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Mountain Bikes by definition are bicycles designed for riding on rough terrain.  Like road bikes, there are many different types of mountain bikes so it's important you choose the right type.

For the vast majority of riders, the key choices are to go for either a hardtail or full suspension bike. Another consideration is whether to go for a 26 inch wheel bike or a 29er or even a 27.5(650b) . The basic difference is obviously the wheel size, but to help you decide have a look at our guide to 29ers. It is important not to get carried away with gimmicks. At Hargroves Cycles our stock dictates that this won't happen.  For example, it is not possible to purchase a quality full suspension bike for much less than £1000.  Likewise, our hardtail mountain bikes start at about  £350.  So if you find a bicycle outlet selling full suspension mountain bikes with disc brakes for £300 you know the bike will be heavy, unreliable and unlikely to have you down a hill in one piece.  Spend a little more on a hardtail without disc brakes instead to get a better quality bike that will last you years.

Of course the term mountain bike is a broad term.  To buy a bike that can truly handle the alps, aim to spend at least £800-£1000.  Take a look at the Specialized Rockhopper (or Myka for the ladies) or Scott Scale (Contessa for the ladies) range.  If you're looking for a quality full suspension bikes, check out the Specialized Camber range or the Cube AMS series.

For the UK, you may just be wanting a bike to handle fire roads and bumpy singletrack.  For this, an entry level mountain bike will do, such as a Specialized Hardrock (or Myka for the ladies). If this is your aim a hybrid bike or even a cyclocross bike could be worth considering.

Mountain Bike Sizing Guide

Mountain Bikes - Finding the Right Size
Your Height Your Inseam Length Bike Frame Size
4'11" - 5'3" 25” - 27” 13 - 15 inches
5'3" - 5'7" 27" - 29" 15 to 17 inches
5'7" - 5'11" 29" - 31" 17 to 19 inches
5'11" - 6'2" 31" - 33" 19 to 21 inches
6'2" - 6'4" 33" - 35" 21 to 23 inches
6'4" and up 35" and up 23 inches and up

Learn more about the different types of Mountain Bikes available: