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Dominate unchartered terrains with the 6 best mountain bikes

Ready to conquer the trails? A good MTB bike can make the difference between a smooth ride downhill and a struggle to keep up.

Published Mar 07, 2024
5 min. reading time
Image of a man riding a mountain bike
Photo: Unsplash/Andhika Soreng

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you may enjoy mountain biking as a form of sport that allows you to test your skills and get the workout you need, while still giving you the thrill you constantly seek. But to explore the wild slopes, you’ll need the right gear.

Unlike normal bicycles, mountain bikes are designed to glide across rocky terrain, wet patches and uneven dirt roads. Choosing the best mountain bike for you can be tricky and require a lot of research, which may be time-consuming.

That’s where we come in. From the best full-suspension mountain bike to the best mountain cycle, we’ve curated a list of the best mountain bike brands to help you decide on suitable gear and get you going.

Read more: Get the best hiking boots for your adventure

Santa Cruz Megatower in black frame
For high-speed rides
Santa Cruz Megatower
$4,999 at Santa Cruz
Rail 9.9 X0 AXS T-Type Gen 4 in red frame
Best electric option
Rail 9.9 X0 AXS T-Type Gen 4
Procaliber 9.6 bicycle in black frame
Best for long distance
Procaliber 9.6
Climber 20'' Kids Mountain Bike in pink frame
Best for kids
Climber 20'' Kids Mountain Bike

For high-speed rides

Pros & Cons
  • Two frame options available

  • Steep seat tube angle

  • Includes glove box and pouches

  • Might not be suitable for level pavement

The Santa Cruz Megatower race bike is made for speedsters. Designed with big wheels and a durable carbon fiber chassis, it has the specifications needed to give you the throttle power for a safe, high-speed glide downhill. 

Its steep seat tube angle is positioned to give you the best purview when going down even the steepest terrains and its frame includes a neat mud flap that protects the rear shocks from your rough ride. 

They’ve also thought of everything from glove box, a bottle compartment and pouches so you can keep all your essentials close to you.

When you’re riding on the Megatower, all you need is the courage to go fast and the bike will do the rest.

Best electric option

Pros & Cons
  • Digital display of battery and motor data

  • Available in a wide range of frame sizes

  • Compatible with apps

  • High price point

  • Learning curve required

There are many reasons why the Trek Mountain Bike is our top pick for electric mountain bikes. Built with SRAM's wireless electronic drivetrain and the latest Bosch smart system, you’ll get a display of all the data you need to navigate your way through any terrain condition.

The Intelligent eMTB and Tour+ modes automatically adjust to provide you with just the right support to power your ride while a mini remote allows you to access the walking mode and even turn on the headlights without having to take your hands off the handlebar.

You’ll love its compatibility with the Bosch eBike Flow app too, where you can track ride stats and integrate it with other apps such as Apple Health or Strava.

Best for long distance

Procaliber 9.6 bicycle in black frame
Photo: Trek Bicycle
Pros & Cons
  • Knock block to prevent the handlebar from spinning during a crash

  • Tubeless rims for less weight and higher traction

  • Lightweight frame

  • Doesn’t come with pedals

You’ll never know where your journey will take you but with a bike like Procaliber 9.6, you can go far, knowing you have a reliable bike to get you through it. This cross-country hardtail is built using a light and stiff carbon frame to give you more efficiency to push further.

Its Straight Shot downtube gives you more responsive handling, especially when you’re going fast, while its remote lockout lets you lock out the fork when you’re heading on a straight road. 

Thanks to itsIsoSpeed decoupler, this bike gives you a smoother ride so you won’t feel as sore when you pass through rough terrains, making it suitable for trail riding across the horizons.

Best for kids

Pros & Cons
  • Plenty of color options

  • Single-speed drivetrain for easier control

  • Powerful braking system

  • Not suitable for teenagers or kids taller than 5 ft. 6

This Climber 20'' Kids Mountain Bike is the best mountain bike for children who want to explore the trails on wheels. Ideal for kids between the ages of seven to 12 years old, this mountain bike is designed with safety features at the forefront. 

It has a single-speed drivetrain and dual v-brake that provides impressive stopping power and wide tires — all features that contribute to a comfortable and safe ride while your kid is building their confidence in exploring the wild outdoors. 

The bike comes 85% assembled and includes assembly tools to help you complete the rest. It also comes with a 14-day trial and a two-year warranty.

Pro tip: Take your kids to the bike park to get them adjusted to the settings of this bike before tackling terrains.

Best for entry-level

Roscoe 7 bicycle in neon blue frame
Photo: Trek Bicycle
Pros & Cons
  • Threaded bottom bracket that holds up in tougher conditions

  • Dropper post for adjusting saddle

  • Available in various sizes and colors

  • Rides quietly

  • May be too basic for professional riders

New to the MTB world? Get your hands on the Roscoe 7. With an accessible hardtail that keeps you in control when the trail gets rough, you’ll have more confidence maneuvering if you’re still new to the sport.

Amateurs will appreciate the slack head angle, steep seat angle and short chain combination that gives you better control so you can focus on the trail ahead. It also has a dropper post that allows you to lower your saddle to prevent it from interfering with descending and cornering, which is why it’s one of the best mountain bikes for beginners.

Best budget bike

Rockhopper 27.5 bicycle in red frame
Photo: Specialized
Pros & Cons
  • Affordable

  • Dropper post compatible

  • Different wheel sizes for different frame sizes for optimal support

  • No compartments for belongings

For those who are mindful of budget constraints, this Specialized Mountain Bike is the one for you. One of the standout features of the Rockhopper is its carefully selected components like size-specific Rx Tune technology and MicroSHIFT drivetrain, which highlights performance without ramping up the price. 

With Radius CX7 mechanical disc brakes, riders can maneuver diverse terrain with precise gear shifting and reliable stopping power. Not only does this enhance your control and confidence but it also ensures longevity and minimal maintenance, which is ideal if you’re looking for the best mountain bike that won't break the bank in the long run.

Are MTBs high maintenance?

The short answer is, yes. Due to the extreme conditions mountain bikes are often put under, you would have to check for wear and tear on the wheel and tire as well as other aspects more often than regular bikes. For those who aren’t familiar with the mechanical components, it’s advisable to get your bike checked at your closest bike shop after a tough ride. 

The best mountain bikes according to editors

All of the MTBs mentioned in this article are good mountain bikes for various reasons. However, if we had to shortlist them further, here are our top two picks of the best mountain bikes :

  • Santa Cruz Megatower: With enough power to send you flying and multiple features to help you keep items close to you, it’s a recommended mountain bike for those who like living in the fast lane. 

  • Roscoe 7: Although it serves as an entry-level bike, it also has several features that will help you glide smoothly across rocky terrains which is why it’s one of the best mountain bikes in our books.

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Prices updated on 03/07/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Afina Najib Professional Headshot
Written by
Afina Najib

A journalism graduate from Curtin University, Afina Najib specializes in writing tech, finance, automotive and wellness content. Now residing in Kuala Lumpur, Afina spends her weekends hitting the gym or watching Formula 1 races.

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