Mountain biking

I sometimes get questions about mountain biking: where/what to buy, how to prepare for the ride from friends and family.  Here’s the bundle email with most of your questions.  It probably cover 60% of your curiousity.  The other 40% is your willingness to get off the couch, have the gut to bomb down that hill and talk openly with other biking fellas.  Hope this helps!

1.  Here are some good frames builders but not limited to: Specialized, Trek, Gary Fisher, Cannondale, Gaint, Jamis, GT, Mongoose, Novara (REI store brand).
2.  There are some higher ends like: Santa Cruz, Ellsworth,
3.  Some new brands are like K2, Diamondback…you only see them at REI.  Performance has some of their house brand too.  Nothing wrong with housebrand, it just doesn’t have a good product history.

Bike components to look out for:
1.  Shimano is probably the best but they also have a wide range of prices.
2.  Sram is also good.
3.  Shocks (rear and front): Fox shock is good.  I don’t know much about shock since I never have to change it.

Stores (my two favorite stores are Sportbasement and Performance for good pricings and a good varities):
1.  I like Performance because their prices are very competitive
2.  REI has a good return policy.  You can return anything at anytime…for life.
3.  Sportbasement locates at the old Fry’s on Lawrence.  Their prices are good sometimes.
4.  Mom and Pop shops like Sun Bikes are generally a few dollars more expensive.  Sun bike shop is actually own by a Vietnamese old man.

The most mileage you can do on a mountain bike on a good day is 14-20miles max.  It’s not like roadbike, mountain biking is more tiring and very hard on the body.  Out of 14 miles, probably 7 miles up hill and 7 miles down hill.  So what to look for when to buy a bike:
1.  Good frames like I listed above
2.  Mid to high end components sometimes help.  Last longer.
3.  Front suspension is good for uphill but not so good for down hill.  Next year I’ll upgrade to a full suspension.
4.  Full suspension is a bit heavier but can be really light if you have $4k to spend and get carbon fiber frame and high end components.  It is softer when you hit the rock.  Also components on full-suspension see less vibration so they tend to last a bit longer.
5.  Here’s a section from Shimano on how to select bikes

It’s definitely not a cheap sport to get into especially the initial investment but actually over the long run, it’s cheaper than other sports like golf or skiing because you don’t have to pay for entrance fee or anything like that.  And if you know how to fix our own bike, it definitely saves you a bank.  It can be fun but can be really really dangerous.  I know people have broken their arms, legs, collar bone, wrist…etc.  So ride with extreme caution.

Improving your ride:
1.  If you are getting better and want to improve your climbing on the hill.  Try out cleats.
1.1  It can be dangerous if you are not use to clip on/off.  You can injure yourself badly if you don’t cliff off at the right time.
2.  You need shoes = additional cost
3.  Get knees/shins and elbow pads if you want to do down hill fast.

What to bring with you for biking.
1.  Water and some snack bars.  The best way is to get a camel bag and stuff everything in there.
2.  Bring a small pump in the event of flat tire.
3.  Bring a patch kit if you run over nails or thorns. Also a set of tire levers.
4.  Bring a tool set.
5.  Chain connector.  The chance of breaking a chain is rare but there’s a chance.
6.  Gloves, helmet, sun glasses are essentials.
7.  I bring an extra inner tube with me anyway.



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