Best Entry Level Mountain Bike in 2018- Top Models Compared!
What’s the best entry level mountain bike out there? To be honest, there’s no guesswork answer to this. In fact, this is a question best answered with research and testing. You know what, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Considering the hundreds of models out there, we’ve done some sifting to select the best model based on comfort, performance, durability, and of course affordability. Hand-picked and tested for quality, we’ve narrowed down the list to 11 bikes that are tailored to fit your lifestyle. This post also has a purchase guide to completely eliminate the guesswork when choosing the right entry level mountain bike.
OVERALL BEST PICK!
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike
Best Entry Level Mountain Bike - Comparison
Best Entry Level Mountain Bike -Reviews
1. Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike
If you think it is hard to get a mountain bike without spending too much money, then you should reconsider your thinking because the Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike comes at a pocket-friendly price.
This is a bike that delivers without putting a huge dent in your pockets. It’s an aggressive ride built for all kinds of terrains from rugged, smooth, and anything in between.
The bike is a solid performer loaded with features suitable for both seasoned and entry-level riders. Overdrive hardtail is available in 4 sizes and fit riders from 5 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 4 inches tall.
Trustworthy 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy Frame:
The frame of the bike is not only lightweight and sturdy but also gives the bike a classic look. The presence of butted tubes makes it strong and durable. I mean, you won’t have to worry about anything breaking. This frame holds up well in adverse conditions to keep up your confidence. The head tube is designed in a way that lets you steer with a lot of precision. In short, this is a frame that doesn’t disappoint in terms of composition strength, durability, and precision.
Front Suspension Lockout Function:
The bike is equipped with SR Suntour XCT 27 suspension fork that absorbs bumps when you are riding on bumpy terrains. This gives you comfortable rides, more control and less fatigue. The lock-out function eliminates travel in places where suspension isn’t necessary, for instance, when riding long uphill climbs or smooth, even surfaces. This helps minimize energy loss by directing the power needed for using suspension and putting it into your bike.
24-Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
When it comes to mountain bikes, the gear is one part where magic happens.The bike is equipped with 3 front gears and 8 back gears which gives you a total of 24 speeds to select from when riding.It lets you experience immediate power transfer for incredible speed. The drivetrain holds together well and delivers the power you need to crank up the hills. Suntour XCT cranks come in handy to provide the most strength at the least price.
Rugged 27.5-Inch Wheels:
The wheels are designed to roll well on a wide range of terrains to overcome obstacles along your way. This gives you quick handling and smooth rides always.
Diamondback Overdrive arrives 85% assembled. What you need to put on are the pedals, front wheel, and seat.
Kent is known for its innovative bikes designed to get you moving without having to spend a fortune. Excalibur is one model that delivers as promised.
This mountain bike is a great starter bike that will take you on the road. Many mountain bikers love it because of its lightweight design and tough construction.
Handcrafted Aluminum Frame:
The bike features a strong frame that you can find in other high end mountain bikes. It is lightweight and strong enough to last longer. The bike is also equipped with a front suspension that makes it to transit from pavement to trail. It holds up well to all types of weather so you can enjoy your ride in all sorts of weather.
Extra-Large 29-Inch Wheels:
Wheels are a prominent feature of any mountain bike. Excalibur bike gives you rugged tires and a descent wheel size to ensure you don’t lack anything in trail riding. The wheels feature a knobby tread to provide a superb gripping even when riding on wet or muddy surfaces. The tires are larger for easy navigation through any kind of obstacle.
21-Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
It doesn’t matter where your mountain biking adventures take you, this bike can handle any type of riding. It has 21 speeds so you have more speed options to choose when riding through dirt trails or flat pavements.
Front Disc Brake and Rear Linear Pull Brake:
Excalibur mountain bike offers an amazing braking system. It’s one bike with two different braking systems that guarantee reliable stopping force whenever you need it. It features front disc brakes and rear linear pull brakes that work well regardless of the weather.
Kent Excalibur arrives 90% assembled. What you need to put on is the front disc brake. The brake also needs some adjustment to ensure proper functioning.
Dirt, rocks, drops, and jumps - that’s what mountain biking is all about. Well, Raleigh has an efficient hardtail that’s designed to make all these look so easy.
Enters Tokul 2, a mountain bike with an aggressive geometry designed to take a beating on the rough trail. This bike comes in 4 different sizes for riders who are 5 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 4 inches tall.
AL-6061 SL Custom-Butted Aluminum Frame:
Tokul 2 has an aluminum frame that produces a lightweight setup. The frame is custom-built, a clever approach that makes it work even better. Machined compounds add around an extra inch to the thickness of the frame. This provides a stronger, wear-resistant structure good at absorbing shocks. The frame has a relaxed geometry that balances its descent and climbing capabilities.
120mm SR Suntour XCM Front Suspension Fork
Let’s face it, suspension systems are a common feature in mountain bikes. However, this mountain bike stands out in terms of fork travel, a feature you can’t afford to ignore.The suspension fork absorbs bumps and rough terrains giving you smooth and comfortable rides.
Strong 9-Speed Shimano Alivio Drivetrain:
This drivetrain gives you multiple gear options and a lighter, more durable crank design. I consider this drivetrain a good starting point in case you need a trail-worthy mountain bike.The bike has two Shimano shifters that allow you to shift precisely from one gear to the next.
Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Tokul 2 uses the more advanced hydraulic disc brakes designed for ultimate stopping power regardless of weather condition. This brake system offers a stronger ride, consistent friction, and a comfortable texture that make it easy to control. It keeps the bike more steady, especially on a downhill incline.
Raleigh Tokul 2 arrives 85% assembled and requires installation of parts and adjustments. You need to put on the handlebars, attach the front wheel, and adjust the saddle.
4. 2018 Gravity FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
If you are starting your mountain bike journey,2018 Gravity FSX 2.0 can make a perfect starter bike. The bike provides you with 24 speeds so you can ride safely and comfortable.
It is a full suspension bike with quality components and designed to handle rougher terrains. This is surely a mountain bike designed to make heads turn. It comes in 4 sizes designed for riders who are 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall.
Advanced Single Pivot Aluminum Frame:
FSX 2.0 offers an advanced aluminum frame that is lightweight. The frame is hydro-formed to make it stronger and structurally stiff. Apart from the higher stiffness-to-weight ratio, this frame offers more tolerance and allows for a smoother finish.
Adjustable Front and Rear Suspension:
Let’s face it, single-pivot rear suspensions are there to stay. Well, this suspension system has less moving parts. That means it can either be made lighter, stronger, or more reliable. Good news is that FSX 2.0 mountain bike provides all this in one package. Furthermore, the suspension has a long travel adjustment allowing you to vary ride height or ground clearance.You can enjoy comfortable rides even when using the bike on rough terrains.
24 Speed Control System:
This bike has 24 speed control system which comprises Shimano shifters to provide smooth and effective speed shifting. It will be pretty easy to handle steep inclines with its gearing system.
Quick-Release Front and Rear Wheels:
The quick-release feature makes the wheels easier to fit or remove. It’s a feature that also comes in handy to make storage and transportation much easier. This mechanism is fast and you won’t be needing any tools for the task.
This mountain bike requires installation of the seat, front wheel, pedals, and the handlebars.
5. Schwinn Men's High Timber Mountain Bicycle
A brand from the past riding into tomorrow - that’s exactly what Schwinn is. This is a brand that adds more freedom to a ride without compromising comfort and performance.
High Timber is a model that stands tall among Schwinn’s line of mountain bikes. It’s a solid performer that feels at home on scenic bike paths, bumpy trails, and beyond.
Sturdy Steel Mountain Frame:
The bike is designed with a high quality steel frame that is strong and durable. This is a medium sized frame which means that it is neither too low nor too high. The frame provides a nice fit for riders of all sizes. The frame features a Schwinn suspension fork that provides you smooth and controlled riding on rough and bumpy terrains.
21 Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
This bike comes with SRAM gripped gears and provides you with 21 gears. The gears are ideal for casual riders but more advanced riders might find it limiting. High Timber uses the lighter twist shifter system that allows for quick shifts across the cassette.You can easily change the gears smoothly without experiencing any problems.
Knobby All-Terrain Tires on Light Wheels:
This mountain bike comes with knobby tires built for the rough mountain trail. The tires provide improved grip on every root and rock for stability and great control.It is designed with traditional wheelswhich make the mountain bike simple to accelerate as well as lighter. The only downside with the wheels is that they are smaller so overcoming large obstacles can be challenging.
Simple Front and Rear Linear Pull Brakes:
Riding a mountain bike should not only be enjoyable but also safe. You don’t want to compromise your safety on the road by having failing brakes. The bike comes with reliable alloy V brakes that assure you of sure stops all the time. They’re built of a lightweight alloy material and are much easier to maintain.
The assembly process of this bike will require tools, such as cutter, wrenches, pliers, and screwdriver. You’ll need to attach the quill stem, front wheel, seat, and pedals. Adjustments are needed for the brake, handlebars, and derailleurs.
6. BEIOU Carbon Fiber Hardtail Mountain Bike
Let’s be honest. Most carbon frames out there are exclusively reserved for the highest price tags. However, there’s one bike that makes carbon frame technology more affordable than ever.
This is none other than BEIOU 650B mountain bike. Well, this is a mountain bike that provides ultimate durability, lightweight body, and top-of-the-line components without the ridiculous price range.
Ultra-Light Carbon Frame:
The frame is perhaps the most noticeable part of this bike. Crafted from T800 carbon fiber, you get a frame with more rear flex, better shock absorption, and greater longevity.As compared to other frame materials, carbon makes the bike lightweight for easy portability. The frame is strong enough and designed to resist damages and rust.
Responsive 30 Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
This bike has an exceptional speed system that makes riding a whole lot of fun. With a whopping 30 gear options, it offers plenty of speed to enjoy. The shifters are from high-end Shimano Deore 610 groupset known for being lightweight, precise, and very responsive. This gear and drivetrain system is sure to give you a full advantage in terms of speed and efficiency.
Extra-Large 29-Inch Wheels:
The wheelset of this mountain bike is a perfect combination of low weight and ultimate durability. The extra-large 29-inch size makes them a great option for trail and cross-country riding. A unique fast tread design on the tires provides improved grip and traction without being too knobby. These are tires you can count on, especially when it comes to avoiding pinch flats.
Hydraulic Dual Disc Brake System:
A good bike should be equipped with efficient braking system that allows you to stop anytime. This is exactly what you get from the hydraulic dual disc brake of this bike.The brake makes use of Shimano M355 technology to deliver a powerful, swift stop in all circumstances. These brakes are very responsive and provide an added measure of control. They’re hidden for low maintenance.
BEIOU comes already tuned out of the box. The parts that need to be assembled are the seat, front wheel, and pedals.
7. Diamondback Bicycles Full Suspension Mountain Bike
This is a do-it-all, dependable trail ripper. It’s almost similar to the Overdrive 29er model but with one very important difference - it’s a full suspension bike with independent frame movement.
Recoil 29er has a rather elegant construction that makes it one of the best entry-level rides for beginners. It offers more than average collection of features without costing a fortune.
6061 T-6 Aluminum Frame with Pivot Technology:
The frame is one of the best highlights of this mountain bike. It provides a strong and sturdy foundation that can take a beating from bangs and bumps on rocky trails. The aluminum alloy material offers great weight saving and combines with a pivot design to make the bike look even cooler.
Adjustable Suntour XCM Suspension with Rear Shock:
Mounting biking is a fun experience but we all want a bike with a good suspension system to absorb shock. It features an SR Sun tour XCT 100mm suspension fork and coil rear shock to provide the smoothest rides.This combination adds more confidence by providing total control over roots, bumps, and rocks.For easy adjustments, there is an external preload adjustment to help you set the fork depending on your riding style and weight.
Full 24 Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
The 24 gearing options present no problem when riding inclines, flat terrains, and anything in between. Premium Shimano shifters allow for seamless shifting to easily low down a gear whenever you need it.
Enhanced Mechanical Disc Brakes:
You’ll surely appreciate the safety that this bike has to offer. It uses Tektro Aries disc brakes to deliver reliable stopping power. This is a brake system you can count on at high speed. It works efficiently regardless of the weather condition.
29-Inch All-Terrain Wheels:
Large 29-inch wheels let this bike roll over obstacles without the fear of getting stuck. Sitting on the wheels are Kenda Honey Badger tires.The tires are all round making them suitable for all terrains. One thing to note is that this bike doesn’t sacrifice speed for wheel size. With a low-rolling resistance, you’re assured of getting a bike that’s even faster than most 26-inch mountain bikes out there.
Diamondback Recoil arrives 85% assembled. What you need to put on are the pedals, front wheel, and seat
8. Recreation Women's 26M Mountain Bike
Are you a casual rider that enjoys occasional mountain bike adventure? Well, recreation mountain bike might just be the perfect ride for you. This particular model is designed with women riders in mind.
Step-Thru Aluminum Alloy Frame:
This bike has a lightweight aluminum frame that’s easy on female riders. It keeps the weight of the bike to a minimum making it easy to carry. Well, this frame isn’t designed for the hardcore rider. Rather, it’s provides a simple, lightweight structure perfect for the recreational rider.Getting on and off of the bike is simple, thanks to the step-through frame design.
50mm Hardtail Suspension System:
Well, as I pointed out earlier, this bike isn’t designed for hardcore mountain riding. That makes the 50mm front suspension good enough to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride.
21-Speed Shimano Drivetrain:
This entry level mountain bike is made with top notch Shimano components. It provides you with 21 speed options so you have more speed options to choose for your recreational riding. The shifters are responsive, precise, and ready to put down a gear with a simple flip.
Lightweight 26-Inch Wheels:
Small wheels play a significant role in recreational riding. In this case, the bike boasts of 26-inch wheels, which are the lightest options out there. Despite the lightweight built, these wheels are structurally strong and provide increased maneuverability compared to larger wheels.The wheels roll well on all terrains and allow you to accelerate faster.
The assembly process involves attaching the front wheel, seat, and pedals. Adjustments are needed for the brake, handlebars, and derailleurs.
9. Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Done with recreational riding and ready to step up your game just a bit? Well, Falcon full suspension bike is a ride that’s ready to take on the challenge. This is a bike that you can’t beat for the price.
Equally enticing are the features that this bike brings in off-road riding. In fact, it’s been named the most economical fully featured mountain bike out there.
6061 Heat-Treated Aluminum Alloy Frame:
At the heart of Falcon is a lightweight heat-treated aluminum frame. This hydro-formed frame has a consistent level of hardness that gives the bike a robust structure. In fact, this frame is strong enough to support up to 330 pounds.
The frame has a dual-suspension design that evens out bumps for improved control and comfort. This suspension system is certified and approved, an assured quality standard you don’t always get in most mountain bikes.
21-Speed Shimano Derailleurs and Shifters:
The bike is equipped with Shimano derailleurs and shifters give you smooth and reliable gear shifting. You get 21 gear options for uphill climbs and long flats. Shimano shifters offer easy, responsive shifting that gives an easy time over rough terrains.
Lightweight 26-inch Wheels:
Merax Falcon has 26-inch wheels, which is standard for mountain bikes.The dual aluminum wheels give you better traction on the road and they are designed to last longer.These wheels handle drop-offs well and offer increased maneuverability for easy navigation.
This bike arrives 85% assembled. Upon purchase of Merax Falcon mountain bike, you’ll need to assembly the handlebars, front wheel, pedals, and air up the tires. Tuning is also required.
10. Mantis Orchid Full Suspension Bicycle
Finding a quality mountain bike for women that provides great rides and comes at an affordable price can be challenging. You need to put so many factors into consideration so that you can get a quality bike with women geometry. With this in mind, the Mantis Orchid 26 bike can make a great addition for women riders.
Low Standover Steel Frame:
The frame of this bike is made of steel for improved strength and durability. It offers a robust structure that can support large body weight and take a beating on bumpy terrain. The frame offers a low standover height making it easy to get on and off.
Dual Suspension Frame with Steel Suspension Fork:
One of the benefits that you will get when you ride this mountain bike is dual suspension. It features both rear and front suspension forks to provide you with comfortable rides regardless of the terrain. The front suspension fork works well in absorbing shock on rough terrains so you can ride comfortably for a long time.
21 Speed Shimano Control System:
Mantis Orchid provides the quality of Shimano drivetrain. This speed control system offers 21 gear options for those uphill climbs. Twist shifters allow for quick and effortless gear changes.
Nimble 26-inch Wheels:
The bike comes with 26 inch wheels that provide a better traction on the road. Because the wheels are small, they make the bike lightweight and easy to handle. It makes the ride effortless, especially for longer distances.
Parts that need to be assembled in this bike are the seat, front wheel, and pedals. Adjustment is needed for the brake and derailleurs.
11. Schwinn Women's High Timber Mountain Bicycle
If you are an avid female mountain bike rider looking for an entry level bike, Schwinn Women's High Timber Mountain Bicycle has much features and benefits to offer.
It’s a mountain bike that surely lives up to the quality standards that Schwinn upholds.
Steel Step-Thru Frame:
Schwinn is known for its unrivaled quality construction. The frame of this bike has been crafted to uphold this standard. It’s made of steel to give a stable, controlled ride. A step-thru geometry offers a low standoverheight, a feature specifically designed with women riders in mind.You can easily get on and off the bike without any struggle.
Front Suspension Fork:
Women riders find this bike very comfortable. It features a front suspension fork that works well to absorb shock on rough terrains. The suspension fork makes the riding surface smooth hence giving you maximum comfort.
Mix and Match 21 Speed Drivetrain:
Well, Schwinn saw it good to settle for a groupset offered by the two main manufacturers: SRAM and Shimano. You get a 21 speed Shimano derailleur for cruising up and down inclines. SRAM grip shifters ensure rapid and smooth gear changes whenever you need it.All these make the bike durable and give a high performance without spending more money.
26-Inch Alloy Wheels:
These are the type of wheels you need for quick maneuvers. They’re lightweight yet strong enough to take a bite off the rough trail.The rims have an alloy construction that is not only durable but also makes the bike lightweight.
You’ll need a cutter, wrench, pliers, and screwdriver for the assembly process. Parts that need to be attached are quill stem, front wheel, seat, and pedals. Furthermore, adjustment is needed for the brake, handlebars, and derailleurs.
Buying A Entry Level Mountain Bike - Things to Consider
I think this is the very first consideration you need to keep in mind. After all, it’s the one thing that matters most in your purchase decision. Ask yourself where and how much you’re going to use your bike. As you might have noticed, mountain bikes come in different categories according to purpose. These include recreational, cross-country, trail, and all-mountain bikes.If you have the right information regarding how and when you will use your bike, then you will find it easy to check the necessary feature that you want the bike to have.
Selecting the right frame material is quite crucial. Most mountain bikes have aluminum frame that is durable, lightweight, and affordable compared to other frames.Other bikes are designed with steel frame which is stronger as compared to aluminum frame. The downside of a steel frame is that it costs more and makes the bike heavy. You can choose a carbon fiber frame which is ultra-light and durable. This frame also provides better shock absorption.
When categorized in terms of suspension, you get three types of mountain bikes: full suspension (front and rear suspension), hardtail (front suspension), and rigid (no suspension). Well, suspension adds to the smoothness of the ride, increases control, and improves handling. Suspension is measures in millimeters of travel. For instance, 100mm of suspension makes for a great cross-country bike. 120-140mm is good for trail riding while 140-170mm makes a perfect choice for all-mountain biking. 50-80mm are recommended for recreational rides.
Wheel size is an important consideration. After all, this is the part that’s going to take the most beating. The choice of wheel size mostly depends on the type of terrain you’re going to ride on. The most common sizes of wheels are 26-inch, 27.5-inch, and 29-inch. 26-inch wheel is the standard size appreciated for its lightweight nature and nimble maneuvers. 29-inch wheels roll over obstacles the easiest. They provide more contact with the ground for improved traction and stability. 27.5-inch wheels are a perfect balance of the features provided by 26-inch and 29-inch wheels. Choose wheels that translate to better handling, acceleration, and climbing.
You need a good brake system to deliver excellent stopping power and control. Most of the modern mountain bikes are equipped with disc brakes designed to perform in all conditions. Disc brakes are categorized into two: mechanical and hydraulic. The mechanical disc brake uses a cable to actuate the caliper.The brakes work well even when it is cold and they are easy to service. Hydraulic brakes on the other hand utilize fluids to actuate the pistons. These brakes provide better lever feel and deliver more stopping power than mechanical disc brakes.
There are two types of handlebars in mountain bikes. There’s the flat bars designed to be lighter while sitting a little bit lower. This type of handlebar offers the comfort you need for riding long distances. The other option is the riser bars. These are made slightly wider than flat bars. They support an upright posture and are mostly preferred for downhill riding.
There are many things that you need to think about when selecting the best entry level mountain bike. In fact, the experience can be quite overwhelming. But you can make things easier on your part. Put into consideration the recommended products and purchase advice to ensure you get a ride that will never disappoint.