14 Best Mountain Bikes – Outstanding Models for Any Preference and Budget (Fall 2022)

We'll guide you through all the types of mountain bikes, from XC to enduro to downhill, or even electric models.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 06, 2022
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Many off-road riders often ask: what is the best mountain bike? This question is practically impossible to answer – it all depends on what type of mountain bike you are looking for.

Anyone looking for a new bike for the bike park will not be happy with a cross country bike. The reverse also applies; if you want to have a lot of fun on easy forest trails or get from A to B as quickly as possible, you should stay away from a downhill bike. The ideal mountain bike is what best suits your needs so you can have as much fun on the trails as possible. In this article, we’ll help everyone interested in a mountain bike find their ultimate model, from fat bikes to electric, trail, Enduro, all-terrain, and more. We cover crucial features of each, such as frame size and material, the type and size of wheels and tires, brakes system and suspension, that make a particular bike suitable for your needs. We’ll also give you general information and tips to watch out for while purchasing.

Top 14 Mountain Bikes Review 2022

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1
Editor’s Choice

Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike

Features
  • Frame size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: MultiTrac (full)
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.5″
  • Brakes type: hydraulic disc

More features: 12-speed drivetrain; tubeless-ready rims and tires

The Rift Zone 2 is without a doubt our overall best mountain bike on the market. It is the 29er version of the Bicycling Editor’s Choice Award-winning Marin Hawk Hill bike. We love this bike because of its quality construction, contemporary geometry, and fantastic price.

The Rift Zone 2 has larger wheels, which roll more easily over rocks and other mountainside features and provide some stability. With 120 mm of travel, it is great for road trips, especially in technical terrain. It can work for light racing and is fast on any path that doesn’t need a lot of suspensions.

There are 3 members in the Rift Zone lineup: the top-of-the-line Rift Zone 3, which features upgraded RockShox suspension, a better Shimano derailleur, and brakes. It has the exact TranzX dropper, and rims like you can find in the Rift Zone 2. And the low end, Rift Zone 1, also has a Recon fork from the Rift Zone two.

A dropper post, 1x drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels are all in the Rift Zone. It has a TranzX dropper that is easy and simple to use. The Shimano brakes give you responsive stopping power. The derailleur and SRAM NX 1x shifter along with the FSA Comet chainring and Sunrace 11-speed cassette deliver a high-value drivetrain with a single ring and a few gaps between gears, for a smoother ride.

Marin even provided it with the perfect geometry. The bike has a low bottom bracket with a mid-length wheelbase that makes it surefooted. The 67.5° head tube angle looks snug enough to make the bike more lively. Its 75° seat tube works with low reach to keep your weight between the wheels when grinding up a climb or leaning over rolling shapes.

What makes it stand out?

  • The aluminum frame is strong, light and keeps costs down
  • The TranzX dropper is smooth and simple to use.
  • It has a modern geometry that keeps the rider's weight balanced
  • Huge Marin aluminum wheels roll easier over rocks

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • The brake levers are oddly shaped
  • A Shimano chain and crank could have been included
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2
Best Hardtail Mountain Bike

Santa Cruz Chameleon MX D

Features
  • Frame size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: hardtail
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.5″
  • Brakes type: 4-piston hydraulic

More features: SRAM drivetrain; RockShox suspension; chainstay protection included; lifetime warranty on frame

The new Santa Cruz Chameleon MX D is the 8th Chameleon by Santa Cruz! After 6 aluminum versions, the 7th was in carbon. Well, the 8th returns in aluminum with a largely reworked geometry: more modern, in tune with the times, it is longer, lower, and slacker, as they say: longer reach, more lying head angle at 65.5°, etc.

Available in full 29″, it promises to be a major competitor in the world of semi-rigid, especially against the Canyon Stoic. Although, this new Chameleon can be adjusted as there are fixing points under the diagonal tube. The possibility of being mounted either in singlespeed, or with a derailleur so that those who wish to use it for something else can adapt it to the best!

On the practical side, the Chameleon retains all the accessories that have contributed to its success: interchangeable rear dropouts to change wheel size or switch to single-speed, three inserts under the diagonal tube, and the bottle cage holder in the front triangle.

It is only available in aluminum (for the moment, Santa Cruz is a carbon specialist).

What are our favorite features?

  • The Chameleon Carbon frame changes to adapt to its environment
  • Befitting aesthetics for mountainside riding
  • The frame also comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Includes a chainstay protection
  • It's available in four frame sizes

What could be better?

  • The build could be lighter
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Features
  • Frame size: 17″ (M)
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: front
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.5″
  • Brakes type: front and rear mechanical disc

More features: 24 speeds; limited lifetime warranty on frame

Schwinn bikes have been trying to break into the mountain bike market since the late 1980s without much success. The company has been through multiple property owners and bankruptcies and never really put out a solid line of mountain bikes. It came out with the Homegrown bike models in 2000 before going out of business again in 2001. But in 2017, they released the Schwinn Bonafide, and it has been a successful product so far. It’s a mountain bike with front suspension, 29-inch wheels, and 24-speed.

The Schwinn Bonafide has an aluminum frame. Their 2010 Schwinn mountain bikes come in a hardtail frame with a choice of steel or aluminum. In 2009, Schwinn also had a full-suspension mountain bike with the Active Link full suspension system that offered up to 4 to 5 inches of travel. But the Bonafide has 3 inches of fork travel.

Generally speaking, the bike is good, light, and agile. But it has some components that are of very basic quality. A few riders mentioned experiencing durability issues after about a week after buying it. So, we advise that you take it to the mechanic immediately after purchase to do some adjustments and component replacements before it leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

What stands out?

  • Sold for an affordable price
  • Gear changes simple and smooth
  • Powerful suspension form that soaks up thumps and bumps

What cons did we manage to find?

  • It could be more durable
  • Poor quality control
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4
Best Trail Mountain Bike

Marin Pine Mountain

Features
  • Frame size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: hardtail
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.6″
  • Brakes type: Shimano hydraulic disc

More features: 11 speeds; Rock Shox Recon fork; tubeless-ready wheels; 1x drivetrain

One of the most popular bicycles used in mountain biking, the Marin Pine, was born in Marin County, California, USA. The Marin Pine Mountain Bike is a true all-rounder that enabled and promoted mountain bike culture. Marin Bike was created in 1986 during the early periods of mountain biking, with the purpose of manufacturing bicycles that went beyond the road. Soon after, the Marin Pine Mountain bike was born, which later became one of the most desired by mountain biking fans and the emblem of the Marin brand. These mountain bikes for their quality were recognized in the world of MTB.

The success of the Marin Pine Mountain bike garnered attention and laid the foundation for three decades of high-performance bikes. The Marin Pine Mountain has down tube stiffness and torque control in the head tube and bottom bracket. Made from aluminum, we found that the Marin bike frame is of very good quality, these frames usually come on more expensive mountain bikes. The Marin Bikes Pine Mountain is a bike made for hardtail purists looking for adventure and technical trails to push their limits.

What makes it special?

  • Simple and easy going geometry
  • It has a great climbing ability
  • The bike offers a stable ride
  • It's a well-priced bikepacking bike

What cons did we find?

  • Stiff handlebars
  • The build is heavy, and a couple of components need an upgrade
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5
Best for Beginners

Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike

Features
  • Frame size: 17″, 14″, 13″
  • Frame material: steel
  • Suspension: front hardtail
  • Wheel/tire size: 26″ x 1.95″
  • Brakes type: front and rear linear pull hand

More features: 21 speeds; limited lifetime warranty on frame

You can get as close as you can to the top of the mountain with all the support and strength that this 26″ light frame of the Huffy Stone mountain bike gives you. It’s a model with a sporty design. It has a steel frame and double front suspension that guarantee resistance for perfect cushioning on uneven terrain. Thanks to its rear linear brakes or front disc brakes, you can choose any of its 21 speeds and stop with full confidence.

With Huffy’s Stone 26 bike, you can enjoy both a quiet ride and one at high speed and without worrying about the type of surface, thanks to its performance worthy of an adventurer. It combines an attractive structure, components, performance, materials, and careful details that provide the best experience. Finally, the bike is highly affordable and is one of the best mountain bikes under $600 on the market.

What are its best features?

  • It has a rugged and light steel frame
  • Has 21 speeds for conquering the trails
  • Front and rear linear-pull hand
  • It has a limited lifetime warranty
  • Padded seat for convenient cushioning and riding

What could be improved?

  • The handlebars and the kickstands often get loose
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6
Best Enduro Mountain Bike

Ibis Ripmo X2 SLX Bike

Features
  • Frame size: S, M
  • Frame material: carbon
  • Suspension: DW-Link four-bar system, rear
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.5″
  • Brakes type: 4-piston hydraulic disc

More features: tubeless-ready rims and tires; 12-speed drivetrain

The original Ripmo has been evolved to the Ripmo AF, and now re-evolved to the Ripmo X2 SLX with minor tweaks that improve performance and make it even more trail-worthy. The geometry has been re-evolved as well as the progressiveness of the suspension system. All these and more make the Ripmo X2 the best enduro you have ever tried.

The Ripmo X2 is several steps ahead of the original Ripmo. It’s slightly longer, stiffer, and compatible with spring shocks. The Ripmo X2, V2, and Ripmo AF share the same vertical saddle angle and a long but not stratospheric reach, something that puts the rider very focused on the bike when pedaling. The custom front and rear suspension settings feature super-responsive high-speed compression and wide-open rebound control for unparalleled traction. This allows you to make the wheels roll over the terrain as if it were a buggy going through the dunes in the Dakar.

The Ripmo 2 is compatible with both air and spring shocks due to a more progressive rear suspension design. This brings comfort throughout the ride, maintaining traction no matter what terrain you ride on. All IGUS bikes are made from the highest-grade materials and optimized for strength, weight, stiffness, and performance.

What are its best features?

  • Made from lightweight premium carbon for everyone
  • Features tubeless-ready rims and tires
  • Excellent suspension
  • The seat tube is short for freedom of movement

What could be improved?

  • The brake pads rattle quite a lot
  • It's expensive
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7
Best Electric Mountain Bike

Ecotric 1000W Seagull Mountain Electric Bike

Features
  • Frame size: 16.7″
  • Frame material: aluminum alloy
  • Suspension: hydraulic front fork
  • Wheel/tire size: 26″ x 2.125″
  • Brakes type: front hydraulic disc

More features: ~35 miles per charge; 20 mph; Smart LCD; 7-speed derailleur

The Ecotric Seagull Bike is our best option for those who like electric bikes with great mile range per charge. The name of this Ecotric electric bike might inspire you to head to the nearest beach, but the Seagull electric mountain bike is developed for use on the trail. The brand provides the Seagull with a straight top tube to make you comfortable and the flexibility you need to have a good time in the saddle.

Whether you are pedaling along the coastline or taking the bike to the limit on a steep incline, the 48V 1,000-watt motor located at the rear will take you wherever you need to be. The powerful 48V 13AH battery will keep the bike going for long, as it can reach a range of 35 miles for every charge.

The estimated battery life is between 400 to 600 cycles, and you won’t have to worry about changing batteries for a long time. The Shimano seven-speed gear system provides the gears needed for flats, hills, or anything in between. The aluminum alloy frame on the bike is durable and responsive while on the trails. The Ecotric bike has an LCD that shows speed, odometer, mode, battery life, etc.

What makes it special?

  • Unique design with straight top tube mimics flying seagulls
  • The suspension fork absorbs bumps
  • Ecotric smart LCD
  • The Shimano Acera 7-speed transmission
  • Offers a smooth ride over all terrains

What cons did we find?

  • It's quite heavy
  • It's available only in one size
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Features
  • Frame size: S, L
  • Frame material: carbon fiber
  • Suspension: UFO rear
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″
  • Brakes type: hydraulic disc

More features: 1 x 12 gearing; internal cable routing; 2 water bottle mounts; limited lifetime warranty on frame

Oiz is synonymous with high-level competition; its presence on the World Cup circuits is undeniable. It’s the lightest, stiffest, and most efficient XC bike on the market.

The frames of the Oiz bike are very similar to other Orbea bikes and have the same profile. Wheel sizes, chainstays, saddle and head angles, and bottom bracket heights are nearly identical. They have the same rear axle, only the front design is different: long in posture for one (Oiz), long in front wheelbase for the other (Occam). But the Oiz remains the little brother of the Occam. The Oiz M20 TR is a light XC bike that can be fully exploited in all-mountain riding, and the Occam TR is all-mountain par excellence that can claim to be a small enduro without a problem.

The M20 TR 2022 version features a state-of-the-art monocoque carbon frame that is both light and stiff. It has the Sram GX EAGLE 12-speed Mono chainring transmission and Fox suspensions with 120mm of travel. It is equipped with 29-inch wheels, which are fitted by default with an inner tube but with Tubeless Ready technology for the transition to tubeless. The TR version also has a telescopic seat post with handlebar control.

What are our favorite features?

  • The carbon frame is both light and stiff
  • Comes with water bottle mounts
  • Smooth pedaling
  • The specs are customizable
  • The frame comes with a limited lifetime warranty

What could be better?

  • Remote lockout does not pair well with the dropper lever
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9
Best Budget Cross-Country Mountain Bike

Mongoose Impasse Mens Mountain Bike

Features
  • Frame size: M
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: full, front
  • Wheel/tire size: 29″ x 2.35″
  • Brakes type: dual disc

More features: 3-piece crankset; 21 speeds; internal cable routing; limited lifetime warranty on frame

The next mountain bike on the list is the Mongoose Impasse Bicycle. Designed for men, this is a full suspension 29er budget cross-country mountain bike. It’s made by Mongoose, one of the most recognized bike manufacturers on this list, with over four years of expertise. The Mongoose Impasse Full Dual Suspension Bike comes with fork suspension technologies utilizing Shimano’s top gear mechanism, delivering precise and exceptional motion control.

This aluminum frame on the bicycle is made up of the Element Suspension fork, which serves to negate the impact of bumps and other odd obstacles in off-road racing. In a simple way, it offers mountain bike enthusiasts better relaxation and control. It has metal wheels that are 29 inches wide, a Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM shifters, and metal front and rear disc brakes.

The bike is equipped with a quick-release skewer mechanism, allowing easier maintenance. The suspension fork also offers extra shock absorption and precise control. The Mongoose also comes with Shimano shifters and a 21-speed rear derailleur, providing exceptional flexibility and control over the terrain and the demanding and hard paths. This comfortable trail bike requires minimal effort to ride and is perfect for heavy use.

What are its best features?

  • Quick-release skewers for simple maintenance
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Features alloy disc brakes
  • High control fork design
  • Good for the trails and urban streets

What could be improved?

  • Solid frame but the components are cheap
  • Getting parts difficult
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10
Best All-Terrain Mountain Bike

Royce Union RMT

Features
  • Frame size: 18″, 20″, 22″
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: ZOOM front
  • Wheel/tire size: 5″
  • Brakes type: alloy linear pull brakes

More features: 21 speeds; 10-year limited warranty

The RMT is a great bike for all-terrain riders. It has a hardtail frame that is cast from durable, rust-free aluminum that’s lighter than steel bikes. This makes the bike easy to accelerate with, easy to maintain, and easy to manage. Tools are provided for easy and quick assembly. A 22 inches frame is suggested for 37.3 inches minimum inseam. 18 and 20-inch frames are also available. The all-terrain wheel patterns provide less rolling resistance than other mountain bike tires. Also, the mountain bike works equally well on gravel tracks and cobbled streets.

The quality build makes the RMT a touring mountain bike that performs equally well for gravel trails and street riding. Backed by a 10-year limited frame warranty, the lightweight hardtail frame is cast from tough 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and will never rust! Durable aluminum, lighter than steel, makes this bike easier to accelerate, maintain, and handle. The Zoom front suspension fork provides solid performance, and it absorbs bumps from trails with bumps and rough terrain.

What are our favorite features?

  • The 21-speed drivetrain ensures seamless gear shifting
  • Large 27.5 inches wheels help maintain rolling momentum
  • All terrains tire tread patterns
  • Saddle is adjustable to the right angle and height

What could be better?

  • Poor quality components; could be more durable
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11
Best All-Terrain Mountain Bike

Royce Union RMT

Features
  • Frame size: 18″, 20″, 22″
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: ZOOM front
  • Wheel/tire size: 5″
  • Brakes type: alloy linear pull brakes

More features: 21 speeds; 10-year limited warranty

The RMT is a great bike for all-terrain riders. It has a hardtail frame that is cast from durable, rust-free aluminum that’s lighter than steel bikes. This makes the bike easy to accelerate with, easy to maintain, and easy to manage. Tools are provided for easy and quick assembly. A 22 inches frame is suggested for 37.3 inches minimum inseam. 18 and 20-inch frames are also available. The all-terrain wheel patterns provide less rolling resistance than other mountain bike tires. Also, the mountain bike works equally well on gravel tracks and cobbled streets.

The quality build makes the RMT a touring mountain bike that performs equally well for gravel trails and street riding. Backed by a 10-year limited frame warranty, the lightweight hardtail frame is cast from tough 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and will never rust! Durable aluminum, lighter than steel, makes this bike easier to accelerate, maintain, and handle. The Zoom front suspension fork provides solid performance, and it absorbs bumps from trails with bumps and rough terrain.

What are our favorite features?

  • The 21-speed drivetrain ensures seamless gear shifting
  • Large 27.5 inches wheels help maintain rolling momentum
  • All terrains tire tread patterns
  • Saddle is adjustable to the right angle and height

What could be better?

  • Poor quality components; could be more durable
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12
Best Women’s Mountain Bike

Schwinn High Timber ALX 26

Features
  • Frame size: 16″
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: front
  • Wheel/tire size: 26″
  • Brakes type: mechanical disk

More features: 21-speed twist shifters; limited lifetime warranty on frame

One of the best women’s mountain bikes on the market, the Schwinn bike has a durable alloy crank that ensures smooth gearing and less maintenance. The durable mountain bike is designed for riding on the trails and in the neighborhood. There is a twist-shift mechanism with a rear derailleur for quick shifts while riding. It features a set of all-terrain, wide mountain tires that sit on lightweight, durable alloy wheels for extra stability.

There is a quick-release seat that allows for easy height adjustment. The bike is factory assembled and then disassembled for shipping, so it takes less than an hour to put it back together. Only minor fine-tuning is required. There are, however, a few reports of missing or defective parts. It has 29″ wheels and will be no problem for children and adults as the seat height is easily adjusted. It’s a great bike for the money.

Cables are tucked inside the aluminum tube and protected from snags and breaks while improving transport on a bike rack. The gears move easily, and there are no issues with chains or noise.

Why is it special?

  • Offer a great and smooth ride
  • The quick-release mechanism ensures seat post easy adjustment
  • Knobby wheels provide ease of use on all terrains
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to assemble

What are the flaws?

  • It doesn't come assembled
  • The seat could be more comfortable
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13
Best Youth Mountain Bike

Gravity FSX 1.0

Features
  • Frame size: 15″
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: dual full
  • Wheel/tire size: 26″
  • Brakes type: disc

More features: 24 speeds; adjustable rear coil-over shock; limited lifetime warranty on frame

The Gravity FSX 1.0 is a mountain bike designed for adults. One of the best mountain bikes under $500, it’s an affordable bike designed for trailing. It has a 26 inches wheel size with dual suspension. The bike comes with front and rear disc brakes high strength aluminum frames that are durable and strong.

The bike is available in four colors: black, white, grey, and yellow, but at different prices. You can also choose between a 15-inch, 17-inch, 19-inch, or 21-inch bike frame. Note that the pricing is not the same, depending on the color design chosen. The white here is the most expensive.

The Shimano Shifters are easy to use, and the suspensions are adjustable. Thanks to the industry’s popular quick-release mechanism, the front, and rear wheels also have wheels that can be removed quickly. Note, however, that the bike needs to be assembled and tuned before use.

What are its best features?

  • The bike is available in four different sizes and colors respectively
  • Easy to use and ideal for beginners and women
  • A 24-speed drivetrain ensures smooth riding on rough terrain
  • Well-built disc brakes ensure safety and control

What could be improved?

  • It still requires assembly and then tuning
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Features
  • Frame size: 14.5″
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Suspension: dual full
  • Wheel/tire size: 24″
  • Brakes type: front/rear linear pull hand

More features: 21 speeds; SRAM twist shifters; limited lifetime warranty on frame

We are ending the product roundup with the best mountain bike for girls. It’s a full dual-suspension mountain bike for girls who want to have fun on the trail. Thanks to the high-performance suspension, the Mongoose Maxim bike provides a comfortable ride. The suspension fork ensures a smooth ride even on bumps and makes control easy.

The Mongoose Maxim is different from other bikes in the Mongoose range as it features a full suspension. The Mongoose Cipher, in comparison, has a rigid suspension. The SRAM screw shifters also help for an easy gear change. A 21-speed drivetrain with Shimano rear derailleur makes it ideal for all types of riding. In addition, the pull brakes provide plenty of stopping power. With the Mongoose Maxim, you’ll be in for great trail adventures. Also, it’s quite affordable for beginners who want to start off-road riding. It’s one of the best women’s mountain bikes under $500 on the market.

What are its best features?

  • It's designed for all types of riding
  • Can be used by beginners and youths
  • Perfect for girls of 11 to 15 years
  • Easy to assemble

What could be improved?

  • Not a bike for boys
  • The derailleur could be stronger

Things to Consider

Do you want to buy a mountain bike and don’t know which one is ideal for you? Hardtail bike, fat bike, enduro mountain bike, the options are numerous, and you can quickly get lost in all the terminologies. We have compiled this comprehensive buying guide to help you find the mountain bike that suits your needs. Read on to the end, and you’ll have everything you need to choose the right mountain bike.

What Is a Mountain Bike, and How Is It Different?

A mountain bike (or MTB) is a special type of bicycle designed for use on mountain trails and rough terrains. What makes it different from road bicycles is that you can ride them both on the road and off-road.

Mountain bikes have wide tires with a special tread design and are very stable. You also need a transmission with lots of gears and excellent brakes. This is the only way to get up the mountains easily and down again safely. These bicycles also often have well-designed suspensions.

There are now many different types of mountain bikes that are built specifically for specific uses. One way to differentiate mountain bikes is by their suspension. A mountain bike with front and rear suspension is called a dual or full suspension bike.

A mountain bike with only suspension on the front wheel is called a “hardtail.” That roughly means “rigid rear end.” Mountain bikes without suspension, i.e., with a rigid frame, do not have a special name. They are becoming increasingly rare, but there are some with particularly fat tires, which then take on some spring action. These are then called “fat bikes.”

In mountain biking, there are many different ways to use these bikes. For example, you can race against others off-road. But sometimes, it’s less about speed and more about whether you can do special tricks or master difficult sections.

Latest Developments

If you bought an ATV ten years ago and you’re riding a brand new 2022 model today, you’ll notice some major differences.

29″ Is Now the Standard Diameter of the Wheels

There are still mountain bikes with different wheel sizes, but 29 inches are now preferable

To start with, the diameter of the wheels has changed from 26 inches to – 27.5, and now 29 inches.

This offers more performance on the climbs but, above all, stability on the descents. Yes, there are still 24, 26, and 27.5 inches models, but the standard for mountain bikers is 29-inch wheels.

There are still subjects of discussion between the followers of the 27.5 of the 29 and a mix of the two on certain assemblies but the revolution is launched. Will it stop there?

Aluminum and Carbon Are the Most Common Frame Materials

The most popular materials for MTBs are still aluminum and carbon. Both materials are excellent for developing stiff and light frames. The aluminum frame is the best choice for everyone who wants to find an MTB with a good price-performance ratio. A few years ago, carbon fibers were reserved for professionals. Today there are carbon frames in the lower price range. Although carbon is the stiffest and lightest material, it is also quite fragile.

E-bikes Are Now Common on the Market

eMTBs are now getting more hold of the market. The battery capacity has now increased to over 500 Wh on average. Some models like the Ecotric Seagull Mountain Electric Bike now offer up to 1,000 Wh battery capacity. This gives you a range of at least 35 miles on a full charge with assisted pedaling.

The Full Suspension Has Overtaken the Hardtail

In manual and electric bikes, the most common suspension is full suspension. Up until now, most e-mountain bikes have been hardtails with an often very short front suspension fork (often 120mm) because of the overall weight. Suspension forks from 140 to 160 mm are now standard, and 180 mm are no longer unusual on electric bikes. The Fully will have the edge among the models, and the Hardtail will eventually become a niche product. But that still doesn’t mean the full suspensions bikes are cheaper. They’re often more expensive (around $2,000) than the hardtail MTBs. But to get the top in quality hardtail bikes, you’d need close to that budget, as can be found in the list of the best hardtail mountain bikes under $2000 on the market.

Types of Mountain Bikes

It is good to know that there are different types of mountain bikes. Think in advance about what you will use the mountain bike for and how much you want to spend on the mountain bike. This makes the choice a lot easier. Here you will find the different types of mountain bikes:

Trail

Trail racing is less about fast riding and more about pure trail fun. It could even be said that trail is the epitome of mountain biking. The ride through impassable forest paths, over hills and dale, is more suitable for experienced bikers. The routes are mostly very demanding and require full concentration since the paths were not groomed or marked out.

A classic trail mountain bike is therefore equipped with more suspension travel than, for example, a cross-country bike. The best mountain bike for trail racing should strike the perfect balance of strong power efficiency uphill and agile handling downhill.

The suspension travel on trail mountain bikes is usually between 120 mm and 140 mm at the front and rear. However, some manufacturers also have so-called trail hardtails in their range, which have a more powerful suspension fork and can therefore also be used for harder terrain. These bikes compensate for the lack of cushioning with wider wheels.

Wheels with a diameter of 27.5 inches to 29 inches are often used as wheel sizes. Compared to a cross-country racer, the handlebar angle is significantly flatter to have good stability and control downhill.

Cross Country (XC)

Cross-country bikes are types of MTBs that are mainly suitable for climbing or competitive mountain biking. Cross-country bikes are used for riding on artificial or naturally formed trails. These can include forest paths, root carpets, and gravel roads. To make the routes even more challenging, obstacles are created along the way or already exist naturally.

There are also different types of races in cross-country. That’s why these bikes are given the abbreviation XC. This abbreviation refers to the different race types:

  • XCM stands for cross-country marathon (50 to 150 kilometers)
  • XCO stands for Cross Country Olympic Race (technical circuits must be completed)

Depending on the surface, hardtail bikes, for example, are suitable for fast trails with isolated obstacles. A fully is more suitable for technically demanding trails, as there is better traction.

Another important factor is the handlebar angle. For pure cross-country bikes, this should have a steeper angle for quick handling.

Tip: Cross-country routes are mostly flat. That’s why you have to invest a lot of energy in pedaling all the time. To make this as easy as possible, a light and efficient drive train is an advantage.

Enduro

This bike is especially good on steep descents, but they are also agile enough for uphill rides. Super Enduro bikes are an updated version of the Enduro bike and are made for hard riding on routes with steep descents.

Widespread, the enduro mountain bike is designed to offer excellent performance (comfort, stability, control) when riding over long distances. Its long wheelbase and travel of 150mm to 180mm give it better absorption. It also behaves well on aggressive descents and allows pedaling without difficulty. The downside of these features is a slightly higher weight, as well as less responsiveness.

The bike is for the rider who likes to descend at full speed; for the competitive rider who makes life difficult for his bike during the descents. A well-befitting Enduro bike is the Ibis Ripmo X2 SLX Bike.

Downhill

Anyone who rides downhill routes should have been mountain biking for several years., serious injuries can occur on such descents.

A downhill ride is a real highlight for all MTB lovers. The goal is to get down the mountain as fast as possible, jumping over ramps, obstacles, etc.

A downhill mountain bike should, therefore, only have features that bring you quickly and safely to the foot of the mountain. Therefore, the spring deflection should be at least 170 mm to 210 mm. A long wheelbase and wider tires ensure more stability. It would also be desirable to find powerful disc brakes on downhill MTBs.

The handlebar angle should be around 62 to 65 degrees to ensure sufficient control and stability when riding downhill.

Have you heard that some people use MTBs for hunting as well? Check out our compilation of the best mountain bikes for hunting, if you’re interested.

Features of Mountain Bikes to Consider Before Buying

There are several things you should consider when making a purchase that you can enjoy for a long time. Here are the key points to consider when buying the best mountain bike:

Frame

Getting the frame of the right size is critical for your comfort and control on the bike

As earlier explained, the frames nowadays are made of different materials. Carbon and aluminum are often chosen materials. Aluminum is a reliable material, but carbon provides more comfort. It’s up to you to decide what you like.

The frame size must be right because the wrong size can lead to physical complaints or too little control over your bike. With a mountain bike like the Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike or the Santa Cruz Chameleon MX D, you can choose an S, M, L, or XL size. Make sure you know your size before making a purchase.

Wheel Size and Tire Width

Also, pay close attention to the wheel size. As briefly explained earlier, today, you have four options: 24 inches, 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. The smaller the size, the more maneuverable the wheels are. The bigger the wheel, the faster and more comfortable your ride. Your height plays a role in the choice of wheel size.

The size in inches indicates the diameter of the tires. In the following, we would like to introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of the individual wheel sizes. Note, only three size ranges are represented as the 24-inch models are now almost rare.

26-inch Wheels – The Extremely Light Ones

26-inch mountain bike wheels are rarely used these days. However, these were the standard size for MTB wheels before now.

Advantages:

  • High agility
  • Light weight
  • Ideal for women

Disadvantages:

  • Poor traction
  • Poor riding comfort

27.5-inch Wheels – The All-rounders

The successor to the 26-inch is the 27.5-inch, known as the 650B.

Advantages:

  • Good rolling behavior
  • High traction
  • Quite high agility
  • Relatively easy to ride

Disadvantages:

  • Not ideal for cross-country MTBs

29-inch Wheels – The Ones with the Most Grip

29-inch tires offer the best riding comfort. They are particularly popular on cross-country bikes, enduro bikes, and tail bikes.

Advantages

  • Very good riding comfort
  • Extremely high grip
  • Particularly suitable for hardtail bikes

Disadvantages

  • Relatively heavy
  • Not so agile
  • Quite stiff

Suspension

Rigid bikes have no suspension. This implies that the bike will absorb less impact than a bike with suspensions. Some bikes, like Fat bikes, compensate with their oversized tires, which absorb a large part of the shocks.

Located at the front fork, the single suspension is lightweight, easy to maintain, less expensive, and provides excellent climbing efficiency. However, it is less effective against vibrations and shocks and forces you to walk when you face too rough terrain.

For those who want to ride fast on not-too-rough trails, a single-suspension bike is what you need. Hardtail and сross-country type bikes are usually single suspension.

Bikes with dual suspension have a single suspension mounted at the front fork and a suspension at the rear fork. This system provides good shock absorption on very rough terrain. Full-suspension bikes convert pedaling energy less well when climbing hills. Some models can lock the rear suspension when climbing to save energy. Dual suspension systems, however, add considerable additional weight to the bike. Trail- and Enduro-type bikes are usually dual suspensions.

Gears

Most mountain bikes come with several gears ranging from 1 to 11. These gears are made up of many components, including derailleurs, chainrings, and more.

Entry-level mountain bikes for men and women rely on fairly heavy, simple gears. Advanced riders and professionals, on the other hand, tend to use a carbon rear derailleur and electrical systems. These are usually very light.

Which circuit is used depends on the price range, frame construction, wheel size, and riding style. A triple drive is often used on entry-level models or mountain bikes for children. Otherwise, double cranks are standard.

The latest trend is the so-called single drive, which only uses one chainring. The absolute market leaders when it comes to shifting systems are Shimano and SRAM.

Brakes

You have the choice between disc brakes and rim brakes. Disc brakes work on a cable and are hydraulic. Most new mountain bikes are equipped with these brakes. So look carefully at the type of brakes on older models.

The most common braking system is probably the hydraulic disc brake. Every MTB should also have this. The disc diameter at the front must be 180 mm. It should be 160 mm at the back. If the driver is very light, 160 mm can also be sufficient at the front. There are also mechanical disc brakes and rim brakes, which are more likely to be used on entry-level models.

Dropper Post

Not all MTBs come with dropper posts, but half of most of these bikes now come with it. The dropper post – or seat post, as it is also called – allows us to change the height of the saddle while we move. This allows us to lower our body’s center of gravity on the bike.

Thanks to the dropper, all you have to do is press a button to raise or lower your saddle, which can therefore be done without ever stopping as many times as you wish during an outing.

Durability

The mountain bike is supposed to be a rugged, sturdy, and durable bike that can withstand bumps, knocks, and even falls. The frame and the wheels have to be strong, and the components must be durable. Always check the user reviews before buying. We also advise that you take your bike to the mechanic to check for flimsy components, replace them, and confirm it is trail-worthy so as not to return disappointingly from your mountain riding.

Bike components have a great impact on your experience and performance, so it is advisable to check them carefully

Women’s vs. Men’s vs. Kid’s Mountain Bikes

Asides from the colors, the size and design of the bike are key criteria to consider while choosing an MTB for kids, women, or men. 24-inch models like the Mongoose Maxim are suitable for kids. For more bikes of this size, read our review of the best 24-inch mountain bikes out there. Meanwhile, for kids between 5 to 10 years old, you may also check out the best 20-inch mountain bikes for kids.

The 26-inch models like the Gravity FSX 1.0 and Schwinn High Timber are often targeted at women. But the best high-performance mountain bikes are all 29ers, from the Santa Cruz Chameleon MX D to the Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike. But check with the brand; they always have male, women, or kids versions for popular models.

Price Ranges and What to Expect

The price you pay for a mountain bike varies considerably per model. For example, there are mountain bikes from around $300 to $400, but you can also purchase more expensive models for $800 to $2500. The better the parts and the more advanced they are, the more expensive the mountain bike will be. You can decide how much you want to spend on a mountain bike.

FAQ

You can easily determine the right frame size for MTB by measuring your height, inseam, or inner leg length. It is best to do this barefoot with your back against the wall. Measure your height by marking the level from the top of your head to your foot.

You can also push a book horizontally up into the crotch to help. Then you only need to measure the distance from the floor to the top edge of the book. Then multiply this result in centimeters by 0.226. The total should give you the best frame size in inches for you. Nevertheless, take the opportunity to take a test drive with your chosen size first.

Asides from the design, women’s bikes are lighter and smaller. As women are shorter than men on average, their bikes must also have a shorter stack height. Their frames are also designed to drop down just before the seat post.

Although they’re designed for off-road riding, mountain bikes can also be used on the road. But due to the design of their tires (sometimes fat, wide, and heavily threaded), you shouldn’t expect the speed of a road bike which is often lighter.

For mountain biking, you’d need a helmet, eye protection, hydration pack, mountain biking shoes, gloves, and padded bike shorts. We’ve got a great article on the best MTB knee pads, make sure you check it out.

Our Verdict

Mountain biking can be demanding but fun. So you need the best bike designed for this activity. We’ve introduced and reviewed the 14 best mountain bikes for off-road riding.

Our Editor’s Choice, the Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike, is our choice of the overall best mountain bike on the market. Rated 9.9 out of 10, this 29er version bike has quality construction and contemporary geometry and is sold for a fantastic price.

Lovers of hardtail bikes will want to choose the Santa Cruz Chameleon MX D. Also rated 9.9; we love its interchangeable dropouts. It’s more modern, in tune with the times; it is longer, lower, and slacker, with longer reach, more lying head angle at 65.5°, and more.

Finally, we’ve selected the Schwinn Bonafide as the best value MTB because of its great price that seems to be below its value. One of the best mountain bikes sold for just under $1,000, it’s a bike with front suspension, 29 inches wheels, and a 24-speed drivetrain.

References

1.
Tubeless Tires | Guide to Using Tubeless Bike Tires
Changing flats all the time is a real drag, so here’s the full rundown on what they are, how they work, and how to work with them from pro mechanics.
2.
eMTB Education | IMBA
As cycling technologies evolve, it is important for IMBA to continue to examine and/or clarify access policies for new uses, such as Class 1 eMTBs.
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