This summer enjoy the outdoors without the bugs. We suggest several make-at-home deterrents to pesky insects.
Mountain Bike Brakes, Mountain Bike Tires
- Cheap Mountain Bikes
- Mountain Bike Reviews
- Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes, Mountain Bike Frame
- Mountain Bike Brakes, Mountain Bike Tires
- Discount Mountain Bikes Features Comparison Table
Mountain Bike Brakes
While there are many variations of mountain bike brakes, most models come equipped with one of two options: rim brakes or disc brakes. V-brakes, a type of rim brake, are most common, especially on cheap mountain bikes.
Although disc brakes are rare in cheap mountain bike territory, we found one with this feature -- the Trek 3 Series 3500 Disc. Riders' comments indicate that for some, this was one of the deciding factors in their purchase. The mountain bike brakes on the Diamondback Adult Sorrento, Diamondback Octane Youth, and Schwinn Ridge AL Women's are standard V-brakes. The Genesis 26" Men's V2100 and Huffy DS-7 feature a disc brake on the front wheel and a linear pull brake on the rear wheel.
The subject of mountain bike brakes doesn't come up often in reviews of these models, aside from a few comments about the brakes needing adjustment after assembly and later as part of routine maintenance. One review of the Diamondback Octane Youth bike claims this model is particularly hard on brake pads, which need frequent replacement.
Mountain Bike Tire Size.The standard mountain bike tire size for adult models, including all those on our list, is 26 inches. Mountain bike tires with smaller circumferences are generally available only on children's bikes, although women's bikes occasionally come with 24-inch tires. The Diamondback Octane Youth Mountain Bike comes with 20-inch or 24-inch tires.
One new development in mountain bike tires is the introduction of high-end bikes called 29ers, with 29-inch tires. The benefit of these larger tires is that they roll over obstacles more easily, making the ride less bumpy. It will probably be some time, though, before mountain bike tires of the 29ers variety appear in the budget price range.
Mountain Bike Speeds.On a bicycle, speeds refer to the different combinations riders can achieve with the gears on the rear wheel hub (the cassette) and the gears (chainrings) on the crankset where the pedals are located. Having multiple speeds on a bike lets riders easily adjust the amount of power needed to move the bike forward, providing a more efficient and more comfortable ride. There's no one right speed for everyone in a given situation, so finding the gear combination that's comfortable for you takes some trial and error. This is especially important when it comes to mountain bikes, because pedaling up and down hills and across varying terrain requires many different gear ratios.
More speeds mean more control over the way you ride. All the adult-size cheap mountain bikes we researched, from the Trek 3 Series 3500 Disc to the Huffy DS-7, feature 21 speeds (i.e., gear combinations), although in practice only about two-thirds get used. Most user comments about the gears revolve around the ease of shifting, and all of our top picks garner positive reviews in this department, as does the Diamondback Octane Youth model; parents report their children mastered the technique quickly. One rider who posted on Dick's Sporting Goods commends the smooth shifting on the Diamondback Sorrento but notes that his speed has slowed compared to what he achieved with a previous bike. Bike Radar points out that the crankset on the 21-speed Trek 3 Series 3500 Disc is engineered to support higher gear ratios, which are better for road and downhill cycling and could pose quite a challenge for steep hills; a lower gear geometry would be more suitable for trail riding, the expert review concludes. Several riders similarly critique the gearing while others contend that uphill climbs are no sweat.
Mountain Bike Durability.On- and off-trail riding tests the mettle of a bike, whether cheap or high-end. Frugal consumers certainly want some assurance that a budget mountain bike will stand up to the elements, to bumpy terrain, to falls and spills, and to whatever crosses its path.
The Diamondback Sorrento contains parts that should last, according to experts at Extreme Sports Magazine, who are especially impressed with the frame. In posts at Dick's Sporting Goods, a plus-size rider says the bike is solid and has held up through more than six-months of rugged riding on and off the trails. Bike Radar considers the Trek 3 Series 3500 Disc a mountain bike through and through, built with quality materials and a design devoid of gimmicks. The Schwinn Ridge AL women's bike seems durable enough; one rider reports she's ridden the bike up to 16 miles a day for two years without running into any glitches. The Genesis 26" Men's V2100 model gets mostly good marks for durability in consumer reviews, although an overwhelming number of users recommend buying better pedals because the originals are plastic and break easily. The Huffy DS-7 doesn't fair as well with reviewers. We came across multiple complaints about seemingly flimsy parts that don't live out a year. Many riders say the wheel alignment and brakes just never feel right despite professional adjustments. The Diamondback Octane Youth mountain bike is sturdy enough to take what kids dish out, reviewers say, and the protective covering on the derailleur guards vulnerable moving parts against spills, accidental and otherwise.
Huffy DS-7 Review
Schwinn Ridge AL Review
Genesis V2100 Review
Diamondback Sorrento 2012 Review
Trek 3 Series 3500 Review
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