Mountain biking is a great way to move around. It brings in an exciting way to beat traffic and congestion in your life. It is also a fun way of exercising and burning calories. To get the best out of your bike, you will need the best option with a good fit. The massive options available make this a complicated process.

Today we list the essential features you should look for when buying a mountain bike. We have also put together other factors you should consider to get yourself the best mountain bike.

Types of mountain bikes

The kind of surface and biking style differentiate the types of mountain bikes.

Hardtail suspension

These bikes have only one suspension at the front wheel. They are lightweight thus suitable for less challenging terrains. Its front suspension system can be locked creating a fully rigid bike.

Full suspension

These mountain bikes feature suspensions on both the front and rear wheels. They enhance the rider’s comfort and give them better control by absorbing impact.


These are mountain bikes with no suspensions at all. The tires provide comfort, and they are limited to less challenging terrains. They are nimble and need very minimal maintenance.

Features to consider when buying a mountain bike


We use numbers to indicate the size of wheels. Majority of mountain bikes come with three main dimensions of wheels. You need to select wheels that best suit your riding style.

26-inch wheels were the original wheel size. They are light and quick thus some people still use them today.

27.5-inch wheels replaced the 26-inch ones. They have slightly enhanced grip, rolling ability, and air capacity. They are lighter, faster and stronger making them a better option than 26-inch wheels.

29-inch wheels are enormous with increased air volume. This size gives them the best grip, increased rolling ability on difficult terrains and smooth ride. They can be clumsy on small frames since they are heavy weight and limited to the amount of suspension.

Fat bikes handle 3.4-inch to 5.5-inch in width because they need wheels that offer large enough print to traverse sand and snow. They are mostly either rigid or hardtail due to the extreme air volume.

Rim brakes vs. disc brakes

Rim brakes stop the bike by rubbing onto the rims. Disc brakes move the braking system away from the rim and grips the rotor.

Rim brakes close the calipers using a cable system. They are lighter, cheaper and easy to repair.

Disc brakes, on the other hand, use hydraulics are used to close the calipers. They have greater stopping power, make it easier to maneuver with wide tires and offer more precise braking.

You should select between the two brakes based on your riding style and convenience.

Gears or shifts

Mountain bikes have different types of gear shifts. The most common ones are thumb shifters, trigger shifters, paddle shifters and twist shifters. Select one based on your preference and factors such as your speed of riding.


Consider a saddle that is properly padded and soft for your comfort. You can try the seat before purchasing the bike.


Aluminum is very light and durable. It has good qualities and is the most used material for mountain bike frames.

Carbon fiber is super light, shock absorbent and extremely strong. Although not used as often as aluminum, they provide the highest level of performance

Steel is comfortable to ride on and long-lasting. It is, however, not common because of their heavyweight

Titanium provide a unique frame with outstanding strength. It can take almost anything thrown at it. It is the most expensive of the four materials


Although not 100% needed, you will need to add a few accessories to your riding for faster, longer and harder cycling. The accessories include; a bike stand, night lights, shoes, knee and elbow pads among others.


Here are some factors you should put in mind before buying a mountain bike

Forms of mountain bike riding

Make your selection depending on how you want to use the bike. Below are the different types of mountain biking;


This mountain bike riding happens on naturally occurring trails. It emphasizes endurance and fitness. Most kinds of mountain bikes are suitable for cross-country riding due to the variety of graded trails.

An efficient drivetrain is necessary given the amount of pedaling during cross-country riding. Lightweight and hardtail bikes also give a good performance.


Trail riding tackles more difficult trails than cross-country. A trail bike is designed to balance between climbing and descending. 27.5-inch and 29-inch wheels are best suited for this type of riding. Consider a drive train with vast gear range and dual suspension with 120 to 150mm of suspension travel for this kind of biking.


Enduro involves a blend of ascents and timed descents. Dual suspension with 150-180 mm of suspension travel, 27.5-inch wheels, and an adjustable saddle will work well.


Dropping downhill is the primary purpose of these bikes. The riders either carry their bikes to a specific mountain point. They then compete on who gets downhill faster amid many obstacles along the way.

Consider a dual suspension with 170-210 mm of suspension travel, 2.5-inch width tires and a long wheelbase. You will also need body-protection accessories for safety.

What’s your level of riding?

Your level of experience in mountain biking is an important factor when buying a mountain bike.  The features, benefits, and cost increases with the different levels. For example, an entry-level mountain bike features 8-speed cassettes with excellent braking and shifting at an affordable price. Pro mountain bike on the other side features 10-speed cassettes and phenomenal braking. They are also super light and extremely reliable. They are designed with better performance and are more expensive compared to starters’ bike.

Size of the mountain bike

A comfortable mountain bike will offer a fun experience and flexibility when riding. Choose a mountain bike with appropriate frame size and adjustable handlebars and saddle.

You can always test the bike before buying one or get help from the store to measure you against the mountain bike for the right fit.


How much are you willing to pay for the bike? The market offers overwhelming options for mountain bikes to make this easy for you. You must be careful though not to compromise on the quality of the mountain bike because of a limited budget.

Consider all the essential features discussed above and decide which will work best for you before selecting one. If you are a beginner rider, you might not need to put in as much as professional cyclists.

It is also important to put aside some money to buy the necessary mountain bike accessories.


Having first-hand information on what you want before buying a mountain bike will make the selection more manageable for you. For an excellent buying experience, we have looked at the essential features and factors you should not miss. All you need to do is pick what best suits your riding style and level.

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