What’s The Right Mountain Bike For You?

Fat, fatter or fattest? What’s the right tire size, wheel diameter and mountain bike for you?  

As Luke Bayus from SkiRack in Burlington puts it, “You can no longer just walk into a bike shop and say you want to get a mountain bike.” And that’s probably a good thing, he notes. “There are now so many different options. Consumers can now find the absolutely perfect bike that will going to give them the confidence, comfort, and excitement every rider deserves.”

So here is our breakdown of what wheel and tire combo you should start off looking for in both hardtail or full-suspension:



Want just one bike?

Cannondale Beast of EastIf you’re spending your days riding around the shire, looking for that one bike to rule them all, look no further than the Cannondale Beast of the East 3. This is a complete remake of Cannondale’s classic hardtail with 27.5-inch diameter wheels and 2.8-inch to 3-inch tires. The new Beast is a slightly more relaxed design that shifts the rider’s weight over the back wheel, allowing you to plow over all kinds of trail obstacles. Best part? The entry model for this line retails at $1,620.


For the All Mountain Trail Rider:

Trek presents the Stache line featuring a plus-size 29er wheel platform with 2.8” to 3” tires. This versatile hardtail comes in a variety of models ranging from $1680 to $3,699 depending on components. With a laid back, relaxed geometry, similar to that of the Beast of the East, the Stache places the rider’s weight further over the rear wheel allowing the bike to float over obstacles more easily.


Cross Country Racer:

Jamis dakotaproIf you like to ride or race cross country and want to have a lighter bike, skip the plus-size wheels (more drag, less maneuverability) and look for a standard 29er or 27.5 inch bike. The Jamis Dakota Pro makes for a great option for those who want their bike to take them to the podium or are looking to KOM or QOM that Strava climb. With it’s 29’er wheel platform, carbon fiber frame, and competitive parts spec, the $2,999 Dakota Pro is a great option.





Want just one bike?
Specialized-6FATTIE_BLK-FLORED-WHTIf your budget has you locked into one bike and you want that to take you everywhere, try out the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 6Fattie. This is a great trail bike with 6 inches of travel —but at $3500 it’s an investment. “If I could buy any bike, that’s the one,” says Ian Browning, a sales rep at Onion River. “It’s a go-anywhere, ride-anything bike but it’s also super nimble going uphill.” Taking its name from Specialized’s original mountain bike, the Stumpjumper could be your new best friend.


For the All Mountain Trail Rider:Scott Genius 720

With their patented TwinLoc remote that gives the rider the ability to change the amount of travel from a full 6” to 4” to lock-out, the Scott Genius LT 720 Plus is the perfect bike for riders looking to tackle any terrain, all day long. Add to that the plus-sized 2.8” Schwalbe tires on 40 mm Syncros rims and you’ve got a ton of confidence-inspiring traction and control on the up, and more importantly on the down. This $4,200 whip will set you back a bit, but the hours of fun in the saddle will surely make up for it.


One could also go with the Salsa Pony Rustler, which West Hill Bike Shop in Putney has in stock. A carbon-framed, 5” travel, full-suspension all-mountain bike, the Pony Rustler is meant to be an all day machine that will eat up trails no mater what they throw at the rider. And with 27.5” plus size tires, it is as confident going up hill as it is coming back down. However, the middle of the line model comes in at, gulp, $4,499


Trying your luck with Newton’s Law:

Kona ProcessIf you are headed off to the local ski area and will be taking the lift up and the jumps, berms, bridges and drops back down, we suggest the Kona Process 167. This gravity bike is more at home letting it all hang out than it is pedaling up and with it’s standard 26” wheel and almost 7” of travel, it is designed for the fun of plunging down the hill—hooting and hollering the whole way. Head over to Burke, Sugarbush, Killington or Mount Snow this summer and rip it up on this bad boy.