The Best Trail Mountain Bikes In 2022 As Tested And Rated By Our Expert Reviewers
- Calibre Triple B: £1,499
- Kona Process 134 CR/DL 29: £6,399 / $6,199 / AU$8,999
- £1,445 / $1,600 / AU$2,399 / 1,599
- £3,995 / $4,399 / AU$5,999 / 4,399
- £1,655 / $1,899 / AU$2,499 / 1,899
- Nukeproof Reactor 290 Carbon ST: £4,700 / $4,700 / AU$6,600
- Privateer 141 SLX XT: £3,149
- Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV: £7,599
- Saracen Ariel 30 Pro: £3,000 / 3,499
- Vitus Mythique 29 VRX: £1,800
- Whyte T-160 RS V1: £3,600
Best Mountain Bikes For Beginners
The Ragley Marley really shows how good affordable bikes have become, opening up tech and features to entry-level riders without having to fork out a serious investment. The progressive geometry along with the smooth Marzocchi fork will instill confidence on rough trails allowing new riders to experiment with line choice and learn new skills. The Shimano Deore drivetrain has already proven itself as the go-to budget groupset with dependable performance and a wide range 11-speed cassette.
The only disadvantage is that the Ragley uses 27.5-inch wheels rather than the more popular 29er size. While this sacrifices some capability to roll over large rocks and roots its does increase maneuverability to make the bike feel more playful on trails and jumps.
Vitus is known for producing bikes that ride great at impressively competitive prices yet Vitus has truly outdone itself with the Escarpe 29 CR. The 140mm trail bike is staggeringly good value with a solid spec list. Not only are you getting front and rear suspension from Marzocchi and RockShox, a Shimano Deore 11-speed drivetrain and a dropper post, but the front triangle is carbon – that’s right – carbon on a full-suspension trail bike for sub $3,000.
Based out of Andorra, Commencal is a direct-to-consumer brand that has long sold bikes through its own website offering well-specced rowdy rides at prices other brands have struggled to match.
Best Carbon Fiber Hardtail Bike: Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon Carbon 29 S Mountain Bike
While aluminum is one of the most affordable options, the Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon Carbon 29 S Mountain Bike is made from carbon fiber, which means that it weighs far lighter than some of the others we have seen. The bike includes large 29-inch wheels that will shorten your riding distance and improve the performance speed.
For those worried about the drivetrain, the SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain is regarded as a top option by many of the expert riders. We also love the design of the bike and aside from the carbon fiber construction, it has a hardtail shape. The bike should be perfect for climbing hills and riding trails with obstacles.
- Drivetrain: The GX 12 drivetrain is one that people often overlook, but it is similar in design to the NX 12 when looking at features.
- Frame: As mentioned, carbon fiber is great and you will generally find it in some of the best mountain bikes.
- Hardtail: We like the hardtail shape and it is perfect for climbing. However, it does not have the suspension for downhills.
- Price: Unfortunately, the carbon fiber frame makes it slightly more expensive, but it is still worth it in the end.
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Is Carbon Worth It
Theres nothing wrong with carbon but it certainly is not worth the price premium.
Carbon frames are a bit lighter than aluminium frames but not by as much as you might think. How much weight do you save by spending, say, an extra £1000 to get the carbon frame version of a bike model? About 700g. Now then, 700g may be significant on a high end road bike but on MTB trail bikes that weigh 14kg+ it is much more marginal.
Cannondale Trail Se 4
This entry-level mountain bike gives novice MTBers the confidence and right specs to handle moderate trails. Designed by the experts at Cannondale, the aluminum alloy frameset features dropped seat stays for a better ride feel. The tapered headtube and rear SAVE micro-suspension system are smart touches reminiscent of higher-end MTBs. The bike comes with internal cable routing, but Ive seen reports that its prone to rattling.
Im glad to see the 10-speed Shimano Deore groupset, which offers plenty of performance for beginners and will last a long time. Cannondale opted for Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, a step up from the mechanical option but typical of bikes with this price tag. 120mm of front fork travel is plenty for moderate trail use and absorbing bumps along the way.
The Trail SE 4 has a slack head angle and moderate wheelbase, skewing the ride experience more towards stability than playfulness. More confident handling is a plus for beginner mountain bikers who are still developing their technical skills. Many bikes at this price point come with smaller 27.5 wheels, but the Trail SE 4 has 29 hoops for some extra performance when it comes to big obstacles out on the trails. This bike is ideal for MTB beginners who enjoy recreational paths or gravel roads and growing their skills on low-impact trails.
How Much Can You Expect To Pay For An Entry Level Mountain Bike
You should be able to find some good cheaper mountain bikes, although the bike trade wants the serious hobbyist to be spending around $500 for a bike. At that level and above you can start to expect great quality beginners bikes. At around $500 youll find a lot of very good bikes clustered together to take your money.
The next level is considered to be $1000+. At the $1000 mark, you can expect to find the very best beginners bikes. Youll find air sprung forks, Shimano Deore, and a well thought out parts list that will see you through the next few years. In our review above youll find a carbon fiber bike, and that is an outlier. Youll generally be looking at closer to $2000 for one from one of the big brands of cycling.
Between $700 and $1000, you should see the best mountain bikes that have futureproofed. Mountain bike standards are changing fast. Ironically there are new standards almost monthly. You want a mountain bike that can be quickly and easily adapted to these standards. Old standards make pretty expensive bikes almost worthless. If you dont know what to avoid, this can make buying secondhand an expensive mistake.
What We Don’t Like
With an affordable range, incredible qualities and attributes, the Vilano Blackjack is a great choice for either trail, dirt roads, paths, or pavement. The bike’s seat post is made from the same material and supports a contoured, slightly-padded saddle that is serviceable, although heavier mountain bikers may want something a little better.
The Legendary Calibre Bossnut By A Different Name
Wheel size: 27.5in or 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L | Weight: 15.6kg | Suspension travel: 150mm f/140mm r 27.5in, 140mm f/135mm r 29in
Pros: High performance at High St prices. Good geometry and a solid specification with a dropper post. Cons: Unbranded tyres will need upgrading.
Calibre Bikes, sold exclusively through outdoor giant, Go Outdoors, blew the entry-level full-suspension bike market to smithereens when it launched the original Bossnut back in 2016. And it continued to be the benchmark full-suspension bike until the pandemic hit. Supply issues have meant the Bossnut has disappeared from showroom floors recently, but while we wait for Calibre to launch a new range of bikes, there is another option. Calibres frames were made by Polygon, and the Indonesian manufacturer has adopted the geometry and suspension tuning that made the Bossnut head and shoulders above the competition, and applied it to its Siskiu model. Also sold through Go Outdoors, the Siskiu is available with 29in or 27.5in wheels depending on the frame size, with the larger frames using 29in wheels and the smaller ones getting 27.5in hoops. At a great price tag, the Polygon Siskiu makes the perfect starter full-suspension bike for all types of trail riding.
Vitus Mythique VRX
Learn About Full Suspension Mountain Bikes With Jensonusa
Full suspension bikes are bikes that have front and rear suspension. These bikes are designed for more aggressive riding than a hardtail, or bikes that only have front suspension. These bikes come in all shapes and sizes and are built for anything from fast cross-country riding, to trail riding, to ultra-fast downhill riding.
How Much Should The Best Full
While recreational riders have been enjoying the full suspension benefits of better control, reduced fatigue and increased speed sustained over rough terrain, the true test of whats fastest will always be pro racers. From that perspective, the fact that most top male racers choose full suspension for the majority of their races is very telling. However, its worth noting that take-up tends to be lower among female racers where the effect of an extra kg of frame weight is proportionally a lot more significant for lighter riders.
Full suspension isnt just a cost in weight either, as more complicated frames equipped with several hundred bucks of shock absorber and pivot bearing, along with increased construction costs will always hit your wallet harder than an equivalent hardtail.
Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he’s been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then hes written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, hes also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.
Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem
Specialized Stumpjumper Alloy Mountain Bike: $2500
Specialized needs no introduction and countless mountain bikers have started on a Stumpjumper, one of the longest-living mountain bikes out there. The latest Stumpjumper has 130mm of rear travel paired with a 140mm fork and 29-inch wheels.
Why we recommend it: The Stumpjumper maintains its status as a great full-suspension trail bike and has continuously evolved. This aluminum frame still uses the Horst link 4-bar suspension, whereas the carbon frame uses Flex Stays to save weight.
Specialized has done away with traditional sizing, now using an S1-S6 scheme. The brand has a fit chart for size recommendations, and the S1-S6 can generally be equated to XS-XL as the geometry is in line with those sizes.
The geo is also in line with the other trail bikes on the list, with the medium having 450/455mm of reach depending on the frames flip-chip setting, a relaxed 65° head tube angle, a steep 77.5° seat tube angle, and a 1,208mm wheelbase length.
Since Specialized brands a lot of their components in-house, the Stumpy is equipped with the Purgatory and Butcher tires. Buyers also get a TranzX dropper post, a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with an 11-50t cassette , a RockShox 35 Silver fork, an X-Fusion shock, and Tektro 2-piston brakes.
See Gerows review on the S-Works Stumpjumper here.
Mongoose Argus And Argus St
Mongoose Argus and Argus ST
- 7-speed twist shifter makes it easy to adapt to your terrain
- Fat tire mountain bike for all-terrain adventures. Fits riders 5 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall
- Steel fat tire hardtail frame and provides a strong, stable ride
- Mechanical disc brakes supply quick, effective braking even in slippery conditions
Argus is the real fat bike from the brand Mongoose. The bike is built with fat tires for conquering all kinds of mountain terrains and adventures.
This is one of the easiest and affordable bikes to ride in the fat bike collection. Generally, the fat tire bikes are easy to ride however, the Argus wins in the competition.
Diamondback Bicycles Release Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Whether you are a seasoned vet who likes challenges and obstacles or a first-timer into the woods, a diamondback mountain bike is a choice for you.
The heads were turned with the release of the RELEASE and gained some crazy reviews. It is the best beginner full suspension mountain bike. The bike has the best design when it comes to pedaling suspension and some reliable components like the Shimano SLX 12-speed and 150mm Fox Rhythm 34 fork which gives you perfect balance in big hits and prevents you from getting shocks or flexing.
The use of aluminium as a body frame makes it lightweight and easy to handle and accelerate. With easy acceleration comes powerful brakes. The design uses hydraulics disc brakes for front and rear wheels which makes it efficient and safe.
Check out the video review of this bike from here.
Under 2000 Mountain Bikes
What to look out for on the best mountain bikes under £2,000: Should have all of the stuff mentioned for the £1,000 bikes above, plus A select handful of full-suspension bikes are decent options at this price point. BUT, a hardtail is going to be lighter and significantly better specced. Fat tyre hardtails should be considered and test ridden if youre after a trail bike. Look for a single chainring drivetrain, ideally 11-speed or higher. A suspension fork with damping adjustment and tuning potential . Dropper seatposts are nice to have but can always be fitted later. Hardtails will be split by riding disciplines so choose your weapon wisely. SRAM NX or Shimano SLX drivetrain . Short stem. Wide handlebars.
Gravity Fsx 20 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:
Lets 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:
Marin Rift Zone 1 2022
Available with both 27.5& 29 wheels
Great consideration should also be the Rift Zone by .
It is an entry-level full-suspension beginners mountain bike that offers a ton of freedom towards comfort. This bike can easily open doors to many potentially great mountain bikers in the future as it has a rather appealing price tag. Hardtail mountain bikes are not for everyone, especially if you value extra comfort on tougher terrains.
The 2022 Marshall is equipped with an 11-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain, RockShox suspension front , and X-Fusion 02 PRO R on the rear . Youll get a Series 3 6061 aluminum frame and Shimano MT201 hydraulic brakes that are must-have components at this price range.
- 11-speed Shimano Deore
Great entry-level full-suspension MTB for beginners.
You might get addicted to mountain biking, and want to use it for too heavy trails thats what its built for.
Perfect for newcomers to get them on the trails with comfort.
Frames from S to XL to fit riders53 to 64
Best Entry Level Mountain Bikes On The Market
If you are used to reading the articles on our site, you must know by now that we put a lot of work into finding these bikes and do a tone of research. Much like the other articles, we have included a small buyers guide that will show you the most important features to consider. However, here are the best entry level mountain bikes for beginners.
Affordable Mixed Wheel Fun Factory
Wheel size: 29in f/27.5in r | Frame sizes: S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 | Weight: 15.75kg | Suspension travel: 160mm f/160mm r | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Killer value for money. Inspiring handling. Cons: Sluggish NX shifting, lack of official product info is frustrating
If youre starting to see a few grey hairs appear then you may well remember the iconic Specialized Big Hit. Although not the original mullet bike, it was perhaps the most successful mixed wheeler before the trends recent resurgence. Why was it such a big hit, if youll excuse the pun? Well, it wasnt designed for long distances or going racing, it was built to put a smile on riders faces. And it succeeded in spades. The Status invokes the spirit of that classic Big Hit, with a mixed wheel set-up, an affordable price and the ability to generate fun at every turn. For 2022 there are two models on offer, one with 140mm travel and the original version with 160mm travel. Whichever one you pick, youre in for a great time.
- Whyte T-140 SR V2 review short-travel ripper engineered in Britain
High Performance Trail Bike At An Unbeatable Price
Wheel size: 27.5in or 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 14.6kg | Suspension travel: 150mm f/140mm r 27.5in, 140mm f/135mm r 29in | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Cutting-edge sizing and geometry. Cons: Needs a better shock tune and a dropper post.
There are three different models in the Vitus Mythique range, with prices starting at £1,349.99 and topping out at £1,799.99. All three models use the same alloy frame with four-bar linkage suspension, but wear different components depending on the price point. Like Polygon, Vitus uses both 27.5in and 29in wheels for the Mythique range, but in this case all four frame sizes are available with either wheel, so you dont have to compromise on your ultimate combo. Cheaper bikes get X-Fusion suspension, which can be a little harsh in our experience, so if you can stretch to the top VRX model, with its Marzocchi fork and RockShox shock, youll find yourself going faster with greater control. All-in, the Mythique is a mighty fine way to spread your full-suspension wings.
Boardman MTR 8.6