Perhaps you're looking for a new outlet, something to get the blood pumping, adrenaline going and a means to explore the world around you. Well, cycling is certainly one way of ticking all those boxes and more.
Mountain biking takes you off the roads and into nature varied terrain tests your skill and endurance while you exercise your inner child. If you're thinking of venturing off into the MTB world, you'll need a faithful companion to accompany you for the ride.
Hardtail mountain bikes are those which have a front-only suspension system, called a fork. This component is effectively a shock absorber for when you ride over rougher terrain, for more information about hardtails, check out our guide here. Hardtails are ideal first-time mountain bikes because they can teach you a great deal about bike handling skills, effective line choices and they're also considerably cheaper than full-suspension bad boys.
Over the summer, I've been reviewing the women's Grand Canyon AL 5.9 mountain bike from Canyon Bikes, and here's how I got on with it.
Canyon's Grand Canyon WMN AL 5.9
Canyon Bikes are known for their precise bicycle engineering, bold colours and, of course, their dedication to women's cycling. For a vast majority of their models, Canyon offers a women's build which varies in definition, but offer improves suitability for female riders. One such model is their cross-country hardtail, the Grand Canyon.
Starting off at the front of the bike, we have a RockShox XC 30 fork with 100mm of travel and a lock-out feature which is great if you're transferring from road to trail. These forks run smooth but the lack of adjustability in them make these a little softer than you may want.
The drive-train of the Grand Canyon WMN AL 5.9 has a 3x10 gear set-up. Personally, I'm really not a fan of triple chainrings, despite offering up a wide variety of gears to choose from, there's a point when I think you have just too many.
Saying that though, this bike is equipped with a full Shimano groupset which works well to seamlessly shift between gears and by having disc brake technology, you can get off the brakes on the descents with stopping power confidence.
With some Continental Mountain King tyres on an Alex MD wheelset, the Grand Canyon WMN AL 5.9 is built as the perfect transition to see you from the road to the mountain in no time.
With a somewhat steep geometry, your body is placed in a comfortable position to ride both on and off the road, although I wouldn't take this bike to the bike park, it's compliant enough to deal with fire roads, green trails and maybe the occasional blue.
The Grand Canyon is finished off with Iridium components making up the bars, stem, saddle and seatpost.
This model comes in sizes x.small to large where the x.small and small sizes are equipped with 650b wheels, and the larger sizes coming with 29" wheels.
Overall, I think this is an ideal bike for those of you who are looking for a little more off-road adventure in your riding. The geometry makes it great for both road, commute, fitness and easier graded trails and for £650, you really do get a lot of bike for your buck.
The Grand Canyon range is available in a number of different builds each with varying colours and price tags to suit your needs and budget. For the women's Grand Canyon builds, prices begin at £650 and go up to £1,550 for the top build. You can find the full range of Grand Canyon bikes here.