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How to choose a Mountain Bike

Choosing the bike that is for you is a process that must be done meticulously. However, when purchasing a new mountain bike, many riders overlook the basic features that should be looked for in one. It is important to choose a bike that suits your needs appropriately. You must base your decision upon three main aspects: the type of riding you're looking forward to doing, your body measurements, and your level of experience.

I'd like to mention that any serious cyclist should purchase his mountain bike at a bike shp. This might sound a bit obvious, but some do commit the mistake of going into a toy store or a department store searching for their new ride. Most bikes at department stores do not even meet the minimum standards you need in a reliable bike. Besides, a store clerk is unlikely to be able to guide you, whereas at a bike shop you will find professionals who can assist you greatly in the choosing process.

Now that you have chosen the right type of bike, choose one that fits. Stand over the frame of the bike and make sure there are about two inches of space between your groin and the top tube of the frame. Sit on the saddle and reach for the handlebar. Make sure you feel comfortable with the bike and the way it feels. Improper frame size can cause you to lose pedaling power or could even lead to back injuries. This is the most important measurement. Other measurements such as saddle height can be easily adjusted later.

Finally, you have to choose the components based on your riding experience. Entry-level riders should aim at efficient but not costly components. If you are just beginning to ride mountain bikes, look for Shimano's Acera or Alivio in the bicycle's drive train components. Also, spring or coil shocks, such as RockShox's Jett should go well for you. If you are an intermediate rider, Shimano Deore or Deore Lx drive trains should do fine. Upgrading to oil or spring-oil shocks, like RockShox's Judy or Marzocchi's Bomber would be a good idea. A race level or very experienced rider must look for the best components available. If you're into racing I recommend you search for Shimano's XT or XTR drive trains and air or air-oil shocks (RockShox's Sid or Marzocchi's X-Fly).

By now you should have the right bike for you. I've just mentioned the basic elements to consider when choosing a bike. However, there is much more to keep in mind. They mostly have to do with how much you're willing to spend. For the most part it means that, the higher the price is, the better the bike and its components are. If you have doubts about frame materials, bicycle brands, the quality of the components, or any other questions related to the purchase of your bike, ask the shop attendants and they should be able to help you, or if you'd rather, e-mail at beto@bikerider.com

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