On the smaller frames, the Marlin 4 comes with 27.5” wheels, while the larger frames come with 29” wheels. This design allows the bike to fit the rider and the bike’s handling to a rider’s height. The added rear suspension helps soak up bumps and offers a much more comfortable ride in general. They bridge the gap between the efficient and lightweight XC bikes above and the more downhill-oriented all-mountain and enduro designs below. The Raleigh has a fork that sits higher up the SR Suntour hierarchy. The Cascade 2 borrows much of its technology from the Polygon Premier series and delivers a truly capable all-rounder. Best Road Bike Under $3000, $4000, $5000 – Review 2020, A sporty look for an outstanding aesthetic appeal, A range of gear options for enhanced versatility, Even though the bike features a 6061 T-6 aluminum frame, it’s still pretty heavy for some riders, 130mm tough yet lightweight aluminum frame, Level link suspension system for reduced pedaling interference, Ample gearing options to manage different terrain, 27.5″ wheels provide better traction and control, The 73° seat-angle is somewhat old-fashioned, 27.5″ wheels for excellent traction off-road, Somewhat heavy compared to other bikes in the class, Lightweight carbon frame for enhanced durability and riding comfort, Designed to tackle rugged terrain and technical descents without a hassle, Plenty of gearing for enhanced versatility, The quality components make the bike somewhat heavy, String, yet super lightweight with an aluminum frame. Those looking for a playful ride that is easy to maneuver on tight and twisty trails will likely want to choose a 27.5-inch-wheeled bike. The Trek Marlin 4 is equipped with Shimano Tourney derailleurs, which should hold up well for this bike’s target audience. Taking this detailed approach is one way of ensuring you wind up on a bike that fits you properly. Interested in learning more about the Trance 29? Giant’s affordable all-rounder uses a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain, giving it plenty of versatility. At 20 inches in size, they also help with maintaining a low center of gravity – while the rather heavy weight of the frame, together with the high-tensile strength steel fork guarantees stability. But it comes with a very significant weight penalty, and it can be a real pain trying to quickly swap between gears at either end of the ratio. As mentioned above, hardtails simply can’t keep up with full-suspension rigs over rooty and rocky terrain, and the Mahuna is no different. See the Bible review here, or head to your local Giant dealer for more information. Some assembly is required – thankfully, the instructions are easy to follow, and the entire process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. 29-inch-wheeled mountain bikes, often referred to as “29ers”, are known for their ability to carry momentum down the trail and roll over obstacles with relative ease. No “best value” list could be complete without a YT on it these days, and the recent release of YT’s 2019 lineup saw a continuation of the brand’s killer deals. The frame is a mix of mountain bike feel and beach cruiser handling – so nearly anyone can pilot this bad boy and have a blast. The saddle isn’t too big of a problem, as the seat post is adjustable – but we recommend finding a set of replacement pedals. The stock Maxxis High Rollers arrive tubeless with a 2.5 WT up front and a 2.4 out back—for a 140-/150-millimeter travel bike, the Trance is sure posturing for a brawl. Get the latest mountain bike reviews, news, race results, and much more by signing up for the MTBR Newsletter. If you’re considering going this route, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before clicking that buy button. Category: Fat bikeFrame: AluminumSuspension: NoneTires: 26 x 4.8 in.What we like: Great flotation in snow; quality components at an excellent value.What we don’t: Pricier alternatives like the Salsa Beargrease are much lighter and faster. This price range will be the sweet spot for beginner mountain bike buyers. The Levels are 130 grams lighter per wheel, but offer only two pistons of power and lack tool-free reach adjustment and the Bleeding Edge feature. The cherry on top—you can run two water bottles in the front triangle. Norco hasn’t made a bike made to turn heads on the showroom floor, instead, they’ve made one that scoffs at fashion trends, choosing to instead show its colors out on the trail. 29er The majority of bicycles come mostly put together with instruction on how to finish the build, and it’s not overly complicated for those who have done basic work on bikes in the past or are mechanically inclined. Taking this a step further, Competitive Cyclist offers one of the most comprehensive fit guides we’ve seen, compiling measurements for your inseam, forearm, lower leg, and more. The Overdrive is in that same vein, classic cool look of a hardtail with a racing red gloss paint scheme – but with moden touches. On the La Sal Peak Elite, you get RockShox suspension, a Lyrik RC2 and Super Deluxe RC3, a full SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Stan’s Flow MK3 wheels and, best of all, SRAM Code RSC brakes. Performance Category: XCFrame: AluminumSuspension: 100mmTires: 27.5 x 2.1 in.What we like: Budget-friendly price but includes nice upgrades like hydraulic disc brakes.What we don’t: Not as trail-worthy as other hardtails on the list; slightly dated design and looks. The bike’s saddle isn’t too small – but it is quite hard. Runner-Up: Fezzari La Sal Peak Elite – $4,600. As far as comfort and ergonomics go, the pedals are the weakest link – so we recommend finding a suitable replacement. This smaller wheel size is lighter, quicker to accelerate, and more responsive to rider inputs—something you’ll especially notice when starting from a slow speed or coming out of corners. The bike features a 600mm wide handlebar that sports a pair of comfortable rubber grips. The Trance 29 is nearly $500 less expensive than the Signal Peak, and you’ll be buying one at an actual bike shop with actual service and in-person support,  but you miss out on a few things with that lower cost and personal attention. Lover of biking, small cats and wannabe mountain climber on weekends. The pointers will help guide you to the best bike for your budget. Honorable Mention: Knolly Fugitive Dawn Patrol – $5,000. You can get into mountain biking without spending a fortune. When you're looking for something right in between, Subscribe to our free newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest from Full-suspension bikes have both a front and a rear suspension, while hardtails only have a front suspension. Check it out today at REI: Cannondale Catalyst 3 is Cannondale’s entry-level mountain bike. The ATX 3 disc also has a front suspension fork. Those with lift-assisted terrain close by may have a downhiller as their primary ride, but the limited versatility makes it a common secondary bike.Fat Bikes It will be easy to find spares for, should you need them and it is very easy to set up and have your bike running smoothly. All of these bikes are reliable first bikes that will help you gain the skills needed to grow as a mountain biker. Category: XC/trailFrame: AluminumSuspension: 120mm (front)Tires: 27.5 x 2.8 in.What we like: Plus-sized tires provide a nice boost in traction and cushioning.What we don’t: Not as strong of an all-around performer as the Timberjack above. And if smaller wheels are more your thing, they offer 27.5-inch-wheeled variations. Luckily, the ability to quickly fine-tune your gears counteracts that to a large degree. Even on the wettest and muddiest rides, you shouldn’t be too worried about getting going or stopping. Having said that, full-suspension designs typically weigh more, are significantly more expensive, and will not be as efficient at climbing or on non-technical trails. YT has even sped’c 200-millimeter rotors front and rear. This is the most popular form of e-mountain bikes. The frame geometry is a mix of mountain and a more upright ride for someone who is newer to trail riding. all the bells, whistles, springs, and sprockets that you would find on a $5,000 mountain bike, but they’re still a great gateway to the sport. In terms of suspension, many designs are fully rigid (no suspension front or rear) as the wide tires do a good job absorbing impacts. The Trance comes with 180-millimeter rotors and organic pads, and bumping them up to 200 millimeters and swapping to metallic pads, or even picking up a set of Code RS brakes would ensure that speed stays in check, or at least helps reduce arm pump on extra-long descents with the extra braking power. Giant is known for bringing great value with its bikes, and the Reign SX 1 certainly continues that trend. Runner-Up and Penny Pincher: Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 2 – $4,515. The Fuji Nevada 9 1.9 is the first bike in our reviews to come with 29” wheels. It balances affordability with reliable components and should more than satisfy those who are just starting to hit singletrack. That being said, the DRT 1.1 is half the price and a great option for most recreational or first-time riders.See the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1. These are the best mountain bikes under $500. It gives you 1 extra cog at the back compared to Torney. The bike features an ergonomic riser bar that sports a pair of comfortable, textured rubber grips. However, it’s not so XC-oriented that you couldn’t go #endurbro an all-day adventure with your pals on bigger bikes. Rather, the Ripley LS falls into place beside the Trance 29 in a more do-it-all trail bike manner. At $4,399, it undercuts the least expensive Megatower by $100 and its 147 millimeters of rear suspension travel (compared to the Megatower’s 160mm) will be more efficient on smooth trails.See the Santa Cruz Megatower Carbon. However, you don’t get a Step-Cast fork—this bike isn’t meant to be as much of a racer as the Hei Hei. It’s ideal for new riders who want a mountain bike with knobby tires that can double as a rugged commuter. The feature that stands out the most is the 4-inch wide fat tires. The SX models come with coil shocks and longer, 180-millimeter travel forks to complete a bike that encroaches on DH-rig territory. We like the Santa Cruz Megatower Carbon CC X01 Eagle for its lightweight and meticulously built carbon frame, superb rear suspension design, big and grippy Maxxis Assegai tires, and nearly flawless SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain. To start, it checks the right boxes for a budget build with a lightweight aluminum frame, 100 millimeters of front suspension travel, and proven Shimano drivetrain. Quality full-suspension bikes, with their added rear shock and linkage, are simply too complex to design and build on the cheap. Second, you absolutely get what you pay for: they make some of the most well-thought-out and beautifully crafted frames around (plus they come with a great warranty). And, of course, if you happen to be over 6 feet tall, we can’t help but think you’ll be best-served by a 29er in most cases. However, a medium-sized ATX 3 disc weighs around 30 lbs – so it’s easy to estimate that larger and smaller sizes are a pound or so heavier or easier. This makes it easier for shorter riders to comfortably stand over and control the bike. The addition of 10mm more front and rear suspension bump this 29er up to 150mm of travel. You’ll also get 800-millimeter wide bars, a set of SRAM Code R brakes with 180-/200-millimeter rotors and a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain. Will someone be at home to take delivery and sign for your new ride? Giant is one of the largest bike companies in the world, and their extensive collection of in-house components help keep costs in check. Travel: 180mm to 200mm+. The additional rigidity of the material compared with aluminum leads to better power transfer and higher efficiency. Learn more about the Hightower LT here, and see our 2018 Bible of Bike Tests review of it here. Pedals, saddles, and tires can be replaced without too much hassle. The Norco might just be the most boring bike on this list, and that’s one of the reasons you should get excited about it. The fork lacks a lockout feature and cannot be adjusted – but incorporating a more complex front suspension system would have likely led to a significant increase in price. The build is one reason why this bike performs so well on the trail, with a beefy fork, plush suspension, meaty tires, and powerful brakes that can handle the heavy weight of this rig.

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