mountain bike riding Yeti SB140 Slovenia
(Photo/Ross Bell)

The Best Mountain Bikes of 2021

From hardtails to all-mountain rides, we found the best mountain bikes for every riding style and budget.

Many years when the latest and greatest shiny new mountain bikes are released, there’s no clear “what’s next” in the sport. For 2021 and 2022, what’s next is unusually well-defined. Downcountry bikes dominate.

If you’re not familiar with this relatively new term, you’re not alone. The term downcountry was recently coined to encompass mountain bikes designed to climb well, with trail/all-mountain suspension, and slacker geometry that rides bigger than it looks on downhills.

Downcountry bikes deliver a hooting and hollering good time when your dropper is down and you’re picking a line, but they won’t weigh you down on a long ride.

Mullet bikes are another 2021-22 trend. Business in the front and party in the back, with a 29” wheel in front, and a 27.5” wheel in back, mullet mountain bikes started as a user modification. Now more brands are offering a mismatched wheelset standard.

The Bike Market Right Now

If you’re in the market for a bike in the next 12-18 months, if you find what you want online or in a shop, put a deposit on the bike immediately even if you can’t lay down for the full purchase yet.

When you know what you want, ask your local shop to place an order ASAP. You still may not have your bike in hand until next spring. Bike shortages persist, and they may get worse before they get better.

Across the board, bike prices have gone up significantly, so whether you planned to spend $1,000 or $5,000 in the next couple of years, sadly, you won’t get quite as much bike for the money.

Be prepared for parts substitutions. Brands can’t get bike parts, so they’re swapping everything from forks and shocks to brake pads and grips.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys for 2021/22 or jump to the category you’re looking for:

The Best Mountain Bikes of 2021

Best Overall: Yeti SB115

yeti sb115 - mtb

“Designed to race, built to rally” is how Yeti describes its SB115 ($5,100+). The bike is fast and smooth, with geometry, suspension, and kinematics that kept me on my line when I crested a highpoint, and then barreled downhill into terrain that would overwhelm other bikes of similar travel.

To make the SB115, Yeti took its BC Bike Race-winning SB100 geometry and gave it a tad more travel for more smiles, whoops, and general forgiveness when you’re picking a high-speed line through rocks, roots, and baby head boulders.

As in all Yetis, the rear shock is paired with Yeti’s signature Switch Infinity, which in the SB115 is turned 90 degrees, lightened up, and fine-tuned to deliver more for less on downhills and climbs. In a full season of riding this bike, the only time I locked out the suspension was on a sustained road climb.

The switch infinity pedaling platform is bounce-free with the shock fully opened because Yeti gives its suspension a relatively flat and high anti-squat curve in the beginning and middle of its travel.

But once you go downhill, the link switches direction, dropping the anti-squat and decoupling the chain in sections when there’s no pedaling required to provide full use of all the travel the bike has.

When Switch Infinity switches direction and decouples the chain, it lets the suspension work most efficiently, and it lets you use all the bike’s available travel. If that sounds like a lot of techy mumbo jumbo, what you need to know is that this bike is stable without bouncing and bobbing on climbs, and plusher than you’d think on the downhills.

Yeti’s in-house suspension experts and engineers custom-tune every Yeti shock in tandem with its Switch Infinity to give the SB115 and all Yeti bikes a bottomless feel that the suspension travel numbers don’t necessarily reveal.

We rode this bike all over Vermont, from 30-mile epics that included machine-built flow trails with tabletops and kickers to teeth-rattling root mats on off-camber descents.

It was fast, smooth, and stable. And the plush-when-you’re-deep-in-the-travel suspension — we call it Yeti magic — saved our butts more than once.

  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Suspension: 115/130
Pros:
  • Ultra-versatile bike with the chops to tackle technical terrain
Cons:
  • Heavier than some similarly capable bikes

Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Yeti Cycles

Best XC: Scott Spark RC Comp

scott spark rc comp - xc bike

If you’re a rider with a need for speed, Scott’s Spark RC Comp ($4,000+) will rocket you to a new Strava segment PR or shoot you over the finish line of your next XC race.

While the Spark has been in Scott’s line for more than a decade, the newest version, for sale in September, is a major evolution. Scott hid the shock inside the bike’s frame, where it’s protected from dirt and weather. By building the shock into the frame, further reducing this bike’s already impressively light weight.

Inside the frame, the trunnion mounted shock — the shock looks like it’s mounted upside down, combined with larger bearings in the seat tube pivot enhances this bike’s rigidity for more efficient power transfer.

By positioning the shock lower in the frame, Scott also lowered the bike’s center of gravity, enhancing its stability on sketchy downhills.

In positioning the shock inside the frame, Scott hid the single-pivot setup without putting it out of reach. A sag indicator on the outside helps with setup, pivot bolts are accessible from outside.

If you want to check on the ring that shows how much suspension you’ve used, a window gives you a visual. Removable covers let your shop access the shock for service.

Scott Spark RC frames have a built-in angle-adjust headset that lets you choose a slacker setting to run with a longer fork, or the steeper, zippier head angle setting for racing and a shorter fork.

Headset adjustment doesn’t require cable removal or a brake bleed. Regardless of setup, there’s room for two water bottles in the bike’s front triangle.

Speaking of the cables, this bike has some slick cable routing. The company continues to use its two-lever Twinloc, which lets the rider lock and unlock suspension from the handlebar instead of reaching down to change shock settings between their legs.

That puts extra levers on the dropper post lever side of the bar. The bars and stem have integrated light and GPS docks, and as a bonus, the rear axle is also a multitool.

  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Suspension: 120mm
Pros:
  • Eye-catching
  • Available in XC race (RC)
  • XC ride (900) and women’s (Contessa) iterations
Cons:
  • Lots of levers on the handlebar

Check Price at Scott Sports

Best Women’s Bike: Juliana Roubion

juliana roubion - womens mtb

Mullet bikes are all the rage. On the trail, a mullet bike’s big 29” front wheel is fast and it rolls over everything, while its smaller 27.5” rear wheel gets up to speed fast and gives the bike a more playful feel.

The 2022 Juliana Roubion ($5,949), which is the same frame and the same geometry as Santa Cruz’s 2022 Bronson, is fast, powerful, and easy to control. Code brakes with a 200mm rotor up front and a 180 in the rear have superb stopping power.

Juliana scaled chainstays by frame size to keep the ride consistent even in smaller sizes. And, as with all Juliana bikes, the shock is tuned for a lighter rider, making it easier for smaller, lighter shredders to use all their suspension.

The Roubion is Juliana’s biggest travel bike, made for enduro riding and bike park laps. First ride, we took it to Vermont’s Killington Bike Park and rode every trail the mountain could dish out from blue square Step It Up to double black Goat Skull. The Roubion zipped through corners with rocket ship speed, aired off lips, and sucked up landings with creamy efficiency.

When we pedaled the Roubion up a 30-minute double track to get to one of our favorite local flow trails, despite this bike’s extreme downhill capability, the climb didn’t suck. We kept up with our friends who were on lighter, all-mountain bikes, and soared through everything from wheel-grabbing roots to speed demon corners on the descent.

To ride big features safely, you need plenty of travel, well-designed suspension, and dependable and responsive brakes and tires. This bike had it all, delivered in an eye-catching, clean, matte-painted package that was as head-turning as it was magically corrective when we didn’t quite choose the right landing or wheel placement.

  • Wheel Size: 27.5 rear, 29 front
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Suspension: 150 rear, 160 front
Pros:
  • A pedal bike that can also handle the park
Cons:
  • On the big and heavy side of a one-bike quiver for most riders

Check Price at EVOCheck Price at Juliana Bicycles

Best Hardtail: Kona Honzo DL

kona honzo dl - mountain bike

If you want to save a few bucks on your next bike without restricting your ability to ride anything, this aluminum hardtail is a great choice.

Built for comfort and a whole lot of fun, Kona updated the geometry of its affordable Honzo to give the bike the same geometry as its mid-travel, full-suspension Process 134.

In the new Honzo DL ($2,399), Kona slackened the headtube for downhill stability and beefed up the suspension fork, spec’ing RockShox’s 140mm travel Revelation RC Debonair, a fork that’s ready to rock and roll.

The bike’s shorter seat tube length lets riders run a longer dropper, which makes riding technical terrain more fun. Kona lets you choose your own level of adventure with the adjustable travel TranzX +RAD post that’s on this bike.

In its new Honzo DL, Kona added adjustable dropouts, which let riders run this bike as a single speed. But we liked it with a 12-speed SX drivetrain, and a broad range of gears that affords. This made steep grinds, rolling punches, and swoopy soaring rollers all in range.

When it was time to put the brakes on, Shimano’s MT410 hydraulics, which use a 180mm front and 160mm rear rotor on this bike, were strong and dependable.

The tires a manufacturer puts on a bike are often an indication of what the bike is meant to do. Kona gives the Honzo DL an aggressive enduro-tread front, with a trail casing, highly rollable, and tenacious traction rear tire.

  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Suspension: 140mm
Pros:
  • Can be set up as a single speed
  • Big travel for an all-mountain hardtail
Cons:
  • Not as peppy as some other bikes

Check Price at Kona World

Most Versatile Bike: Transition Spur

transition spur

A lightweight ripper for all-day rides, Transition’s Spur ($4,499+) is a poster child for the new class of downcountry mountain bikes.

Enduro bike-slack with cross-country/all-mountain travel, this lightweight all-day ripper is like a leopard charging through the African veldt. If you’re coming to the bike from a heavy enduro bike, on the Spur you’ll charge uphill at speeds you’ve likely never considered thanks to short chainstays and a nearly 76-degree seat tube angle.

You’ll summit climbs that in the past left you spent. And you’ll find yourself riding further, longer, faster into zones that previously seemed like too much effort. The efficiency and speed of this bike put more terrain in range.

Just as important: the bike’s geometry doesn’t sacrifice downhill fun. The slack 65.9-degree head angle was built so that steep, rooty trails won’t throw you off your line, and so you stay rubber side down on any downhill you tackle.

This is the first uphill-oriented bike Transition has made, but their goal was to keep it just as capable on descents as any other Transition. They rose to the challenge.

The rear Giddy Up suspension, Transition’s long-link, four-bar signature design, didn’t bob on uphills, though it was active and bump-absorbing. However, at the end of the day, this bike has 120mm suspension front and rear, so there are limits to how big drops and jumps it can absorb.

Thanks to a straight and nearly uninterrupted seat tube, Transition specs the longest possible droppers on this bike. Dropper lengths are scaled to frame size, from 120 mm on a small frame to 210 mm on an XL one.

If you spend most of your time in the park, or on rides where you use all 160 mm of travel on your big bike, don’t expect this to replace that. But do be prepared to be shocked and thrilled by what this bike can handle.

  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Suspension: 120 front, 120 rear
Pros:
  • The most downhill fun on a bike of this weight and class
Cons:
  • Order now for next year, carbon only

Check Price at Transition Bikes

Best e-Bike: Rocky Mountain Growler Powerplay 30

rocky mountain growler powerplay 30 - mountain bike

With high-volume tires and a proprietary, powerful drive system, slack geometry, and Shimano parts, the hardtail Growler Powerplay 30 ($3,979) is tons of fun.

Rocky Mountain didn’t want to be constrained by someone else’s motor and drive, so the company spent 10 years and $10 million to develop its own drive, called the Dyname system.

It spins more slowly than other drive systems, so there’s less whine, it uses the available battery more efficiently, and it’s quick to charge. Two hours plugged in gets you to 80%. It’s 4 hours until you’re fully charged.

The higher torque of the Dyname system is compatible with a mountain biking pedal pace. The drive system kicks in smoothly with no lag and no spinning out, so whether you’re starting on a hill or getting up to speed it feels natural.

Rocky achieves engagement with a magnetic field sensor that measures the chain position every time the chain is straight, around 1,000 times a second. On trail, that translates to reliable traction, and consistent and predictable power output that feels a lot like riding a pedal bike.

The bottom bracket is part of the bike, not the drive, so there’s less creaking, less wear, and it’s easy for your shop to service. Plus, Rocky Mountain has the best electrical components warranty in the industry — 36 months.

But an e-bike is more than just its drive. A bike’s geometry and spec determine how a bike feels on the trail, whether it’s an e-bike or a pure pedal bike. The Growler is slack for aggressive descending.

The motor and battery give it a low center of gravity that makes it easier to maneuver on steep descents, and that gave it tenacious traction in corners. For the price, there’s no better e-MTB on the market.

  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Suspension: 130 mm
Pros:
  • High-volume tires absorb shock
  • The drive and motor are well-modulated for MTB and are smooth and predictable
Cons:
  • Without rear suspension
  • Drops are more jarring

Check Price at Rocky Mountain

Best Enduro Bike: Canyon Spectral 29 CF 9

canyon spectral 29 cf 9 - mountain bike

Strong and tough enough that you could ride the Enduro World Series on this bike, and pedally enough to be a one-bike quiver, the mid/long-travel Spectral 29 CF 9 ($6,299) is Canyon’s big brother to the 27.5 wheel that Spectral introduced a couple of years ago.

It’s a big bike that climbs impressively without bobbing around, and that on descents lets us just sit back and enjoy the ride.

At speed, the Spectral 29 CF was stable and able to bomb through whatever line we chose, while nimble enough that it left us grinning until our faces hurt. Technical step-downs, tables, wedges, rock rollers, machine-built flow, old-school singletrack … the Spectral cruised through it all.

The 29” Spectral uses a similar frame and four-bar suspension as the 27.5” Spectral. But it’s tuned to be less bouncy climbing and more progressive to keep you from ever feeling like you just used all your suspension.

Canyon’s “Triple Phase Suspension” is supple early in the suspension, with good mid-stroke support and progression at the end. It kept our tires on the trail, gave us momentum and speed in berms airing lips, with no bottom out on landings.

We tested the Spectral in Canyon’s “Shred” spec, a relatively high build for riders who put a lot of miles and hours on their bikes. The CF 9 shaves weight off lower-end builds, with components that will last through seasons of a lot of use.

If you’re a rider who gets to pedal several times a week, SRAM’s XO1 drivetrain promises precision, durability, and a massive range with the 10-52 12-speed cassette.

FOX’s DPX2 Factory piggyback shock is smooth and consistent as well as highly adjustable. The Fox 36 Factory 29″ fork eats up the terrain, and it’s highly controllable, regardless of how boulder-y or bumpy it is.

Spectral’s rear suspension linkage flip-chip gives riders control of this bike’s geometry. Flip it to move the bike’s head tube and seat tube 0.5 degrees, and to change the bottom bracket height 8 mm.

That gives the enduro bike more all-mountain or more DH personality. Wherever the chips are positioned, the long top tube gave us an efficient position for powering up climbs.

Canyon is direct-to-consumer only, which is how they spec Fox Factory suspension, carbon rims, carbon crank, carbon handlebar, the One Up dropper, SRAM X01 drivetrain, and G2 RSC brakes at this price.

  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Suspension: 150 mm back, 160 mm front
Pros:
  • Flip-chip lets you fine-tune this bike’s personality
Cons:
  • Feels massive

Check Price at Canyon

Best Bike Under $1,000: Giant Talon 1

giant talon 1 - mountain bike

Made for mellow trails, rec path shreds, and summer adventure cruising, Giant’s Talon 1 ($920) is a great bike for singletrack dabbling and all-the-time adventuring.

The Talon gives riders the option to run 29 or 27.5 wheels, so you get a bike with the ride characteristics you want. The aluminum frame Talon 1 comes with either wheel size, as you prefer. The frame geometry adapts to the wheel size you choose.

With 27.5” wheels, which spin up to speed quickly but don’t roll over trail obstacles quite as well, the Talon 1 is playful, agile, and easy to get off the ground.

Roll 29” wheels, and you might notice that they are slower to get to speed. But once you’re moving, they smooth out the trail and make it easier to stay on top of your bike when the terrain gets technical.

With 100 mm of front suspension, this bike is ideal for cross-country riding, and everyday outings. In the smallest sizes, fork travel is reduced to 80 mm to keep the bike’s angles stable, confidence-inspiring, and fun. The rider position in the cockpit is relatively upright but still maneuverable.

Even though it’s under a thousand bucks, the Talon 1 frame is hand-built in-house by the world leader in aluminum engineering. It’s also spec’d with a reliable and serviceable Shimano Deore drivetrain.

The rims are tubeless-ready, but the tires are not. And the frame is routed for a dropper post, though it doesn’t come with one.

  • Wheel Size: 27.5 or 29
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Suspension: 80-100mm front
Pros:
  • Option to run 27.5 or 29 wheels
  • Hand-built frame
Cons:
  • Dropper routed but not included
  • Tubeless-ready rims
  • Tires are not tubeless-ready

Check Price at Giant Bicycles

How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike

There are three things you need to think about before you start shopping for a mountain bike: where you’ll ride, how you’ll ride, and your budget.

Where Will You Ride?

If you live where it’s hilly, buy a bike with enough gears to get to the top without walking. Many mountain bikes now come with a 1x drivetrain with a single chainring in the front and a range of gears in the back.

Having one shifter instead of two makes choosing the right gear much simpler. It also makes the drivetrain and your bike lighter. And it cleans up your handlebar, making space for a dropper post lever.

If you buy your bike at a bike shop and not online, it’s easier to get your bike customized with a smaller front chainring to make hill climbing easier.

mountain bikes best of 2020

How Will You Ride?

Buy a bike to match your goals. If you’re all about speed, choose a fast and light bike. Dreaming of a bike that can do a little bit of everything? Opt for an all-mountain or trail setup, which will have more suspension than a cross-country bike and less than an enduro bike.

If you want to huck off big rocks and wooden jumps, or ride lifts at a ski area with your bike and hit jump lines, get an enduro bike with enough suspension to handle the impacts, and also one that’s made for abuse — because the worst kind of bike is a broken one.

If you’ll never leave the rec path, opt for a hardtail, which will save you the weight and money.

What’s Your Budget?

The general rule of thumb is the more money you spend on a bike, the lighter and more durable it will be. If you plan to do more technical riding, get the nicest frame you can afford. Parts can be upgraded, but in general, your frame can’t.

Also, get the bike with the best suspension you can afford. A more responsive and tunable suspension will make you a better rider, and it will be more fun.

Bike Types Explained: XC, Enduro, Trail, All-Mountain

A cross-country bike is built for uphill and downhill speed as well as mellower terrain. Most cross-country bikes have 100mm suspension and come with 29-inch wheels, which are faster than 27.5-inch wheels.

To optimize for climbing, cross-country bikes usually have a steeper head tube angle. But recent advances in suspension design are blurring the line between XC and trail bikes.

A trail bike won’t be quite as light as a cross-country bike, and it will usually have more front and rear suspension. Trail bikes are fast uphill with geometry and suspension that’s forgiving and fun riding downhill.

An all-mountain bike is the most versatile style of mountain bike. It will take you almost anywhere you want to pedal.

With a 120-130mm suspension in back, if you have your sights set on big rides that balance climbing and descending, a nimble all-mountain bike is the best choice. They rally through anything but the biggest downhill features.

An enduro bike is downhill-focused, but a bike you can still pedal. Enduro bikes are usually heavier than all-mountain and trail bikes because they have more front and rear travel. This enables you to sail through technical roots and rock gardens, over jumps, and down drops.

An enduro bike will have a noticeably slack geometry. Many enduro bikes now have shorter chainstays and other modern bike kinematics that make them as good pedaling uphill as crushing descents. But they’re made for races where the downhill is timed, but the uphill is not.

If you’re going to ride lifts and hit huge jumps and high speeds and never pedal uphill, buy a downhill bike. It will have a heavy reinforced double-crown fork with a maximum available suspension to reduce flex and help you sail over the biggest jumps and drops.

Expect the bike to be so low and slack that uphill pedaling will be somewhere between a chore and a push. Downhill bikes are designed to rage downhill as fast as you’re willing to go.

Wheel Size

Modern bikes have either 27.5- or 29-inch wheels. The smaller (27.5-inch) wheels are more nimble and easy to maneuver, and they often have a more playful feel on the trail. They’re also quick to get moving.

Twenty-nine-inch wheels take more energy to get rolling, but they hold their speed once they’re moving. They also roll over obstacles in the trail more easily than 27.5-inch wheels.

But don’t rule out a bike just because it doesn’t have the wheel size you think you want. A bike’s kinematics and frame design combine with wheel size to give each bike a unique “feel” and skill set. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what you’re rolling without stopping to read the sidewall.

Tire Width

Fatter tires are heavier, but they’re also more stable. What kind of tread you need depends on where you’ll be riding.

A smoother tread is faster, but may also be more slippery. The fattest tires you’ll encounter on a mountain bike are 27.5-plus tires. These extra-wide tires typically measure 2.8 inches and give you confidence-inspiring stability and a more comfortable and forgiving ride.

They also have more rolling resistance, and they’re heavier than non-plus tires. Not every frame can accommodate plus tires. Check the manufacturer’s website.

Frame

Mountain bike frames are made from aluminum or carbon. An aluminum frame will be more affordable. Typically, a carbon frame will be more expensive and more forgiving.

Carbon dissipates shock better, and the manufacturer has more control over the characteristics of the bike because it can determine the shape and size of tubes, as well as reinforce and lighten the frame where it wishes.

All carbon is not created equal — many brands have multiple carbon layups. The most expensive carbon build is the lightest and most finely tuned.

Suspension

A hardtail bike has a front suspension, but no rear suspension. Buy one if you’re on a tight budget or if you’re riding relatively smooth terrain. Most hardtails are less expensive and lighter than comparably spec’d full-suspension bikes.

Many also come with wider tires that can supplement the bike’s suspension, especially if you ride with your tires set up tubeless and at lower pressure.

A full-suspension bike has a rear shock and a front suspension fork that compress and extend as you ride to make the ride less jarring and to keep your wheels in contact with the ground, increasing both traction and control.

The best full-suspension bikes won’t pogo. Most shocks and suspension forks can be locked out for more efficient climbing. And most can also be tuned and adjusted to your weight, riding style, and personal preferences.

Ask your shop to help you set your bike up so you have the best experience regardless of how much or little you ride. If you’re getting bucked, or your bike feels too squishy or unresponsive, it’s probably your suspension. The more expensive your bike, the more advanced and tunable your suspension will be.

Dropper Post

A dropper post is a seat post that you can raise and lower with a handlebar-mounted lever. If you’re riding singletrack and your bike doesn’t come with a dropper, add one.

It’s an easy upgrade and one that will instantly make you a better rider. Engage your dropper post, and your seat sinks, lowering your center of gravity to make riding technical terrain and downhills easier.

Spec

“Spec” refers to the parts on your bike, including drivetrain, brakes, fork and shock, and more. The more expensive a bike, the longer-wearing and more precisely functioning the parts will be.

Maintenance

Lube your drivetrain regularly. If you wait until it’s chirping, you waited too long. Use bicycle-specific lubricant, and apply one drop to every second link. Bike lube cleans and oils the chain.

If you can, leave the lube on the chain overnight. Then, before you ride, hold a rag over the chain while you spin the pedals backward to remove grit, grime, and extra lube.

If you have a full-suspension or front-suspension bike, manufacturers recommend that you have a shop service your suspension every 30 hours of riding. Check brake pads and cables for excessive wear regularly throughout the season.

Buy the Best Bike You Can Afford

When buying a bike, you get what you pay for. More expensive bikes will have longer-wearing parts, lighter and stronger frames, and better wheels.

Buy locally, and you’ll often get extras, including the option to demo bikes before you buy, a 30-day tune-up, professional advice to help you get the best bike for you, and assistance swapping out parts to get your bike dialed for you.

You’re also keeping money in your community. If you’re looking for a deal, ask your local shop if they’re selling their demos or if they have a previous-year bike priced to move. Buy a bike you can grow into.

FAQ

What Is the Best Brand of Mountain Bike?

The best brand of mountain bike is the one that provides all of the features that you’re looking for. Most brands will offer the basic requirements, so it helps to figure out what features are most important to you.

Some brands specialize in making lighter bikes, others focus on burly downhill bikes, and still others make electric bikes that will give you a boost on steep inclines. Look for any specific features that you want and go with the brand that best suits your needs.

What Is the Best Mountain Bike for Beginners?

There are so many styles of riding and types of mountain bikes that it can be difficult for beginners to know where to start. One great option is to get a basic, low-end mountain bike like a hardtail with fork shocks.

These bikes are built to handle a wide range of terrain and will accommodate many riding styles. This allows you to try a variety of terrains and styles and decide which one is your favorite.

As you ride, you can start thinking of features that you want on your next bike that would help you as a rider. Because you didn’t break the bank on your first bike, you’ll be able to upgrade to a bike that best suits your needs without taking a big bite out of your wallet

How Much Should You Spend on Your First Mountain Bike?

Unless you know exactly what facet of mountain biking interests you, you’d be better off buying a good used bike or an inexpensive new bike. That way, you’ll be able to learn how you like to ride, and you can take some spills without worrying about excess damage to the bike.

Then, when you know what kind of mountain bike you want, you can upgrade without having to take a second job.

Is It Bad to Ride a Mountain Bike on the Road?

While they’re built for off-road use, mountain bikes are perfectly fine to ride on roads, though we wouldn’t recommend them for races or century rides.

The knobby tires are a bit bumpier than road tires and the added weight of a mountain bike can wear on you on inclines. They’ll do in a pinch for short commutes or a quick ride to the store, however.

What Frame Size Should I Get for a Bike?

The proper sizing is crucial for ensuring a comfortable riding position, and it varies depending on the rider’s height. Check out our article on finding the perfect bike size to make sure you find a good fit.

What Gear Do I Need for Mountain Biking?

The first and most important piece of gear you need is a good bike helmet, as most head injuries can easily be prevented with the right helmet and a proper fit.

After that, a good pair of shorts with a chamois pad will keep your nethers comfortable while you get used to spending long days in the saddle.

A pair of gloves is also key, as you’ll likely plant a hand if/when you fall off your bike. (I’m looking at the scar on my palm from the one day I forgot my gloves as I write this.)

Bike lights are also a great option for when the sun goes down on a long ride, as well as for added visibility if you ride on the road after dark. Also, mountain bike grips are an often-overlooked upgrade that can go a long way in making your rides more comfortable.


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