Tips for Buying a New Or Used Mountain Bike

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May 3rd, 2016

So you’re thinking of buying a mountain bike, but you’re feeling a little overwhelmed on where to begin! Believe me - I’ve been there and I know the feeling. The world of bikes, gear and components is a big one and diving in with limited knowledge and experience can be challenging. The most important part of buying a mountain bike is making sure you love riding mountain bikes! Before investing in your first bike, rent a bike and hit the trails, hire a guide for the day or do an instructional course. Before dropping $2000-$5000 (or more!) make sure you love it!


I love riding my bike so much that the thought of selling off my first bike, came with mixed feelings. The memories we shared, the beautiful places we’d been to together, the falls we survived - I couldn’t imagine life without my first mountain bike! So, finding a new bike to fit my needs (and wants!), taste and style of riding was extremely important. But, where do you begin when buying a mountain bike? If you’re a first-time rider or searching for your fifth mountain bike, there is a lot to know! If there is one piece of advice to give right off the bat --- it’s to do your research!


If you’re considering buying a new or used bike, it’s important to understand your needs as a rider... and your wants!

Before diving in, ask yourself these questions...

1. What is my style of riding?

Downhill, X-country, Enduro, Racing - there are many different bikes for different styles!

2. Do I want a hard tail or a full-suspension?

Check out this article on riding Hardtails vs. Full-suspension bikes!

4. Do I want an aluminum frame or a carbon?

Along with this question... comes, what is my budget? Carbon comes with a heftier price tag!

5. What wheel size do I prefer?

26, 27.5. 29ers.

6. How much travel do I want?

Along with this question - what type of terrain will I be biking on most? And what is my riding style?


---> Keep your options open by researching new AND used bikes.

You may be surprised at the high caliber of used bikes on the market - with only a few rides on them and for a decent price that won’t break the bank. Check out PinkBike, a great site that has used mountain bike listings around the globe.

--->On the search for your first bike...

Check out 4 Tips for Buying Your First Mountain Bike


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Tips for Buying a New Mountain Bike

1. Shop Around

Go to every bike store in your neighborhood. Talk to the staff and the customers. Introduce yourself, tell them  you're in market for a new bike and let the sales pitch begin. The more pitches you listen to and the more bikes you demo, the more likely you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Many bike stores will host demo days, where you can demo bikes and ask questions.

2. Ask the locals

If you’re already a keen mountain biker, hit the trails and do a little research at the trailhead. Ask other riders what bike shops they frequently visit, what they recommend and if they have any tips for buying a new bike. I’m a big fan of word-of-mouth marketing, and there is no better way than chatting with other local mountain bikers. If you’re not already a member, consider joining your local mountain bike club. Local bike clubs usually have an affiliation with a  bike shop and their members often receive discounts on bikes, gear and tune-ups.

3. Package Deals

If you're starting from scratch in your search for the best mountain bike and gear be sure to ask about discounts on package deals that include the bike and all the essential gear and accessories.  If you buy a bike from your local bike shop, many stores will throw in some perks or apply a 5-15% discount off helmets, pedals and clothing. It never hurts to ask for a discount! Local bike shops might also offer complimentary tune-ups for the first 6-12 months after the purchase date.

4. warranty

You may get reassurance in the warranty that comes along with a new bike. Most reputable bike brands - Rocky Mountain, Trek, Santa Cruz, Giant and the list goes on - will outline the warranty on their website. Most warranties will cover the bike frame, forks, rear shock absorbers, paint and decals for a limited time. If you do buy a new mountain bike, ask about the warranty before sealing the deal!

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Tips for Buying a Used Mountain Bike

1. cost

Buying a used bike can be extremely beneficial for your bank account. Bikes are a little bit like cars, when you pedal a brand new bike out of the bike shop, they depreciate quite a bit. Buying used gives you a better opportunity to negotiate a better price and stick within a reasonable budget. It’s quite common to find decent used bikes that have only been ridden for one season, and sometimes with less then ten rides on them. If weight is important to you, you can probably find a 1-2 year old carbon frame bike, for the same price as a new aluminum bike. Be cautious though, know how to spot a good AND a bad deal - if you're unsure, ask your fellow riders for advice, or go speak with staff at the local bike shop to gain more insight. In short, use your resources well!

2. test ride

When searching for used bikes, you’ll want to consider where the bike is located. You can buy a bike on the other side of the country, if you’re confident in the seller and it’s the type of bike you’re sure you want! Keep in mind, if you go this route, you won’t have a chance to test ride the bike. I find this is one of the most important things to consider. You want to know how the bike feels, inspect the components yourself and look for wear and tear first hand. A good seller will have no problems setting up a meeting time and place to accommodate a test ride. If you are setting up a time to meet, speak with the seller on the phone first and maybe bring a friend along. Mountain bikers are usually awesome, friendly folks - but you’ll always want to play it safe.

3. the fit

The test ride is also important to make sure the bike fits you well and to see what parts can be easily replaced if you need to custom fit the bike to your body. Many people decide to change out the bike stem, saddle, grips, handlebars or pedals. Check with the seller on which parts are included in the sale of the bike. Many people do not sell pedals and saddles with the bike, as they are a more personal item that many mountain bikers customize for themselves. If you’re buying your first mountain bike, be sure to take this into consideration, as it can increase the cost.

4. get it checked by a mechanic

Before you hand over the money, consider taking the bike to a certified bike mechanic to inspect the bike. Ask them for their advice and let them know you’re considering buying it as a used bike. The seller may want to accompany you - but make sure you choose the bike shop!

5. make sure it's not stolen

Yes, the chances are slim - but it’s still a possibility. High-end mountain bikes are hot ticket items for thieves, especially near big city centres. If you want confirmation that a used bike isn’t stolen, ask the seller for the original receipt, or visit the bike shop they bought it from to confirm. If the seller is the true owner of the bike, they’ll most likely have photos on social media of them ripping up the trails.



New or used... once you've made your final decision... Congratulations! Now, get out and ride! You've made  a wonderful investment in your health and happiness!