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!