Blister Mountain Bike Buyer’s Guide

Here it is, folks — our first-ever Blister Mountain Bike Buyer’s Guide.

It’s been several years in the making, and we made it because we thought the mountain bike world — including those brand-new to mountain biking — could use it.

It’s a different type of guide, a guide that doesn’t just compare this new bike to that new bike, but that will help you better understand and think about mountain bikes in general.

So check it out, let us know what you think, and … Happy Riding!

Also check out our Mountain Bike Reviews Page!


[Note: if you have a current Blister Membership or Blister Premier Membership, you can download a PDF of the guide under the “Downloads” tab on the My Account page on our site.]

17 comments on “Blister Mountain Bike Buyer’s Guide”

  1. What a great compilation of information. Very nice to have it all in one ordered, edited overview.

    I have 3 points of suggestions for improvement:

    -The biggest one is adding (more) information about how stack and reach relate to each other. With modern, slack headangles on mtb’s, stack has a dramatic effect on effective reach. This is somehting even many experienced mtb riders forget to check, so I feel it is important to call out and explain.

    -in where to upgrade, recent tests have show that higher end chains tend to be more durable, and therefor often are cheaper on the dollar/mile cost.

    -in the articles talking about pro’s and cons of being over biked, I think you could still do a better job at clarifying the style of trail, and how that influences that decision. Modern long travel bikes tend to climb quite well, and even if the slightly higher weight leads to slightly slower pace, that’s often not a huge deal.
    As a result, many people are quite happy doing big climbs on long travel bikes, as long as those are long and steady, with the end goal being big descents.
    Conversely, on smoother, more rolling trails, the ability to pump and pop at moderate speed, and to get out of the saddle and charge little rises in the trail, really makes those trails a lot more fun when ‘less-biked’ than when overbiked.
    In other words, I think rather than uphilldownhill, I think we should focus more on winch-and-plummet vs undulating trails these days.
    You do mention some of this, but I think for many (less experienced) riders, this could be stressed more clearly.

    • Concur with @tjaard on their first point especially. Lee McCormack has a RAD formula (Rider Area Distance) that is helpful to understand especially if you are looking to buy a direct to consumer bike. Knowing some key points on your bike fit will be helpful. Not all manufacturers create their size guide the same. In one brand you might be a Medium and another you might be a Large.

      Another idea would be to make this a wiki so we can search for topics as well as see the iterations of the ideas as the years go by. And it could be opened up to have people contribute with your editors being the responsible party of what gets published.

      thanks for the information

    • Yep, see my reply to John above. Blister Members and Blister Premier Members can download a PDF of the guide via the “My Account” page on our site.

  2. Great stuff! Everything from the basics to suspension design/kinematics. Really like the “where to spend” sections.

  3. So good.

    I’m a very ex-road/track racer, and casual cyclocross rider as far back as the late 80s, and except for a brief flirtation with a very pre-suspension mountain bike decades ago, I’ve avoided mountain bikes.

    Now I’m finally considering one, for myself, and for my son.

    This guide is SO invaluable. Thank you!

    As others, would love a downloadable .pdf.

    • Glad to hear it! And Blister Members can download a PDF by going to the “My Account” page on our site (the downloadable guide is under the “Downloads” tab on that page).

  4. It seems well thought out and I’d love to be able to print it as I prefer to read paper documents. I wish it had been available years ago!

    As a side point, it would be fantastic in reviews if you mentioned right off the top what size of rider the specific bikes are available for. At 5’0″, it took me many years of off-and-on looking to find a bike small enough for me and I hate reading reviews all the way to the end and thinking something might suit only to find the standover height is way too high. As for that recommended clearance, well, in my dreams.

  5. Thanks for the amazing guide, truly appreciate you sharing this!

    One thing caught my eye on page 85: “…longer stems promote quicker steering…”

    That is opposite to my experience, also the first Google hit for “stem length impact” seems to say: ”…a longer stem will produce slower steering.”

    What are your thoughts on this?

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