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Best Mountain Bikes in 2022

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - August 24, 2022   /  Act As Post

best mountain bikes

Mountain biking can be as fun and challenging as you make of it  –  It is a priceless activity and a great excuse to spend some quality time in nature.

Choosing a bike is an investment for at least 5 to 10 years. Once you are certain in your decision to choose a mountain bike as your next bicycle – whether it’ll be an upgrade or you are simply starting out on the trails, you’ll find a selection of the latest and best value mountain bikes in this article.

There are quite a few different disciplines of mountain bikes to choose from, so follow our guide if you are not entirely sure which one to get!


Best Hardtail Men’s Mountain Bikes of 2022


1. Niner Air 9 2-Star

Best aluminum hardtail mountain bike

niner air 2-star

MSRP: from $1,999
Jenson USA

As you can read from the title – here you’ll find a selection of the best mountain bikes 2022 and the number one bike in this list is here for obvious reasons.

Niner Bikes is a renowned mountain bike brand whose line of bikes is dedicated to performance riders. Those bikes are easily capable of winning races, therefore the geometry and set-up might be a little too much for an intermediate, Sunday cyclist.

Unless you really like to charge hard and make no compromises when it comes to quality, this 29er mountain bike is a beast to have fun with. Pushing those boundaries will now be up to you on this tool.

Niner Air 9 is an aluminum hardtail mountain bike with a 120 mm suspension fork, a 12-speed drivetrain, and 29×2.6″ tires. The 2-Star model boasts a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain, Marzocchi Bomber Z2 Rail fork, a Niner Custom saddle, and SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes. It doesn’t come with a dropper post, but you can fit one. Check out our recommendation of the best dropper seat posts.

Depending on how hard you shred, the Air 9 range has quite a large variety of set-ups to choose from, while the geometry of the bike is suitable for top-class riding in all bikes throughout the range.

  • HT angle: 70° / ST angle: 73° / Chainstay: 435mm

Buy on JensonUSA.com


2. Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon AL D R 2021

Best Trail Mountain Bike – Switch the dropout from 27.5″ to 29″

santa cruz chameleon hardtail

Comes in Fog & Yellowjacket (Pictured), Raspberry Sorbet and Grey

MSRP: from $2,149

As the name reveals, the 2021 Chameleon is SC’s vision for a bike to blend into the most surroundings!

It simply adapts to most environments with a flick of a thumb – whether it is a rugged single track, rocky downhill descents, or XC marathon trails – you can count on this bike to be your best companion. The Chameleon comes in either aluminum or carbon frame, 27.5″ plus-sized tires which accommodate a 130mm travel fork while 29ers come with 120mm travel. The bikes start as low as $1,949 for aluminum frames and go up to $5,000 for the limited edition.

  • Aluminum frame (Carbon available as well)
  • Fits 27.5″+ and 29″
  • RockShox Recon RL, 120mm
  • SRAM NX Eagle Shifters
  • 12-speed SRAM SX derailleur (Can be run as single speed mountain bike)
  • SRAM Level brakes
  • Cane Creek 10 IS integrated headset
  • SGD Tellis dropper seat post
  • WTB i40 TCS 2.0 rims
  • Water-bottle mounts on/under downtube
  • Head Tube Angle: 67.1°

This is simply one of the best value high-end aluminum hardtail mountain bikes you can get!

Buy from Backcountry Buy on Mikesbikes.com


3. Salsa Rangefinder

120mm travel all-mountain hardtail, wow

salsa rangefinder mountain bike

MSRP: $1,699
REI

You are looking at one of the hardest-charging aluminum all-mountain/trail hardtail mountain bikes – the Rangefinder by Salsa.

With a 120mm travel SR Suntour front suspension and an aluminum frame, the Rangefinder rocks a Shimano Deore 12-speed derailleur and shifters, WTB ST i30 wheels, and 2.6″ Maxxis Rekon tires. The Rangefinder is being stopped with Shimano MT200 mechanical disc brakes.

We are talking about a sub-$2000 hardtail mountain bike with an aluminum frame. There’s an interesting combination of components you’ll see on many higher-end builds such as the WTB Volt saddle and Shimano Deore 10-51T cassette. The dropper-post is made by the TranzX!

  • Head Tube Angle: 68°
  • Seat Tube Angle: 74°

Buy on REI.com


4. Cannondale Trail 8

Cannondale’s entry-level Trail edition

cannondale trail 8

MSRP: $625

The Trail series by Cannondale offers eight bikes in the range, whereas Trail 8 is the best value that retails for $625, and the mid-range models sell for around $1,500.

The Trail 8 is a great mountain bike for recreational & beginner cyclists as it has the right components you’d want to expect in 2022 in this price range. The geometry of this bike is also great for mountain biking on challenging tracks, and it can also be used as a perfect all-rounder bike due to the 75 mm travel fork on the front.

What stands out most about the bike is obviously the 2×7-speed drivetrain by Shimano and Tektro mechanical disc brakes, a SR Suntour suspension fork, and WTB Ranger Comp tires.

  • 27.5″ or 29×2.25″ tires
  • 75 mm travel
  • 14-Speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 68°

Buy on REI.com


5. Salsa Beargrease

Best carbon fat bike

salsa beargrease fat bike

 

MSRP: $2,899
Aventuron

The Salsa Beargrease is a fat tire mountain bike with a full carbon fiber frameset, and a rigid fork.

This impressive Salsa carbon frame is stiff and responsive and incredibly lightweight, giving this bike a premium feel. The huge 4″ 45NRTH Vanhelga fat tires ensure comfort, traction, and durability on almost any terrain you encounter. 

Of course, this bike is slightly limited on chunky downhill terrain without suspension, but the wider tires mean you can ride on snow, sand, and mud without issue.

 The groupset comprises Shimano’s Deore 11-speed drivetrain with an 11-51t cassette and reliable Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. 

All things considered, if you’re in the market for a fat tire mountain bike, you won’t get much better than the Salsa Beargrease in the sub $3,000 price range. 

  • 27.5″ x 4.0″ tires
  • Carbon frame and fork
  • Shimano Deore 11-speed 
  • Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors
  • WTB Volt saddle

Buy on Aventuron.com


6. BMC Twostroke AL ONE

Made by an iconic bike brand – BMC

BMC twostroke al one

MSRP: $2,000
Mikes Bikes

When it comes to ultra-durable, stylish, and well-thought-out mountain bikes – you can surely count on BMC. The Twostroke AL ONE is equipped with the latest technologies that are proven to be the best for the best hardtail mountain bike experience.

Anyway, this truly is a hardtail trail mountain bike to consider when you are looking for a performance race’ companion. Just look at the list of components, and tell me what’s there to upgrade? The only downside about this bike is that you’ll need to climb up some gnarly hills to enjoy those rugged terrains on your way down. Another great thing about this excellent balance and weight distribution for these tackling steep, varied terrains!

  • Twostroke AL Premium Aluminium
  • 29″ x 2.25″ tires
  • Head Tube Angle: 67°

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


7. Diamondback Sync’R 29

29x.2.5″ & 29×2.4″

Diamondback - Sync'R 29 Carbon Mountain Bike - Black

MSRP: $1,500
Backcountry

Look no further when you want THE hardtail to conquer any single trail with the best possible speed and confidence.

The 27.5-inch Sync’R is Diamondback’s middle-of-the-line aluminum hardtail with a massive 140mm fork on the front. The rather slack geometry is best for all-mountain blasting, while the 27.5-inch wheels complement the ones who dare to steer this beast on a regular basis.

We believe that hardtail MTBs have a solid place to stay, and they can easily make a comeback among both new and experienced mountain bikers alike. As hardtails offer less ‘frame flex’ compared to full-suspension mountain bikes, the Sync’r has a nice value and multiple reputable features.

  • Aluminum
  • Sram SX Eagle 12-speed
  • RockShox Recon RL, 140mm
  • Head Tube: 66°, Seat Tube 74°

Buy on Backcountry.com


8. Marin San Quentin 3

Fantastic value for this amount of money

marin san quentin 3 mtb

MSRP: $2,399
Jenson USA

The 1×12 Deore drivetrain is known for being light, reliable, and easy to maintain.

Shimano MT420 4-Piston hydraulic brakes, extra-wide 2.5″ knobby Maxxis Assegai tires inspire confidence, and grip like their life depends on it. The San Quentin is as tough as it looks. Equipped with solid components, durable geometry, and a massive 130mm travel fork in the front gives you a ton of freedom when you’d really like to push the bike to its limits!

Marin San Quentin 3 has some fantastic surprises when it comes to the components fitted to it. When we saw the price and analyzed the parts, we had no second thoughts about including it on the ‘best mountain bikes’ list. First of all, what sticks out is the RockShox Revelation RC fork. While this is a 27.5″ mountain bike made by Marin, it boasts quite a good set-up for intermediate mountain bikers.

  • 27.5″ Wheels
  • 12-Speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 66°

Buy on Jenson USA

Best Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes of 2022


9. Ibis Ripmo

Big wheel, big travel speed demon

ibis ripmo mountain bikes

MSRP: $4,399
Jenson USA

The Ibis Ripmo V2 Deore is a full carbon trail bike with an aggressive frame geometry that combines longer reach with a steep, 76-degree seat tube angle. This places the rider more forward over the pedals for better control on steep, tricky descents. In addition, the slacker 65.9-degree headtube and 44m reduced-offset fork make climbing less wobbly, resulting in an excellent all-round trail bike.

The front fork is a DVO Onyx D1 with 160mm of travel and the rear suspension features a DVO Topaz T3 Air shock that features a compression adjustment lever with three settings. Both these parts can be upgraded to Fox Float Factory parts or a DVO Jade X Coil on the rear. For downhill riding you also get a Bike Yoke Revive dropper post and on the wheels are Ibis rims and Maxxis Assegai 29×2.5″ tires.

  • 29″ Wheels
  • Front Travel: 160mm
  • Rear Travel: 147mm
  • 12-Speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 64.9°

Buy on JensonUSA.com


10. Ghost SLAMR 2.9

ghost slamr 2.9 mountain bike

MSRP: $2,039
REI

The Ghost SLAMR 2.9 is an affordable full-suspension mountain bike. The stylish black/gray finish makes this look like a high-end bike. The 130mm travel in the front and rear categorizes this bike under the all-mountain level.

The SLAMR 2.9 rocks an 11-50T 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain, aluminum frame, 2.4 & 2.5-inch Minion tires by Maxxis. RockShox Judy Silver is what represented the front-end, which is a solid frontman for this trail beast. Finally, you can rip down descents with the help of a JD dropper seatpost.

  • HT: 66.5º
  • ST: 75.5º
  • Chainstays: 438mm
  • Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+

Buy on REI.com


11. Cannondale Habit 4

RockShox full suspension with SRAM components

cannondale habit 4 womens mtb

MSRP: $3,000

Cannondale never fails to surprise us. The Cannondale Habit 4 is a mid-range mountain bike with a trail-focused geometry. High-end features packed in an affordable price tag.

Built for trail enthusiasts who wish to start racing or check out some awesome descents in and around the county – The new Habit 4 is built around a SmartForm C1 alloy frame that is lightweight and offers nimble and responsive handling, especially on tricky descents.

A perfect alternative to much pricier carbon frames seen in that price range. The combination of RockShox front(140mm) and rear(130mm) suspension makes light of any bumps and rocks you encounter on the trail.

We’d feel free to try and reach our potential with this kind of set-up. Shifting is one of the most critical points on a trail bike for anyone, and the 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle derailleur means you will have no headaches on the trail. Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes (w/ 180mm on front & rear) certainly clear that last doubt from your mind.

  • 27.5″ (S) 29″ (S+) Wheels
  • Front Travel: 140mm
  • Rear Travel: 130mm
  • 12-Speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 66°

Buy on REI.com


12. Yeti SB130 Series

Best High-End Performance Carbon All-Mountain Bike

Yeti SB130 line full suspension mtb

MSRP: From $6,500
Competitive Cyclist

The Yeti SB130 is a line of high-end carbon trail bikes with the best components for performance riders. Yeti mountain bikes are perfect for professional trail riders who want to start winning races, therefore the bike might be too much for a casual cyclist. The SB130 is a premium line of bikes coming from Yeti, featuring a light, stiff, and responsive carbon frame, that can win any Enduro podium!

The 6 different builds:

  • Yeti SB130 Carbon Lunch Ride
  • Yeti SB130 Turq Lunch Ride
  • Yeti SB130 Turq T1
  • Yeti SB130 Turq T2
  • Yeti SB130 Carbon C1
  • Yeti SB130 Carbon C2

Fox Factory 36 and Performance 36 150mm to 160mm forks and the Fox Factory DPX2 130mm rear travel which means you can start practicing on terrains unimaginable to you before. For the $5,399 that you’d need to pay for the cheapest build – you will get one of the top trail bikes with SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed rear derailleur, which is the best you can find on the market right now.

Maxxis Minion 2.5″ tire in the front and a Maxxis Aggressor 2.3″ in the back is a combo that will make you fast on harder flats and perfectly optimized grip in tight turns. Simply put, the Yeti SB130 line speaks for itself – It’s a selection of bikes you’ll fall in love with and finally start winning some races.

  • 29″ Wheels
  • Front Travel: 150 – 160mm
  • Rear Travel: 130mm
  • 12-Speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 65.1° – 65.5°

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


13. Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Expert

specialized stumpjumper evo expert

MSRP: $6,400
Mikes Bikes

The Specialized Stumpjumper is one of the most agile Enduro bikes on the market. The bike is ideal for professional riders who want to race or enthusiasts who want to break personal records.

With all of its high-tech features, starting with the frame of carbon and high-end suspension, it is hard not to include the Specialized Stumpjumper on any list. This supreme Enduro bike is something you’d expect in a sci-fi movie. It comes with 29-inch wheels as it allows getting a lot more responsiveness and stability when I go fast on all-terrain, descents, or over rocks.

There’s no doubt the SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed rear derailleur will be on par in any situation when you need to maintain your cadence. The Specialized engineers really thought about everything, especially with the GRID TRAIL casing Gripton tires and the exquisite SRAM Code RS hydraulic brakes.

  • 29″ wheels
  • 160/150mm travel
  • 12-Speed

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


14. Niner WFO RDO 2-Star

Best Enduro MTB

niner wfo rdo 2-star mountain bike

MSRP: $5,199
Jenson USA

The Niner WFO RDO 2-Star is an all-terrain machine that can both climb hills efficiently and tackle fast flats and downhill. This Niner bike is built around RDO Carbon technology, which makes it amazingly lightweight, stiff, and resilient.

The frame is made complete with the Fox 38 Float Performance GRIP EVOL fork with 180mm of travel and the Fox Float X2 Performance rear suspension linked with Niner’s CVA suspension system. These make this bike a true Enduro machine, but give it some downhill traits as well. This frame has fully internal cable routing and a flip chip which I love as it allows you to change geometry while riding. 

Today’s bikes generally do not lack gearing, so the Niner solved that with a lightweight and quick 12-speed SRAM SX/X1 Eagle drivetrain. Hydraulic disc brakes are a must on a bike of this caliber, so the SRAM G2 R 200mm-rotor hydraulic brakes provide more than ample braking.

The Niner WFO RDO 2-Star is an incredibly capable and plush 29er enduro bike designed for the harshest downhill terrain and surprisingly efficient climbing. 

  • 29″ Wheels
  • 2.6″ Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Dampf tires
  • 180/170mm travel
  • 12-speed
  • Head Tube Angle: 64°

Buy on JensonUSA.com 


What Else Do I Need To Know?


Price Category Must-Haves

mountain bike price comparison

Front Suspension with Lockout

A good MTB should have a lock-out feature on the suspension fork, with plenty of adjustments to be made according to the trail and rider.

Internal Cable Routing

Internal cable routing is obviously another must these days, alongside with

1x Chainring

1x front chainring with 11- or 12 speed rear cassette.

Tubeless-Ready Wheels and Tires

Also, the majority of mountain bikers have turned to tubeless-ready wheels and tires.

SRAM and Shimano Components

SRAM has been dominating the MTB industry, while higher-end Shimano components are present on many bikes.

mtb components

Dropper seat post with a switch, locking & adjustable fork, single front chainring with 11/12 speed cassette

Popular Wheel Sizes

29″ vs 27.5″ vs 26″ mountain bike wheels, 27.5″ or 29″ wheels are basically a must these days.

29″ Wheels: XC, Trail, All-Mountain, Enduro

  • Best for going fast on straight lines
  • Great rollover capabilities
  • Preferred by taller riders

27.5″ (650b) Wheels: XC, Trail, All-Mountain, Enduro, Downhill

  • Better on technical sections
  • Allows to fit plus-sized tires 2.4-2.8″ wide
  • Faster acceleration

26″ Wheels: Park, Trail, XS frame sizes

  • Often seen on older mountain bikes
  • Available in XS, S frames

Prices & What To Expect

  • Mountain bikes under $1,000 > A selection of entry-mid aluminum hardtail models.
  • Mountain bikes under $1,500 – A mid-range hardtail bikes with all the bells and whistles.
  • Mountain bikes under $2,000 – A good quality trail mountain bike, carbon frames starting to come along.
  • Mountain bikes under $2,500 – Entry full-suspension trail mountain bikes, carbon hardtail mountain bikes.
  • Mountain bikes under $3,000 > Variation of entry-mid range full-suspension bikes.
  • Mountain bikes under $3,500 – The widest option of bikes to choose from.

Suspension Travel

Short, mid vs long-travel

Short suspension travel is anything less than 100-120mm and is best for all-around performance, as well as for smoother trails and uphill rides. Long suspension travel is between 120-200mm and is best for high-speed descents on rough terrain. The larger the travel, the more suitable the bike is for descending.

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We can also combine these traits in mid-suspension travel bikes, but we lose some of the advantages of both worlds this way.

Gears

How many gears are enough on a bicycle?

Gears are generally not a problem on today’s mountain bikes. These days mountain bikes usually have between 9 and 27 gears on 1x, 2x, or 3x cranksets. All of these setups will provide you with plenty of gearing. The only time you might need to get off your bike is up to some extremely steep hills.

  • 1x chainrings = Option among mid/high-end bikes.
  • 2x chainrings = Mid-range bikes
  • 3x chainrings = Often used on cheaper or gravel bikes.

Head Tube Angle

The head tube angle is important because it affects handling.

  • XC – Cross Country bikes have steeper head angles (69-71 degrees) which makes the fork more upright and provides sharper handling.
  • Aggressive enduro and trail bikes have sharper head tube angles (65-68 degrees), which makes the fork more parallel to the ground. This provides more stability, but it affects handling
  • Downhill bikes have slacker head angle (62 degrees and up)

Women’s Mountain bikes vs Men’s Mountain bikes?

The main difference in women’s mountain bike geometry is the shorter top tube, which also has a lower angle for easier on- and off. It is also the aesthetics, obviously.

Related: Best Women’s Mountain Bikes of 2022

What are the best mountain bike brands?

Bike brands that are specialized in the mountain bikes scene are – Ibis, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Yeti, Orbea, Evil. Many other popular mountain bike brands are Giant, Trek, Mongoose, Cannondale, Diamondback, GT Bicycles, Rocky Mountain, Scott, and many others.

Read more from our Best Bike Brands article to find out more!


To Wrap It Up

Before buying a mountain bike, you need to ask yourself what you want to do with it and how serious you are going to be about it. Are you planning to go for relaxed forest rides on trails, ride long cross-country rides, or do downhill descents? All of these categories require a different bike. After that, determine your budget and you can finally pick your perfect bike! This way, you’ll ensure that you’ll end with the best mountain bike for your needs!

2 thoughts on “Best Mountain Bikes in 2022

  1. Matt says:

    In your section on the Diamondback Atroz 2 you write “The SR Suntour Raidon-R rear air shock will help you with this. It has a rebound adjust, so it won’t feel like a pogo stick, like many other entry-level forks.”
    The Radion-R is a rear shock, this much you got right. You then go on to note that “it won’t feel like a pogo stick, like many other entry-level forks”.
    Why on earth are you comparing the feel of the rear shock to that of an entry level fork? Forks exist exclusively on the FRONT of a bike. Find a bike with a rear fork and I”ll be extremely impressed. If you want to compare the rear shock to something, let that something be another rear shock as opposed to a completely different component at the opposite end of the bike.

    Also the writing here is just bad. Lets say that that it was somehow appropriate to compare the Raidon-R to entry-level forks. If you were trying to make a point that the Raidon-R was better than the entry level forks you would say “The SR Suntour Raidon-R rear air shock will help you with this. It has a rebound adjust, so it won’t feel like a pogo stick, *unlike* many other entry-level forks.”
    When you use “like” as opposed to “unlike” you are essentially saying that the Raidon-R doesn’t feel like a pogo stick and neither do the entry level forks you are comparing it to

    In the next paragraph you say “I especially liked the 9-speed drivetrain, which keeps shifting simple and effective. The rear derailleur is a Shimano Acera, which is expected on best mountain bikes.”

    The Acera line is never expected on anything other than entry level bikes. The reason? Acera is Shimanos absolute lowest entry level complete Groupset. This is why you can buy and brand new Shimano Acera rear derailleur brand new in the box from Walmart for $24.99.
    “….expected on best mountain bikes.”
    Come on man…..

    I could go on like this all the way down your entire article. Bottom line is that given your overwhelming lack of knowledge on the subject of all things “Mountain bike” its downright inappropriate and extremely uncool of you to write an article intended to offer guidance to others on the subject. I get that it may make you feel helpful but the fact of the matter is that its never helpful to speak with authority on a subject which you have very little knowledge of. People who put their trust in your words will ultimately be mislead and potentially let down, disappointed or god forbid even injured when they made decisions based upon the poor information you’ve given them. Please consider taking this article down or editing it after having it reviewed by someone who knows what their talking about.

    1. Melissa Rae says:

      Hi Matt, thanks for pointing those mistakes out. They were simply slips of tongue and they are now corrected. 🙂 Happy riding!

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