Choosing the right MTB can be a minefield when you are looking to spend some decent money. First, you need to decide which type of bike you are looking for.
- Trail Bikes
- Cross-country Bikes
- All Mountain Bikes
- Fat Bikes
- Downhill Bikes
Trail mountain bikes are the most common form of MTB, and generally cheapest options. They are all round mountain bikes that are good for trails, uphill climbs and downhill. Unlike other types of mountain bike, they are not designed for any specific riding discipline. If you are just starting out with the sport, then this is a good place to start.
Cross-Country Mountain Bikes (XC)
Cross-Country (XC) mountain bikes are much lighter than the standard Trail bike and built for speed. They are the best for uphill climbs and commonly used for racing.
All mountain bikes is not the term to cover every type of MTB as commonly thought by beginners. All Mountain MTBs and build for mountain riding and great for battling uphills and fast downhills. All mountain MTBs are for serious riders who love hard mountain trails. The set up is more technical than the standard trail bike, with rear gears and better suspensions.
Fat Mountain Bikes
Fat mountain bikes are designed for going ‘off piste’ and riding through soft ground like sand, snow and heavy wet med terrains. They are used by adventure riders for riding where there are no dedicated MTB trails.
Fat Mountain Bike Example
- Steel mountain bike frame with supersized all terrain knobby tires, 26" diameter x 4" wide. Front and rear disc brakes provides all-conditions braking.
- Shimano rear derailleur with 7 speeds makes hills easier to climb. Twist Shifters make it smooth and easy to change gears.
- Threadless headset is adjustable and lightweight alloy rims are strong but keep the weight down.
- Extra touches like a three piece crank and sport seat. Good for adult riders 5'6 to 6'0 tall.
- Ride on all terrain, sand, rocks, snow, where ever; easy to ride year round
Downhill Mountain Bike
Like it says on the tin, downhill mountain bikes are built for going fast downhill. These are generally used in park that have lift transportation to the top of mountains as they are terrible for going uphill. Features include; heavy frames, disc brakes as standard, low riding seats and front/back suspensions.Downhill MTB Example
- Mongoose Horst link aluminum DH frame has a slack seat tube to bring the rear wheel in, making the ride livelier without giving up stability or lift
- Manitou Durado Expert 200 mm travel fork with a 20 mm thru-axle pairs with 27.5" wheels to soak up big hits and keep momentum through gnarly descents
- Shimano ZEE 1 x 10 drivetrain keeps weight down while remaining extremely durable and dependable
- Tektro Slate T4 four-piston hydraulic disc brakes help shed weight yet provide efficient downhill braking and speed control
- Reliable Kenda Honey Badger DH 27.5 x 2.5" tires wrap around light and strong Sun Ringle Helix 29 tubeless-ready rims for a smooth and stable ride
These mountain bikes are no suspension at the back and therefore generally the cheapest forms of MTB
Have suspensions on both the front and back of the bike and great when you are moving from a beginner to hitting some tougher trails at speed.
Determine your budget
The more you spend, the better the mountain bike will be generally speaking. We have reviewed mountain bikes under each price category to make things easier for you. We class entry-level mountain bikes at under US$1000.
Note: Some companies like Jenson USA offer financing schemes.
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
Schwinn Men’s High Timber 27.5″ Wheel Mountain Bicycle (For a dirt cheap bike – $200!)