Taking Your Pick From the Best Mountain Bikes

New to cycling, and want to know how to pick out the best mountain bikes? First you have to know the basics. Mountain bikes are easily distinguishable from regular bikes; they are quite often larger in build, and have much larger and sturdier wheels. Another name for this sort of bicycle is "all-terrain." This is sometimes abbreviated into ATB, the same way mountain bikes are abbreviated as MTBs, so you need not be confused when looking through ads or talking to vendors or salespersons.

If you want to know how to select the best mountain bikes for your specific needs, here is a small checklist of things you need to pay special attention to:

1. Price - It's true that not all bikes are created equal - some bikes are made up of parts that are sturdier and harder to find locally, which account for the higher cost. Imported bikes, say from Japan or Italy, would often cost more. If you are out to impress your cycling buddies while making sure you have sturdy, reliable gear, you should be prepared to shell out a bit more. Few entry-level bikes will suit your criteria!

2. Suspension - This is the one thing that separates the different kinds of mountain bikes from each other. The suspension also defines the shape of the bike. There are four different bike categories based on suspension:

a. Dual suspension - also called "full suspension." It is identified by the presence of both the front suspension fork and a rear suspension. The rear wheel moves on pivots.

b. Hardtail - has no rear suspension. The front fork is prominent, however.

c. Fully Rigid - a kind of hardtail, with a more rigid fork.

d. Soft Tail - has only a little rear suspension, which is activated by the flexing of the frame, not by pivots as with the dual suspension.

3. Brakes - Many modern mountain bikes now have disc brakes, which allow for greater brake control than standard brakes. Consider this a vital safety measure. However, they do cost more, so be aware of how much you are prepared to spend.

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