What Type of Mountain Bike should I Buy?
So what constitutes a quality bike - well in effect you get what you pay for. You want something strong enough to withstand the knocks - anything from being thrown in the car, to colliding with a tree or the ground. You also want a bike that is not too heavy that you are not going to be able to get it up a hill, and a bike which is worth spending the money on to repair or upgrade components In essence, buy the bike with the best frame you can for the money you have got. You can add disk brakes later, new forks, lighter seat posts and so on as funds become available.
So how much do I need to spend - spend as much as you can afford, but remember there are other costs such as helmets, gloves, car racks and repairs. I would avoid anything less than £250 new as these are unlikely to be anything other than road bikes masquerading as mountain bikes. Your bike will suffer a lot of abuse. Just to illustrate with a true anecdote A friend of mine bought a cheap bike for 100 pounds. The rear chain set cracked and broke on his first outing. It's sat in his shed ever since. Equally, if you are new to the sport, do not be duped into believing that spending money will make you a better biker, faster up the hills, or more confident down them.
Well this is a bit of a lottery, particularly if you are buying off ebay. There are lots of bargains to be had, but also the possibility of being duped, fooled into buying a bike with a major fault, and/or spending the same amount of money again on repairs. However if you know what you are looking for... Before you buy though, make sure you know what frame size you need, the best way to do this is to go along to a bike shop and try a few bikes for size. You need to be able to fully extend your leg and the lowest point of the pedal. A bike which is too big can feel heavy and clumsy. what about a bike with no suspension?
Until recently suspension bikes were very expensive, even those with just front suspension, but the price of these has come down. so generally you will be buying a bike from the lowest end of the spectrum, however it is still better to buy a bike with no suspension which has a good frame than a cheap bike with all the extras but which are of poor quality. I started my mountain biking on a bike with no suspension (diamond back) and later a specialized rockhopper. For this i had a huge amount of riding over all sorts of terrain and loads of fun, with very little maintenance and minimum of cost What Do I Use Now?
I have a specialized rockhopper 2004 hardtail, front suspension, cost £400 in the September sales, £200 for the addition of disk brakes a year later. In addition a specialized FSR XC full suspension bike, again bought in September sale of 2005. £200 for disk brakes to be added later. In addition I have a specialized hardrock, £250 in sale of 2006 as a backup bike.