Hello, I am looking to buy a mountain bike for next year or whenever the weather warms (Pennsylvanian here). I've never owned a mountain bike, only road bikes which was a hobby I've gotten out of over the years. I plan on riding on mainly gravel and asphalt and maybe some flat, non-rocky trails. I don't want to get fancy and spend a lot since this is my first mountain bike.. really just looking for some real life input on wheels and drive-train.
I really just want to know what type/size of these specific components will work for the terrain I described. I realize these are subjective things, I just want somewhere to start as a beginner.
- Tire width? - Wheels Size? - I don't know enough about the components of the drive-train to begin to break it down, so if you are knowledgeable enough to break down what I need in the drive-train, it would be appreciated.
I recently bought my first mountain bike, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
I went with a full suspension because I wanted to ride more rugged terrain and was interested in Enduro riding. Considering that you will mostly be on gravel/flat/asphalt I think a hardtail would be reasonable.
From what I understand 29" tires make riding smoother and help you carry your momentum over obstacles. 27.5" tires are more "responsive" easier to start and change direction, etc. My ride is 29" and I love it.
The advice I got from the local bike shop was to prioritize 3 things:
1: 1x drive train (as in one gear up front, so you only have to deal with the rear derailleur). I believe this saves on weight, maintenance, and makes shifting simpler. I find that I shift way more on a mountainbike than on a road bike as the terrain changes more dramatically. This may not be the case in the type of riding you're going to do.
2: Tubeless tires. This was my first bike with tubeless tires and I'm impressed. They seem especially suited to MTBs because spiky plants and splinters can be pulled out of the tire with out having to repair anything. They do require more frequent adding of air, but this hasn't been a problem.
3: Dropper post. I love this feature and can't believe people mountain biked without it. Again this doesn't seem as important if you're riding gravel roads since you wont need to drop the seat for very steep descents.
All three of these features are available in the 2020 Giant stance 1 which costs $1800. I know that is not the bike you're looking for, but i think it's a good reference point. seems like reviewers rate the bike well and as a good deal. So, if you are going to make sacrifices in the drive train department, go with a hardtail, or used or some combo of those I would expect to pay significantly less than $1800.