Best Mountain Bikes
A mountain bike (or MTB) is the perfect companion for tackling dirt jumping, downhill trails, and other types of off-road riding. Today there are dual-suspension mountain bikes, hardtails, rigid two-wheelers, and a host of other bikes to choose from to help you have fun on the trail.
With puncture-resistant tires, five levels of power assistance, and a high range, the Leitner Cross X has what it takes to get you over steep hills and bumpy roads to where you need to go.
Easy to operate controls
Can tackle steep hills and dirt roads
Long battery life
Latest review: I bought this bike Apr ‘20. It has a serious issue with the back wheel making it unridable. I contacted Crane (Bicycles Online- Frenchs Forest) and dealt with staff who say it is a service issue and
Price (RRP) $89.99 to $449.00
- Wheel Size26"
For those who want a mountain bike that can tackle a range of terrains at a relatively low price point, the Fluid Momentum might be worth giving a go.
Price (RRP) $999.00
Great for wide range of terrains
Durable design for low price point
Comfortable to ride
Gear changes sometimes clunky
- Wheel Size27.5" (650b)
Latest review: i Ride a Merida Big ninty niner 1000.. 30 gear . with SLX gears ,Shimano XT deore brakes. full suspension fox float evolution series . Best bike ride i ever had ,,, only one thing could improve it
Latest review: Decided to replace my old bike when the chain kept slipping. This Apollo road bike is not only lighter and easier to pedal, but can go up hills I used to have walk up before. Disc brakes are great
Features like mechanical disc brakes and front suspension make the Trek Marlin 4 the perfect gateway bike for new trail riders, but the fact that it also doubles as a commuter that lets you hop over kerbs is the cherry on top.
Latest review: just paradise and you wont belive how comfy it you bacically sink into it and the wind on your face is like having soft cat along your face I brought it recently and I cant leave alone 2 years ago I
Latest review: Bought from 99 Bikes back in 2012 it's given me no trouble at all on the trails on Mt Coot-tha here in Brisbane. My old boyfriend had one and recommended I get one too. I'm pleased I did, cos 5
Latest review: I just did an adventure race on my new bike on the weekend. The bike went well. The set up worked really well. Good control downhill when you wanted to pick up the pace & really good traction on the
With a solid build, a lasting battery, and a high power output, the NCM Prague Electric Mountain Bike is perfect for commuting as well as rougher rides.
Latest review: Fantastic bike! the fox suspension is great and no pedal bob when climbing and suspension set properly! Shimano slx & xt group set is very good as well. It's great on the road , big climbs and single
Latest review: In a word - Awesome ! Cannot fault this bike , XT components , great XC , downhill & training bike , can lock suspension to varying degrees ( front & rear ) , 29 inch wheels come into their own on
Latest review: Great build quality, and the price for what you get is quite good. A bike that will last some time before you wear it out. My bike is the 2009 version but here is very little difference between the
Latest review: I purchased the bike 2 months ago, after coming from a Merida hardtail. I absolutely love this bike, dual suspension makes it all so enjoyable. The design in particular is perfect and the parts used
Latest review: OK, you thinking what the Block!, this is a must buy for your Kids, My nephew love's his Minecraft bike it is worth the buy as he wants to get outside and not stay on his Switch anymore... so if your
Price (RRP) $149.00
Latest review: i did considerable research prior to buying this machine.... i compared a number of machines from the overly expensive dutch gazelle to some pretty trashy chinese no name imports and everything in
Latest review: I saw this bike in the bike shop whilst looking for something else for myself. I fell in love with the look of it, and as I'd been trying to urge my son to upgrade to something better for ages to
Latest review: The bike was very straight and quick. Not so strong off road, the front shocks had very little play and gears a little slower to change than more expensive Shimano gears, but that's exactly what
Types of mountain bikes
Different mountain bikes are made for different terrains and riding styles. Whether you’re a trail rider, a cross-country or enduro racer, or seeking a thrill in downhill biking, there’s a bike out there for you.
Dual-suspension mountain bikes
Dual-suspension, or full suspension mountain bikes, have suspension in both the front and rear wheels that allow for travel and help the bike’s traction and rider’s comfort by absorbing trail impact.
The rougher the trail, the more suspension a bike needs, which is why bikes such as downhill mountain bikes need plenty of travel to give them extra support as they go down steep descents.
- Absorbs bumps and impact from trails and offers improved stability, making them suitable to tackle rougher, more technical trails.
- Versatile, as they’re suitable for downhill bikes, cross-country bikes, trail bikes, and all-mountain bikes.
- Quicker on tougher terrains.
- Can be expensive to repair and maintain.
Hardtail mountain bikes
A hardtail mountain bike has suspension in the front of the bike and not the rear, hence the name ‘hard tail’.
- Generally lighter than a dual-suspension bike.This also makes them better suited to cross country biking.
- Easier to maintain than dual-suspension bikes.
- More affordable than bikes with more suspension.
- Lightweightedness and stiffness make a hardtail MTB less suitable for rougher trails and steep downhills.
Rigid mountain bikes
A rigid mountain bike doesn’t have any suspension, meaning their use is generally limited to less technical trails.
- Lightweight due to having less moving parts.
- Simple to maintain.
- It’s the most affordable type of mountain bike (although developments in suspension are making these once costly bikes more cost-effective).
- Limits riders to easier trails.
- Becoming less common and so there’s a limited variety to choose from.
After something else?
Newer types of mountain bikes are becoming more and more common - even electric mountain bikes are gaining in popularity.
A fat bike is an off-road bike that’s designed for use on sand and snow, however now they’re being used more on a wider range of terrains, such as bogs, mud, and dirt - particularly where there’s no established mountain bike trail.
Fat bikes have oversized, ‘fat’ tyres that are suited for low ground pressure and riding on soft, unstable surfaces. There are also ‘plus bikes’, which have tyres in between the width of a fat and regular MTB.
What to look for in a mountain bike
Mountain bikes are usually made from one or a combination of the following materials:
- Aluminium: Aluminium is the most common material used in frames, and makes for a light, strong, stiff bike. It’s easy to work with, making it more affordable than carbon fibre frames.
- Carbon fibre: Carbon fibre is the second most popular mountain bike frame material. It’s considered the standard for professional-level bikes. It offers a great stiffness to weight ratio, however it’s susceptible to cracking when sustaining excessive stress - if this happens, a repair or replacement is needed.
- Steel: Steel is commonly found in entry-level bikes. It’s durable and inexpensive but can corrode and is heavier than aluminium and carbon fibre.
- Titanium: Titanium is lightweight, highly resilient, and doesn’t corrode, however it’s difficult to work with and expensive, making it rarely used on mountain bikes - if it is, it often makes for a luxury ride.
An ill-fitting bike will probably be uncomfortable and difficult to ride. You can move the seat position and adjust the handlebars as much as you like, but if the frame size is incorrect, then there’s not much you can do to fix it.
Mountain bike measurements generally refer to the horizontal distance from the top tube junction to the seat tube, or the ‘effective top tube length’.
Although you should always do a test ride of a bike to confirm whether it fits you, here’s a rough MTB adult size guide to help you get an idea of which bike may be right for you:
|Rider height||Frame size|
|148cm - 158cm / 4'10" - 5'2"||13" - 14" (XS)|
|158cm - 168cm / 5'2" - 5'6"||15" - 16" (S)|
|168cm - 178cm / 5'6" - 5'10"||17" - 18" (M)|
|178cm - 185cm / 5'10" - 6'1"||19" - 20" (L)|
|185cm - 193cm / 6'1" - 6'4"||21" - 22" (XL)|
|193cm - 198cm / 6'4" - 6'6"||23" - 24" (XXL)|
Note that going off small/medium/large sizes may not necessarily be a good way to figure out which bike is right for you, as different mountain bike brands have different sizing - a medium for one manufacturer may be considered a small by another.
Other relevant measurements include the stack and reach.
- The stack refers to the bike’s height as measured vertically from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre point at the top of the head tube.
- The reach is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the centre of the head tube
Do I need a gender-specific bike?
You might come across ‘mens mountain bikes’ and ‘womens mountain bikes’: while some manufacturers may not offer gender-neutral bikes, remember that a ‘womens’ bike is really just a bike that a woman is riding.
Bikes marketed as for women will usually just have a shorter stack and reach to accommodate the fact that in general, women are shorter and have shorter torsos.
However, generalising fit by gender doesn’t work for everyone, so feel free to ignore marketing, try out different bikes, and go with what feels right for you.
Kids mountain bikes
Mountain bikes for kids are usually just scaled-down versions of their adult counterparts. Most kids models are suitable for children aged 7 and over, and they often have front-suspension forks, more reliable brakes, and multiple gears available.
A wheel diameter of 27.5” is most commonly found on mountain bikes at most price points - they offer improved performance over the old 26” standard, while shedding some of the weight of 29” wheels.
Quick release wheels let you effortlessly remove your wheel when you inevitably have a flat tyre. Cheap mountain bikes often use nuts to lock in the wheel, which means you’d have to carry a wrench around with you - saving on costs in this case will mean more inconvenience and time spent when you do puncture your tyre.
Tyre quality will also make a huge difference to your riding experience. If you expect to mostly be riding on dirt tracks, look for a knobbly, pronounced design that offers more grip. Tyres with a lighter tread will roll faster on hard surfaces, so ensure you’re considering the terrain you’re riding when you shop.
It may also be a good idea to get tyres and wheels than can run tubeless, which make them more puncture-resistant.
A groupset consists of the bike’s cranks, chainrings, chain, cassette, brakes, derailleurs, and shifters. Groupsets on entry-level bikes are often lower-grade alloys, while more premium mountain bikes will be made from high-grade alloys, carbon fibre, or titanium.
Disc brakes are now the standard for mountain bikes. Offering up superior stopping power, excellent speed modulation, and reliable braking in all weather conditions, disc brakes have pretty much replaced rim brakes, and although are generally more costly, are found on MTBs at all price points.
They can be heavier and sometimes more difficult to maintain than rim brakes, however if you opt for a bike with rim brakes, you can’t upgrade to disc brakes further down the track.
You can choose between hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes - the former has better stopping power while the latter is cheaper.
A comfortable saddle is important because you’ll be sitting on it for long periods of time and it will help absorb the bumps and vibrations you’ll inevitably get on the trail.
When saddle shopping, you’ll likely have to make some kind of trade-off between comfort and weight. A broader, more padded saddle may be more comfortable, but will add weight.
Cross-country bikers spend a lot of time out of their saddle and races are generally short, so they can go for a narrower, more lightweight saddle. Endurance racers generally prioritise comfort in a saddle, while downhill bikers and freeriders often opt for a durable yet comfortable saddle, and can afford for their saddles to be a little heavier.
When it comes to MTB pedals, you can choose between flat pedals or clipless pedals (also called clip in pedals). Clipless pedals essentially connect you to the bike for more efficient riding, however there may be a bit of a learning curve to getting used to them.
Some also have a clip on one side and a platform on the other, letting you choose how you want to ride - this can be great for those starting out their mountain biking journey.
- Helmet: A dedicated trail helmet with greater head and face coverage, sturdier construction, and an extended peak helps provide extra safety, comfort, and protection against overhanging foliage. Some also allow a light or a GoPro to be attached to them.
- Footwear: You’ll need to match your footwear to your pedal - you can buy both flat soled and cleat (clip in) mountain biking shoes.
- Clothing: MTB clothing is more comfortable, breathable, and flexible so that you can move around while riding. It’s also made of tough material that’s more difficult to rip in the event of a crash.
- Pads: Flexible knee pads (some also offer shin protection) and elbow pads give you some extra protection on tougher trails.
- Gloves: Mountain bike gloves are usually full-fingered and only lightly padded to allow you better control over the handlebar.
- Glasses: Sunglasses offer sun protection, impact protection, and stop flying debris from getting into your eyes. Mountain bike eyewear curves around your head and fit with a helmet.
- Storage: A saddle bag, saddle wrap, or backpack lets you carry around essentials, such as a hydration bladder, tyre levers, and a mini pump.
Mountain bikes can range anywhere from $300 to well over $10,000. Spending more generally means you’ll have a lightweight bike that’s more durable, comfortable, and has better suspension - so how much does a decent mountain bike cost?
Cheap mountain bikes are generally better for beginners or recreational riders who are taking on smoother trails. You can still find decent entry-level hardtails with hydraulic disc brakes starting from $600, which can let you tackle a wider range of trails.
With bikes starting at $2000 to $3000, you’ll start to see carbon frames and features like a dropper seat post and 1x drivetrains, the latter of which reduces weight and makes gear shifting easier.
The bottom line?
Going to a specialty bike shop and having a look through the mountain bikes for sale with a good idea of what you want to use your bike for is always a good place to start, and can help you tackle your next trail without a (major) hitch.