When you just started looking for a mountain bike or are considering picking up the sport you might be put off by how much this hobby costs. There are quite some differences in mountain bikes and prices, but is how much should you pay for a decent MTB?
A good mountain bike will cost you between 1000 and 1500 USD. A decent bike is expensive but you also need additional gear. Proper maintenance and taking care of your bike can significantly reduce costs.
Let’s look into why exactly why they are expensive and how you can get the most out of your first MTB without having to eat ramen for a couple of months.
How Much Does Mountain Biking Cost?
Let’s have a look at what a mountain bike and extra gear cost to give you an idea of the initial costs. I’ll look at entry-level trail and medium mountain bikes, both hardtail and full suspension. Here’s what a Giant MTB would cost you, I picked Giant because they often get you the best bang for your buck.
I haven’t calculated any deals or discounts, I just looked at what they go for. The Cheapest entry-level hardtail mountain bike starts at $541, a full suspension at $2,000. Careful when going for the cheapest mountain bike, they are unsafe for trails but you can get away just riding on roads.
As for gear, you’ll definitely need a helmet, a decent helmet goes for around $70 but you might want to look at helmets that provide a bit more comfort. Clothing can add another $200, $300 but if you look for sales you might be able to get a good deal somewhere.
An entry-level mountain bike will cost you 500 to 700 USD but in this range, you still shouldn’t be hitting any trails. A helmet costs between $70 and $130, I’ll ignore clothing because you can get those cheaper in discount stores.
If you go for the cheapest entry-level MTB you’ll end up paying about $600 for a bike and a helmet and about $800 if you go for the one with better parts. About the same as going to the gym for a year.
For example, the Giant Fathom 2 starts at $1,155 and the Fathom 1 at $1,470. Again, the more expensive one gets you higher-quality parts and is properly assembled by experts. Add a helmet and you’re looking at 1,275 or 1,540. That’s quite some money already but you’ll get a really good bike which is perfect for most beginners. If you can get a bike between 1000-1500 USD you’ll have a solid bike that’s reliable on trails.
Entry-level Full Suspension
Full suspensions are crazy expensive and not for beginners. Don’t splurge all you money on a FS, go for a second hand instead. The Giant Stance (trail) for example starts at 1,550, that’s an entry level full suspension mountain bike. Add a helmet and you end up with $1.620. Shoes, clothes etc, add another $200 (if you’re lucky).
Mid-range Full Suspension
You’re looking at $2,000 at the minimum. The Giant Trance for example costs between 2,000 and $2,900. It’s getting an expensive hobby now, I’ll let you do the rest of the math.
Here’s Why a Decent MTB Costs a Lot
There are multiple factors that add up to the total costs, materials, research and development, sponsoring and dealing with broken parts or maintenance. There’s a lot of R&D that goes into designing and manufacturing mountain bikes. It took decades to create the technology we see in bikes and components today.
Mountain bike manufacturers put time and many resources in making the next state of the art MTB. Over the years designs change providing mountain bikers better bikes and a great experience
Depending on the bike, the materials can be very expensive. A set of carbon wheels, for example, isn’t easy to produce and the materials are expensive. So the bike is expensive, but once you’re past the initial cost it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg each year. Because the bikes are of such high-quality they can last you for years if maintained properly. The costs of the individual parts depending on the materials used and brand.
- A MTb frame is the most expensive part of a mountain bike, depending on the material they can cost as much as $4000 (high-end).
- A set of wheels can go from $300 to $3000 and tires can go up to 100 bucks.
- Handlebars, drivetrains, brake systems etc you can get cheap ones or expensive ones. Prices vary widely depending on the materials used.
Save Money Be Smart
It doesn’t have to be that expensive. Sure buying a new bike is usually expensive but shopping smart and gradually upgrading is a way to save some money. If you’re knowledgeable and know what to look for you can try to get a used bike at a low price. Maintaining your bike is another way of saving money instead of bringing it to your local bike shop.
When shopping for a new bike, focus on the essentials like a high-quality frame, decent wheels, braking system, and a decent fork. All of the other stuff can be replaced later if you really want to upgrade those parts. Full suspension bikes are a lot more expensive than a hardtail, so go with a hardtail and start saving money for upgrades.
Used mountain bikes
You often can get a decent used mountain bike from your local bike shop or from Craigslist for example. If you’re not buying one at a store make sure you know how to inspect a bike to make a good estimate about what you should really pay. Haggle until you reach an agreement that you both can live with.
Save Money, Fix it Yourself
Youtube is full of videos on how to maintain your mountain bike. If you got the tools this is a great way to save money. Some parts are harder to maintain than others, but if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, do it yourself.
To get the most of your bike you really should maintain it well. Leaving your bike out in the rain, or not cleaning your bike properly will shorten its lifespan. It doesn’t take much time and it’s a great way to bond with your bike, uh wait.
Save Money on Gear
You don’t need fancy clothes are the latest trainers. The one thing you shouldn’t cheap out on is a helmet but you can save a lot on other gear. In fact, I use my runners (trail) and running outfit when I ride. I often do a combination of both but my running gear feels really comfortable when riding. Just make sure the clothes can breathe and absorb sweat without getting soaked.
Putting things in perspective
Many hobbies are expensive and when looking back 20 years mountain biking was way more expensive. Nowadays you get way better mountain bikes at a lower price depending on the type of bike and price range. You can make it as expensive as you want and most of us don’t need a $3000 bike.
It’s about having fun and a healthy lifestyle, you can have as much fun riding a $500 MTB as riding a 5k bike. At the end of the day, you’ll feel great and burned a lot of calories in the process.
A health or gym club costs between $40 and $50 a month, without the initiation fee. That’s as much as a decent mountain bike, without taking maintenance into consideration.
Healthy Lifestyle Worth
Mountain biking (and cycling in general) is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories without injuring yourself (besides crashing). I like to go for a run regularly but I’m way more conscious about injuries as when I’m out there riding.
There’s not much stress on your joints (low impact) and improves your cardiovascular fitness. Riding at least 20 miles a week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 50 percent (according to the British Medical Association).
You’ll sleep better, feel more energetic and less stressed out. Like any exercise, your brain benefits and you get to enjoy nature.
If you maintain your MTB properly you can get a decent price when you decide to sell it. Depending on the age an condition it’s in, shops often give you a good discount when you get a new bike. If you think they’re low balling you, sell it yourself and use the money to add it to your budget when you get a new bike.
Do I need an expensive mountain bike? The more you pay the better components and bike you get, just remember that you don’t need a 5k bike to have fun. Riders on cheap and expensive bikes both enjoy themselves. A cheaper bike is just not as comfortable as a more expensive one. Save up and upgrade your bike along the way.
How do I get a good deal on a mountain bike? Buy them around September, new models will replace the old one and you usually can get a significant discount on last years model. Often it’s exactly the same bike with just a few minor differences.
Should I buy a bike online? I would be careful as you don’t get the service a specialized shop offers and they aren’t always tuned very well. You need to feel how a bike rides before you can really make a decision if it’s the right MTB for you.