Best Beginner Mountain Bike (Jan. 2018) – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
Mountain biking is quickly dominating the world of sports for a host of solid reasons. For instance, it’s not only one of the most amusing leisure-time endeavors but also a remarkably enlivening work-out tactic as well as an exceptionally cost-saving and pollution-free mode of commuting. Despite its colorful perks, mountain biking often presents learners a bag of challenges that are further compounded by its wide scope. However, we have taken the pains to meticulously scour online and off-line bike information sources in a successful bid to present you the most reliable buyers’ guide for the best beginner mountain bike.
Top 10 best beginner mountain bike reviews
Kent Thruster T-29 Men’s Mountain Bike
This bike is designed with a lightweight, sturdy and sporty 6061 heat treated aluminum frame, 29er wheels made of 29-inch steel rims and 29” x 2.1” knobby tires for easy riding in all terrains. Further, the bike contains TZ31 derailleurs connected to Shimano RS 25 shifters and it features V-brakes on front and rear wheels.
- The bike is made with stable geometry befitting entry-level and intermediate mtb riders
- Its lightweight
- This bike is exceptionally easy to assemble- it comes 85% pre-assembled
- It has appealing looks
- For its size, the factory-issue handlebar grips are admittedly small
- The bike has some low-quality components like pedals, derailleur and shifters that easily shear off
Created by Kent International Inc, the Kent Thruster T-29 Men’s Mountain Bike is debatably the best beginner mountain bike in terms of durability and functionality. With its lovesome geometry, its best suited for riders of a stand-over height between 6’6” and 6’30”.
Schwinn Men’s High Timber Mountain Bike
Made by Pacific Cycle, this two-wheeler is composed of an 18-inch Schwinn mountain frame mated with a Schwinn suspension fork for optimal ride comfort and control even in tough terrain. The bike sports a 21-speed rear derailleur controlled by twist shifters and it has a steel crank designed for optimal functionality and minimal maintenance. Its wheels are composed of wide and knobby all-terrain mountain tires sitting on light but sturdy alloy rims while its braking system consists of dual linear pull brakes.
- The bike’s assembly is straightforward- it even ships pre-assembled from the factory
- Its 27.5” wheels offer lovable obstacle clearance and easily maintain the bike’s speed (momentum), making it an exceptionally easy ride
- It’s a durable bike and a worthy purchase for the price
- It handles beautifully even on challenging terrain
- Its gears sometimes slip especially when shifted rapidly and when riding up steep slopes
- Its heavier in comparison to other bikes in its category
The Schwinn Men’s High Timber Mountain Bike can easily pass as the best entry level mountain bike due to its affordability, sturdiness and ease of assembly. However, it’s best used for casual biking endeavors and commuting. Moreover, if you plan on clocking some miles on this bike you are better off investing in a comfortable saddle as the factory-issue option is quite hard and uncomfortable.
GTM 26” 7-Speed Shimano Hybrid Suspension Folding Mountain Bike
This mtb is made with a 26” high tensile steel folding frame linked to a 26inch lightweight but sturdy steel suspension fork. It features height adjustable seat post and handlebars, 26”*14G*36H 1.75” single-wall alloy wheels and a Tz-31 Shimano 7-speed rear derailleur. It sports powerful V-brakes on both wheels and weighs about 38.6lbs.
- The mtb is low-priced thus easily affordable
- It’s a very sturdy bike
- It’s easily cartable due to its easy-folding frame
- The bike rides very smoothly (lovable gear shift)
- It’s ridiculously easy to put together
- It’s a bit on the heavy side of the scale, no doubt as a result of its steel parts
- You have to be very gentle and systematic while shifting gears otherwise the chain slips easily
The GTM 26” 7-Speed Shimano Hybrid Suspension Folding Mountain Bike is doubtlessly one of the cheapest yet sturdiest folding mtbs available today. However, it’s only best suited for casual bike ventures like touring and park riding.
#4. Dynacraft Men’s 26” 21-Speed Equator Bike
Made by Dynacraft BSC Inc, this bike’s main highlights include a dual suspension mountain frame joined to a suspension fork, 26-inch alloy wheels and linear pull brakes on both wheels. The bike also contains a 21-speed Shimano index derailleur operated using Shimano revo shifters and is made with a deluxe finish.
- The bike is made with an excellent sporty design
- Its price point is very alluring
- Assembling this bike is a straightforward undertaking
- Its shock absorption is commendable
- The bike’s fixed components are regrettably low-grade
- Its replaceable components like brakes are extremely flimsy, calling for frequent repair, maintenance and replacement
Its fair share of cons aside, the Dynacraft Men’s 26” 21-Speed Equator Bike will easily pass as the best entry level mountain bike in cost, physical appeal and ease of assembly.
5. Schwinn Women’s High Timber Mountain Bike
Made by Pacific Cycle, this women’s mtb is designed with a 16-inch Schwinn women mtb frame and suspension fork. It has alloy-rimmed wheels as well as rear and front alloy linear pull brakes. Its crank set is all-alloy and its 21-speed derailleur is connected to Shimano twist shifters.
- Its women mountain frame makes it an easy ride for all riders- women, men and children alike
- It’s a very strong bike, both in rider weight support and functionality
- It handles well in all terrains- superb gear shift, reliable braking as well as swift and smooth gear shift
- The bike is a bit too small for tall and heavy-set riders
- Its factory seat is admittedly uncomfortable for long rides
Sporting a women mtb frame, the Schwinn Women’s High Timber Mountain Bike is not only the best entry-level mountain bike for female riders but also one of the moist convenient options mtb options for rookie and intermediate-level female cyclists to tour parkways, explore mildly-challenging paths and roads as well as commute on roads.
#6. Pacific 26” Men’s Stratus Mountain Bike
This mtb is fashioned using a steel mountain frame integrated with human ergonomics geometry for increased ride control and comfort. It features a 1-piece mountain crank and a 15-speed rear derailleur joined to thumb shifters for easy gear shifting in a wide-scope bike riding. For stoppage, this bike contains steel caliper brakes.
- The bike’s 1-piece crank, 15-speed derailleur and thumb shifters provide swift, smooth and dependable gear shift
- Its steel caliper brakes are immensely responsive
- The bike is built with an athletic geometry fit for long-distance cycling
- Its remarkably low-priced
- Set up is a breeze
- This bike rides superbly smoothly
- With its short stem, the bike best aligns with tall riders but short cyclists are left with something to desire
- Some of its components are poorly made thus easily break away. Besides, it requires plenty of initial tune up and truing.
Designed to be ridden on a myriad of terrains, the Pacific 26” Men’s Stratus Mountain Bike contains 26-inch wheels with lovesome surface-grip and trusty steel caliper brakes. Its athletic design, affordability and smooth gear shift make it the best entry level mountain bike for riders looking to join the world of mountain biking without breaking a bank.
#7. 26” Schwinn Sidewinder Women’s Mountain Bike
This mtb, made for the average woman rider, features Schwinn steel women mtb frame pinned to an SR Suntour suspension fork. Its gearing is composed of a 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur connected to Shimano revo shifters. The bike’s 26-inch wheels sport alloy rims, its handlebars are forged from steel and its seat-post has a quick-release mechanism for easy height adjustment. Further, the bike features front and rear alloy linear pull brakes.
- The bike is sleek, making it a stand-out
- The bike is exceptionally light thus ideal for female riders
- Its women mtb frame make it a hassle-free ride for almost any rider
- Its price is pocket-friendly
- The bike is very sturdy
- The bike’s set-post is hard thus unfit for extensive rides
- The bike lacks a water bottle holder
Don’t be set off by the 26” Schwinn Sidewinder Women’s Mountain Bike’s ridiculously cheap price tag. It’s a sturdily built bike that not only has exquisite aesthetics but also performs remarkably well in gear shift, brake operation, pedaling and shock absorption. It’s arguably the best beginner mountain bike for women riders.
#8. Mongoose Men’s Mech Mountain Bike
This sports mountain bike features a Mongoose aluminum mountain frame and fork, Shimano derailleurs and linear pull brakes on both front and rear wheels.
- This bike is lightweight
- Its price point is an easy reach
- Its color scheme is quite appealing to the eye
- The bike’s set up is a breeze
- The bike calls for extensive initial tune up that may even take a visit to a professional bike shop
- It s parts are low-grade in comparison to other bikes in its range
The Mongoose Men’s Mech Mountain Bike ranks among the most reasonably priced mtbs in the market today. On the downside, it’s best left for exploring lightly challenging terrain and for casual biking on paved and asphalt roads as well as gently rough off-roads.
#9. Genesis GS29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike
This men’s mtb features a robust aluminum alloy tubing hardtail mountain frame mated with a lithe front suspension fork, a sporty design made to levitate ride comfort, heighten pedaling efficiency and increase maneuverability. It’s made with a 21-speed revo twist shifter-controlled Shimano drivetrain as well as front and rear linear pull brakes.
- It’s extremely light
- The bike picks up and maintains high speeds very smoothly and easily due to its plus-size 29-inch wheels
- It presents great value and is definitely a worthy purchase for the price
- It’s a sturdy and durable bike when used correctly (light to mildly-rough use)
- The bike is an opportune up-slope machine owing to its hard tail and wide-range gears
- It’s ideal for tall riders
- This bike is made using low-quality and easily-breakable parts (front fork, crank arm and wheel rims) except the frame which is exceptionally well-built
- Its stock handlebars are notably thin and narrow thus uncomfortable for some biking endeavors like commuting, racing and touring on an expansive scale
Built by Genesis, the Genesis GS29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike is debatably the best entry-level mountain bike with regards to product features, cost effectiveness and aesthetics. Though its build includes some cheap and fragile components, it’s determinedly one of the best mtb options for commuting on paved roads, touring mildly rough terrain as well as exploring forest trails. However, it may not be the best bike for riding in extremely rocky terrain.
#10. Hyper Havoc 26” Men’s Full Suspension Mountain Bike
This dual suspension, bike designed and manufactured by Hyper Bicycles for a wide scope of mountain biking, is formed with a lightweight aluminum full suspension men’s mountain frame and suspension fork. It features a top-performance 3-piece Shimano crank, 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur and twist-grip shifters. Further, its handlebars are standard mtb-issue and its braking technique encompasses front and rear rim brakes. Additionally, the bike sports plush mountain bike suitable for long bumpy and rides.
- Its lightweight
- Its stock seat is immensely comfy
- The bike is built with an authentic glossy design that make it a head-turner
- Its price tag is very tempting- it’s extremely cheap
- Its dual suspension reduce pedaling efficacy especially on asphalt and paved roads as well as during up-hill rides
- The bike’s rim brakes perform less effectively when contrasted with disc brakes.
A praiseworthy addition to the best beginner mountain bike list, the Hyper Havoc 26” Men’s Full Suspension Mountain Bike is, to most entry-level mountain bikers, the gateway to outdoor bike fun. Its lightweight components will guarantee you a strain-free ride for longer while its exceptionally comfortable stock seat will cushion you lovably as the bike’s dual suspension muzzles up every bump, pothole and ditch on your ride path.
Mountain bike basics for beginners
As an entry-level mountain biker, there are a few essentials to your newly-found venture that you must come to terms with first in order to land you the most plausible bike to guarantee you a safe and successful ride.
Your safety is inarguably the most vital factor you must heed throughout your entire mountain biking experience regardless of whether you are a rookie or pro rider. It’s therefore important to invest in a dependable bike helmet as well as wrist, elbow and knee impact-protection pads. It’s also advisable to invest in a trusty pair of gloves to keep your hands warm throughout the mtb ride. Moreover, a pair of bike ride sunglasses or a helmet visor will come in handy in protecting your eyes from harm while a pair of bike padded shorts will prevent your backside from undue strain and discomfort.
Furthermore, riding an mtb in traffic or at night always involves more risk than the typical single-track, recreational and other forms of biking. Therefore, you are well advised to insist on having a headlight to illuminate your way, a rear light and reflectors to warn oncoming traffic of your presence and a horn or bell to nudge pedestrians off your ride path. The best entry level mountain bike should inarguably possess reliable brakes to provide ample stopping power when needed. Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
As you learn and get accustomed to mountain biking, your comfort is important in helping you assume the correct ride posture in every biking vertical. You should therefore ensure you dress appropriately for each bike riding endeavor you set out for. Apart from the bike shorts and gloves, you should opt for tight-fitting but comfortable clothing that will not only guarantee easy body movement but also ensure your body has free air circulation. The position of the seat-post is also a straightforward determinant of your mtb ride comfort ergo you should ensure its position (especially height) is in line with your height.
Mtb wheel pressure
Wheel pressure, compounded by wheel rims and spokes, are the sole supporters of the rider body’s weight. You must therefore always ensure your bike’s tire pressure is up to the task before wheeling it onto the road or trail. Different tubes, tires and rider weights demand differing air pressure values so it’s best to contact bike manufacturers or a professional bike shop for exert guidance on wheel pressure.
If you own an exceptionally alluring mountain biker then you’ll come face-to-face with evil people who want to get it freely. You may thus have to invest in a tenacious mtb lock to fend off thieves when you park it at the bike ramp.
Mountain bike Maintenance
Daily maintenance and inspection is the surest way to keep you bike in quaint condition. Cleaning it after a dirty ride; carefully lubricating the movable components like bearings and pedals; truing the wheels and handlebars; tightening the cables, bolts and crews alongside correct indoors storage are among the best strategies for correct mountain bike maintenance that will guarantee your best beginner mountain bike an extended lifespan.
Crucial factors of consideration toward purchasing the best entry level mountain bike
Before purchasing a bike, there are some factors that a novice, mid-level and expert mountain biker alike must heed in order to land the best purchase option. Doubtlessly, the best entry level mountain bike should be easy and fun to ride, keep you safe on your biking ventures, be affordable to the buyer and possess an immaculate array of components. Below, we have identified and succinctly discussed each to assist you make an informed choice of mtb to purchase:
Style of biking
There’s a wide and ever-expanding range of mountain bike ride styles and knowing the area you’ll be mostly employing your mountain bike is usually the first milestone in finding the best entry-level mtb for your specific purpose. The easiest way to point out your riding style is by considering the terrain over which you’ll be spending most time on the bike. In this light, there are Enduro, commuter, Cross Country (XC), Down Hill (DH) as well as fat bikes among others.
Another reliable way to determine a bike’s suitable ride style is through consideration of its suspension. While fat bikes are usually, rigid (feature no suspension), a majority of XC and commuter bikes are usually hard-tail (sport front suspension only) and dual (full suspension) mountain bikes are typically used for biking in aggressive terrain.
A mountain bike’s frame is the chassis onto which other parts are bolted or screwed. It’s therefore important to make sure the bike you plan on purchasing features a strong and comfortable enough frame to give you a stable, safe and comfortable ride. You also have to consider the frame material as this is usually a clear determinant of its weight, durability and cost as well as the quality of ride.
Aluminum alloy frames are the most preferable and cheapest as they offer a lovable balance of the above functions and are thus the commonest in the best entry level mountain bike list. Steel frames are cheaper but heavier than aluminum while Titanium is exceptionally light and strong but more expensive than the first two. On the other side, carbon fiber frames are the lightest and are uniquely powerful but are sadly very costly thus are mostly used on high-end mtbs.
Size of the wheels
A mountain bike’s wheel size is one of the determinants of its ease of maneuverability and top speed. While a majority of mtbs feature 26-inch wheels which are lovable in close-cut maneuvers, others sport 27.5” which are better at obstacle clearance. Still, others are built with 29er wheels that are unrivaled at rolling over loose dirt and snow as well as road and trail boulders. The 29-inch wheels are also famed at retaining the bike’s momentum but are slower in acceleration than the former types.
In addition to the above sizes, 27.5+ mtb wheels have extra-wide tires for additional traction- such wheels are not only extremely comfortable to ride on but also encounter reduced rolling in comparison to the rest. Besides, kid’s bikes usually integrate 20” or 24-inch wheels which accommodate their shorter legs.
Connected to the derailleurs, shifters are incorporated into a mountain bike to enable you effectively shift gears for optimal pedaling efficiency in all slopes. They are of several types including trigger, thumb, twist (grip) and paddle shifters therefore finding the most plausible style for your biking is a positive step toward successful mountain biking.
A rider-fit mountain bike corresponds not only to your height but also your riding style and offers significant comfort. Usually, mtbs are sized in correspondence with rider height, resulting in S, M and L versions with several in-between sizes. Besides, most bike manufacturers avail a detailed bike sizing charts to streamline your search for the best fitting option.
This is technically all the information you need to kick-start your mountain biking adventures. Though the options seem overwhelmingly superfluous, heeding the aforementioned considerations will definitely clear your path toward the best entry level mountain bike. It’s worth noting that once in a while you’ll experience some uncalled for challenges in the course of your cycling like a flat tire, loose handlebars, inefficient bike brakes and dysfunctional gear shifters/derailleurs. However, none of these hardships are insuperable as professional help is always a short distance or a few miles away. Nonetheless, it’s always helpful to carry basic repair equipment including tire levers, spare tube, a patch kit and chain lube when going for protracted off-road and trail bike rides.