Business Beat: Buying your first mountain bike

Dan Nelson, the new owner of Flowt Bikes & Skis, gives some advice on buying your first mountain bike

Dan Nelson purchased Flowt from its original owner Brendan MacIntosh last summer.

Dan Nelson purchased Flowt from its original owner Brendan MacIntosh last summer.

At Flowt Bikes and Skis, a bike enthusiast can find what they’re looking for.

“We just wanted to have a really welcoming feel, whether you’re an experienced biker or you’ve never had a bike before and are just looking for something to cruise around town in,” says new owner Dan Nelson.

Nelson bought Flowt in June 2015 from the store’s founder Brendan McIntosh. He has been in the bike business for more than 20 years, and has lived in a several communities across Canada, from Edmonton to Victoria, before moving to Revelstoke five years ago.

“It’s an amazing place to ride,” he enthuses. “I’ve been riding mountain bikes since 1992. Lots of places have good trails, but Revelstoke has varying terrain to offer and I’ve never seen a bike trail system grow so quickly. The Revelstoke bike community has more passion than anywhere I’ve seen. It helps makes Revelstoke such a gem.”

Nelson feels it’s important to not be intimidated by the seasoned riders who live and play in Revelstoke. “You can learn to mountain bike at any time, any age,” he says. As such, he has a few tips for those getting into mountain biking and looking to purchase their first bike.

First, Nelson emphasizes the importance of getting a bike that fits. “The most expensive bike in the world wont give you the best experience it it’s too big or too small,” he says.

Second, consider getting full suspension. “There are some great hard tails out there and they are cheaper, but the advantage of a full suspension is that it makes the ride more fun,” he says. “It shortens the learning curve and if you have more fun while you’re learning, you’re more likely to stick with the sport.”

Third, think about buying something you can grow into. “I don’t mean size,” Nelson laughs. What he does mean is quality.

“While you don’t have to break the bank getting something really high end, if you can afford to, get something that still has a decent level of performance,” he says. “Then, as your skills develop over the next year or two, you don’t have to upgrade your bike right away.”

Another piece of advice: If you don’t know whether you prefer cross country of downhill, consider purchasing an all mountain bike.

“Ten years ago, people had multiple bikes depending on what terrain you wanted to ride,” Nelson says. “Now, the technology has blurred the distinction between different kinds of bikes. Now you can purchase a bike that can handle most terrain, something light enough to do cross country but sturdy enough to go down Boulder as well.”

Last of all, don’t stress about being able to afford all the bells and whistles. “You can buy a whole lot of accessories that can improve your ride but they aren’t really necessary. What you really need is a bike, helmet, water carrier and a kit with a spare tube, pump and tool. And maybe a pair of bike shorts,” Nelson says.

If you have children who are getting into biking, check out Flowt’s buy-back program. When a child grows out of a bike purchased at Flowt within one year, Flowt will buy the bike back at half of its original cost. Flowt also sells the used bikes which, Nelson points out, are often outgrown before they are out used and are in excellent condition.

With a bike scene as vibrant and accessible as Revelstoke’s and both Flowt and Skookum (and another store about to open) able to help you out with a selection of great bikes, there is, as Nelson says, no better time to get into the bike scene.