We’ll go through the fundamentals of what to ride in this beginner’s guide, providing you with the knowledge and motivation you need to hop on your bike and start exploring.
Which Mountain Bike Type Do I Need?
If you enter any bike store, you’ll immediately learn that the phrase “mountain bike” refers to a vast range of bikes of all sizes, forms, and designs. Understanding what bike you need and how much to pay might be difficult because, in general, most bike stores carry bikes that cost between £200 and £2000.
Before you start exploring, it is ideal to know what riding you want to do and your maximum spending limit. It’s pretty simple to be sucked into the thrill of the flashy accessories at the bike store, and if your parameters aren’t in place before you know it, you’ll have a £2k carbon fibre, complete Susser on flexible credit before you’ve ever hit the trails.
Remember that having a bike you’re going to ride and like is more essential than whether it costs £100 or £1000 if it stays in the back of the garage all year and never accumulates mud on the tyres.
Here are some fundamentals about the kind of bike you require.
A hardtail mountain bike features a stiff back end but a front suspension fork.
A hardtail will often manage an upward climb considerably better than a bike with rear suspension because the energy of your pedalling will transfer into motion more effectively without the flex of a suspension arm. However, a complete suspension bike will handle a downhill lot better and smooth out many bumps along the route.
A hardtail is most likely the right bike for you if you anticipate using it primarily for meandering, exploring, and the odd thrill-seeking ride on a short piece of singletrack.
A full-suspension bike is most certainly what you need if you envision yourself flying around trailheads, climbing mountains, and generally receiving some adrenaline-fueled rushes from your bike.
A full-suspension bike starts off quite a bit more expensive than a hardtail, but if that’s the type of riding you want to undertake, think of it as an investment. There is no such thing as a nice, affordable full suspension bike, so if your neighbourhood bike store offers one for £200 from a brand you’ve never heard of, stay away from it like the plague. It will be three times as heavy as a competent bike and have suspension and parts that are cheap and inefficient.
You will obviously need a helmet to protect your head from the trees, rocks, and automobiles that will whizz by you when you make a minor error, but this should go without saying. When I see individuals riding bikes that cost several hundred dollars but wouldn’t pay an additional twenty pounds to save their lives, maybe, I always find it incomprehensible. Be not that person.
Gloves will provide you with more traction, keep your hands warm, and shield you from any tiny branches or brambles you may encounter while riding.
A good water supply is necessary because you’ll need a lot of it while exploring.
A bottle of water stored in a bottle cage attached to your bike should be sufficient for short rides, but if you plan to go on longer trips, you may want to consider investing in a hydration pack. A hydration pack is a rubber bladder or reservoir stored in your backpack that can be accessed through a long plastic straw while riding.
Make sure to take care of your hydration pack if you want to use one. I can tell you from personal experience that you won’t ever want to drink from a rubber reservoir that has been sitting in a hot vehicle for three weeks.