With the success of British athletes at the 2008 Olympics in track and BMX biking, the sport has become one of the most popular activities for young and old alike. Requiring stamina, strength and agility, cyclists find mountain biking a particularly challenging and enjoyable area of the sport combining many of the skills needed in BMX, road and track cycling plus more. Expert mountain bike riders can compete at the numerous annual competitions held around the world, including the Mountain Bike World Cup organised by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The competition takes the form of several individual competitions held across different countries, much like the surfing world cup, and the winner is the biker with the best average.All of these high profile competitions have had the effect of making mountain biking a sport people want to get involved in. But if you are going to take up mountain biking, you need to buy a mountain bike that’s right for you. Choosing the right mountain bike can take weeks of comparing frames, size, seats, colour, suspension and price among many other important factors that play a role in mountain biking. It also depends on what type of mountain biking you intend to get involved with. All this information might seem a bit daunting, but it really isn’t as complicated as you might expect. This article is intended as a basic guide to buying a mountain bike, with a couple of extra bits of information on the sport thrown in for good measure.The UCI has a good website with handy tips for getting the right style and size of mountain bike to suit you, as well as help with finding a local biking club. When you begin to get into biking, clubs are a great way to meet like minded people who can help you with your skills and take you to their favourite mountain bike locations.The type of terrain you will be cycling on can vary widely as any form of unpaved surface is ideal for biking. After a few weeks of practise you might find yourself peddling hard up and down steep hills, bouncing off rocks and tree stumps, skimming through water and landing some impressive jumps. To do these kind of actions will require much more than your average bicycle. You will need to buy a bike with wide tyres and a deep grip to cling onto the loose surfaces you will encounter. Handle bars with up turned ends have recently become popular for the leverage they offer when scaling hills. Perhaps the most important feature you need to think about when buying a mountain bike is the suspension.In the 1990s the first mountain bikes with front suspension were sold, greatly increasing the comfort of riding over rough terrain. In the past two decades however suspension has developed extremely quickly and duel suspension bikes are becoming the norm. Whilst there are downsides to riding a bike with duel suspension, like them costing more, requiring more maintenance and peddle interference with some models, the benefits far outweigh these factors. Duel suspension bikes offer a much more comfortable ride and are much quicker at traversing a trail. The suspension allows the wheels to bounce off any objects they hit making for a quicker manoeuvre onto the flat. Proficient mountain bikers recommend these qualities over a bike with just front suspension.So whether you choose to buy a mountain bike for cross country biking, all day endurance, free ride or downhill biking, make sure you choose one that will be comfortable, suit your frame and will be durable. You do not need to spend thousands of pounds on your first bike, if you come to love the sport, then you can buy more and more advanced mountain bikes.