So you want to start mountain biking? Bravo! Whether you’re a roadie looking to play in the dirt or just upgrading a daily commuter, the decision to ride on trails could be the best one you’ve ever made.
Delving into any new activity isn’t easy, and mountain bikes—with their newfangled suspension designs, high-tech parts, and myriad accessories—can be seriously intimidating. We’ve broken it down for you, from how to pick your first bike, including a primer on designs, components, and prices, to a roundup of all the other gear you’ll need. We also have pointers on trail etiquette and places to ride. In short, this is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know to go from total noob to trail regular.
One thing: It’s not going to be inexpensive. High-quality, intro-level bikes start around $2,000 to $2,500, depending on what features you want, and prices climb dramatically from there. You can get a good bike for less than that (see our tips below), but you’ll need to spend money on pedals, riding shoes, helmet, and a pump, at the very least.
The good news: After the initial investment, mountain biking is pretty cheap. Bikes can last for years, and almost everywhere has dirt roads and trails you can ride for free. Once you’re set up and shredding on dirt, we pretty much guarantee you’re never going to want to go back to pavement. -Aaron Gulley