Mountain biking has come a long way since its original inception. It used to be that you grabbed whatever bike you had in the garage and ripped around on any old dirt tracks you could find. Nowadays, figuring out how to choose a mountain bike can be a sport of its own if you’ve never done it before.

There are tons of bike models to choose from, made by hundreds of different brands, in too many price brackets. So how are you meant to choose?

First, getting a beginner mountain bike means doing your research, which is one reason why you may be here now. We’ll give a quick synopsis of how to choose the right mountain bike that can hopefully set you off in the right direction.

Remember, this is only the starting point, but it will provide a solid foundation. Soon enough, you’ll be cruising on the trails with the best bike for you. 

How to choose your first mountain bike

Type of Mountain Bike

The hunt has been narrowed down to needing a mountain bike, but you’ll need to get even more specific. Different styles that perform better for various conditions. This is the main starting point and will be simple if you know what kind of riding you are hoping to do. 

Cross Country

Cross country bikes are made for those that want to pedal hard and for a long time. They are the closest relative of a road bike that you’ll see in all of the different types of mountain bikes. Uphill is made a bit easier with a cross-country bike, but you won’t be doing anything crazy on the downhill. 

Trail Bikes

Trail bikes are the most basic beginner mountain bike that you can find. It can master the uphill and downhill but isn’t built to withstand anything incredibly difficult on either end of the spectrum. This is the best bike for casual weekend riders that want to be out on the trails with their friends. 

All Mountain

The all-mountain bike style is named perfectly. It can cover the entire mountain, both uphill and downhill, with ease. It is more lightweight for the uphill but built to endure the rigors of downhill cruising. You would use this bike to do a longer and harder ascent to get a great section of downhill. 


Typically a more competitive bike, a downhill bike is built to take on the crushing force of brutal downhill races. The biggest drawback is that you will need a long time to ride that much weight uphill. 

Fat Tire

Fat tire bikes are a favorite of ours but aren’t always for everyone. These bikes use a fatter tire size to provide more traction on difficult surfaces such as snow and sand. The bigger tires allow you to cruise easily around in beautiful spaces. They’re arguably the best to take out on the best beginner mountain biking trails in Phoenix, AZ

The Finer Details

Now that you have a better idea of the style of bike you’ll be looking into, it’s time to look deeper into certain parts of the bike. This short list has some of the more important aspects to look into when considering each part of the bike. 

Frame Material: Carbon, Titanium, Aluminum, or Steel

Suspension: Rigid, Hardtail, or Full Suspension

Wheel Size: 24, 26, 27.5, 29

Brakes: Disc, Hydraulic, Cable-activated, or Rim

Price Bracket

The price of higher-end mountain bikes can be intimidating. They’re a huge investment that can be difficult to afford but hard to pass up. The good thing is, there are great mountain bikes at lower price brackets as well.

Figuring out your budget needs to be one of the first steps in the process. This way, you don’t end up falling in love with a bike that’s far too expensive for you. Start out knowing the type of bike you can afford to bring home and still love. 

Finding the Right Fit

Finally, you need to find a bike that fits you properly. If you don’t know what size frame you need, visit a biking store nearby and have them measure you properly. This way, you’ll avoid buying a bike online and the huge disappointment that comes along with it not fitting later on.