Mountain Bike mountain bike buyers guide canada bicycling cycling quebec ontario alberta british columbia

Trails lovers or downhiller, this guide will help you choose the right mountain bike. You will be able to combine comfort, pleasure and performance while enjoying cycling away from the noise and stress of the city.


The beginner or occasional cyclist is not intended performance. It seeks a bike that he can ride on bike paths and trails. A 1,000$ bike and less will adequately meet their needs. In addition, the "hardtail" bikes will allow him to learn cross-country in the mountain.

The sports cyclist is seeking a powerful and light bike in order to develop and improve physical and cardiovascular fitness. Several types of bikes are available to him. We can think of hardtail cross-country, full suspension cross-country, trail bikes, all-mountain bikes, dirt jump bike and downhill bike. Making your choice will be easier considering the types of terrain and the number of hours you want to spend on the bike. Prices vary depending on the components and suspensions used. It is not necessary to exceed 4,000$.

For those looking for intense exercise, training or competition, a more powerful bike will help you minimize the energy loss due to the suspension. A good selection of components is significant: forks, derailleurs, cranksets allow you to gain lightness, rigidity and robustness. As for the aluminum frame, it still has a prominent place. However, carbon wins the market as being more rigid and lighter which saves valuable seconds.

where will you ride?

bike PATH

If your rides are generally flat, bike paths or dirt tracks, choose a comfortable and versatile bike. A simple suspension meet your needs. You will be hanging so less weight so the climbs will be easier and enjoyable.


The mountain offers several opportunities for cyclists. From forest trails to very technical course, you can have so much fun if you have the right bike.

For enthusiasts of speed, cross-country hardtail and full-suspension bikes are the ultimate machines. Lighter and faster, they will respond more quickly to the acceleration, with a travel (fork maximum length exploitable) ranging from 80 to 120mm.

The trail bike is another type. Usually coming with a double suspension and usually with a travel ranging from 120 to 140mm, it will offer more comfort for the technical portions and longer trips.

For the cyclist wanting to play all over the mountain and who loves to ride, but also down quickly, the all-mountain bike with its longer travel, from 140 to 160mm, offer the necessary versatility. He climbs well and is gaining stability in technical descents.


The dirt jump bike is available either with a rigid fork, suspension or with the combination of the two. The choice will depend on the type of playground. The rigid fork will be used mainly for the skate park or street course. The simple suspension bike is very versatile; it will allow you to ride everywhere: skatepark, BMX track, dirt track, cross tracks. As for the full-suspension bike, it is much more used to the mountain, to cushion the impact on big jumps.


Two types of bike are used to this discipline: freeride bikes (also called nowadays Enduro) and downhill bikeFreeride (or Enduro) bike is shorter and more agile than the downhill bike. It will allow you to vary the type of track: jump, cross, downhill. Travel for Freeride (or Enduro) bike will be around 160 to 180mm.

For the purist looking to go faster, downhill bikes will be his weapon. It offers a greater range of movement than freeriding while longer wheelbase. It will give you more stability at high speed and in the technical portions. The travel varies between 180 and 255mm.


Two companies equip most of the bicycles on the market: Shimano and SRAM. They offer you a complete range of components at various prices:

  • Brakes: Direct-pull brakes (V-brakes), mechanical and hydraulic discs;
  • The speeds: They vary between 7 and 12 speeds according to the groups
  • Cranksets. They are available in 1x, 2x or 3x version.

For entry level bikes, manufacturers offer groups of components at very attractive prices with reliable and flexible mechanical for a smooth and easier speeds shifting. The price of replacement parts is also much lower.


Speeds Brands - shimano velo montagne guide d'Achat - sram velo montagne guide d'achat
1x11 speeds   NX
2x10 speeds   X5
2X9 speeds   X7
3x9 speeds Alivio

Some groups of components offer both a better quality / price and durability. These groups are intended to riders looking for performance, efficiency and lightness. At a reasonable price, spare parts not will empty your budget.

It is also at this level that we find more offers of 1x transmissions. The question of the number of chainring is personal, in the sense that transmission with one chainring will allow riders to think less when shifting and to lower the weight of the bike, while a transmission with multiple chainrings allow the rider to get more speed choices to face the different terrains. Here are the different groups based on 1x, 2x or 3x.


Speeds Brands - shimano velo montagne guide d'achat - sram velo montagne guide d'Achat
1x11 speeds SLX GX
2x11 speeds SLX GX
2x10 speeds SLX GX
2x10 speeds Deore  
2x9 speeds   X9
3X10 speeds Deore  
3x10 speeds SLX  
3X9 speeds Deore  

Looking for even more performance and lightness? You will be spoiled by these special groups of components made to give you the performance and precision you need at the right time. For those interested, the parts last longer but are much more expensive.

premium GROUPS

Speeds Brands - shimano velo montagne guide d'achat - sram velo montagne guide d'Achat
1X12 speeds   Eagle XX1
    Eagle X01
1x11 speeds XTR XX1
  Deore XT X01
2x11 speeds XTR  
  Deore XT  
3x11 speeds XTR   
  Deore XT  
2x10 speeds   XX
2x9 speeds   X0

Only one popular company currently offers electronic transmission at the mountain. The electronics allow an excessively rapid change, efficient and accurate speeds. However, the price is very high at the moment.


Speeds Brands - shimano velo montagne guide d'achat - velo montagne sram guide d'achat
2x11 speeds XTR Di2
Deore XT Di2
3x11 speeds
Deore XT Di2

Shimano and SRAM also offer specific groups for downhill and freeride. More robust and rigid, they are designed to withstand the harshest treatment. A single chainring dress the crankset and sometimes it comes with a chain guide preventing the chain from derailing.


Speeds Brands - shimano velo montagne guide d'achat - sram guide d'Achat velo montagne
1x10 speeds Zee X01 DH
1x7 speed   X01 DH
    GX DH

The type of brakes depends of the group of compenents chosen. Linear pull brakes (v-breaks) are used on entry level bikes. The mechanical disc brakes allow constant braking in all conditions. As for hydraulic disc brakes, they are known to have a more powerful and consistent braking. In fact, no matter the conditions, you have the same braking without the need to adjust them regularly. Most bikes are equipped with hydraulic brakes.


The wheels, a real headache for recent years and those to come! After the 26-inch, 29-inch and finally 27.5-inch, here are two new sizes in addition to the party. New wheels ''Plus size'' borrow the 29-inch and 27,5-inch dimensions, but expand to accommodate wider tires, hence the PLUS.

Five sizes are available for different types of bike:

  • The 26'' wheels: smaller wheels and more agile, they are used on dirt bikes, freeride and downhill. However, they are less and less used on medium and high-end bikes.
  • The 29'' wheels: bigger, "faster" and more comfortable to gain speed and stability. They are used primarily on cross country bikes or trail bikes.
  • The 27.5'': The in-between, the agile wheel that does not undermine the rolling. Recently added in the industry, they are becoming more popular especially on full-suspension bikes with medium travel.
  • The 27.5''+ wheels: allows to offer some agility while increasing control and grip thanks to wider tires and a larger contact area.
  • The 29''+ wheels: add more grip and more comfort with a larger volume and the possibility of less pressure, in addition to a larger contact surface.


Last important point before you purchase: the size of the bike and positioning. Make sure you buy the right size of a bike. Too small or too large will cause you bike long-term injuries. Get measured in a specialized bike shop and do not leave the shop without having to assess your positioning by a professional. Good positioning will improve your comfort and by extension, your performances. Finally, an appropriate saddle will complete your positioning. Choose it according to your habits on the bike and depending on your flexibility. 



  • Hardtail bike, entry to mid-range;
  • linear pull brakes (v-brakes) or mechanical disc;
  • Entry groups components;
  • Solid wheels;
  • Comfort seat.

sports cyclist

  • Hardtail or full-suspension bike;
  • Hydraulic disc brakes;
  • Mid-range groups components;
  • Lighter wheels with better rolling;
  • Saddle depending on your hours spent on the bike;
  • Right bike according to the type of terrain.


  • Aluminum or carbon bike;
  • Hardtail or full suspension;
  • High-end groups components;
  • Wheels according to the type of bike, lighter or more rigid;
  • Saddle depending on your hours spent on the bike.


  • Robust bike;
  • High-end and stronger groups components;
  • Good definition of your type of terrain;
  • Very solid wheels