How to Buy a Mountain Bike

Whether you plan to take leisurely rides or hit the trails like a daredevil, here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your mountain bike.

You will need

  • A budget
  • Research
  • Test rides

Step 1 Know your purpose Know why you are purchasing the bike to begin with — to do stunts, explore the woods, or to commute.

Step 2 Determine your price Determine the price range you can afford to help narrow your bike search. Bikes range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.

Step 3 Learn the features Research the features and options available and how they meet — or don’t meet — your needs. These include the composition of the frame, suspension, brake pads, tires, and gear shifters.

Step 4 Take a ride Take a test ride of any models you are considering to see how they handle. Be sure to hit a few bumps, or ask the dealer if you can take the bike off-road.

Step 5 Check the fit Check the fit of the bike by straddling the frame and checking the distance between the upper tube and your groin. You should have a gap of 2 inches.

Step 6 Mix and match Mix and match components if the store model doesn’t have everything you want. Pay special attention to getting a bike seat that is comfortable and easy to sit on.

Step 7 Buy Buy the bike when the price, fit, and components all meet your needs, and then ride off into the sunset on your new set of wheels.