However, the main purpose of a real mountain bike is confident movement over rough terrain with pits and potholes, overcoming routes with steep slopes, these are riding styles such as cross-country, trail, enduro, freeride, all mountain and downhill.
If you are looking for an unpretentious “park” MTB for Sunday rides in the country, driving on dirt roads with small puddles and light cross-country, then at the end of the article there are some tips for choosing a simple and budget mountain bike.
And first, let’s see how to buy your first mountain bike for more or less serious riding on any off-road and trails, which will become a reliable and faithful partner for many years, and which will not have to be changed in a couple of years due to the fact that the level of body kit has ceased match your riding technique or you killed him with overly aggressive riding.
Let’s start with the most important.
How to choose a mountain bike? Should it have shock absorbers or not? Not more than three decades ago, not a single cyclist asked such a question. All models of mountain bikes did not have any shock absorbers in their design. However, the production of these vehicles does not stand still. To date, a large number of models already have everything you need to improve the handling of the bike and soften the ride for a person.
Hardtails are bikes that do not have a rear shock absorber. The direct translation of the name of this type of bike is the phrase «hard tail». Duplex suspensions have a wide range of applications from cross-country riding to competition in disciplines such as country cross, slalom, bakecross, street and trials.
These bikes can be tough. These are models that do not have a front shock absorber or suspension fork. To reduce the weight of such bikes and improve driving performance, an aluminum frame is used in their design.
In double suspension there is depreciation not only of the front, but also of the rear wheel. These bikes are ideal for cross-country travel. This is due to the fact that the shock absorbers perfectly smooth out shocks, which improves the handling of the «iron horse» and increases the comfort of movement for a person.
There is another type of bicycle. It is called «Comfort». The design of such bikes includes wheels with a width of 26 to 28 inches, a shock-absorbing seatpost and anti-lock brakes. This is a complete set of accessories for a safe and comfortable ride. But it should be borne in mind that such bikes are not suitable for moving with an intense load, as well as in difficult conditions. They can only be included in the «mountain bikes» group due to the similar frame geometry.
Frame. Material selection and size
The foundation of any bike is the frame. There are four types of materials from which it is made:
In modern MTBs, we don’t even consider it. Strong, but heavy and subject to corrosion. Unless you’re a Schwarzenegger, and you don’t want to use your bike to periodically pump muscles, twisting it up a hill or carrying it on yourself in those parts of the route where you can’t pass.
The lightest frames, strong, durable, but also very expensive. A bicycle on a carbon frame is bought either by professional athletes, or by those who have enough money. A carbon frame for the first bike can only be considered if you are not constrained by funds or 100% sure that the geometry and size are correct.
All bikes with carbon frame in «Kant»
Mega-reliable and durable, close to aluminum in weight, but, unlike aluminum, a little “soft”. If all technologies are observed in the production of a titanium frame, then it will serve more than one generation of cyclists, and only a person with a lot of weight and very aggressive riding can break it. But titanium frames are rare on pre-built bikes, as they often cost more than carbon frames.
The most common frame material used in most mass-produced MTB models. Various aluminum alloys (7005, 7075, 6060, 6063, etc.) and variable tube technologies allow manufacturers to achieve good strength and weight minimization. It is these frames that are best considered for your first mountain bike.
All aluminum frame bikes in Kant
A quality MTB frame should be light and strong. What else matters? geometry and size. The right size will make the fit optimal, reduce the load on the joints and muscles, and avoid injuries during sudden stops and dismounts. And the geometry of the frame affects such qualities of a bicycle as maneuverability and stability, the ability to “swallow” uneven surfaces and easily work out large obstacles with the body. All this as a whole affects in the end both the dynamics, the speed of the route, and the satisfaction from riding.
For example, the Welt Rubicon 3.0 27 2021, which has a lower bottom bracket than the MERIDA Big. Seven 100 2021, will be more stable than the Merida, which is especially noticeable when braking hard and spinning in low gears up a steep hill. Merida with a higher bottom bracket will give you more agility in corners and on winding sections of the track, but at the same time loses in stability, it will be more difficult to climb up the slope of a ravine and fly down the rutted dirt road. It should also be borne in mind that when riding off-road, bikes with a low bottom bracket are likely to hit large stones and bumps with the pedals.
This is just one example of the influence of frame geometry. If in the future you are interested in extreme riding styles — trail, enduro, all-mountain, etc., then before buying your first mountain bike, you should take a closer look at various parameters: wheelbase (longitudinal stability), length of feathers (jumps, working out bumps), angle seat tube (weight distribution between the front and rear wheel), head tube angle (steering behavior) — to choose a bike with a frame that best suits your conditions. It is very important to choose the right frame, since the rest of the body kit can eventually be replaced with a more advanced one.
Frame size selection table by height:
|your height (cm)||Frame Size (inches)||Frame size (cm)||Frame size (letter index)|
|130 — 145||13″||33||XS|
|135 — 155||fourteen»||35.6||XS|
|145 — 160||fifteen»||38.1||S|
|150 — 165||16″||40.6||S|
|156 — 170||17″||43.2||M|
|167 — 178||eighteen»||45.7||M|
|172 — 180||19″||48.3||L|
|178 — 185||twenty»||50.8||L|
|180 — 190||21″||53.3||XL|
|185 — 195||22″||55.9||XL|
|190 — 200||23″||58.4||XXL|
|195 — 210||24″||61||XXL|
As you can see, this table is ambiguous, there are many intersecting sizes. For a more accurate sizing, measure the length of the leg from the inside of the thigh. Stand barefoot with your back to the wall and measure the distance in centimeters from the floor to the crotch. The resulting figure in centimeters must be multiplied by 0.57 and then divided by 2.54. The result is your frame size in inches. If the site indicates the frame size in the form of a letter index, then use the table above.
Decide why we need it
In order to choose the right mountain bike, we first need to figure out how you will use it, namely the area of its application. This will help us determine the type of mountain bike that is suitable for a particular area, which in turn will provide us with the best price-quality choice. As mentioned above, the range of application of mountain bikes is very wide, but we tried to divide all possible options into 3 groups.
Mountain bikes for country bike rides and daily city trips
For short bike rides in the park or out of town, entry-level hardtails are perfect. They have a sufficient margin of safety, and most importantly a low price. If you don’t have much money, then this view will appeal to you.
If your budget pulls a full-suspension, then this will help add more comfort to cycling over potholes and bumps, which is very important when looking at the quality of the road surface.
I want to emphasize that we would not advise you to immediately buy very expensive models. To get started, you should take a mountain bike in the initial price segment
Firstly, it will be quite enough for riding both around the city and beyond, and secondly, if you suddenly do not get involved in moving on two wheels, an inexpensive bike will not hit your pocket so hard. Thirdly, buying the first bike is always a huge risk of making the wrong choice. For example, they didn’t guess with the size of the frame, or its geometry didn’t suit you. Therefore, we choose an inexpensive one, try it, and then we decide whether the entry level is enough for us.
All of the above applies to mountain bikes for daily movement around the city.
The only thing you can pay attention to the model, which includes bike fenders and a bike rack. Although these accessories can be purchased separately (we advise you to pay attention to the article on the types of bike racks)
Mountain bike for tourism
For cycling, the best option is a hardtail in the middle price category. Why a hardtail and not, for example, a two-suspension? Everything is very simple. The main reason is the complexity, even practically — the impossibility, of installing a full-fledged bike rack. And, as you know, sometimes huge loads are transported by bicycle during tourism. This is the main reason, although not the only one. Secondary problems include a more complex design of a two-suspension relative to a hardtail, which impairs maintainability in the field.
And finally, we can add that the stiffer the design, the easier it is to pedal, and this is important when traveling long distances. I think it is not necessary to explain that when using a rear shock absorber, stiffness decreases
The second question is why then the middle price segment, and not the TOP? This is explained by the fact that the TOP options are equipped with higher-quality parts, but also rarer ones.
When cycling long distances, it is very important that every detail of your bike, if it fails, can be easily found in bike shops even in the most seedy villages.
Downhill for extreme descents from the mountain
Well, with this category, everything is very simple. Here you should use the TOP versions of two-suspension with reinforced nodes and components. This type of mountain bike is very expensive and therefore only recommended for professional riders. I would like to note that even if you have a sufficient budget, and you do not mind the money for such a bike, it is unlikely that you will be able to comfortably ride in a touring style. Downhill often has a significant weight to provide increased strength. Therefore, we choose it exclusively for extreme rides from the mountain.
In addition to the frame size, you must immediately determine the diameter of the wheels. In the future, you will be able to upgrade all equipment, but the frame and wheel sizes will remain basic. The choice of wheels depends on your tasks and preferences.
29” wheels are by far the most versatile. They provide maximum ride smoothness over small surface irregularities due to a smaller collision angle, which means they improve rolling, it is easy to pick up tires for any task on them. However, other things being equal, they are slightly heavier in dynamics than other sizes.
All mountain bikes in Kant with 29” wheels
26″ wheels. Mountain biking began with such wheels, this is a “classic of the genre”. These wheels also work well on smaller bikes (in frames for people less than 170 cm tall, larger wheels force the manufacturer to bend the seat tube and use other tricks). 26” wheels provide maximum dynamics and maneuverability. But, it must be admitted that 26 ”, this is, in fact, “outgoing nature”, there are practically none in the new collections of world bicycle manufacturers.
All mountain bikes in Kant with 26” wheels
27.5” is the latest standard. Appeared later than the others and combines the properties of 29 «and 26». Perhaps, for many, that is the “golden mean”. Better rollover than 26”, better dynamics than 29”. Despite the «youth» of the standard, there is already a good choice of rubber.
All mountain bikes in Kant with 27.5” wheels
It’s up to you to decide what is the priority, but keep in mind, the choice of 29” models is rather limited for small heights.
Other components of a mountain bike
Attachments When buying a bike, the main criterion (after the frame) is the group or class of attachments installed on the bike. The main point of reference are the groups from Shimano — the world leader in attachments for bicycles, as a rare bike does not have some piece of equipment from Shimano. Conventionally, they can be divided into two classes: amateur and sports. Below is a list of groups from Shimano. For comparison, the classes of switches, handles and brakes from the second leading world manufacturer SRAM are also divided into two classes: amateur and sports. Below is a list of groups from Shimano. Also listed are grades of shifters, knobs and brakes from the world’s second leading manufacturer, SRAM, for comparison.
|Shimano||a brief description of||SRAM|
|XTR||For professional athletes||ESP 9.0 SL Dirt Plasma|
|Deore XT*||Used by athletes and is a benchmark for most hobbyists who can afford it||ESP 9.0 Dirt Quarts|
|Deore LX*||Real quality. The top bar for the toughest amateurs. Used by athletes||—|
|STX-RC||Primary sports group||ESP 7.0 Dirt Neos|
|Alivio||Best for Lovers||ESP 5.0 Dirt Centera|
|Acera-X||Average good level for amateurs||Dirt MRX|
The popularity of sports groups among amateurs is primarily due to reliability, smooth and precise operation and, of course, lower weight. Therefore, for aggressive off-road, and just really active driving, sports-class equipment is desirable. It is also worth noting that, with rare exceptions, the equipment of one group is never completely installed on the bike. To achieve optimal parameters in the «quality / cost» criterion, mixing of components of different groups, usually two neighboring ones, is used. The better the group of equipment, the lighter it is in weight. You can also find the names of other companies that produce individual parts of attachments: Sram, Formula, Suntour, etc.
Switches Front and rear. The most important part of a bike after the frame. The front derailleur shifts the chain between the three front chainrings on the system. The rear derailleur shifts the chain between 6-9 sprockets on the cassette. The most common derailleurs are from Shimano and SRAM. The switch handles that actuate them are located on the steering wheel. The right one is for the rear derailleur, the left one is for the front derailleur. There are two types of switch knobs. The first option is Shimano’s Rapidfire, the handles of which have two levers: one for moving the chain from large stars to smaller ones, the second in the opposite direction. Switching is carried out with the help of fingers (thumb and index). The second option is Gripshift (Grip Shift) from SRAM. This switch looks like a motorcycle throttle and is switched by turning it. Unlike the Rapidfire, the Gripshift allows you to switch gears in the entire range with one movement. None of the above systems has any obvious advantages over the other, the choice depends on taste. Both systems are equally convenient and quick to learn.
Brakes Since their first introduction a few years ago, Shimano’s V-brake brakes have gained enormous popularity for their reliability, excellent performance and light weight. Soon, other companies began producing similar brakes (we are not talking about copying Shimano’s development, since a patent for a similar brake design was issued in France back in the 20s of our century). In addition to Shimano, the most famous companies are Avid and Grimeca. Magura, a manufacturer of hydraulic brakes for bicycles, deserves special mention. Despite their high price, these brakes are definitely worth the money. In recent years, disc brakes have undergone rapid development, completely displacing others from downhill, they also came to cross-country. These are the best brakes on the market today, but their high cost and the need for their own special hub slow down their widespread use.
Now it’s time to look at the hardware level. The components of the transmission and brake system are made of different materials and using different technologies. Accordingly, they differ in such qualities as:
- the weight;
- reliability and accuracy of work;
- strength and wear resistance;
- smooth, efficient and quiet operation.
The lower the level of equipment, the heavier the bike, the faster the transmission and brakes will fail, the worse the damping of the fork will be and the less comfortable the shifting will be, and the more often you will have to adjust and troubleshoot.
There are two leading manufacturers of transmission and brake components: Shimano and SRAM. Each of them has a line of equipment from entry-level to professional level. There are ready-made sets — groupsets. But often companies involved in the production of bicycles combine components from different lines, achieving the most effective price-quality ratio.
For example, the Welt Rubicon 2.0 27 2021 with a Shimano Altus touring-grade drivetrain is equipped with a higher-end Shimano Deore rear derailleur, since it is the rear derailleur that takes the main workload when shifting gears.
By the way, the groupset of this model can be considered the minimum level of equipment from which it is worth starting to consider an MTB bike as acceptable not only for “park-walking” riding, but also for serious off-road and more aggressive riding.
Brakes are the second important component of the body kit. We don’t even consider rim brakes on MTBs, but we’ll talk about mechanical disc brakes later in the section on budget mountain bikes. In addition, on all the latest mass-produced MTB models of a more or less decent level, disc hydraulics are installed by default.
Therefore, it is better to consider those parameters that few beginner MTB riders know about, and therefore do not think about them when buying their first mountain bike.
A good mountain bike should have a mid-range brake system with brake lever reach adjustment or higher with additional free play and pad contact point adjustment.
Reach adjustment (handle position) allows you to reduce or increase the distance from the brake lever to the handlebar grip for long or short fingers.
Adjusting the free play affects the amount of travel of the handle until the start of braking. Some cyclists prefer a long ride, while others prefer a short ride.
Also worth mentioning is modulation. This is the nature of the dependence of the braking force on the force applied to the brake lever. A system with good modulation, with a slight pressure on the lever, transmits a small amount of power to the brakes, and as the force on the brake handle increases, it gradually increases braking power.
A brake system with poor modulation can, with a slight change in pressure on the lever, multiply the braking power, which will lead to a complete stop of the bike, skidding the rear wheel or blocking the front wheel, followed by flight through the handlebars or loss of control. As a rule, braking systems on touring mountain bikes have low modulation.
Amateur and mid-sport MTBs are now most commonly fitted with simple hydraulics, such as the Shimano MT200 and MT400, which only have hex handle reach adjustment. More advanced pro-level braking systems, such as the Shimano XTR Trail M9020, have handlebar reach and free travel adjustment, but such systems are found on expensive and advanced bikes that are hardly worth buying as a first mountain bike.
You can also keep in mind the dimensions of the rotor (brake disc) as an indicator of braking force (remember, bigger rotors = more braking force). Often the front rotor is larger than the rear rotor, this slightly equalizes the required effort on the front and rear brake levers, because. the rear wheel has less grip during hard braking.
And finally, another important part of a mountain bike package is a suspension front fork. It comes in three main types:
- Spring-elastomer. Suitable for walking «park» skiing. The most budget option. All MTV bikes in «Kant» with a spring-elastomer fork.
- Air-oil. Suitable for all types of riding, has the smallest weight, easily adjusts to the weight of the cyclist, more expensive than other options. All MTV bikes in «Kant» with an air-oil fork.
- Spring-oil. Also suitable for all types of riding — trails, freeride, all-mountain, downhill, etc. A little easier to maintain than an air one, but noticeably heavier. All MTV bikes in «Kant» with a spring-oil fork.
We do not take into account spring-elastomeric forks, as they are absolutely not suitable not only for trails, but even for aggressive driving on dirt roads and grader roads, as these are forks with very conditional damping. You can ride on primers with them, in city parks, but it will hardly differ from riding with a rigid rigid fork, at high speed your arms will strain and get tired, and this fork will add weight to the bike significantly. Therefore, it is worth choosing between air-oil and spring-oil.
The travel fork for a mountain bike (non-extreme disciplines) is usually in the range of 100-120 mm, and it should have the appropriate settings:
- lockout — fork lock function, lockout control can be located on the fork itself or placed on the shifter on the steering wheel;
- preload — stiffness adjustment (applies only to spring-oil forks, in air-oil forks the stiffness is regulated by pressure in the air chamber);
- rebound — rebound adjustment, i.e. return speed of the fork to its original position after compression.
Most modern forks, even spring-elastomeric ones, are equipped with lockout and preload functions. Another question is how effectively they work in reality. A good fork should also be equipped with a rebound adjustment function, which is used to adjust for different types of terrain and riding habits. On the pavement, it is desirable to spin the rebound so that you do not begin to swing, but weaken on the ground.
All bikes in KANT with 2×10 drivetrain and Shimano XT and Shimano Deore mountain trail equipment
As you can see, the range of choice has narrowed even more. Among them, in my opinion, two models are worthy as the first good mountain bike:
- Niner MERIDA Big.Nine 40-D 2021 or MERIDA Big.Seven 40-D 2020 with 27″ wheels
- Giant Talon 1GE 2020
Bicycle MERIDA big.nine 300 2021 silk anthracite/green/black
Both firms are among the trusted leading bike brands. Frames, steering units and other components and Merida and Giant are made in-house. Merida has a broader range of budget bikes, while Giant is focusing on sport and advanced lines.
Both bikes — MERIDA Big.Seven and Giant Talon 1 GE — are equipped with approximately the same level of equipment. But there are some differences:
- Giant Talon has a RockShox XC30 spring-oil fork with rebound adjustment, and it performs better than the SR Suntour XCR air-oil. It is suitable for higher loads and maintainable due to the availability of various spare parts for it;
- The advantage of the MERIDA Big.Seven is that it is lighter than the Giant Talon 1.
Giant Talon 1 has excellent handling, has good dynamics and maintains a level of comfort on almost any road, gear shifting is clear without extraneous sounds and sticking, but in terms of price-quality ratio, Merida, perhaps, wins.
How to choose a mountain bike so that it meets all the requirements and expectations of its owner as much as possible? The answer to this question is extremely important for a potential buyer, since, it is worth saying, this toy is not cheap. For example, the price of basic models can be as low as $250. But those who wish to purchase something more modern and fast, as well as having a large number of the most diverse features, will have to fork out. Prices for such models in some cases may exceed the limit of 2-3 thousand dollars.
Bikes starting at $250 usually have rigid forks and single rims, chrome-calibrated frames, and attachments like Shimano Sis, Shimano C-101, etc. The term of their active operation is from one and a half to two years. These are bikes that are mainly designed for riding on asphalt, with only occasional trips to rough terrain. But for those buyers who are counting on this particular amount, it is worth saying that with a careful attitude to the vehicle, that is, with a timely rise when crossing a high curb, technical gear shifting that does not allow straining the chain, etc., the service life such a bike will be much larger than stated in the instructions.
Bicycles ranging from $400 to $700 have an aluminum frame, soft forks with 60mm of travel, attachments ranging from the Shimano Alivio class to the Deore LX, and double rims. These bikes are good for those people who buy mountain bikes for the first time and are looking to acquire good equipment that has a long service life. Such an iron horse, with sufficient physical fitness of its owner, will allow him to travel for a long time and without stopping for repairs (up to 80 km per day). The level of equipment of such bikes withstands dirt and adverse weather conditions.
Lists of the best
The review notes the main technical parameters of mountain bikes, highlights the pros and cons of products, and examines customer feedback. Let’s get acquainted with the best models by category:
- The most economical.
- The most agile.
- Best for beginners.
Let’s take a closer look at this range.
Merida Matts 20-MD (2014) — the most economical
A functional bike that has a reliable aluminum alloy frame and high-quality attachments. The ergonomic seat in Merida Matts 20-MD has an anatomical sporty design, designed for everyday walks. It also comes with a 24-speed transmission and Shimano Acera-X comfort shifter.
The special pattern on the treads will make driving safer due to proper grip on the ground surface. Advantages are also affordable price and high-quality work of attachments. The Merida Matts 20-MD is comfortable to ride in squares, over rough and mountainous terrain.
Stels Adrenalin Disc (2014) — the most maneuverable
A mountain bike that combines a bright appearance and high-quality attachments. Two-suspension entry-level model, which is designed for movement in the city and in the mountains. The frame of the vehicle is made of heavy-duty aluminum. The SR Suntour fork will provide you with easy overcoming of various obstacles that are typical for mountainous terrain.
Comfortable VELO saddle is made on the basis of the latest technology. The Stels Adrenalin Disc features sensitive Tektro mechanical disc brakes, double rimmed wheels and Shimano Tourney/Acera gear.
Stinger Caiman D 29 (2020) – Best for Beginners
Mountain bike for beginners with Shimano attachments. A reliable model for cycling within the city and off-road. It features a sporty geometry of the frame, which is made of special steel, which helps to cope with serious loads. The fork has a travel of 60 mm, the transmission is equipped with an 18-speed mode.
Comfortable saddle has increased wear resistance. Disc mechanical brakes are characterized by reliability in operation, effective regardless of the conditions. Large wheels guarantee high maneuverability and smooth running. Durable tires provide reliable traction. The mud tread is versatile, suitable for driving within the city and beyond. Stinger Caiman D 29 is ideal for cycling on various roads and off-road.
Age of the cyclist
I think it’s obvious that when choosing, you need to pay attention to the age of the future «rider». It seems to me that many will remember how inconvenient it was to ride a large parent bike “in the frame” as a child.
Designed for the youngest cyclists aged from “I learned to ride a tricycle” to 5-7 years old. There are three-wheeled and two-wheeled with additional side wheels that can be removed after the child learns to balance. When choosing a bike for a child, you should not bother too much, because at the rate at which children grow up, in a very short time this bike will become small for him.
Something between an adult and a child. It has all the main nodes, as in an adult, but slightly reduced in size and weight. Designed for ages 7 to 14.
Adult bikes are fully equipped and have all the characteristics that are described above and will be further described in the article. There are these bicycles for men and women and differ from each other in the shape of the frame, and often in colors. They can also be divided by size, which is determined by the height of the cyclist. The choice of size is very important, since an incorrectly selected frame size leads to an uncomfortable fit, and as a result, to fatigue and an uncomfortable ride. Choosing a bike by height is very simple using the table that we have posted below.
What to look for when choosing a mountain bike
When choosing, several parameters are taken into account:
one frame size must match the height of the driver. For example, sizes up to 35 cm are relevant for children from 135 to 155 cm. There are models for short adult athletes, the average cyclist, and tall people. Less popular models for those who are taller than 2 m. For them, a frame size of 24 inches or 61 cm is selected.
2 frame material. Steel is one of the inexpensive options, it is characterized by increased strength, perfectly absorbs vibration effects. Cons — susceptibility to corrosion and high weight. Aluminum is more expensive, but is valued for its light weight and durability. There are expensive titanium models. They have no flaws, are focused on a long service life.
3 Wheel options must match the height. Many mountain bikes come with 26-inch options. You can increase the diameter by thickening the tires. This can be done to improve throughput. Teenagers will fit wheels with rims of 20-24 inches. For tall people, models of 28-29 inches are well suited.
four Brake system. It is rim or disc. The first type involves clamping the wheels on both sides. This slows down their rotation. Minus — the need to periodically change the pads. Such options are not reliable if the wheel becomes wet or too dirty. Discs are able to provide the necessary braking, regardless of the presence of precipitation or air temperature. Such models assume that the pads are pressed against the rotor, mounted on the wheel axle.
5 Transmission. The more gears on a bike, the easier it will be for a person to adapt to changes in the track, for example, uphill, downhill. In «advanced» models, their number can reach up to 21.
6 By type of depreciation mountain bikes are divided into:
- Rigid. There is no suspension on it, so it is suitable for small trips on easy roads.
- Hardtail. It has a rigid “tail”, devices for reducing vibration loads on the hands.
- Double suspension. They have shock absorption on the front and rear wheels.
If necessary, you can always increase the efficiency of the vehicle by using additional devices or devices.
back to menu ↑
Which bike to choose?
Most people in Russia usually purchase a mountain bike even for city riding. Unlike a city bike, they look modern, attractive, sporty, and they are presented in huge quantities in stores. But is it really necessary to purchase MTV, overpaying for advanced functionality that will not be useful to the user in the future, but will also interfere with normal driving on asphalt streets?
So, before you go to the store for a new two-wheeled «horse», decide for yourself in what conditions and with what intensity you are going to use it.
If you plan to ride exclusively in the city (sidewalks or roadways), then it makes no sense to choose a mountain bike model. Already after a few kilometers covered in the city on MTV, you will notice that you are tired too quickly. You will be strained by the vibration that appears from the friction of the deep tread and asphalt, the position of the body is uncomfortable (shoulders, buttocks, knees begin to hurt).
City bikes, on the other hand, are adapted for walking on flat terrain without significant drops: they have a large wheel diameter (26, more often 28 inches, not too pronounced tread pattern, comfortable wide seat, curved handlebars). The management of such bicycles is primitive (lack of a full-fledged gearshift system, rim or foot brakes). Since the device is not required to develop breakneck speed and have excellent maneuverability. Usually city bikes do not have a suspension fork, as it makes it difficult to move on asphalt.
Road bikes are suitable for lovers of speed. Such models are designed for trips on perfectly smooth asphalt, they have a steering wheel of a specific shape, a thin and light frame, and a tread with almost no pattern.
For those who want to make trips through forests, parks, country roads, where descents and ascents are often encountered, it is better to opt for mountain models. In these conditions, they will be quite mobile, provide good grip, and the presence of disc brakes and a couple of dozen speeds will make it easier to control on non-standard tracks.
For cyclists who intend to use the bike for commuting and then for walking on forest paths, it is recommended to choose a hybrid type with 26-inch wheels. It is an average option between city and mountain bikes. Such bikes are also suitable for those who are worried about the state of the roads in the city or for whom it is a serious problem to «jump» or «jump» off the parebrika.
Also, when choosing a bike, consider whether you need additional items. MTVs are usually sold without them, and purchasing separately can be quite expensive. City bikes usually have chain guards, racks and fenders, some even have a front basket — all you need for a comfortable shopping ride. On such a bike, you can not be afraid that your back or legs will be splashed with mud. MTV is intended for inexperienced buyers who put functionality first, and only then only cleanliness.
Another nice addition that is present in some models of city bikes is the ability to fold. Mountain bikes usually don’t have that kind of fun, and keeping the bike in an apartment can be a real hassle.
Thus, when choosing between a mountain bike and a city bike, consider the cost, your own riding style, the condition of the terrain, the purpose of use, the need for additional elements, whether you have a place to store the bike.
How to choose a simple MTB bike?
If you’re buying your first mountain bike to ride on a country weekend and don’t plan on riding anything complicated, you might want to get a simpler, more budget-friendly bike. As promised at the very beginning of the article, a little about the intricacies of choosing an MTB bike for pleasure riding on forest and dirt roads.
Brake systems. There are many variations, but the three most commonly used today are v-brake rims, mechanical discs, and hydraulics. Rim brakes are no longer commonly used on mountain bikes. They steer only on road bikes, due to their lower weight. The advantage of MTB disc brakes is greater efficiency, better modulation and independence from weather conditions. Also, you won’t have to change the rims over time as the pads wear them out. Disc brakes will always work evenly and predictably, despite the fact that various noises and squeals can appear in them due to water, sand, small stones or disc warping.
Therefore, when buying a mountain bike, it is worth considering options for mechanical and hydraulic disc brake systems. Among them, hydraulics is in priority. Yes, hydraulic brakes are indeed more efficient and in some aspects more reliable, but we are not talking about an extreme bike now, so let’s figure it out first, and at the same time dispel some misconceptions. It is believed that hydraulics brake better in wet weather and in mud. In fact, when buying an entry-level or amateur MTB, and not planning to ride it on difficult mountain trails with extreme descents at high speeds, you will feel the difference in the braking efficiency of hydraulic and mechanical brakes, but mechanics will be enough for you even on protracted descending into the downpour.
What are the downsides of mechanics?
- Mechanical brakes are more dependent on operating conditions. Their moving mechanisms can become clogged with dirt and sand, the cables can become rusty.
- When operating in harsh mud conditions, very frequent trimming and cleaning may be required to ensure good brake performance. Literally every few miles.
- With a quiet ride after a certain mileage, about once every 1000 km, you have to bring the pads up as they wear out. If you plan to ride once a week for 20-30 or even 50 km on asphalt and country roads, then the need for tuning will not arise very often. This is in good mechanics, bad ones will have to be adjusted more often.
In the case of hydraulics, everything is easier. You can forget about setting the brakes until you need to replace the pads due to complete wear or pump the hydraulic system. Pumping is carried out in the workshop using the appropriate equipment. For those who are not tech-savvy and not ready to delve into where and what to twist on a bike, hydraulic brakes are the only choice.
What are the disadvantages of hydraulics? Inability to repair independently in the field in the event of a breakdown. Theoretically, breakdowns can be anything, up to leakage of oil or brake fluid in problematic brakes, however, in practice, critical breakdowns occur much less frequently with hydraulics than with mechanics. However, if you are a fan of autonomous long trips to various wild places, including movement not only on paved roads, and plan to go on such trips on a bicycle, then failed hydraulic brakes can create a risky situation. In this case, perhaps mechanics will be the best choice.
A decent simple trekking bike with mechanical disc brakes from one of the top and most established cycling brands — the Giant ATX 1 27.5 GE 2021 is reliable, durable and unpretentious. This model is good for long routes and traveling on paved roads, well-packed primers and forest roads. Very comfortable saddle, which is important during a long ride all day. Mechanical brakes, reliable and effective, including on long and high-speed descents. The only thing is that on very long continuous descents — 5-10 km each, you may have to periodically make stops to cool the pads and rotors.
A more budget model of a domestic brand with the same level of components and quite high-quality assembly — Format 1414 27.5 2020
All MTBs with mechanical disc brakes in KANT
Unfortunately, finished bikes with mechanical disc brakes now only come with amateur-level transmissions, which are not designed for heavy riding conditions. If you want a bike with a higher level of equipment, then it will have hydraulic brakes anyway. Before you go to the next autonomy, it is advisable to check them. The first sign that the brake system needs to be bled is when the brake lever “falls through”, that is, in the fully clamped position, it almost touches the grip.
When buying a mountain bike with hydraulic disc brakes, be aware that bad hydraulics can be less efficient and fail faster than good mechanics. So don’t be deceived by the price and don’t buy cheap bikes with low equipment, otherwise you will have to spend more money to replace it in a year or two.
For example, you definitely shouldn’t buy a bike with Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes. They have poor modulation, the brake lever begins to loosen and play over time, and the system requires frequent pumping. In general, Tektro brakes are not stable, some can work properly for years even without bleeding, and some begin to create problems immediately after purchase.
Differences from women’s bikes
There are no particular restrictions on the choice of women’s or men’s bike options. When choosing a specific model for men, it is worth relying on many factors. Of course, it is desirable to know what are the main differences between two-wheeled vehicles for the stronger sex.
- The first is the steering wheel. With a low location of this element, it should have a large diameter. Moreover, the pads on the handles are elongated so that it is more comfortable to hold on to wider palms.
- Shifters or other gear shifters, as well as brake levers, are also more impressive in size.
- The length of the connecting rods on male models is longer, due to the longer legs.
- The height of the frame, compared with the female models, is greater. In addition, it is more rough, durable and stable. Most often it is made of steel or durable alloys and is somewhat heavier.
- The seat is narrow and hard enough, as soft models are not suitable for men.
- Colors are more restrained compared to women’s.
The most important
The most reliable bike is the simplest. If you need a bike that will last for many years, then it is better to take a quality bike for the city or a hybrid. It will be able to skate more than one season with minimal costs.
As for mountain bikes, it is best to opt for the German brand Cube, the American Scott or Cannondale.
But it is worth paying attention not only to the logo printed on the frame, but also to the components. Transmission must be bought only from Shimano or Sram, and forks from Fox, Rock Shox or SR Suntour
Everything else is either designed for elite riders or extremely low quality.
Regardless of the type and cost, bikes must not be forgotten about systematic maintenance. Only under this condition can we hope that the bike will serve for a long time and will not let you down at the most crucial moment.
Top brands and prices of mountain bikes
The price issue is always in the foreground
It is very important for any buyer to be confident in the correctness of his choice and in the absence of overpayments. To do this, before buying it is very important to weigh the pros and cons of a particular model of a mountain bike.
Of course, a high-quality mountain bike will not be cheap: the cost of models worthy of attention, as a rule, starts at $ 200. Moreover, the more popular the brand and the better the equipment of the bike, the more expensive it is. Reliable bikes that will last for years are best found in the $450 to $700 price range. When buying a mountain bike during the New Year holidays, you can buy an excellent bike for 20-30% cheaper due to promotional programs.
If you decide to spend a good amount on a quality mountain bike, it is better to give preference to models from leading manufacturers. Mountain bikes are the most popular and famous:
- American brands — Specialized, Cannondale, GT, Felt;
- German firms — Cube, BMW M Bike, Wheeler;
- Taiwanese manufacturers — Merida, Giant.
It is also worth noting such a young, but already quite successful German company Bergamont, the demand for bicycles of which is growing outside of Europe. Branded bikes of this company are popular with athletes participating in world-class competitions. Bergamont models attract with a successful combination of the highest quality with a fairly reasonable cost.
GT mountain bikes (USA) are of high quality, as evidenced by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. They have an exclusive frame design with increased rigidity. The MTB GT is a great option for any level of cyclist.
Merida bicycles belong to the strong «middle class». The cost of models of this brand varies from 350 to 1600 dollars. According to the reviews of cyclists, Merida’s light modern bicycles are distinguished by ease of control, comfortable saddles and a convenient gear shifting system.
If you are looking for more budget options of decent quality for beginners, then you should pay attention to brands such as Azimut (Ukraine) and Stealth.
The best mountain bike manufacturers — which company to choose
The more famous the name on the frame, the more expensive the device. This is the price you pay for the guaranteed quality and reliability of your mountain bike.
There are many companies involved in the design of mountain bikes, but the best of them are:
An overview of the most interesting models from these companies can be found in our mountain bike rating. But the choice of MTV requires an individual approach, so before buying, you should study all the characteristics of the bike you like.
Recommendations: The 14 Best Mountain Bikes
16 best bikes
17 Best Folding Bikes
Wheels and tires
Wheels are not second-rate elements of a bicycle. Their size determines how the roll and maximum speed will be. The two most common wheel sizes on the market are 26-inch and 24-inch. I recommend choosing a 26″ wheel, as it guarantees high speed and good rolling.
The number of spokes on the wheel does not matter if you do not initially plan to use your iron horse for an aggressive style of riding. There are two options for the number of spokes — 32 and 36. If the riding style cannot be called walking, it is best to give preference to a larger number of spokes (36).
Tire size in a mountain bike is also of great importance. When using your vehicle for cross-country and city driving, the best option is a 2.20-inch wide tire. Remember the following selection formula. Before choosing an agile bike, look at tires with a size range of 2.25 — 2.60. If you’re racing in the woods and in the city, look for tires up to 2.20 inches.
Additional options to watch out for
The width of the steering wheel directly affects comfort. For a mountain bike, the handlebar length is 710 mm. A larger steering wheel will only create discomfort. The length of the seatpost to which the saddle is attached should be between 300-400 mm. Note that 20-30 centimeters of the pin is hidden in the seat tube of the frame.
It will not be superfluous to look at the type of bearings that are used in the steering column and bottom bracket (fastens the connecting rods). There are two types of bearings — ball and industrial. The question arises — which is better? The last option will be the best. Industrial bearings do not need constant rebuilding; dirt does not get into their interior.
Based on these selection rules, you can choose exactly the bike that suits you best!
The first in the category is a bike with good off-road capability. The model has a chrome-plated steel frame with heat treatment, wide tires, disc brakes and double aluminum rims. Velobike allows you to ride in any weather and season.
- number of gears — 20;
- weight — 16 kg.
- wheels — 26 inches;
- high cost — 74 thousand rubles.
When buying a bike, do not choose obscure brands of Chinese origin. They can not only let you down on the road with an unexpected breakdown, but also injure your body. You should always look for quality mountain bikes from well-known bike manufacturers: KONA, Kellys, Cannondale, Bergamont, Cube, Trek, GT, Specialized, Giant, Merida, Skott, Author, Bianchi and others.
As with any product, the price of mountain bikes varies slightly depending on the season. Therefore, if you want to save some money, then you should buy a bike in the fall or winter, when the price of them falls, especially on the eve of the New Year holidays, when you can get some discounts.
Each mountain bike company has its own lineups, which are updated every year. This is not to say that the 2015 bike is worse than its 2021 counterpart. Therefore, to save money, you can buy last year’s model, which will be a little cheaper.
If you do not have sufficient budget, but want to buy a bike of an average or high level, then you can look at used models, for example, from Germany or other countries. Among them, quite often come across good and not expensive mountain bikes.
Define your riding style.
To choose the right mountain bike, first determine what you will be using the bike for and evaluate your cycling technique.
Think over all the details of the upcoming purchase.
What prompted you to buy a mountain bike? Are you an experienced cyclist and looking for variety? Do you need a bike for family picnics and will probably be towing a special trailer with a child? Or are you just going to keep fit on local cycling routes?
Buyer tip: The basic mountain bike is well suited for business trips, family picnics or occasional bike rides. If you want to go further — go faster, higher or harder — you will have to invest in higher quality components.
How good is your physical condition:
Is this the right bike for you? Are you ready to acquire new skills? Or is your fitness level preventing you from cycling regularly and you just want to occasionally explore new routes? Or will you use your bike for two of the above purposes at once?
Buyer tip: If you are active enough and in good physical shape, then both a hardtail and a full suspension bike will suit you. If you suffer from joint or back problems and prefer a quiet ride, then a full-suspension mountain bike is probably the best choice for you.
The type of route can influence the choice of mountain bike. How wide or narrow, flat or steep, smooth or bumpy will your routes be? Ask experienced cyclists what type of mountain bike is right for your area.
Buyer tip: A hardtail is well suited for routes without steep climbs or for driving on muddy roads. For bumpy, rocky, or wet roads, consider a full-suspension or 29″ mountain bike.
There are bikes with women’s geometry. Trust me, you don’t need them if you’re looking for a normal, not «glamorous» MTB. There is no need for a «women’s» mountain bike frame, just the right size and geometry. This has historically been the case in city bikes because the ladies needed to ride the bike in long skirts. If you need a bike for commuting to work or the club, then just buy a city bike, for example, a Welt Grace 7 with a minimum set of gears that can pedal in the park and out of town, and don’t bother buying an MTB.
Bicycle Grace 7 2021 white
On a mountain bike with a “female” frame, unlike urban models, the top tube is only slightly lower, so in order to saddle the bike and get off it, you will have to throw your leg over the saddle anyway. Understatement does not give any special advantages, so it is not clear what function it performs. In order not to beat anything off when dismounting? The required clearance is achieved by the correct frame size, and choosing the right size is even more relevant for men. The argument that women can have shorter arms or torsos doesn’t work either. There are different frame geometries and the distance from the saddle to the handlebars. In extreme cases, this parameter can be adjusted within a small range by the length of the steering stem (but you should not get carried away, as this has a noticeable effect on the steering character).
Do you want femininity? On an ordinary men’s frame, it is quite possible to ride in a cycling skirt or a short sports skirt in combination with cycling shorts.
All women’s cycling shorts in «Kant»
The only, 100% good reason to buy the «female» versions of the MTV is the design. series of special coloring and decorative elements: flowers, certain combinations of colors, etc. If this is really important to you, then here are all the «female» versions of mountain bikes in «Kant»
Differences between mountain bikes and road bikes
Road bikes are designed and built to travel at medium to high speeds on level ground, usually asphalt.
The frame design and low handlebar position provide the cyclist with a «hunched» riding position. This ensures that the maximum possible energy is transferred from the rider’s feet to the pedals.
Mountain bikes are designed to move over rough terrain in off-road conditions. Frames are made as strong as possible to withstand aggressive use. As a rule, they are equipped with shock absorbers that absorb vibrations and a wide handlebar that provides maximum control when moving.
Lightweight design for road bikes is a must to maintain speed and provide maximum ride comfort.
Since mountain bikes are not designed for high-speed travel, a large bike weight is a necessity to provide the necessary structural strength and resistance to deformation during falls.
Wide tires with deep tread on mountain bikes increase the contact area of the rubber with the surface, which increases the friction force and, as a result, stability and flotation.
On the other hand, road bikes have narrow and smooth tires. It would seem, why not apply wide tread tire technology to a road bike. But this is not particularly necessary, because when rubber interacts with asphalt, a sufficiently high coefficient of friction is formed, which ensures a comfortable and confident ride.
As a rule, road bikes are designed to overcome distances on a smooth surface at high speed and are not equipped with a movable suspension. This is not necessary, because the bike is not designed for movement on uneven surfaces.
Mountain biking is the opposite of road biking. For him, the presence of a shock absorber, at least a front one, is absolutely necessary.
Thus, having answered the above questions and sorted out the technical characteristics, choosing a bike will not be difficult.
The best mountain hybrids
Mountain hybrid bikes are a cross between mountain bikes and road bikes. They combine the characteristic features of both sides, so they are ideal for mixed trails. Of course, hybrids cannot compete with class bikes, and this is their main drawback.
Proud representative of a new line of bikes from the Czech company Author, based on the use of a walking kit. The main advantage of the Classic is that it makes the most of a less advanced body kit, showing good results in amateur and semi-professional competitions. You read that right: this bike is really considered for use by semi-professionals due to its good design, ease of repair and the possibility of personal fine-tuning.
The disadvantage of the Author Classic as a walking hardtail is the fork travel shortened to 60 millimeters. As noted by users who managed to test the bike in action, this nuance significantly changes the strategy for overcoming terrain with variable terrain. The cost of the model, taking into account all aspects, seems slightly overpriced, but in terms of applicability, it simply cannot be insisted on.
3 Merida Crossway 20-D
Merida knows its business very well. Creating a mountain hybrid with not the most outstanding components and technical characteristics, they very deliberately decided to play on the ergonomics and comfort of the model. Having, to put it mildly, canopies of average wear resistance, the hybrid offers the user to adjust the steering column for take-out and lift, as well as a shock-absorbing seatpost, which makes the already soft seat a kind of vibration damper. This is a great recreational bike designed for fast-paced road trips and aggressive off-road outings. But, alas, he does not reach the title of sportsman.
- exceptional comfort;
- good workmanship;
- pleasant appearance;
- 24 speeds.
- the presence of entry-level awnings.
2 Giant Roam 2 Disc
The Giant Roam 2 Disc is a hard tail designed for road trips and challenging off-road terrain. In general, the users of this bike are satisfied with the handling, and the margin of safety when passing difficult sections, and the appearance, which is not devoid of brand refinement. Despite the average body kits of the walking level, the mountain hybrid shows its best side, and the price for such a model is quite acceptable. There are no particular shortcomings here.
- good rolling, handling and road feel;
- high reliability noted by users;
- good appearance;
- availability of 27 speeds.
1 Merida Crossway 40-D (2019)
The first thing that catches the eye of a person familiar with Merida bikes in this model is the unusual Crossway Speed frame structure. It is made of aluminum, and there are no innovations in this, but the developers have thoroughly worked on the formation of pipes and thereby improved not only the aesthetic component, but driving performance in general. After the modernization, the device has become much more versatile in terms of speed and at the same time comfort of the trip.
The bike is equipped with a reliable fork from the Suntour brand with its full blocking on the right “leg”. This means that vehicles can be adapted to road conditions or provide a decent acceleration rate close to that of a road bike. In addition, the hybrid got 28″ wheels from a road bike with all their advantages: maximum roll, stability and almost no shaking on potholes.
Rating: top 6 popular bikes
First, consider the rating of the best brands of mountain bikes from inexpensive manufacturers (up to 13 thousand rubles).
Novatrack Shark 20 6
This is a cool, bright two-suspension bike with shock absorbers on both wheels. Includes 6 speeds, 2 quality brakes and heavy duty tires. Such a sports bike is worth choosing for an active teenager or a petite woman. Wheel diameter is 24 inches. Price 10 000 rubles.
FORWARD Sporting 27.5 1.0
Properly selected wheel diameter will give comfort in any off-road conditions! This model has 27.5-inch wheels, so it can be safely called an SUV. Despite the steel construction, the bike is light and easy to handle. Price 12 000 rubles.
Stinger Element D 26
It rides well over rough terrain and handles high mountain areas well on a good track. Wheel diameter is 26 inches. The bike is equipped with a reliable braking system, and the wheels are double-rimmed.
These were the best budget mountain bikes most often bought by Russian cyclists today. Next, we move on to the best mountain bikes in terms of price-quality ratio. They are more expensive, but their level is an order of magnitude higher than those listed. Price 13 000 rubles.
Giant Revel 2
The wheel diameter is 26 inches and the weight is only 14 kg. It is easy to drive and picks up speed quickly. Rides very smoothly and comfortably. Feels great in moderate off-road conditions, but we do not recommend choosing it for impassable tracks. But on country roads and in the city you will feel like on a presentable comfort-class car! The price is 22,000 rubles.
Merida Big.Nine 40-D
An excellent mountain bike, which will be the right choice for riding on rough terrain without trodden paths. The gearbox has 27 speeds, so the bike handles beautifully and effortlessly on steep climbs and descents. Wheel diameter is 29 inches. The price is 40,000 rubles.
Specialized Men’s Chisel Comp
This is the best brand among hardtail bikes — it is assembled and made, as they say, «on the conscience». If you are willing to pay that amount for a mountain bike, you should definitely choose this brand and model. It has a large aluminum frame with the best rigidity and strength characteristics, while the weight is only 11 kg. The model is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, high-quality protectors on 29-inch wheels. The model is excellent in control, behaves predictably at high speeds, is stable on descents and under heavy braking conditions, feels great both on dry and wet soil. Price 135 000 rubles.
So our review of mountain bikes has ended, we hope that now you can easily choose the right bike. If possible, be sure to test the model you like — this will certainly contribute to the right choice and save you from making mistakes.
The best inexpensive mountain bikes: budget up to 12,000 rubles
4 Stinger Element D 26
An entry-level cross-country bike with moderate cross-country performance. Recommended for those who are just starting to learn the basics of moving on mountainous terrain and off-road, without pretending to competitive disciplines. The drivetrain equipment consists of entry-level Shimano derailleurs and STG stroller bottom brackets, a body kit that can’t handle frequent off-road trips. The brakes are a little more serious, but also not sharpened for aggressive operation.
At first glance, it seems that the price of the Stinger Element D 26 is somewhat overpriced: consumers classify the model as ordinary and more often than they want, they notice minor malfunctions in it. Of course, all this can be solved with custom upgrades, but additional financial injections are not something you want to get from a mountain bike. The 2021 model received a new type of bearing mounting — aheadset or, otherwise, threadless, which is considered more durable than threaded ones. The brakes have also changed — instead of vibraks, the developers have installed more modern, disc brakes. The wheels have become much stronger due to the double rims. It seems that the company took into account the wishes and heeded the criticism, finalizing the previous design and thereby providing it with much better technical characteristics, however, without increasing the price by about 1000 rubles. did not work out.
3 Novatrack Shark 206 (2017)
Cheerful bike races in the yard, fun rides in the park and in the countryside, exciting trips with parents on easy off-road — what kind of adventures become available to a child who has become the proud owner of a real mountain bike! We are sure that the best way to introduce your child to sports, as soon as he is 7 years old, is to gift a Shark bike from Novatrack. Why this particular model? Firstly, it looks unrealistically cool, whether in blue-green or white-red colors, so the child will definitely be proud of it. Secondly, this is a two-suspension bike, that is, it is provided with depreciation on both wheels, which means that it will be much easier to control it on bumps.
The next plus is that 20-inch wheels with adjustable handlebar and saddle height give a tangible service life of the bike, taking into account the rapid growth of its owner: you don’t have to think about a new bike until at least 10 years old. Pleased with the complete package: 6 speeds, 2 brakes, good tires, plastic fenders and protection of the switching mechanism. All elements work flawlessly, so they do not complain about the quality in the reviews. The only thing you should pay attention to before buying is 14 kg of weight, and if there is no lift, then physical activity is provided for parents.
2 Desna 2610 V
In the 70s, millions of Soviet boys dreamed of Desna bicycles, and the mention of this brand still evokes a feeling of slight nostalgia. With the purchase of Zhukovsky, his former glory returned to him, with the only difference being that bikes began to be produced by modern robots from pipe rolling of their own production and painted with liquid enamels on production lines unique for Russian companies. Still remaining in the budget segment, the company was able to offer several dozen successful bike models, including Desna 2610 V.
For a very modest amount, the buyer receives not some kind of “ashanbike”, but a functional mountain bike with an exhaustive package, which does not need to be upgraded for ordinary trips. A classic steel triangle frame, perfectly welded and painted in 3 layers, cables laid inside, a threadless steering column, a cartridge bottom bracket, tires with an increased width — all the prerequisites for trouble-free and long-term operation are provided. You can find fault with the quality of the brake rotors, you can blame the lack of fenders and the rigidity of the seat, but the fact that the bike is inexpensive, reliable and able to serve its owner faithfully for many seasons is an indisputable fact.
When choosing a mountain bike, you should pay attention to a number of basic characteristics that determine the life of the bike and the overall impression of the ride.
Soft fork level. It is divided into four categories:
- First level. It is represented by the simplest design shock-absorbing forks. They do not have special adjustments that significantly affect performance, and over time become stiff or soft, depending on the specific bike model. Mountain bikes with an entry-level soft fork are ideal for light off-road riding or a leisurely bike ride around the city.
- Walking level. Characterizes models with a stroke of 60 millimeters or more. In forks of this level, stiffness regulators are actively used, as well as (optionally and selectively) other types of adjustments. With them, you can comfortably move on more difficult off-road routes.
- Sports level. Typical for bikes used for intensive training. There are much more settings and adjustments here than at the first two levels, and with proper service, such forks are often able to serve for several seasons (with occasional riding).
- Professional level. This is the most advanced class of arbs with a huge functionality of settings. Their use is advisable only for serious mountain biking, since only they are able to withstand the most aggressive type of riding on impassable off-road.
Rear derailleur level. Currently, almost all the world’s leading mountain bike manufacturers use outboard derailleurs from the Japanese company Shimano, the Italian Campagnolo and the American SRAM for their products. Unlike the first paragraph, it is divided into five categories:
- Entry level (and showcase application). Adjustment of this type of rear derailleur should be carried out every 150-500 kilometers, depending on the specific model. Its cost is low, but the overall quality of the components leaves much to be desired.
- Walking level. Switches of this type have low wear resistance, but are somewhat more expensive than the initial ones. These include Shimano Deore, AceraX, SRAM Centera, SX4, etc. models. Their adjustment must be made every 300-3000 kilometers.
- Sports level. It is characterized by high resistance to wear and medium price. These include Shimano Saint, Hone, SRAM X.7, Attack, etc. derailleurs. They are designed for amateur athletes who use mountain biking in moderate off-road conditions for periodic functional training. Without the inclusion of additional regulators and special settings, they can travel at least five thousand kilometers.
- semi-professional level. This is a conditional category, detached from the professional, but not included in the sports level. It combines the high quality of the switch and the price level approaching the best models.
- Professional level. It includes the Shimano XTR and SRAM X.0 derailleur models. Used by professional athletes to perform at competitions and pass the most difficult off-road sections. They are characterized by the highest level of wear resistance and exorbitantly high cost. However, as in the case of sports switches, more than five thousand kilometers can go without adjustments.
1 FORWARD Sporting 27.5 1.0 (2019)
Despite a certain amount of criticism, the bicycles of the Russian Forward brand are popular, especially for the Sporting model, which received new 27.5″ wheels in 2021. Not that it was the best, rather, it is bought for subsequent improvement — the good thing is that all the details can be purchased from previous collections with good discounts. But even in the basic package, a bike at this price leaves a pleasant impression: it has a catchy design, quite light, despite the fact that the frame is steel, not aluminum, it comes almost completely assembled — you only need to put the steering wheel and wheel on the eccentric and fasten the pedals.
One of the main motives for buying this particular bike is quite solid equipment and non-poor equipment for the budget category. The company does not allow any naming: MicroSHIFT shifters (this brand is called the Shimano killer, its products are used by such cycling giants as Giant and Cannondale), Tourney switches (not the best option for real mountain bikes, but quite reliable for city trips), KMC chain and etc. Of the minuses, users mention a rather unpretentious hitch 1.0 and a regular saddle, although comfortable, but the quality of the upholstery is below average.