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Hardtail or full shock How to buy the right mountain bike for you

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Hardtail or full shock How to buy the right mountain bike for you

Old 03-25-22, 01:30 AM
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Hardtail or full shock How to buy the right mountain bike for you

As technology evolves year on year, new mountain bike standards emerge and old ones are ruthlessly discarded. Today's bike market has a huge variety of mountain bikes and a dizzying array of technology and jargon that can be confusing for more and more people, even seasoned veterans. Choosing to buy a new mountain bike can be overwhelming for newcomers just starting.

Choosing the right mountain bike for your needs is vital if you want to get the most out of the mountains, but finding the right bike to love in a mixed market can run into a minefield. Fear not, because our Mountain Bike Buyer's Guide will guide you through everything you need to choose the best machine for your riding style from your budget.
It's important to decide early on what trails you want to ride and what terrain you want your bike to perform better on. It will help you decide which type of bike you need.

1. Hardtail or full-suspension

Hardtail mountain bike shock systems have only one fork, while full-suspension models have forks and rear shocks paired together. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Hardtails deliver direct power and pedal efficiently, hardtails are also easier to maintain, without the hassle of turning point maintenance, tend to be more budget-friendly and are usually the first choice for entry-level users.

Full-suspension bikes are more comfortable on rough roads, and if you want to conquer more technical trails and experience more versatility, then full-suspension models are the options available. But it's best to understand the rear shock system of a full-suspension model, such as its settings, before you buy.

2. How much travel do I need

Less suspension travel usually means lighter and faster going uphill, and more travel means better downhill ability. If one is new to mountain biking and wants to try everything, then a mid-range cross-country bike is the best all-rounder.
Generally speaking, manufacturers position their bikes according to the length of the shock travel e.g. 60-110mm travel for XC, which has the advantage of being nimble and light. 110-130mm for heavy XC or forest trail, which can conquer small drops and is a bit more fun than XC. 130-160mm for forest trail (Trail) or all-terrain (AM), which can conquer more 160-180mm for ENDURO (enduro bike), which can go downhill, although at the expense of some pedalling efficiency, but can also climb. 180-200mm for DH (speed bike), designed for downhill.

3. What size wheelset to choose

For a long time, 26-inch mountain bike wheels were standard, but they are now being phased out in favour of larger rims.

Today's new bikes are largely equipped with 27.5-inch (also known as 650b) or 29-inch wheels. Larger wheel sizes offer more passing power and greater traction. The downside is that larger wheels accelerate more slowly, are less agile in corners and are also height-demanding. If you like riding on narrow, twisty and steep trails, then the 650b is probably better.
There is a compromise though, and that is a mixed wheel diameter, *** 29" front and 27.5 rear, which is a new pairing that has been added to many brands' new bikes in recent years. It guarantees passing power at the front and flexibility at the rear.

4. Which material to use for the frame

The mainstream mountain bike frame materials are aluminium, steel, titanium and carbon fibre. Of these, aluminium is the most commonly used frame material for mountain bikes as it provides a good balance of strength, weight and cost. Steel is the choice of smaller boutique brands as its thinner walls and smaller diameter tubes achieve the same strength as aluminium, and this material is particularly suited to hardtails.
Titanium shouldn't have any obvious disadvantages other than being expensive. Carbon fibre is by far the most used material for bikes other than aluminium, as it allows freedom of control over frame shape and rides characteristics, as well as creating incredibly light and strong frames, which are popular with lightweight XC bikes. However, cheaper carbon fibre complete bikes will be much less well equipped than aluminium frame complete bikes in the same price range.
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