Bicycling (South Africa)
THE WEEKEND WARRIOR
‘Budget’ doesn’t mean ‘bad’ when it comes to mountain bikes. If you want to get your tyres dirty without melting your credit card – read on.
... Want a new bike, but don’t want to sell your house, car or husband/wife to buy it? Here are the best bike buys in mountain biking that won’t break the bank.
We’re living in the golden age of the 29er. After decades of trial and error – from the first prototype mountain bikes in California in the late 1970s, until now – it seems that the industry has finally settled on a standard that works: big wheels; cushy tyres; a frame with long, slack geometry; short stem; wide bars. When applied to an alloy hardtail, this formula gives you an awesome all-round bike. You can ride farm roads and jeep tracks, and you can have a go at more serious trail riding, even cross-country racing. Slap on some slicks and lock out the suspension, and you can ride the 947 or the Cape Town Cycle Tour. The hardtail 29er is a do-anything machine. Another great thing about this kind of bike is how little maintenance is required to keep the fun flowing. And how easy it is to upgrade: as you get into your mountain biking (and you will, because it’s addictive), you might want to upgrade your fork to something lighter with longer travel, or perhaps install a dropper post. Maybe, in time, you’ll want to switch to a 1x12 drivetrain. All of this is possible – and cost-effective. Budget mountain bikes start at about R5K, but we’ve leapfrogged those models and gone straight to the R10-20K ‘weekend warrior’ bracket. The extra cash buys you superior components, modern design and better suspension, which equals greater durability, less weight and more stoke. We’ve done the homework – you just need to choose!