What MTB should I chose?

I was recently asked this question by a rider who hasn’t ridden mountain bikes before.  Knowing the athlete’s background in road and cyclocross racing, plus the terrain around where he lives, I initially responded either a 100mm travel hard tail or XC bike.  He came back to me saying, so why is the industry telling me to buy a 130mm travel full suspension trail bike then?

This got me thinking and I clarified my response – look at what the people you are going to ride with are riding.  Base your selection on that.  All MTB’s are a compromise and there is no point having a big bike if you are riding with XC types, likewise no point in having a xc bike if you’re riding with enduro types – you’ll be spending a lot of time by yourself and one of the best things about mountain biking (and cycling in general) is the camaraderie of the shared experience.

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