The term mountain bike covers a large range of bikes, but can first be broadly split into two categories, Hardtail mountain bike and Full Suspension mountain bike.
A hardtail mountain bike is one with a traditional rigid frame and a front suspension fork, and is the primary choice for cyclists wanting a good general purpose MTB with minimal maintenance and running costs. Generally when buying, the rule is to start off with a good quality frame and front fork, then decide on what else you need in terms of expense and 'bling'! The quality of the front fork is perhaps the main defining factor in the way the bike will perform and handle off-road and tends to define the cost of any given model. Our personal favourites are those from the Genesis steel range which feature forks from Rock Shox, a manufacturer we believe gives great performance, reliability and low servicing costs. We also stock a range of budget hardtails which cater for the rider who mainly wants a tough, all-purpose bike without the need for optimum off-road performance.
Within this category there are lots of different styles of hardtail bikes, from race / performance bikes, trail mountain bikes to 29'ers. For those riders looking to ride trails, both natural and man-made, we advise looking at bikes starting at around the £800 mark. This gets you a quality steel or aluminium frame, a high grade front suspension fork and top quality performance brakes, essential for safe and effective bike control when off-road.
A full suspension mountain bike has suspension at both the front and rear of the bike. Due to this they offer more comfort for the rider, and with modern technology make it possible to ride some terrain that would be very challenging on a hardtail. Due to the extra complexity of a full suspension mountain bike, this style of cycle starts from around £1500.00