Mountain biking is a thrilling experience. For beginners, however, it can be intimidating. The thought of going uphill and downhill, passing through rugged and bumpy terrains, can be frightening for some people.
Even as a beginner, you don’t have to worry. The key is to choose the best mountain bikes for beginners. A good beginner mountain bike has straightforward features that will make it easy to use. From the frame geometry to the gearing system, pick a bike with design and components that are targeted towards anyone who is starting to learn the fundamentals of mountain biking.
When choosing mountain bikes for beginners, it is best to go beyond the price. Sure, it is tempting to buy a cheap mountain bike. However, quality and performance are more important considerations. If you are clueless about what to buy, read on and we’ll talk about the top picks for the best starter mountain bike.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Beginner Mountain Bikes Review
- 1.1 Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 1.2 SAVADECK DECK300 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
- 1.3 Steppenwolf Tundra Carbon Pro Hardtail 29er MTB
- 1.4 Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike with 26-Inch Wheels & Steel Frame
- 1.5 Merax 26″ Mountain Bicycle with Suspension Fork 24-Speed
- 1.6 Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike
- 1.7 Merax FT323 Mountain Bike 21-Speed Full Suspension Aluminum Frame
- 1.8 Diamondback Bicycles Release 3 Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 1.9 Royce Union Men’s’ Gravel Bike
- 1.10 Mongoose Boot’r 27.5″ Down Hill Mountain Bicycle
- 1.11 Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike
- 1.12 Schwinn High Timber 7-Speed Mountain Bike
- 1.13 Trinx MTB Men 26-inch Shimano 21-Speed M136
- 1.14 Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 1.15 Raleigh Bicycles Talus 2 Recreational Mountain Bike
- 1.16 Raleigh Bicycles Tokul 2 Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 2 How to Choose Good Beginner Mountain Bikes
Best Beginner Mountain Bikes Review
The gloss red frame of Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike is one of the first things that you will notice. It is simple but commands attention because of its minimalist design.
More than its aesthetic, this entry-level mountain bike is also praised by many because of its versatility. It is available in three sizes, so you can choose which one is most suitable for your needs. The wheels are available in 20, 24, and 26 inches. The frame, on the other hand, can be 13, 14, or 17 inches. Even for young riders, this mountain bike will be a great choice.
As for the frame, the main material used is high-tensile steel. It is not as lightweight as aluminum, but you will love how forgiving and durable it is. Even better, the frame is backed by a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
The 1.95-inch knobby tires are also commendable in this mountain bike. They are a beast on the trail! These tires are wide enough to ensure smooth rolling resistance regardless of the terrain conditions. They will also help in keeping the bike more stable.
It is also packed with features that will ensure your highest level of comfort. It has a padded saddle, which will do a great job of absorbing vibration. There are also Krayton grips, which will be easy to hold. There is also a slight-rise handlebar, which will promote a comfortable upright riding position.
- Comes in multiple colors
- High-quality knobby tires
One of the best things about the SAVADECK DECK300 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike is its overall construction. The frame is the most notable, which is made of carbon fiber. The material is known for being exceptionally lightweight and durable. It has an aerodynamic contour, which can significantly improve the performance of this mountain bike.
All other components are impressive. For instance, it comes with Shimano 3×10 speeds gearing system. This means that you will have plenty of options regardless of the terrain that you plan to conquer with this mountain bike.
The hydraulic fork suspension system will ensure your highest level of comfort while keeping the weight of the bike at a minimum. Compared to a full-suspension system, this is also better because it requires minimal maintenance. It can deliver 100mm of suspension travel, which will positively impact both comfort and control.
The indexed Shimano M315 disc brake is another notable feature that you will find on this bike. It is hidden from sight, which gives the bike a more seamless look. It offers exceptional stopping power as soon as you engage the brake lever. From slippery roads to bumpy terrains, you can be confident that the brake will work.
When you buy this beginner MTB, you can choose from three wheel sizes – 26, 27.5, and 29 inches. If you are clueless about what to pick, we recommend that you choose the one with a 27.5 wheel, which can offer the best of both worlds.
- Sleek frame
- Easy to control
- Gears can be noisy
One of the most notable features of Steppenwolf Tundra Carbon Pro Hardtail 29er MTB is its frame. It is made of carbon fiber, a high-end material that is not often recommended for beginners because of its price. If you can afford it, this bike is a great investment. It is the lightest and strongest material, so it will be worth every dollar.
The 30-speed Shimano drivetrain is one of the features that you will love. The drivetrain is designed with the needs of the pros in mind. As a beginner, however, you will love how you will have plenty of gearing options, which also means that it will be suitable in a variety of environments.
If you are often on bumpy trails, you don’t have to worry when you are using this bike. One of the reasons for the latter is the front suspension frame. This will mellow down the bumps so that you won’t feel most of the impact.
When the bike is shipped, it is already 99% pre-assembled. This means that it won’t take a long time before you can assemble the parts and you will soon be ready to take the bike out for a spin.
This bike is proud German-made by a company with over two decades of experience in the industry. With race-dominant characteristics, you can expect that Steppenwolf bikes are built for speed.
- Smooth shifting
- Comes 99% assembled
The Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike with 26-Inch Wheels & Steel Frame is a big bike, and hence, it might not work for all beginners. Choose this only if you are comfortable with its size and weight. For small riders, we do not recommend this bike.
With the knobby tires, you have a good reason to believe that this is a good mountain bike. it is 4-inch wide, which is way bigger than most of the tires that you will find in other recommended mountain bikes for beginners. Yes, it is heavy, but the added weight is beneficial. Even if you are on rugged terrain, you won’t feel the bumps. This bike can conquer almost any trail!
One thing that makes it different from other fat-tire bikes is the cruiser frame. It is sleek and comes with plenty of clearance, which will be beneficial in handling a variety of terrain conditions.
It is also commendable because of the dual disc brakes, so you don’t have to worry about its stopping power. The brakes control both the front and rear wheels, assuring a quick stop as soon as you engage the lever. This will make it effortless to control the brakes.
For versatility, this bike offers seven speeds with Shimano twister shifter. Like how easy it is to stop the bike, shifting gears will also be effortless. It will be a quick and smooth experience, guaranteeing the bike’s optimal performance regardless of where you are riding.
- Wide and stable tires
- Great brakes
- Comfortable even in rugged terrains
When you are using the Merax 26″ Mountain Bicycle with Suspension Fork 24-Speed, you don’t have to worry about your comfort. The front suspension of the bike will do a great job in terms of impact absorption. Even if you are on a bumpy ride, you will not easily feel tired. This will effectively absorb shock so your body won’t have to deal with it.
We also like the 24-speed derailleur and shifter of this option for the best entry-level mountain bikes. This will allow you to use the bike in multiple terrain types while being sure of its optimal performance. Whether you are climbing or descending, the bike’s gears will ensure the best performance.
Stopping the bike does not have to be a constant struggle. As soon as you engage the brake lever, you can expect that the bike will come to a complete stop. This is as a result of having dual disc brakes. Even in slippery pavements, the brakes will be reliable.
The 26-inch Kendra wheels can be quite small for some people. A lot of beginner mountain bikes have 27.5 to 29-inch wheels. Nonetheless, if there is one benefit of having smaller wheels, it would be that such will be easier to maneuver. Even when you are in tight spaces, it will be easy to move around.
Despite all the good things about this bike, it is economical. Most beginners will love how the price is easy on the wallet. You don’t have to think twice, especially considering its features and performance.
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- High-performing dual disc brakes
- Easy gear shifting
- No handlebar adjustment
If you are looking for something big, then it will be hard to go wrong with the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire. It is one of the heaviest bikes from those on our list. However, being heavy is also a good thing. It will absorb impact effectively even on the roughest terrains. Take in the extra weight and you will be more comfortable!
For the frame, steel is the main material used. This is heavier compared to aluminum. However, one thing that we like about steel is that it is more forgiving. This means that it will dampen vibration throughout your ride.
The Shimano rear derailleur is also a good thing. It delivers seven speeds, so you can use the bike in multiple environments and expect optimal performance.
Another reason to love this mountain bike is the threadless headset. One good thing about the latter is that it is easy to adjust. Regardless of your height, you can have it easily customized depending on what you find to be most comfortable.
The bike comes with beach cruiser pedals. Even if you are moving aggressively, the pedals can keep up.
Lastly, it is also impressive because of the front and rear disc brakes. It has plenty of stopping power to guarantee your safety regardless of the terrain conditions where you are riding.
- Built for all terrains
- Headset is easy to adjust
The Merax FT323 Mountain Bike 21 Speed Full Suspension Aluminum Frame combines the benefit of speed and weight. This is one thing that we can attribute to the use of aluminum as the main material for its frame. It makes the bike nimble and long-lasting.
It is also worth noting that it comes with dual suspension design. The latter means that there is a front and back suspension. The result is that it will significantly lessen the vibrations that the bike will create. You will be more comfortable even when you are tackling technical terrains.
The bike is fitted with a 21-speed Shimano derailleur. Because it is made by Shimano, you can be confident that the quality is second to none. It will deliver smooth gear shifting to optimize the performance of the bike regardless of the terrain conditions.
For the bike’s stopping power, it comes with linear-pull brakes. They are far from being the most advanced braking system currently available. However, for an intro mountain bike, the brakes are pretty awesome.
Another good feature that you will find in this mountain bike is the molded handlebar. The latter is designed to be effortless to grip. More than being comfortable, having a good grip of the handlebar will also make the mountain bike easy to control.
- Molded handlebar for easy grip
- Comes with a full suspension
- Fast and lightweight
- Seat can be more comfortable
If you are looking for entry-level mountain bikes with prices that won’t hurt the wallet, this isn’t for you. The Diamondback Bicycles Release 3 Full Suspension is one of the most expensive from our recommendations. Nonetheless, looking at its features and performance, you can assume that it will be worth every dollar.
The bike comes with a low-slung and semi-slack frame made of hydroformed aluminum. This is an excellent material of choice for the best entry-level mountain bike because it is lightweight. This means that it will be easier for you to maneuver the bike, unlike its heavier counterparts wherein you will need to exert a lot of effort.
It is a full-suspension mountain bike, which can guarantee your comfort, even when you are on bumpy terrains. It has a RockShox fork with 150mm of travel. On the other hand, the rear suspension is Level Link with 130mm of suspension. The two work together to deliver enhanced shock absorption for your optimal comfort throughout the ride.
Another notable feature of the bike is its SRAM X1 drivetrain, with eleven speeds to conquer a variety of environments.
If there is one problem with this bike, it would be its price. The steep price can easily discourage many people. The price is almost similar to mountain bikes with a carbon fiber frame.
- High-quality components
- Aggressive frame geometry
- Easy to pedal
The Royce Union Men’s’ Gravel Bike may not be from a popular brand, but this is another product that should be on your radar. As one of the best beginner mountain bikes, this bike comes with a lightweight aluminum frame. This material may not be as forgiving as steel, but it is durable.
For reliable stopping power, the bike comes fitted with mechanical disc brakes. As soon as you engage the brake, the bike will quickly stop, so you can be confident of your safety. Even if you are going downhill, you can be confident that the brakes will be dependable.
It has Shimano Sora 2×9 gearing system, which means that it has 18 speeds. The latter offers diverse choices depending on the terrain conditions. From steep ascents to challenging descents, shifting gears will be almost effortless.
The bike comes with WTB wilderness tires. The tread design is impressive. It is built in such a way that it will have minimal rolling resistance. The latter is a result of having a raised tread. The wheel, meanwhile, is 27.5 inches, which is the right size for most riders.
- Lightweight frame
- Comfortable handlebar
- Good tire treads
- Excessive toe overlap
One of the best things about the Mongoose Boot’r 27.5″ Down Hill Bicycle is its aluminum frame. It is strong and light, which makes the price worth it. At its price, however, you can already find an entry-level carbon fiber bike, which is regarded as one of the best materials available.
The Free Floating Technology is a major reason why this is chosen by many people searching for the best beginner downhill mountain bike. The fork suspension also has 200mm of fork travel, which is one of the best compared to the products in this guide. With this, you can expect that it will do an excellent job when it comes to shock absorption.
Shifting will be smooth and almost effortless with this beginner-friendly mountain bike. This is made possible by the Shimano Zee 1×10 drivetrain. It also comes with a direct-mount derailleur, which significantly reduces the weight of the bike.
This mountain bike is also amazing because of the Tektro Slate T4 hydraulic disc brakes and levers. You don’t need to exert full pressure to the brakes while making sure that they will engage as soon as you need the bike to stop. Even when you are on slippery roads, this bike’s stopping power will not disappoint.
Lastly, the bike comes with double-wall rims. It is combined with Schwalbe Mary tires. They are known for being lightweight like the other components of the bike, which will be beneficial when it comes to maneuverability.
- Internal cable routing
- Excellent suspension
- Great stability
The brand name itself will already give you a good reason to choose Schwinn Bonafide mountain bike over many other options in the market. The company’s reputation will make this product a safe bet for the best beginner MTB.
We love how affordable this bike is. With its price, it will be an excellent choice if you are looking for your first bike. Despite being affordable, it is packed with exceptional features, such as its lightweight aluminum frame.
This bike also comes with a reliable front suspension fork. The latter is designed in such a way that it will absorb shock effectively instead of transferring impact on your body. Even if the suspension is just in front of the bike, it will do well in ensuring your comfort.
It comes with a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain, which is great if you are looking for versatility. The terrain conditions won’t matter. You can shift gears easily and the bike can deliver optimal performance in various environments.
Many of its users were also happy because of the front and rear mechanical disc brakes. With this, the bike will deliver crisp stopping power regardless of the surface where you are riding.
However, take note that this is a 29er. A mountain bike with a 29-inch wheel may not work for all riders. Especially if you are not gifted with height, you might have a hard time riding this bike.
- Easy to assemble
- Not for short riders
The Schwinn High Timber 7-Speed mountain bike is from one of the most reliable brands in the market, which is already a compelling reason to pick this over many of its competitors.
This entry-level MTB comes with a steel frame. This is different from most of the options included in this guide that are made of aluminum. Steel can be heavier compared to the latter, but a lot of people like this material because it is more forgiving. This means that it will be more capable of absorbing vibrations to ensure the best in terms of your comfort.
It comes with a 7-speed Shimano shifter, making sure that there is appropriate gear for a specific situation. You will enjoy the versatility of this bike. From going uphill to heading downhill, the gearing system can offer a reliable performance.
The wheels come with alloy rims, which are known for being lightweight and durable. Like the other parts of the bike, they won’t be easily prone to wear even with frequent use.
Lastly, there is also a durable alloy crank. Aside from providing steady gearing, the latter is also well-loved by riders because it requires minimal maintenance.
- Comes with a durable steel frame
- Smooth ride
- Easy to assemble
- Plastic pedals
When choosing the best trail bike for beginners, one of the most important considerations is the weight. As a newbie, you will benefit from choosing a lightweight bike. If that’s the case, then the Trinx MTB Men 26-inch Shimano 21-Speed M136 is an excellent choice.
It comes with Trinx steel suspension fork with 100mm of travel. This helps improve the ability of the bike to absorb impact, especially when you are cruising on rough terrains. With the latter, you will remain comfortable throughout your ride.
The bike comes with a Shimano 21-speed gearing mechanism. For an entry-level bike, the gears are more than enough. This will allow you to use it in multiple terrains without worrying that the performance of the bike will end up being compromised.
Lastly, the bike comes with disc brakes. They are easy to engage, which also means that it will be quick to put the bike in a complete stop, even if you are on slippery terrain. This is crucial to promoting your highest level of safety.
- Great frame geometry
- Excellent frames
- Seat can be too narrow for some
This Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike comes with 27.5-inch wheels, which is the right size for most beginners. It is not too small nor too big, making it easy to ride.
The hand-built aluminum alloy frame is another reason why this is one of the top beginner bikes. Aluminum is known for being lightweight and durable. However, many may not like how it is not as forgiving as steel, which can negatively impact your comfort, especially during bumpy rides.
The Suntour XCT fork is another good thing about this beginner hardtail mountain bike. The front suspension will do a great job of keeping you comfortable as it will absorb shock. This also means that you won’t easily feel tired.
It has high-quality components from reliable brands, assuring the best performance. For instance, it is fitted with a 3×8 speed drivetrain. The latter means that you will have 24 speeds to choose from depending on the ride conditions. Plus, it has Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes. The latter will provide exceptional stopping power regardless of the terrain that you will tackle.
You will also love how this is built ready to ride. This means that once it is shipped, most of the parts are already assembled. It won’t take long before you will be able to take the bike out for a spin.
- Has a lightweight aluminum frame
- Easy to assemble
- High-quality disc brakes
- Pedals can be flimsy
The Raleigh Bicycles Talus 2 Recreational Mountain Bike is another affordable option that makes it on our list. This bike comes with an aluminum frame, which is known for being lightweight. You will find it a breeze to control this option for the best bike for beginners.
The SR Suntour fork is another good reason to pick this bike. The latter provides a reliable front suspension on the bike. In most cases, a front suspension will be enough compared to having dual suspension. This will help to minimize the vibrations that can be transmitted to your body, which will translate to a more comfortable ride even if you are on bumpy surfaces.
Another highlight of this bike is the Shimano EZ Fire 8-speed trigger shifter. Plus, there are 24 gearing options available. The latter is the reason why the bike is versatile. Regardless of where you are, the gears will optimize the bike’s performance.
Many of the users were also happy with the braking system. It comes with alloy V-brakes. This is one of the most basic braking systems. It is not as powerful as those you will find in the higher-end market, but for its price point, the brakes are pretty decent.
- Solid construction
- Comes with a rack fender
- Saddle can be uncomfortable
Wrapping up our list of the best beginner mountain bikes is a hardtail, which means that it has a front suspension. The Raleigh Bicycles Tokul 2 Hardtail’s fork allows exceptional shock absorption, and this will have a positive impact on your comfort.
This entry-level hardtail mountain bike comes with an aluminum frame, similar to most of the products that we have earlier reviewed. As you would most probably know by now, the best thing about aluminum is that it is lightweight. It is also worth noting that the frame of this bike is backed by a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Aside from the frame, another notable part of this hardtail mountain bike is the hydraulic disc brake. This is a common option that you will find in expensive mountain bikes. Rather than relying on traditional cable and brake pad set-up, it uses brake fluid, which exerts pressure on the wheels to stop the bike when necessary. Braking is a smooth and easy experience when you are using this mountain bike.
It is also exceptional because of the Kendra Honey Badger wheels. It provides impressive traction throughout your ride. From paved surfaces to muddy terrains, the tread design will make sure that the tires will have a strong grip. Aside from increasing traction, the tires are also designed so that you can go as fast as you want without compromising safety.
The drivetrain, like the other parts of the bike, can also demonstrate a solid performance. It comes with nine gears. The number of gears is fewer compared to most of the products on our list. However, this can also be a good thing, especially if you are looking for simplicity.
- High-quality disc brakes
- Ergonomic handlebar
- Tires have exceptional traction
- Pedals are flat
How to Choose Good Beginner Mountain Bikes
With too many options for the best starter bicycling, making the right choice won’t be easy. To help you narrow down the possibilities, below are the most important things to consider.
Mountain Biking Styles
As a beginner, you need to consider the different riding styles to help you pick a mountain bike that works best for your needs.
When people mention a mountain bike, this is what they usually picture, making it a great choice for beginners. Whether for ascending or descending, this mountain bike is built to perform. This is for riders who are looking for fun and efficiency.
If your goal is to climb fast, then this is the right mountain bike for you. It has a frame geometry that is almost similar to what you will find on a road bike. If you will be pedaling for a long time and you will be climbing often compared to going downhill, this is a great bike.
Trail bikes on steroids – that is what you can expect from this type of mountain bike. For steep descents, these bikes will do well. If you are pedaling uphill it will be nimble. If you will be riding technical terrains, this is a good bike to consider.
As the name implies, this is a perfect choice if you are looking for a bike that you can use in frequent downhill rides. These bikes are also heavy, so this means that they can take abuse and will withstand many years of use.
As you choose the best intro mountain bike, you should also consider the suspension. It is directly related to your comfort. It also affects the performance of the bike, especially on rough terrains.
A rigid mountain bike does not come with suspension in the front or at the back. This means that it is more affordable and lightweight compared to the two other options below. However, comfort can be compromised, which is why we do not recommend this for beginners.
If you want the best of both worlds, then this is a great choice for good mountain bikes for beginners. It has suspension only in the front and none at the rear. It is lightweight, requires minimal maintenance, and built for all-purpose rides.
This comes with dual suspension – one at the fork and the other at the rear. It does an excellent job of absorbing vibration. It is expensive, heavy, and requires a lot of maintenance, which is why we are not recommending this for beginners.
This is one of the most important parts to look at in good beginner mountain bikes. The material used for the frame will influence not only price but also the overall performance of the bike. It is the heart of the bike, so make sure to pick a good frame.
Aluminum and alloy are the most common materials that you will find in beginner mountain bikes. They are known for being affordable and lightweight. If you can afford the upgrade, however, steel and carbon are also great materials. They have better damping properties, which will drastically minimize the vibrations that you can feel. This will also mean that you will be more comfortable.
Size and Fit
When buying a beginner mountain bike, one of the most important is to consider its sizing and make sure that it fits perfectly. Take note that there is no one-size-fits-all bike. At the end of the day, the most important is to try the bike and see if you are comfortable with it.
Your height is the most important consideration when choosing the right size of a bike. See the list below for the right bike frame size depending on your height:
- 4’11” to 5’3” – 13 to 15 inches (Small)
- 5’3” to 5’7” – 15 to 17 inches (Small to Medium)
- 5’7” to 5’11” – 17 to 19 inches (Medium)
- 5’11” to 6’2” – 19 to 21 inches (Large)
- 6’2” to 6’4” – 21 to 23 inches (Extra-Large)
- 6’4” and up – 23 inches and up (Extra-Large)
A good entry-level mountain bike is one that suits your budget. It can be cheap or expensive depending on how much you want to spend on it.
At the lowest end of the spectrum are bikes below $500. This budget is good enough for an entry-level hardtail without the bells and whistles.
If your budget is $500 to $1,000, you might be able to score an entry-level full-suspension mountain bike. Stretch it up to $1,500 and you will find pretty decent bikes that are sure to deliver a high level of satisfaction.
For those who do not mind the price, the prices of some bikes can go up as much as $3,000 or $4,000. We do not recommend these for beginners. However, if you have the money, why not? At this price, you will find bikes made of carbon fiber and titanium frames, which are extremely lightweight but durable.
The best mountain bike for beginner is not necessarily the cheapest. While it is good to start with a cheap mountain bike, pay attention to features and performance as well.
If you are just starting to learn the basics, start with a simple bike. It should be lightweight and easy to maneuver. Simple gearing and braking systems are also must-haves. Care and maintenance should also be effortless.
Now is the time for you to discover the joy of mountain biking! Consider the options above for the best MTB for beginners and it will be hard for you to go wrong.