The best mountain bike is waiting for you to experience the thrill of riding it.
Or, wanted to try a new type of biking?
Or, just want to get involved in the sport?
In this article, we’ll discuss and answer those very broad questions about mountain biking.
Compared to our previous article on mountain bikes, this one will feature all types of mountain bikes, not those just under $1000.
Like the other article, we’ll provide a similar buyer’s guide and FAQ section. We’ll add an entire section for the extra gear needed for the sport for your convenience.
To start, we’ll define what makes a mountain bike and why you need one.
- What is a Mountain Bike?
- Why Do You Need a Mountain Bike?
- Buyer’s Guide
- Types of Mountain Bikes
- Key Geometric Considerations
- Mountain Bike Wheels
- Bike Frame Materials
- Groupset and Gearing
- Braking Systems
- Getting the Right Size
- Best Mountain Bike On The Market Review s
- 1. Best Overall Mountain Bike : Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike
- 2. Best Beginner Mountain Bike : Diamondback 2019 Overdrive Carbon Pro 29 3 Mountain Bike
- 3. Best Budget Mountain Bike : 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 4. Best Value Mountain Bike : Diamondback Bikes Line Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 5. Best Electric Mountain Bike : Rattan Challenger Pro 26 Inch Electric Bicycles
- 6. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike : Diamondback Catch 1
- 7. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $3000 : Diamondback Bicycles Release Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 8. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $2000: Diamondback Bicycles Atroz Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 9. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Savadeck Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
- 10. Best Entry Level Mountain Bike : Vilano Ridge Mountain Bike 2.0
- 11. Best Hardtail Mountain Bike : Fuji SLM Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 12. Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Diamondback Bikes Line Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 13. Best Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Diamondback Bicycles Hook 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 14. Best Mountain Bike Under $500 : Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike
- 15. Best Mountain Bike Under $100 : Kent Rock Candy Girls Bike, 20 Inch Wheel
- 16. Best Women’s Mountain Bike : 29” Carbon Frame Mountain Bike by Sava
- 17. Best Lightweight Mountain Bike : Diamondback Bicycles El OSO Fat Bike Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 18. Best Mountain Bike for Kids : Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 19. Best Trail Mountain Bike: Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
- 20. Best Cross Country Mountain Bike : Hiland Aluminum Mountain Bike
- 21. Best Folding Mountain Bike : Kingttu KTG6 Folding Mountain Bike
- 22. Best Single Speed Mountain Bike : State Bicycle Fixed Gear
- Mountain Bike Gear
- Conclusion: The Best Mountain Bike
What is a Mountain Bike?
Generally speaking, a mountain bike is rough looking with flat handlebars and fat tires. And, the bike is heavier than a road bike because it needs to stand strong to all the obstacles it could face.
There are four types of mountain bikes: hardtail, full-suspension cross country, full suspension enduro, and full suspension trail.
For women, the bikes are a bit lighter and have smaller grips, narrower handlebars, and shorter crank arms. And, the suspension materials will be lighter. And, of course, the geometry will be more suited for a woman.
Why Do You Need a Mountain Bike?
You’ll need a mountain bike if you wish to do trail riding, or rip it up on unpaved paths with obstacles.
Generally, the more obstacles you want to do with your bike, the more suspension you’ll need on the rear of your bike.
Additionally, if you want to enter cross country competitions as a serious competitor, you’ll need a bike that is made for that specific purpose. It will be a mountain bike that prioritizes low-weight to make climbs easy.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a step back and talk about the different types of mountain bikes.
Once you narrow down the type of bike that would fit your needs the best, it will make shopping easier.
Types of Mountain Bikes
The cross country bikes are best used for country and marathon bike races. They are short and easy to travel with. The bikes are made so you have a balance between suspension and handling obstacles on the course.
Most cross country bikes will have 70-degree seat tube angles, 29-inch wheels, and 90-120mm suspension if any on the rear
Trail bikes are the most popular of the mountain bikes since they are very versatile. And, can be used as commuter bikes as well. They can be taken on casual rides, cross country courses, and even some beginner to intermediate downhills.
Trail bikes will have 65-68-degree head tube angles, longer wheel bases compared to cross country, and travel between 120-150mm in suspension.
Enduro bikes mimic downhill bikes and are a bit smaller in size. But, they are good for climbing hills and handling on rolling courses. They are more versatile than downhill bikes since they can be ridden at bike parks, steep downhills, and anywhere you want to go fast.
Enduro bikes have 62-66-degree heat tube angle, the reach is longer so your body weight isn’t over the front wheel, and
Downhill bikes are made for downhill races and obstacles and extreme bike parks.
The bikes have very long wheel bases, lots of room to travel, and dual-crown forks that slow down the bike for handling, but you can still go in a speedy straight line and get air time off jumps.
Key Geometric Considerations
In the last section, I mentioned “length” or how “long” the bike is and seat tube angles, but what does this all mean?
And, how will this factor into your buying decision?
Let’s first say that the most important thing is to buy a bike that you feel the most comfortable on. This will ensure that you can handle your bike correctly and you can confidently put on the brakes when you need to.
When you hear people ask about how your bike’s “length” they’re referring to the horizontal space between the saddle and the handle bars. The trend, lately, has been to look for a bike with a long reach.
The bikes with a long length center you between the wheels and can make the bike feel more stable as you’re going down hill.
A longer length is great when you’re going down hill, biking fast, or going over steep terrain. However, at slower speeds, the bike can be harder to handle and maneuver for tight turns and cornering.
And, the trend for seat tubes is to go for ones that have a steep angle. As steep as 76-degrees. A steep seat tube puts the riders in a better position for seated climbs. But, that means that the seat tube is designed so that there’s room for bigger wheels.
Another term I mentioned was “suspension” which you might be familiar with. All suspension is made with springs added to the front fork or both the front and rear.
However, there are different types of suspension and it depends on the bike you buy. And, what you need from your bike.
There are three types of suspension
As you might have guessed in the name, the rigid bikes don’t have any suspension designed into them.
Rigid mountain bikes are very easy to maintain and are lighter and cheaper compared to ones with suspension.
Rigid bikes might be more comfortable for road bikers switching to mountain biking. It’s something they’re familiar with and can make transitioning easier.
Rigid bikes do make the rides rougher on trails or uneven terrain since there isn’t anything to absorb the shock.
As the name implies, a hardtail mountain bike has suspension for the front wheel to absorb the shocks. But, there isn’t any suspension in the rear of the bike.
Generally, hardtail bikes are less expensive than full suspension bikes since there are fewer parts, which also makes it easier to care for and maintain.
The front suspension can be locked if you ever need your hardtail to be a rigid bike.
If you’re looking into cross country racing, this bike might be a good fit for you. The bike gives a more efficient and direct power transfer.
Dual suspension mountain bikes have suspension on both the front and back of the bike. It’s great for absorbing shocks and it won’t cause back or wrist problems.
This type of bike is one of the more expensive types since it requires more materials to make.
This type of bike is best used for obstacle courses and downhill mountain biking.
- Best Mountain Bike Under 300
- Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000
- Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes
- Best Electric Bike Under 1000
- Best Mountain Bike Gloves
- Best Beginner Mountain Bikes
Mountain Bike Wheels
The wheels for a mountain bike are quite different compared to the skinny wheels and tires you see on road bikes.
Generally, mountain bike wheels are more rugged or fat looking than road tires. And, this makes them more durable since you’ll be riding on anything from trails to uneven downhill terrain.
When mountain biking first became popular, nearly all bikes came with standard 26-inch wheels.
This option is still available when you buy a mountain bike, but you’ll also be asked if you’d also like 27.5 inch, 29 inch or even fat tires.
27.5 inch wheels
If you’re doing all types of mountain biking, you might want to consider 27.5-inch wheels. They are versatile and can go on most terrains you’ll encounter as a beginner biker.
The wheels give you a smooth ride over uneven terrain but, compared to 29-inch wheels, these are easier to turn.
These types of tires can be found on both full suspension and hardtail bikes.
29-inch wheels are commonly referred to as 29ers and are found on a hardtail, full suspension, and rigid bikes.
These are the biggest of the wheels we’ve discussed so far and are therefore heavier than most.
But, even though it takes longer to pick up speed, once you’re up to speed you can handle different terrains easily.
They are ideally used for long rides on your mountain bike since they maintain their momentum and have good angles for turning.
Recently, this type of wheel has become common with people who train and race cross country mountain bikes.
Sometimes you’ll see a plus sign (+) next to wheel size.
And this means that the wheels are extra wide, which gives you a smoother and more comfortable ride.
Plus-sized wheels also have less rolling resistance compared to their counterparts. So the trend among savvy mountain bikers is to have “fatter” tires.
Bike Frame Materials
Another factor to consider is what type of material you want your bike to be made from.
The frame material affects the price, ride quality, weight, durability, “length”, and ultimately how strong it is.
And, whichever mountain bike discipline you choose may help you choose what material you want. For example, cross riders might want a carbon fiber bike to help them get through the course faster.
You have a few materials to choose from and I’ll discuss them in some detail below.
Aluminum alloy is the most common material for mountain bikes to be made from. It’s the cheapest compared to other materials you can choose from as well.
The material is easy to work with and can be molded into different shapes.
Aluminum bikes are rigid and stiff which gives you an efficient power transfer during your ride. But, without proper suspension, it can be an uncomfortable ride.
A carbon fiber bike has a good weight to strength ratio which makes this a top pick for cross country racers.
Carbon fiber is more flexible than aluminum and can be molded into different shapes. Most carbon bikes will have a different or unique tube and frame shapes compared to other bikes.
The disadvantage of carbon fiber is its fragileness. It can crack under extreme pressure from a tough crash or from turning the screws too tightly.
Once the carbon has cracked, the integrity is compromised and it’s risky to ride on it. At that point, you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced.
Steel is one of the most durable materials around and is commonly used on entry-level mountain bikes.
This material is significantly heavier than carbon fiber so it’s not the best to use if you’re racing frequently.
Steel is also cheaper than carbon fiber and comparable to aluminum.
However, the top line steel will, of course, be more expensive, but doesn’t offer the same weight to strength ratio as other materials.
Titanium is rarely used for a mountain bike since it is so expensive compared to the other materials previously discussed.
The material is actually really light and durable compared to steel since it doesn’t rust or corrode over time.
However, this material is very hard to work with and is not easily molded into a frame shape.
Having said that, the bikes are extremely durable and will survive the impact of a crash.
Most people who buy titanium bikes think of it as a lifetime “investment” since they will have it for some time. And, they will ride it for a long time since titanium bikes are very comfortable to ride.
Groupset and Gearing
A bike’s groupset is made of its brakes and drivetrain, which is essentially your bike’s engine.
The drivetrain is composed of cranks, chain rings, chain cassette, derailleurs, and shifters. All of these components are in a closed circuit which helps move you and the bike forward.
The more money you spend on a drivetrain, the more efficient it becomes and the shifting becomes more durable and efficient as well. And, the weight of the drivetrain goes down.
As you pay more, the materials change on the group set and you have higher-grade alloys and finally, you’ll pay for carbon fiber or titanium alloys.
At a high price point, your bike will have a 1x drivetrain with either 11 or 12 gear and electronic shifting is also an option.
The groupset on the mountain bike varies greatly depending on the type of bike and what it will be used for. Ultimately, frame, wheel size, and your discipline will decide your groupset and drivetrain for you.
A crankset comes in either triple, double, or single design.
A triple crankset provides the largest range of gears available and will, generally, have three “big” rings. For those curious, the gear ratios are either 44/34/24 or 42/32/22. Although a great option, this one does have a higher potential for mechanical issues.
A double crankset offers a similar gear ratio to a triple crankset but is lighter since there are fewer parts.
More commonly, you’ll see a single drivetrain with one big chain ring which removes more weight from the bike and makes the power transfer even more efficient. For some bikes, it still provides the same gear ratios as a double crankset.
In the back of the bike, you have cogs which are your “smaller” gears that you can use with any of the chain rings. Generally, you’ll have either 9, 10, or 11 cogs in the back for you to shift through.
The gearing can be changed once you buy your bike so it’s not a big worry if you need to upgrade later on. Just be sure you buy the right one for you and talk to your local bike shop.
There are two types of brakes available to you: disc and rim brakes. More often, you’ll see disc brakes on newer and more expensive bikes.
Disc brakes are placed on the mountain hubs. The brakes have pads that grip onto the brake rotor on the hub. Disc brakes are more reliable and consistent than rim brakes. They aren’t affected by weather conditions so you can confidently ride in the rain and be able to stop when you need to.
There are two types of disc brakes:
- Hydraulic: Give you stronger braking with less effort on your part.
- Cable activated: Disc brakes that need to be manually adjusted as the pads wear out.
The advantages of disc brakes:
- Consistent braking performance in all weather conditions
- Little finger effort
- Excellent performance on hills and wet surfaces
The Disadvantages of disc brakes:
- Difficult to inspect compared to rim brakes
- Hydraulic brakes are more expensive to maintain and service
Rim brakes are found in many entry level mountain bikes that grip the wheels’ rims as you squeeze the brakes.
The advantages of rim brakes:
- Easy to notice when brake pads need to be replaced
The disadvantages of rim brakes:
- Wears out the rim of the wheel and the wheel has to be replaced
- Weaker stopping power
- Not very effective in muddy or wet conditions
Getting the Right Size
Riding the right size bike is important for comfort and your health.
You can seriously get injured from riding a bike that you did not get properly fitted for, especially if you’re logging long hours in the saddle.
Even if you’re buying from Amazon, go to your local bike store and get fitted, talk about your options and what companies make a bike in your size.
The frame size is the most important of the measurements since it’s the one part of the bike that can’t be readjusted after you bought the bike. If you fall between sizes, it’s better to size-down because other parts such as seat height and handlebar angle can be adjusted to fit your dimensions.
The stack height is vertically measured from the bottom bracket to the headtube. And, the reach is the horizontal measurement from the bottom bracket to the headtube. These two are important because it ensures your saddle is in the right place and you’re not reaching too far forward or feeling “bunched” on the bike.
The seat height doesn’t matter so much for mountain biking since it depends on what your specialty is. For example, downhill riders will often set their seat height low so they can have a stable platform.
Best Mountain Bike On The Market Review s
For this part of the article, we’ve broken down the product review into different “sub-topics”. This means we’ve picked the best “XYZ Mountain” bike after searching on Amazon and different sites.
Please feel free to scroll past the bikes that don’t fit your specific needs.
1. Best Overall Mountain Bike : Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike
Our bike for the best overall mountain bike is the Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike. We talked about it in our other mountain bike article but will go over it again for your convenience.
The Schwinn Bonafide mountain bike has front suspension that can be locked to make it a fully rigid bike. This gives riders the option to have a comfortable ride on the trails or on their daily commute to work.
The frame is made from aluminum which makes it cheap yet durable for your first mountain bike. And, the material is light compared to other materials you could find on a different mountain bike. To add to its lightness the bike also has alloy rims.
The bike was made with 24-speed Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifters which give you a variety of ratios and gear range to accommodate whatever terrain you decide to bike on.
Additionally, the bike comes equipped with disc brakes which gives you a firm and reliable system to depend on. This means you can bike fast through muddy and wet conditions and it still stops as if you’re riding in ideal conditions.
If you buy a Schwinn bike you can opt for a lifetime warranty as long as you own the bike. This option might be available through Amazon but please check with the seller.
People like this bike because it’s not too expensive but it offers a lot of benefits such as a wide range of gears and disc brakes. And, the bike isn’t that heavy so it can be used to practice going up and down hills. You’ll need a bike mechanic to make any adjustments unless you know how to make those adjustments. And, there have been reports that the cassette wobbles. However, most are pleased with how it rides for the price and are happy to have bought the bike.
2. Best Beginner Mountain Bike : Diamondback 2019 Overdrive Carbon Pro 29 3 Mountain Bike
The Diamondback 2019 Overdrive Carbon Pro 29 3 is our top pick as a beginner mountain bike.
This bike is best used for all your trail riding needs. It can be ridden on rough and rugged, or smooth and predictable trails or one that has a little bit of everything in store. The bike can handle it all.
This will help you get used to the sport of mountain biking. You’ll be able to experience different trails as you become more comfortable on the bike and handle uneven terrain. You can upgrade parts as you tackle more advanced obstacles and trails or even get a new bike.
The bike is made from an aluminum alloy which is light and can withstand the impact of light crashes and falls. The bike has Boost 148 rear spacing and thru-axles on the front and back of the bike for more stiffness. This will give you a better power transfer and you won’t feel like you’re fighting the elements on your trail rides.
The bike has front suspension made with a RockShox Judy Gold 100mm travel fork which will keep things comfortable and smooth as you make your way through increasingly difficult terrain.
The bike has SRAM GX/NX 1×11 speed drivetrain that gives you plenty of gear ratios and gear ranges to choose from. You’ll learn how to go up and down hills and what gears work since you’ll have plenty to choose from. And, you’ll be able to go faster with a larger groupset.
The bike comes equipped with hydraulic brakes to give you a consistent braking experience you’ll come to trust in good time.
People who have bought the bike like it because it has a wide range of gears to choose from which makes conquering new terrains and obstacles less intimidating. They also love the wheels and tires because they have good rolling resistance and can last a long time.
3. Best Budget Mountain Bike : 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
The 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike is our top bike for the best budget mountain bike. On Amazon this bike is sold for $379.95-409.95 depending on the seller and if you decide to buy it new or used.
The bike is made from a hydroformed aluminum alloy which makes it cheap and easy to bend into unique frame shapes. The frame has excellent welding points and has extra durability strength for areas that receive the most impact during a crash or fall.
Despite that, the bike has dual suspension it still weighs under 30 lbs. And the dual suspension ensures you’ll have a smooth and comfortable ride.
Yes, some might say a bike that is around 26 lb. mark is heavy, but it’s still quite impressive that it’s still under 30 lbs for a dual suspension bike.
Speaking of the suspensions, they are made from Suntour shocks for both the front and back of the bike. This will help absorb a lot of the trail’s bumps and will keep your hands, wrists, and back healthy.
The bike’s drivetrain is made from Shimano parts only which keeps it light and responsive. You’ll notice you’ll have a fast and efficient shifting system so you’ll be prepared no matter what you face on the trails and obstacle courses.
Rare for this price range but the bike does have high-quality disc brakes that have good stopping power without much effort in your part.
People who have bought this bike like it because it has most of the high-quality components of a more expensive bike. The brakes have a good track record and most are happy having them as they enter the mountain bike sporting community. And, the shifting is reliable so that riders aren’t stuck in the wrong gear while going up or down a hill.
4. Best Value Mountain Bike : Diamondback Bikes Line Hardtail Mountain Bike
We picked the 23” Nevada 4.0 Hardtail Mountain Bike as our “Best value” mountain bike.
While you might find Fuji bikes to be the center of high-end expensive bikes, you’ll be surprised that they also make a good mountain bike with quality components for under $1000.
The bike is made from an aluminum alloy that takes an hourglass-shaped head tube and a curved down tube at the front of the bike.
The top tube has a triangular section and the rear has snaked chainstays and seatstay to balance the tire and heel clearance. The cables for the shifting and braking run above the top tube.
The bike has the option to have disc brakes for a more consistent performance but you’ll need to upgrade wheels to accommodate the discs. If not, the bike comes with the traditional rim brakes, which work well but you need to make sure you brake at the right time and apply the right pressure.
Fuji has designed the bike with Shimano ReveShift which are twist dip shifters, which is considered “old school” to some riders. This system works well as long as your hands aren’t caked with mud. This shifting system is slightly lighter than EZ-Fires and you need to have your hands on the shifters for the entire ride. This sometimes can lead to misshifting although it’s a rare occurrence.
The chainset is great for climbing hills but puts you in a higher gear for flat trails and downhills.
People who have bought the bike like it because it is lighter than other entry-level mountain bikes and the tires aren’t aggressively treaded or wide which would add to the overall weight. The ride is very smooth and most can handle intermediate obstacles well before needing to upgrade to a new bike. The downside some have noticed is the gears aren’t so suited for downhill or flat roads.
5. Best Electric Mountain Bike : Rattan Challenger Pro 26 Inch Electric Bicycles
We have chosen the Rattan Challenger Pro 26 inch electric bicycle as our best electric mountain bike.
This bike has an Intelligent Pedal Assist System which makes the motor more efficient when it is assisting you, the rider. And it extends the range of the assist system. This also saves the bike’s energy and battery so you can have longer rides on the bike.
The bike has three working rides: E- Bike, PAS, and Normal Bike. To change to any of the modes, just engage the thumb throttle.
The E- bike is made with a 350W high-speed brushless gear motor and has a removable Samsung Bran Lithium-Ion battery cell, which can take you on 45-50 mile rides.
The Electric bike is made on an aluminum frame and was designed with the electrostatic baking varnish and hydroforming technology. The materials and technology make this bike light and durable to last for years to come.
The bike also has anti-slip wear resistant tires and has shock-absorbing forks.
The bike has Shimano 7-Speed classics transmission system which gives you more power as you climb hills, more range variation, and can adapt to more terrains. Basically, you can adjust the speed to complete whatever trip or obstacle you need to get through.
People who have bought the bike like it because they believe it lived up to its “hype” and works well as a normal mountain bike and as an electric bike. It really helps people enjoy the pleasures of biking even if they consider themselves to be “older” riders.
6. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike : Diamondback Catch 1
The Diamondback Catch 1 is our pick for the best full suspension mountain bike.
Although Diamondback can be thought of as a “budget” brand it can pump out a few high-quality bikes that will be used for years. And, ones you’ll “treasure”.
The bike is best used for trails and some beginner obstacles and downhill courses. Ideally, you’ll look for a bike that is more specific for that type of mountain biking. But it is great if you’re planning to spend days on the trails.
The frame is made from aluminum that is reliable, durable and lightweight and makes this cheaper than a carbon full-suspension bike.
The bike was molded into an adventurous shape that has “slack but not too slack” front end according to Diamondback and REI Outlet.
The bike comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes in both the front and rear which means less finger effort is needed for a powerful braking force.
The front and back suspension are made from RockShox which are spring-like and help absorb the most from the roads and obstacles you’ll encounter. This will help keep your hands, wrists and back healthy since they won’t be absorbing the shock of mountain biking.
The bike has SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain that is initiated by X-Actuation trigger shifters which are responsive and won’t delay the shifting process.
Eleven gears combined with an X-Sync 30t chainring will give you a wide range of gears to choose from and you’ll have an efficient gear ratio for good power transfer. This means you’ll be sure to find the right gear no matter what you’re riding through on the trails.
People who have bought the bike like it because it has an 11-speed drivetrain that gives them enough gears to get through anything on the trails. And, the power transfer is very efficient so that they feel like the bike is working with them.
7. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $3000 : Diamondback Bicycles Release Full Suspension Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Bicycle Release Full Suspension is one of the best for under $3000 no matter which “generation” of the model you may choose.
With this bike, you can learn how to tackle technical descents, long climbs, or a trail or obstacle course that combines both elements. It’s a versatile bike that has a dual-link rear suspension design, intuitive handling, dropper post, efficient drivetrain and brakes, and durable tires.
The bike has 130mm of rear travel made with Diamondback’s Level link system which absorbs the shocks of the trails without “bouncing” you out of the saddle.
The front suspension has 140mm travel which was made with Fox Rhythm 34 fork, which gives you a lot of options to play with on the trails.
The bike, compared to others on the market, has a shorter reach which can be good for smaller riders or women mountain bikers. The bike was made with a steeper head tube, which is again compared to other bikes like it.
The trade-off to these “uncommon” geometric designs?
The bike is easier to manage at lower speeds compared to bikes that are long and have a slack seat tube angle. This would be ideal for anyone who is a beginner to biking and wants to slowly and carefully get their feet wet into the sport.
The bike’s drivetrain is made with Shimano SLX 1×11 and hydraulic brakes that are very reliable. And, the shifting is smooth and efficient so you won’t be stuck in the wrong gear.
People who have bought the bike like it because it has good value for the money. And, there are currently three “generations” of the model to choose from which vary in price. Most report that the bike is very comfortable to ride and is a good bike if you’re learning a new discipline within mountain biking. Most would not recommend it as a “first-timer” bike since it has a high price point.
8. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $2000: Diamondback Bicycles Atroz Full Suspension Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Bicycle Atroz Full Suspension mountain bike is one of the best if you want to spend less than $2000.
The Diamondback Atroz was made with an aluminum frame with a sturdy and reliable single pivot point that delivers 100mm of travel from the rear wheel.
The rear suspension was made from Suntour Raidon-R shock that has rebound adjustment. So when you’re ready for more suspension you can adjust the spring. Or, if you notice the spring is coming too lose you can fix it yourself.
The front fork is made from Suntour XCM with 120mm of travel and has a preloaded adjustment, which isn’t as flexible as the rear suspension. And, you won’t have as much “wiggle” room as you’re moving up the levels on the trails and obstacles.
The bike comes with a 1×9-speed drivetrain, which gives you an adequate number of gears to choose from if you’re riding on a hill, trail, or on a flat course.
For being priced just under $2000 the bike still comes with a hydraulic disc braking system, which gives riders confidence that they’ll be able to stop in wet and dry conditions alike.
People who have bought the bike like it because it performs well on the trails on some beginner technical courses as well. Most felt that the bike had an adequate drivetrain for the price but as some “level up,” they felt like they could use more gears.
9. Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Savadeck Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
The Savadeck dual-suspension mountain bike was our pick for a top-quality bike for under $1000 on Amazon.
The bike was made with an aluminum alloy which gives the bike strength and doesn’t weigh it down either.
The fork was made with a hydraulic suspension fork, which has a lockout and delivers 100mm of suspension travel and really absorbs whatever bump or obstacle you run into.
The bike has a Shimano M2000 27s Derailleur System which lets you easily shift and there won’t be a delay after you hit the gear lever. The shifting system also includes the Shimano SL-M2000 shift lever which is easy to use.
For the best and reliable stopping power, the bike has Shimano BD-MT2000 Hydraulic Disc brakes and CST tires that are very durable and have good rolling resistance. The bike’s double mechanical disc brakes have unbeatable stopping power which is great for emergencies and for beginners and veteran riders alike.
If bought from Amazon, the bike comes nearly pre-assembled so you won’t need to take it to the shop and pay to have it assembled.
People who have bought this bike like it because it is a good beginner bike and doesn’t cost too much. The bike is good for riding around the neighborhood and going to the bike park. If people are using it for entry-level purposes, the bike should last a long time. Otherwise, it’s best to buy a different type of bike.
10. Best Entry Level Mountain Bike : Vilano Ridge Mountain Bike 2.0
We’ve picked the Vilano Ridge 2.0 mountain bike as our best entry level mountain bike. We’ve chosen this one because we feel it’s versatile enough to break into trail riding and some downhill and obstacle courses without breaking the bank. And, it can be used as a commuter bike if desired.
This entry-level bike comes with good components such as a suspension fork that can lock, mechanical disc brakes and 21 speeds.
The frame is made from Double BUtted 6061 Aluminum which is light and durable for your biking needs. And is cheap so you don’t need to drop a lot of money on your first mountain bike.
The bike is equipped with Shimano EF-51 Easyfire 7spd that are efficient and don’t delay shifting so you won’t be stuck in the wrong gear.
The mag tires, which come with the bike are good for riding from trails to the street and everything in between. And, the wheels just look unique so you know it’s your bike.
When you get the bike, it will be semi-assembled and you’ll need a few tools such as a screwdriver and wrench.
Once outside of the box, you’ll install the handlebars, saddle, pedals, make the wheels true, and tune the brakes and derailleurs. Most of the assembly might be simple for you but making wheels true and tuning the brakes and derailleurs need a professional. Please take your bike to a local bike shop before taking it out on a ride.
People who have bought this bike like it because it feels solid and has a smooth ride. It’s a good choice if you’re not “committed” to a specific discipline within mountain biking. You’ll be able to get your feet wet into the sport and then get a bike more specific to a mountain bike discipline. And, since this is such a durable bike, you can use it as a back-up commuter bike after you upgrade.
11. Best Hardtail Mountain Bike : Fuji SLM Hardtail Mountain Bike
Fuji has made many changes to its iconic carbon racing bike to make it lighter, stiffer and more competitive than the previous model. And, it even gave the frame room for one additional water bottle cage, with exceptions to the smallest frame.
The frame was constructed with the top-level carbon fiber called C15 carbon. The design process involved using internal bladders to reduce the number of voids and a monocoque design for more strength and rigidness.
This new design process and shaping results in a bike that weighs under 1000 grams which is monumental for a mountain bike.
The bike has a taper seat tube which means that the front end won’t become too high. This would be an advantage for shorter or smaller riders. And, the seat tube’s geometry puts riders at a more aggressive position which helps them be more aerodynamic on the bike.
On the back of the bike, you’ll notice a 142 x 12mm thru-axle which helps strengthen the lateral strengtheness. And, the asymmetrical allows for more rear tire clearance. Both these changes result in a smooth and efficient ride.
The bike comes in five different models that vary in build levels which affects the components and the overall price of the bike.
The suspensions are by Fox 32 Float 29 which gives riders 100mm of travel. And, the 15mm thru-axle adds stiffness to the front of the bike. This helps riders control the bike since it responds better.
Lastly, the front fork suspension can be locked if riders want to turn the bike into a rigid bike. And, the lock is in an easy location on the bike so you’re more likely to use it.
People who have bought the bike love it because it is so light and responsive. It’s almost the equivalent of a high-end road bike for mountain bikers. Cross country riders like it because they can lock the front fork but can also take it on trail rides.
12. Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Diamondback Bikes Line Hardtail Mountain Bike
If you’re trying to break into the world of mountain bikes or just want to do trail riding, then look at the Diamondback Bikes Line Hardtail mountain bike.
This bike comes from a reputable brand and you can add another bike to your collection without breaking the bank. Or, if this is your first mountain bike, you can be assured that you’re getting a good quality bike for not that much.
The bike was made from aluminum which makes it light and durable for any crashes or falls you’ll run into. The frame is somewhat stiff, compared to carbon bikes, and will respond well to how you handle the bike.
The drivetrain is powered by Shimano Acera M3000 with a 1X9 speed to help power you through whatever trail you go on. This gear range is adequate for the price you’re paying. You can’t get anything more “fancy” without paying more than $1000
The bike has a hydraulic braking system to help you build speed and confidence on the bike.
The gears will get you through basic trails and some obstacles and can definitely be used as a commuter bike. And, if you consider yourself an entry-level to intermediate rider this bike is a good choice to consider. This is lighter than your “kid” mountain bike you might have now.
People who have bought the bike like it because it was easy to assemble out of the box. And, it’s sturdy to take on beginner trail rides even if the terrain gets rough. Riders say the gears work well and shift smoothly and without any delay.
13. Best Mountain Bike Under $1000 : Diamondback Bicycles Hook 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Hook is a versatile bike that can be ridden on local trails, downhill obstacles, and entry-level cross country courses.
The bike has an aluminum frame that is cheap, lightweight, stiff and responsive to whatever handling you throw at it.
The drivetrain is made with SEAM X3 8-speed cog set which gives you 24 speeds to play with while you ride. Again, since this is a budget bike, you won’t get many gears for this bike so you might need to upgrade at some point. In other words, your skills will surpass what the bike can offer you and you’ll need a better bike.
The bike has an SR Suntour XCM 120mm fork in the front and SRAM X4 in the rear that will help support you wherever you decide to bike. And, for the price, you even get mechanical disc brakes by Tektro Aries.
The brakes are reliant and have a consistent performance with very little finger effort. This is great for beginners to build their skills and know that they can stop when needed.
People like the bike because it can be ridden on nearly every type of entry-level terrain and it is very easy to handle. The bike responds well for the price and it comes with good components as well. The 120mm fork, single ring drivetrain, and reliable disc brakes are often found on higher-end bikes. The downside is the number of gears but that can be upgraded when you look for a new bike later.
14. Best Mountain Bike Under $500 : Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike
The Schwinn S29 mountain bike takes the place for our “best mountain bike under $500”. It has a solid frame, wide wheels and tires with great traction and rolling resistance.
The bikes are a bit heavier than other bikes since they can be made from steel or aluminum, but either material will keep you and your bike safe on the road or trail.
And, even though the bike is priced for under $500 it still has dual suspension. As a beginner mountain biker, you’ll come to like the bike’s responsiveness and the additional shock absorption from the rear shock.
The bike has a 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters coupled with Shimano derailleurs, which gives you a wide range of gears to choose from. And, the shifting is very smooth with very little to do delays. This means you won’t get stuck in the wrong gear going up or down a hill.
The crankset was made with Schwinn alloy triple cranks and Shimano 7-speed freewheel gives the bike a good engine. The 7-speeds, again, are adequate for beginner bikers but you’ll want better components once you begin to advance your skills.
The bike has front and rear mechanical disc brakes which will give you reliable and consistent stopping power. This will give you control as you pick up speed on the down hills.
People who have bought the bike like it because it’s an iconic bike brand with reputable parts that have helped them as beginner mountain bikers. The components are right for the price and they get a lot of the bike before needing to upgrade. Most decide to keep the bike because they like the bike and want to use it as a commuter bike.
15. Best Mountain Bike Under $100 : Kent Rock Candy Girls Bike, 20 Inch Wheel
The Kent Rock Candy Girls bike was hard to find on Amazon and for under $100 but we think it’s the best in its category.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find an adult mountain bike for this price but we’ll write a short report on the sturdy kid’s one.
The bike was built with a high tensile steel dual suspension frame and has a front suspension fork for kids to learn how to handle their bikes. The forks also make the rider smoother for younger riders which might help them like the sport more.
The bike has seven gears with an easy-to-use twist grip shifting so kids can learn what gear they’re in and how to shift without all the extra levers and buttons to worry about.
The bike has a quick-release seat clamp for easy seat adjustments so you’re growing child doesn’t have to wait long to use her bike.
People who have bought the bike like it because it’s great for kids to learn on after getting their training wheels taken off. Most kids like it because it seems like their “first real bike” and can go faster than their training wheel bike or tricycles.
16. Best Women’s Mountain Bike : 29” Carbon Frame Mountain Bike by Sava
29” Carbon Frame Mountain Bike Shimano SLX 30 Speed Manitou Suspension Fork
The Sava Carbon Mountain bike comes with a Shimano SLX 30-speed drivetrain and a Manitou Suspension fork.
This will help you conquer your way through the trails and cross country course. The fork can be locked to make a fully rigid bike which would be ideal for those who are interested in cross country mountain biking.
Specifically, the fork has 100mm of suspension travel and will provide ample comfort and support on the trails and courses
The drivetrain and derailleur are made from Shimano M6000 DEORE 3*10S Derailleur system, which lets you operate the shifting system easily and smoothly. You won’t notice a delay when you shift and you’ll be sure to be in the correct gear for whatever you’re biking through.
The braking system on the bike uses the Shimano MT-200 Disc Brake System and Continental tires. The system gives riders great stopping power and control with very little finger effort. Of course, the brakes are reliable and have a consistent performance like all disc brakes.
The tires are great in all conditions and will perform the same so you won’t have to fear picking up speed on uneven terrain. And, if you hit a few bumps on the road you can be sure that the tires won’t puncture easily.
People who have bought the bike like it because it’s great for bicycle enthusiasts, entry-level mountain bikers, and trail riders alike. The bike is versatile within the mountain biking realm but it’s better if it’s not used for commuting. Most people won’t use their “good” or “racing” bike as a commuter bike since it invites thefts and wears down the bike with the debris from the winter roads and construction. Most who have bought the bike have used it for several years before they felt they needed to upgrade the components or buy a new bike.
17. Best Lightweight Mountain Bike : Diamondback Bicycles El OSO Fat Bike Hardtail Mountain Bike
The best lightweight mountain bike we could find on Amazon was designed by Diamond, no surprise.
Diamondback created a lightweight fat bike with quality components and frame materials and can be ridden in the sand and snow if desired.
The bike has the same lightweight aluminum alloy you find on nearly all mid-range Diamondback bikes. This material is not only lightweight it is also durable and can withstand the impact of most bumps, crashes, and falls.
The bike has a RockShox Blunto suspension fork that has 100mm travel to give you enough absorption for whatever you bike through.
And, the bike comes with hydraulic disc brakes so you’ll be sure to brake in time no matter how fast you’re going on the bike.
What’s particularly unique about the bike is its clearance. It can accommodate up to 5-inch wide wheels and tires, which does add weight to the bike. But, you can always swap out different wheels if you want to add or subtract weight from the bike.
But, what keeps the weight down if you don’t want to change the wheels?
The bike has aluminum hydroformed tubing which keeps the bike and nimble to seem as if it’s floating over anything you’re riding on.
The bike has Shimano SLX M615 and Shimano Deore for the derailleurs that work with Raceface Ride cranks. The drivetrain is well equipped to handle your riding needs and the shifting is very smooth.
People who have bought the bike like it because of its tires and despite the look are very lightweight and durable. It can power through different terrains and surfaces such as snow and sand. It’s a real adventure bike that can be used for different types of mountain biking by simply swapping out the tires.
18. Best Mountain Bike for Kids : Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Huffy Kids Hardtail mountain bike is best for ages 5-9 and whose height ranges between 44-56 inches.
The bike is made with durable steel which will last a long time as your kid learns how to ride and bike and build up his or her skill on it.
For kids, the bike comes with a kilo 1200 suspension fork which can handle bumps in the sidewalks or trails and dips in the terrain. This will make for a smoother and more pleasant ride for kids. And, might even build up their love for the sport.
The bike has an indexed Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur which is combined with a microshift twist shifter that is easy for kids to use and understand how the gears work. The kids can go through 6-speeds for their sidewalk climbs and the trails they’ll eventually ride on.
The bike’s tires can comfortably be ridden on pavement, gravel and dirt alike and your child will develop an inkling to get on the bike and ride. The child can stop whenever it’s needed with the bike’s linear pull hand brakes. This system delivers consistent stopping power so kids won’t be afraid to pick up speed.
The geometry let’s kids sit upright on the bike so that they won’t get any back and shoulder pain while learning to ride.
Parents who have bought the bike like it because it’s a nice bike but not too nice that it would be stolen in the neighborhood. It works well once it’s assembled and the kids enjoy learning the joys of biking on it. One of the problems most parents ran into was putting the bike together. It’s advised to ship the bike to a bike store and pay them to assemble it. This ensures your kid will be safe on the bike.
19. Best Trail Mountain Bike: Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
The Schwinn High Timber mountain bike is our top bike for trail riding. It has a 24-29 inch frame with quality components for a smooth ride.
The mountain bike has a responsive handlebar which will help you maneuver on the trails and be ready for whatever bump or rock you’ll run over.
The bike has 21-gears for you to play with on the trails and this gives you a big range to suit going up and down any type of hill. The bike has a Shimano rear derailleur which gives you smooth shifting without any delays.
The shifters come with SRAM grip shifters so you can easily shift into whatever gear you need quickly. The derailleur and shifters are made with long-lasting materials so you can keep exploring the trails for years to come.
The bike has linear pull brakes that give riders the precise stopping power for both the front and rear.
The front suspension fork is made from SR Suntour M2000 which absorbs a lot of the shock from the trail’s bumps. This will make trail riding more enjoyable.
People who have bought the bike like it because it looks simple but adds a lot of punch with its components. It gives riders an adequate ride and they feel comfortable on the trails. Since it only has suspension in the front it’s not the best for learning how to ride downhill or do obstacles on.
20. Best Cross Country Mountain Bike : Hiland Aluminum Mountain Bike
The Highland Aluminum Mountain Bike is best used for entry-level cross country races. It can also be used as a commuter bike after you upgrade from this one.
The bike comes equipped with the Shimano 24-speed drivetrain system which gives you a lot of gears to play with. And, you’ll find the right gear combination for whatever situation you find yourself in on the cross country course.
And, for added control and speed confidence, the bike was built with a double disc braking system, which delivers a strong and consistent braking force. All with minimal finger effort. This means you can spend more time focusing on getting through the course quickly and efficiently.
If you decide to buy the bike from Amazon it comes 85% pre-assembled so it takes very little on your part to put it together. Having said that, it’s best to take the bike to your local bike store. There, they can do a final check to make sure the bike is safe to ride and that everything is working.
People who have bought the bike like it because it is light and serves well for their first couple seasons of cross country racing. The gear range and ratios are adequate and most can keep up with the back of the pack at least. And, all report that they never got stuck in the wrong gear. They love the disc brakes since they always know they can make a smooth stop even at high speeds.
21. Best Folding Mountain Bike : Kingttu KTG6 Folding Mountain Bike
If you’re a fan of mountain biking but want or need a bike that is more portable consider getting a folding bike.
This bike has dual suspensions and is lightweight and easy to move. And, still has the same strength as a full-sized bike. So you won’t have to worry about the bike not withstanding whatever you throw at it.
Not all folding mountain bikes have suspensions so if this one doesn’t work, you might need to look into speciality models.
However, most are happy with this bike and can take it on trails and some beginner cross country and obstacle courses. Since the bike is lower to the ground, some find it a good downhill or enduro bike to use as well.
The bike has a 21-speed Shimano derailleur with a reliable shifter so you won’t be stuck in the wrong gear going up or down a hill.
While some folding bikes come with small wheels, this one has 26-inch wheels so it folds out to be a full-sized mountain bike.
Lastly, the bike has disc brakes so you can go on all types of trails and be able to stop whenever you need or want to.
People who have bought the bike like it because it has full-sized wheels so they don’t need to buy new tubes or tires for flats and the dual suspensions make it easier and more comfortable to ride. The bike comes with a soft saddle whose height is easy to adjust and is easily removed for travel.
22. Best Single Speed Mountain Bike : State Bicycle Fixed Gear
The State bicycle fixed gear is a rigid mountain bike so it’s best used a commuter bike or taken on trails that have a paved path.
The flip flop hub is used so that you can switch between a fixed gear and a single-speed bike with coasting.
This will give you choices depending on what type of ride you’re doing and how comfortable you want to feel or how much effort you want to put into a ride.
The bike is made from steel which is durable and even comes with a 5-year warranty. The steel can be “thrown around” or beaten up and it won’t get damaged as much as a bike made from aluminum or carbon fiber.
People who have bought the bike like it because it’s a simple bike that is made from durable materials at a low-cost. Good for people living in cities or places where they can take slow leisurely bike rides.
Mountain Bike Gear
Besides the bike itself, you’ll need additional gear to ensure you can comfortably and safely do the sport.
A helmet is very important to wear not just for mountain biking but any time you decide to ride your bike.
A bike reduces the change of head injury such as concussion and can potentially save your life.
Generally, mountain bikes will have a visor to help keep the sun out when you’re riding between patches of the forest.
For downhill and obstacle courses, you’ll want to look for a helmet that looks like one that motorcyclists wear. This will help keep more of your head protected when you do crash.
Eye protection basically is some type of sunglass that can have tinted or clear lenses.
The sunglasses protect your eyes from debris, dirt, and bugs that could fly into your eyes. And it protects your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun.
Additionally, tinted glasses will reduce glare and help you see the trail and whatever obstacle is in front of you or one that you’re approaching.
Unlike road biking, it’s not always convenient to reach down for your water bottle when you’re on uneven terrain.
For this reason, we recommend buying a hydration pack at some point. This gives you a way to access water hands-free while you ride for hours on the trails.
Mountain biking is more demanding than road biking.
Your hands are absorbing most of the shocks of the bumps and obstacles you run into on a course and even if you’re just trail riding.
And when you do fall off your bike, your hands will take the most of the fall and impact of it.
It’s best to look for full fingered gloves for the most protection and better grip on the handle bars.
Padding Mountain Biking Shorts
The mountain bike shorts look different compared to road shorts.
These ones have chamois padding on the inside and compressive material so you won’t chafe. But, the outside looks like regular shorts with durable material that will make it through several falls and crashes.
You’ll get a flat at some point while you’re biking. In this case, it’s best to be prepared with all the essentials.
You’ll need at least a pair of tire levers, a spare tube, patch kit, carbon cartridges, and dispenser, or a mini bike pump. That would be your starter kit and other tools you can add along the way.
1. Where can I mountain bike?
You can bike wherever there are trails and obstacle courses. There are sometimes indoor courses you can go to. And, if you go to your local bike store, you can ask them where you can get started and if there are any beginner-friendly places to ride.
2. What skills are needed to mountain bike?
Generally, you’ll need to climb hills, deal with obstacles and shift gears. And, you’ll want to do it at higher speeds.
3. How can I prepare for obstacle courses?
With very little help, you should be able to do a bunny hop over small obstacles and if you’re stuck you can look up a video on YouTube. For small bumps and rocks, try to stay relaxed as you go over them. Otherwise, the impact of the bumps and jumps will be absorbed in your spine.
4. Do I need clipless pedals
Unless you’re riding cross country mountain bikes and compete regularly a regular shoe should be ok.
As long as you have a stiff shoe for maximum power transfer and a flat pedal, you’ll feel comfortable on the bike.
And, you’ll want flat pedals for trail and downhill riding since the last thing you’ll want is to be stuck to your bike going fast downhill.
5. Do I need everything on the gear list?
At first, you don’t need everything on the gear list. Stick to the essentials and you’ll be fine.
As you get more involved in the sport, you’ll be able to access whatadditional you need if any.
Conclusion: The Best Mountain Bike
After reviewing and researching so many bikes, which one is our favorite?
It’s hard to say because it depends on what type of bike you need and for what purpose.
However, it’s safe to say that any of the Diamondback bikes will be suitable. The company is easily found on Amazon for those who like to buy online. And, it’s a reputable brand with many different bikes to choose from.
I’m sure you’ll be able to find a bike from Diamondback to fit your biking needs.
Rebecca Friedberg graduated university with a degree in Classical languages (Greek/Latin) in 2017. She has traveled solo extensively and wrote two “How to” books with HowExpert and is published on Amazon.
Her other interests include triathlons, swimming, running, and cycling. She has been able to use her interests to help her find writing gigs through Upwork.
She currently writes for TriGearLab and Freshbikescycling as a ghost writer, which she enjoys.