I know there's questions like these on the site, but I thought that they were all outdated, and since there have been better newer bikes, I have decided to ask again.

I'm trying to start mountain biking, I already have a bike, but I'm ready to upgrade. I'm looking for a bike that can take on weather, dirt, mud and about everything I throw at it. I'm about 5 feet and 50 kg. Specifically, I would like a bike with a single ring chainring.

  • This site is not here to recommend a product to buy. We can only tell you what sort of features to look for. – Vladimir F Jun 23 '20 at 15:20
  • What type of riding do you do? What different type of riding do you want to do? What type of bike do you have? What do you like about your current bike? What do you not like about your current bike? What do you mean by "upgrade"? What do you mean by "weather"? What type of terrain and climate do you ride now and what do you want to ride? Do you have a budget limit? – Armand Jun 23 '20 at 15:21
  • @Armand I don't do too hard riding, I go on dirt and gravel trails and I would like to look into more rigorous and fast riding if I could. I have a GRANTel TY650, and to be honest, I don't specifically like anything on my bike at all. By upgrade, I'm talking about a new bike, and for weather, it's pretty muddy here, so I was talking about a dry and wet condition. I live in the plains, and the climate is pretty dry. I have a budget of below 800 dollars, and I could spare a bit more. – Heech.p Jun 23 '20 at 15:34
  • Sadly, my budget has been reduced to under 500, as my parents are buying it for me. Any recommendations? – Heech.p Jun 23 '20 at 15:42
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    You are correct that there are older questions asking for product recommendations. However, they have since been made off topic. You are, however, welcome and encouraged to ask in The Velodrome, our chat space. The conversation is much looser in there. – jimchristie Jun 23 '20 at 18:40
I'm trying to start mountain biking, I already have a bike, but I'm ready to upgrade. I'm looking for a bike that can take on weather, dirt, mud and about everything I throw at it.

Why won't you ride with your current bike for few thousand km at least, and come here back with detailed explanations with what you don't like with your current bike? Because we don't know what features your current bike has and how they fit to your riding style, it is impossible to recommend a better bicycle.

Before buying your current bike I would at least recommend:

  • Switch to the tires best for your riding style. If you purchase a new bike, it rarely comes with the most optimal tires. Thus, you will get to use the most optimal separately purchased tires even if you decide to purchase a new bike -- tires are easy to change and most people don't select bikes based on their factory-installed tires. If you don't know how to mount tires, learn! You'll need the skill anyway the first time you get a flat in the middle of nowhere.
  • Switch to the best brake pads. For rim brakes, the best pads are generally agreed to be Kool Stop Salmon, although in some cases the Salmon pads can squeal.
  • Adjust the fit of your bike to be best possible you can achieve. If you are unable to have a good handlebar distance and height with your current bike, you at least know which direction (longer/shorter top tube) to go to. Even a very cheap bicycle is an excellent fitting aid when the time comes to upgrade, assuming the style of handlebars is your preferred one.

You also need to consider straight vs drop bars. Most people do mountain biking with straight bars, but evidence from cyclocross bikes actually suggests that in some cases a drop bar bike can too accept weather, dirt and mud.

I'm about 5 feet and 50 kg. Specifically, I would like a bike with a single ring chainring.

Don't choose single chainring! While 50 kg is not much weight and thus you don't necessarily need uber-small chainring for climbing hills and uber-large chainring for fast speeds as much as someone with 100 kg weight might need, a single chainring is inherently unreliable. If it fails, you have no chainring.

Whereas, if you have two chainrings, failure of one doesn't ruin your ride. I wouldn't be satisfied 30 km away from civilization with a broken single chainring in a terrain where cars cannot drive.

Also, a properly adjusted front derailleur reduces likelihood of dropping chain from the chainring and increases your ability to raise the chain to a chainring without getting your hands stained in chain lube.

  • A chainring failure is very unlikely. – Vladimir F Jun 23 '20 at 16:06
  • @Vladimir F Is chainring failure even a thing? – MaplePanda Jun 23 '20 at 22:39
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    @maplepanda Chainring failure is possible but rare on MTBs, and almost unheard of on road. A super-light chainring might be made of Aluminium and can be folded by impact. Steel is tougher but can still bend. Main causes are if something hard gets between chain and chainring (ie a nail or perhaps a rock) and the chain comes part-way off while rider is applying power, OR if the bottom of the chainring impacts a rock or log (ie the breakover angle was too steep) Also, anything's possible after an accident. A single bent tooth can cause problems. – Criggie Jun 24 '20 at 0:29
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    @Criggie Interesting, I've never heard of it happening before. Most modern narrow-wide MTB chainrings are aluminum and I've never heard of a failure before, although I imagine a massive BB strike would cause that much damage. As to road, your Shimano crank is probably more likely to split in half than the chainring bending. – MaplePanda Jun 24 '20 at 19:09

Before getting a bike, take a class or classes on riding technique. You will pick up ideas on specific bike features there as well. Consider renting or demoing at least a few different bikes to get a feel for how they differ under different riding conditions.

  • I know some riding technique, but not much on the trails, so I woulsd consider myself fit for at least a dirt trail. There isn't any classes near me, so I would have to learn on the internet. As for renting, I could rent, but it would be hard because the renter is far from my house and the country I live in speak in a language I'm learning, so it would be hard. – Heech.p Jun 23 '20 at 15:36

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