5 Best Mountain Bikes of 2021

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When it comes to finding the mountain bike of your dreams, discovering one with all the features you want in one package can be a challenge.

With the number and versatility of mountain bikes rapidly growing, there are seemingly countless options from which to choose. Full suspension or hardtail? Cross country or trail? These terms can be pretty confusing, especially to someone new to this intense activity.

Finding the right mountain bike mainly depends on three factors – the type of mountain bike, the terrain you want to ride on, and your budget. But there are other determining features to be considered. Fortunately, we’re here to help you choose the mountain bike that will take you anywhere you want to go.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the best mountain bikes you can find. We’ll also explain exactly what you should look for in a mountain bike in our buyer’s guide. For more detailed information, head over to our frequently asked questions section related to mountain bikes.

Comparison Chart

Stone Mountain Women’s Mountain Bike, 26-inch
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Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Mountain Bike (Wine)
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Mongoose Dolomite Mens Fat Tire Mountain Bike, 26-inch Wheels, 4-Inch Wide Knobby Tires, 7-Speed, Steel Frame, Front and Rear Brakes, Navy Blue
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Max4out Mountain Bike 21 Speed with High Carbon Steel Frame, 26 inch Wheels, Double Disc Brake, Front Suspension Anti-Slip Bikes Orange
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Mongoose Status 2.2 Womens Mountain Bike, 26-Inch Wheels, 21-Speed Shifters, Aluminum Frame, Dual Suspension, Teal

Mountain Bike Reviews

Stone Mountain Women’s Mountain Bike, 26-inch

The Stone Mountain is a great bike for the beginner or intermediate rider. It has an upright position, making it easy to ride and control on technical trails. The frame features a low standover height that makes this mountain bike comfortable when you are standing up while riding.

This model also comes with front suspension fork which provides added comfort during your rides. With its lightweight aluminum alloy construction, the Stone Mountain will not weigh too much in your backpack.

This women’s mountain bike from Specialized offers all of the best qualities of their top-of-the-line bikes at a more affordable price point. Equipped with a Shimano drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and wide tires, this bike can take just about any terrain thrown at it.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum alloy frame
  • Front Suspension Fork
  • Disc Brakes
  • Wide Tires

Cons

  • No Rear Shock Absorber
  • Limited Color Options

Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike

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If you’re looking for a mountain bike that will give you stability and allow you to cross any path smoothly, take a look at the Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike.

This mountain bike comes with a lightweight aluminum frame. Bike frames made from this material are great for beginner bikers since these frames flex more easily. Additionally, this model comes with 22 speeds, the standard number of speeds for a mountain bike regarding gear ratios. Paired with two Shimano SLX x11 shifters, you’ll be able to tackle rougher terrains, as well as sudden inclines and declines.

This Royce Union mountain bike model is available in a stunning wine color if you’re looking for something other than basic black. The wheels are 29-inches, which is the ideal size for a mountain bike. This great thing about this wheel size is that it will allow you to tackle more demanding trails with less effort.

You’ll find this mountain bike’s seat quite comfortable and easily adjustable. What’s more, it features a quick-release mechanism, so you won’t waste any time. The bike’s front wheel is held by a Suntour XCT suspension fork, with a 100-millimeter travel (the distance from the suspension stroke’s bottom to its top).

One of the most essential features of this mountain bike is the tires. The Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike comes with Kenda Small Block 8 tires, which provide better rolling performance.

Other features include an alloy handlebar and stem, quick-release hubs, dual hydraulic disc brakes, and the NECO alloy three-piece crank. These features will provide you with excellent stopping power and keep you in control at all times.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Comfortable, quick-release seat
  • Smooth trigger shifting
  • Affordable
  • Stunning “wine” color frame

Cons

Only for men

Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike, 26-Inch

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The Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike should be your choice if you like to take on more challenging off-trail terrain. What makes this possible is the steel frame design, which is much stronger than aluminum and carbon frames. Steel frames also allow for a smooth ride without bumps, as they tend to vibrate much less.

Another feature that makes this a great mountain bike is the supersized all-terrain knobby tires. Simply known as “fat” tires, these tires are 4-inches thick, and they allow for an improved grip and traction on more demanding trails. These tires also make this mountain bike suitable for snow, rain, mud, and virtually any other weather condition.

You can find this mountain bike in three different colors – light blue, navy blue, and red. The Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike has a rigid suspension type, which means that it has no suspension system; this is usually found on hardtail mountain bike frames. This mountain bike is ideal for adult riders who are 5-feet-6 to 6-feet tall.

Because this is a seven-speed bike, the rear derailleur shifts the chain around the external cogs. Seven-speed mountain bikes are ideal for rough terrains, as it makes avoiding bumps and obstacles much easier. This speed system is also useful is because you can easily adjust it according to personal preference.

Other features include mechanical disc brakes with outstanding stopping power and twist shifters to change the gears without effort. In addition, the lightweight alloy rims keep the weight down and allow excellent performance and incredible speed.

Pros

  • Steel-framed design
  • Affordable
  • “Fat” 4-inch tires
  • Suitable for any weather condition
  • Multiple color options

Cons

  • Only for men
  • The chain guard is made from plastic

Marin Rift Zone 29 Carbon 2

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The Marin Rift Zone 29 Carbon 2 is a 125-millimeter trail bike that is speed-oriented, and it won’t disappoint you if you like to move fast. However, it has a more even slacker trail geometry than previous models. Since this is a full-suspension mountain bike, it has a front suspension fork and rear shock. The front fork belongs to the Fox Performance 34 Float series, and it delivers approximately 130-millimeter travel.

It comes in different sizes, from S to XL. This mountain bike also comes with the Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain and Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes. With the Maxxis 3C MaxxTerra Exo+ casing tires, you’ll be able to reach your destination faster than you imagined. The Marin Rift Zone 29 Carbon 2 is designed to cross the most challenging terrains, including steep inclines and declines.

Additional features that make this mountain bike worth considering include a carbon fiber frame, rubber Marin Single Clamp Locking grips, and a Shimano SLX 12-Speed shift lever. Even though frames made of carbon are somewhat more expensive, they’re also more durable than aluminum frames. Not only that, but it’s more lightweight than aluminum.

If you’re looking for a mountain bike that will give you top-tier performance and incredible speed, then the Marin Rift Zone 29 Carbon 2 should be on your list.

Pros

  • Full suspension
  • It comes in sizes S-XL
  • Designed for inclines and declines
  • Full carbon frame
  • Effective-top-tube length

Cons

  • Pricy
  • The Fox DPX2 shock is difficult to dial in

Mongoose Status 2.2 Womens Mountain Bike

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If you want something lightweight but still have some power behind it then look no further than Mongoose’s status series. These bikes offer a lot of bang for your buck as they come equipped with high-quality components like SRAM GX Eagle groupset, RockShox Yari RC forks, and Schwalbe Magic Mary tires.

They’re built tough so if you get into trouble out there these bikes won’t let you down! With a full carbon fiber body, the Mongoose Status 2.2 MTB is one of the most aerodynamic frames available today. Its geometry was designed specifically around female riders who prefer a lower center of gravity over traditional trail bikes.

A longer wheelbase allows for better stability and maneuverability through tight turns. And thanks to the integrated seatpost clamp, you’ll never need to worry about losing your saddle again.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame
  • Smooth suspension system
  • Solid all-around performance
  • Fun factor

Cons

  • Non-aggressive tires

Buyer’s Guide

Buying a mountain bike should involve some serious consideration. That’s why it’s essential to do your research before you make a decision. In most cases, budget is one of the critical determining factors. Mountain bikes can be pretty expensive – the most high-quality ones can exceed $8,000. However, you can find affordable mountain bikes for $1,000 as well.

The price of a mountain bike usually depends on the materials it’s made from. Other features, like the suspension system, wheels, and size, can also impact the price. Of course, it goes without saying that the most high-quality materials are going to last for years. So, if you want to buy a top-tier mountain bike that can handle the most challenging terrain, be prepared to make that investment.

Let’s look at what exactly you should be searching for in a mountain bike.

Types of Mountain Bikes

There are various mountain bike types to choose from, with each category aimed at a different purpose. The most popular mountain bikes include cross-country, trail hardtails, short-travel trails, mid-travel trails, and enduro bikes.

Cross-country bikes are lightweight than most other mountain bikes, and they focus on uphill more than downhill performance. Trail hardtails are great for rough terrains, as they can take steep inclines and declines. Short-travel trail bikes focus on comfort, and they’re better suited for flat terrain.

On the other hand, mid-travel trail bikes are versatile, and they are both excellent climbers and descenders. Finally, enduro bikes are the most efficient, but they’re the heaviest.

Which mountain bike type you end up choosing should depend on the types of rides you like to go on. The mountain bike of your choice should also fit your riding style.

Wheels      

Another factor to look at is the mountain bike’s wheels. To be more precise, wheel size, tire size, and rim width. Most mountain bikes come with 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheels. Most bikers would agree that 29-inch wheels are more efficient because they allow you to cross more demanding terrain with less effort.

However, smaller wheels are much easier to maneuver, and they make your bike ride easier.

Standard mountain bikes tend to have 2.4-inch to 2.5-inch tires. However, some mountain bikes have “fat” tires, such as the Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike, which has tires that are 4-inches thick. Thicker tires are better for rocky terrain, but they make the bike much heavier.

Frame Material       

A mountain bike’s frame is usually made from alloy (aluminum) or carbon fiber. Aluminum frames are more affordable, and they can be flexed with less effort. On the other hand, carbon frames are much lighter and durable.

In addition, frames made from carbon fiber are much stiffer than aluminum frames. Unfortunately, they’re also more expensive.

Some mountain bikes have steel frames, such as the Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike. These types of mountain bike frames age better than those made from both aluminum and carbon.

Group Set

A mountain bike’s group set refers to the gearing system, including the drivetrain, the fork, and the rear shock. The quality of these features can dictate the price of the entire mountain bike.

One of the most popular mountain bike group sets is the Shimano series, which allows for excellent shifting performance and an impressive clutch system.

When it comes to the drivetrain, it’s essential to see if the drivetrain has one (1X) or two (2X) chainrings. Models that have the 1X drivetrain are more common but more expensive as well. Mountain bikes with one drivetrain come with one shifter on one handlebar. One drivetrain usually comes with 11 or 12 gears.

Getting the Right Size

In terms of size, you can usually find bikes from sizes S to XL. For some mountain bikes, a suitable height is specified. For example, the Giant Stance 29 can be ridden by adults from 5’4 to 6’6 feet tall. Most mountain bikes are unisex, so these rules apply to women as well.

As regards the weight of the mountain bike, lighter models usually cost more. However, the bike’s weight can depend on many factors such as the suspension system, the wheels, the drivetrain, and similar.

FAQ

What Size Mountain Bike Do I Need?

The size of your mountain bike should depend on your height and weight. The majority of mountain bikes models can be found in different sizes, so you’re sure to find one that fits you. In most cases, manufacturers will offer mountain bikes in sizes S, M, L, and XL. Some mountain bikes can even be found in XS (extra small) sizes.

To determine which size you need, it’s essential to look at the seat tube length. Once you see how much you can lower and stretch the seat tube, you’ll be able to see whether you’re too tall for that specific mountain bike. So again, it’s imperative to see how your mountain bike fits before you buy it.

Do I Need Suspension?

The main distinction between mountain bikes is whether they’re hardtails or full suspension. A hardtail mountain bike has the suspension fork only at the front side, and a full-suspension bike has both a front suspension fork and a rear shock.

Hardtail mountain bikes, or bikes with no suspension, are better suited for beginners and those looking for a budget-friendly option. They’re also a smarter choice for even terrains with little to no obstacles. On the other hand, full-suspension bikes are for rougher terrains with more obstacles.

Therefore, whether you need suspension depends on the type of terrain you plan on riding on.

What Size Frame Should I Get?

The size of your mountain bike’s frame should depend on your height. Look at the following size varieties to determine the size of your frame:

  • The XS bike size (13 to 14-inch frame) is for 4-foot-10 to 5-foot-2 inches tall riders.
  • The S bike size (15 to 16-inch frame) is for 5-foot-3 to 5-foot 6 inches tall riders.
  • The M bike size (17 to 18-inch frame) is for 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10 inches tall riders.
  • The L bike size (19 to 20-inch frame) is for 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-1 inches tall riders.
  • The XL bike size (21 to 22-inch frame) is for 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4 inches tall riders.
  • The XXL bike size (23-inch + frame) is for riders who are 6-foot4-plus inches tall.

How to Choose the Right Safety Gear for Mountain Biking

There are different types of protective gear you can wear when you go mountain biking. Technically speaking, you can wear whatever you want, but if you’re headed to a more demanding trail, you should have at least some form of safety equipment on you.

It’s always wise to go mountain biking with a helmet, some form of eye protection (glasses or goggles), gloves, and knee pads. As for clothing, mountain bikers usually wear jerseys, waterproof shorts, arm and leg warmers, and materials that can generally stretch.

How Do You Ride a Mountain Bike?

You would ride a mountain bike the same way you would ride a regular bike. The trick to riding a mountain bike on rough terrain is your body position. For even surfaces, maintain the neutral position but switch to the “ready position for uneven terrain.” This position requires your back to be flat and nearly parallel to the ground while keeping your knees and elbows bent.

It’s also important to know how to shift gears properly. You should shift gears often every time there’s a slight incline or decline on your biking trail.

Get a Mountain Bike That Will Take You Places

Selecting the right mountain bike requires plenty of research and consideration. The best mountain bikes need both uphill and downhill power, efficiency, practicality, and, most importantly, they need to be comfortable. Your final choice should depend on the type of terrain you ride on, the style of mountain bike you want, and your budget.

Out of all the mountain bikes we mentioned, there is one that’s hard to beat, and that’s the Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike. This mountain bike is an excellent climber and descender; it’s made from high-quality materials and has a stunning extended build. What’s more, it’s sure to endure your most challenging mountain biking trips.

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