If you’ve been wanting to learn to mountain bike, you know the barrier to entry is real. In addition to forking over some serious cash for a machine, there are about a zillion micro-decisions to make before you can actually pedal on a trail. And most of those decisions revolve around terms and experiences you know nothing about yet, considering you’ve probably only been out a handful of times, if at all.
“There are so many different mountain bikes to choose from that it can start to feel overwhelming,” says Nick Martin, founder of The Pro’s Closet, the largest e-retailer for pre-owned bikes and cycling gear. “It all comes down to what’s right for you, your trails, and your ambitions.”
Here’s everything you need to consider (and answer) to get your first set of wheels.