Pinkbike Poll: How do you decide which bike to buy?
For most of us, buying a mountain bike is one of the biggest purchases we will make after a house or a car. In fact, the bike might cost more than a car. Despite the current supply chain issues, there are plenty of options in every category, and I can tell you that no two bikes ride the same. So if you plan to stick with one bike for the long term, how do you decide which one to choose?
Imagine you are looking to buy a new main mountain bike. How would you go about sorting through all the options? Obviously, right now your choices would be limited by what you can actually get, but try to ignore that for now.
I’m clearly biased, but to me looking at pro bike reviews, ideally from multiple testers, seems like a good place to start. Professional reviewers can test many bikes, so they have an idea of how each bike compares to its rivals. The downside to swapping between bikes is that we can’t say much about long-term reliability.
If the bike has been around for a while, you can also check consumer reviews. When many reviews are available, it is possible to get an idea of common problems, but since user reviews are written by people who have handed over hard-earned money, they are almost by definition biased in favor of the bike. that they review (otherwise they would have bought something else).
You can also ask your friends or the staff at a local bike shop, or experience bikes you’ve owned before and extrapolate from that. For example, if your current bike feels a bit small, you might want to try a slightly longer one next time.
The best option might be to try and demo some of the bikes on your shortlist to get a first-hand feel. This isn’t always possible, and another issue can be that the bike setup – especially the suspension and cockpit – can have a huge effect on how the bike handles, and there usually isn’t time to perfect it before leaving for a test ride. If the setup isn’t quite right, it could make your ideal bike ride disappointing.
Of course, you can just watch the results of the World Cup or the EWS racing circuit. If a motorcycle wins races, that must be good, right?
So what tools do you use to decide which bike to buy?