The Top 5 Beginner Mountain Bikes
Mountain biking is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors and keep fit at the same time. There’s nothing quite like the buzz of hurtling downhill or pedaling like crazy to reach the summit of a mountain to be greeted with stunning scenic views. To make the most of cycling trips and conquer potentially tricky terrain, you need a bike that is sturdy, hard-wearing and powerful, as well as speedy. As a novice rider, you want to ensure that you’ve got a machine that cuts the mustard, but you might not want to fork out vast sums in the early stages.
If you’re looking for a new hobby, or you’ve fallen head over heels for cycling, and you’re on the hunt for a bike suitable for beginners, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a vast array of bikes on offer for all abilities and level of experience, and it can be difficult to determine which model is best. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s a guide to our leading contenders for the title of best beginner mountain bike. Just make sure you have a good mountain biking helmet before you get started.
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Beginner Mountain Bike is the Diamondback Overdrive.
Best Beginner Mountain Bikes
The Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike is a solid all-rounder, which represents a great investment for beginners who are eager to hone their skills and get out on their bike on a regular basis. Featuring a hardtail, hand-built 6061-T6 aluminum frame and 29-inch wheels, this bike offers both style and substance.
The main features
This bike is geared towards enthusiastic riders who love mountain biking and want to develop their skills and build their confidence without spending a fortune on a new bike. The main features of the Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike include an SR Suntour Suspension Fork, a Shimano Acera Rear Derailleur and Tektro mechanical disc brakes. These innovative elements facilitate stopping power, comfort, superior control and enhanced balance.
This bike is available in black, and it comes in a range of sizes to suit riders of all heights.
Who should buy the Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike?
This bike is ideally suited to beginners who want a stylish, cool bike that offers power and speed without a hefty price tag. For novices who are keen to tackle cross-country tracks and take on long rides across varied terrain, this is a great option. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the top models, but this is reflected in the price at under $500.
The pros and cons
- Stylish, sleek design
- Power and control
- Easy assembly
- Some reviewers have suggested that the brakes could be better
- The price is slightly higher than some of the closest rivals
In summary, if you’re looking for a bike to take you up hills and down valleys and value for money is a priority, this bike should definitely be on your short-list.
- Aluminum alloy 29er hard tail frame is tried and true
- 14g stainless steel spokes
- Suspension fork provides added control and comfort on the trail
- Shimano drivetrain is a staple of reliability
- Mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power
One of the best value beginner mountain bikes on the market, the Raleigh Talus 2 is an excellent option for riders who are keen to combine road riding with rough terrain cycling. The Talus is an understated, stylish bike that is available for less than $390.
The Raleigh Talus boasts 27.5-inch wheels and 2-inch mountain bike tires, which are designed to provide superior grip on challenging surfaces. Suited to all terrains, this is a versatile bike that can be used for outdoor adventures, as well as commuting and town and city cycling. There’s scope to add a fender and rear racks for urban rides, and the wide tires offer stability no matter the conditions. With a sturdy but lightweight aluminum frame, this bike also features Shimano derailleurs and alloy V-brakes. There’s a range of sizes for all heights.
Who is suited to the Raleigh Talus 2?
The Raleigh Talus 2 is a brilliant option for people who are relatively new to cycling and are looking for a bike that offers everything at a relatively low price. If you’ve only just discovered mountain biking, and you’re keen on cycling to work or getting out on the roads after a busy day at the office, this bike will cater for every trip. With the Raleigh Talus, you don’t have to worry about investing in different bikes for different surfaces. You can climb a mountain one day and cycle through the city center the next.
Pros and cons
- 24 gears and 8 speed shifters
- Smooth suspension
- Cycle anywhere you want
- Great price
- Some cyclists may want more in the way of gadgets and gizmos
- 6061 custom butted aluminum frame makes for a lightweight yet comfortable ride
- SR Sun tour fork with 75mm or travel offers suspension to smooth out the bumps
- Shimano EZ-Fire 8 speed trigger shifters offer 24 gears to choose from
- Alloy v-brakes provide good stopping power
- Included rack fender mounts allow you bring more gear and add fenders to ride in inclement weather
The Schwinn Bonafide mountain bike is a rugged, robust model that really catches the eye. A solid, sturdy, trendy looking bike, this is a great option for amateurs who want a high-quality product without blowing the budget. At $349, this is a brilliant starter bike for buyers who want more for their money.
Why should I buy the Schwinn Bonafide mountain bike?
This is a bike that offers a lot for the price tag. It has front and rear Shimano derailleurs, 24-speed Shimano triggers and a solid Schwinn suspension fork that makes for a smoother, more comfortable ride. Mechanical disc brakes are located at the front and back, the bike has 29-inch high-profile alloys and the wheels feature 2.25-inch tires, which are ideally suited to rocky terrain. Built to combine speed and agility with power and strength, this bike will enable you to soar over smooth surfaces and tackle even the most demanding rubble-covered stretches. You should consider this bike if you’re looking for a dependable mountain bike that also offers style and flair at an attractive price.
Pros and cons
- Ideally suited to rocky terrain
- Great aesthetics
- Built to last
- Under $350
- May not be the best option for buyers looking for a mountain bike for use on urban roads too
The Schwinn Bonafide mountain bike is an appealing option for novice mountain biking enthusiasts. It is a sturdy, durable model, which looks great, and it won’t cost the earth. For the money, this model is hard to beat.
- The Schwinn Bonafied Mountain Bike features an aluminum mountain frame and a powerful Schwinn suspension fork that soaks up bumps and thumps to provide you with a fun, durable riding experience.
- 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters and front and rear Shimano derailleurs make gear changes easy and smooth.
- Front and rear mechanical disc brakes provide crisp all-condition stopping out on the trail. Durable Schwinn alloy cranks provide steady gearing and less pesky maintenance.
- High-profile double wall alloy rims are light and strong for added durability. 2.25-inch wide knobby mountain tires are ready for bumpy terrain.
- This bike ships ready to be assembled, has a 5 year limited warranty, and the wheels measure 29 inches.
If you’re on the lookout for a mountain bike that is suitable for beginners and you don’t want to part with a substantial amount of cash, the Mongoose Impasse could be the ideal option for you With an RRP of $330, this is one of the most competitively priced bikes on sale at the moment.
Boasting 29-inch alloy wheels, an aluminum frame and a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain, this is an impressive model for the price. The simple, stylish design will suit almost every buyer, and the dual-suspension frame makes it a viable option for all kinds of cycling pursuits.
Mongoose is a brand that is known for creating bikes geared towards fun and unbridled enjoyment of the great outdoors, and this bike makes mountain biking accessible for new riders on a budget.
Is the Mongoose Impasse for me?
If you’ve recently discovered mountain biking, or you enjoy cycling, but you don’t want to break the bank, this could be the perfect investment for you. The design may be simple and the bike may not have all the fancy features that more expensive and advanced models offer, but for an entry-level bike, it’s difficult to find faults.
Pros and cons
- Under $330
- Appealing design
- Dual suspension for comfort and durability
- Some shoppers may want to spend more to enjoy a wider range of features
- Aluminum suspension frame maximizes comfort & performance
- Element Suspension fork smoothes the bumps and increases control
- 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM twist shifters changes gears easily
- Alloy wheels with quick release front
- Alloy front & rear disc brakes
For the ultimate in affordable mountain bikes, look no further than the Huffy Summit Ridge. Ideal for those who have only just discovered the thrills and spills of mountain biking, this hardtail bike retails at less than $160.
The main features
The Huffy Summit Ridge bike offers 21 speeds and it is designed to negotiate rough tracks, as well as smooth surfaces. With a Shimano rear derailleur and a micro-shift twister to switch speeds swiftly, this model offers the opportunity to enjoy an exhilarating ride on a shoestring. The handlebar is slightly elevated to facilitate better posture and enhance comfort.
Who should buy the Huffy Summit Ridge bike?
This mountain bike will appeal to new riders and novices looking to build their confidence. One of the least expensive beginner bikes on the market, this bike offers an opportunity to enjoy quality, speed, comfort and control without paying a fortune. If you want a bike that will enable you to navigate rocky roads, and you’re not fussed about all the mod cons, this could be a great choice for you.
The pros and cons
- Price and value for money
- 21 speeds
- Available in multiple color options
- More basic than other models that have a higher price tag
- With a gloss red hardtail frame and 21 speeds to conquer the trails, the Huffy Summit Ridge is ready for outdoor adventures
- An Amazon exclusive: Ideal for ages 12-19 and a rider height of 58-70 inches; durable steel frame is backed by our limited lifetime warranty (see owner's manual for details); Kolo 1200 suspension fork handles bumps and dips for a smoother-feeling ride
- The indexed SHIMANO TZ-31 rear derailleur combines with the micro-shift twist shifter to deliver 21 speeds on-demand for uphill climbing, downhill riding, or pure acceleration; removable rear derailleur guard ensures consistent gear operation
- 24" x 1.95" knobby tires tear into dirt bikepaths with ease; linear pull hand brakes deliver consistent, stopping action; premium padded ATB saddle has stitched sides for lasting quality; alloy quick release provides easy seat height adjustment
- Slight-rise handlebar enables upright riding to minimize back and shoulder strain; ATB-type resin pedals on the 3-piece Kolo crank have responsive feel; Krayton grips remain comfortable to the touch; alloy wheels in matte black; kickstand included
How To Choose A Beginner Mountain Bike
Here is a great video explaining what you need to know when purchasing a new mountain bike:
Are you hunting for a new mountain bike? If you’re a novice, and you’re not sure where to start, this guide will hopefully help you find the perfect beginner mountain bike. Whether you’re looking for the cheapest option, or you want a bike that offers a little more for your money, we’ve got you covered.