Buying a mountain bike demands a massive chunk of your paycheck. Yeah, we're talking upwards of $2,000. And with models becoming even more specialized—improved front and rear suspension for descents and lighter frames for ascents—investing in the right bike takes time and patience.
Brian Lopes, pro downhill racer with 26 World Cup titles and 4 UCI World Championships, says people should consider what kind of terrain they like to ride and what style of riding they prefer. “Are you concerned with how fast you’ll be going uphill, or are you more concerned with how fun the downhill will be?” says Lopes. “How aggressive do you want to get?” Answering these questions before you shop will make the selection process that much smoother.
"Basically, you’re looking for the best tool for the job," says Lopes, who also co-authored Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, a guide for improving your riding for all mountain biking styles. Sure, your local bike shop can help fit you with the appropriate bike. But before you even set foot in the store, it pays to know a few things about buying a bike.