If you are new or just getting back into riding, buying a new mountain bike can feel like a daunting task. With the technology constantly evolving, the amount of information available, and the huge array of choices, it’s hard to know where to start looking. Here are 5 things to know when shopping for a mountain bike to help you make an informed decision.
We recommend getting familiar with all the different types of mountain bikes on the market. Check out How to Choose a Mountain Bike That’s Right for You, a guide to the different types of mountain bikes and what’s best for South Florida.
1. Know Where You’re Riding
South Florida’s local terrain is unique in the mountain biking world. The style of trails here are flatter than those located in the mountains. However, they still offer a great deal of short climbs and descents, technical obstacles, and flow. You’ll also want to consider if and where you plan to travel with your bike.
A plush 150 mm full suspension bike may be a great option if your rides include rocky descents. However, if you’re mainly riding South Florida’s flowy cross-country trails, a quick lightweight hardtail may be more fun. Finding a bike with features that meet the demand of the terrain you will ride will make every ride better.
Best Mountain Bikes for South Florida
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2. Fit is Everything
A bad fit can transform a dream bike into a torture device. While you should fine-tune saddle height, stem length, and handlebar position, they won’t correct for the wrong size frame. The manufacturer’s sizing recommendations are your best starting point, and keep in mind that your body is unique. Factors like your leg and arms length, flexibility, and preexisting injuries can influence your fit.
Visit our store location in northern Palm Beach County for an exceptional bike fitting experience.
3. Buy Nice Or Buy Twice
Keep in mind, entry-level bikes prioritize budget. They are built with components that may not hold up to the rigors of the trail. Because, the more often and harder you ride, the more those shortcomings become obvious. Buying a bike from a reputable brand built with proven components means you’ll get more life out of the bike. While items like tires and chains face wear and tear, starting off with a better bike makes it less likely that you’ll need to pony up for big upgrades like new wheels or forks.
Buying a higher end bike will also help you avoid the problem of “outgrowing” your new mountain bike as you progress in the sport. Those who start off with an entry-level budget bike end up buying a better bike in just a matter of months.
Quality bikes that won’t break the budget for newer riders in South Florida:
4. Learn Basic Maintenance
A brand new bike assembled by a professional mechanic will require maintenance as early as the first ride. Regular maintenance is an unavoidable part of being a mountain biker. Creaks, rattles, and groans are your bike’s way of asking for help. If left unaddressed, they can result in component failures, and neglect-based failures are not covered under warranties.
You don’t have to learn everything, but having some of the right tools will increase the lifespan of your bike. Fortunately, fixing your own bike can be rewarding. You can learn a few skills by watching videos on YouTube. Some local bike shops offer workshops. Either way, learning to work on your own bike is a great investment of your time. If nothing else, be prepared to learn a few essential skills. Begin with the most important: inflating tires, cleaning and lubing the chain, and tightening the headset.
Visit our store location in northern Palm Beach County for bike maintenance tools and tips.
5. Ask For Help
There’s simply too much to know about bikes for any one person to have all the answers. However, it’s helpful to get pointers on bikes, components, and riding technique from those with more experience. Check in with your mountain biking friends and, of course, your LBS (local bike shop), Bikes Palm Beach in Juno Beach, Florida.