How to Buy The Best Cheap Mountain Bike for Racing or Recreational Riding
These masterclass tips aren’t just for beginners. I see mountain bike riders with decades of experience blow these opportunities all the time.
XC 101 Score Big on a Cheap Mountain Bikes – Gender Deals
Ever since female specific models became available, women win big. Year end closeouts due to the smaller market of female XC mountain bike riders truly force manufacturers to practically giveaway many of these models.
Truthfully some of the models with the exception of the paint color often cross over and will work for men.
I have thought about buying these female specific models for myself (being a man) to enjoy the huge savings and excellent quality XC mountain bike offered.
Even for the parts alone, swap the frame and sell the one that came with it.
XC 101 Cheap Mountain Bikes – Clydesdale Deals
The biggest winners on huge savings when it comes to purchasing an XC mountain bike are the Clydesdale types.
If you are a size large mountain biker and this especially applies to extra large MTB riders, you can score an insane deal on a super high end XC racing mountain bike for practically nothing.
I am not kidding. These deals are so good I have often thought about stretching out my body on one of those ancient torture racks from 5’7″ to 6’6″ just to score the mind blowing deals a Clydesdale gets to enjoy.
XC 101 Cheap Mountain Bikes – Blowout Deals
Of course more than anything, the time of year, and old stock being introduced into the retailers inventory means huge savings. These deals show up towards the end of the year, and usually are pretty depleted by spring. These deals never last long so don’t spend to much time thinking on it, act fast.
If you want to score big on one of these XC mountain bikes for racing:
XC 101 Cheap Mountain Bikes – Paint Color Confusion
Once in a while there are great deals on an XC mountain bike for either racing or recreational riding that is heavily discounted simply because the manufacturer missed the mark on the paint / decal schema. Sorry guys don’t normally want pink on their bike or extremely bright pastels. It should be obvious, but not always.
Manufacturers often feel compelled to follow the trendy color palette for an upcoming year, and screw up in a big way. If you can handle an odd color, you can win big on a great deal.
You can always paint the frame, or just suck it up and ride so fast you are blur anyways and no can see your bright florescent pink bike with Brain Boitano boy racer graphics.
XC 101 Cheap Mountain Bikes – Demo Models
Once in a blue moon demo deals are offered even online. Most of the times these are medium or larger frames, and while the bikes are not too badly abused, at least any more than you are going to abuse them, they are discounted.
Best Mountain Bike to Buy on a Tight Budget
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XC 101 How to Select the Correct Mountain Bike Size
Before you make a purchase, read this and understand how to size your bike properly. Too many riders, even experienced ones get talked into purchasing the wrong size bike.
Sometimes its to score a great deal on a size that isn’t perfect for the XC mountain bike rider, and other times its is simply a case of salesman on the sales floor of a bike shop moving inventory and collecting their commission.
XC 101 Bike Sizing by Mountain Bike Riding Style
The general rule of thumb is that a slightly larger frame is better for flats and even climbing, while a smaller frame improves your ability and confidence to descend.
In my opinion, since wheel base sizes are so similar, to the next frame size up or down you are better off purchasing the slightly smaller size. Over and over again I see people on XC mountain bike frames too large for them and they truly hinder their ability to descend without providing any real additional climbing advantage.
Here are some common cross country MTB sizing mistakes to avoid.
XC 101 How to Buy a Mountain Bike – Major Frame Size Buying Mistakes
- Purchasing the wrong size frame simply because the stem on the bike is the wrong size. The average cost of an inexpensive XC mountain bike replacement stem is $25, so don’t let $25 force the purchase of the wrong size frame. The smarter manufacturers now offer varying stem sizes based on the mountain bike’s size. About time.
- Napoleon complex – We see this all the time. For some crazy reason your brain tells you need a bigger size? May be you feel inferior in stature on a smaller size frame. Since I am not a psychiatrist (however I play on on TV) I can’t help. All the best if this one gets in your way
- Bad advice from a friend, bike mechanic, or some other source that interferes with good advice, and common sense.
- The price is so good on the wrong size bike, it drives the sale. I am guilty of this one, the price was just so good I decided to go with one size up. I never had any fun on that bike, and once I sold it and got the correct size, riding was ten times more fun.
XC 101 How to Buy a Mountain Bike – Stand Over Height for Proper Sizing
XC mountain biking requires what’s called stand over height. This means when you come off your mountain bike saddle and land with both feet on the ground, their is appropriate distance between the top tube on the frame, and your private parts. No one want to slam into the top tube.
Also remember you often come down on uneven ground, so more stand over height is preferred.
Many XC mountain bike frames nowadays angle the top tube down where it meets the seat tube to buy you a little more distance. As a rule of thumb, it is nice to be able to get 5 fingers between you and your privates, when you dismount.
XC 101 How to Buy a Mountain Bike – Seatpost Height for Proper Sizing
The seatpost has a line limit recommended to avoid bending it and to provide ample insertion into the frame so it doesn’t get damaged either.
If your stock seatpost is only 300-375mm, you can purchase a longer seatpost, say 400mm if needed for only $15. So as long as you can raise your seat to the maximum safe height, and maintain proper street riding position with your knees slightly bent, you can go down a size on the frame. Remember as mentioned above, if you feel cramped with your arms, or opposite are reaching to far to get to the handlebars, simply adjust the stem length. Also you can increase stem angle as well so you adjust the curvature of your back when holding the handlebars.
XC 101 How to Buy a Mountain Bike Sizing Overview
So now you understand the keys to getting into a smaller frame:
- Proper Stand Over Height
- Adjust the XC mountain bike stem length / angle for proper arm reach
- Adjust the XC mountain bike seatpost length to obtain the proper street riding position