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The Best Mountain Bikes Reviewed

last updated Dec 05, 2018

Mountain biking is a thrilling sport which can cause an adrenaline rush through your body and allow you to play with the natural kinetic laws. However, choosing the best mountain bike for your needs is rather difficult and it is something that requires a lot of research and knowledge. Mountain bikes have a complex construction and design and their components are very important to their travel performance. For this reason, we have conducted extensive market research on the subject and made your task a bit easier by making a complete guide with the most important information included.

Researched Sources
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Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
11
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for mountain bikes has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products to help offer different features and makes to allow you the ability to choose something that will work for you. A great mountain bike we recommend to check out is the GHOST RIOT LC 8 27.5. We love this bike because it has a great suspension and has a smooth pedaling system.

Sorting Options
Value Style Materials Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.5
Value
98%
Style
97%
Materials
98%
Features
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Value
95%
Style
96%
Materials
96%
Features
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$254.99
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Value
92%
Style
93%
Features
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$3,862.93
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Value
90%
Style
91%
Materials
90%
Features
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Value
89%
Style
88%
Materials
87%
Features
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$573.87
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Value
87%
Style
86%
Materials
87%
Features
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$359.99
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Value
84%
Style
86%
Materials
85%
Features
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$499.99
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
Value
82%
Style
83%
Materials
82%
Features
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$199.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.5
Value
80%
Style
81%
Materials
80%
Features
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$299.99
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.3
Value
78%
Style
79%
Materials
78%
Features
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$313.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • GHOST RIOT LC 8 27.5
  • Mongoose Dolomite
  • Diamondback Release Full Suspension
  • Vilano Blackjack
  • Cannondale Trail 4
  • Mongoose Juneau 26"
  • Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29
  • Finiss Merax
  • Nashbar AT1
  • GMC Topkick Dual Suspension
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. GHOST RIOT LC 8 27.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.5
GHOST RIOT LC 8 27.5
Value
98
Style
97
Materials
98
Features
97
best offer for today
Pros:
  • Great derailleur system
  • Smooth pedaling system
  • Good suspension
Cons:
  • Convenient for moderate trails only
  • Price

The Ghost Riot is a high-quality mountain bike of the aggressive type it is attractive as a product. This is a bike is constructed for moderate trails and not steep terrains. However, if you want to take it on an extreme ride every once in a while, it could definitely take the challenge. It is the perfect match with local mountain trails that will provide you with all the fun you need!

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Speed: If you check the components of the Ghost mountain bike, you will notice that they are all made from top manufacturers, including the pedaling system. This suggests that your uphill ride will be as fun as the descending part. It uses Shimano derailleurs which is the best supplier of cogs and pedaling system components. And since the suspension system is making the ride comfortable and secure, there is no need to slow down when descending as well.

Suspension system: The main frame is made from carbon fibers material which is great for absorbing shock and vibrations. There is also a Riot system that is responsible for compressing the shocks that come to the rear. The front suspension system is composed of a Rock Pike Dual fork which allows the user to adjust the travel settings for climbing and descending in order to optimize the travel performance. Overall, it has a great suspension that will save you from the minor bumps on the trail; however, it is not built to endure larger rocks. If a situation such as this occurs it might not feel as pleasant as other downhill top performers.

Climbing and downhill performance: This shifting through the gears is required for less steeper terrains and the Ghost has a Shimano shifting system that consists of 22 gears. It operates very smoothly and it provides the user excellent climbing and descending experience. However, the Ghost is not a mountain bike that is designed for steeper terrains and you could feel this if you decide to challenge it on such way. The brakes are of course hydraulic discs which allow you to instantly decrease the speed. However, one should be careful when using them since you can easily be tossed off the bike if your speed is too high.

Pedaling and tires: The wheels are 27.5, easily maneuverable and they provide the user an option of gaining speed very fast. Although the pedaling system is not to be compared with the Pivot’s, it performs rather well and it can assist you in conquering those hills more easily. The tires are made for harsh weather conditions and muddy areas. Although they perform well on small rock terrains, they have a hard time maintaining balance when the rocks are larger. REI is an exclusive distributor of the Ghost bikes and they have an excellent customer service system and warranty tune-ups which is certainly a plus.

2. Mongoose Dolomite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Mongoose Dolomite
Value
95
Style
96
Materials
96
Features
95
best offer for today
$254.99
Pros:
  • Great uphill ride
  • Nice pedaling system
  • Great suspension
Cons:
  • Price
  • The descending performance doesn't match its uphill ride

The Mongoose Dolomite is a bit pricey for a mountain bike option, but it is a solid performer on downhill terrains. However, in more intense descents it tends to have a lower score. It has fat tires that are 18 inches thick. This makes it great for the smoother sections which classify the Mongoose Dolomite as a top performer in racier trail sections. Even on smoother trails, they tend to perform more efficient than many competitive wheelset models. These tires will improve the overall performance and make it ever greater crossover bike that makes to every biker’s wish list.

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Speed: Although the speed depends on many factors, it is undeniable that the Mongoose Dolomite has a smooth uphill ride. It will definitely challenge you to think fast in order to avoid obstacles since it rolls very fast. However, its downhill possibilities do not match the uphill ones. Even though it is fast, it is not as smooth when descending. The speed though, is not something that it lacks if you manage to stay on the saddle. Although the entire construction is built to help you conquer that hill, when descending, you will absolutely be using the brakes more than you wish. Because of this, we recommend the Mongoose Dolomite as a great uphill performer that will share the pain with you, however; it is too aggressive when descending and this is something to be considered before purchase.

Suspension system: Trail biking requires an excellent suspension system that will absorb most of the shock and leave you enjoying the ride. The Mongoose Dolomite has a specific design that is low volume which means that on first sight, the suspension system doesn’t seem much. However, it is particularly important that the Mongoose Dolomite doesn’t bottom out, which happens to the best trail bike designs. Although it will definitely allow you to feel the bumpy road, it will endure the big hits bravely and it will not let you down. That said, the Mongoose Dolomite is not very well known for standing up to small rocks and bumps on the road. In fact, even small rocks put it into the temptation of deflecting the front wheel, which could result in not so pleasant ride. The front suspension though, the fork, is very well designed and its performance is as effective. The rear and front are also very well aligned which feels like an important feature on the trail.

Climbing and downhill performance: The uphill performance is praised previously in the speed section and the downhill performance could only be rated as a bit aggressive. However, what gives you a great riding performance is the confidence you have in your bike on corners. That said, if the terrain is smooth, the Mongoose Dolomite will provide you the confidence in the corners, although not as much as some competitive models with a bit of a higher price. The cornering knobs on the Mongoose Dolomite’s tires are large enough to keep you stable on the steeps and corners, however, larger ones will absolutely keep your hands of the brakes for a longer time. For this reason, it is safe to assume that this is a great bike made for moderate trails instead of hay wiring it downhill.

Pedaling: Although most trails bikes prefer that you treat it with a steady pace, the Mongoose Dolomite doesn’t mind starting and stopping more often. What makes it a great climber is the pedaling system which is specifically designed for a fast transfer of power to the gear with much less effort comparing to other competitive trail bikes. The seat tube angle is also adjusted well for pedaling and it allows you to climb extreme terrains with ease. Since a trail is made from bumps and rocky terrain, it is important for a bike not to sag when they get on your trail. The Mongoose Dolomite is made for such terrains and it handles these slight obstacles with ease. All in all, it is a bike made for climbing and because of this, its most efficient feature is the pedaling power transfer platform which is indeed impressive!

3. Diamondback Release Full Suspension

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Diamondback Release Full Suspension
Value
92
Style
93
Features
93
best offer for today
$3,862.93
Pros:
  • Great front end
  • Nice suspension system
  • Rugged tires
  • Built for tough trails and long rides
Cons:
  • Expensive

The Diamondback Release Full Suspension Bike has been created to offer you a mountain bike that rides as hard as you do. It boasts stability during speed, quick cornering, and an excellent ability to climb.

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The Diamondback Release Full Suspension's frame is made of quality hydroformed aluminum. This make-up of the bike means that it is not only lightweight, but it is also durable. You can hit trails at speeds without worrying about a heavy bike weighing you down.

Along with this, it has a level link suspension system that means it remains stable on any terrain and that it won't become abrasive as you glide over rocky, muddy, or up and down pathways. The suspension system also means that at a high speed, the bike will remain stable. The link configuration works by separating your trail and pedal inputs.

The wide handlebars and 150mm fork make-up a dialed in front end. You can easily dive into different trail sections with complete confidence and control.

The wheels are brand new to the Diamondback bikes, and they offer substantial trail grip. In short, this bike has been created to ride tough trails all day with complete worry free performance.

4. Vilano Blackjack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Vilano Blackjack
Value
90
Style
91
Materials
90
Features
90
best offer for today
Pros:
  • Great downhill performance
  • Excellent traction
  • Affordable price
Cons:
  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Low pedal quality

The Vilano Blackjack is a hardtail mountain bike which means it is a lot lighter than the full suspensions ones that are more for stability purposes. Its price is lower than other compared models but it doesn’t lack quality. The design is perfect for moderate trails and it provides the user a great comfort.

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Suspension system: The bike has a front suspension system only which makes it suitable for usage in milder trails rather than more extreme ones. For this reason, it is best to avoid larger rocks since bigger impacts could cause loss of balance.

Climbing and downhill performance: The Vilano Blackjack features an aluminum frame that can absorb part of the impact and it will your ride smoother than competitive models from this price range. The bike is quite stable on corners, although it is not the ideal choice for rough terrains.

Pedaling and brakes: The pedaling system makes the Vilano Blackjack a great climber and its weight adds to this feature. It is also suitable for carrying weight on it, both downhill and climbing. Even though the pedaling platform is quite comfortable, it does not feel light to the feet. Nevertheless, you will be able to build downhill speed with it with ease and keep the climbing fun.

5. Cannondale Trail 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Cannondale Trail 4
Value
89
Style
88
Materials
87
Features
88
best offer for today
$573.87
Pros:
  • Price
  • High quality frame
  • Stable
Cons:
  • Front suspension only
  • Heavy pedaling system

 

The Diamondback Overdrive is a hardtail mountain bike and it is the perfect option for climbing hills. It has all the features of a natural climber. It is lightweight, suitable for riders of any skill level and it comes at an affordable price.

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Suspension system: The suspension system consists of a front fork RockShox which absorbs the impact and allows the user to face smaller rocks without any discomfort. However, there is no rear suspension system, although this is the practice for all lightweight hardtail bike designs.

Climbing and downhill performance: The Diamondback bike comes with an aluminum frame which is responsible for its lightweight design. This improves its downhill performance since a lighter bike could stop faster and more efficient. However, this also decreases its downhill speed which is much higher in heavier bikes. Nevertheless, the Diamondback is made for climbing.

Pedaling and brakes: The pedaling and braking systems are extremely durable and they are manufactured with the well-established Shimano brand. The gear shifting is smooth and it performs well in all weather conditions. The braking system uses hydraulic disc brakes and they are able to stop the bike from moving even on rainy weather.

Additional features: The tires are a bit larger than average, which enables the rider to handle the obstacles on the road with ease and without losing his or her stability. It has a relatively lower price than competitive models with the same features, although it has high-quality parts.

6. Mongoose Juneau 26"

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Mongoose Juneau 26"
Value
87
Style
86
Materials
87
Features
86
best offer for today
$359.99
Pros:
  • All terrain bike
  • 12 month/year bike
  • Great climber
  • Excellent stability
Cons:
  • No suspension
  • Uncomfortable seat

The Mongoose Juneau 26" is a fat bike that you will be able to ride 12 months per year. It is the type of mountain bike that you would enjoy if you don’t mind riding on the snow or to places unsuitable for bikes. You could go through dirt and mud with it. Also, you could even ride it through sand and shorelines. This all terrain bike will allow you to ride anywhere and anytime.

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The Mongoose Juneau 26" is a fat bike that you will be able to ride 12 months per year. It is the type of mountain bike that you would enjoy if you don’t mind riding on the snow or to places unsuitable for bikes. You could go through dirt and mud with it. Also, you could even ride it through sand and shorelines. This all terrain bike will allow you to ride anywhere and anytime.
Suspension system: Even though the bike excels in performance on rough terrains and is able to go on unapproachable by other bikes locations, it does not come with a suspension. However, it is a fat bike and most models come without any suspension, so this is hardly considered a downside.
Climbing and downhill performance: This Mongoose Juneau mountain bike comes with a new and improved frame and the main difference is in the angle of the tubes. This new design has a frame made out of carbon and it is much more spacious than the previous version.
Pedaling and brakes: The riding is exceptionally smooth, and the stopping immediate. The Mongoose Juneau features a hydraulic brake system and SRAM pedaling system parts. It is important to mention that the pedals are sold separately which you should include in the price.
Additional Features: The Mongoose Juneau is a natural climber with extra wide tires that makes riding through rocks extremely easy. However, this significantly decreases the speed of your bike since the traction is much better. Even though it performs great on snow, the ice patches could give you a bit of a hard time, so it is recommended that you pay special attention to them.

7. Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29
Value
84
Style
86
Materials
85
Features
85
best offer for today
$499.99
Pros:
  • Wide tires
  • Great uphill performance
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Front suspension only
  • Lower speed

The Diamondback Overdrive is a hardtail mountain bike and it is the perfect option for climbing hills. It has all the features of a natural climber. It is lightweight, suitable for riders of any skill level and it comes at an affordable price.

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Suspension system

The suspension system consists of a front fork RockShox which absorbs the impacts and allows the user to face smaller rocks without any discomfort. However, there is no rear suspension system, although this is the practice for all lightweight hardtail bike designs.

Climbing and downhill performance

The Diamondback bike comes with an aluminum frame which is responsible for its lightweight design. This improves its downhill performance since a lighter bike could stop faster and more efficient. However, this also decreases its downhill speed which is much higher in heavier bikes. Nevertheless the Diamonback is made for climbing.

Pedaling and brakes

The pedaling and braking systems are extremely durable and they are manufactured with the well established Shimano brand. The gear shifting is smooth and it performs well in all weather conditions. The braking system uses hydraulic disc brakes and they are able to stop the bike from moving even on rainy weather.

Additional features

The tires are a bit larger than average, which enables the rider to handle the obstacles on the road with ease and without losing his stability. It has a relatively lower price than competitive models with the same features, although it has high-quality parts.

8. Finiss Merax

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
Finiss Merax
Value
82
Style
83
Materials
82
Features
83
best offer for today
$199.99
Pros:
  • Affordable

  • Easy to use

  • Decent quality for the price

Cons:
  • Not a lot of features

  • Not as durable as other options

If you’re looking for a good performing bike on a budget, then you might want to consider the Finiss Merax, which offers a lot of bang for your buck. It’s not the most durable bike, but if you are just starting out or need a bike on a budget, you’ll love this option.

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Suspension system: The suspension system on the Finiss Merax features a front shock absorber, which can be upgraded as needed. The bike is built to handle about 200 pounds, so if you are heavier, you might need to consider making some adjustments.
Climbing and downhill performance: This bike performs decently with climbs and downhill performance, especially for the price. It’s not as heavy duty as some other options on our list, but that’s primarily because it’s built to keep costs down.
Pedaling and brakes: The pedaling and brake system on this bike are both average, and certainly nothing fancy. However, again, for the price range, this bike will bring you good performance.
Additional features: For its price, it provides decent performance and good quality overall as a bike. However, there is nothing too fancy about this bike, and you won’t find many extra features with it.

9. Nashbar AT1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.5
Nashbar AT1
Value
80
Style
81
Materials
80
Features
81
best offer for today
$299.99
Pros:

Affordable

Good design for the price

Nice shock system

Cons:

Low-quality components

Can feel cheap

The Nashbar AT1 offers you another great option if you are looking for a decent mountain bike on a budget. It’s one of the best mountain bikes you’ll find in this price range, and it can deliver the performance you need on the trails.

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Suspension system: The suspension system designed into this bike is great for people that are just starting out, and comes with an oil-shock system that can help you when the trail gets uneven. Also, the shock system can be switched off when you don’t need it.
Climbing and downhill performance: You’ll get decent climbing and downhill performance with this bike. If you’re new to mountain biking, you’ll love how easy the bike is to use whenever you need to go up or down a hill.
Pedaling and brakes: This bike is designed with some components that are a bit on the low-quality side, but that is mainly because of the price. The pedals and brakes on this bike are still very durable, however, and this bike will perform well for a long time.
Additional features: For its price, this mountain bike offers 24-speeds, which makes it one of the only bikes in this price range that does that. However, other than that, there aren’t a lot of additional features because this bike is manufactured to be cost effective.

10. GMC Topkick Dual Suspension

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.3
GMC Topkick Dual Suspension
Value
78
Style
79
Materials
78
Features
78
best offer for today
$313.99
Pros:

Affordable

Good design for the price

Good brakes

Cons:

Could be more durable

Can feel heavy

Another affordable bike comes from GMC their Topkick Dual Suspension mountain bike. This bike is manufactured to be affordable, and also does a great job of performing well on both dirt and snow.

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Suspension system: The suspension system on this bike is impressive for the price, and it comes with a Shimano Revo 7 speed shifter. You also get a Tourney rear derailleur to give you more shift options if you need it.
Climbing and downhill performance: The GMC Topkick Dual Suspension performs well on both uphill and downhill rides. This bike can handle both the dirt and snow pretty wasily.
Pedaling and brakes: The GMC Topkick Dual Suspension is designed with mechanical disc brakes, which can make you use more energy and power to stop, but they perform better than V-brakes. Plus, the pedals are durable and perform well.
Additional features: This bike comes with a lightweight aluminum frame and 26”x4” tires that have 4” aluminum rims. This bike doesn’t offer too many additional features, but it is a nice choice for its price.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Value

Even though this is not a bike feature, it is important that you consider it since the prices of the mountain bikes vary from 500 dollars to 10.000 dollars. In our suggestion list, we have included mountain bikes from the affordable price range, that is below 5000 dollars, but there are also some that cost below 1000 dollars. However, the price is directly correlated with the level of your biking experience.

If you are a beginner, there is no point of getting a 5000 dollars bike because you are probably not going to take it to the limits. If you have been doing this for a while though, you probably want to have a reliable product and every little difference between models will be a big deal for you. That said, before even thinking about purchasing a mountain bike, it is important that you set your budget. When deciding the budget, it is important to consider the additional equipment that is a necessary part of this sport. It is essential that you purchase your own apparel, gloves, and helmet.

Since you are doing budget calculations, it is important to mention that mountain bikes require maintenance. In fact, you would probably have to change the tires, maybe even the brakes, some of the chain etc. All in all, the yearly maintenance budget should cost you no less than 100 dollars. However, there are some bikers that are pretty handy and have learned to change the parts by themselves.

Style

You have already decided that you want a mountain bike. However, there are various types of mountain bikes and they are all built for different purposes. You should choose the type of bike that will meet your needs. If you don’t know which type of mountain bike you prefer, it might be better to postpone the purchase and make a small research on the trails around you and the terrains, so that you get an idea of your personal preferences.

That said, there are cross-country mountain bikes that are lightweight bikes that are mostly used for moderate trails. They are quite rigid and they are intended for mild corner angles and not so steep terrains.

Hardtail and full-suspension bikes – are also types of bikes that we have explained before in the suspension section. These types of bikes are used for bumpy and rocky terrains.

Downhill bikes – are a bit more expensive than the previously mentioned models and they have elements that are of high quality. Even though part of the mountain biking is the climbing, the downhill ride is the main reason people get addicted to this sport. Downhill mountain bikes come with extra suspension, high-quality brakes and a bit of danger.

Freeride bikes – are the universal bikes that could be used for any terrain type. This is a very versatile type of bike that is equipped to handle any terrain and situation. However, its features are all moderate. This means that you won’t be getting the highest brakes quality or the best suspension, but you will be getting a mediocre quality of every feature. This is the perfect type of bike for beginners that have not figured out their type of trail. Usually, this is a temporary bike that once a certain level is reached, bikers tend to exchange it for another type.

Materials

The frame of a mountain bike affects its weight and the overall quality of the product. However, it also affects the price since lighter materials tend to come at a higher price than heavier ones. This considered, there are four different types of frames you could choose from.

Steel frame
Although it seems unbelievable, there are still bikes that are manufactured with steel frames. This is a tough but very heavy material that is replaced over the ages with more effective materials. Steel frame mountain bikes are significantly cheaper than other materials, but they are also more difficult to transport and maneuver.

Titanium frames
Titanium, as you might already know, is not a cheap material, but it is also a high-quality material. For this reason, it is used in the production of the highest quality mountain bikes. It features durability and it is even lighter than aluminum. However, getting a titanium mountain bike online is a bit tricky and if you do so, it is recommended that you choose a reliable company known for its quality work. Titanium is a material which is pretty difficult to shape. For this reason, there are many poorly made frames that are not as durable as the material itself.

Aluminum frames
Aluminum frames are most commonly used in the production process of mountain bikes. Aluminum is extremely strong material that is also lightweight, and it has become cheaper over the years. Aluminum frames are good for every type of mountain bikes because this type of frames is making the vibration conduction better; therefore, the ride is more comfortable and less bumpy.

Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber is a material right next to the titanium both in quality and price. However, in order to get this kind of frame you should be a professional biker, or be ready to invest a couple of thousands of dollars in a mountain bike. Carbon fiber frames have statistically lowest chances of breaking, even though it is not impossible, it is very difficult to break them. For this reason, if you have the choice between a carbon fiber frame and any other material, it is recommended that you choose it because it exceeds in performance.

Features

The choice of tires depends on the trail. A mountain bike which is ridden on smoother terrains such as leaves and mud should have knobbier tires in order for the knobs to provide better traction. However, if you ride this bike on regular terrains, it will cause you to lose more energy and have a lower speed. Smooth tires on the other side are not convenient for use on mountain trails since they provide less vibration, therefore less rolling resistance. Although this might seem tempting because it creates that you get a higher speed, it is not safe to have smooth tires on a mountain bike.

However, there are tires that are perfect for beginners since they have the advantages of both tire types. They are called hybrid tires and they can be used for all terrains, without having to change them all the time. This type of tires could be recognized by their smooth center and treads on the sides of the tires. Nevertheless, this type of tires usually comes with the bike and they cannot be changed since they also require different types of wheels.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
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Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
1
Features
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2
Materials
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Style
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Value
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Performance is important

It is not possible to choose the best components of a mountain bike and expect to find such a model. There are simply too many features and components and they all vary in quality and price. Even if you do manage to find your perfect bike, it certainly will not come at the expected price. For this reason, it is better that you inform yourself about all of the components a mountain bike has and their quality and focus on a few of them. For instance, if your favorite part of the mountain biking is climbing you should probably focus on the paddling system.

That said, there are many components that affect the quality of performance of a mountain bike such as brakes, tires, wheels, derailleurs and many others. Wheels for instance mostly come in two variations such as steel ones that are used in cheaper versions and aluminum ones that are used in the more expensive ones. Needless to say, aluminum ones are more durable and much lighter than steel.

Other Factors to Consider

Effectiveness

Closely connected to the uphill and downhill performance are the speeds of a mountain bike. Although most people prefer bikes with more speeds, in this case, more is not always better. In order to better understand this feature, it is important to know that the low gear gives you the torque that is required in order to climb to a steeper terrain. A high gear on the other side is allowing the user to get a higher speed on smoother roads.

Taking this into consideration it is pretty clear that the climbers should focus on the low gears and the adrenaline addicts on the higher gears. Understanding this will allow you to choose a specific range instead of simply looking for more speed. This might significantly eliminate some pricier choices since you would be focusing on a smaller range of choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What size frame will I need?
a:

The same way you are choosing a bike that is specifically designed for mountain ride, it is important to be familiar with the fitting basics before purchasing a bike for you. If it fits you right, the ride will be easier and you will enjoy it. A proper bike fitting is important for every type of bike, but for a mountain bike, it is necessary. A proper fit will give you greater confidence out on the trail and it will improve your riding skills. What’s more, if you don’t get the frame size of a mountain bike, it will never feel comfortable, no matter if you make adjustments or not. For this reason, it is important to choose the right fit.

Mountain bikes come in three sizes that are directly correlated to your height. If you are not sure which size you need, you can also contact the distributor or manufacturer. And if by any reason, you don’t get the size right, it is better that the frame is smaller rather than bigger. Adjustments could be made to a smaller frame, but a larger frame will simply feel uncomfortable all the time. Indicators that influence which size you will choose are the height of the seat, the length of the top frame tube, the standover height and the reach. As you’ll see, your height is the only variable that will solve the equation. That said, in addition, there are some guidelines that will help you choose your perfect bike frame fit that you can feel comfortable with:

If you are not sure which size you need, you can also contact the distributor or manufacturer. And if by any reason, you don’t get the size right, it is better that the frame is smaller rather than bigger. Adjustments could be made to a smaller frame, but a larger frame will simply feel uncomfortable all the time. Indicators that influence which size you will choose are the seat height, the top tube length, the standover height and the reach. As you can see, your height is the only variable that will solve the equation. That said, in addition, there are some guidelines that will help you choose your perfect bike frame fit that you can feel comfortable with:

XS – 13?-14?: For heights between 5? and 5? 4?
S -Bike size 14?-16?: For heights between 5? 4? and 5? 7?
M – Bike size 16?-18?: For heights between 5? 7? and 5? 10?
L – Bike size 18?-20?: For heights between 5? 10? and 6? 1?
XL – Bike size 20?-22?: For heights over 6? 1?

q: How to choose mountain bike tires?
a:

This is obviously not a beginners’ question since your first bike should definitely come with tires. However, there is no fault in knowing how to choose tires for your mountain bike. Traction is, of course, the most important feature when it comes to choosing a new set of tires. It will bring you more confidence on the trail and greater safety, although safety is not guaranteed in this sport. Although greater traction is better for the “safe riders”, the ones that require speed might want to leave aside this feature in order to get a greater rolling.

The weight of the tires is just a small percentage of the weight of the entire bike. However, saving some weight on the tires could leave you with some benefits. The size of the tires is also important. Wider tires will be heavier, but they will provide the user greater traction if he chooses to focus on this element. Wider tires also mean a more comfortable ride because they absorb part of the shock the rocky terrain is causing. If you choose to go with wider tires, make sure you check the compatibility with your frame since this is something that might represent an issue.

Even though there are as many benefits as downsides for going tubeless, the fact remains that it will nearly solve the flat tire issues. Even though these situations will continue to occur, they will be much less frequent and annoying than previously. Going tubeless will also lower the pressure inside the tire which will absorb the impacts up to some point and it will provide you a smoother ride that will feel more comfortable on rocky trails.

That said, for mountain biking, it is recommended that you get tires with moderate traction and speed. Although the climbing part is just as important, the descending is what’s driving the focus on mountain biking. For this reason, you will need tires that grip well on the trail and that could endure impacts. Descending could start with a moderate speed and end up with a high speed which is why this feature is necessary but often underestimated.

q: Which mountain bike is best for beginners?
a:

In order to decide which model of bike is best for your new sports interest, it is important that you know the terrain that you are going to ride on. Even if you have already decided that you are going to be a mountain biker, there are still additional questions correlated with the steepness of the trail, the corner angles, ground texture, whether it is rocky, grassy terrain or ground. Each one of these terrains requires different bike features. Even though you can get a universal one that will work just fine, if you want to get the best of the product, it should be carefully selected.

That said, the most important thing, which is universal for all mountain trails, is the back suspension. It is something that could not be compromised since it provides the comfort of the ride. The back suspension is called hardtail, while the front suspension is a feature which is common in almost every mountain bike on the market. A mountain bike with a nice hardtail suspension will be the obvious choice for every beginner. These types of bikes are easier to maintain, they are much lighter and they perform very well in most mountain trail types. However, the most important feature that many beginners get wrong is the size of the frame. However, we have explained that in the previous question and if you are one, make sure you read it and choose your size accordingly.

q: Will a mountain bike fit in my car?
a:

This might seem surprising for some bikers, but every beginner biker is wondering this question at some point. Once you have chosen the right mountain bike model, the question remains how you will transport it to your favorite location in order to take it for a ride.

Not everyone is fortunate enough for his favorite mountain trail to be reachable without additional transportation. For this reason, it is important that you know that with minimal dissembling of your mountain bike, you could be able to fit it in your trunk but only if you fold down the seat. The other option of transporting it, which you might already know is by purchasing add-ons and attaching them to the outside of your car.

The options for add-ons are numerous and they all have their own downsides and advantages. However, if you wish to ignore this more expensive option you could simply disassemble the front wheel and your bike will be able to fit inside your car without additional elements. Nevertheless, this option of transport is not very convenient since it takes up your whole trunk and you won’t have space for anything else. Although, it is great that your bike will be as safe as it possibly can be. However, it takes more time to load it and unload it since you have to disassemble and reassemble the wheel every time you want to transport it anywhere.

q: What are important factors about the seat of my bike?
a:

It is logical that when you are performing an activity as intensive as riding a bike on a mountain trail, a comfortable seat is not your first feature you should focus on. However, if you are doubting between options, a feature such as this one might help the decision. When it comes to seats, the general rule applies that if the seat is lighter; it is not the most comfortable one. You also should not choose a seat that is too wide since it would be too comfortable for seating, but not so much for riding. Nevertheless, if you don’t like the seat that comes with your mountain bike, you could always order a new one and change it.

Sources

  1. Bicycle Guider, Best Mountain Bikes Under $500, Informational Outdoor Website, Sep 18, 2017
  2. REI, How To Choose Mountain Bikes, Informational Outdoor Website, Aug 17, 2017
  3. Whit Yost, The 2017 Mountain Bike Buyer's Guide, Informational Outdoor Website, Jun 11, 2017