Finding the best full suspension mountain bike for the money you want to spend can be an overwhelming task. With so many choices in bicycles, new and advanced riders alike may discover that the process can be confusing and overwhelming. Fortunately, knowing the things to look for and knowing other factors to consider can help a rider find themselves the right cycle for their needs.
What Does Full Suspension Mean?
A full suspension mountain bike is a great selection for riders of any skill level. With the help of front and rear suspension these bikes are easier to control and are much more comfortable. Increased suspension performance can also make a huge difference in safety, with the bike being able to absorb bumps and travel through small holes more easily. Choosing full suspension isn't enough though; you must also take into account a few other factors before deciding on a particular model of bicycle.
Determining a Budget
One of the most important steps in getting the best deal when shopping around for mountain bikes is to set a budget. There are many different pricing points for full suspension bicycles so it is possible for your budget to be quite large or quite small. Pricing points range from traditional cycles that come pre-assembled to custom-made bicycles with every part carefully selected for the rider. A rider should carefully consider how much money that they wish to spend and how important quality and customization is to their needs. A beginner may find that purchasing a less expensive bicycle is the best choice, while avid riders may want to pour more money into their investments. Doing online research at a reputable website such as MTBR (Mountain Bike Review) or going to a specialty cycle store to get an estimated cost of the equipment is a great first step to setting a budget and getting an idea of how much a quality full suspension bicycle will cost.
Consider the Most Important Features
When shopping mountain bikes, it is necessary to evaluate what features are important to have. All cyclists should consider the safety features first and foremost, as safety should always come first. Sometimes cheaper bikes will feature lower quality brakes or a frame that is low quality and easily damaged. Lower quality materials could result in a biker getting injured during a ride or damaging the equipment, resulting in costly repairs and replacements.
Brakes - Disc brakes that work well, especially on rocky trails, are a must-have to prevent injury. Front brakes are the most important as the majority of braking power is through the front wheel and suspension. As such, it's a good idea to consider dual disc brakes on the front wheel.
Frame Quality - Frames that have carefully crafted forks to support the front wheel should be evaluated carefully to ensure that they are well made. Both carbon fiber and aluminum frames are great choices, providing a well-crafted vehicle available in a variety of price ranges.
Tires - Thicker tires on high quality wheels that offer plenty of traction are also a necessity for bicycles that are going to be navigating rough terrain. This ensures that the cycle doesn't skid or slide when on steep hills.
Gears - Gears should also be easy to change for both uphill and downhill cycling to make riding more enjoyable. A wider range of gears can be helpful on bikes that are going to be used in extreme uphill and downhill situations.
Know Your Brands
Some bike manufacturers are known for their high quality cycles and equipment, assuring a rider that they are getting a quality product. By researching and becoming familiar with the most popular brands, a biker can narrow their search a lot. Mavic is a brand known for their high-end bikes and parts, popular with even the most advanced riders. Their Cannondale aluminum frames featured on some of their bikes are of the best quality, with these bikes lasting for many years. The Polaris brand is another popular option, offering inexpensive bikes (under $200) that can be purchased almost anywhere, including Walmart and Target. Shimano Cycling is another very popular company that excels in many different bicycling niches. Jamis and SRAM are also two very well-known companies that are worth considering. Once a rider is familiar with these popular brands, making the choice for a new bicycle will be much less stressful.
Research Before You Buy
It is important before making an investment of this size to do plenty of research. While knowing the brands and features are both very important steps, fully researching all aspects takes time. A shopper should never jump right into a purchase so give yourself plenty of time to find the right bike for you. Highly reputable cycling websites are great sources of information, as are manufactures websites. Not only will a shopper get information such as the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of particular models, but they can also compare features and compatible accessories. Research doesn't have to just be limited to the web, however. Bicycle stores are also great sources for information. Bicycle store employees are a wealth of knowledge and you should question them in as much detail as possible. Trade shows such as Interbike (the largest trade show in North America) is a great place to go to see all of the newest equipment and accessories. It’s also a great place to meet with other mountain bike enthusiasts. Shoppers can never do too much research to make sure that they get the best products at their set budget.
Consider Accessories and Extra Equipment
In addition to buying a quality mountain bike, a shopper will want to find the accessories that they need to make rides as comfortable and fun as possible. Compatible automotive bicycle racks are a must-have for those who travel to different locations to ride. Outdoor sports apparel is necessary for keeping a cyclist comfortable all year-long. Of course, a high quality helmet is necessary to ensure the safety of the rider. Extra equipment that makes a ride more fun may also be considered. Cameras to record treks and heart monitors to keep a rider healthy can be purchased and are compatible with most bicycles.
Making the Decision
After carefully researching and weighing all of the options available, you should now be ready to purchase yourself a bike. Before committing to the purchase don't be afraid to test the feel to ensure that you are making the right choice. Most good cycling stores will let you try out their wares before making a purchase. Going through these steps and carefully making a selection will ensure that you are getting the best full suspension mountain bike for the money you want to spend.