Bike Right

In Articles, Technical by Glyn DemmerLeave a Comment

If you are new to the sport and are looking for the rush of an off-road ride it helps to have a few tips when deciding on a suitable bike. So we have compiled a few tips to assist you to get the best ride within your budget.

Size is important, but be aware that sizes vary between manufacturers so it’s important that you get the right fit when selecting your bike. Consult a specialist cycle outlet or one of the larger retailers who have trained staff. It’s not something you just pick up at a discount store and wheel to the till. A trained specialist will ensure that the bike fits and will look at critical measurements such as the “reach”(saddle to the handlebars), the stack (centre of crank to the mid-head tube)

Wheel size is important although diameters have settled to 27,5” or 29”- the 29” option is great for longer routes and the 27,5” options are suited to shorter technical rides. One also gets the plus sizes – wider fatter tyres but they tend to suit, sand, mud and snow.

Suspension setups are important, most mid and high spec bikes come with a suspension which helps smooth out the ride, maintain traction, and absorb the force of jumping and landing. Full suspension bikes have forks at the front and a shock to the rear and allow one to cover technical terrain with confidence. Hardtails, as the name suggests, have no rear shocks and forks at the front, they are a good option for climbing and the majority of trails. They are often a more affordable option, yet put some money aside as you may want to upgrade the original equipment for an aftermarket set up.

Whilst weight is important, strength is critical, a few extra Kg. may end up keeping you on track, out of a ditch and with no need for costly repairs.

The groupset is important, groupset describes the working parts on the bike, namely;

  • 2 gear levers or shifters and.
  • 2 brake levers or.
  • 2 integrated brake levers/shifters.
  • 2 brakes, front and rear.
  • 2 derailleurs, front and rear.
  • 1 bottom bracket.
  • 1 crankset.


All brands perform the same function but the cheaper brands will have fewer gears and may be heavier, more expensive groupsets will have more gears and be lighter and more durable.

Hold some cash back; you will need a proper helmet that offers good protection with a peak, gloves, glasses, proper shoes or cleats, and maybe even a hydration pack and water bottles.

Dependant on the tyres fitted as the original equipment you may also want to fit new tyres that may be more suitable to the terrain you will be cycling on or be of better quality.

About the Author

Glyn Demmer

My first 4x4 was a Nissan Hardbody thereafter I started travelling all over the country. In 1992 we held a big 4x4 day with hundreds of Nissan families, and then the 4x4 bug really bit. A friend Monty Brett and I started running 4x4 courses at the Hennops Off-road Trail just outside of Johannesburg. At first we offered day-and-a-half courses that started on Friday afternoon and finished on Saturday afternoon. Hannes Grobler the Rally Ace regularly assisted, and we reached a nice balance between our two styles and our skills.

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