Purchasing first 'real' mountain bike


Feb 5, 2013
Denver, CO

I have dabbled in mountain biking a little in the past with a lower grade bike, and I am getting into it enough now that I would like to go ahead and purchase a "real" mountain bike. My dilemma is, I am not well versed on what kind I should purchase for my skill level and body type. I would still classify myself as a beginner for sure. I am a rather petite female, 5'4 & 105 lbs. I formerly had a specialized that I had been given as a gift but it was too large for me and had a heavy frame. I am an avid sportsman, so I have no problem spending a decent penny like I do with all my sport equipment. However, I do not want to spend thousands on a bike and find out I really am not 100% into it (although I doubt that will happen) Any help is welcomed and appreciated.


Ride Monzie

Jan 4, 2013
What type of riding are you planning on doing (DH, AM, XC, etc.)?

What's your budget? I know you said you're open to ideas but you must have a dollar amount you're more comfortable with than not. If you know anything about bikes, used is generally the way to go, most bang/buck ratio. If you're going new, most bikes in the entry level category are similarly spec'ed and it really comes down to fit. Find the bike that fits you best in your entry level budget and get that. Hit the LBS and test ride your brains out if you have that option (you do, you're in Denver). Get the best bike you can afford. You probably need a size small frame, possibly XS--depending on brand, etc, etc. I'm the same height and ride a small pretty much universally.

How often do you think you will ride? The more you think you will ride, the more you should spend since you'll be able to justify the cost v. use. Thinking you'll ride and spending a dollar amount on a bike in that fashion often--but not always--gets it in your head that you need to ride.

Pedals: always a touchy subject. I'll say this: Get a decent set of flats to start and if you feel so inclined after riding a while, test out clipless. Some like one, others like the other. Both have advantages and weaknesses. It's a personal preference thing and you have to decide which you prefer.

Ask questions. A lot. If you're unsure of something or something seems weird, ask about it. Someone is bound to know the answer.

I think that's all I got.


Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
pretty much what Monzie said. you need to know what type of riding you want to do, ie: cross country, downhill, all mtn. if it's cross country do you want a hard tail or full suspension? you can save some cash by going used or if you want new, go with the smaller brands like Jamis, Diamond Back, Kona. just because they aren't expensive doesnt mean they are cheap bikes. if you get a solid frameset, changing out parts later if you get into it and better is always a good way to go. and yes, ask questions if you're not sure


Turbo Monkey
Sep 18, 2009
Fenton, MI
on the pedals thing, my fiance hated clipless, to the point she didn't enjoy riding, but the pressure from the local XC crowd pushed her into the idea that she needed them.

She has since switched back to flats and enjoys riding so much more knowing she can confidently put a foot down when needed.

As said, both have advantages, but do what YOU are comfortable with, not what the bike shop monkey tells you that you need.

On that same not, my fiance is long legs and short torso, at 5'7 she prefers the fit of small frames. Everyone is different. Do as suggested and go sit on and ride one million bikes before purchasing one.


Dec 23, 2014
ok so im new to the dirt jumper world. I decided to start with a cheap bi8ke to see if I like it....well I found I do. I purchased a mongoose dj from wal mart. upgraded the handle bars and bottom bracket. my next purchase is going to be suspension forks. i don't know what i should get or even what size for that matter. PLEASE HELP!!