Like buying a car, smart-phone or even our fruit and vegetables, we are spoilt for choice with the selections we face constantly. Do we want Hybrid, organic and do we want our eggs tracked? Wait, what? Tracked eggs? Yeah, it's a thing......
Much like buying our vegetables, we have an enormous selection of styles, prices and fads when it comes to bikes but knowing exactly what you are after can be ta little daunting and although Kmart and the warehouse can be great for a couple of bargains, bikes are not high on the quality list from these stores regardless of price.
For your first entry level bike a realistic budget and intended use needs to be obtained. With a bike, the budget is often tied directly to the level of riding you want to achieve and this is a level that you will need to be happy with spending on something you may not be 100% sure of it's longevity and stickability. So pick a number, and read the below.
$1 - $1000
Good, you've decided what you want to spend, now that you have picked within this this bracket we strongly recommend purchasing an entry to mid level hard tail MTB for your inception to the sport while avoiding the Carbon or dual suspension bikes like the plague. Generally, if you find a dual suspension bike either new or second hand for under the magic $1000 range it will either be completely flogged out or an inferior, unreliable brand of bicycle you will end up binning after your first half ride.
With hard tails, towards the end of the year and around the release dates of the new models, there are some very sharp deals to be picked up on good quality, well spec'd steeds.
A few key brands in this bracket to aim for are the mainstream brands such as, Merida, Kona, Marin, Trek and Giant.
Within the second hand market, on places like trademe, look for bikes that are not too old and the seller has an idea on how they have been looked after. I see all too often a seller claiming the bike to be well looked after but when questioned, the seller has no real accurate response.
Tip - A few key items to always look for are Hydraulic disc brakes, reputed suspension brands and good quality tyres that will suit your area.
Ok, so you're a little more adventurous and taking this whole MTB thing a little more seriously? Good, let's proceed.
Now that you're looking at the next level of bikes, in the hard tail range you have a wide array of basic elite, lightweight, well spec'd new bicycles that you will enjoy and be easily towards the front of the pack with the right will, determination and fitness in time. the second hand market is now your oyster with multiple options available from people who are making that next step or upgrading in age.
You're really only scratching the surface for the new ranges of dual suspension bikes however, so if you really want that rear suspension, trail slaying machine then best to go for a well looked after, recent model, second hand variant.
In this range, you can expect to need to learn a lot more of the terminology and abbreviations such as SPD's, droppers, IPA, APA, PORTER, 29er, 650B, XC, Trail and componentry brands.
In this bracket you are either deathly serious or an absolute gear head who is getting into the sport for all the wrong reasons. Chances are you're not going to heed any advice from here on out but here goes.
You can now look towards the pro-elite hard tails and higher level dual suspension mountain bikes.
You now have choices of carbon race machines, long travel trail and all mountain bikes and a plethora of looks and additions. Be wary that a lot of seasoned, hard mountain bikers won't spend this amount of money on a bike and the ones that do, generally spend in the lower half of this scale or use these bikes for genuine competitions or everyday, serious riding. But who are we stop you spending a large wad of cash on something you are going to use three times and eventually sell on trademe with catch phrases like "only used once" and "barely ridden dream". The world does need bargains.....
Fat bikes and single speeds
Now unless you were a die hard cyclist in another life, have a healthy thick beard or are crossing from the dark side, we strongly recommend to avoid these bikes for your first mountain bike. They are fun in their own ways but not always enjoyable from the novice perspectives.
So, you now need to get to grips firstly with why you want to ride, where you want to ride and who you want to ride with. Get into your LBS and ask their advice on the finer details, get in touch with a mountain biking club or drop
us a line to get a detailed itinerary of what you should be looking at. After all, there is nothing more funny then a so-and-so riding their $8k machine at the same pace and performance as the guy with the $1k bike. trust me, you don't wanna be that-guy.
Happy pedaling and welcome to the sport.
Keep an eye out for our servicing tips and tricks for your new bike in a future post.