If you like maintaining a healthy lifestyle and are not a fan of competitive high adrenaline sports, or like to give the indoor gym a wide berth, then buying a bicycle is a great decision. Maybe you like cycling for health, fun, to keep fit, or you may choose to avoid motorized transport and pick a bicycle to ride to work.
You may like riding on trails or tracks during the weekend or even climb off-road routes. You may enjoy the occasional race with your friends or join a group of bikers for a fun picnic day in the sun. Whatever your reasons for cycling, you’ll enjoy choosing the right bicycle for yourself.
There are hundreds of bikes to choose from and myriads of shops, online outlets and department stores to select from too. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast choice, but getting expert advice on choosing the right bicycle for you is our primary objective in penning this piece.
There are three major types of bikes available on the market including: road bikes, city bikes, and mountain bikes. Road bikes are made for speed and performance and are exclusively made for sealed roads. City bikes are made for commuting, fitness, and recreational purposes. While mountain bikes are made for off-road riding on bush tracks, but can still be rode on paved roads. A fun way of distinguishing the three bikes is to compare them to cars. Think of the city bike as a family car, the road bike as a motor-racing car, and the mountain bike as the hardy four-by-four truck. Since many riding enthusiasts appear quite interested in the adventurous outdoors, we shall confine ourselves to mountain bikes.
Mountain bikes can be broken into four broad classifications:
Cross-country for racing and going fast.
Trail bikes for mountain riding and general use.
Downhill bikes suitable for descending.
Enduro bikes for all mountain and technical trails
The differences of the bikes:
- Cross country bikes (XC) are arguably the lightest and are constructed with steeper geometries that boost peddling and have the least suspension. Cross country is the most popular discipline of mountain cycling and is practiced in Olympic Games. Cross country bikes are fast and lightweight and are perfect for smooth trails, single tracks, and mountain hikes. With a more comfortable efficient riding position and weight than a full suspension mountain bike, you’ll easily tackle the hills and navigate yourself downhill with little effort. This type of bike is for the more traditional type of bike riders. Perfect for the leisurely ride to enjoy the scenery and just get outdoors, but can also be ridden aggressively. Red Bull picked the Trek Slash 9.9 Race Shop Limited as the best XC bike for 2017.
- Trail bikes are your all-purpose ride. They’re light, versatile and pack impressive capabilities whether ascending, descending, or conquering rough terrain. They’re built with robust MTB suspension capabilities designed for any ride ranging from flat trails to aggressive racing competitions. Few other bikes can rule the motor-cross circuit and offer a level of non-compromise performance like a trail bike. If you’re looking to meet with a group of friends and ride a mixture of climbs and descents, then a trail bike is for you. Pink Bike selected the Santa Cruz Nomad as the 2016 trail bike of the year. The top of the line will cost you $10k though.
- Downhill bikes are sturdy, large, and purpose built. Riders are meant to wear body armor and full helmets as they’re likely to encounter jumps, rocks and other obstacles. Downhill bikes are created to go big and ride hard whether you’re tearing downhill at Whistler, flying through a rough pavement or charging through a Safari track. Extremely aggressive full suspension will give allow you to absorb big drops as well as rough terrain. These bikes are built solid to handle the beating that comes with big crashes and riding over any type of terrain. They are usually used to ride fast quick descents rather than long leisurely rides that can last hours. Red Bull selected the YT Tues CF Pro as the best Downhill under $4k for 2017.
- Enduro mountain bikes are lightweight and built to handle prolonged descents and flatter trails at the same time balancing speed and efficiency. Enduro bikes are designed to push the limits in mountain biking. If you enjoy riding gravity-style bikes, then Enduro mountain bikes are for you. Unlike other mountain bikes, Enduro is meant to be strong, durable, versatile and light enough to handle the ascent with smoothness and descents with agility. Enduro riding will involve type of terrain ridden by XC and DH riders. Apart from killer uphill fire roads that will incur a time penalty if not completed within the set period of time, enduro riders will encounter technical trails and crazy downhill sections full of obstacles, drops and jumps. Red Bull ranked the Trek Slash 9.9 Race Shop Limited the 2017 enduro mountain bike of the year.
Things to consider when buying a mountain bike.
- Determine your type of riding: Whether you ride for leisure or fitness, there is a bike for everyone. So, identify the riding that you fancy.
- Choose where to buy from: This could be either a specialist bike store or online retailers. Our best bet is specialist bike store.
- Work out how much you want to spend and what your budget is. Specialist bike stores prices range from $500 to $2,500, and premium bikes can fetch $5,000.
- Most bikes are sold as single units without parts and accessories. It’s up to you to determine what you wish to add to the bike. A helmet and toolkit are great options, with a great selection of inexpensive products here.
- Getting the right size is important for comfort and confident riding. Below are two charts that can be used to help narrow down what size you should start looking at. Be sure to sit on a few different sizes before making a decision of what kind you should get.