Ive been wanting to get into mountain biking but i don’t know what bike to get. I’m planning on getting one for birthday that under $800 AUD but still able to ride on most beginner trails and maybe some downhill ones. im 4,9″ and 40 kg, some things that i want in the mountain bike is hydraulic disk brakes, quick release levers in the wheels and fairly good suspension.
No matter how careful, particular and how you’ll slice it…you’ll be buying more and changing/upgrading components/gear very soon. Seek out some buddies who will let you ride theirs (AND demo at the bike shop) but although it is not the best time of year to buy one in spring (IMO), I’d purchase a used one with decent AND well working components, first.
My first mtb was really a glorified hybrid (Specialized Rockhopper ~mid 80s), next FS Rocky Mtn (hated the weight and the pedal bob), next was a new Moots YBB (totally loved it until I started riding rigid fatbikes year round and all it did was collect dust), next was a used Mukluk for winter only, next was a new Beargrease 1X11 (rode a supported full GDMBR) and now a customly built up Mukluk with 1X12, 27.5″ summer wheelset…for me I’ve reached the pinnacle but everyone and I mean everyone has their own preference for what he/she prefers to ride on their home terrain and when you, personally, reach that you will end up coveting your bike more than your favorite skis, ANY roadbike or your car. Good luck and just realize your $800 ceiling will soon vaporize into thin air (thank you Jon Krakauer).
Do plenty of research online. When I bought my first bike, I just walked into a bike shop and picked up one of the first bikes I saw (that I could afford)-Trek Marlin 6. While the bike was okay, I regret not doing more research and comparing different brands/components. New bike day seldom happens so take your time researching the best bike for you. Look for 3 or 4 brands in your price range and compare them to each other.
Try to demo as many bikes as possible. Bike shops should let you demo or at the very least take a trip around the block. Manufacturers hold demo events at bike shops or trail systems where you can take their bikes out on trail rides so keep a look out for those. Actually riding the bike is very important in making a decision. You might realize the bike you had your eye on isn’t what you really wanted. For $800, you should be able to get hydraulic brakes. Look for a hardtail, full suspension probably isn’t necessary right now. As for suspension look for air sprung suspension as opposed to coil spring. I’m not sure if $800 gets you an air fork but keep an eye out. You might find a closeout bike with everything and then some. Good Luck!