A bike’s Components are the equipment attached to the frame, such as brakes, wheels, derailleurs, shocks, seats, seat posts, etc. High quality components last longer and function more precisely. In contrast, cheap parts seldom function smoothly and wear out quickly. People riding bikes with poor quality parts are usually found stopped along trails trying to get their bikes to behave.
While shopping for a mountain bike, the brand and level of the components can tell you a lot about the rest of the bike. Good quality bikes don’t have cheap, poorly built parts.
Many companies sell various bike components but the majority of riders use brakes and drivetrain parts manufactured by Shimano or SRAM. However, be careful … a bike with these components may still be a poor quality one. Here is why.
Department-store bikes sometimes come with these brand-name components. The buyer might see a Shimano or SRAM derailleur and might think they are getting good quality. The problem is, companies like these make components at many different levels. The components on these department-store bikes are typically at the very bottom level.
For instance, here are Shimano’s rankings for their own mountain bike components … with the best on top:
- Saint (Downhill)
- Zee (Downhill)
- Deore XT
So, just having Shimano components does not guarentee you will have top notch parts.
Here are SRAM’s rankings for their own mountain bike components … with the best on top:
As far as forks go, most good quality forks are made by Rock Shox, Fox, Manitou, or Marzocchi.
If you are seeking a bike with rear suspension, then your rig will have a rear shock. The majority of quality rear shocks are produced by Cane Creek, Fox, Rock Shox, and Manitou,
Any bike with these forks and shocks will most likely be of decent quality, as they do not manufacture low level products. So just be careful to buy a bike with shocks made by one of these companies.
When looking for the best mountain bike for you, take time to look closely at components. Ask bike shop dealers the difference between the components on his cheaper bikes versus ones at the top of the line. I repeat … usually high quality bikes have top of the line components.
There are many things to consider before buying a bike. I strongly suggest you get some help from the guys at your local bike store or from some trusted friends who know a lot about mountain biking.