I want to share with all amateurs, or future enthusiasts, of mountain bike everything that I think is important to know, or rather what I would have liked to know before starting on an mountain bike there is a Ten years.

To make things clearer, I will organize my article in three unequal parts. One on the instrument, mountain biking and its practice, one on the engine, yourself, and a longer one on the equipment, which one day will save your life!

But before starting, a short introduction on mountain biking, because in a few years, significant developments have taken place. Indeed, a few years back, the mountain bike was a Mountain Bike, and the practices were really “only” what is now called the Cross Country (or XC) and the descent (in the United States apparently …).

Cantilever brake
Cantilever brake
From traditional cantilever brakes to the old rigid fork, mountain biking has become a monstrous sum of technology and today some even develop electronics to adjust the pressures of shock absorbers according to the terrain ! ( Original English version ). That’s good, but the problem is that research has a cost, and it is high. In fact, finding a good, affordable bike has now become very easy, and it has become relatively expensive on spare parts, equipment and maintenance. So sometimes you have to pay attention to the mountain bike you buy and invest what you will not have to spend for many years! In short, it has become difficult to spot in the huge amount of brands and references.


MTB Scott Spark 29 Pro, Cross Country High-end
One can distinguish (arbitrarily) to make it simple:

Cross country , which in this ranking could be translated by hiking. It is the practice of many, including me, you have a bike, a course, and you will have fun, whether it is on a natural circuit and do a few laps, whether it is a 70 km course, The idea is to pedal in the green!
Descent, in all its forms . Everything is in the name, we go down, fast, very quickly! Practical at risk and very technical for thrill seekers, but the cost of entry is relatively high.
A figure in Dirt
A figure in Dirt
The various technical and stylistic disciplines (Dirt, Trial, Street), on bicycles particularly robust and generally very low – with a look of BMX or motocross – the idea is to do, in a natural or urban landscape, Created for the occasion or not, figures all crazier than the others! Again, for lovers of thrills, and balance!
Note that there are other disciplines, cf. This article from Wikipedia . You will find all the links to the disciplines and their exact descriptions! I have not put any details because there are, to my knowledge, no real structural differences on the bikes.

I will focus on the Cross Country (XC in the rest of the article). First because it is the classic practice of cycling, especially to start, but mainly because it is the one I know best!

Choosing an mountain bike for the XC is relatively difficult , but several indicators can be identified and used to choose a range. Knowing that in a given range, the brands are about equal.

1. Your level and your practice. By answering questions you can easily assess your level and your future mountain bike practice. These questions are:

(A) I’m more a weekly outing! (And still, minimum)
(b) or one exit per month? (Mouais, not on either)

(A) I have a big sporting past and the mountain bike will be a sport in which I want to have fun!
(B) I rather want to get back in shape and find a nice sport, without having to follow the beaten track!

(A) In all weather, all the time
(b) With friends on a quiet, friendly and nature walk.

2. Your budget, (these groups come from my experience, and nothing else, do not hesitate to share yours) note that you MUST keep about 160 € for the equipment ):

(A) 0 to 699
(b) 700 to 1499
(c)> 1500

And in summary, if you have a maximum of (a) the first question, you are going to go to a sport practice, more (b), towards a practice at the limit of the VTC ( Vélo tous Chemins, B-Twin de Decathlon is a great example ), with which it will eventually have to decide. In the alternative, the budget will determine a little your range of choice, and pleasure (by analogy, it can be said that it is always more enjoyable to drive with a Porshe than with a Clio Sport!).

First of all, your choice for mountain bike rather than VTC comes down to this: will I go off-the-beaten, on terrain with pebbles, in fairly fast descents …? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s a typical mountain bike profile, if it’s not, go on a VTC – and read the part directly on the man and his equipment!)

Before going to your salesman, you should know that:

To make evolve an mountain bike is very expensive, more than to buy from the start a good mountain bike. So you have to think twice before eliminating an mountain bike that costs 100 € more but has a much better fork! I know something about it, it is a mistake I made, for lack of budget in relation to my practice.
The cable disc brakes, even very correct are a source of glitches. They are to be avoided . Also, good “V-brake” type brakes are better than poor hydraulic disc brakes. It’s not for nothing that mountain bikes are mounted with V-brakes and not in records for the Olympic Games! Good there is also the weight …
Frame rigid or suspended? Good question. It is mainly your budget that will determine this, a “true” all suspended never costs less than 900 € approximately . Most ? More comfort, one begins to have the disadvantage of pumping – the suspensions absorb a part of the effort that you provide to advance – balanced by a gain in adhesion. The lessers ? A little heavier, a little more maintenance, and much more expensive.
The tubeless vs tubetype debate (without tube vs. inner tube) is still raging. I am personally passed to the tubeless through – or because of … – of monsters balances on a pair of rims, I like the comfort gain (I ride on a semi-rigid), grip and reliability (with preventive In tires), but regrets the high price – count 40 to 70 € per tire, in short, if it does not make me 2 seasons, I am ruined.
The automatic pedals are not a luxury . They actually require a phase of adaptation – I remember some memorable falls elsewhere. But they bring a real plus, whether on pedaling, power transmitted, or feeling safe, especially on some brittle descents.
Apart from these few tips, it is mainly your budget that will determine your mountain bike , knowing that a really intense and sporting practice will necessarily need a machine a little more efficient than a small hike among friends.

Clear :

Profile (b), budget (a).

LaPierre Tecnic 300 – 2011
Tecnic 300 2011
I’m going to do some small hikes with friends, but I also want to have a little fun. Why not go on a Scott, Aspect , or LaPierre Tecnic bike ? To mention ONLY its two major brands ( because there are brands ). Today the names have changed for Lapierre RAID.

Profile (a), budget (b).

I make at least two outings a month, more than 2h00, I like to pedal strong, and to burst to return exhausted. Leaving, staying on the same brands, history to see the difference, on a Scott Scale , or a LaPierre Pro Race

Scott Scale 80, model 2008
If your budget is significantly higher (c), then two options. Keep a little money, for equipment, accessories … Or why not go on a full suspension mountain bike, like Lapierre XC , or Scott Spark . That’s what I’m driving today in 2016, a 2012 Spark 50.

A small bracket on Decathlon mountain bikes, and in general, sports distributors (Nakamura (Intersport), Go-sport …). I have had only positive feedback on their subjects. I was in the beginning the happy owner of a Rockrider 500 (Decathlon) that always rolls to take me to work, my darling having a B-Twin 5 (Decathlon, VTC), I was able to experience it a little , It is a beautiful machine. Only inconvenience: the maintenance, which is done in centers, or, in general, from one to two weeks without your bike! I think the same goes for Go-Sport. For Intersport, in the next door, a competent technician takes care of my Scott. So no waiting! (And that’s a plus)

Now that we have talked about your vehicle, we will talk about you.

It is more about having common sense than other things:

Do not try to make an exit of 4h00 from the first day and without a minimum of training (the Lafay (proteo system) is really, for me, a must) and equipment. Go ahead gradually, and indulge yourself!
Do not leave the ball in the head, take the time to warm up by going there quietly at the beginning, and accelerating little by little (eventually, stretch at the end).
Think of hydrating yourself, especially if it’s hot, a water bottle or a water bag, this is part of the obligatory equipment! Drink a sip often (and before you get thirsty), not a lot of suddenly, no cold water or with ice cubes, no need to drink stuff, or super stuff, at least in the beginning. Water, with possibly a little sugar and (more rarely, and in case of really long effort) of salt. For those who doubt, see here . The risk is great, be careful.
Avoid going alone and without a phone! Especially if you’re starting out. Do not hesitate to give your background to your loved ones if you leave alone despite everything.
Do not go on an empty stomach or after a rough evening. Expect to be operational.
Never leave without a helmet !
Now that the few basic rules concerning you are expressed, a little word about your equipment.

The equipment also evolves well in recent years, and it has become affordable, in part. You need either a backpack or a bike bag for you:

Well-equipped XC MTB Driver
Water pocket or gourd (about 1 liter per hour for a long hike if not too hot (20 ° C)), I have the first decathlon prize (I like very much for the equipment the majority Of the links point to them) to 15 € and it goes very well.
Not a gel cover , a good mountain bike shorts or a shorts . – count 50 € for a good shorts , 30 € for a good shorts.
Mittens or gloves , mandatory, this is your guarantee against blisters, pain in the hands or wrists, count about twenty euros.
A pair of glasses . There also obligatory , especially in case of fast hikes. It protects the eyes from the gravel, branches, and others that you will necessarily encounter. I have also had a pair of basic glasses at 20 € with 3 interchangeable glasses. I also had a bad experience with this glasses. A very fragile first prize that did not finish a season).
A HELMET and I say, never leave without the latter – for the story, during a descent, easy enough in addition, a friend saw his front wheel stuck in a pothole. He went off in the sun and literally splashed over his bike. He fell head first on the ground, on a pebble prominent. He got up, the helmet almost fell, cut in half. I leave you to imagine if it had been without … Count from 30 to 400 € (same as for glasses … I personally have a good helmet at 40 € that suits me well, and adjusts well to my head, try – before you buy).


Sticker with the words “no helmet no ride”

The mountain bike T-shirt is optional, it’s mainly because it dries quickly and is breathable. A classic sports t-shirt does the trick!
If you have opted for automatic pedals , count between 50 and 100 € for a pair of shoes .
The equipment necessary to repair a puncture, or a chain that breaks , namely a kit patches (less than 10 € with glue, patches, dismantled tires and emery cloth), a small pump (about twenty euros), see a room in emergency air (3 €) and single chain tool, see an emergency chain.
A first aid kit , hoping never to need it. I have in mine a pair of gloves, tape, tweezers, disinfectant, quick sutures, a small pair of gauze scissors and plaster. Count from 10 to 20 €.
All this equipment ( including a pair of shoes) will cost you around 160 €.


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