Step 1: What is the bike going to be used for? The first step is to determine whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider. The type of mountain bike you purchase will depend largely on the kind of terrain you intend to ride on, the weather you intend to ride in, and the duration of your rides. Step 2: What is your budget? Unfortunately, unlike other products, the quality of a mountain bike is largely what you pay for. A cheap bike will certainly not be of the best quality. Mountain bikes can range in price from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. However, also unlike other products, the brand is not what matters. Bikes in an equivalent price range will be compatible no matter what their brand. A large determinant in the price of the bike is what you intend to use it for (Step 1). A professional quality bikes will always be more expensive than the average person's bike. Step 3: Pay bike shops a visit Any bike shop you enter will offer many bikes for different purposes and different budgets and will carry several brands as well. Furthermore, the staff of these stores will have the appropriate knowledge base to help you choose a bike that will fit your needs. In addition, they will service the bike that they sell you. Don't limit yourself to visiting just one store. Things to Note 1- Don't spend the extra money to purchase your bike from a large store. Local stores are just as legitimate and will often not charge as much. Service is also usually better when working with a local store as well. 2- Don't be afraid to talk to the salespeople. They are there to help you. Let them know how you intend to ride the bike and what your budget is. From there, they will be able to direct you in the direction of your new mountain bike. 3- Go for a spin. All shops worth their salt will allow you to test ride their bicycles. Although all brands are equivalent as far as price for quality, there are some which will simply fit you better. The final step is to determine which brand best suits your needs.