Our Top Recommendation Mountain Bike is Diamondback Bicycles 2014 Overdrive Sport with 29-Inch Wheels. This is the best, most trusted and sold mountain bike Online.
A Few Reasons to go Mountain Biking for the Uninitiated
It’s time for you to join the crazy and wild community of mountain bikers to experience the thrill and joy of being outdoors while also getting some real exercise. If you’re sitting there, thinking you don’t have the time, or it’s just not for you, but you still get a treadmill or some other type of exercise bike, read on and then think again.
It’s an awesome Workout that surely beats being on Treadmill
Too many companies endorsing their specific brand of “fitness” products have people convinced about the “benefits” and convenience of exercising indoors. Between the gym, treadmills, ellipticals and their like, fitness and exercise have become dull, drab and joyless pursuits. How exciting and motivating could it be to sit on a stationary bike and watch tv every day; it’s no wonder that people give up on their exercise programs. It’s just not fun. With mountain biking, you’ll be burning those leg muscles, but it won’t hurt as much because you’ll be taking in the scenery and waiting to reach the top for the descent!
It’ll heal you
Well, it won’t cure cancer, but it’ll change your perspective on the problems in your life. If you’ve had a tough day or week and need to blow off pent-up steam, it’ll give you the perfect outlet. When you’re out there cycling, following the trail, your mind will have the time to relax and your body will burn out all the emotion that could otherwise wreck your day.
It’ll bring adventure into your life
Every time you ride, you’ll be confronted with the possibility of exploration. You’ll come across many forks in the trail, a rickety old bridge, a shallow stream, some terrified little rodent or big bear if you’re in the wrong park, but either way, your adrenaline will pump, and you will remember the thrill of stumbling upon something new. In short, you’ll have great stories to tell and a smile on your face that’ll inspire the uninitiated.
It’ll give you a greater appreciation of nature
In the midst of our hectic work schedules, routines and commuting between work and the house, we are almost divorced from nature. The only sounds that filter through our ears are that of mobile phones, Television, the radio, cars and all things mechanical. Mountain biking is a window that brings nature back into your life in a way that is both thrilling and enjoyable. At various points on the trail when you’re tired, you will have the time just to sit and contemplate the beauty of your surroundings and listen to nature’s tranquil sounds. You will feel better. If you don’t believe me, just read what research has to say about spending time in nature.
It’ll give you the opportunity to be present
When you’re out “there” away from all your gadgets and fancy equipment, with the wind in your face, you’re attention will be free and focused every minute on whatever the trail throws your way. Whether’s it riding through a shallow stream, jumping from a tiny boulder or cornering a tight turn; you’ll be present, or you’ll be on the ground with you face in the dirt. You will experience what it feels to be completely alive and well.
It’ll boost your Confidence
Most mountain bike trails offer a good deal of obstacles, challenges, and personal Everest, no matter your skill or fitness level. All you need is to get out there and practice, so maybe you’ll fall every once a while and get bruised, but with some determination, you will earn the thrill of a truly beautiful ride. And, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty you might even learn some minor repair and help out fellow riders. Trust me; they’ll be grateful, and they won’t forget. You’ll meet spirited people and make real friends and relish that hard earned cold beer after a long ride. Don’t wait around, check out our top mountain bike reviews and kick start new adventures. You won’t regret it.
Different Mountain Biking Terrains and Mountain Bikes Explained
Mountain Biking has evolved into a rich and diverse sporting activity that offers a variety of choices to its fans and champions. Here, we will explain the different categories that dominate mountain biking, including the various types of trails as well as the mountain bikes used for each.
Cross Country (XC)
This type of trail or style is often the starting point for most people on their mountain biking journey. The trails are point-to-point or in a loop that can include climbs and descents on a variety of different terrains. These trails can either be natural, or custom made but are mostly characterized by long gradual ascents, where riders sometimes traverse winding trails up the side of a mountain or hill and then descend through wide banked corners (also referred to as “berms”) and short steep runs. The trail can be dusty and hard packed, rooty, rocky, gravel based, muddy and so on. At any rate, since most cross-country trails are long and away from developments and roads, most riders carry supplies, including light eatables, water for hydration and basic tools for maintenance. A helmet and gloves are invaluable aids as well.
Cross Country bikes are designed to be lighter, faster-paced and great at climbing. Thier light-weight frames are usually crafted from aluminum that lends strength and stability. Although, historically riders would start out on hardtails, these days you can start on the more-forgiving full suspension mountain bike. These have around 80 to 120mm of front and rear suspension movement to absorb occasional rocks and roots on your local trails. However, since the front wheel is usually pretty tight under the handlebars, these bikes are not the best for going downhill fast or traversing very rough terrain. All in all XC bikes make great to start with and gain experience as you learn to ride tougher and more challenging terrain
Trail Riding is for the experienced XC rider, and such trail bikes have slacker and more balanced geometry combined with the technology of ‘enduro’ machines which makes them versatile bikes that climb and descend equally well. In short they can do it all. The larger travel on these bikes as compared to their cousins (5-7 inches) aids descending and for great security, one should look for 29″ wheels, held in place with 15mm front and 12mm rear axles.
Most trail centers work on a color scheme that runs from green through to black or double black for grading the difficulty and versatility of the trail. Green signifies the easiest level of riding, which is great for families with no obstructions that is almost as leisurely as a stroll in the park. The next level, blue is a great place for beginners to start. These trails have little or no obstructions i.e. rocks, gaps or drops to get through or over but plenty of rolling slope and large berms for riders to get accustomed. Red is for the intermediate rider and has most of the tricks and trips of advanced trails, including rock gardens, small but challenging drops, roots and sharper corners. Black is only for the advanced and pro rider. Bigger drops, obstacles, gaps and hair-pin turns characterize these risky trails. Do not attempt these unless you can commit to the trail at every turn and challenge.
Enduro / All- Mountain
It helps to think of all-mountain or enduro as a more challenging type of trail riding, akin to the Red and Black trail levels. This type of riding is characterized by bigger drops, jumps, and tighter corners. In essence, these courses are extremely challenging and technical, and anyone who is riding all-mountain is an experienced veteran, and you will mostly likely see them showing off and playing at the skills park that can be found at the bottom of a trail center. All-mountain riding is also the format that has been adopted to the Enduro World Series, which has three distinct formats for racing: “Big” Mountain, “Gravity” and “Super D”.
Enduro mountain bikes are full suspension burlier trail bikes with a lot of attitudes. That are built for anything and everything that the mountain throws your way (not surprising). Although these bikes are great for the descent, if you typically like your downhills in the mix of long cross-country rides, you’ll prefer these to the brawnier ‘enduro’ that is built for gnarly and blazing fast downhills. Also, the enduro’s are built longer and slacker so that they only come alive above a certain speed, which is something you should factor into your final decision. With these bikes, you are venturing into expensive territory that should not come to you as a surprise. You should expect to pay £2,000-plus for even a basic enduro machine.
This type of riding is way much more specialist than the types mentioned above. It focuses only on the descent. Riders will usually walk up or be lifted up (with the aid of some airlift service) to the point where the downhill starts. As you can imagine, the drops ((up to and including 12 meters (40 feet)) are much more challenging and require full commitment to traverse successfully. Another distinguishing attribute of the downhill trail is that it is more or less straight down as opposed to winding like most cross-country and all-mountain trails. To negotiate the magnitude of obstacles on a downhill trail, riders have to possess total body strength, fitness, mental control and an innate death-defying attitude.
The Downhill mountain bike is specifically designed for the extreme demands of the downhill trail. A top of the line downhill mountain bike will offer lots of travel (7-9 inches), wider tires for better grip, huge amounts of suspension (180 to 220mm), an extended leg ‘triple crown’ fork and a metal coil spring rear shock to tackle even the most radical drops and rocks at high speeds. These bikes also possess larger slack angles and sloppier geometry to accommodate for steep descents, their strong bomber frames make them much heavier than their enduro cousins, and they have no gears for uphill climbing, so you’ll need to push up on any steep inclines. These specialist bikes cost quite a lot and for good reason so expect to pay upwards of £3000 for a started model.
Freeride, as the name suggests spans the entire length and breadth of the riding experience. This includes all kinds of trails from downhill, to cross country, to all-mountain to jumping, ‘North Shore’ (man-made bridges and interconnected trails of log and wood) and everything in between. Freeriding is about a lot more aggressive skill and technique than simply completing the trail. Riders routinely showcase high-level stunts and techniques while traversing these courses.
These bikes are not very dissimilar to Downhill bikes. However, they have lighter frames, gears for uphill climbing (but not serious cross country climbing), and much of the emphasis is on strength and maneuverability versus speed or weight. They are built to tackle wood beams, ladders and other such small objects while also being great for downhill riding. Thier close cousins, the ‘shore’ bikes have lighter frames with a nimbler design that caters specifically to ‘North Shore’ Style riding.
Dirt parks with big jumps and crazy air -borne acrobatics is what dirt jumping is all about. Dirt jump parks have a variety of different kinds of jumps, sometimes consecutively and sometimes spaced out to give the rider ample opportunity to showcase his skills. Most jumps are as tall as the average person with some monstrous jumps that can catapult a rider as high as 100 feet. You’ll see a lot more insanity in slope style riding, which is dirt jumping on coke, with riders setting records for the highest jumps in the rich history of crazy high jumps. Check out this 150-foot bike jump attempt at the full monte Dirt Farm.
Dirt jumping bikes are essentially BMX bikes on steroids that are designed for simply outrageous acrobatics. They have incredibly strong frames, with no rear suspension and only nine gears.
Mountain Biking: Touring or Marathon
Just as the name suggests, Mtb bike touring involves long distance touring on dirt roads and single tracks. It is on unusual for riders to complete distances over the course of a couple of days and carry camping gear with them to stay at various designated resting spots. This type of riding is similar to trail riding but usually covers larger distances. Recently, a new form of riding has developed called mixed-terrain cycle touring where riders traverse a variety of different terrains on a single route with a single bike.
Although certain kinds of trails, such as Downhill, Enduro, and dirt jumping might require a specialized bike, for the most part, you can use any mountain bike. It’s basically about getting out on a trail and learning for yourself what feels best. Most riders start out with a cross country or trail riding bike and move between different types of biking and different trails while some might even do them all from to time. Give our mountain bike reviews a reading to learn about the top 10 mountain bikes 2018. We are positive that you will find your first bike and love the journey just as hundreds of people have before you.
Mountain Bike: Buying Guide
Now that you have a good idea of the different types of mountain biking and the different bikes used for each biking trail and style, you will find it easier to narrow down on a specific bike. However, even though you may have an idea of the type of biking you wish to start with, there are many bikes to choose from and the process can get a little tricky. Below is a good list of mountain bike parts you should consider when purchasing your first, second or third bike. For a more detailed, step-by-step guide to choosing your bike, check out our in-depth mountain bike buying guide. Also, don’t forget to check out our mountain bike reviews for details on features, warranty, pricing and more.
The Frame: The mountain bike frame or the chassis is the foundation of the bike to which all the parts (the drive, suspension, are attached. The frame of a bike has a huge bearing on strength, weight, overall ride quality and consequently the price. Depending on the price and purpose of the bike, the frame can be made either from aluminum alloy, steel, titanium or carbon fiber. However, the most commonly used material for the frame on most mtb’s is an aluminum alloy. The frame’s design also plays a huge role in determining the overall weight and strength of the bike, so you’ll see bikes made from the same material might have lighter frames depending on tubing design and the overall manufacturing process.
Titanium is by far one of the most expensive materials that you will find on mountain bike frames. Only the top end bikes have titanium frames. Carbon fiber is more common on most cross-country and trail bikes, but owing to its labor-intensive manufacturing, it can also be quite expensive. Steel frames offer a smooth ride, but they are on the heavy side as far as mountain biking is concerned.
Suspension: Even rigid frames without front or rear suspension offer a certain degree of cushioning due to the tires that absorb impact. However, unless you’re riding smooth cemented roads or plain trails, you should consider the good quality suspension for your bike.
There are two main types of suspension available on mtb’s: Hardtails (Front) and Full Suspension (Front and rear). Till recently, the hardtail mountain bike was the norm for cross-country as well as trail riding, but improvements in weight, maneuverability, and suspension technology have made the full suspension mountain bike more popular than ever before. Hardtail mountain bikes are lighter and easier to ride owing to efficiency and so serve as good bikes for beginners to start with. The single front suspension fork aids are steering and negotiating rough trail surfaces, especially for cross-country, trail, and even some all-mountain routes.
Although full suspension adds more weight, it also offers better comfort and control at greater speeds. These bikes tend to handle better in Downhill and double black trails with big jumps and drops since the impact is all about swallowed by the dual front and rear suspension. The extra cushioning also allows riders to go longer and harder since their bodies take less of the impact.
Brakes: There are two broad categories for brakes: rim brakes (also called ‘linear-pull,’ direct-pull’ or’V-brake’) and Disc brakes (which are two types: ‘mechanical disc’ and ‘hydraulic disc’).
Rim brakes are the old school brakes, which isn’t to say they’re not efficient, they just don’t hold up as well under muddy or wet conditions. These brakes work by rubbing on the rims to slow the tire down. As a result over time, they can wear the rims and so one constantly needs to check and make sure that the rims, as well as the break-pads, are in good shape. Rim brakes can be found on best entry level mountain bikes since they are relatively cheaper.
Disc brakes on bikes work similar to the disc brakes on motorcycles. A disc is attached to the center of the wheel and grips the wheel. The Hydraulic variety offers stronger braking and requires less finger effort and also adjusts for pad wear. This is the best for wet and muddy conditions and the braking never fades. Even though you might need to change the rotor every once in a while, it still beats having to replace the tire. However, Hydraulic Brakes are expensive to service. Mechanical or cable-adjusted brakes also cause the pads to wear, but they are still more efficient and reliable compared to rim brakes.
Wheels sizes: As far as mountain bike parts go, wheel sizes are crucial to a great mountain biking experience. Acceleration, momentum, grip, slide, and speed vary with different wheel sizes. Wheel sizes vary, but the 26″ is still popular, although it is not the standard anymore. Just as there are different bikes for different terrains, there are also different wheel sizes that provide the required traction on different terrains. Nowadays if you venture into a bike shop, you are likely to be asked which wheel size you prefer. However, it is important to bear in mind that the frame and suspension on a bike are designed to cater to a specific wheel size, and therefore, different wheel sizes are not interchangeable on the same bike.
A 29er mountain bike is slower to pick up momentum because of its larger surface area, but once they get rolling and gather momentum they offer easier progress and a higher “attack angle”—meaning the wheel rolls over trail obstacles easier. So these wheels are better for downhill and trails with massive obstacles. Also, since 29er mountain bikes offer up a higher stand over height, they are better suited for taller riders, especially if you are considering riding on both pavement and dirt.
The 27.5″ wheel offers the best of both worlds. They are not as heavy or slow as 29ers, and they offer greater stability than 26ers. They are light enough that they gather speed quickly and sturdy enough to maneuver large obstacles that pose a problem for the 26″ wheel. And, since they have shorter stand over heights, they are better for shorter riders who desire the benefits of larger wheels.
24″ tires are the norm for the best mountain bikes for kids. The smaller wheel-base and height can better accommodate the shorter legs of kids. The bikes themselves are smaller, less expensive versions of adult bikes and usually suit kids between the ages of 10 and 13. However, as a general rule, you should take into account size over age in determining the correct frame fit for your child.
Gearing: The range of gearing is more important than the number of gears. The range or width of gearing dictates the efficiency with which you can pedal uphill/downhill without running out of gears. For example, a 20-speed may cover the same range of gears as a 27-speed bike, but with fewer increments/ changes between the lowest and highest. However, it is true that the more gears you have, the wider the range of gearing from low to high.
These days most of the best mountain bikes come with a standard gearing configuration and unless you have experience with many options and are looking for a specific configuration, gearing arrangement shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision.
Below is list of Typical mtb bike gearing:
The Saddle: This is the seat that you’re going to be resting on for many journeys, so you want to make sure that it fits you well and that you’re comfortable. Most mountain bikes come with good quality saddles, however, if you’re looking for something different you could always replace it. The best mountain bikes for women usually have wider seats for added comfort and support. If you are buying your first mtb bike, you will be surprised to find just how important the saddle is to the overall quality of the ride. So take your time and don’t make any compromises. It also helps a great deal to ride in cycling shorts, which have a layer of padding in the crotch area that absorbs moisture for optimum comfort (regular shorts have seams instead that you sit on when biking was causing irritation and pain).
Handlebars: This again is a matter of personal preference. There are two basic kinds of bars: flat bars and riser bars. Flat bars sit lower and are usually lighter while riser bars sit higher, are wider and because of their swept back design are easier to reach. Flat bars are usually favored for cross country and long distance riding since they allow the rider to get up high and lean forward for efficient paddling on longer and flatter terrain. Riser bars allow you to sit more upright and give you more width so that it is easier to steer the bike on the downhill and other technical terrain.
While there are several mountain bike parts that are worthy of mention, when purchasing your bike, you don’t need to make a project out of it. As always the most important thing is to decide the type of riding you want to do; the specs will follow. Check out these best mountain bike under 1000$ and keep an open mind. Don’t sweat frame size and geometry too much. With enough practice and riding, you will find that you can tackle a variety of different terrains with the same bike. It’s just a matter of good technique and crazy old’ passion. Read our mtb reviews to get started choosing your bike today.
Best Mountain Bikes Reviews By Price
#1 Best Bike under $600
Diamondback Bicycles 2014 Overdrive Sport with 29-Inch Wheels
This is one of the best mountain bikes for trail riding. The hardtail suspension system together with trail-ready tires, Aluminum frame design, and flat handles make it one of the best bikes for beginners as well as experienced users.
This Diamondback mountain bike is a 29er mountain bike with 29″ tires for better traction and cushioning on rocks, drops, and nasty gravel. Although the heavier tires may take a little more effort to get rolling, once they pick up momentum, they pay huge returns on speed, steering and impact control. The front and rear tires are fitted with cutting-edge Shimano BR-M395 Hydraulic Disc Brakes that need little maintenance and provide excellent gripping in wet and muddy conditions.
The Shimano 8-speed shifters and SR Suntour triple chainring crank provide a broad range of 24 gears to suit any terrain. With three front chainrings and eight rear sprockets, these gears make climbing easy and effortless. All the components are high end for a bike that well under $1000 and you can be confident that this bike will handle amazingly even in the toughest double black trails.
Here is a quick recap of the best features:
- Butted 6061-T6 Aluminum Overdrive 29r Frame
- SR Suntour XCR-LO 29 100mm Travel Fork
- Shimano Acera rear derailleur w/SLM-310 8spd rapid fire shifters
- 32h Diamondback SL-7 Double Wall Rims
- Shimano BR-M395 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
#2 Best Bike under $600
Diamondback Bicycles 2015 Axis Sports Hard Tail Complete
At around the same price as the previous Diamondback mountain bike, the Axis Sport handles equally well and offer great comfort on some of the hardest terrains. This bike is a classic hardtail mountain bike with flat bars and a simple yet stable frame.
Unlike its cousin, the Axis Sport has 27.5″ wheels that are light enough that they gather speed quickly and sturdy enough to maneuver large obstacles. Along with their ideal “attack angle”, these wheels come up speed quickly while good maneuverability and control. Since they have shorter stand over heights, they are better for shorter riders who desire the benefits of larger wheels.
This Diamondback mountain bike has an 8-speed Drivetrain, which offers a great range of gears that suit any terrain. Although this cycle is primarily a trail rider, it is primed of tough terrain and so can be used for big jumps, drops, and boulders. It has Hydraulic discs for the front and the back which are easily activated with little finger effort and ensure secure gripping in the wettest conditions.
Here is a quick overview of the features on offer:
- Hand built 6061-t6 aluminum alloy hard tail frame for classic simplicity
- Custom formed and butted tubing balances stiffness and weight savings
- Sr Sun tour 100mm fork gives just the right amount of suspension
- Sram 8-speed drivetrain offers gears for any terrain
- 27.5″ Wheels roll well over obstacles and offer quick handling
Best Bike Under $300
Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike (29-Inch)
This full suspension Mongoose mountain bike is perhaps the best entry level mountain bike on the market under $300. It has a solid Aluminum frame and is more than capable of riding some tough trails.
The 29er mountain bike is fitted with 29″ inch allow wheels that are great for cross-country and trail riding. These heavy tires coupled with the full suspension frame will have you smiling through some heavy duty drops and also give you good c0ntrol over technical terrain. Although, there are no hydraulic brakes on here, the alloy disc brakes provide good grip and are a much better bet than the traditional rim brakes.
The 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM twist shifters changes gears easily and provides a good range of gearing for all kinds of terrain. All said and done; this is a great purchase, but we recommend that you get a quick tune-up at a nearby bike repair shop, to make sure everything is working smoothly.
Here is an overview of the best features on this Mongoose mountain bike:
- Aluminum suspension frame maximizes comfort & performance
- Element Suspension fork smoothes the bumps and increases control
- 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM twist shifters changes gears easily
- Alloy wheels with quick release front
- Alloy front & rear disc brakes