Get out on ya bike!

The speed…. The adrenaline… The sheer unadulterated joy… Off road biking is one of these things that I do that really makes me know I am alive….ever since I started as a kid, it is one of my favourite things to do, especially manic downhillng! Whilst not everyone would get so much of a buzz from the experience, I love nothing more than to be careering down a 30 degree incline flying between trees and bumping over rocky terrain, ever millisecond needing to respond to the changing obstacles that cleared as quick as they are approached… In fact writing this article has made me almost feel that buzz again, I will be heading out for a night ride in the local forest shortly that’s for sure! But the reason for putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard is to share with you my passion for mountain biking, and persuade you if you don’t already ride to get into it.

I’m not talking about a gentle meander through the nearby woodland, or a pleasant roll down an undulating bridle path, bur instead some serious guns blazing hardcore off roading. One thing I also love about my fav pastime is all the kit – I have been through about 14 bikes in my time, and love modifying them, upgrading components and adding the best extras that money can buy…. In order to ensure that the bike doesn’t get in the way of the experience, I now aim for the best mountain bike I can afford, as I have learnt that it does make a difference. To those in the know this is obvious, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get a decent bike to enjoy your off roading on – be it Kona, Specialised, Gary fisher or Trek, or maybe a Cannondale or Mongoose perhaps? Make sure you do get the best you can afford, or you will only encounter problems and further expense down the line.

Now where is my helmet mounted night light…?

How to find the Best Mountain Bike GPS

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Why you should avoid cheap, basic mountain bikes

I used to have some really cheap and basic mountain bikes when I was younger. This was partly due to not having much money to spend, and also not realising or wanting to go for a seemingly expensive top end ride. Then when I was about 21 I had been saving up and decided to splash out on a mountain bike that I had heard and read a lot about. It was an orange clockwork, and cost me about £650 back in the mid nineties. This was a lot of money to me then, almost equivalent to me now spending £3500 on a bike. Wow… I never realised that until I just wrote it! And despite doing some research it was a decision I took relatively lightly… I guess other responsibilities and expense back then where very
different…so in reality probably equivalent to me spending £1500 or so… But anyway I digress.

Prior to having what I will call the ‘good bike’ my mountain bikes where of the sort that you see all over the place, cost close to £200 and had pretty mediocre specs. The difference I experienced in my enjoyment was immense. All of a sudden I had a mountain bike that responded perfectly… It was light enough for me to manoeuvre with ease whilst bombing
down a rock strewn gully… The brakes and gears did exactly what I wanted them to do when I wanted, and ultimately it meant I was more (sorry for the cliche!) at one with the bike, and it was now more down to my skills and ability on how fast and how well I could negotiate tracks, as opposed to having issues with the machine, like being too heavy, or
non responsive, and the gears clogging up or the brakes not being quite effective enough for my last minute braking technique! It as awesome. And from that point I have never looked back. I did for a short period veer back to a budget bike when I had to buy two (one for me, one for the wife) at once, but whilst bike tech and design is always improving, it
was still a noticeable step back, that I reversed rather quickly.

Moral of this story? Buying yourself a ‘good’ mountain bike will pay off in no time in terms of your enjoyment and fun!

Mountain biking fitness

The best mountain bikes in the world are useless if you don’t know how to ride a bike properly. Decent levels of fitness and a reasonable skill level are really needed to ensure you get the most pleasure, enjoyment and benefit out of your mountain bike riding. Fitness is one of those things that once you attain it is easier to keep than to attain in the first place. By that I mean it is quite a undertaking if you classify yourself as unfit, but as with most if not all sports, you will certainly gain more and be more likely to keep the sport up if you have good basic fitness. Cycling itself is a good way to start getting fit, either using an exercise bike in your spare room or garage, or by getting out for short regular local rides. Another good way to get to a decent level of all round fitness is to swim. It is low impact exercise, and most people live within a few miles of a large enough pool to get in to the habit of regular swimming. With the swimming and cycling combined, you will before long reach a level of fitness that is more than enough to really help you get the most of your mountain biking adventures.Best Mountain Bikes excercise cartoon

When doing some serious off roading, upper body strengh can also play a part in your ability to control the bike through tricky terrain and navigate large rocks, logs and other objects that may be blocking your way. To build good upper body strengh I can’t recommend one particular technique more highly. Use a pull up bar, and get into a regular routine of doing 10 or so reps of pull-ups on this, repeated after a while as strength builds. At first they will seem close to impossible depending on your weight and strength, but start with lower reps and build – the key thing is to try and keep a routine: I’ve installed a simple pull up bar in my garage-office, which cost less than £20. They can be fitted pretty much anywhere, either in doorways, on a wall (where the brackets protude to give you enough space) or on the
ceiling if you have space.

With the pull ups and the general fitness levels improving, you will soon notice huge differences in your capability on the mountain bike, and at this stage, the qualities of having one of the best mountain bikes will really become noticed.


…Now get fit!

Marin Hawk Hill Mountain Bike Review

Best Mountain Bikes - Marin Hawk Hill Review

The Marin Hawk Hill mountain bike is an excellent all rounder, and can be picked up online for as litle as £650, which considering the spec is great value. One of the best mountain bikes around for sure, this bike gets 4.8 stars out of a maxium possible 5 on review centre:

Average Ratings for Marin Hawk Hill

  • Value for Money4.7 stars
  • Overall rating4.8 stars
Review 1
Good Points


Brakes very strong, I am not a small man and they stopped me without any trouble (17 Stone).
Smooth gears.
Bad Points

None really. Tyre compound a bit soft but I do have trouble finding tires that last with my weight.
General Comments

Have just taken this Marin Hawk Hill bike out for its first test, I am pleased to say I was not disappointed.

Review 2

Marin Hawk Hill is a brilliant bike, great for uphill as light (that’s why i bought it), good all rounder, not really exploit it to the full capacity yet. quick release tyres and seats. its a marin.;-)
The brakes are going, not sure if its oil needs bleeding or new disc pads? The handle bars bit high for me, not sure if can adjust it? all new for me.

Review 3

awesome light weight better than scott genius rc ltd. I really like the Marin Hawk Hill Mountain bike, its one of the best bikes ive ever ridden. I love it. There is nothing bad about this bike

Review 4

Good bike for going on red single track i beat evreyone else going uphill on it! good value for money and lots of fun

Best Mountain Bikes - 2010 and beyond

I love riding my mountain bike around the local hills and trails, and have been doing this for years & I am always popping into my local bike shop,checking out the best mountain bikes currently in stock. The mountain bike market has matured a lot over the past few years, and is now amassive business, with the total worth being estimated at around $35Billion dollars. The best way to understand which bike is best for you is ofcourse to go and ride it. But you can’t always ride many different bikes beforeyou buy, unless you either have a very understanding bike shop owner and lotsof time or access to friends how have all the bikes you are interestedin.

So to help narrow your search I suggest the best thing to do is check out as many online reviews of mountain bikes as you can. There are a lot of review sites on the web and a fair few for mountain bikes. This site is all about bringing together the best mountain bike reviews from across the web and presenting them to you in a nice simple easy to understand format. If a bike gets a low review, say 1 or 2 starts out of 5 for example, then it won’t be featuring on this site for sure. We focus on the best mountain bikes only.

So to summarise if you want to end up with the ultimate mountain biking experience,and not break the bank, you need to come back to this site every time you wantto do some research, it will be updated regularly, adding new reviews as they become available, and we’re inviting experienced riders and journalists to contribute content too, so there will be some fresh unique reviews of mountain bikes that you won’t see anywhere else online. Also in addition to reviews of mountain bikes we will include tips and guides for buying, ideas and thoughts about whataccessories you will need to go with your bike, and also reviews of some of the best mountain bike accessories. some of the best accessories cost a lot of money so could push up your overall purchase price, so we will also have a section on bargains for the cheapest but still decent mountain bike accessories. Finally the site will have lots of pictures and videos to go with the reviews, giving you the best overall experience when you are trying to understand what the best mountain bike is for you. Whilst I’m here in fact, I thought I’d also check out if there is any interest in other content to go with the bike reviews and I’m thinking about riding guides.

Once you have purchased your new mountain bike then you’ll be keen I’m sure to get out there and really ‘burn somerubber’ well if you don’t know of the best places to ride near you, then fear not as we are already working on some mountain bike ride guides covering the whole of the UK to begin with, as well as including rides and treks from the best places you can ride overseas. This may mean Wales, the Lake District in UKas well as the French Alps and the Rhone valley in Germany. Please, if you know of some awesome riding territory near you, then let us know so we can add to the online guides and share your wisdom!