Over the years I have popped into a few bike shops, in Jozi Linden Cycles remain a firm favourite, they are a good knowledgeable bunch and even though I am an occasional cyclist with an entry-level bike they treat me well. There is no feeling of clubby exclusivity, the prices and advice are good and the shop is well stocked.
Do your homework before jumping in at the deep end, it does not make sense to buy a bike and find out for that it is not really suitable and needs to be replaced shortly after the bug bites, these are hard school fees.
One may also find bargains at some of the chain stores but in the long run will you always be able to get parts and service?
Okay so you want a mountain bike, as the name implies it is the 4×4 of bikes, designed for going off-road with thicker tyres and a more upright seating position they tend to offer a comfortable ride and are capable of tackling any terrain!
Set your budget but also take into consideration the additional kit that you will need such as a pump or a Co2 inflator, helmet, water bottle/cage and the correct clothing, it all adds up.
Budget in mind discuss the sizing (larger 29” wheels require less effort but may be a disadvantage on tight turns) and gearing with the dealer (gearing obviously influences the ability to climb gradients with ease), look at the hardtail vs. “softail” option, “hardtails” have front suspension built into the fork whilst the “softails” are full suspension bikes (front and rear) providing a softer ride on hard trails. Opt for tubeless tyres as it’s easier than upgrading at a later stage. As this is a first go for aluminium or alloy as opposed to the more expensive carbon fibre but don’t skimp on the brakes go for hydraulic disc brakes!
Back to the budget, remember that you will need to transport the bike so look at a good rack and ensure that you can carry at least two bikes as from time to time you may want to ride with a partner. Bear in mind that Metro Police love cyclists who transport bikes, as it is an offence to obscure your number plate-the consequence
being a hefty fine.
Lastly be careful, drivers on our roads can be inconsiderate and people do get mugged for their bikes when on remote trails, as with a 4×4 avoid cycling alone rather go out in a group. Be alert and do not plug headphones in, you need to hear. Wear a helmet and proper footwear. Be cautious at red traffic lights, more often than not a Taxi will still barrel through! Wear gloves and see that you have adequate lighting to the front and rear of your bikes, lastly remember that “no hands” can equate to “no teeth” And then as a motorist give cyclists space!
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