Prices for new mountain bikes range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Between these
two extremes are bikes listed at a mind-numbing number of price points. So how do
you decide how much to spend? Do you really need to spend until it hurts? Should a new
rider spend less than an experienced pro? Let
the MBA wrecking crew strip away the hype
and put our money where our mouths are.
The Price Is Right
No need to go broke
buying your next bike
So what do you get for your
money? Here is a rough breakdown.
$99 to $499: These bikes only
look like mountain bikes. They are
too heavy, and the components are
not durable enough for sustained off-road usage. If you want to try mountain biking, you are better off borrowing a mountain bike from a friend
who is into the sport or renting a
good one from a bike shop. You will
not enjoy true mountain biking on a
$500 to $800: Steer clear of dual-suspension bikes in this price range,
because to deliver rear suspension,
the manufacturer had to cut back
somewhere else. Limit your choices to
an aluminum hardtail with a short-travel ( 3.1 to 3. 9 inches of travel) suspension fork.
$800 to $1500: There are dual-suspension trailbikes in this price
range that offer 3 to 4 inches of travel, limited adjustability and weigh
more than 30 pounds. If you stick to
a hardtail, you’ll enjoy a lighter overall weight and slightly better components. The closer you go to the high
end of this price range, the more we
recommend a 29er hardtail.
have great components, good tires,
strong wheels, clipless pedals
(maybe), externally adjustable
suspension components, and a
weight between 27 and 30
$4500 and above: The trail-
bikes in this price range have all
the travel of the less-expensive
price points, more adjustability,
no pedals (hey, that doesn’t make
sense to us, either) and a weight
range of 23 (more expensive) to
27 pounds. Carbon fiber frames
live in this high-elevation terrain.
Big payoff: When you are exploring a new trail, working off the day’s stress or just get-
ting a little alone time in, it doesn’t matter how much you spent on your bike; every
mountain bike delivers.
$1500 to $3000: This is the sweet
spot for trailbikes. Every major brand
offers a great performer with solid
components within this price range.
Because this price range is so competitive between bike brands, riders
get the best value from this group.
You can buy an awesome hardtail in
this price range, and dual-suspension
bikes will come in at, or slightly
below, 30 pounds with 4 or 5 inches
of suspension travel. You’ll get more
external suspension adjustments too.
$3000 to $4500: Expect to get a
trailbike that needs nothing. You’ll