Mountain bikes in the $1,500 range are going to be serious contenders among the high-dollar bikes you might encounter. You can get a trailworthy bike that will get you through miles of smiles for a long time before upgrade-itis sets in.
If you have been around mountain bikes for the last few years, you’ve probably heard riders making seemingly hyperbolic statements like “my dropper seatpost changed the way I ride,” or, “I can’t ride without my dropper.” You might think these riders are exaggerating, but they are onto something.
In the short history of mountain biking, a few inventions have revolutionized mountain biking to the point that most riders would not dream of riding without these features on their bikes. While there are exceptions most riders depend on suspension over rigid bikes, disc brakes over rim brakes, and tubeless tires over tubes, the dropper seatpost is the next revolution in this line.
The wheels on your mountain bike can radically transform your ride in ways that no single component upgrade can. Stock wheels on many mountain bikes are relatively heavy, have hubs with mediocre drivetrain engagement, can be difficult to set up tubeless, and might not be as strong as their more sophisticated counterparts. In addition, wheels that have seen a lot of miles have fatigued rims and spokes that might not be worth the trouble to maintain.
Our buying guide breaks down everything you need to consider first, along with our favorite hoops for every disciple.
Road riders are very particular about the function and feel of their drivetrain, braking, and shifting mechanisms, a collection of components known as a group, groupset, or “gruppo,” if your love of Italian cycling affectations was never sullied by Breaking Away.
Shimano has built a reputation for building superb groups with technology that trickles down from one elite generation of Dura Ace components, down through Ultegra, 105 [one oh five], Tiagra, Sora, and the humble Claris line.
Is it worth the upgrade to 105 or does Tiagra fit the bill? Let’s take a closer look.
Maxxis has long been a standard-bearer for mountain bike tires, and every few years, they come up with the “it tire” that everyone wants. At a time when momentum was growing behind pushing the definition of “cross country” riding to the fringes, they produced the Ardent, a tire of massive volume, thick casing, and chunky treads that seemed out of place for only a short time. The Ardent set the bar for aggressive, fast-rolling tires.
Its reputation as a good all-around tire has made it Maxxis’ number one top-selling tire, with multiple wheel sizes, a skinwall version for the NAHBS crowd, a lighter “race” version and even an e-bike specific version.