Best Cheap Mountain Bikes - Top 10 Reviews and Comparisons 2017

The Complete Guide to Buying Cheap Mountain Bikes - by Biking Enthusiasts and Cyclists with a Budget

Best Cheap Mountain Bikes for 2017

Bicycles can really cost you an extra arm or leg, especially the models that are high quality and give you the smoothest riding experience. But you’re in the market for a mountain bike. And not just any kind – you’re looking for a budget friendly option. Mountain biking is for a tough and rough breed of cyclists.

But you can still enjoy dirt paths, gravel, and some rough terrain without going all extreme. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to enjoy mountain cycling. Here, we’ve chosen the top 10 best cheap mountain bikes under $250!

Mongoose Excursion Men's Mountain Bike

The Mongoose Excursion Men’s Mountain Bike. Time to hit the trails with this super affordable quality mountain bike! The Mongoose Excursion will get your adrenaline flowing. Whether you’re riding through the city streets or going on your next adventure in the woods, this entry-level model is great for casual cyclists!

Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike. The Merax Falcon is an excellent choice for beginner to advanced cyclists. This is one of the best mountain bikes you can get for $200 or less. You don’t have to spend lots of money to be able to enjoy mountain biking or to get into the best shape of your life!

Find an inexpensive mountain bike without breaking your wallet

Read on for the ultimate breakdown of all the info you’ll need. We’re here to help make it easier for you to pick the best cost effective mountain bike.

Best High-Cheap Mountain Bikes for Serious Bikers

For cyclists who want more quality and durability out of an inexpensive mountain bike.

Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike

Not only is the Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike an attractive looking bicycle, but it’s quality is comparable to more expensive models out in the market. If you’re an advanced cyclist and want to build your own mountain bike, this is an outstanding choice because you can upgrade the components without spending tons of money. Get ready to ride in fashion and quality!

Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Great value for what you pay. The Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike is an incredible choice for you whether you want to explore mountain biking or just want to feel good about your body by adopting a healthier lifestyle. You’re going to fall in love with this beauty.

Best Super Low-Budget Cheap Mountain Bikes for 2017

For beginner cyclists who just want the cheapest mountain bike available to get around town or to explore easy trails.

Roadmaster Granite Peak 26

The Roadmaster Granite Peak 26″ Men’s Bike. For less than $100, you can have your very own mountain bike! It’s time to have some fun! Live! Move! Get out there! Who knows what new experiences you’ll encounter? The Roadmaster Granite Peak is the most budget-friendly option out of our top picks!

Huffy Women's Granite Bike

The Huffy Women’s Granite Bike is an amazing entry-level mountain bike if you’re looking to dabble in cycling. With a killer beach style look, you’re going to love riding around the boardwalk, streets, or trails. On top of that, it’s ridiculously cheap!

The Winners: Top 10 Cheap Mountain Bikes of 2017

 

  
 
Aesthetics
Frame
Bike Weight
Frame Size
Wheel Size
Dimensions
Price

1Mongoose Excursion Men's Mountain Bike.

Aesthetics : Urban
Frame : Steel
Bike Weight : 50 lbs.
Frame Size : 27.5"
Wheel Size : 27.5"
Dimensions : 71" L x 40" H
Price: $$

2.Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Aesthetics : Wild
Frame : Aluminum
Bike Weight : User Weight Max: 330 lbs.
Frame Size : 17"
Wheel Size : 26"
Dimensions : N/A
Price: $$$

3.Merax Finiss 26" Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike

Aesthetics : 90's Casual
Frame : Aluminum
Bike Weight : 33 lbs.
Frame Size : 19"
Wheel Size : 26"
Dimensions : N/A
Price: $$$

4.ORKAN Mountain Bike 27.5''' Shimano Hybrid 21 Speed Mountain Bike

Aesthetics : Modern
Frame : Steel
Bike Weight : User Weight Max: 250 lbs.
Frame Size : 27.5"
Wheel Size : 27.5"
Dimensions : N/A
Price: $$

5.Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike

Aesthetics : European
Frame : Aluminum
Bike Weight : N/A
Frame Size : 17" - 20"
Wheel Size : 26"
Dimensions : N/A
Price: $$$

#1 Recommendation: Mongoose Excursion Men's Mountain Bike

4.025 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

What exactly is a mongoose? Mongooses are mammals that resemble weasels but are more cat-like carnivores. How is a bike similar to a mongoose? We’ll let you figure that one out on your own. But in the meantime, here’s our #1 top recommendation if you’re looking for the best budget friendly mountain bike!

Mongoose has been in the dirt, on the trails, and off the ramps for nearly 40 years. Founded in 1974 in a Southern California garage, Mongoose is an authentic brand that produces durable products built for real riders. Mongoose has always been an aggressive brand with products that push the limits of what a rider can do. From the biggest hits on the mountain or in the park to the urban jungle.

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 27.5″
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Bike Weight: 50 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 71″ L x 40″ H

The Mongoose Excursion is one heavyweight bicycle. With an urban and hip design, the flat black color and slick frame give this a high-performance look. Features include a solid steel frame, front suspension fork, 21-speed twist shifters, Shimano rear derailleur, a three-piece crank, and alloy rims. The linear pull breaks are easy to use and come standard on most bikes, allowing you to easily replace worn brake pads. The all-terrain knobby tires come with 27.5” wheels for superior traction on dirt and rocks.

Performance

For an entry-level bike, the Mongoose Excursion performs really well! We don’t recommend that you try this for extreme mountain biking unless you want to risk overall safety or don’t care about this bike lasting you awhile. Riding on dirt paths, gravel, and pavements are a breeze. We weren’t blown away by for the quality of the braking system (they do squeak a little bit), so it may be beneficial to upgrade them to improve your riding experience. The rims may need to be trued (straightened). If you want to really boost this bike’s capabilities and comfort, you can replace the shifters and grips. The great thing is that you can upgrade these parts whenever you want. The replacements are also highly affordable, for as low as $10-$30.

Price

Affordable and reasonable for a cheap model.

Bottom Line

Amazing for the beginner or casual rider looking to tackle some rough trails! It’s also the best choice if you’re looking for an all-around good quality inexpensive mountain bike. Super versatile – the Mongoose Excursion can handle the concrete streets of your neighborhood, navigate the corners of your city, or it can just as easily handle dirt paths and road trails.

#2 Recommendation: Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike

3.975 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Not only does Merax Fitness manufacture mountain bikes, but they provide a wide variety of products to promote health and advocate for active lifestyles. Since 1995, they’ve supplied various cardio and strength training equipment. Products are constructed with biomechanical and physical mechanical designs to create the most functional fitness equipment.

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17″
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • User Weight Max: 330 lbs.
  • Dimensions: N/A

This bike has a cool and spunky look with color options from black & blue, grey & green, and white & red. With a weight capacity of 330 lbs., the Merax Falcon is made with a 17” aluminum frame dual-suspension design which maximizes performance and increases control. The bicycle comes with Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters, linear pull brakes, and 26” wheels.

Performance

For the cost, this is an excellent starter mountain bike that performs reasonably well. Before you start riding, you’ll definitely want to fine-tune the handle bars, seat, and breaks. If you can, take it to a bike shop for them to properly adjust the gears. They won’t charge you much and it’s worth the investment, especially if you don’t have experience adjusting them.

Price

A little pricier for a “low-cost” mountain bike, but worth every penny.

Bottom Line

The Merax Falcon is an economical and great introductory bike! For seasoned riders, this is a great choice if you want an inexpensive bike to spontaneously throw in your car and take for a spin. If you’re looking to get into shape and tone up your legs, this is a fun and excellent way to do so.

#3 Recommendation: Merax Finiss 26" Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike

3.875 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 19″
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Bike Weight: 33 lbs.
  • Dimensions: N/A

Another Merax mountain bike makes it yet again to our top list. The Merax Finiss rocks a 90’s casual style. Let’s roll and get to the details. Cool color options include black & red, gray & green, and white & red. Compared to the Merax Falcon, this mountain bicycle gives you two more inches of height with a frame size of 19”. The frame is made from a lightweight heat treated aluminum material. This bike runs on Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters. It also features front and rear mechanical disc brakes.

Performance

Surprisingly, this mountain bike exceeds our expectations with performance. This bike feels light and is easy to use due to its aluminum frame. The Merax Finiss is easily comparable to $700 models you’d find in bike shops.The key difference and negative aspect, however, is the front shock. Because this is budget-friendly, the manufacturers went cheap with the fork. The Merax Finiss is not something you want to use for intense jumping or advanced terrain but performs well for normal use.

Price

Reasonable

Bottom Line

Well-built for the money and an outstanding choice for all riders, regardless of level or experience! Get ready to take this out on new adventures and pedal through forests, streets, dirt, or trails. For the price, you won’t find a quality mountain bike like the Merax Finiss.

#4 Recommendation: ORKAN Mountain Bike 27.5''' Shimano Hybrid 21 Speed Mountain Bike

3.85 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 27.5″
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • User Weight Max: 250 lbs.
  • Dimensions: N/A

The Orkan is eye-catching with its stylish and modern gray & orange color combination. The frame is 27.5” with a 35 lb. Hi-Ten Orkan steel frame. It’s designed for people between 5’1” – 5’9” and has a weight capacity of 250 lbs. This bike comes with Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters.

Performance

The Orkan can handle smooth or rough terrain for casual riding. Performance is good considering how much this bike costs, but you will need to make some adjustments to the brakes and front derailleur beforehand to ensure smooth riding.

Price

Mid-range at a cheap price point. We love that you can get a low-cost bike without sacrificing too much quality.

Bottom Line

Looks great! This is a solid choice if you’re looking for a low cost mountain bike to have some exciting times with. Wonderful for the beginner or intermediate cyclist!

#5 Recommendation: Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike

3.7 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17″ – 20″
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Bike Weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: N/A

The Vilano Ridge 1.0 has a European look and comes in beautiful color combinations of black & green and silver & red. You also have the option to choose between a 17-inch or 20-inch frame. Features include a Shimano 7 x 3 drivetrain with 21 speeds. Shifters are Shimano EF-51 Easyfire 7sp and the derailleur is a Shimano Tourney TZ50. It also comes with mechanical disc brakes and 26” wheels.  

Performance

You’re in for a treat with the Vilano Ridge 1.0. This mountain bike performs well, especially for the money. Compared to much more expensive bikes, it’s able to hold up decently.

The frame seems super solid and well made. Good looking welds everywhere. If the bike has better shocks, it would be a killer deal. The shocks are a little on the soft side, making it easy to bottom them out. Don’t expect to go off big jumps or do any crazy riding because the front end won’t be able to handle that level.

Price

The priciest out of our cheapest mountain bike picks!

Bottom Line

The Vilano Ridge 1.0 is an awesome entry level mountain bike for mild trail and road riding. If that is all you plan on doing there, is no reason to spend twice what this bike costs on anything else. If you think you might get more serious later down the line, then starting cheap and upgrading components is a reasonable possibility.

#6 Recommendation: GTM 26" 7 Speed Folding Mountain Bike

3.675 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 26”
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Bike Weight: 34.2 lbs.
  • Dimensions: N/A

GTM is a lightweight, minimalistic, foldable bike that you can easily pedal cross a variety of terrain thanks to responsive handling, large tires for stability, and overall riding position. You can choose from black, blue, or green color models. The steel mountain frame provides solid control and the mountain crank offers a wide gear range. The adjustable handlebars and seat height makes it easy to tweak to your physical comfort.

Performance

We love that you can fold this bicycle! It makes it so much easier to take around, whether you need to transport it in your car or want to take it on board a train. With the performance, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect this to be high quality. You get what you pay for. It is an affordable option if you want to bike around from place to place. The GTM rides and runs well, but the fenders are just about useless. Don’t forget to get it adjusted accordingly at your local bike shop if you want to avoid performance issues!

Price

Very low cost!

Bottom Line

The GTM is a premium quality mountain bike for your daily use! Ride in style and convenience, this bike can easily be folded for storage or transportation. This is a good choice for commuting to work! It gets you from point “A” to point “B”. At the same time, you can take it for a ride through a park, camping ground, or trail.

#7 Recommendation: Roadmaster Granite Peak 26" Men's Bike

3.15 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 26”
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Bike Weight: 38.6 lbs
  • Dimensions: 68.” L x 41″ H

Performance

You may be reluctant to splurge and spend an enormous amount of money on a quality bike, especially if you’re a complete noob and haven’t ridden since you were a toddler. Fortunately, this bicycle will help you learn the basics of mountain biking. While the gears are slow to respond and the brakes need constant adjustments, the Roadmaster Granite Peak is reliable. Of course, this model doesn’t compare to high-end cycling options with better components that usually start in the $700 range.

The Roadmaster Granite isn’t the best choice if you’re going to ride every day. If you want to take this out for a spin on a daily basis, we recommend that you get upgraded tubes, another layer of protection under the tube, and get the brakes right. Otherwise, beat it up, drop it, crash it, jump it, mash it, you name it – this mountain bike can handle it all. The seat that comes with this bike isn’t very comfortable. So you may want to swap it out and put a road bike seat on it. Or simply buy an inexpensive seat cover and put that on there.

Price

The most affordable out of all our top budget friendly mountain bikes!

Bottom Line

If you’re a beginner to the world of mountain biking, the Roadmaster Granite Peak is an extremely economical choice that allows you to start exploring the twists and turns of outdoor terrains. Going on an adventure doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.

#8 Recommendation: Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

3.125 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 26″
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Bike Weight: 41.7 lbs
  • Dimensions: 68.5″ L x 40″ H

The frame is nicely done – it will accept much higher end components as you gain experience and want to upgrade.

Performance

If you don’t have any experience in cycling, here’s a word of advice for you: Take it to your local bike shop and get everything assembled by an expert before you take this out for a ride. You’ll avoid annoyances and frustrations if the bike is adjusted perfectly to you.

This is a budget-friendly mountain bike. That’s undeniable. But, for the price, we’re a little let down with its performance.

Price

A Higher price point for a cheap mountain bicycle.

Bottom Line

A great looking mountain bike that catches peoples’ eyes. The Kent Thruster is a good choice if you want to do some light biking on the road or non-hazardous terrains. We don’t recommend that you use this for hardcore mountain biking. An incredible choice for anyone just starting out or the experienced rider looking to build a nice bike without wasting money.

#9 Recommendation: Huffy Women's Granite Bike

2.95 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price

Huffy goes way back in history – as far back as 1892. The founding father is George Huffman. During that time, there was a massive “bicycle craze” that swept the United States. And that’s when he began his bike company. Fast forward to 1942 – the entire nation was rolling up its sleeves to help win World War II. And Huffy was right there to support war efforts. They created an astounding 4,000 military bikes for troops overseas. And they contributed by making primers for artillery shells as well. Fast forward to right now. Here, we have a low-cost Huffy Mountain Bike for you!

Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 26”
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • User Weight Max: 300 lbs.
  • Dimensions: N/A

Although advertised as a woman’s bike, this is a nice looking bike for anyone who likes a beach style design. The durable steel frame features a great combination of white, blue, and turquoise colors and graphics. The 15-speed thumb shifting system allows you to adjust gears quickly. The front and rear feature linear pull brakes. The Huffy-branded Krayton grips provide a comfortable hold on your handlebars. The premium padded saddle offers you a comfortable seat that can be easily adjusted tool-free for a perfect fit.

Performance

The bike itself comes almost fully assembled which is a huge plus. The front wheel, handle bars, seat, and peddles have to be attached to the rest of the frame. Overall, it rides extremely smooth, shifts between gearing effortlessly, and stops in time. You can ride around on this bike and not be worried about it falling apart.

Price

Super low price. One of our most budget-friendly options!

Bottom Line

No matter what time, place, or reason for cycling, this beauty excels at all of them. Whether you bike for practical transportation, to lose some weight, or for leisure, this Huffy Mountain Bike will not disappoint you.

#10 Recommendation: Stowabike 26" MTB V2

2.85 Overall
Design
Construction
Comfort
Performance
Price
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Design & Construction

  • Frame: Steel
  • Frame Size: 26”    
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Bike Weight: 38.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 67.3″ L x 55.1″ H

The Stowabike is for you if you like sporty designs. The 26” frame is made from steel and gives you the option to fold it for a more portable size. This is an 18-speed bike that features a 3 speed left grip shifter and 6-speed right grip shifter. The front derailleur is Sunrun FD-QD-35 and the rear derailleur is Shimano 6 speed. It also comes with steel v-brakes. The handlebars are made of steel with a steel stem, both wrapped in black rubber grips.

Performance

Nothing fancy. This is not the fastest bike in the world. But it will get the job done without feeling like you’re sitting on a toy wondering when it’s going to snap in half. For people who aren’t bike experts or enthusiasts and just want a functional bike that saves space in the shed or trunk, this bike is just fine. If you are one of those people who take the bike apart to customize each component, you may be better off just getting a more expensive bike.

Price

An incredibly low price for a cheap mountain bike!

Bottom Line

If you’re someone who rides a bike every so often for casual exercise or wants to leisurely coast through the neighborhood, this bike will meet your needs and expectations. If you’re looking for a bike that conveniently folds and fits tight spaces, the Stowabike is a wonderful choice!

The Ultimate Buying Guide For Cheap Mountain Bikes

Finding the right mountain bike can be tough. Since you are planning to ride it off-road you need to make sure that it can get past rough terrain, mud, rocks and trees without breaking down. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy the highest priced model. You can find inexpensive ones that are also sturdy, durable and fun to ride.

In this guide, you will find all the information you need to find an affordable mountain bike that can handle almost any type of terrain.

Types of Mountain Bikes

There are several types of mountain bicycles, and it is important to choose one that fits your style of riding. If it doesn’t, your ride will probably be uncomfortable and even dangerous.

A few aspects that you’ll want to consider before you select a style are, the weight of the bike, amount of suspension travel and angle of the tube-head. These will determine how well it performs on the ride.

Trail Bikes

If you want to easily climb hills, and make it safely back down, a trail bike might be just what you are looking for. Known for their versatility, they can handle almost any terrain. This is due to the combination of their front and rear suspension, along with their geometry.

Main Features

  • Weight: 25-27 lbs.
  • Suspension travel: 100-140mm
  • Head-tube angle: 67-69˚

Cross-Country Bikes

Do you want to fly uphill, beating others’ times? Then you want a bike designed for cross-country riding. Their large wheels, low amount of suspension and lightweight design, make these models ideal for fast hill climbs.

Most come with 29-inch wheels to provide you with plenty of control on corners and fast descents. However, smaller statue riders might want to consider looking for one with 27.5-inch wheels.

Main Features

  • Weight: 25 lbs. or less
  • Suspension travel: 80-100mm
  • Head-tube angle: 70-71˚

Fat Bikes

Often recommended for beginners, you can instantly recognize one by its large tires. This also makes them great for riding over slick or sandy terrain. The oversized wheels, usually 3 to 5 inches wide, provide exceptional stability and traction so riding through snow, rain and sand won’t be a problem.

Main Features

  • Weight: 25 lbs. or more
  • Suspension travel: can be up to 120mm (front)

All-Mountain Bikes

These bikes are designed for downhill performance. Their relatively lightweight construction, also ensures that you can pedal up the hill. They often come with additional features, and this means more options to choose from. This includes height adjustable seat posts that can help you conserve energy on steep climbs.

Main Features

  • Weight: 25-29lbs.
  • Suspension travel: 140-170mm
  • Head-tube angle: 65-68˚

Enduro Bikes

One of the first things to note, is that they are not intended for beginners. They are designed to tackle challenging trails that include lifts. Enduro bikes come with plenty of rear suspension for hard landings, and lower tube angles for stability at fast speeds. These models are often larger than other types, and built to endure almost any lift and landing.

Main Features

  • Weight: 27-30lbs.
  • Suspension travel: 140-170mm
  • Head-tube angle: 63-65˚

Types of Suspension

Mountain bikes can come with different types of suspension. Not only does this affect your comfort when riding, but the terrain it can handle. There are three types of suspension, and each has its own advantages.

Rigid

The least common and usually lowest priced, these off-road bikes do not come with front or rear suspension. Typical on models with “fat” tires. This is because the wide wheels combined with low tire pressure provide enough cushioning to effectively absorb most bumps you encounter on the trail.

Hardtail

Hardtail bikes have a very rigid rear end and offer suspension at the front. They are lightweight, durable and are a good option for a variety of trails. This is one reason why, many top cross-country models are hardtails.

While you will have to give up a little comfort on rough terrain, they do perform better in terms of speed and control. It’s also makes them easier to ride up and down hills.

Full Suspension

Mountain bicycles with full-suspension come with a front fork and rear shock to provide you with plenty of control and comfort during the ride. These bikes are designed to absorb impacts, but you can lose energy transfer making it harder to climb steep hills.

What to Look for In an Off-Road Bike

Before you rush out and buy a trail, cross-country or other type of mountain bicycle, there are a few aspects to consider. Knowing what to look for, will ensure that you choose the best one.

Frame

The material used to construct the frame is one of the most important aspects since it affects the strength, weight, performance and cost of the bike.

There are primarily four materials used to build the frame:

  1. Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight, durable and affordable. It is also one of the most common materials used, especially in entry-level bikes.

  1. Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber offers a lot of strength, absorbs vibrations and is extremely lightweight. However, it can be expensive. High-end cross-country, fat and trail bikes often use it in their frames.

  1. Steel

Though it offers a very rigid and comfortable frame it is heavy, and this is the last thing you want when you are pedaling uphill. However, if speed and control on tight turns aren’t a concern it is an affordable option.

  1. Titanium

A relatively new material, titanium frames are known for their stability and are incredibly durable. This also comes at a price, and these frames are usually only found on racing or Enduro models.  

Gears

Mountain bikes can come with everything from a single gear to 30 or more. Your budget and style of riding will factor into how many you need. You can also modify your bike later, and add more gears as your budget allows.

The number of gears on an off-road bicycle is determined by how many chainrings are on the front, multiplied by the number of sprockets. This can be confusing, since the combinations are varied.

Traditionally, they come with two to three chainrings so you have the necessary gears for climbing. Now, you can find models with a single chainring and several cogs. This ensures that it is lightweight, and still has plenty of gears to shift through.

The best advice, is to consider your fitness level, budget and the terrain when you are trying to determine how many gears you need. Steep hills will require a broader range of low gears, while flat trails typically mean fewer overall.

Brakes

Previously, there were two types of brakes to choose from. Thanks to advances in technology this is changing. Some inexpensive models still come with rim brakes, but you can find affordable mountain bikes that use disc instead. Along with their price, there are advantages and downsides to both types.

  • Rim brakes may be less common, but they are cheap and easy to spot when replacement is needed. These brakes come with pads that when applied, grip against the wheel. This can cause the tire and pad to wear thin, and both will eventually need to be replaced. They also require more effort to stop the bike. They’re not always effective on slick or muddy terrain, and this can be dangerous for the rider.
  • Disc brakes might be more expensive to replace, and harder to know when it is time, but their advantages outweigh the downsides. They can provide more consistent braking, regardless of the terrain. It also requires less effort to stop, especially on the descent.

Wheel size

The size of the wheel will affect everything from balance to performance. It is an important factor to consider, and will vary depending on the type of mountain bike you choose.

  • 26”: This used to be the standard for tires, but they are not ideal for all types of terrain. If you are just starting out, then the stability they offer might be what you need.
  • 27.5”: You can find these wheels in hardtail and full-suspension bikes. Since they are slightly larger than 26” tires, you have the advantage of maneuverability and ability to smoothly roll over most terrains.
  • 29”: If longer rides over all types of terrain are you style, then you need a larger tire. It might take you longer to accelerate, but once you do, obstacles on the trail won’t be a problem.
  • 27.5+”: These extra wide tires are great for beginners, or anyone else that doesn’t want to feel every bump on the trail.
  • 24”: Children’s bikes typically come with 24” or smaller tires. This ensures that they have the stability and control they need, while still accommodating their shorter height.

Other Considerations

Weight

When it comes to the weight, it depends on your style of riding. Lighter bikes are ideal for speed, while heavier ones are often more comfortable on long, flat trails.

Head-tube angle

This refers to the angle of the head tube towards the ground. It affects stability and speed up hills. Lower tube angles will provide plenty of stability, even at fast speeds, but hill climbs will be challenging. If you want fast climbs and turns, a bike with a higher head tube angle will best suit your needs.

Appearance

You might not think this is important, until you start riding. If you’re embarrassed by your bike, it will probably end up in your garage or storage space. You can find mountain bikes in almost any color. If not, you can paint it yourself.

Whether you want one with a casual, wild or modern style, there is a model that is designed just for you.

What Bike Size is Best for You?

The size or height of the off-road bike will determine how comfortable it is to ride, and affect your ability to control it.

Here’s a quick chart that will help you decide on the right size.

  • 4’11″ – 5’3″ = 13 to 15 inches
  • 5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 to 17 inches
  • 5’7″ – 5’11″ = 17 to 19 inches
  • 6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 to 21 inches
  • 6’2″ – 6’4″ = 21 to 23 inches
  • 6’4″ and taller = 23 inches

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Mountain Bike

Asking yourself a few questions, before shopping, will help you pick the right model.

  1. Where do you plan on riding?

The terrain plays a key role on determining the type. Cross-country models are ideal for rugged terrain, while ones with fat tires will provide you with plenty of traction. Where and when you are planning on riding should be factored into your final decision.

  1. What features are important?

The materials used to construct the frame, along with the wheel size, type of brakes and number of gears will affect the performance and price of the bike. Riders on a budget may have to choose which ones are the most important to them.

  1. Does the bike fit my height?

If the bicycle is too short or tall, it won’t be comfortable to ride. This can also affect your safety. If you can’t make it to the store to try one out, the measurements listed in the product description can help ensure that you pick the right size.

Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to pick the best mountain bike for your next ride.

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