There comes a point in every person’s life when they are finally ready to give riding a bike a try. Maybe they want to commute around town, or they want to get a good amount of exercise. Whatever the case is, shopping for a decent bike might seem pretty straightforward, but it can be a bit of a challenge without some proper knowledge.
How much is a decent bike? This is a guide on not only shopping for a bike that is worth the money, but a way to understand what goes into the cost of a solid biking option.
1. Why Choose a Mountain Bike
A mountain bike is usually the most expensive typoes of bikes out there, Because of it’s versitility. Many people who are buying their first decent bike get a mountain bike so they can go just about anywhere.
It is still going to be good enough to do some commuting, but a person can go off-road if they want as well.
So many different companies produce mountain bikes that it is pretty easy to find an option that fits into nearly any budget.
That is why for this article, we are going to be looking at mountain bike options for the first decent bike that a person is shopping for.
2. Mountain Bike Pricing Tiers
Every person starting out with shopping for a decent bike should look at bikes in different types of tiers. Not everyone will need a high-quality bike, especially if they are just starting out.
While a person does get what they pay for if they invest in a more expensive option, there is something to be said for those basic solutions that get the job done for casual riders.
$500 or less
These are the basic entry-level options for those who want a decent bike to ride every once in a while. They are usually sold at big box stores, and they have entry-level components all around.
They will do a decent job on moderate terrain off-road or pavement, but anything too challenging will feel very hard to handle.
Compared to buying something much more expensive, these are very heavy, are more likely to break, and do not have the opportunity to upgrade many of the parts.
Still, plenty of people will be just fine in this category, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just do not expect this to be a mountain bike that lasts for a long time if a person sticks with the discipline.
This is a good starting point for people who are pretty curious about riding in general, yet still do not want to spend a ton of money. They are actually pretty good for the price, and it is a pretty big jump from the $500 or less bikes.
Options include getting different types of frames, wheel sizes, and suspension. There is not a ton of flexibility here because of some of the more expensive components, but people do have a lot of fun exploring and seeing everything that is out there.
Some of the most well-known bike companies have entry-level models that fall under $1000. As companies become more and more competitive, there is no doubt that the price of mountain bikes will continue to drop slowly but surely.
Still, it is worth researching this point and understanding that not all bikes are created equally. Looking for a specific type of bike that will handle different terrains will be the best bet.
This is a nice starting point for people who know that they are about to jump all in with mountain biking. This is especially true for those who are looking for a good hardtail option that can handle so many different terrains.
Weight is a pretty big difference, and they just perform better overall against more challenging surfaces.
Components also make a pretty big jump in this price range, as companies begin to include their full suspension bikes at around $1500.
This is going to provide a much smoother ride overall, and people can take more risks without ever feeling like they are putting themselves in any sort of trouble.
There is also the ability to upgrade bikes like these if a person really gets into mountain biking and wants to take it to another level.
There are plenty of components that will really up the value of a bike and allow people to see what they can accomplish. Instead of upgrading the entire bike, some are just fine upgrading a few components to get it started.
$2000 And Up
Lumping every mountain bike together that is over $2000 seems pretty crazy, but keep in mind that this is geared towards beginner riders at this point.
Anything that is over $2000 is probably too much bike at this point in time. There is always an opportunity to go with a better option down the road, but at this point, dropping thousands and thousands of dollars does not seem like the best and smartest move.
Right around $2000 is about the high end of where a beginner should be looking. This is for those who know what they want the most, as maybe they moved over from a different type of riding.
A mountain bike in this price range usually has full suspension, a good amount of carbon, and more for people to rely on. Companies put out bikes that are much, much more expensive than $2000, but that is for another article.
3. How to Find the Right Fit
Pricing is one thing, but finding the right fit can sometimes seem like a huge struggle. There are a lot of people who want to keep things as inexpensive as possible in the beginning.
They just want a decent bike, and they do not need to spend a ton of money to get there.
This is the best way of approaching the buying process in general. Anything from what to look for to keep prices down as much as possible can be beneficial in helping people understand exactly what they are getting themselves into.
If the goal is to have a mountain bike to rely on once in a while when it seems like a fun thing to do, paying for a high-end option is going to make no sense at all.
It is mostly going to sit in storage and collect dust, and it just needs to be reliable enough to ride once in a while.
Most people will go with a used bike in a situation, or a very entry-level model. This can usually be found for under $500, and it should last a long time as long as it is stored properly.
Try to keep it in an area that is as temperature controlled as possible, as a bike that is too cold can have some problems with the tires. If it is too hot, they can also be some melting in some situations depending on where exactly the bike is located.
Shopping for a brand new bike does make some sense if it fits in a person’s budget. Again, you do not have to spend a lot of money to get to where they want to be, but it at least ensures that there will be a proper fit.
Some of the leading companies and mountain bikes have entry-level options that are right around $500 that will be built to last a long time.
If the goal is to really get into mountain biking, it might be worth investing in a mid-tier option that will allow for some room to grow.
One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make is that they buy a bike that is too much of a beginner option at first.
Once someone starts to get everything down, they are longing for something different. However, since they already spent a lot of money on one bike, they do not want to buy another one within the first year.
The best way to think about it is that the more a person plans on riding, the closer they should get to at least the $1000 or so for that first buy.
It is going to provide some upgraded parts that will make it easy to get out there and ride right away. At the same time, it is not overkill, and it is not too much of a bike that beginners will not be able to handle.
Some people are coming over to mountain bike riding with a pretty athletic background. Others have never done anything in their life as far as athletic activity is concerned, and they need to start from basically zero.
Those who look at this as their first true athletic endeavor should probably look at the low end as far as pricing is concerned. This is really to make sure that mountain biking is even a sport that they enjoy.
Some might try it for a few weeks, and then be done with it. There really is no reason to get a fancy bike if a person is just learning some of the basics.
Those who are fast learners, or those who know that they will always stick with it, should look at the higher end. They are going to get more use out of the bike overall, and they can grow with it.
Being familiar with a bike makes life so much easier as riders progress.
6. Size Matters
Almost everyone has been on a bike that does not fit them at some point in their life. Maybe it was a hand me down, or a random used bike that was purchased at a bargain.
The problem is, a bike that is not sized properly is going to cause a lot of problems. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can end up injuring a person if they are not in the right position.
One of the biggest focuses when a person is shopping for their first bike is to get the sizing down. Not only is the general sizing important, but making the tweaks once it is purchased will be a huge difference-maker as well.
The goal is to be as efficient as possible with every pedal, and that can be done when everything is properly sized. Get someone who knows a lot about bikes to help with the sizing, or even have it done at the shop.
7. Understanding All the Bells and Whistles
Every mountain bike is different, and understanding the bells and whistles that go with it will ensure that the right amount of money is spent.
Some people will really benefit from having some added features on the mountain bike, while others will have no use for them whatsoever.
If it costs extra to get some of the additional features and they are not put to use, what is the point in spending money?
Make sure to go through it to understand how the bike functions properly so that the investment stays sharp. So many people run into the issue of buying a bike, and not knowing how to operate it the right way.
This is a great way to get into an early crash and make a brand new bike look like it is beaten up.
8. Proper Protection
Wearing a bike helmet when mountain biking is pretty much mandatory in today’s world. There is so much that can go wrong, and even if people are not used to doing this, they need to become used to it.
Getting a high-end helmet costs a good amount of money. The good news is that some pretty solid options are in the $50-$100 range. This is usually more than sufficient enough for the average rider.
There is always the option to wear additional protection if a person really wants to on the bike. It all comes down to whether or not a person feels like they are going to be safe when they are riding on the trails.
9. Bike Prices Too High? Find a Bargain
There is something to be said for shopping for a bargain when buying a decent bike. For example, shopping closeout deals and last season models will be a great way to get a bike at a pretty good discount.
It really does not make that much of a difference from year to year as far as technology is concerned, so people can take advantage of that savings.
Another option to lower the price is to shop around the used market and see what is out there.
Some people might be hesitant to shop for a used bike as a beginner, but there is a way to get someone to help out with the search process who knows a little bit more about bikes in general.
They will be able to examine the bike and see if it is actually worth what they are asking for.
Finally, those who are really not riding much at all can look into a program to rent a bike for a few hours, or even a day. This might end up making more sense financially if a person plans and only rides a few times out of the year.
It really comes in handy when renting a bike in an area that has beautiful trails.
Making the Most Out of a Decent Bike
Every single shopper is looking for something different when they purchase a bike. The most important thing is that the bike is living up to any expectations before starting the shopping process. As long as it fits individual needs, that is all that matters.
Buying a solid mountain bike to do some of the basics for under $500 is still attainable in today’s world. Most seasoned mountain bike riders laugh at the thought of spending that little, but there is a reason why there are so many different types of mountain bike riders.