There are different types of mountain bikes on the market that suit various types of riding styles. Full suspension bikes are equipped with a front shock and rear shock integrated into the frame. Hardtail bikes do not have a rear shock however the majority of bikes nowadays come with a front shock in the fork. The decision to buy a full suspension or hardtail bikes depends on your type of riding terrain. Some riders suggest that the more technical the trail the more a hardtail mountain bike is desired.
Trail riding and racing is the perfect match for a hardtail mountain bike. Hardtail mountain bikes are lighter, cheaper and require less maintenance because there are no pivots when compared to a full suspension bike.
Researching which hardtail bike to purchase can be daunting for a first time buyer. Not knowing each brands product line and not knowing the difference in quality of components can be frustrating. To help with this process keep the following suggestions and questions in mind when deciding which hardtail mountain bike to purchase.
- Shop for your hardtail mountain bike at a reputable bike store. Do not buy your bike at Walmart or Target because odds are you will not find the service and quality that you desire. Bike shops have good selections of mountain bikes for sale and bike parts. At a bike shop one will be able to find quality products and expertise that one can count on.
- Determine where you are going to ride and how you are going to use the bike. As an example will you be riding on the local trails in the woods as a recreational rider or are you going to be traveling and racing? Be honest with yourself.
- Determine your budget and stick to it. Mountain bikes can be very expensive and you want to make sure that you buy the best bike within your budget. You might feel very excited when you see all of the bikes for sale at the store so keep your goals in perspective.
- Purchase a bike that has a quality frame made out of steel, aluminum, carbon fiber or titanium.
- Determine if you want a drive train that has 21 or 27 speeds. Many riders prefer a 27 speed for the extra gears. Upgrading from a 21 speed to a 27 speed in the future could be a hassle and more costly then paying for it up front.
- Learn some of the basics about front suspension forks. A suspension fork will help improve the comfort and control of your mountain bike on the trail. There are several manufactures that have proven quality products so research them before you buy your bike.
- Try to buy a bike with brand name components. These components do not have to be top of the line however just make sure they are a familiar brand. Some brands are not interchangeable; meaning brand Y derailleur does not work with brand X shifters. If you buy a bike with a no name component and it breaks it could be hard to find the needed replacement part.
- Make sure the tires are appropriate for the terrain that you want to ride on. As an example if you are buying a cross country bike then make sure that it has a good cross country tire.
Talk to your friends and read online forums. Also make sure you test ride as many bikes as you can. Shop around and have fun.
See you on the trail.