Best Mountain Bikes For 2018 Compared By the Expert!
Mountain biking is increasingly becoming more popular, and for good reason. It’s enjoyable, family friendly, has many health benefits, and lets the biker get in touch with nature. There are many quality mountain bikes out on the market today, and after spending days researching different performances and features, we were able to reduce the big list of bikes down to ten.
The best mountain bikes will offer many benefits including: safety, durability performance, skill level, versatility and much more. We are convinced that our list of mountain bikes will meet your trekking requirements for riding along a rugged trail, to everyday commuting use. This review will discuss the advantages, the disadvantages, things to consider and a final conclusion. Let’s ride!
Best Mountain Bikes - Side by Side Comparison!
Rear disc brakes
Best Mountain Bikes in 2018 - In Depth Reviews!
When I was a kid, one of the bikes I always wanted was a Diamondback. Perhaps the most recognizable mountain bike on the market, and for very good reason.
This Diamondback Overdrive 29er’s body and frame has a beautiful make. You’ll love strutting it out in front of your friends and other trailblazers. It’s a great buy from a top and trusted brand made for easy handling as it pleasantly lightweight.
Easy to Adjust Saddle:
Regardless of your riding preference, regardless of where you decide to ride, one of the biggest attractions for a biking enthusiast is having the ability to adjust the bike to your needs. With the Diamondback Overdrive, it gives you that option.
It’s done with one motion, a quick release, no fighting with a screw, easy to adjust saddle. Now, you can sit balanced and feel the comfort during your journey. The lower position of the bike makes your riding experience much easier to control while bringing an added level of comfort you don't get with other bikes in this price range.
After you adjust your saddle to your preference, you’ll be happy to know that the frame is made for easy transporting. While it’s light to carry around, when you need a break from the peddling, or when the climb is too intense, the frame is durable with the battle-tested 6061 T6 aluminum frame. While you aren’t going to spend as much as everyone else with the premium priced bikes, this entry level mountain bike can hang with the expensive brands. Take it on the single track trails and enjoy.
What A Wheels:
Diamond Mountain Bikes never lack in quality, never lack the imagination, and always seem to develop a feature to withstand and stand out. Meet the 29 inch wheels, a smooth and enjoyable ride even along the harshest elements.
The Diamondback Overdrive 29 meets optimum performance and lets you ride all trails and conditions with more wheel control and less suspension. Don’t worry about traction, the wheels are made with a large diameter, quality grip in the tread for rolling over big holes.
I’m a big fan of Tektro mechanical disc brakes, and you will be too. The Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bikes has safe and more control with the Tektro disc brakes. Go downhill at top speeds and worry less. Your safety is in good hands.
The Diamondback overdrive comes ready to ride, as all you have to do is slap on the pedals, the adjustable seat, and front wheel. That's a great luxury to have when you don't have to spend hours and be mechanically inclined in order to ride your mountain bike.
What we liked
What we didn't liked
Take the good with some of the bad, and you have one heck of a bike, with a well-known and trusted brand for an affordable price. Worth your money, worth your time, give it a look.
While Diamondback is highly recognized, Mongoose has been making bikes since the 70’s leading the mountain bike industry with innovative designs and features. This bike is a bit bulkier than the Diamondback coming in at 40 plus pounds.
Great bike for entry level riders and people on a budget. It’s made with an aluminum suspension frame and loaded with trust Shimano rear derailleurs. The biggest thing about this bike is the comfort even during rough terrain.
Aluminum Suspension Frame:
This is a great bike for someone who is beginning, or lacking a few bucks in the savings account, but doesn’t want to compromise on safety. This bike is loaded with maximum control with the dual full suspension.
It may feel constructed like its steel, but it’s lighter and easier to manage during your trek. This will allow you to gain full optimum control up and down any hill you take your Mongoose Impasse on.
I know you’ll love the rear shocks on this Mongoose Impasse. The rear shocks handle effortlessly, especially against the pavement or light roads. It comes with a simple adjusting spring, which means you can either stiffen or lighten to your preference. Allow it more give, or release tension.
Come to an Alloy Hault:
Mongoose is a big bike, it’s affordable, and it’s safe, which is what you expect especially if you are buying it for a loved one. That aside, it’s fully responsive with the durable alloy brakes.
Both the front and rear are equipped with disc brakes so that you can stop at ease if you need to. Since you’re more likely spending time on a commuter route with this bike, that’s an added bonus. You don’t have to worry about spilling or tipping over on downhill inclines or even muddy terrains.
SRAM Twist Shifter:
Shifting easily at a premium with the SRAM twist shifter. This allows you to change gears effortlessly. As a bike more suited for beginners, this feature is huge, as it allows you to learn the feel of gear changes much easier. The 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur is another benefit you'll love because you can zip along any path safely and simply.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
If you are looking to compete, you want another bike. If this is for enjoyment, commuting, and riding easy paths or trails, the Mongoose Impasse can perform and stacks up nicely with the Diamondback’s of the world.
If you’re a fan of Shimano shifters, then the Merax Finiss Mountain Bike is the bike for you. Shimano shifters and derailleurs for reliable shifting and easy going. It’s a lightweight bike made of 6061 aluminum, so you aren’t giving up durability with the simple carrying.
Front and rear mechanical disc brakes, Merax is breaking into the game and making a new for itself. This bike is definitely worthy of your attention.
Yes, the bike is made with a rugged aluminum, which we’ll get to in a moment, but once this bike pops out of the box, it’s a pretty funky and sleek looking MB. There are three color themes, as the wheels, saddle, and disc brakes all match the color scheme. It definitely stands out to the eye.
Heat Tested Aluminum Frame:
We’ve talked about the other solid and durable aluminum, but the Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed MB puts those frames to shame. Easily. How? It’s heat treated and the finish increases the hardness reducing the brittleness. By doing so, your journey feels like, but is heavy in quality. You won’t worry about bending or wearing down the Merax aluminum frame.
Test your speed, test your endurance, countryside or the commuter trails, either way, this bike can perform. And it doesn’t leave you hanging with safety either. It has mechanical disc brakes for trusted stoppage. The Shimano 21 speed shifters, as well as derailleurs, let you switch speed easily, without the strain. Comfort and safety wrapped in this 21-speed mountain bike.
Before you get on any bike, you must feel safe. The Merax Finiss is built with the most trusted brands like Shimano and SRAM. Enjoying a bike that lets you test endurance at high speeds but is equipped with front and rear mechanical disc brakes is a nice luxury to have. With this mountain bike, you won't compromise safety because of its price.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
It’s a good bike, that’ll get you from point A to point B out in the country. With the 80MM suspension fork you can ride the bumpiest conditions smoothly and best of all, you won’t break the bank.
Of course, you knew we were coming back with another Diamondback Mountain Bike, and now this time, it’s the Sorrento Hard Tail. This is yet another affordable option for you, and because it is Diamondback and the Sorrento, you’ll get full use of the easy to use features and innovative options.
Loaded with this bike is a 7-speed shifter, Shimano derailleurs, and Tektro alloy linear brakes. When it all breaks down, in regards to this bike, it comes out clean, classy and yet cheap.
One of the first things I noticed with this great mountain bike are the options, and I know you’ll appreciate the idea of picking and choosing.
You get adjustable frame sizes and options from 14-22 inches, which is essential to finding your comfort zone. Find your performance, from small to medium.
Smooth Gear Shifter:
The SRAM shifters will take you up the steepest of hills, trails, with slightest of ease. That’s what makes the Diamondback Sorrento and the gear shifters great for speed demons. And while you are testing the grooves on different path--you have the luxury of knowing that your Tektro alloy linear brakes got your back with efficient stop abilities.
XL260 Double Wall Alloy Rims:
Adding to the smooth as a criminal bike ride in the mountains or off-roading, are the rims. They are stable, built to secure, add emphasis to your wheels performance. Really, take this bike on paved paths or rough patches. It’s your choice, thanks to the Diamondback.
Tektro Alloy Trusted Brakes:
The company, Tektro, is one of the more reliably known makers of quality brakes. The Diamondback employs that on this bike with the Tektro Alloy Linear Brakes. This gives you all the ability to come to a complete stop when you bolting downhill. You won't have to worry about spilling over as these brakes are equipped for steep elevations and a variety of riding conditions.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
I love Diamondbacks, and the Sorrento doesn’t disappoint. It’s made affordable but unlike the Overdrive, you don’t feel like they compensated on the quality with this bike. It does cost slightly more than the Overdrive 29. That said, this bike is incredible for multiple purpose terrains and won’t take the college tuition away from your kids.
Breaking up the monopoly of the Diamondback and Mongoose, is the Beiou Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike. This bike is a treat, and while it may relatively new to the U.S. mountain bike market, it won’t be for long.
Slowly, and proving that it can stand the elements with other premium brands, Beiou’s Carbon Fiber is making a name for itself. Coming in at a midrange price, light and durable, this entry level bike is great for cycling enthusiasts and beginners.
Light As a Feather:
Are you not a fan of big and bulky bikes? Guess what, we have the right bike for you with high-cost quality. The Beiou Carbon Fiber is as light as Mohammed Ali was on his feet.
Coming in at 10.7KG or a cool 23.5 pounds, the Beiou Carbon Fiber is easy to carry around on the trails when you need to get off the Mt. bike.
Still, it doesn’t compromise value, with its state of the art materials that the mountain bike is made with. You’ll be able to ride more with less strain on your calves and upper-body.
Uding DH32 Air Suspension:
Beiou Carbon Fiber has an incredible responsiveness to various riding terrains. The air suspension is made to be tested, but to keep you from injury and bumping around uncomfortably.
The Carbon FIber 650 is a trailblazer in speed. Do you want to race? You can. If you just want to punch sharp trails, or just breeze a relaxing path, you can do that as well.
No matter what you decide for riding performance, you get the maximum control with the high-end Shimano Deore 610 speed control system for added durability and just a perfect investment.
I'm a big fan, and you will be as well, with Uding DH32 air suspension. This makes the Beiou Carbon Fiber an all-purpose bike that can sustain any type of rough impact. You'll love being able to stick any landing because of the trusted suspension of Uding, that lets you gracefully ride without interference. Suspension quality is a must have a safe and long-lasting mountain bike.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
Overall, this is a great bike, and thus far, probably the best bike that doesn’t have a big name for itself on the list. It’s comfortable, capable of performing all terrains, and meets your safety and strength requirements. Great bike.
There’s not a lot of fancy in this particular mountain bike, but that’s okay because the Raleigh Talus 2 Mountain Bike provides you with the fun you want from a bike. With the strong and ready aluminum frame, light for a cruise and path riding, a Suntour suspension fork and beefy 27.5-inch wheels, the Raleigh Talus 2 is a solid and well put together bike.
Overall, it’s a reliable bike, multi-use tire abilities, that has a gentle saddle for extra comfort. It comes 85% assembled and is easy to put together to get yourself moving right away.
Switching up the features on this list, one thing that goes underlooked on a bike is the level of difficulty assembling a bike. With this bike, the Raleigh Mountain Bike can be put together easily for 30-120 minutes.
Another benefit from this bike is the experience of its manufacturer. Raleigh has been making innovative designs and quality bikes for a long time. What’s a long time? Try over 130 years of issuing superb bikes and satisfactory customer service.
The SR Contour Fork:
Aside from the intangible items that were listed just now, the feature that stands out the most on this bike is the SR Contour Fork. The fork on this Talus 2 Mt. Bike really sucks up the hits. Absorbs all the bumps you want your bike, and takes away the punch from the impact.
Driven By Shimano:
The recurring theme during this list of the best mountain bikes has been the quality product of Shimano. And that’s for good reason, you need to rely on the parts that are part of the bike. Shimano is a trusted brand, with a proven identity in the biking industry.
You’ll enjoy quality riding as this bike is riddled with Shimano products from the cogset, the Shimano EZ-fire shifters, to the derailleurs and Shimano Altus chainset. You’ll crank along easily on any path you choose for easy handling.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
If you aren’t competing against high-leveled mountain bikes, this bike will do very well going up trails and downhill. Excellent for entry-level experience and beginners. This Raleigh Bike Talus 2 Mountain Bike won’t break the bank, or your body, as it safely made and equipped.
Vilano is another rising contender in the mountain biking industry. This bike is loaded with features that will benefit you and your control of the bike. After all, when you’re scaling hills or breezing around the trails, that’s the ultimate goal, is balance and control.
The Blackjack is made of handcrafted and durable 6061 butted aluminum. Comes equipped with Shimano EZ-fire shifter providing reliance and quality gear changes.
Hot Wheels and Rims:
The best of this bike is its wheels, but really the function and control. For someone just starting out, it’s important to have that added control to gain confidence. This bike is full of arrogance.
Made with a double wall alloy couple with 29-inch wheels, you’ll get extra-reinforcement and a smooth plus stable ride. These large wheels can penetrate all surfaces and offer simple maneuverability. Hop on and enjoy the optimal balance the Blackjack allows while you fly at high speeds.
Low Profile Handlebars:
Something that hasn’t been mentioned much on this list is the handlebar action.It’s very important that your grip is important because it often determines how well you can maneuver your bike.
This Blackjack is driven with low profile handlebars giving you the full control. Easy to grab and easy to handle during a bumpy ride.
Smooth Shifting Gears:
If you've noticed the trend of mountain bikes being powered by Shimano, there's a good reason. Shimano, is a leader among gear shifters. These front and rear derailleurs will allow any level of experience effortlessly switch into the desired speed. Some gears stick, and some gears don't offer the transition you want when riding in competition. Shimano builds gears that allow for easy alteration during all-purpose trekking.
Absorbing all the impact during your ride, is the fully qualified Vilano Blackjack 3.0 suspension system loaded with a quick lockout ability. The quick lockout gives you added stability, easy pedaling, and seamless riding thanks to the impact being absorbed.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
Another quality bike for its price. You’ll really enjoy the control with this 29er. The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 has durable, versatile, and affordable written all over it. For the price, you really can’t beat it.
It shouldn’t and probably won’t surprise you to see that Diamondback has made the list once again, for the third time on this list. This time it’s the 2015 model, that is stirring up support from the riding community and gaining popularity.
Built with reliable Tektro hydraulic brakes in the front and rear, the Diamond 2015 Hard Tail is a performer with the best of them. Tough aluminum frame and equipped to go nine speeds.
One of the glaring benefits of this bike, and what makes it unique is the Diamondback’s front wheel. The wheel slacks or sticks out, which actually will give you much more control and balance in bumpy conditions and trails with roots. You can jump, and you can stunt with this bike, as the slacker front wheel gives you maximum pop in your peddle.
What determines the performance in your speed is going to be the quality of your drivetrain. And in this instance, you are in luck, because the 2015 Hard Tail is equipped with the SRAM 9-speed drivetrain.
What this means for you is you get no lockups during the shifting. As usual, the Diamondback provides for a smooth and enjoyable ride. You wouldn’t expect anything less from this company.
Great for a Beginner:
One of the additional resources you get with Diamondback bikes, and with this one, is the size guide. Comfort is always important during your activity. You’ll be sweating all your energy out, but why exert more energy because of a bike that isn’t equipped properly?
With this 2015 Diamondback you don’t have to. Available in four sizes, great for a beginner or a seasoned vet who is tight on budget. Ride with your family, enjoy a quiet evening with your companion, and test your endurance at the same time.
Front and Rear Hydraulic Brakes:
The great thing about these brakes on the Diamondback 2015 Series is the Tektro front and rear hydraulics. I am a big fan of hydraulics for one big reason. Dirt and debris won't get into these brake systems and will allow for a longer life and much more power control. Tektro is a nice name brand and these will give you the peace of mind when you need them most.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
The Diamondback 2015 matches the performance from the other two mountain bikes on this list. You can do a lot with it and get great value for an affordable price. Easy down-hill control, simple shifting, reliable breaks, while saving on costs.
The Northwood F-11 is one of the most talked about bikes out on the market today and for excellent reasons. It comes with a full suspension system for the smoothest rides possible, as well as a sleek and handsome design sure to catch the eye.
Highly rated by many blogs and experts in the industry, the Northwood Mountain Bike is made to last with its rugged aluminum frame, and steel crown fork. For the price, you’d be hardpressed to find a bike that can perform with the F-11.
Fun Ride and Design:
Starting with its handsome appearance, the F-12 Suspension Mountain Bike is an enjoyable thrill for any rated rider. It may feel like a rough bike at first glance, but once you sit and ride along a path or paved road, it’s anything but rough.
The gray and green design really pops to the eye, as this bike is perfect for everyday use on commuter routes and light dirt paths.
Full Suspension Aluminum Frame:
With the Northwood Full Suspension MTB, safety is never a concern. Because it's built to sustain any or most impacts you come across. Thanks to the steel crown forks that is provided with the bike’s make, you’ll feel the peace of mind trekking around potholes, bumps, impact zones, etc.
For it’s the twist shifter that gives the Northwood its reputation and name as a speed hawk. This bike can really take off with the best of them. For the price, you can’t beat the velocity.
21 speed, these twist shifters are quick and effortless to switch while breezing along trails that other bikes slug along. If you aren’t into the mountain challenges, but like an active lifestyle by riding along paved ways, this is the perfect bike for you to test out your endurance.
And you also get the benefits of the Linear Alloy brakes, which offer more powerful braking and even more control. The safety on this bike is immaculate, one of the main reasons it made this list.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
It’s a multi-purpose bike, that can zip through town-space, and up hills without any problem. It’s come with a nice price tag, and equipped with all the safety features you would expect in a quality bike. The Northwood F-11 is making noise and now you can see why.
Capping off our list of the ten best mountain bikes is the GTM Folding Mountain Bike with a hybrid suspension. This bike folds quick, can be taken anywhere, and of course, you’ll enjoy the part where it easily goes into your trunk.
It’s not heavy, as it only weighs 34 pounds, and it comes 85 percent assembled. which mean fewer times poking around and more time cruising the trails and hills.
7 Gears of Speed:
Most premium bikes that charge an arm and a leg obviously give you the luxury of top-rated performance and easy shifting to top speed. You’d be surprised to know that this bike can do just about the same.
Except, you get to keep your arm and leg. That aside, you can change your speeds along your commute as this bike has been found to outperform certain top brand mountain bikes.
Adjustable Seat and Bars:
What complete control the GTM 26.7 Speed demon gives you, really. Not only can you adjust the handlebars, which is great for grip control, but also you can adjust the seating. Adjusting the saddle to your preference will make your ride more comfortable and centered giving you the proper balance to outperform the others chasing your dust.
Easy Fold and Design:
The thing that stuck out the most for me about the GTM Shimano Hybrid Suspension Mountain Bike is its design and the folding up.
Want to take your family on a vacation and get some riding in during that time? No problem, the bike isn’t bulky and it folds in no time. GTM lets you fold for quick on the go action, and in ten seconds it’ll be in your trunk on its way with you to the next trail across town.
While the design and folding capture our attention, the full suspension really gets it down for this making it a very pleasant riding experience against the most shrewd riding conditions.
If you're getting a bike for your child, and even for yourself, you want a bike with powerful suspension that can sustain all-purpose impact. This bike has a 26" fork suspension, made to last and durable, with a steel frame. Put this all together, and your child is in good hands with the GTM's powerful fork suspension bike.
What we liked:
What we didn't liked:
This bike performs well at what it does. It’s a good countryside, or town riding bike. It’s got some impressive features like the folding up ability, the strong kickstand, the seven speed Shimano shifter, which gives it a quick release to another gear and it’s affordable. This bike would be perfect for someone just starting out and doesn’t have a lot of money to play with.
Mountain bikers in Action. Image Credit: singletracks.com
Things to Consider Before Buying Best Mountain Bikes
Now that you’ve seen the list of the best mountain bikes, you should have a better understanding of what will match your needs. Picking a great mountain bike seems difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you use this guide below in helping you determine what works best for you.
Where You'll Ride Your Bike:
Shifters and brakes have to be great on a bike if you are going to be doing a lot of city riding. As we mentioned on this list, there are several bikes, like the GTM and Villano, that are more geared towards that element of riding.
Determine where you want to ride, and then that’ll go a long way in making your decision slightly easier in finding the perfect bike. Certain features on these mountain bikes will go a long way in making the navigation during your trek easier.
In this category, you’ll have a few options. On our list, we featured a lot of aluminum framed bikes and that’s for good reason. Aluminum is lighter than metal, which means when you get off your bike and walk it up a hill, it is much easier to transport. Aluminum is still a durable option as well, just not as solid as metal.
Another option is Carbon Fiber. Carbon Fiber frames are usually an acquired taste, that aren’t as durable for mountain biking, but good for things like city driving and cross-country.
And finally, metal frames are made to last but they are heavier. Typically, trekkers who go with metal frames are asking their bikes to do more for a longer period of time.
Check out the Features:
You hear a lot about the features and benefits on this list, and it’s important to know whether or not they work. If they don’t work, your performance won’t be as good. If they do work, well congratulations on the features will enhance your performance.
Shifters and Brakes:
Test them out first, do they feel good? Do they work alright? What’s the response when you come to a full stop? How well do the shifters change gears and so on.
Full suspension and certain forks work better than others. You’ll want to ask yourself these questions as well. Will the suspension hold up for the activities I’ll be doing? Can they handle the bumps and toughest terrains?
Aside from knowing whether they work or not, isn’t the only consideration you need to think of. What type of brakes do you want?
Better for control, you saw a few of our bikes featured with disc brakes. They give a better response time and stop the quickest.
These are fairly common in mountain bikes or bikes in general. They do work well, but not as durable and won’t give you the best responsive action as the discs. The upside of the padded brake is you’ll know when they need to be changed.
This may be one of the more important elements to ask yourself. What can I afford, and what am I willing to spend? Luckily, like the Diamondback models, you are able to get a good quality bike at a fair price.
Obviously, you’ll have to spend a little to get a premium mountain bike with unrivaled performances.
Some of the bikes on this list had extra enforced padding and were more comfortable than others. Finding the right seat usually leads to more comfort and better balance.
The brand name isn’t always everything, but for the most part, a company like Diamondback will sell bikes that most people can afford and some bikes that most people can’t afford. The only thing they have in common is the brand and quality. Finding quality, and a bike with integrity is essential.
The Health Benefits:
One of the biggest considerations you should give to mountain biking, other than it being an enjoyable activity, is the numerous health benefits you gain by doing it.
Did you know thousands of people suffer heart attacks every year and they could have been avoided if they’d only exercise more? Yes, it’s true, and with mountain biking, your blood flow is sped up through your system pumping oxygen throughout your body efficiently and it lowers your heart rate, according to Outbound Explorers.
Mountain biking builds leg strength, tones your calves, quads and your buttocks. It also improves sleep, as the exertion from the activity alone dissuades the chemical, Cortisol, in your body by relaxing the stress chemical.
Mountain Bikes Guide cited a study from the European Journal of Epidemiology, claiming for women biking 30 minutes or more will greatly reduce their chances of getting breast cancer.
Biking is a whole body workout, that involved less straining, especially with the mountain bike.
The Final Word
Mountain biking is great for the family, it’s great for couples, and it’s great for you. But you can’t just enjoy the benefits right away with just any bike. That’s one of the biggest mistakes most newcomers make.
Instead, taking your time, doing your research, and finding a bike that’ll meet the needs of whichever activity you want to perform in, will be the most crucial decision you make during the process.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down the choices, put a few extra things into consideration while making your decision much easier. Finding a bike doesn’t have to be hard, if you just refer back to our guide in helping you find the best mountain bike.