Choosing an ATV depends on what you are going to do with it. If you just want to take a nice ride on the canal trail or a walk in the woods with your dog, you won’t need a full suspension downhill bike with 4 inches of travel on the forks and a fully articulated rear end with damping and rebound control.
– Where to start.
If you want an easy ride in the park, you don’t need to spend too much money. If you think you’re going off-road, then tires with big treads may be enough, but if you think you’re going to try harder things, then you’ll need a suspension. The gears will probably be Shimano, the brakes should be V-brakes, but could be made by a few different manufacturers, all the rest of the ATV components will depend on how much you can spend. If you go to a bike store or a big sport store and see what they have to offer you, buy it or look on the internet and you might find the same thing at a better price.
– The next step.
If you want to be a little more adventurous, more off-road, more forest trails and dry river beds, you need something a little lighter, with suspension forks. All of this will cost you more money, but will be worth it for the extra fun and adventure. With a better ATV, you’ll have a sportier ride, and because it’s lighter, you’ll find it easier to struggle through the hills before going back down the other side. The components will be in Shimano again and the quality will depend on how much money you can spend. The V-brakes and Rapid-fire gear selectors, as well as the chain set, crankset and Shimano helmet. The grips, stem and seatpost should be made of alloy and with a comfortable saddle you’ll be ready to go for a ride.
– More money, more bike.
The next rung on the mountain bike ladder will be enough to race. There is a lot of choice, go on the net and surf on the sites of the bike manufacturers and on all the store sites and magazines for juicy bike pictures. The best manufacturers in this price range, I would say: – Trek, Giant, Specialized and Cannondale, these companies make the best frames with the best ATV parts available at the price, the gears will be either Shimano or SRAM, the brakes could be V-brakes or cable disc brakes, both are very good and light, most other ATV parts, of course will be Shimano and as usual you will get the best you can afford. There are many combinations of hubs and rims to compose your wheels; Shimano hubs and Mavic rims are the usual mix. Then you have to choose the suspension forks you will put on your bike. Depending on the bike you buy, the main ones are Suntour, Marzocchi, Manitou, Fox, RockShox and RST, buy any of these combinations and you won’t make many mistakes.
– Top Bikes … Top Money.
If you want what the professionals use, you will have to pay a lot of money for a professional mountain bike. As with high-end road bikes, you can specify what you want to build the bike of your dreams. The high-end bike frames you can spend your money on could be Klien, Scott, Rocky Mountain, Gary Fisher, Santa Cruz and K2. The best forks to put on your frame would probably be the RockShox SIDs; they’re lightweight and do everything you need with control of all the functions, there are many more to consider, look at the travel they have and the rebound and damping systems. The gears will again be either SRAM or Shimano Rapid fire, XT or XTR, more money could be spent on carbon or very light alloy cranks, the brakes should be hydraulic discs from Hayes, Pace or Magura or stick to the V-bikes you trust. Wheels from Shimano or Mavic or luxury carbon rims, but don’t forget that they will have to be very rough, so maybe it’s better to focus on reliability rather than lightness. Carbon handlebars, stem and seatpost, light racing saddle and pedals without Time or Shimano SPD clips, so your choice of tires will depend on the terrain and ground conditions you will be riding on.
Downhill bikes are very different, they look more like a cross-country bike, but without the engine, the center of gravity is low and the suspension has a lot of travel on the forks and the rear, disc brakes, wide rims and greasy tires, the gears are only at the rear because usually only one set of chains is used. Unless you intend to do a lot of downhill racing, there is not much point in buying one, because you have to go up the hill first before you can get off, and since lightness is not an issue with downhill bikes, they are very heavy to ride up the hill without using a tow rope or ski lift.