Is it fit for YOUR purpose?
If you’re looking at buying a new set of wheels, you need to ask yourself what style of riding you want to do with it. Your answer will affect the geometry, the spec and the price of the hardtail you choose to buy.
There are a couple of recommended features you should look for: the wheel size and the braking system. Wheel sizes have evolved from the old standard of 26″ to the new standard of 27.5″ (650b). For more cross-country riding, the big boy 29″ wheels are great for climbing, rolling over obstacles and clearing more ground, but less favoured for all-mountain and downhill action.
Read: Do 29er mountain bikes suit women?
Disc brakes are most common in off-road riding for their responsiveness and strong braking power, however you can still get calliper brakes on mountain bikes, but I wouldn’t recommend these for off-road and fast trails.
It’s also worth considering whether you want to go ‘women’s specific’. Women’s mountain bikes might have a slightly altered geometry as some brands say we have a slightly different centre of gravity, or slightly different average measurements. Other brands simply provide an identical bike with smaller grips, narrower handlebars and a female specific saddle along with perhaps shorter cranks. Some women find female specific bikes more comfortable – others don’t – the only way to decide what’s right for you is to test ride a few.
Your needs will vary depending upon your riding style and experience level – here’s a look at what’s out there…
Beginner: If you’re new to the MTB scene, and you’re looking for something to get the wheels rolling then you don’t need to spend a great deal of money, or look for anything with a race spec and carbon features.
For an entry level bike, you can expect to spend anything upwards from £300, and get a good package with 60mm – 100mm of travel in the forks, disc brakes and a strong durable frame.
Essential MTB Tips for Beginners
Example: This new Giant Liv Tempt has 100mm of travel, disc brakes and a 27.5″ (650b) wheel set for under £500.
All Mountain: Do you want to tackle those heftier trails, and you’re willing to spend a little more for a high spec? Then all mountain hardtail bikes are for you. These will come equipped with higher end components such as a Shimano SLX/XT groupset, and more travel than the entry level bikes – around 100mm – 140mm.
Example: This beautiful Cube Access WLS hardtail which has 100mm travel, light aluminium frame, 27.5″ wheelset and a high-end Shimano groupset. The suggested retail price is £949 but might vary a bit by dealer.