At the Bike Store

At the Bike Store

So, by now you have sufficient information, and you can comfortably head to your local bike retailer to decide on the models supporting your preferable frames, components, gears and most importantly budget. Try the models you are interested to get the first riding feel.

At the Bike Store:

Choose a Frame Size

The first thing you have to decide at the store is the frame size of your mountain bike. You can decide the frame size by your comfort level or ask the sale specialists to help you in determining the frame size according to your body parameters.

You can also ask for the bike fit kit which is used to find out the right frame size by measuring the body proportions. If the kit is not available and the sales person cannot help you, or you are not sure, you can use the following tips to work out the right frame size of your mountain bike:

  • A comfortable reach to the handlebars: You must ensure that you don’t feel uncomfortable in reaching the handlebars while sitting on the saddle. You might feel stretched on a bigger frame size, while short frames will cause scrunching.
  • Seat height: At the bottom of the pedal stroke your knee must attain a slight bending posture while you are sitting on the saddle. Most riders prefer handlebars to the seat level. Higher handlebars than the seat level create a very comfortable riding posture while lower handlebars support aggressive stance.
  • Disclaimers: You must ensure that the seat of your bike is inserted to the minimum safe levels, and handlebars are not pushed down for increasing seat height to more than 2 inches.

The frame geometry will also influence its fitting and your comfort. If you are one of those men who have a long torso and arms but shorter legs, frames with steeply sloping top tube will provide comfortable riding. When people with long legs but shorter torso and arms need higher seat levels, the frames with steep top tube are not optimal. (As seen in case of women riders)

The shorter women should use frames specially designed for women. The length from the seat to the handlebars is shorter in such frames and thus, provides comfortable riding experience to women without causing any discomfort on neck, back and shoulders.

Buying tip: You need comfortable standover clearance and traditionally, more than one-inch  clearance have been recommended on straddling the top tube while standing on the ground with flat feet. However, Standover clearance is no longer the sole criteria of selecting frame size. The innovative frame geometry and designs have pushed this criterion to rather secondary positions.

Go for a Test Ride

The riding experience is very important for selecting particular bike models. The bike information, help from the sales person and first-hand experience will allow you to narrow down your selection to one or two bike models. Don’t feel surprised to get different riding experience from mountain bikes of the same price and components. Make sure to ride the selected bikes for five to ten minutes on complex surfaces and short uphill.


The ideal bike will feel like the natural extension of your body rather than some appendages fixed to your body that constantly bother you. Most likely, you will feel that one of the bikes provides better comfort than others.