A couple of years ago I got my first mountain Bike. It’s a Gary Fisher Tassajara. If you click on the link you’ll see it’s a sexy beast with a price tag of $1149. Ouch. Did my Tassajara cost anywhere near that? Nope. Mine was around $300. I fully believe in buying used. My bike fits me like a glove and when I ride I feel like she’s an extension of me.
Here are the steps to purchasing your new love:
1. Get fitted!!! This is the most important step out there. Go to a bike shop (or several) and try out different bikes and different brands. I know Gary Fisher is owned by Trek but I measure a 13in in Gary and 15 inches in Trek.
By getting fitted and trying out different bikes at a good bike store you will also find brands and specific models that you like. Once you know this you can then watch Craigslist, Ebay (if you’re brave) and the bike shops for used models in your size.
I lucked out and got my Tassy from a bike shop used. It had been owned by a boy who quickly grew out of it so it was in great shape. It wasn’t the current year that the shop was selling so they just wanted to get rid of it. I did try out a new Trek for women (can’t remember the model) and it was OK, but I fell in love with my girl.
I have since seen similar Gary Fisher Tassy’s on Craigs list for similar prices so you can def get good deals out there.
The other thing you need to think about is what type of bike you are going to get. They have 29ers, hardtails, and full-suspensions. 29ers have bigger wheels. Some people like them and say they ride the trails more comfortably. It’s just me, and I’m sure that there would be plenty of people who would argue, but if you’re buying your first bike I don’t think this would be a good fit.
Mine is a hardtail. It’s kind of the standard base model. It’s been around forever and is really popular. It’s a little rougher of a ride but I’ve never had any complaints on it. I imagine it would be a bit rough if your trails were made up mostly of rocks. It’s generally not as expensive as a 29er or full-suspension.
My hubby has a full-suspension. They have suspension in the front and back of the bikes; while hardtails only have it in the front. The front end will go easier over rocks and people claim to have a lot of control. I don’t think he’ll ever go back to a hardtail. He is certainly into doing more tricks and being more aggressive on the trails than I am. So if you’re hard core or adventurous you may want to consider a full-suspension.
How I see it is your hardtail is your standard car, your full-suspension is your SUV and your 29er is your hummer.
Here’s one last word on picking a bike. If all you can absolutely afford is a bike from Walmart that’s fine but if you plan on doing any real mountain biking you’re going to run into real issues very fast and will probably have to upgrade to a better bike. It will save you money in the long run to buy the best bike you can afford. It might take time and patience watching the classifieds or bike shops but it will be worth getting a better bike.
Have fun finding your bike and happy riding!