racer ten speeds, the mountain bike has motocross style handle bars and thick treaded tires that lend themselves to better maneuverability and grip on rugged trails. Any mountain bike worth buying will be equipped with its own suspension system for shock absorption on rough terrain.

Why purchase a mountain bike?

The first thing to ask yourself before buying a mountain bike is "what do I want use it for?" Bicycling is one of the most effective methods of cardio-vascular exercise if you are willing to commit. A mountain bike is designed for rugged terrain; if you are interested in biking on pavement a road racer can take you further, faster. If you are ready to get dirty and a little sore riding off the beaten track than you are a born mountain biker.

How much are you willing to spend?

A good mountain bike will cost you at $500 or more, with a near limitless upper price range. Avoid buying from a department store or discount goods store like Wal-Mart. Most of the bikes sold at these places are ill-constructed and will cost you many headaches replacing poor component parts. You won’t get the service you need unless you buy from a bike specialist. At the neighborhood bike store, the experts know what you need and how to fix things if needed. If you go with a neighborhood store, try to avoid a big chain store since some times at the bigger stores the reps are working towards commissions and truth may get pushed to the back burner.

What options do I need to consider when buying a mountain bike?

One of the first things you have to deal with when you decide to buy a mountain bike is whether to get a full-suspension bike or a `hardtail’. Hardtail basically means a bike without rear suspension. Hardtails are easier to peddle under regular road conditions, but you lose some of the comfort and control you enjoy with a full-suspension bike.

The more difficult the trails you are trying to navigate, the more likely you will want a full-suspension bike. Full-suspension bikes range from the user friendly Cross Country bike, with limited suspension and a sort of a glorified road racer, to the ultimate suspension of downhill racing bikes, which are designed for that purpose. The best suspension option is those on All Mountain/Trail bikes which offer four to six inches of suspension travel. They tend to be heavier than cross country bikes but can handle harsher terrain.

Which brands of mountain bikes should I consider?

For shoppers with more limited budgets, Ibex bikes offer great products starting at $500 and up. Another great bike line you can find at most retail stores is the K-2. The K-2 `Attack models 1.0 and 2.0 is one of the best reviewed models in the biking community. The 1.0 model tops out at $650. Remember to do plenty of research before buying.

In the world of mountain biking the following manufacturers are regarded as delivering a good product for the price. There is no limit to how much you can spend on a mountain bike. If cost is no limit, the following manufacturers are thought of as delivering a great product at an often steep price: Specialized, Cannondale, Santa Cruz and Marin.

Most local shops will let you make numerous test rides. The internet is crammed with reviews and online shopping bargains. Mountain biking is a great free time activity and exercise, take the time to choose wisely and both your finances and body will be better for it.

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