Best Mountain Bikes – 2021 Guide

Anthony
| Last Updated: April 19, 2021

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With various choices available on the market, picking the best mountain bike may be a hassle. Whether you are a beginner or a professional mountain biker, you can always find something that will suit your requirements.  

In this article, we will consider the best mountain bikes for your cycling needs, with a focus on hardware that endures long after purchase. Be sure to read through to the end.

Our Top Picks for Mountain Bikes

  • Steady gearing
  • Durable alloy wheels
  • Quick height adjustment
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  • Double disc brakes
  • Quick setup
  • Long-lasting durability
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  • Best Electric Bike
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Ergonomic design
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Comparison of the Best Mountain Bikes

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  • Alloy crank offers less maintenance and steady gearing
  • All-terrain, wide tires set on durable, light alloy wheels
  • Seat post has quick release for quick height adjustment
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  • Double disc brake system is strong and efficient
  • Quick setup due to 85% pre-assembly
  • High-quality finish offers long-lasting durability
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  • Best Electric Mountain Bike
  • Mechanical disc-brake design at the front and back
  • Ergonomic design comes 85% pre-assembled
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  • Best Mountain Bike Under $500
  • Aluminum frame and powerful suspension fork
  • Mechanical disc brakes offer robust all condition stopping
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  • Best Mountain Bike Under $1000
  • 24 speed drivetrain offers easy, quick gear shifts
  • Hydraulic disc brakes give precise control on trails
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  • Best Women's Mountain Bike
  • Strong, light alloy rims offer durability without weight
  • Shimano 21-speed drivetrain offers seamless shifting
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  • Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Under $1000
  • Cable routing is internal for for clean, neat lines
  • Lock-on grips offer extra security and comfort
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  • Best Hardtail Mountain Bike
  • Steep steering angle and short rear for great agility
  • High-performance, robust carbon composite frame
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  • Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike
  • For riders up to 330 lbs
  • Linear pull breaks offer enhanced stopping power
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What to Look For in a Mountain Bike

Here are the most important points to look at when buying a bike:

Wheel Size

The wheel diameter determines what terrain the bike will run on and the purpose of the bike. Mountain bikes with 27.5-inch wheels are designed to tackle aggressive trails and rolling downhill, while 29er wheels are meant for a cross country bike on rocky, forests, and other technical terrains.

Big wheels offer great stability and comfortable traction on and off-roads, making them ideal for long rides. On the other hand, smaller wheels are made for smooth and less technical trails.

Hardtail vs Full Suspension

Full-suspension has additional components such as bearings, pivots, and rear shock, which drives up purchase and maintenance costs. For that reason, a hardtail costs much less to buy and maintain than full-suspension. If you can afford a full-suspension bike, you can usually get a hardtail at the same price but with better specs.

Conversely, full-suspension features a more advanced technology than a hardtail. Whatever the case, do not dismiss either of them but do thorough research on both bikes before choosing.

Photo credit: Gearjunkie.com

Weight and Strength

Bike weight is vital, especially for beginners who can't control heavy mountain bikes or carry them for storage. But when it comes to off-road rides, the bike's strength tends to increase along with weight. Inevitably, lightweight can also mean flimsy. A strong bike will be able to navigate through roots, rocks, and furrows from all directions, something that a flimsy bike can't handle.

In this case, it is better to carry a few extra pounds than having to visit the workshop too often.

Review of the Best Mountain Bikes

This section will explore the best mountain bikes by considering our own views and those from recent buyers to bring you a carefully curated list, so you can easily pick your favorite before making a purchase. 

Schwinn High Timber ALX Youth/Adult Mountain Bike, Aluminum Frame and Disc Brakes, 26-Inch Wheels, 21-Speed, Red

pros

  • Options to choose between aluminum and steel frames
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Alloy crank ensures smooth gearing
  • Twist shifters ensure quick gear changing
  • Highly receptive brakes, respond on demand

cons

  • May be small for tall riders
  • Some users find it heavy

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users praise the bike for its highly receptive brake. They say the bike stops or slows down any time they want it to, thanks to the excellent stopping power. Some were impressed by its lightweight yet sturdy design.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Schwinn High Timber features wide knobby tires that offer you great traction as you ride on different terrains. Moreover, its wheels feature alloy rims that ensure lightweight strength, which provides excellent rolling momentum.

Additionally, you can choose a bike with steel or an aluminum frame. These materials provide durability and outstanding performance for rough terrain. While the twist rear derailleur shifters ensure smooth gear changing, the highly responsive alloy linear-pull brakes help regulate speed and stop on demand.

The seat's adjustable design makes it easy to find your perfect fit. Just like the rest of Schwinn, High Timber comes with a lifetime warranty.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an incredible mountain bike for smooth climbing uphill and gnarly descents, then look no further than Schwinn High Timber. The design features an alloy crank, twist shifters, knobby tires, and alloy wheels that ensure maximum comfort on any terrain. Its seat is also adjustable, so you can find the right fit for you.

Hiland 26 Inch Mountain Bike for Men with 18 Inch Aluminum Black

pros

  • Available in different sizes, so you can pick one that fits you
  • Double disc brakes with excellent stopping power
  • 24- Speed Shimano system for convenient gear shifting
  • Eye-catching appearance
  • Easy to assemble and comes 85% assembled

cons

  • Seat is narrow and causes some discomfort
  • Narrow gear range thus has limited options

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users like the bike's beautiful appearance that makes heads turn. Others were impressed by the sturdy and lightweight aluminum frame that can withstand a lot of pressure. They also say it is easy to assemble, and it took them a few minutes to set everything up.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the most ideal mountain bikes for cross country, work, and school rides. Hiland 26'' Aluminum Mountain Bike features a 24-speed Shimano system that ensures swift gear changing, allowing you to take control at any time. The 26-inch wheel size is stable on any terrain, while the tires have excellent grip, preventing the bike from slipping on the trail.

Its double brake system responds on demand, not to mention its high-quality and durable design that can endure technical terrains. This bike is ideal for male riders with a height of about 5.1 feet. Besides, it is available in several other sizes, so you get one that is suitable for you.

Bottom Line

This small size mountain bike is designed for cyclists with a height of approximately 5.1 feet. Each of its parts is crafted from high- quality material, so you can be certain that it will withstand pressure from all types of terrain. The 24- speed system, double disc brake, and 26-inch wheels work hand in hand to give you an incredible riding experience.

Best Electric Mountain Bike:
ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike

ANCHEER 500W/250W Electric Bike Electric Mountain Bike for Adult, 26' Electric Commuter Bicycle 20Mph with Removable 12.5Ah/8AH Battery, Professional 21 Speed Gears

pros

  • 500W motor provides powerful strength when climbing
  • Adjustable handlebars for comfortable long rides
  • Adjustable seat
  • Long-lasting 12.5 AH removable lithium battery delivers great power for long rides
  • Front and rear mechanical disc brakes with exceptional stopping power

cons

  • Seat is hard and causes the rider too much discomfort
  • Battery fails to charge after some time

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent users affirm that this is one of the best entry-level electric mountain bikes. The price is affordable for most beginners, and the quality is topnotch. It bears a lot of weight, thanks to its components made from quality materials. Most buyers also said the throttle and pedal assist modes make pedaling a breeze.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike comes with a 12.5 removable lithium battery with excellent power for up to 25 to 40 miles (depends on the gradient, terrain, and riders weight) on a full charge, making it the perfect bike for adventure. What is more, you can charge the battery at your convenience.

The powerful 500W motor delivers great strength when climbing uphill, which makes mountain biking more accessible. Likewise, the 26-inches wheels have great stability on rough terrain.

The front and rear mechanical disc brakes offer excellent braking even in unfavorable weather conditions. Similarly, the adjustable 26.7 inches handlebars make it easy to find the ride's most comfortable length. The seat is also flexible, so you can set it at the right fit for your comfort.

Bottom Line

This e-bike is a powerful climber. The 500W brushless motor delivers great power that makes climbing high places easy. The removable lithium battery stays intact when riding and remains functional for up to 40 miles on a full charge. It is an excellent design that makes mountain biking more accessible to anyone who struggles with unassisted uphill climbing.

Best Mountain Bike Under $500:
Schwinn Traxion S7956AZ

Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike, Full Dual Suspension, 29-Inch Wheels , Blue/grey

pros

  • Knobby 27.5-inch tires offer excellent traction
  • Sturdy and durable crankset ensures steady gearing
  • Highly responsive rear and front wheels disc brakes
  • 24-speed Shimano and shifters for smooth and easy gear shifting
  • Full suspension for ultimate shock absorption

cons

  • Good model, but quality needs some improvement
  • Poor aluminum threads on the crankset

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers state that it takes a few minutes to assemble this bike, but assembly is easy. Others were impressed by the 29- inches wheels that are stable on the ground.

They also acknowledged the tires' non-slip design's outstanding performance that has excellent traction on all terrains. Also, the 24 speed Shimano makes it a breeze to find the perfect gear.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Made with maximum attention to detail, the Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike doesn't disappoint. It features highly receptive front and rear wheels disc brakes that act instantly anytime you want to stop.

Even better, the 29-inch wheels deliver soft rides, and the knobby tires ensure excellent traction on all types of terrain. The 24 speed Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifter ensures smooth gear shifting, allowing you to take control uphill or downhill.

What's more, the high-quality aluminum dual suspension frame and fork ensure maximum shock absorption on rough terrain.

Bottom Line

Featuring a full suspension design, this mountain bike glides smoothly on any terrain. The non-skid tires offer excellent traction, while the rear and front suspension absorb shock for ultimate comfort. Additionally, the disc brakes have exceptional stopping power, whereas the gear system makes it easy for the rider to stay in charge all time.

Best Mountain Bike Under $1000:
Schwinn Moab 3

Schwinn Moab 3 Adult Mountain Bike, Mens Small Aluminum Frame, 24 Speeds, 29-Inch Wheels, Hydraulic Disc Brakes, Black

pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Aluminum frame and suspension fork provide a lightweight and comfortable ride
  • Well joined and secured parts
  • Knobby tires for off-road traction
  • 24-speed drivetrain and crank ensure smooth gear shifting

cons

  • Hard to adjust the seat
  • Insufficient padding on the seat

What Recent Buyers Report

More than half of the buyers praise this mountain bike for its sturdiness. They say all parts are well joined and can withstand aggressive trail runs. Others added that the suspension is extremely smooth and performs great down and uphill. They also love the sleek design that makes any rider look like a professional.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Schwinn Moab 3 finds itself on our list of the best mountain bikes for its many outstanding features, like hydraulic disc brakes with incredible stopping power on all types of terrain. The bike is suitable for cyclists who ride in areas with tough landscapes such as forests and rocky areas.

With 29- inches wheels, this bike offers incredible stability on the road, while the 2.25 inches wide rubber tires ensure superb off-road traction. The 24-speed drivetrain is a beast when it comes to gear changing. Together with the SR Suntour XCE crank, they ensure you can instantly change to the exact gear you need at the moment.

Bottom Line

This is an excellent cross country bike. The power when going uphill is topnotch, while its hydraulic disc brakes deliver magnificent stopping power. So you can climb on and navigate through forests and rocky areas with confidence. Moreover, the wheels and tires are wide to ensure comfort and stability.

Best Women's Mountain Bike:
Schwinn 27.5" Aluminum Comp Bike

Schwinn 27.5' Aluminum Comp Women's Mountain Bike, White

pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame and front suspension fork are excellent shock absorbers
  • Wide knobby tires for smooth riding
  • 21- Speed Shimano system ensures smooth gear shifting
  • High-quality alloy rims for heat absorption
  • Front and rear mechanical disc brakes for easy stopping on the trail.

cons

  • Insufficient padding on the seat
  • Slippery pedals that weaken the pedal-foot grip

What Recent Buyers Report

It is no surprise that most buyers are impressed with this bike's classy look. Others praise it for its sturdiness and ability to withstand pressure from tough trails. Many buyers noted that it’s the perfect size for most female riders, and it offers great value for the money.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Powerful, elegant, and unique are just a few ways to describe the Schwinn 27.5" Aluminum Comp Bike. This bike has front and rear mechanical disc brakes that make it easy to negotiate sharp corners and stop on a dime.

The lightweight aluminum frame and the front suspension fork absorb great shock, which delivers stress-free rides. Besides, the 21-speed Shimano system ensures quick and smooth gear shifting, which allows you maximum speed control.

The durable and light alloy rims are excellent heat absorbers, which protects the brakes from damage. Likewise, the 2.25-inch wide knobby tires have excellent traction on tough trails to prevent slipping.

Bottom Line

Featuring an aluminum frame with hydro-formed tubing and a front suspension fork, this mountain bike is an excellent performer for cross-country rides. Its parts are made from sturdy, durable materials. Alloy rims and tires ensure stability on the trail, while the 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters and Shimano rear allow for easy and smooth gear changing, which helps to take control of your rides.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Under $1000:
Mongoose Tyax Comp

Mongoose Tyax Comp Adult Mountain Bike, 27.5-inch Wheels, Tectonic T2 Aluminum Frame, Rigid Hardtail, Hydraulic Disc Brakes, Womens Small Frame, Black

pros

  • Lightweight tekton aluminum frame for durable performance
  • 29 inch and 27.5 inches wheel options for different types of terrain
  • 146 mm rear hub spacing for additional stability
  • Knobby wheels for excellent off-road traction
  • Kraton grips for comfort and confidence

cons

  • Hard to adjust the seat
  • Need to improve cassette quality

What Recent Buyers Report

The bike is easy to assemble, and the quality of all its components is top-notch. This is according to a majority of buyers that say that they are happy with their choice. Its Kraton grips are soft to touch and comfortable on long rides.

Why It Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for the best hardtail mountain bike under $1000, Mongoose Tyax Comp is the best catch. Its 27.5-inch wheels and tires provide comfort and stability on a wide range of terrain. Besides, the knobby tires grant excellent off-road traction, so you can be confident on the trail.

Designed with an aluminum frame, this mountain bike is light but sturdy enough to withstand stress on tough trails. The front suspension and the SR Suntour Travel 100mm fork ensure maximum vibration absorption, not to mention Kraton material on the handles for comfortable and secure grips.

Bottom Line

Mongoose Tyax Comp has a durable aluminum frame that guarantees sturdiness. The SR Suntour Travel 100mm front fork does not disappoint when it comes to offering insulation for your rides. The knobby tires are also non-skid and stable on all terrains. With that kind of performance, it's hands down the best hardtail bike under $1000.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike:
Steppenwolf Tundra SWM245-4701

Steppenwolf Men's Tundra Carbon LTD Hardtail Mountain Bike, 29 inch wheels, 20 inch frame, Men's Bike, Black/Red, 99% assembled

pros

  • 18.5 inches size holds massive weight
  • All parts are made of high-quality and durable material
  • 30-speed system ensures precise gear shifting
  • Lightweight design makes it suitable for beginners
  • Highly responsive brakes are suitable for a gradual and emergency stoppage.

cons

  • Need to improve the brake calipers quality
  • Hard seat that causes the rider discomfort.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users are impressed with the affordable price for a bike in its class. They say the price is favorable for a carbon frame, which makes it an ideal entry-level carbon frame MTB. They also acknowledge that the brakes are super responsive, not to mention the lightweight design that makes it suitable for beginners and professionals.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Get rolling on those tough trails with the Steppenwolf Tundra SWM245-4701. The design features 29 by 2.25 inches wheels and tires for outstanding stability and comfort while riding on rocks, gravel, over roots, forests, and other technical grounds.

The lightweight carbon steel frameworks simultaneously with the front suspension RockShox SID XXWC 100mm remote fork to absorb shock, ensuring high-performance.

Besides, the powerful 30-speed drivetrain system makes gear shifting a breeze. So you can easily change to the right gear depending on where you are riding. With the Avid XX 180/180 mm brakes, you can be sure that the bike will stop any time you want it to, without resistance.

Bottom Line

Steppenwolf Tundra SWM245-4701 stands out for its exceptional quality. It is designed to withstand all types of unfavorable cycling conditions. The carbon frame is sturdy, the tires offer outstanding traction, while the 30-speed drivetrain system ensures smooth gear changing. This trail hardtail makes you feel like a boss.

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike:
Merax FT323

Merax FT323 Mountain Bike 24 Speed Front Suspension Aluminum Frame MTB Bicycle - 26 inch

pros

  • Comes at an affordable price for the quality
  • Sleek appearance that enhances the general aesthetics of the bike
  • Delivers smooth rides on all terrain
  • Highly responsive mechanical disc brakes
  • 21 speed Shimano system for smooth and precise gear switching

cons

  • Insufficient padding on the seat
  • Crank material needs improvement to enhance performance.

What Recent Buyers Report

As stated by most users, the bike offers a great on and off ride experience thanks to the full suspension design that offers maximum insulation. The price is also favorable for the quality, and overall, it delivers high performance and comfort.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Some of the features that make the Merax FT323 one of our favorite mountain bikes are its sturdiness and durability. It features a full-suspension design (rear and front suspension) that absorbs shock on high jumps, bumps, and rough terrain, for smoother rides.

Furthermore, it is fitted with a 21-speed Shimano system and shifters for precise gear switching. The 26 inches wheels are stable on the ground and non-slip, so you can be confident while cycling.

Most importantly, the linear-pull brakes feature great stopping power, while the Kraton grips are soft to touch and comfortable for long and rough rides.

Bottom Line

The full-suspension bike is a perfect performer, thanks to the front and rear suspension that ensures maximum vibration absorption. The 21- speed Shimano system and shifters are ideal for precise gear shifting, while the 26 inches tires ensure stability and comfort on the trail.

Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike, 24-Inch, Grey/Green

pros

  • Good for both beginners and professionals
  • Light weight makes it ideal for young users
  • Very affordable price suitable for customers on a budget
  • Speed system ensures smooth gear shifting
  • Linear-pull brakes with amazing stopping power.

cons

  • Maximum care is needed when handling the chain
  • Need to improve the quality of the pedals

What Recent Buyers Report

According to most buyers, this is the most affordable aluminum frame mountain bike. It comes pre-assembled, which makes it easy to assemble the other parts. They also loved its light weight and high performance that beat most expensive MTBs. It is a great gift for young bikers and beginners.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Nothing is more rewarding to a mountain bike rider than having a machine that can make their rides smooth and comfortable. That is exactly what the Northwoods 22418-p offers. It features 21- speed twist shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur that make gear shifting easy and smooth.

With a full suspension design, this mountain bike ensures maximum shock absorption on rough terrain. So you can comfortably ride it without feeling any pressure. Moreover, the aluminum frame is sturdy and can withstand the stress from any landscape.

The 24-inch alloy rims are lightweight, reducing the bike's overall weight. They are also wide and offer maximum stability and comfortability on any trail.

Bottom Line

If you are working on a tight budget and wish to get a quality mountain bike, Northwoods 22418-p is a brilliant choice. The lightweight aluminum frame is durable and can withstand a great amount of pressure from different terrains.

Besides, the full-suspension design ensures maximum insulation, while the 21- speed twist shifters and Shimano rear derailleur delivers smooth gear shifting, allowing you to take charge.

What Size Mountain Bike Do I Need?

Just like a pair of pants, mountain bikes come in different sizes that fit various individuals. 

Different bike sizes feel different for each rider. This is because body shapes and heights are different, which are the greatest determinants of an individual's bicycle size.

Most manufacturers categorize their frame sizes as small(S), medium (M), and large (L).  In recent times, manufacturers classify the frame size based on the reach size and not the top tube.

Longer reach fits shorter people better since they can adjust the saddle's height lower. So with small adjustments on the bike components such as the saddle, handlebars, and stem, one can transform an imperfect fit into a perfect one.

How to Measure a Mountain Bike Frame

To ensure you pick the right frame size, you can test out different bike sizes both when standing against and when mounted on the bike. You should be able to easily reach the pedals as well as the ground with your feet when you mount the bike. 

Mountain Bike Size Chart

This chart shows the right size on the mountain bike you should go for based on the frame size and your height.

Types of Mountain Bikes

Enduro, hardtail, 29er, what do these terms mean? Here is some helpful information on the types of mountain bikes. 

What Is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

A hardtail bike has a front suspension fork but lacks the rear suspension.  The model is designed for on-road and smooth trail cycling. It is also affordable and lightweight.  

What is an Enduro Mountain Bike?

An enduro mountain bike lays more emphasis on endurance than speed. The bikes have great power going uphill and are suitable for riders willing to go uphill by pedaling. They also come straight down on technical terrains with ease.

They have sturdier frames and are much heavier than most categories. They are similar to cross country trail bikes, but with wider wheels for extra traction.

Most are in the full-suspension category and have 140-160mm travel, making them the ideal bike for enduring technical terrains.

What is a 29er Mountain Bike?

This is a mountain bike designed to use 29er wheels or wheels with a 29-inch diameter. Because the wheels are so wide they have excellent stability and deliver comfortable traction on tough terrain.

Photo credit: Singletracks.com

What is an All Mountain Bike?

An all-mountain bike is designed for all-day riding. It navigates through all tough areas that most bikes cannot handle. It is suitable for steep ascends and descends.

Most are full suspension, meaning they have sufficient power to take you uphill and provide enough cushioning on rough terrain. They also have enough travel to absorb the stress exerted on the bike by trails.

Mountain Bike Comparisons

So, which type of bike is best? 

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike

Similarities

Both are suitable for on-road rides.

Differences

Road bikes are constructed for on-road use only. They are fast on smooth roads and pavements. This is evident in their wheels' size, which has different features from mountain bike wheels. Their wheels are thinner, smoother, and have low resistance on the ground.

On the other hand, mountain bikes are crafted for on and off-road rides. They are ideal for climbing uphill and technical terrains. Their wheels and tires are wider and knobbier, ideal for excellent traction.

Mountain bikes are slower on pavements but faster on hilly, rocky, muddy, and forested terrains. They are also harder to pedal compared to road bikes.

Photo credit: Morningtobed.com

Mountain Bike vs Hybrid

Similarities

Both have wide tires and flat handlebars.

Differences 

Hybrid bikes are a blend of road and mountain bikes. Like road bikes, they are easy and fast to pedal and as versatile and comfortable as mountain bikes. They have a front suspension for shock absorption. The design is ideal for cycling on light trails and broken paths. 

Mountain bikes are for technical ascents and sheer drop-offs. Their wheels are thicker than hybrids and knobbier with great mechanical grip and rolling resistance. They also have full suspension for shock absorption on technical terrain.

27.5 vs 29 Mountain Bike

Similarities

Both have wheels with excellent traction.

Differences  

27.5-inch wheels are relatively lighter and deliver faster acceleration compared to the 29-ers. Because of their size, they navigate through narrow paths and negotiate sharp corners with ease. Furthermore, their light weight makes it easy to control on the ride compared to their bulky counterparts. 27.5-inch wheel tires are smoother than 29ers, but they also have great rolling resistance.

29er wheels are thicker, more stable, and comfortable on any terrain. The tires are knobbier than the 27.5-inch and deliver outstanding traction. However, they can be somewhat challenging to maneuver through narrow twisting trails due to their heavy weight.

Photo credit: Switchbacktravel.com

Fat Tire Bike vs Mountain Bike

Similarities

Like most mountain bikes, fat bikes have full suspension. Both are ideal for on and off-road rides and provide excellent stability and comfort. They offer a comfortable grip on all terrains

Differences

The difference between a mountain and fat bikes arises from the size of their tires. Fat bike tires (3.8inches-5.2-inches) are wider than mountain bike tires (1.9 inches-2.6 inches). In the same case, fat bikes feature wider rims than mountain bikes. Moreover, they are ideal for all types of on and off-rides, including snow and sand. What's more, with some adjustments, you can convert a fat bike to a mountain bike.

Mountain bikes are ideal for on and off-rides but not suitable for snowy surfaces. Their tires are thinner than fat bikes but have excellent traction, just like their counterparts.

Mountain Bike vs Cruiser

Similarities

Both can be ridden on pavements and less busy paths. Cruiser bikes have aluminum frames, just like most mountain bikes.

Differences

Mountain bikes are crafted for on and off-road rides. They are ideal for climbing uphill and technical terrain. Their wheels and tires are wider and knobbier, ideal for great traction.  

Photo credit: Epicbicycles.com

Mountain bikes are slower on pavements but faster on hilly, rocky, and muddy, forested terrains. 

Cruisers, also known as "townies" are for smooth and slow rides around town, sidewalks, and less busy paths.

Their handles and simple saddle are comfortable, while the wheels are thinner. Most have a front basket and rear rack for carrying one's belongings.

Trek vs Specialized Mountain Bikes

Similarities

Both have full suspension and women-friendly designs.

Differences

Trek bikes have the Full-floater and Active Braking Pivot for the rear suspension, while Specialized have the Future Shock Rear.

Trek's entry-level bikes are somewhat expensive compared to Specialized entry-level bikes that tend to be more affordable.

For entry-level bikes, Specialized offers better components than Trek.

Trek bikes focus on functionality, while Specialized are more concerned with durability and efficiency.

Trek provides a wide variety of MTBs to choose from, compared to Specialized.

Trek allows buyers to fully customize their bikes' features, while Specialized does not.

Carbon vs Aluminum Mountain Bike

Similarities

Both are sturdy and durable.

Differences

Carbon mountain bikes feature frames and forks made from carbon fiber. They are more durable than aluminum frames but heavier. Due to their weight, they are slow on ascents but faster on descents.

Similarly, aluminum mountain bikes feature forks and frames made from aluminum material. They are also durable, but lighter than carbon MTBs. Due to their weight, they have greater strength going uphill than their counterparts.

Photo credit: Pinkbike.com

How to Mountain Bike

Shifting Gears

Don't wait to reach the mountain before shifting – always shift when you are about to approach the bumpy area and ensure that you are pedaling lightly when shifting. 

Shift one to two gears at a time.

Braking

Usually, front brakes deliver more power than the rear brake. Braking should be steady and controlled. Do not use a lot of force braking. Instead, evenly and lightly, apply the front and rear brakes. This will prevent the bike from slipping and falling.

When braking, your body position should help you stay in control. Move back your hips and slightly bend your elbows and knees. For comfort, adjust your lever brakes to be in line with your forearm. Always break before getting to the turn.

Coasting

Remember, you don't have to always be pedaling. Coasting is when you let your bike roll free without pedaling but keep your pedals level. This helps to conserve cycling energy and get over certain obstacles with ease. 

Photo credit: Rei.com

Adjusting Your Positions

You can get off your saddle seat for a few seconds for extra comfort when climbing mountains, getting over roots, and other obstacles for extra comfort. Besides, you may be required to stand from your saddle most of the time when descending, which allows your body to shift and adjust to the terrain.

These are just but a few aspects involved in mountain biking. For more information and full illustrations, be sure to refer to the video below.

How to Maintain a Mountain Bike

Proper maintenance is a crucial part of mountain biking. We will look at a few tips that can help maintain the Schwinn 27.5" Aluminum Comp Bike. 

Wash Your Bike

You will need some water, a couple of brushes (different sizes and types), a high-end, and a washing detergent.

Systematically, spray water to remove any mud stuck in the tires, suspension, or cranksets.

Put some water on a basin, add the detergent, and use the brushes to scrub off the bike. For instance, you can use a stiff brush to clean the tires, chains, pedals, frame, and a toothbrush for the linkages.

Photo credit: Bicycling.com

Remove the Wheels

You can turn the bike upside down or hang it on a sturdy stand to remove the wheels. Unlock the quick-release lever and remove one wheel at a time.

Wash the Drive System 

Using soapy water and a stiff/hard brush, clean the rear gear system and other moving parts such as chainring, and pedals. Finish by cleaning the front gear system.

Inspection

Check if the bike has any damage. Inspect the chain, fork, frame crankset, rims, pedals, and all other parts.

Adjust the Brakes

You will have to replace the wheel to test the brakes. While standing in front of the wheels, hold the bike's handlebars and apply the brakes. The front-wheel should not move at all, and as you keep pulling the brakes, the rear wheel should lift off the ground. 

If the front and rear wheels respond differently, the brakes need adjustment.

Photo credit: Mccarthycycles.com

Tires and Suspension

Check if they have any damage, need additional pressure, and if the little bolt cap is tight enough. Also, check the seals on the suspension. You can also jump on your bike to ensure it has sufficient shock absorption.

Bolt

Tighten the bolt, but ensure that it is not too tight to cause damage.

Bearings and Linkages

Check if the bearings and linkages need greasing to reduce friction.

Gears

Check if there is any damage to the gears and the chain. When the gears are damaged, the shifting will be negatively affected.

Test the Ride

Now you can do a test ride to ensure that everything is working correctly.

For a fuller insight into this bike maintenance process, please refer to the video below.

Conclusion 

We are glad that you are well informed about the best mountain bikes available on the market. With these bikes having different features such as wheel sizes, holding capacity, suspension, and strength, you can now choose the best bike for your individual needs. 

Recap - Best Mountain Bikes

Need a refresher? Here's a snapshot of the three best mountain bikes:

  1. Schwinn High Timber S0955
  2. Hiland 26'' Aluminum Mountain Bike
  3. ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike

People Also Ask

We have completed our review of the best mountain bikes, and now you know what to look out for before purchasing. Let us now look at the common questions people ask regarding mountain bikes.

Is a Mountain Bike Worth It?

The worth of a mountain bike depends on the value it brings to the field. Bikes meant for tough terrains deliver superior performance and are likely to be more expensive than those designed for smoother terrains.

This again narrows down to an individual decision, which depends on the budget, expectations, and how you plan to use the bike. In essence, every mountain bike is worth it when its capabilities are put to the test.

Is It Cheaper to Buy or Build a Mountain Bike?

The choice to build or buy depends on your personal preferences. If you are looking for a cheap bike that costs less than $1000, it will be more economical to buy an assembled one. But if you are looking to customize your bike and you are ready to spend above that amount, then you can consider custom-building. Then again, this is only viable if you know the exact components you need to get for the best quality.

How Much Does a Mountain Bike Cost?

The price depends on various factors, such as the type of bike and the seller you are buying it from. For instance, full-suspension bikes tend to be more costly than hardtail bikes. But a high-quality mountain bike will cost $1500 or more. You can also get a high-quality bike at a lower price, especially from entry-level brands.

How Much Does a Mountain Bike Weigh?

Weight is one of the factors that most riders consider in a bike. Although this might not be an essential factor for beginners, you get to realize how important a bike's weight is as you keep riding. Usually, beginner mountain bikes weigh between 30-35 pounds, while the downhill mountain bikes, which are the heaviest, may go up to 40 pounds. 

Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive?

Mountain bikes are designed for climbing uphill and racing down again, meaning they must be designed from top quality material that can withstand hard use. They also have additional components such as bearings, pivots, and bushes that make them stronger. All these materials add up, which raises the production cost and eventually the selling price.

How Much Are Mountain Bikes?

A quality first-time mountain bike will cost you between $1000- $2500, depending on the type you choose. 

A high-end hardtail mountain bike may cost you $1000- $1500, while full-suspension may be somewhere between $1500- $2500. 

What is a Mountain Bike Dropper Post?

A dropper is a post below the saddle that allows quick and easy adjustment of the seat's height for smooth climbing and descending. You do not need to get off the bike or stop to adjust, you can make the adjustments while riding.

What Are The Best Mountain Bike Brands?

Some of the most common mountain bike brands you are likely to bump into include:

  • Specialized, based in California

  • Cannondale, based in Wilton, Connecticut

  • Diamondback, based in Kent, Washington

  • Santa Cruz, based in Santa Cruz, California

  • Evil Bike Co., based in Bellingham, Washington

  • YT Industries, based in Hausen, Germany

  • Giant Bicycles, based in Taichung, Taiwan

  • Trek Bikes Waterloo, Wisconsin

What is the Difference Between a Mountain and a Hill?

A hill has less steep slopes and is shorter than a mountain. Unlike mountains, hills are usually common and you find them frequently along most transportation routes.

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "