Best Affordable Bikes For Beginners

Best Affordable Bikes For Beginners

Best Affordable Bikes for Beginners.

This is a very intimidating topic for most fledgling mountain bikers that can make the introduction to the sport very hesitant, but I am here to clear up the fog and ensure you can find your perfect starter steed that will surely result in you selling all your belongings to support your addiction, sorry I meant hobby...

Carerra Hellcat - £350

Now I must admit that when an experienced mountain biker hears the very word, ‘Carerra’ immature young men who enjoy riding using only their back wheel and with more spoke covers than brain cells immediately come to mind, but at a price of £350 and with all the barebones essentials, it is truly a brilliant way to get into the sport without a major financial commitment.

Frame/Geo Numbers: On the size medium (which will be what most of you will be purchasing), the headtube angle is an up to-date 68’’ which will deposit most of the rider’s weight at the rear of the bike allowing the rider to have much m
ore control on both ascents and descents. The chainstay length is 440mm which increases the overall length of the bike increasing stability drastically when in air or on the trails. Lastly the effective toptube length is a fairly long 610mm. This increases the overall rigidity of the frame according to Carerra manufacturers so the rider can enjoy a more responsive ride on the trails.

Specs: The Hellcat sports an extremely up-to-date spec with a Clarks Clout Hydraulic disc brake set that are very responsive and provide a safe and enjoyable riding experience which is invaluable for a beginner to flourish in a new environment feeling assurance in their equipment.

The shifting is taken care of by Shimano’s Altus derailleur which is a reliable and user-friendly system that leaves little to be desired apart from a clutch mechanism which would increase chain tension and reduce trail clutter when riding. This is laced up to a KMC chain which are known for extreme durability and a Shimano 
freewheel which are easy to remove and allow for the potential of an upgraded larger cassette for more range. Tires are provided courtesy of Kenda with puncture resistance sidewalls allowing for an extra layer of security both mechanically and mentally, allowing a beginner to push their limits with confidence.

Carerra provide a double-wall wheelset with are drastically stronger than your average wheelset. Both front and rear feature quick release axles allowing for effortless removal of the wheels at the rider’s disposal. Carerra has clearly been paying attention to recent mountain biking trends, as they have decided to go with the 29’’ wheel size which has been proven to provide a faster rolling speed and allows the rider to carry speed much more consistently.

SR Suntour XCM provide a generous 100mm of front travel with adjustable rebound allowing the rider to find a comfortable balance for their weight and riding style. Although these forks are poorly oiled from factory, and ar
e often seen with horribly scratched stanchions, this can be easily prevented by lubricating your forks with some suspension oil to greatly prolong the life of your suspension. I highly recommend this course of action if you decide to go with the Hellcat. Otherwise, when properly serviced, these forks provide a comfortably plush ride and can take a fairly large amount of abuse.

Cockpit: Carerra have really hit the nail on the head this time around, with wide 15mm riser bars and a short 50mm stem, this greatly increases the control of the bike and gives an astonishing ride quality unmatched by older bikes. In addition to a threadless headset which creates huge potential for upgrades, this also increases the reliability of the headset compared to the frankly, terrible quill stems that plagued the bike industry for so long.

Conclusion: Having had the chance to ride one, I can say confidently is it a brilliant introduction to the sport of mountain biking with a heap of potential for u
pgrades (wheelset, tires, brakes, derailleur,) and many more. I can’t stress how good this bike is for the minor financial commitment and it deserves its due consideration for your first bike.

Vitus Nucleus 27 VR Mountain Bike - £549.99

For those with a more generous budget for a new mountain bike, Vitus bikes are an incredible choice for the money with an outstanding spec and trending geometry numbers, it is a solid option for a beginner to fall in love with the sport of mountain biking.

Frame/Geo numbers: (size medium) This bike is very slack with a head tube angle of 66.5° which gives the rider a position in which most of the rider weight is deposited over the rear wheel allowing for much better control and confidence on descents. It has a seat tube angle of 73° and a chain stay length of 425mm.

Specs: I must warn you to steady yourself, as for the affordability against quality of components, it is simply brilliant.

Starting with what I find most impressive, drivetrain.
With the all-new and award-winning Box 4 derailleur featuring a clutch mechanism allowing the rider to increase the chain tension with a user-friendly switch, drastically reducing chain slap on the roughest of terrain making the overall ride quality much more enjoyable. This is laced up to the Box 4 shifter with 8 speeds and the ability to shift between multiple gears in one slick push of the shifter.

WTB (27.5) provide the wheelset with the solidly dependable ST i30 double wall wheelset which allow the rider to progress safely on top of a wheelset that won’t buckle under the abuse any new rider can dish out. Both tyres come tubeless ready which allows the rider to easily upgrade to going tubeless which entails the swap of the inner tube and the addition of sealant. This, essentially, is puncture-proof tyres which, instead of losing all your air pressure in the event of a puncture with a tube, the tire is blocked with sealant allowing the rider to ride through rough terrain without 
anxieties of potential punctures. Both tyres are a mixture of the WTB Trail Boss comp and the WTB Vigilante comp. These are 2.25’’ wide which offer increased grip on all types of terrain.

Brakes are provided courtesy of Tektro HD-M275 which provide a plethora of power and modulation, perfect for a beginner to become accustomed to the sport without being thrown over the bars. These are paired with a set of 180mm rotors with which an increased braking area is given, ensuring the brakes don’t overheat after strenuous usage and provide additional braking power.

Suspension: SR Suntour XCR32 Air Forks provide suspension damping with Suntour’s externally adjustable rebound, and air spring for more precise set up and a hydraulic lockout that can be used on the fly. The chassis is robust enough to handle XC singletrack and it utilizes their proven sealed cartridge design that requires minimal service work.

Cockpit: Nukeproof components are a key factor in Vitus’ choices this year, provid
ing the wide riser Neutron bar that provides effortless control paired with a 50mm Vitus stem, this is a tough combination to beat for the price, especially due to the addition of the Vitus lock on grips that are firmly secured on the bars and will remain even in the worst conditions due to the locking mechanism that is secured with an 2mm allen bolt. Yet again, Nukeproof have moved on in terms of headset with a threadless headset which allows for fork upgrades aswell as a firm front end without play.

Overall: I score the Vitus Nucleus top marks for making an affordable high-end hardtail that is user-friendly and very up to date with general geometry trends. With an additional plethora of upgrade potential, it deserves my recommendation for the perfect beginner bike.
Ayub Makda - TrailWhips Blog Editor.
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