What Type of Bike Should I Buy?

Is it time for a new bike? Exciting! New Bike Day (NBD) is always our favorite day of the year! Choosing your new mountain bike can be a daunting task. Please speak with a coach for advice, and to find the best deals around.

NICA racecourses are cross country courses. The courses are fast, open, and not overly technical. A hardtail is usually the best option. Here’s why:

  • Riding a hardtail improves your technique, such as choosing good lines and riding smoothly and efficiently.
  • Proficiency on a hardtail is a foundation for a life on bikes – you’ll be smoother on a trail bike, faster on an enduro bike, and more energetic on a freestyle bike.
  • Hardtails are lighter and for younger riders and will be easier to ride.
  • Hardtails are a better value. For the same price as a full suspension bike, you can get a better hardtail to start.
  • Maintenance will also be simpler and less costly, so you can spend more time riding and putting your money toward upgrades. 

Lastly, recreational, hybrid, downhill, and free-ride bikes are not suitable for riding with our team. Please don’t buy a bike at a department store! They are heavy and do not stand up to cross-country riding.

PLEASE talk to one of the coaches if you are unsure and need help/advice. Additionally, we understand this can be big investment and cost prohibitive. Talk with us and we can find a solution!

Recommended Bike Specifications

  • Carbon or Aluminum hardtail frame
  • 1×12 drive train
  • Disc brakes
  • 29″ wheels with tool-free axle
  • Reliable components, e.g. SRAM or Shimano 
  • 100mm to 120mm of suspension travel
  • Flat pedals to start with progression to Clip-ins.
  • Weight: between 25-30lbs (this can be the main driver of price)
  • No more than 30lbs (25lbs or less for competitive riders)

Entry Level Examples




Advanced Level Examples







How to Buy A Bike

Explain to the bike shop that you are participating in a cross-country mountain bike team (a NICA team), and bring the specs listed above.

Expect to pay at least $1500+ for a decent hardtail cross-country bike. Ask about NICA discounts. Trek, Specialized, Niner, and Canyon give discounts to NICA riders and coaches (subject to change, check in Pitzone).

Pinkbike, eBay and Craigslist can be good sources of used bikes. Expect to spend a minimum of $1000 for a used hardtail and $1500 for a used full-suspension cross-country bike.