Basics you should know before you start this beautiful sporting activity that will take you far away from home.
Words: Melanie Cuzco / Photo: Sofía Delgado
Mountain biking can be enjoyed in many ways, and you don’t even have to be in the mountains to enjoy this outdoor activity. Trails can vary, going from pleasant rides, wide and flowing wooden or gravel roads, to high-adrenaline challenges on trails that require a lot of technical skill.
But before we go into more in-depth details about mountain biking, this time we are going to talk about a topic that has been recurring over time, and that concerns the price at which a bike can be purchased.
There is honestly no limit to the amount of money a person can spend on a new mountain bike. When you begin to dive into the world of bicycles, you will find a myriad of options. A real sea of accessories and brands that exist today.
You can choose according to the use, size, and level of components you want to carry. An entry-level mountain bike might cost on average around $300 to $500. It will probably be a good bike that will last a long time, but it is a low-end bike. As you start to look at higher-end models, the price will go up and you will probably find a product that is priced like a motorbike, or even a car.
You will probably start to ask yourself the same question that many of us asked ourselves at the beginning. Why should a product that has an engine, suspension and can travel long distances comfortably, cost the same as another product that if you do not pedal it with your own legs, it will not move forward?
At first the prices seem totally absurd, but when you expand your knowledge about the bike industry, you will find materials used by the world’s best cyclists. The pros you see riding alongside Richard Carapaz in the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, or the MTB World Cup. They compete with the same materials that are used in frames and components that you can buy in a shop and use on a family day out in the great outdoors.
The hundreds of hours spent by manufacturers on development, the expensive materials used to optimize weight, strength, and durability. That high-performance equipment used by cycling’s elite that you can get in a shop.
Keeping bike costs under control requires finding out what price range you are willing to pay for a new bike and analyzing the features and components within a mid-price range that you have set as your targets.
Mountain bikes can be divided into a few categories: the so-called cross-country, abbreviated as: XC includes bikes for racing and fast riding. Trail bikes are used for general use and mountain biking. The so-called all-mountain or enduro bikes are for very technically skilled trails, and those in the abbreviated Down Hill (DH) category are used for absolute and trouble-free downhill riding.
Las 4 categories.
- Cross-coutry (XC) bikes are often the lightest bikes in the category, because these bikes have the least amount of suspension and are built with steep geometries that benefit pedalling. Often these bikes have no suspension and are quite stiff. However, you will find some rigid bikes that will have only a front suspension and those with dual suspension.
- On the other side of the river are downhill (DH) bikes. These are full-suspension bikes built with extended geometries, which are great for riding downhill over jumps and obstacles, but not ideal for pedaling. They are also heavy, so they can be very demanding on the road.
- The bikes most often found in more general use are Trail bikes, these have full suspension on every line. A general rule of thumb (just like new running shoes) is that the more travel and time you share on your bike, the easier, more enjoyable, and more comfortable it will be to ride and negotiate obstacles. The extra suspension on Trail bikes also adds weight, which means more difficult pedaling and climbing.
- Enduro bikes are closer to the extreme DH category, especially in the characteristics of their suspension travel. These bikes are recommended for those whose goals are to ride rocky trails and very uneven terrain.
However, most people, especially if you are a beginner rider, will be better off using a trail bike. If you are buying your first mountain bike, it is not recommended that they have very stiff features; the lack of suspension will make your bike a brick for your body, a piece of equipment with features that take the average middle of the spectrum does a lot of things right for most people. Buying a bike from a local shop sometimes helps to get better after-sales service.