Mountain biking is among the many fun and healthy activities you can engage in, especially if done in the company of friends or family. However, to be able to maneuver various terrains and tackle the various challenges, especially in competitions, you need a sturdy bike that has several gear options and is in good shape. Some even come with compartments for storage of personal items such as water, repair tools, a pressure pump, a first aid kit, and so forth. But let no one lie to you, some of the best mountain bikes don’t come cheap!
But nothing should hold you back from participating in an activity that you love the most, not even a tight budget. And even when on a tight budget, you still want to ensure that your investment doesn’t compromise on your safety concerns because, well, they say that cheap is expensive, but in this case, let’s forget about that for a minute. So how cheap is cheap when it comes to buying a mountain bike? With a million options to choose from, the cost is not a major concern as long as your priorities are right and that you have realistic expectations.
Without further ado, below are things you should consider when buying a mountain bike on a budget.
1. The Not Used So Much Bike
Some people buy mountain bikes and after a few trials, realize that it wasn’t what they had hoped for. And then there are those who after buying a bike, will use it until they’ve drained all the juice out of it. Now, if you’re opting to buy a used bike, you are better off with the first option. Don’t go for a used bike that will cost you an extra dime on repair costs. You can always find a used mountain bike that is well-maintained and in good condition if you take your time and do some research.
Nonetheless, buying a used bike doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll not part with a few dollars sprucing it up. You may have to do some upgrades so that it meets meet your standards and specifications. To get it back to its best shape, you will most likely need to change a few parts here and there, such as tires, brakes, and the saddle, to mention but a few. However, you want to ensure that the repair costs are on the lower end because let’s face it, you’re on a tight budget!
2. Check the Specs
The more specs a bike has, the more it’s going to cost. Now, if for instance, you’re considering purchasing a mountain bike with full suspensions, it’s going to cost you more than a bike with no suspensions. So, if you’re comfortable doing away with some specifications, go ahead and drill your expectations down a notch for a quality bike built at a lesser cost. Other things that can and will affect the cost of a second-hand bike include wheel size, gear options, and shocks. So if your wish is to find a mountain bike that costs you less money, consider a bike with fewer features. Speaking about suspensions, you actually have three options; hardtails, rigids, and full suspensions. Hardtails, as the name suggests, have shocks at the front but lack any on the rear wheel while rigid mountain bikes have none.
According to the Mountain Bike Report, you can actually get a good bike for under $400, but the cost of these choices will vary depending on the shock absorber specifications, among other features. From the Merax Falcon to the Villano Ridge, and the Schwinn Traxion, there are quite a number of affordable picks if you do your homework right. The trick is to read reviews online and compare various models from various shops based on the features that matter to you most.
3. Easy To Find Accessories
Now, before buying a mountain bike, you want to ensure that the bike in question will not give you any trouble finding its spare parts. In addition to this, you also want to consider the cost of replacing the accessories. Depending on the bike’s manufacturer, it may either be very easy to find the spares and accessories or extremely hard and overwhelming. Remember, it may be cheap finding a mountain bike but the cost of maintaining it may be way too expensive. So you want to ensure that your priorities are right and that you’ve also weighed your options before making the final decision.
4. Define Your Budget
Though you may be on a tight budget, you want to find a bike that’s sturdy enough to meet your needs. It can be a bit challenging when buying your first mountain bike, but this means a strong frame, tires that are in good condition, and durable suspensions. Now, with this in mind, you’ll want to define the amount you’re willing to spend on your purchase. Once you’ve set your budget, it’s going to be easier finding a bike that is right for you and in addition to this, it will save you time because you’ll have narrowed your options. The amount of money you’re willing to spend will be the deciding factor on the type and quality of bike you get. It’d be nice if you had the money to go for the best, but for the time being, it seems that you’ll have to settle for less.
5. Consider Your Options
Let’s face it; when on a tight budget, it’s more about what you can afford and less of what you want. Unfortunately, the category you’re looking at is the hardtail option. These have no shock absorbers but then again, you still have a few options to consider in the same category. Let’s take a look at the different types of mountain bikes that fit a tight budget;
- Dirt jump bikes – these are a fusion of free ride bikes and BMX bikes. They are smaller but have suspensions in the front. Most people refer to them as urban mountain bikes because they are used for stunts and for riders who like spending a few seconds in the air.
- Enduro/all-terrain – this option of mountain bikes have wider tires and will do exactly what is required in mountain biking. They have full suspensions but then, you can expect the price tag to be higher!
- Downhill bikes – as the name suggests, these are bikes meant for riders who want to go downhill. They are ideal for rough terrains and have high-speed gears. When new, these bikes will cost a fortune, but if you can find one that is second hand, you’ll have to do more than a bargain for the best price.
Finding the ideal bike when on a tight budget can be a tough undertaking. But then again, it’s not all about the bike you have that determines how much of a rider you are. It’s more about how much fun you can have while riding, and how well you manage to maneuver. Hopefully, the considerations above will make it easier for you when shopping for a mountain bike on a tight budget.