- what sort of riding is it for?
- what sort of rider will be on it?
Some mountain bikers like to do stunts and jumps; others are there for the scenery. Different purposes call for different bikes.
Beginner or experienced? Someone who wants to rough ride or someone who wants to get fit? The best advice will come when the person giving it understands the purpose and the style of the rider.
Basic Mountain Bike Types
- Rigid: A basic, general purpose mountain bike
- All Mountain: In essence a Rigid with long-travel shocks and full suspension
- Front Suspension: Also known as “hardtail”. Good for smooth trails or to mix on- and off-road
- Full Suspension: Has suspension front and rear. Good for rough trails
- Dirt Jumping: What it sounds like. If you want to do jumps and tricks, this is for you. It’s a hardtail with reinforced frames
- Freeride: Full suspension, reinforced frame, long-travel shocks, good for big downhills with steep drops
- Downhill: Another that does what it says on the tin
- 29er: Hardtail, full-suspension, has 29” wheels instead of the usual 26”
We’ve mentioned travel a couple of times; it refers to the shock absorbers. Short-travel gives an inch or two of movement and is fine for all-round use and even rough rides. Long-travel shocks will withstand big hits on landing and survive very difficult terrain.
Mountain Bike Frames
When it comes to mountain bikes, there are more aluminium frames than anything else. They look good, they won’t break the bank, they are light and responsive and they won’t rust. Take care over the quality of the aluminium – it’s not all the same.
There’s also steel, titanium and carbon fibre. The last two cost the most. Giant build their mountain bike frames from the highest quality aluminium or carbon fibre, because we think those are the best options within a price range from £600 to £6,000.