Diving into a new activity is never easy, especially if the new hobby or sport you want to try requires a significant financial investment.
Life is too short to keep sitting on the sideline while waiting for something exciting to happen. The only way good things will find you is by stepping out of the house and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Worrying about how much a mountain bike is going to cost you is a good start. Mountain biking is an excellent way to challenge yourself physically and mentally.
In this guide, we will take a quick look at the general price range of mountain bikes. We will share some information on must-have biking gear if you want to enjoy this sport to the fullest.
Let’s dive in.
How Much Should I Spend On A First Bike?
Your current economic situation will have a huge impact on the amount you can spend on your first bike.
Premium mountain bikes can cost over $10,000. Serious mountain bikers feel that these top-rated bikes are worth the rate. If you want the latest bike engineering and technology, premium bikes are the way to go. These bikes are lighter, offer better performance, and are more comfortable to ride.
Since modern mountain bikes have come a long way, you can now pick up good bikes for a much lower price.
Some bikes are sold below $1000. But if you are buying an extremely cheap bike, you will get a very simple bike made with cheap parts that will be devoured. With these cheap bikes, you can count on lots of repairs or buy a completely new bike. So it’s best to buy a decent bike now before you buy a whole bunch of cheap bikes later.
If you are operating on a tight budget, you shouldn’t spend less than $1500 on a hardtail bike or below $2000 on a full-suspension bike. Bikes below this price range are usually manufactured from inferior materials and parts. They are unpleasant to ride, and they will cost you a lot to maintain.
As you can see, there is quite a price difference between an entry-level and first-rate bike. So why does the price of these bikes differ so much? And what type of specs should you be looking for in a mountain bike if you have never bought one before? Let’s shed some light on these common questions.
Factors That Affect Mountain Bike Prices
There are quite a few things that can affect the value of mountain bikes. It is very important to learn more about mountain bike features before you buy a bike. The right features can make a huge difference in your riding comfort. For most mountain bikers, it is much better to spend a bit more on a bike with the right features than having a bike that’s uncomfortable to ride. If you don’t enjoy riding it, the less likely you are to ride it. And the only thing you manage to accomplish was to waste your time and money.
To make sure you are getting a decent bike, here are some of the main factors you should consider when looking for the perfect bike.
Mountain bikes are designed to take abuse and absorb vibrations more than other bikes. Some frame designs are pricier than others. Here is a quick look at the most common mountain bike categories and their frame construction differences.
Cross Country Mountain Bikes
Cross mountain bikes or XC bikes are best for traveling on uneven rocky or technical terrains. These bikes are usually the lightest of all mountain bike types. These bikes don’t offer a lot of suspension, and the frames typically have a very steep geometry, so you can paddle easier. XC bikes are usually rigid with no suspension, or they can be hardtails with just front suspension. XC bikes with dual suspension (suspension in the front and back) don’t have much with about 10 centimeters travel maximum.
Trail Mountain Bikes
Trail mountain bikes are ideal for beginners. These bikes are available in hardtail (front suspension only) form, which helps keep these bikes’ costs relatively low. Riders usually recommend you avoid a trail bike with a complete lack of suspension. This is because these bikes can be painful to ride if you are traveling on tough trail terrains. Without any suspension, you could very well end up pushing your bike instead of riding it. Many trail bikes are designed with full suspension with a travel range between 12 and 14 centimeters. The more suspension or travel the bike has, the pricier it will be. But at the end of the day, you’ll have a much more comfortable ride when you’re taking on rough and rocky terrains.
All-Mountain or Enduro Mountain Bikes
Enduro bikes or all-mountain bikes are a lot like DH bikes. The suspension on these bikes is usually pretty high, with about 6 or 7 inches of travel. These bikes are ideal for rocky terrains. The stems of these bikes are shorter compared to XC bikes. And the wheels and tires are lighter than your average DH bikes. These bikes are a bit tougher to pedal than XC bikes but a lot easier to pedal on the straight than DH bikes.
Downhill Mountain Bikes
Downhill mountain bikes or DH bikes are best for traveling downhill. They are the opposite of cross-country bikes. These bikes always have full suspension. They are designed with a slack geometry that reduces wind friction and boosts your performance while gliding down the hill. These bikes are not quite as easy to pedal. They are heavier because they have a thick frame that can handle higher speeds and more impact.
Bike Suspension Designs
Mountain bikes are often divided into four categories based on the suspension. The bike suspension is the system that is used to suspend the rider and the bicycle. The suspension is used to reduce the impact you feel when traveling on rougher terrains. Here is a quick look at the four suspension categories available;
These bikes usually have larger, knobbly tires, and their handrails are usually straight. These bikes don’t have any suspension. They have a solid frame throughout the bike and usually won’t absorb much impact. Rigid suspension bikes are usually the most affordable or basic.
Lots of mountain bikes have hardtail suspension. In these bikes, the frame’s back is rigid, while the front fork has some form of suspension. These bikes are designed to reduce the amount of vibrations you feel on your arms and shoulders. Hardtail suspension bikes are usually more expensive than rigid bikes. But they are still more affordable than many other types.
Soft tail Suspension
Softail bikes are relatively new to the market. The suspension’s design is usually noted in cross-country mountain bikes. These bikes have pivots in the frame with no rear shocks. The frame flexes to absorb vibrations.
Full Suspension or Dual Suspension
These mountain bikes have suspension in the front and rear frame components. While the rear suspension looks a lot like a mechanical linkage, the front suspension usually resembles a telescopic fork. Full suspension bikes are the most expensive, but they offer the smoothest ride on rough terrains.
You might notice that there is sometimes quite a huge difference in bike prices with the same suspension type. This is because not all suspension designs and materials are made alike. Some suspensions are made from much better materials, and some have much better designs than others.
Bike Frame Materials
Bike frame materials have the biggest effect on the cost of a mountain bike. Mountain bike frames are made of all sorts of materials. These different materials can impact the total price of the bike as well as the durability and functionality. Here is a quick look at the most common frame types for mountain bikes;
Steel frames were all that was available back in the 1970s when mountain bikes were first developed. Some manufacturers do still produce steel frames and many riders prefer these rigid frames. Steel bike frames are usually more affordable, and they offer a fantastic strength-to-weight ratio. These frames are also fantastic for absorbing some shock. On the other hand, these frames are also heavier and more prone to rust.
Aluminum alloy was the first alternative bike frame material. While this frame material is a bit pricier than steel, it is still a lot more affordable than other frame materials. Mountain bikers prefer aluminum frames for their strong, light, durable, and rust-resistant qualities. These frames are usually still in excellent condition after seven years. But unlike steel, these frames are not as tough and are more prone to dents compared to steel.
Titanium is a very desirable bike frame material because this metal is just as strong as steel, yet it is a lot lighter. Titanium frames also help a great deal for absorbing shock and vibrations, which can last a very long time. These mountain bike frames are known to last well over 20 years. But titanium frames are the most expensive mountain bike frames on the market. This is because these metals are tough to weld, and the materials are a lot rarer. The starting price for titanium mountain bikes is usually at least double the cost of any other frame on the market.
Mountain bikes are also made from a mixture of carbon fiber and resin. These frames are by far the lightest, and they are tough enough to handle rough terrains. Lots of mountain bike developers love to use carbon fiber. Layering the sheets in different directions allows you to enhance the stiffness of the bike in certain areas. With these frames, a rigid bike can sometimes offer you the same smooth ride as a mountain bike with full suspension. Riders also feel that these bikes can corner harder, climb harder and perform better with less effort. The price of carbon fiber bikes is usually $1000 higher than bikes with aluminum frames. These bike frames are not quite as durable as aluminum frames, and they harm the environment since we can’t recycle these materials.
Mountain bikes usually have 22 – 25 different components. These extra components typically account for 20% of the bike’s overall cost. In many cases, you will get a mountain bike with an expensive frame at a reasonable price. But if this is the case, you can usually bet that the components are pretty cheap and are not likely to last a very long time. Over time, you might need to replace bike components with higher-quality products.
There are many bike manufacturers out there on the market. Some are reputable firms like Silverback, Merida, Cannondale, and Trek, while you might have never heard of other brands. Quality brands are usually more expensive. The significant amount of time researching and developing their product justifies the cost. They also have collected information from athletes for many years. After combining all their knowledge and experience, we can enjoy top-notch mountain bikes at an affordable price.
Building quality mountain bikes also requires a lot of labor, especially for titanium bike frames that are hard to weld. Titanium and aluminum frames all need to be welded by hand, and carbon fiber frames are molded and shaped by hand before these materials are cured.
The craftsmanship required for building a bike is usually about 20% of the bike’s total cost.
Sponsorship for Broken Parts and Maintenance
Certain bike brands are willing to sponsor you for parts or to assist in the maintenance services at a very affordable price. Extended warranties and free bike services are convenient, but the initial price is higher.
You will notice that physical bike stores often charge a lot more for bikes compared to online stores. This is because rent, utilities, maintenance, and bike assembly are all at a cost to the company. To compensate for these expenses, retail companies need to account for at least 6 – 10% of the bike’s cost.
Bike sales usually decline during late fall and winter because most people prefer to cycle. Or they might choose to go on mountain biking adventures during spring, summer, or early autumn. A lot of bike shops will offer discounts on their bikes during this time. When you buy your bike at the right time, you can pick up discount products that are marked down by up to 50%.
Ways to Save Money and Be Smart When Buying Your Bike
Your first mountain bike doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Lots of riders start with an entry-level bike and gradually upgrade to something better. Or they gradually replace cheap parts with high-end components. Here is a quick look at a few clever tricks to keep in mind if you want to save money on your first bike.
Brick and mortar bike stores have a lot of expenses to cover. To cover their general costs, they usually increase the bike price by 10%. To profit from the bikes they sell, they need to increase the bike price even more. One of the best ways to save money on your mountain bike is by buying online.
Buy During Late Autumn or Winter
Bike prices are at their highest during spring and summer. Companies usually drop their prices around winter time to get rid of old stock. You are much more likely to get a good discount on your bike if you buy during wintertime.
Get the Right Bike from the Start
Choose carefully when you consider the type of bike you need and the type of suspension it should have. It would be best if you had a different bike for different riding styles. The first thing you should keep in mind is the location you are riding in and the riding styles you are most likely to enjoy.
You should also ensure that the bike size fits you perfectly.
Trail bikes or all-mountain bikes are some of the best bikes for complete beginners, you can use them for a wide range of biking activities. These bikes are great for trailheads, a mixture of climbs and descents, and general riding.
If you want a fast bike to cover lots of distance, you should consider a cross-country bike.
Those who want to enjoy racing downhill can consider downhill or park bikes. These are much rarer, and they are not ideal for general trails or ascending activities.
Consider a Bike with Hardtail Suspension
Rigid bikes are usually the most affordable mountain bikes, but they are not very comfortable to ride. They typically result in lots of body aches. Full-suspension bikes are very comfortable to ride, and they are incredibly forgiving, but they are also a lot more expensive.
The ideal bike to consider is a hardtail bike. These bikes have a suspension fork that absorbs some of the vibrations. They are more comfortable than rigid bikes and are much more affordable.
The choice is yours. If you want a bike with a softer feel on rough terrains, spending a little extra on a full suspension bike can be a worthy investment.
Consider a Bike with an Aluminum Frame
Steel bike frames are the most affordable, but these bikes are usually pretty heavy. Titanium and carbon fiber bike frames are generally costly, which are more suitable for competitive biking expeditions. Aluminum bike frames are very common on the market. They are relatively affordable and are incredibly light and durable. An aluminum bike makes a perfect pick if you need an easy-to-hand bike, which will last a very long time.
Get a Bike with Good Wheels and a Good Brake System
Quality wheels and good brake systems are very important features when it comes to safety. Mountain biking trails can be dangerous, which means you really shouldn’t overlook these two components. Try to find a bike that has good quality wheels and the best brake system.
The other bike components don’t matter nearly as much as the suspension, frame materials, bike type, and brake system. As long as the bike has these essentials, the rest of the components don’t really matter. You can always replace or upgrade parts at a later stage when you might have more spending money available.
Wondering how much is a mountain going to cost you is a valid concern. But you don’t always have to buy the most expensive mountain bike on the market to get a good quality bike. When you get started in mountain biking, you will also need many additional accessories, such as a backpack, pump, cycling clothes, a helmet, and good quality riding shoes. All these accessories can end up costing quite a bit, which means you shouldn’t spend all your money on just the bike.
The most important features to look out for in a bike are the type, frame, and suspension. If your bike has these essentials and is still available at a reasonable price, you probably have a winner. You can always upgrade the other components at a later stage to optimize performance.