The Best Mountain Bikes Reviewed
All of us remember when we were children and took our mountain bikes out to the local trails with our friends and explored while going up and down hills. Mountain bikes are all-terrain bicycles that can be used on the road or off-trail, which makes them highly versatile and extremely fun. Now if you are on the hunt for a quality mountain bike as you are done with solely road biking and want to take your next ride off-trail but do not know which mountain bike to take a closer look at, this guide is for you. We know a lot goes into picking a great mountain bike, so we have done the research and listed the top ten mountain bikes to get you ready to go off the trail this summer season.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
- Huffy Alpine
- Mongoose Juneau 26"
- Schwinn High Timber
- Beiou Carbon Fiber
- Mongoose Dolomite
- Mongoose Blackcomb
- Schwinn Sidewinder
- Diamondback Release Full Suspension
- Finiss Merax
- Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Mountain Bikes
1. Huffy Alpine
The bicycle could be more durable
The Huffy Alpine is a great bicycle for a beginner mountain biker. It is very affordable and provides you with a smooth ride and all the necessary suspension and gears to get you up and down hills without issue.Read more
This is one of the most affordable bikes on our list as it comes to you at a price of around $90. This is a great bike if you are just starting to get into mountain biking as it will give you a quality bike and not break the bank.
The bike has a basic design but gives you all the necessary components to hit the trails and get a quality mountain bike ride in.
This bicycle from Huffy has a frame made from durable steel to withstand anything that could occur to it while hitting the trails.
This bicycle has a great stylish finish, comfortable hand grips, and great suspension to ensure you have no issues and are not delayed while cruising off-road.
2. Mongoose Juneau 26"
All terrain bike
12 month/year bike
The seat could be more comfortable
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.Read more
This bicycle from Mongoose which is a great brand that produces quality mountain bikes comes to you at a fair price of $400.
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.
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.
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. 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.
3. Schwinn High Timber
Great gear system
The frame could be a bit bigger
This bicycle from Schwinn is a quality mountain bike that will not only get you where you want to go but also last many years to come with proper care. The Schwinn brand is known throughout the bicycle industry and for good reason.Read more
This mountain bike from Schwinn comes to you at a price of around $180, which is a steal for a quality mountain bike from Schwinn. If you are in the market and are looking for quality but also trying to stick to a budget, then take a closer look at this bicycle.
This bike is sleek and stylish and comes in five different colors and frame styles, so you should have no problem finding the perfect fit for you and your riding style.
This bicycle is made from a lightweight alloy which means you will be able to get up and down hills without issue. The gear system is also from Shimano which means you are getting some quality gears which will last you quite some time and hold up to the toughest treks.
Aside from being stylish, this bicycle comes with a great suspension and a Shimano gear system. Overall there are no extra fancy features, as this is just a tough rugged mountain bike.
4. Beiou Carbon Fiber
Quality and durable bicycle
This bicycle from Beiou is stylish and performs well. Its sleek design will not only have you riding up and down trails smoothly but also have you looking good while doing it.Read more
This bike is one of the most expensive on the list and that is because it is top of the line and comes with the top of the line gears, brakes, and frame.
This bicycle is a sleek, quality bicycle and comes with the top of the line Shimano gears which will ensure you have a smooth ride. This is a very expensive bike and with proper care, will last you many years.
This bicycle comes with top of the line Shimano gears for a smooth ride, a carbon fiber frame for max durability, and great suspension to ensure an even more comfortable ride while off-trail.
This bicycle comes equipped with a carbon fiber frame which means it is lightweight and will last many years no matter what you throw at it.
5. Mongoose Dolomite
Great uphill ride
Nice pedaling system
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.Read more
This bicycle will run you about $300 which is a great price for a quality bicycle and that is exactly what this is a quality bicycle. Not only is it built to last but also comes to you from a great brand.
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, it's 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.
This bicycle is known for its wider tires which will give you more grip and traction as you cruise off-road.
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 a 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.
6. Mongoose Blackcomb
Another great mountain bike from Mongoose, and if you are looking for a bike that has everything you need for mountain biking than this just may be the bike for you. Mongoose makes some great quality bicycles, and after seeing this bike in action, you will be glad you decided to go with it.Read more
This mountain bike comes with a higher price tag than some of the other bikes on our list, but for good reason. The durability alone, and the features that allow you to have a smooth ride justify the price and most likely this will be one of the last mountain bikes you will ever need to purchase.
This mountain bike looks like your standard 24-speed mountain bike. It has a great shock system to ensure you get the proper suspension and support as you cruise up and down hills. It is sleek black and looks great.
This bicycles frame is made from an alloy which means it will be lightweight, which is exactly what you want in a mountain bike as you do not want something weighing you down. The gears are made from Shimano, so you know you are getting quality and will have a smooth ride.
This mountain bike from Mongoose comes with a 24-speed gear system to ensure the smoothest ride. It also has a cushioned seat which is detached from the bottom part of the frame to give you extra suspension as if you have ever been mountain biking before, know it can be a bumpy ride.
7. Schwinn Sidewinder
The seat could be more comfortable
Another great mountain bicycle from Schwinn. The Schwinn Sidewinder is a basic mountain bike which is affordable if you are looking for a mountain bike that won't break the bank. It rides smooth and looks stylish.Read more
This bike is quite affordable as it comes in with a price tag of $180. For a Schwinn bike, this price is great if you are looking for your first mountain bike.
This Schwinn bike is a basic design and has a 26" frame.
This bicycle is made from a lightweight allow frame which is great when trekking up and down hills. It also comes with Shimano gears which mean you will have no issues cruising off-trail smoothly.
This bicycle has not extra notable features. It is quite basic but will be all you need for a smooth mountain trail.
8. Diamondback Release Full Suspension
Nice suspension system
Built for tough trails and long rides
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.Read more
This bicycle is one of the most expensive on our list and is recommended for die-hard cyclists that will be cycling every day and want a quality bicycle that is top of the line.
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.
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.
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.
9. Finiss Merax
Not a lot of features
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.Read more
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. 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.
This bicycle is sleek and made specifically for mountain biking. It feels comfortable while you cruise up and down the hills while biking off-trail.
This bike has an aluminum frame for a lightweight feel.
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. 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.
10. Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29
Great uphill performance
Only has front suspension
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.Read more
This bicycle is a little steep on the price tag but for good reason. It comes in at $500 but is jam-packed with quality and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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 mountain biking is 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.
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.
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, 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 are most commonly used in the production process of mountain bikes. Aluminum is an 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 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.
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
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 peddling system.
When looking for a bicycle to start your mountain biking career, not only look for a quality and durable bike. Also, make sure it is comfortable and the way to do this is to check the customer reviews to see how it rode for other customers that decided to go ahead with this bike.
Other Factors to Consider
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 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?
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 when 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 when 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?
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 with 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?
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?
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?
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.