Getting your first mountain bike is an exciting moment, you'll want to get something that will serve your needs but not be too costly. Getting out on the trails is exhilarating and you need to have a bike that makes you feel comfortable so that you can enjoy every moment. Before you go into a store to find the best beginner mountain bike, you'll need to know what your options are. Do you want a rigid type, full suspension, or a hardtail? And what does that all mean?
We've come up with a list of the best beginner mountain bikes on the market for your consideration. Our list should help you get a start on what to look for and what the features are of each one.
Mountain Bikes Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is the Best Beginner Mountain Bike?
Mountain biking is a great activity, it helps you to stay healthy and fit and its fun. Not all mountain biking is about jumping and riding at fast speeds. You can get out and ride the trails and enjoy the scenery. The best beginner mountain bike will deliver a comfortable ride for you and fit your budget as well. Most people will start out with something affordable to match the type of trails they will start with.
There are bike sizes to fit your body size. Bikes are made with different types of geometry that will feel different to different people. Some people have shorter torsos, some have shorter legs, each bike will fit you differently. Sit on the bike and make sure that you don't experience any pain after riding for a few hours.
2. What Types of Best Beginner Mountain Bikes Are There?
There are three types of mountain bikes: full suspension, hardtail, and rigid.
Full suspension is one of the most popular. They are efficient and stable and have shock absorbers which give the rider positive control in most types of terrain. Due to the amount of moving parts on this style of bike, they also require the most maintenance.
Hardtail is a hybrid of a rigid and full suspension style. They have a rigid rear tire and a shock absorber on the front wheel. One of the benefits of the hardtail style is that there is a better transfer between the pedals and decent traction on the front tires that absorbs shock. Hardtail bikes don't require as much maintenance as a full suspension bike will.
Rigid mountain bikes have no suspension. The lack of moving parts keeps maintenance low, but they should have wider tires on them to help with impact absorption.
In addition to these types of mountain bikes, you still need to consider the other components you will need such as the pedals and the type of frame. The components mentioned can't be changed. But some components you can customize the fit of are the saddle seat and the handlebars.
3. What Is a Good Price Range and Brand for a Best Beginner Mountain Bike?
It's usually a good idea to spend less than a thousand dollars on a beginner bike. The majority of the bikes can be found in this price range, but a few will be more expensive as they may have other features that are more costly. The more expensive a bike is the lighter it usually is.
When you go to a bike shop to look at bikes, ask the staff about recommended brands and what they hear about them from their clients. Always look at the warranty and ask the clerk to review the specs with you in case you have problems after purchase.
You can buy a bike online, as there will often be better deals, but make sure you know what you're getting beforehand. Go to a bike shop and look at the model you are interested in. Seeing it in person will help you to make a better decision.
4. What Type of Frame Material, Wheels, and Tires Are on a Best Beginner Mountain Bike?
There are three types of materials used on mountain bike frames: steel, carbon, or aluminum alloy. A lower cost bike will not be likely to be made from steel or carbon as these are expensive materials found on boutique or custom bikes. A beginner bike will often be made of aluminum.
Wheels are usually 27.5 and 29 inches on a mountain bike. Larger wheels can easily roll over obstacles and handle speed well, but they are slower than a small wheel. Taller riders feel more comfortable with a 29-inch wheel.
Stock tires on a beginner bike are prone to be cheaper to keep the cost of the bike low. Tires have a big effect on how the bike will handle so it is recommended that you upgrade them to the type of riding that you will be doing.
How We Reviewed
The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: features, pros & cons, price, where to buy, and warranty. We came up this list that after investing time and effort into researching different models of this type of product. The result is an unbiased "best of" list.
Overall Price Range of the Best Beginner Mountain Bike Models
The price range of this product is between the average to expensive. Some higher priced models might get you different materials, features, and quality of parts that a lower priced model may not.
What We Reviewed
- Aluminum frame for lightweight durability designed to fit ages 8 to 12 or 53 to 62 inches tall
- SR Suntour XCR suspension fork with 80mm of travel enhances control over rough trails
- SRAM NX 1x11 speed drivetrain for smooth shifting and wide gear range
This best beginner mountain bike offers modern frame geometry at an affordable price. It's a hardtail design that allows you to ride through rough terrain. It comes with SR Suntour XCR forks common on entry level mountain bikes because they are reliable and affordable. They offer 32mm wide stanchions, or legs, that boost stiffness. You can lock out the forks for climbs or set the preload as you like.
You'll get a good range of gears with the SRAM 1 x 8 drivetrain. If you are tackling steep hills, you may want smaller chaining. Consider an upgrade to a 1 x 10 if this is the case. The wheels are 27.5 inches and 2.35 inches in width. These Schwalbe Tough Tom tires will get you through tough terrain and muddy situations. Tekro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes will come in handy. These entry-level brakes will stop you when you need to stop and are better than mechanical brakes.
This bike offers a non-tapered headtube, and it is a wider design with matching forks that make it stiff. This will limit your upgrade options in the future for forks. If you feel that you are limited in the future you will need to buy a new bike with better suspension. But for an entry level bike, this is a best beginner mountain bike for its price and features. It will give you good performance and a great introduction to mountain biking.
If you are looking for the best beginner mountain bike for the money, the Motobecane 2018 350 DS is a good choice. It's been around for 25 years and was popular with slalom racers, cross country racers, and riders who like to take their bikes through the roughest terrain. One of the reasons is the strong frame. It is available in 27.5 and 29-inch versions with a tapered head tube and wider axles. This is the perfect bike for the occasional race and day adventures.
The shocks are SR Suntour XCM fork with 100mm travel. They are not intended for jumps or big hits—this bike does better on the ground. The Shimano SLX 3 x 9 drivetrain has an Acera cassette and KMC chain. Acera will offer the same performance as higher groupsets at a lower cost. You can expect accurate shifting.
It comes with Terra Cypher tires which are great on dry hardpack. If you are riding on terrain that is wet, muddy, has gravel, loam, or is dusty you might want to swap these out. These tires are good for a dry race course. It comes with Alex D19 double wall rims on centerlock hubs and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
The Gravity Basecamp comes with oversized tires and 27.5-inch wheels. The large tires will increase your traction and give you great pedaling and cornering control. The lightweight aluminum frame gives you quick acceleration and the SR Suntour XCR with 120mm travel will absorb bumps easily. Shimano Altus drivetrain keeps shifting accurate and quick. It has Terra DB-X40 double wall rims and hubs with grippy and durable WTB Trail Blazer tires and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. This adds up to incredible speed control even in less than perfect conditions.
This Talus 2 Recreational Mountain Bike is marketed as a hardcore hardtail for the trails. It offers comfort and traction with its large tires. Smaller bumps and loose rocks are handled well. The low gear options offer good climbing. Alloy V-brake brakes perform well with Shimano Acera shifting. The bigger tires perform well in rough terrain, offering a comfortable ride and speed.
The Schwinn Protocol 1.0 is an efficient trail bike with 26-inch wheels and Down Hill aluminum dual-suspension with 120 mm of travel. The frame is light, durable, and tough and will last for thousands of rides. The bearing cups are pressed into the frame allowing for easy removal. The stem and bars are adjustable giving the rider a more custom and comfortable ride. The tires are more nimble and maneuverable at 26 inches. They track better and roll over obstacles with ease.
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Finding the right mountain bike to fit you is important so that you will stay safe and have fun. The models we selected are our top choices of what is available on the market. However, there are other models that you might find will fit you better. We wanted to give you something to start with on your search so you will know what to look for when you go shopping.