Cross Country Mountain Bikes

XC Mountain bikes are the most versatile bikes and can be very affordable. They are the lightest of all mountain bikes as they are meant mostly for endurance.

Bikes

Bikes can be found for all budgets and here are a list of things to look for

Suspension

Can be one of the most important things when looking at buying a bike. Most entry level XC bikes offer only front suspension. This is great as they will be generally cheaper the simpler construction makes them less prone to failures.

The 2 most popular suspension types are: Coil and Air.

  • Coil are usually cheaper and not very popular on XC bikes. They tend to be heavier than air ones.
  • Air are the most popular and can be found in a variety of different models.

Learn more about Mountain Bike Suspension.

Brakes

Brakes are another critical part of a bike and mountain bikes have been including disc brakes for a long time already.

  • Mechanical disc brakes are popular on entry level bikes as they setup and levers as very simple.
  • Hydraulic brakes are usually found on enthusiast level bikes and have many different levels of performance.

Hydraulic brakes are mostly found on $600+ bikes and are well worth the investment as they are easier to pull (usually can be done with one finger) and the breaking is smoother.

Wheel Size

Over the last few years the industry has been moving from the classic 26″ wheels to either 27.5″ and 29″. On pro level XC bikes the wheel size is usually 29″ as they better for rolling over objects.

That said, be careful as the bigger the wheel size the rider may lose some maneuverability.

Drivetrain

The drive train is a very important element when choosing a bike. These days, entry level drive trains from Shimano or SRAM offer outstanding performance for the price. That said, the higher you go, the better they will perform and the lighter they will be.

Here’s a table with a comparison of drive trains from SRAM and Shimano.

Level Shimano SRAM
Entry Altus X3
Entry Acera X3
Entry Alivio X4
Enthusiast Deore X5
Enthusiast SLX X7
Race XT X9
Race XTR X0
Race N/A XX1

Frame

A very important factor is choosing the right frame for the rider. Different frames have different construction materials and can be targeted for different riding style and gender.

Learn about the best mountain bike frames to get started.

What to Buy?

If you are looking for a new mountain bike to purchase, here are some good recommendations:

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