You are on your favorite mountain biking forum or local mountain bike trailhead. You hear a friend or fellow rider start talking about a new bike purchase, and like any obsessed cycling fan…they ask the opinions of other riders in search of their best and perfect mountain bike that will carry their riding to new extreme levels. The first rider to pipe up and offer their intense information for this fortunate rider is normally the mountain biker that is going to tell the potential mountain bike purchaser why the mountain bike they ride is the best thing ever. Not only is it the best mountain bike on the market, it is going to be the perfect mountain bike for them too! You’ll see…just go buy it…
The Best Mountain Bike – The Myth and the Truth
I am going to dispel the myth right now. There is no such thing as the perfect or best mountain bike for everyone and I am sick and tired of hearing riders trying to prove others that there is one. Every rider has a different structure, style, ability and specific taste. When other riders try to justify their purchase by pushing it on others…it is bad for the sport. You can give your objective opinion on why you picked your mountain bike and why it works best for your needs…but it is not going to be for everyone…and that is a good thing!
When the mountain bike community has a wide variety of different riders, that brings a multitude of bikes, parts and trails that gives the community more options than ever. If we all had one perfect mountain bike that was the same…life as a mountain biker would be pretty boring.
While you read mountain bike reviews and editorials…
The information I am about to give you applies to Mountain Biking by 198 as much as it does to any print mag or casual rider. You HAVE TO treat every review an opinion objectively in your search for YOUR perfect mountain bike for YOUR needs. Most of the time, they only way to truly find out if a mountain bike is going to work for you is to narrow down your list and start test riding. Just because Joe Mountain Biker said his bike is the best thing on the market and you should not even consider anything else…that does not mean that it will be the correct bike for you.
On Mountain Biking by 198, we try to provide you with as much information as possible to help you in your search for your next mountain bike or component part purchase. We try to answer the questions that you will ask during the purchasing process in an attempt to spell out who is the “perfect” rider for that particular bike, part or piece of apparel. When you read our reviews and others on the net, you should try to look at them objectively to figure out if it will be perfect for you as a rider.
When you hear the self proclaimed experts that just have to give their opinion every time a mountain biking question is presented, I would discount their voice the most. Typically, the loudest rider is the one that you should listen to the least. If you really want an honest opinion, search out a skilled rider who rides with a similar style on similar trails. Talk to this mountain biker about what they like and don’t like about their current mountain bike and what bike they would like to try next. Through calm dialogue, you are able to get a truer since of how that particular bike rides and…just maybe…that rider will let you take a spin on a trail to get a feel of the bike’s ride characteristics (given that it is your size).
198 and Self Proclaimed Experts
As you can probably tell…I am holding back from completely ranting on this article a little bit. Just about every trailhead I visit lately has a self proclaimed expert that is always telling other riders to buy bikes and components. I know…a little ironic given that you are reading this article on my site that just happens to review products for mountain bikers, but I do have a point. How many times have you heard “you have to go get a 29er”, “you have to buy this bike”, “you have to switch to Shimano (or SRAM)”? The truth is…you DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING other than enjoy riding your mountain bike.
So…next time you hear the self proclaimed expert that gives opinions without questions…smile, clip in and go ride. When you really want some advice, ask the skilled rider that is not getting a high off of sharing what he thinks with every rider that he comes in contact with. That information will be far more credible in the long run.