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How to get started in mountain biking

Mountain biking is a great way to keep fit and is much better for the joints than high-impact activities such as running or football. A relatively basic bike can take you to some of the most beautiful spots in the country whilst challenging you both mentally and physically. This article will show you what kind of bike to look out for and how to get started in this great hobby.

Buying a bike

Real mountain biking is more about an easy ride along a canal tow path and as such, a Halford's "£99 special" will not provide the reliability that you need on the hillside. When looking for your new rig, expect to pay at least £350 for an all-terrain bike which is capable of handling the majority of trails in the UK. For this, you can expect an aluminium frame, a good set of V-brakes, good MTB tyres, basic suspension and a reliable gear train. Bikes in this price range can be considered budget options and will be good for a few rides a year. The build quality means that any wayward tree roots or crashes will soon damage components. If you spend a bit more money, then you can expect to get hydraulic disc brakes which some people consider a necessity. The disc rotors are out of the mud at all times, meaning that they provide powerful stopping power in all conditions and terrain types. Bikes around the £600 mark will also have a pair of good quality air forks which will improve both comfort and control on the trail. Generally, you shouldn't consider buying a new full-suspension bike for less than £1000 as they will either be poor quality or extremely heavy. When looking for new bikes, online stores such as Wiggle provides the best deals and when used in conjunction with magazines like which bike, can help you choose the perfect bike for your needs.

Getting started

Even though online shops offer better deals, nothing compares to the lifelong support that you'll get from a local cycle shop. They will allow you to try your bike out and help you to get it set up. Local bike shops should really be everyone's first choice and are a great way to meet other riders through riding clubs. The best place to get started is at a forestry trail centre. There are centres dotted around the British Isles and give high-quality riding without the stress of having to worry about navigation. Whilst some rides can be greater than 30 Km, you're never really more than a few miles from a cafe and bike shop - Two of the most important institutions for any biker!

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