Mountain bikes are not meant for a specific kind of terrain, rather they are extraordinarily multipurpose bikes which can be ridden on in all kinds of terrains. They come with suspension and higher capacity tires in comparison to your common bikes. These features permit them to offer comfort and increase traction even if you are on bumpy cross-country paths. There are several variations of mountain bikes, depending upon the wheel size, frame geometry, as well as the degree of frame suspension. Selecting the proper mountain bike for the sort of riding that you want to do will play a vital role in your performance and comfort. This is what this buying guide will do for you.
Best Mountain Bikes for You
Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er Mountain Bike – Nashbar Exclusive
This bike is meant for beginners, yet it comes with a plethora of features. Its pricing is quite reasonable and easily affordable. It has been designed in such a way that it can meet a number of biking demands. You can simply use it in the manner of a mountain bike, or for the purpose of commuting. You can even take this bike for fun riding around your neighborhood.
An aluminum alloy frame, which is handmade, and with light weight and strong tubing, is used in the construction of this bike. Don’t let its feather-light construction fool you into thinking that it won’t be suitable for rough paths. It has an exceptionally strong framework which can readily keep up with the needs of relatively rocky mountain trails. Its Shimano components, which comprise of an Acera rear derailleur and Altus shifters, guarantee longevity and a smooth swinging.In addition to that, the bike gives you supplementary stopping power and a better control through its Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
A steep head tube angle and a short bottom bracket elevation offer the experience of an awesome ride on even flowy paths as well as uphill. You will not come across any issues in converting the wheels to tubeless. There is nothing decorative about the X4 components, but they are quite efficient at their job. Contrarily, the mechanical disc brakes will require you to spend more energy in pushing it down. But it is also true that they are a lot more powerful than any of the V-brakes or cheap oil. Clean the fork after riding and your bike will work fabulously!
Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch)
This one is among those few bikes in the industry that bring together performance, comfort, and style to provide you the definitive experience of riding a mountain bike. The one feature that makes it stand out from all other bikes is its 29” wheels. It is perhaps the biggest size in this market and various attributes make it a particularly lucrative deal. One such attribute is that the big wheels are perfect for producing an enhanced momentum in the bike, especially when you are on loose grounds or uphill. This, in turn, requires a reduced effort on your part for handling such terrains.
The bike’s dual suspension feature also makes it a unique product. It has suspension forks on its front wheels as well as the rear wheels which make for a convenient ride on rugged territories. The forks on the front side pad your upper arms shield them from the shocks that you are bound to receive on bumpy terrains. Working in harmony with the front forks, the rear forks also protect your lower body by absorbing the shocks directed towards those parts of your body.
Its motorized disc brakes, present on both sides of the bike, offer a great amount of safety in relation to other mountain bikes. They are a lot more efficient as compared to the linear pull brakes. Moreover, these brakes are powerful enough to give you a wholesome stoppage in risky conditions. This hands over to you a complete mastery over the bike in situations of any emergencies, all while still certifying your security throughout the whole ride.
Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike
This is one tough, sprightly and resilient bike, offering you a way to explore the hidden wanderer inside you without having to go for a pricey model. It is comprised of alloy brakes, 26” alloy wheels, SRAM grip shifters, 21-speed drivetrain, SR Suntour suspension fork, and a steel frame. Its high timber warrants you a smooth ride, quick braking, easy shifting, comfort, stability, and a responsive handling.
All of us have crashed our mountain bikes at one point or the other. You could either have been practicing moves that were above your pay grade, you could have been on an incredibly bumpy terrain, or your bike itself was difficult to handle. The latter is the most common cause behind bike crashes. This is precisely the reason that Schwinn has come out with a bike which features SR Suntour Suspension and a steel mountain frame. This helps in smoothing over the bumps, resulting in a better handling of the bike as well as the terrain you are on.
If you are one of those who loves to skim up and down the slopes, and over a taxing terrain, then one thing most important to you are the gearing of the bike. This mountain bike has SRAM grip shifters, an alloy crank, and a 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur – all necessary things for swift and efficient gear changes when you’re out cruising. The bike might require a few component replacements and adjustments at first, but that doesn’t mean that it is not a fine quality and reliable bike which will stay with you for a long time.
26″ wheel Roadmaster Granite Peak Men’s Mountain Bike
This bike possesses all the 3 elements that are vital in any good quality mountain bike – reliable brakes, efficient shifting, and a good suspension. Its front suspension forks cushions you from the jolts of unexpected drops or bumps in the road. When you are riding a long distance, this will mitigate the pressure on your lower back, which is the shock absorber for your body. The tires too play a role in dampening the effects of such hazard on the roads.
Just swipe your hand, and you will find that the SRAM drive twist shifters have moved in the blink of your eye. Changing gears is completed efficiently, and you get 18 variations in the speeds, with their wide array of gears, via the 3 part mountain crank. It comes with linear pull brakes, which are also popular by the term V-brake. They offer a dependable stopping power and can adapt quite easily.
A big advantage with this bike is that it can fit almost all kinds of riders. Its handlebars and seat can be lowered as much as possible. This offers the even someone as short in height as a mere 5 foot 4 inches the possibility of having a comfortable ride. By corollary, a taller rider can be accommodated as well by simply elevating the handlebars and seat as much as you can. This bike may not be suitable for the purposes of a competitive and serious bike racer. Also keep in mind that the seat can get a little uncomfortable if you are planning a long distance ride. However, this bike still is a very good alternative for average riding.
Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike
This bike provides you with a safe riding experience without putting a dent in your pocket. Its ingeniously designed rammed aluminum frame is a favorite with a lot of long distance riders due to its sturdiness and strength. It is readily accessible and quite budget friendly. Another reason for its popularity is that it is a very lightweight material, which is why it is the best option in the manufacturing of mountain bikes.
This bike comes with 24-speed changers from Shimano. This is an especially useful feature if you will be using your bike for competitions and sporting. The shifts in gear are a complement for the vast size of the wheels which enhances the performance of the bike as a whole.
Hydraulic disk brakes are being used by more and more manufacturers now, over the linear pull brakes. The latter are unproductive, so they are going out of fashion. They were liable to malfunctioning in wet or muddy circumstances. Disk brakes, on the other hand, are way better as they do not rely on the current weather conditions. This bike is one such model that has benefitted from this change.
The huge wheels of the bike, 29 inches to be exact, are crucial in raising the level of the bike above ground, according to the rider’s comfort. They also result in an increased traction, the force of which is required to cross over the bumpy surfaces. The steel suspension forks, located on the front side, also improve your comfort specifically over rough terrains, such that your body feels no shocks from the ride. The saddle can be adapted to different heights, so a lot of people can consider buying this bike.
This bike does not have a dual suspension, meaning there are no rear suspension forks. This reduces your comfort while riding by a big margin as your lower body will feel all riding shocks. Another limitation is that its big wheels could be an obstruction for short people. But considering the price and quality of this bike, such small matters can be compromised with.
Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Mountain Bike
This bike can be your companion on any and all of your mountain biking escapades. If you’re up for a challenging ride, you will have enormous power, a smooth ride, and maximum control over your bike. Most of its features are the same as any other mountain bike, and still, this is a bike unlike any other. Read on to know why!
It is equipped with an aluminum dual suspension frame, and the steel rear triangle provides it additional support. It has a solid framework that is resistant to rust and has the capacity to carry heavy riders without bowing down under their weight. The structure also offers an efficient ride, so that daredevil bikers can handle off-roading easily.
This bike gives you an unbelievable gearing with its Shimano EF-50 trigger shifters. They make swift, precise and efficient gear changes, and function in harmony with the Shimano Altus rear derailleur. You get a peak control over all kinds of territories as well as a progressive power. Whether you are off to work or venturing on new paths, you will have a range of 24 different speeds to choose from.
It is also popular for its top notch rims and tires that maintain a good level of traction in all circumstances. The knobby tires have an amazing grip whereas its doubly fortified alloy rims are light and strong.
Your new Schwinn bike might need a little bit of fine tuning. The seat is a tiny bit hard and there’s no place to store a water bottle or a hand pump. Even though it’s only an entry-level mountain bike, it can fulfill all of your demands – be it off-roading or riding on paved roads.
Alton Mammoth Fat-Tire Bike
Gone are the days when you had to feel awkward about having a fat bike! Today you’re simply missing out if you haven’t got a fat bike. You can choose from a lot of fat bikes out there, but the Alton bike stands out from the rest. This bike has been designed keeping in mind that passionate cyclist who also wants to experience the versatility found on a mountain bike. It warrants you a consistent fun in whatever terrain you drop it into!
It has an alloy frame of 26 inches, weighing about 36lbs. It may not be the lightest weight frame found in the market today, but it’s not at all hard to maneuver and control the bike. One advantage this frame has in relation to the lighter ones is that it is much more stable and sturdy. Therefore, it can support both heavy and light riders in an equally good manner.
The gearing of a bike determines your speed at every point of your ride which makes it a very significant aspect in mountain bikes. This bike has Shimano Tourney 7-speed rear derailleur which works in conjunction with the 44T alloy crank arm and the Shimano 7-speed shift lever. These components give you the required speed while you are cutting through trails and tracks. The suave shifters change rapidly the moment you feel like adjusting your speed.
It comes with Promax disc brakes due to their reliability and efficiency. They function very well even in muddy and wet situations. You never need to worry about your brakes failing! The only drawback is that the seat and bell might need replacing, but that doesn’t cost too much.
Diamondback Laurito Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike
Diamondback has certainly made a reputation for itself by giving out such a wide range of perfect bikes to choose from. The quality, cost, efficiency, and durability of its bikes are what make them so awesome a riding experience.
The quality of its tires and 27.5-inch wheels makes sure that you have an easy and convenient ride in various kinds of terrains. The huge wheels provide such an amazing grip to the surface that it can handle any kind of weight. This bike from Diamondback can deal with cracks, dirt, gravel, and debris in any territory, thus offering you luxurious rides for long durations. The shipping weight of this bike is around 40 pounds, so you can carry it with ease if you ever need to walk in a rough terrain. You can even pack it up easily for transporting it somewhere.
You need to be increased comfort if you are planning to ride long distances. This can be readily accomplished by simply adjusting your seat to whatever size you desire. This also makes it ideal for riders of any height. A saddle wider than is usually found in bikes also increases your comfort during long rides. In addition, it comes with powerful linear brakes that can be applied pretty confidently whenever the need arises. Their mechanical disc allows them to respond with haste when you want to take a break.
This is an incredible bike for short and long trips alike. You can choose from a number of sizes and colors, depending upon your needs.
Which Is the Right Mountain Bike for You?
I know it can get pretty confusing to decide upon the one mountain bike that fits all your needs from the numerous options available these days. Downhill if you are crazy about riding without a care in the world, free ride if you don’t want to push your way all through downhill, cross country if you want speed, or all mountain if you can’t make up your mind. So here I am to help you choose the right one!
Cross Country Mountain Bikes: The cross country variety is thoroughbreds, being the lightest in weight and the smoothest in pedaling. These are created for routes that are long distance and more walking trail style. Despite the lightness of their weight, they can deal with a considerable amount of bumpy surfaces. They are a great option if you like getting competitive or would simply prefer a racier bike.
But it is not built for big downhills. Although it can make big drops and jumps, it won’t be as comfortable as you might expect. Cross country bikes incline towards a comparatively shorter suspension and are less bouncy as a result. This will lead the shocks right to your butt in a markedly rough manner. And have no doubt, you will feel it once you cross the jump. But then you can be off and ride in no time once again before the big suspension frames cease bouncing.
All Mountain Bikes: These bikes came on to the scene when customized trail centers gained a lot of ground. It is an ideal choice if you want an easy ride uphill, but later want to go hard on the downhills. Their weight is a pay grade above the cross country ones, so you might find it a bit harder in comparison to pushing them up while on an uphill trail. They are still made for pedaling, thus the name All Mountain Bikes. So they are ideal for those trails where the uphill journey is not too taxing for you.
A larger suspension and tougher frame give it extra weight. Your jumps and drops are absorbed to a significant amount by the suspension, thus, enabling you to maintain your speed throughout the trail. You can easily get through the hard bends, and all that added travel just adds fun to your journey. You will realize the difference between ending your ride with chattering teeth plus shivering, painful forearms and coming to a standstill with a smiling face and a blasé air.
Free Ride Mountain Bikes: These are the kind of bikes you want if you feel like having a full-on downwards rig. They have the schematics for countering any downhill path and the power to keep you from getting hit by a deck because of a shattered frame. Just so you can accommodate, these bikes can go uphill as well.
These bikes give you heavy tubes and a big-ass suspension, yet the wheels are lighter than your typical downhill bike. This is possible as one of the major things keeping you from giving your best is the rotational weight of a bike wheel. Hence, it is the best zone to cut down on so as to give you enhanced acceleration and pedaling. So if you want to just attack the trails, a free ride mountain bike is your answer.
Downhill Mountain Bikes: The opposite of a cross country rider is the universe of a downhiller. This is a species that avoids the uphill like greens are avoided by the fat kids. If you aspire to be a downhiller one day, you need to have a slight concern for your own safety and a predilection for XXXL clothes. They are only built for one single thing – remaining in a single piece in the bumpiest of terrains. They can get through extreme drops and make humongous jumps feel like nothing – all because of a great suspension which absorbs all those shocks.
Never even try to get one of these hulking fiends to go uphill unless you want to get a heart attack. But take it downhill, and you will experience a gliding, silky and smooth comfort along with the confidence to strike anything.
Types of Mountain Bike Suspension
Rigid: These bikes do not come with any suspension so they are not that popular a choice. They take lesser maintenance and come very cheap, but it would be preferable to have a bike with a good suspension for a better comfort level. A lot of fat bikes are rigid as bikers feel that the low tire pressure and the wide tires give all the cushion required to soak up all the bumps along the trail.
Hardtail: They derive their name from the fact that they feature a suspension fork on the front side for absorbing the shocks on the front wheel, but none on the rear side of the bike. They are generally more affordable as compared to bikes that come with full suspension and have a lesser amount of moving parts. This converts into lesser maintenance. Very often hardtails have the capacity to padlock the front fork if you want a completely rigid bike.
Cross-country bikers are generally more inclined towards these due to the fact that they offer a direr direct power transfer between the rear tire and the pedal stroke. They are super easy to manage on an all mountain trail. Their affordability and simpler maintenance make them the ideal alternative for all kinds of mountain biking, except the serious downhill trails.
Full Suspension: These are available in a lot of varieties. The basic idea behind this feature is (for both the sides of the bike) to cushion you from the shocks of a rough terrain. This enhances the traction and provides you a more exciting and forgiving ride. These bikes absorb much of the trail chatter and bumps along your way, but they can also sometimes “bob” so that you will some bit from the energy transfer if you are climbing uphill. That is why almost all full suspension rigs come with the option of locking out the rear suspension so that there can be a better power transfer and a smoother climbing experience.
Wheel Size of Mountain Bikes
All adult sized bikes came with 26-inch wheels until not so long ago. This size is still available, but when you go to a bike store now and ask about mountain bikes, they are very likely to ask you which size wheel you want.
27.5 inches: These bikes give you the best from both the worlds of the usual 26-inch wheels and the 29ers. They roll over surfaces more easily as compared to 26-inch wheels, while being more maneuverable in relation to 29ers. These wheels are often a part of both hardtail and full suspension rigs.
29ers: Wheels 29 inches in size do prove to be a bit slower in acceleration, but when they begin moving you will be able to cover significantly more terrain and far more easily than if you are on a 26-inch wheels bike. They are better for long distance rides as they maintain a high level of momentum and their attack angle is higher. So the wheels pass over trail hurdles smoothly. They are quite in fashion for the cross country bikers. And they are fitted with full suspension, hardtail, and rigid rigs.
Mountain Bike Frame Materials
The frame of a bike has a wide influence – over its price, riding quality, longevity, strength and weight. The most ordinary material used in the manufacturing of mountain bike frames is an aluminum alloy. Expensive models come with a lighter aluminum frame due to the manufacturer expending more effort and money during material selection, manufacturing process, and the tubing design.
Carbon fiber, titanium, and steel can also be used as a frame material. Inexpensive and sturdy, steel provides a smooth riding experience but is quite heavy for a bike. Strong and light, titanium is quite expensive for mountain bikes, unless they are quite a high end. Carbon fiber is used very often for all mountain bikes, high-end trail, fat bikes, and cross-country bikes due its light weight and strength. However, it is relatively pricey due to its requirements of a labor-intensive manufacturing process.
Mountain Bike Gears
If you multiply the number of front chain rings with a number of cogs on the cartridge, you will have the number of gears on a bike. Mountain bikes come with a wide array of gears, ranging from single speed to more than 30 gears. But things get complicated once you account for the various permutations and combinations of teeth numbers, cogs, and chain rings.
But the only things that you need to consider are your fitness degree and the kind of terrain you will be riding on. You need to go for more gears if you will be climbing up a number of steep hills and find it a challenge. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced rider or if you only bike on even surfaces, you can do with only a few gears which keep your bike light in addition. This is because you will not require a lot of low gears to go up on a hill.
These bikes conventionally feature 2 or 3 chain rings in order to offer a variety of simpler gears for climbing. But now mountain bikes with a wide ranged cartridge of 9 to 11 cogs and single chain rings are quite in trend. Single chain ring bikes are simpler and lighter.
Whatever your budget may be, you can always find a reasonably priced mountain bike that meets your riding and lifestyle demands. Apart from the brand and price, another important feature to consider is whether to go for a full suspension or a hardtail bike. Factors like your riding surface, riding style, budget and individual choice can assist you in determining the right kind of mountain bike for yourself. Happy biking!