Best Mountain Bikes in 2021

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Choosing the right mountain bike can be a difficult decision. Many models have a similar design, making you believe that it may not matter which one you purchase.

However, mountain bikes have many distinct features that set one product apart from another despite the similarities. But how do you choose the most suitable mountain bike?

In this article, we’ll list the five best mountain bikes you can choose from as well as the most important features you should look for in each model.

Comparison Chart

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Schwinn S29 Mens Mountain Bike, 29-Inch Wheels, 18-Inch/Medium Aluminum Frame, Dual-Suspension, Mechanical Disc Brakes
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Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s 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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2021 Gravity FSX 29 LTD Dual Suspension 21 Speed Mountain Bike (Matt Nautical Blue, 19 inch = Medium/Lr fits 6’1″ to 6’3″)

Best Mountain Bikes Reviews

Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bike, 29-inch Wheels

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This is a 29-inch wheel, dual-suspension mountain bike with an aluminum frame. The tires and wheels are wide, ensuring better traction for trails.

Product Highlights

As the name suggests, the Schwinn S29 has 29-inch wheels fitted with front and rear disc brakes. These ensure stable speed control while descending and crisp stopping.

Moreover, the full suspension and the SR SunTour’s suspension forks allow for outstanding shock absorption from trailing. This means extra protection from bumps and comfortable riding in various conditions.

The S29 also features an excellent frame design. The frame is polished and dark, making it a certain eye-catch for bike enthusiasts.

Moreover, the bike’s frame is sturdy and great for traversing stone mountain roads. As a result, you can comfortably cross many types of terrain and maintain control of your bike while riding downhill.

What I Like

The responsiveness is terrific, and there’s additional bump absorption from rear shocks. Additionally, the 21-speed Shimano shifters, along with the rear and front derailleurs, offer you precise shifting. The gear range is wide enough for you to tackle all sorts of terrain on every ride.

Finally, the rear and front mechanical brakes give you a lot of stopping power. At the same time, the knobby tires and 29-inch rims help you ride around obstacles and corners much more comfortably.

What I Don’t Like

The biggest downside to one of the best mountain bikes of 2020 is the stock saddle. Even though it looks great, the seat can be quite uncomfortable, especially if your rides are long and on challenging trails.

Additionally, the pedals aren’t as good as on some other models, which is why you should consider replacing them. Lastly, you may have a hard time applying and changing your brakes in some circumstances.

Pros

  • Precise and responsive shifting
  • Outstanding shock absorption
  • Reliable, powerful mechanical disk breaks
  • Sturdy and durable frame

Cons

  • Uncomfortable saddle
  • The pedals could be better

Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike

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This bike is exceptionally comfortable to ride even for longer periods. It has excellent shock absorption and keeps you in control of the bike at all times.

Product Highlights

The bike’s frame is lightweight and made of aluminum. This model has an alloy stem and handlebar, along with the WTB Volt saddle and WTB Trail II Grips that provide you with a lot of comfort, even if your rides last a bit longer.

Moreover, the bike has a Shimano SLX 2×11 shifter in combination with the Shimano SLX 11-speed index. As a result, you get 22 speeds you can shift comfortably in various riding conditions.

Furthermore, the bike features the Sun Tour XCT suspension fork. Paired with a 10mm travel, this ensures that your front wheel is planted and all the bumps are absorbed. Therefore, you can maintain control of the bike and ride it at higher speeds, knowing that external shocks won’t be a significant impediment.

Lastly, this model has dual hydraulic brakes that offer outstanding precision and stopping power.

What I Like

Overall, the Royce Union RHT mountain bike combines excellent handling and versatility. The model lets you manage rough mountain trails and other harsh terrains due to its suspension kit, stable frame, and tires that provide an excellent grip on rougher surfaces.

What’s also great is that the bike isn’t just suitable for experienced riders only. In particular, it has a dependable power transfer system and comfortable gearing that also favors beginners.

What I Don’t Like

There aren’t too many downsides to the Royce Union RHT mountain bike, but the following two issues could be quite problematic.

First, there’s not much clearance between the front tire and the pedal when turning on the 29-inch wheel version, which can lead to accidents. And second, the bike isn’t the most durable option on the market.

Pros

  • A lightweight body that’s easy to control
  • Comfortable saddle even for longer rides
  • Excellent shock absorption
  • Comfortable gearing and dependable power transfer system

Cons

  • Insufficient clearance for 29-inch wheel versions
  • Unreliable durability

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

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The Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike has all the equipment necessary to increase the stability of your rides. The knobby tires and the extra width will make a difference, especially on rough terrain.

Product Highlights

This bike is one of the best mountain bikes for off-road and conventional riding circumstances. The tires are knobby and provide you with extra stability for all sorts of terrain.

The additional width is there to ensure more comfortable rides around obstacles and bumps. The bike has dual disc brakes that help you break and stop safely in hazardous and wet conditions.

Also, the model has a seven-speed rear derailleur, which is exceptionally responsive.

The bike’s derailleur is combined with twist shifters, providing you with greater control over your gears. As a result, you can shift gears more easily when tackling hills and other incline terrain types. Also, there’s the steel frame and alloy wheels that allow for lightweight durability.

Finally, the Mongoose Dolomite Mountain bike comes with a cushioned saddle that ensures comfort even if your rides last a bit longer.

What I Like

You can enjoy multiple aspects of this bike, but its most significant feature may be the lightweight design. This is a crucial component of every mountain bike, and the Mongoose Dolomite bike delivers in this regard, as it’s made of light alloy and is easy to control.

Additionally, the bike’s frame is durable, and its responsive, reliable gear shifting makes many types of terrain more manageable. Lastly, the bike provides even more control with its disc brakes that work in various conditions.

What I Don’t Like

That being said, there are several areas this mountain bike could improve upon. First, many of the bike’s components, such as the crank, are entry-level, and their quality could be improved significantly.

The bike may also come with insufficient grease, requiring you to disassemble some of the components (such as the hubs and bottom brackets) and lubricate them. Also, the bike has a grip-shift on its handlebar that can lead to accidental gear shifts.

Pros

  • Exceptional stability and control
  • Responsive and simple gear shifting on various kinds of terrain
  • Lightweight, durable design
  • Comfortable riding due to the saddle

Cons

  • Entry-level components
  • Accidental shifting is possible

Max4out Mountain Bike 21 Speed with High Carbon Steel

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The Max4out mountain bike is an excellent choice for off-road rides and everyday commuting. The bike is durable, and the shifting is smooth, allowing for comfortable riding.

Product Highlights

The Max4out mountain bike is a solid entry in its price range. It has 26-inch rims, a 24-inch-long handle, and a 3-spoke design. The seat is also comfortable, but it allows for customization if you need to make some adjustments to accommodate your weight and height.

The mountain bike’s design is ideal for riders who are tall between 5’2”-6’00” and weigh less than 200 pounds. The model has a durable, expertly-welded frame, along with knobby tires and sturdy, light-alloy wheels.

Apart from that, the bike also features improved stopping power that ensures a responsive and durable riding experience across a wide range of terrain.

You also get a 7-speed rear derailleur and a 3-speed front derailleur that provide 21 speeds you can shift smoothly. You can smoothly shift the gears using your fingers and accurately on the slide on nearly any slope or surface.

What I Like

The Max4out mountain bike is bound to serve you for quite a while due to its durable, high-carbon steel frame. The bike is also incredibly versatile, meaning that you can pull various stunts off-road and ride the bike to work every day with the same comfort level.

The design is also adjustable, making it easy for you to modify the bike according to your height.

What I Don’t Like

On the other hand, there are a few noteworthy downsides to this bike. First, while the bike’s suspension system is decent, it doesn’t absorb shocks as effectively as some other mountain bikes. Moreover, there’s some assembly you’ll need to perform when you receive the model.

This includes installing the seat, handlebar, front wheel, and pedals, apart from airing up your tires.

Pros

  • Excellent breaks that ensure tremendous stopping power
  • A durable, high-quality frame that will last long
  • Smooth and accurate gear shifting
  • Outstanding performance off-road and in conventional settings

Cons

  • The suspension could be better
  • You’ll need to install some parts once the mountain bike arrives

2021 Gravity FSX 29 LTD Dual Suspension 21 Speed Mountain Bike

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This mountain bike is another viable option for several reasons. Among other things, it has adjustable suspension and reliable shifters, enhancing your riding experience

Product Highlights

The Gravity FSX 29 is a great bike overall, especially considering the price range. The frame’s design and materials are excellent, making the frame feel strong despite being relatively heavy. However, the bike isn’t too strenuous to carry around.

There are also dual mechanical disk brakes, providing you with adequate control over the bike and decent stopping power.

Additionally, the bike features dual full suspensions. While it doesn’t outdo its competition with regard to suspension, it still performs quite well for a bike with this price.

Moreover, you get excellent packaging with the bike, meaning that you don’t need a lot of expert knowledge about mountain bikes to put all the pieces together.

What I Like

Again, most of the pros of this bike stem from the fact that it won’t dent your budget if you decide to give it a try.

Some of the bike’s most notable components include durable and robust aluminum frames, along with light and sturdy, double-wall rims. The bike’s shifters are relatively easy to use, and you can adjust its suspension, both front and rear kits.

What I Don’t Like

Perhaps the main drawback to this model is the lack of necessary equipment to tackle the roughest terrain.

More specifically, the built-in tires have a moderate tread that isn’t as aggressive as some trails require. Additionally, the rear shock can sometimes be inadequate and offer limited adjustment. Finally, you may not feel comfortable with the bike’s grip.

Pros

  • It’s an affordable mountain bike
  • Durable and strong frame
  • Decent brake performance and simple gear shifting
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Not fit for the most extreme trails and conditions
  • Rear shock absorption doesn’t perform consistently well

Buyer’s Guide

Types of Mountain Bikes

Depending on their primary purpose, mountain bikes are classified into four main groups:

Cross Country Mountain Bikes

The geometry of these bikes closely resembles road bikes. Also, their design’s primary focus is lightweight and efficiency, and they are better equipped for longer, uphill rides rather than descents.

Trail Mountain Bikes

This group is more versatile, meaning that it’s equally suitable for descending and ascending. They have more suspension and, generally, bigger brake rotors and chunkier tires that ensure better traction.

All-Mountain (Enduro) Mountain Bikes

This group is specifically designed for so-called “Enduro” races. Their geometry works best for climbing, and the head angles require some skills for steep climbs.

Freeride and Downhill Mountain Bikes

Downhill mountain bikes work best for descending trails. They are built for jumps, big drops, and speed.

Wheels

Here are the main wheel sizes and their pros and cons.

26-inch Wheels

The standard size for mountain bike wheels gives you outstanding maneuverability due to the ideal front-center-rear balance.

Also, you can accelerate more quickly with 26-inch wheels. On the other hand, the wheels have better-rolling resistance, less traction, and difficulties crossing obstacles.

 29-inch Wheels

The most significant benefit of 29-inch wheels is that you can cross almost any obstacle with them.

Other than that, the wheels have increased stability, reduced rolling resistance, and maintained momentum. Conversely, it’s hard to maneuver the wheels due to the longer wheelbase. Moreover, the acceleration is slower.

27.5-inch Wheels

The final type offers identical roll-over qualities as 29-inch wheels but without the maneuverability reduction.

Also, short riders who may feel uncomfortable on 29ers have access to larger wheels. Nonetheless, the tire, fork, and wheel selection is limited to choose from.

Frame Materials

Nowadays, manufacturers use four different materials to build their mountain bikes: steel, aluminum alloy, titanium, and carbon fiber. Coming up is a brief overview of each material’s most notable features.

Steel

Most frequently, steel tubing is butted, meaning that the bike is thinner at the center of the frame. This adds durability to certain areas of steel bikes and generally enables them to absorb shock more efficiently.

The main drawback is the extra weight that can impede mobility.

Aluminum Alloy

Aluminum is reliable and durable and provides a nimble and lightweight riding experience. If built properly, it can last for up to seven years.

However, aluminum mountain bikes typically mean harsher rides due to their inability to dampen vibration as well as steel models.

Titanium

Titanium may be the best mountain bike material since it combines the light construction of aluminum alloy bikes and the strength of steel models.

As a result, the strength-to-weight ratio is remarkable. Moreover, the shock absorption is terrific since the material can flex but still maintain its shape. The only downside is that these mountain bikes are usually the costliest.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber frames are usually the lightest. At the same time, they are stiff and sturdy enough to cross even the harshest terrains.

These bikes typically use their suspension more efficiently, climb faster, and can corner harder.

Groupset

When looking for the ideal groupset, you should consider two significant aspects: performance and durability.

Performance

If you want a high-end mountain bike, you should be looking for a groupset with high-quality construction and material tolerance of the components.

Pricier groupsets also feature smoother, more precise, and more immediate shifting. As a result, the groupsets perform much better, even while climbing or performing other challenging maneuvers.

On the other hand, a low-tier groupset may deliver more delayed, unreliable, and clunkier performance.

Weigh is another vital aspect. For low-end mountain bikes, groupset components are usually made of basic materials (e.g., pressed steel) and have less intensive manufacturing and machining processes.

Conversely, high-end models are often lighter and feature more expensive and reliable materials, such as titanium or carbon fiber.

Durability

The durability of groupsets might be even more critical to mountain bike riders. For instance, mid-tier groupsets, such as GX or SLX, have components that can last for a very long time if maintained properly.

On the other hand, high-end groupsets, such as XX1 Eagle and XTR, are considered racing components due to their lightweight nature.

They do deliver better performance but may not last as long due to the wear and tear that’s more progressive than with mid-range groupsets.

Other factors you should consider when buying a groupset include the cost of replacing cassettes and chains.

Size

Mountain bikes come in all sorts of sizes. The frame size is used as a reference, and it ranges from extra-small to extra-extra-large sizes. Here’s a table covering all mountain bike frame sizes:

FRAME SIZEINCHES
Extra-small13″ – 14″
Small15″ – 16″
Medium17″ – 18″
Large19″ – 20″
Extra-large21″ – 22″
Extra-extra-large23″ +

FAQs

What Size Mountain Bike Do I Need?

Depending on the measurements described in the table above, certain rider height ranges are a perfect match with specific bike sizes:

FRAME SIZEINCHESRIDER HEIGHT
Extra-small13″ – 14″4′ 10″ – 5′ 2″
Small15″ – 16″5′ 3″ – 5′ 6″
Medium17″ – 18″5′ 7″ – 5′ 10″
Large19″ – 20″5′ 11″ – 6′ 1″
Extra-large21″ – 22″6′ 2″ – 6′ 4″
Extra-extra-large23″ +6′ 4″ +

Another aspect you should take into account is the wheel size. Namely, bikes with larger wheels are slightly taller, whereas smaller wheels usually entail a short standover height.

This means that shorter people should usually go for 26-inch wheels, while taller or long-legged riders should feel greater comfort with 29ers.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about the feeling you experience with the bike. If the size feels right when you try it out, don’t think twice.

Do I Need Suspension?

You definitely need suspension since it’s a crucial component of any vehicle, not just mountain bikes. Suspension serves to absorb shocks coming from obstacles on the trail.

If your bike had no suspension, your rides would be incomparably more unpleasant and potentially injurious.

The only debatable aspect about suspension is which type you should get. The choice comes down to two kinds: hardtail and full suspension.

Depending on the following advantages of each suspension type, figure out which one works better for you.

Hardtail Suspension

Affordable – Hardtail suspension has a more straightforward design that enables easier manufacturing. Accordingly, you can get this mountain bike type if your budget is under $1,500.

Good for smooth trails – If most of your rides take place on smooth trails, hardtail suspension will give you a fast ride and absorb moderate shocks along the way.

Low-maintenance – Hardtail bikes don’t have many moving parts. This makes them simpler and less expensive to maintain.

Lightweight – Hardtail mountain bikes are typically lighter models. This makes them great for crossing long distances and climbing.

Full-Suspension

The costlier option – If you don’t mind spending more than $1,500 for a mountain bike, full suspension is the way to go. It will deliver a better performance than hardtail suspension.

Excellent for technical trails – Full suspension enables better handling and traction, making for a smooth ride across challenging terrain

More comfortable rides – Full suspension mountain bikes combine front and rear shock absorption to dampen more powerful impacts.

Higher speeds – Due to enhanced shock absorption, you’re able to cross technical parts of trails with more speed than with hardtail suspension.

What Size Frame Should I Get?

When determining the right size for you, there are several guidelines you should follow. But primarily, consider the stack (distance from crank’s center to the mid-head tube) and reach (distance from the bars to the saddle) measurements.

Generally, you should go for slightly larger measurements than you would when choosing a road bike. This is because a slightly longer front triangle places the axle farther ahead, allowing you to grip it without flipping over your bars upon the first impact.

A longer front triangle also facilitates climbing with your bike by keeping the front wheel firmly against the ground.

Still, your measurements shouldn’t be so large that there isn’t any standover clearance. You need just a few inches, and an adequately sized bike will give you a proper standover and enough room to maneuver.

Finally, you need to make sure that the bike provides you with full pedaling height and doesn’t force you to overextend your seat post.

All these are more specific pieces of advice you should follow when purchasing a mountain bike. But generally, today’s mountain bikes enable you to adjust your handlebar, stem, and saddle and turn almost any mountain bike into a perfectly-sized model for you.

How to Choose the Right Safety Gear for Mountain Biking?

It’s essential to correctly fit mountain bike protective gear to maximize its efficiency during challenging and regular rides. This is how to check your protective gear’s fit:

  1. Ensure that the protective gear doesn’t slip down or slide around in normal riding conditions.
  2. Twist, bend, and squat to ensure that the pads are non-restricting, comfortable, and let you pedal the bike efficiently and comfortably.
  3. Make sure that the pads don’t irritate you, cause hot spots or numbness. Otherwise, don’t wear them.

How to Ride a Mountain Bike?

Riding your mountain bike consists of learning several techniques:

Adjusting the Seat Position

When climbing, your seat should be in a place that allows you to extend your leg 80%-90%, letting you use major leg muscles. On the other hand, drop the seat by about two to three inches when descending to better control the bike.

Braking

When braking, slightly bend the knees and elbows, lower your heels, and move your hips back to ensure more control. Also, lightly apply your brakes and avoid sudden squeezes to prevent skidding.

Shifting

The most essential thing to remember is to keep pedaling while shifting gears to prevent your chain from breaking.

Also, shift gears before reaching steep or harsh terrain to maintain a steady cadence. This will avoid shifting on terrain that’s harsh on the gears and could lead to your chain popping off.

Final Verdict

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the five best mountain bikes and gone through the most important features of each bike, it’s time to announce the winner.

In this case, the first entry on the list, the Schwinn S29, prevails for several reasons.

The bike offers premium performance in all major areas. The suspension is outstanding and protects you from even the harshest terrain. The shifting is incredibly responsive, and the brakes are highly reliable, giving you greater control over the bike.

Finally, the knobby tires ensure more contact with the ground, allowing you to cross obstacles more easily.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a sure-fire mountain bike solution, there’s no going wrong with the Schwinn S29.

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