What sort of MTB?

I’m considering getting an mtb, will just be used for fun rides and maybe training on during winter when the roads are a bit sketchy and i want a break from the trainer but no intention of racing.

I’m a roadie and i’m a bit perplexed by all the different categories. I don’t have any intention of of going aerial, i want to get a bike that i can use for some big off days out, to do some off road climbs and obviously come back down them and then do some trails as well.

Do i go for a hard tail or full sus? XC/trail/other? Or am i better on a gravel bike?

How much downhill do you plan on doing? If little is the answer, look at a hardtail XC bike. Great components for the cost, and coming from road, you won’t be overwhelmed by the weight compared to a full suspension bike. Also offers some more ability for on-road use and is a great way to test whether or not you want to go full MTB with full suspension. Full suspension will offer some more comfort, and traction, and cost, but for learning, I almost always suggest a hardtail for someone coming from road.


The downhill would be more as a result of going up, don’t plan on doing anything too rowdy. I had originally thought XC but got distracted by more options the more i looked

Knowing your budget will help. Depending on what you are looking to spend, some bikes may or may not fall into your price range. You may also want to consider the used bike market too, since new bikes are a hit and miss option right now with current supply and demand.


These days, you might be stuck with whatever is available. I agree with Chad on the used market. Is upgrading components over time something that interests you or are you more likely to get a new bike in a couple of years? I ask because MTB standards have only recently started to calm down and a lot has happened in the way of geometry just in the last year or two. Granted, much if that is more relevant to the downhill side of things. This forum is great if you are looking at anything specific.

Without sounding like a d**k, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about spending money, particularly on bikes, it’s that i’m better off spending it on the right one and whilst i won’t be going out and buying an s-works or the like, I’d much rather spend a bit more first time round than be thinking i want somthing different in a years time.

Either way i suppose i’d be looking to get 105 equivalent (is that deore???) Probably rather get a good aluminium frame than carbon

Sounds like a hard tail XC bike, or something like the salsa cutthroat would do the trick.

The more trails you plan to ride vs gravel/forest roads, the more a hard tail XC bike is the better choice vs a cutthroat.

A gravel bike would work fine if you were sticking to just gravel or forest roads. But wouldn’t take most gravel bikes on single track. It’s just not fun.

Sure, I am all for the “Buy it nice, or buy it twice” mentality. The issue is that you don’t seem to know what you really want in a basic direction other than being something for dirt riding.

XC, Trail, Gravel might all work, depending on what you ultimately want to ride, so it makes is harder to offer worthwhile options without giving you something of a massive list. As Dave covers, the bike that is “right” for you will depend on you and the places you really want to ride. If you are leaning toward even average “trail” riding, I think MTB will be better than drop bar dirt.


That’s the problem with MTB. You might start riding and find you are a “dirt roadie” and an XC HT is what you want. Of you might find that you like high speed and big air, and that bike just won’t be fun (even if you would be amazed at what an XC HT can do).

The MTB I started riding on is NOTHING like the kind of riding I ended up liking the most. Glad I started on a $1000 bike that doesn’t match my end desires.

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Your opening question read just like one I had 24 months ago.
I bought a hard tail Mtb and it just wasn’t for me. I sold it after 12 months and bought a gravel bike. So far I have ridden the gravel a lot more than I ever did the mtb and have enjoyed it a lot more.

But this is really a personal opinion and depends entirely where you will be riding and what you enjoy.


I’m certainly thinking mtb rather than gravel. Ultimately i want to get up big climbs regardless of grade or surface and probably come back down the least technical route. Maybe some trails but not black routes.

What’s the terrain like in your area? For me, I wanted a gravel bike and actually rented one. I rode it nearby, where I would do most of my riding, and didn’t enjoy it. Tried a hardtail and then an XC MTB. Liked the hard tail and XC MTB but went with the XC because, as a new MTB rider, it was a lot more comfortable.

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A new SLX or Deore is going to be a 105 equivalent. XT is the best for durability and then XTR is just for racing. Honestly, if it is a 1X system and it is new, any Shimano or Sram option is going to be great for your use. You are going to care more about the range on the rear cassette than anything as they all shift well these days. If you go back even a year, the range is going to be different so watch that.

WorldwideCyclery has a good youtube series about the differences, but a lot of it is weight, and if you are looking at aluminum, then you can afford a few extra grams. Trek X-Caliber 9 is an interesting bike. Aluminum, XT components, and you can actually find them last I looked.

I highly recommend a dropper post with whatever you buy. Do you NEED it, no, but especially learning, it is very confidence inspiring when the wheels point downward and teaches how to move your body around without the unfortunate under-bumps.

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i’ve been keeping an eye on availability of stock over the last couple of weeks and a couple of bikes are available in my sixe and in local shops.

Trek X-Calbier 8 and Specialized Chisel

does anyone have any experiance or opinions on either of these?

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No experience or knowledge of Trek bikes, other than a Session.

But the Chisel is a well known and popular cheap alternative for XC racing.

The canyon neuron aluminium is a good value for money here in europe. Its a great trail bike with good handling. Dont go to a race bike with your first bike. Go for some kind of trail bike it will be more fun! Hardtails are fun but is harder on your body. And at all cost avoid nx groupset. Its really sucks

Picked up a Canyon Grand Canyon a few months ago for local single track, badly maintained cobbles and farm tracks. Great fun and mercifully I made the right decision despite knowing bugger all about mtb. But I think at heart I’m not really an mtber but I just like going fast on crappy terrain with the reassurance of fatter tyres and a wider handlebar. Good fun though.

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