Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The magic of mountain biking

Bike.jpg

Cycling is seemingly more popular than ever at the moment. As increasing numbers of people realise the environmental, health and even time-saving potential of commuting by bike, cities are slowly adapting to give cyclists greater priority on the roads.

And with the Tour de France increasingly capturing public interest in recent years, in addition to the hybrid commuter bikes, there has been an explosion in the numbers of sleek racing machines on the roads.

But away from the tarmac, there is a whole world to explore - often only minutes from your doorstep. And if you want to do this, the best option is to get your hands on a mountain bike.

Also known as MTBs, mountain bikes are designed to handle everything the countryside can throw at you - from rocky terrains in the woods, to steep dusty trails in the hills.

Of course, it is the sheer versatility of mountain bikes which has led to them dominating the market over the last 20 years - even though their natural home is off the beaten track, they are comfortable and practical on the road too.

Technology pays

While you can buy a basic 'real' MTB - in other words, one that isn't going to break into pieces if you go on lighter forays into the countryside - for around £300, as with anything, you really do get what you pay for. Technology in the off-road world is improving all the time, though prices have increased substantially over the past couple of years.

There is a wealth of choice at all price levels, and you can easily spend £2,000 on a good mid-range MTB - and a whole lot more if you really want the top-end technology. And there are so many options these days, it would be a good idea to go along to a local bike shop to get your head around what it is that will suit you. They will also be able to help with sizing, and also provide tips and local knowledge.

In short, there are three basic kinds of MTBs, the most simple being the traditional rigid bikes - i.e. one without any motorcycle-style suspension systems. These tend to be among the cheapest, though there are some exceptions for the experienced purist who is seeking a more retro ride.

Probably the most common mountain bike, though, is the 'hardtail', which has a suspension fork at the front, but with a traditional rear. These offer a good compromise between simplicity, efficiency and light weight, and will be able to deal with most situations a rider will confront.

However, if you are keen to tackle some of the more extreme terrain - or are just looking for extra comfort - then full suspension could be the way to go. With both wheels able to move independently, a full suspension MTB will absorb a fair amount of the bumps you roll over off-road. While the technology is constantly trickling down from the upper reaches of bike ranges, good full suspension MTBs - i.e. ones that aren't compromised by excessive weight and hence sluggish performance - tend to cost more than £1,000.

Don't forget the extras…

Once you've found your ideal bike, there are a few more essential purchases - starting with a helmet, which is a must. Then there's gloves to protect your hands, specific cycling shorts (don't worry; there's alternatives to tight lycra these days…), footwear, lights etc. There is also the option of making it a family pursuit, as it can be a great way to fit exercise into family holidays - though kitting out multiple people is clearly going to be even more expensive.

All in all, getting into mountain-biking can be a considerable investment. A loan may be a good way to make all the purchases you need in one go; they can be an effective way to spread costs.

And while it may involve a significant outlay, bear in mind that this is a sport that can be enjoyed all year round, and will be both great fun, and great for your health.

Issued by Sainsbury's Finance

Related

HERO.jpg

Unfortunate Sporting Allergies

ufo-rex.png

VIDEO: UFOs spotted in London

batman.jpg

Superhero Sports Day

Comments

More

Arsenal's press release for their new kit launch is very Arsenal

Why is it always Arsenal?

by Carl Anka
21 Jun 2017

10 of the greatest brawls in football history

Because secretly we all love them

by Tom Victor
19 Jun 2017

Can you beat 12/20 in this tricky Premier League shirt sponsors quiz?

Challenge your mates in the comments

by Tom Victor
19 Jun 2017

The outrageous price of ringside seats for Mayweather vs McGregor

"Money" Mayweather is certainly living up to his nickname

by Dave Fawbert
19 Jun 2017

Dramatic shake-up could see the end of the 90-minute football match

Does this actually make some sense?

by Tom Victor
19 Jun 2017

Fergie's team talk at Michael Carrick's testimonial is a must-watch

"Two centre backs, Ferdinand and Vidic...you can't play midfield"

by Matt Tate
16 Jun 2017

WWE is considering bringing Wrestlemania to London

It would be the first time ever

by Tom Victor
15 Jun 2017

Which animals would do better than McGregor against Mayweather?

McGregor is going to lose, but would he lose worse than an otter?

by Tom Victor
15 Jun 2017

IT'S ON: Mayweather v McGregor is 100% confirmed

The impossible fight is happening for real

by Alex Finnis
15 Jun 2017

Here are the key dates from the Premier League 2017/18 fixture list

Football is never that far round the corner...

by Carl Anka
14 Jun 2017