Consumer Reports: Mountain Bikes

Some mountain bikes cost upwards of a $1,000. So which ones are really worth it?

Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen to see which ones give you the most bike for your buck.

Testers rode on rugged trails to test handling and shock absorption.

Good shock absorption helps you control the bike on rough terrain. It also makes it more comfortable to ride.

To test climbing ability, testers rode the bikes up rocky slopes and other surfaces.

Low gearing makes the bike easier to pedal, same thing with low weight. Also, a good, well-balanced bike will have good traction, and the front end won't lift up during the climb. If you bike on rough terrain and sleep slopes, you'll need a full suspension mountain bike like the Cannondale Jekyll 400. It costs $1,100. Testers say it has excellent shocks so it goes down steep slopes with ease.

If you ride mainly on smoother trails, Consumer Reports says opt for a front suspension bike like the Gary fisher marlin. It handles very well and costs $400.

Either one is a very good choice if mountain biking is on your list of activities.

If you only use your bike on paved roads don't bother spending a lot of money on a mountain bike. Consumer Reports says a better choice is a comfort bike or a hybrid. Their prices start around $250.

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