Mountain biking is a fun activity and a great excuse to spend some quality time in nature. As all of those bikes have the perfect capability for trails, there’s an increasing number of cyclists who want a good MTB for their everyday commutes as well!
The good news is that the whole bicycle industry has seen rapid growth during the past decade, which leaves us to almost limitless possibilities of different bikes to choose from.
Down below you’ll find a selection of one of the most popular & highly rated mountain bikes in 2020
Co-op Cycles DRT 2.1
Best Value Mountain Bike For Beginners
Wheel Size: 27.5″+ | Front Travel: 120-140mm | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 68°
- 1×12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain for superior variety
- The SR Suntour XCR fork with 120mm(XS,S ) and 140mm (M-XL) travel operates well in moderate conditions.
- Shimano Tourney derailleurs
- X-Fusion Manic dropper seat post
- Tektro AURIGA Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- WTB ST i35 TCS 2.0 Tubeless-Ready wheels
The 2.1″ tire width is definitely suitable for forests, which gives enough traction for most trails out there.
Weight of the bike: Approx 34lbs / Max weight capacity: 300lbs total including the bike and rider.
DRT-series hardtails by price
1.0 – $549
1.1 – $549
1.2 – $949
2.1 – $1,299
2.2 – $1,799
It’s got a pretty nice selection of components you’ll see on bikes that usually cost twice the price. Even at full price, all Co-op bikes are a bargain! We like the whole concept around Co-op. It’s owned by REI, a famous outdoor manufacturer.
Cannondale Habit AL 5 29 (2020)
Best Trail Mountain Bike
Wheel Size: 29″ | Front Travel: 140mm | Rear Travel: 130mm | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 66°
Why should you buy this? The Cannondale Habit AL 5 combines RockShox full suspension with Shimano SLX components.
Who is it for? Trail enthusiasts who wish to start racing or check out some awesome descents.
The Cannondale Habit AL 5 is a mid-range mountain bike with a trail-focused geometry. You’ll notice many characteristics leaning towards many high-end full-suspension bikes, too.
The Cannondale’s SmartForm C1 alloy frame is lightweight and offers nimble and responsive handling, especially on tricky descents. A perfect alternative to much pricier carbon frames seen on that price range.
The combination of RockShox front and rear suspension with 140mm of travel on front and 130mm on the rear is superior to any bumps and rocks you encounter on the trail. I’d feel free to try and reach my 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 brakes (w/ 180mm on front & rear) certainly clear that doubt out of my mind.
More Cannondale Habit full-suspension bikes at a bargain from GravityCoalation!
Raleigh Tokul 2
Best Trail Hardtail Bike
Wheel Size: 27.5″ | Front Travel: 130mm | Gear(s): 11 | Head Tube Angle: 67°
Why Should You Buy This? SRAM NX Derailleurs which offer fantastic value for this amount of money.
Who is it for? Trail enthusiasts who enjoy a slacker geometry
The Tokul 2 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 to mountain bikers.
First of all, what sticks out is the RockShox Judy Silver Solo Air fork featuring:
- 130mm of travel
1×11 Drivetrain with SRAM NX rear derailleur is known for being light, reliable, and easy to maintain.
Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes, with 180/160mm rotors
Extra-wide 2.8″ knobby Maxxis Minion tires inspire confidence, and grip like their life depends on it.
The Tokul 2 is as tough as it looks. Equipped with solid components, funky yet 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!
Yeti SB130 Line
Best High-End Carbon Trail Bike
Wheel Size: 29″ | Front Travel: 150 – 160mm | Rear Travel: 130mm | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 65.1° – 65.5°
MSRP: from $5,399
Why should you buy this? The Yeti SB130 is a line of high-end carbon trail bikes with the best components, capable of anything.
Who is it for? The Yeti SB130 is perfect for professional trail riders who want to start winning races.
Why did we choose the SB130 line?
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.
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. This means you can start practicing on terrains unimaginable to you before.
For the $5,399 that you 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.
I was also quite excited about seeing the Maxxis Minion 2.5″ tire in the front and a Maxxis Aggressor 2.3″ in the back. This combo will make you fast on the harder flats and offer more grip in tight turns.
Simply, the Yeti SB130 line speaks for itself. It’s a selection of bikes you will fall in love with and finally start winning some races.
Specialized Epic (Expert)
Best XC Bike
Wheel Size: 29″ | Front Travel: 100mm | Rear Travel: 51x257mm | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 69.5°
Why should you buy this? Thanks to Brain Technology, the Specialized Epic was the first FS bike to win an XC World Championship.
Who is it 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 the Brain technology-enabled suspension, it is hard not to include the Specialized Epic Expert on any list.
This supreme XC bike won the World Championship thanks to the Brain tech that differentiates between rider’s pedal strokes and bumps and does not allow for your power to be wasted through suspension. It’s something you’d expect in a sci-fi movie.
The Epic Expert comes with 29-inch wheels, which I personally prefer on XC rides, as it gives me a lot more responsiveness and stability when I go fast on all-terrain, descents, or over rocks.
There’s no doubt the SRAM GX 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 wider 2.3″ tire on the front and the 2.1″ on the back and the exquisite SRAM hydraulic brakes.
Salsa Beargrease Carbon NX Eagle
Best Fat Bike
Wheel Size: 27.5″ | Front Travel: None | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 68.5°
Why should you buy this? Salsa Beargrease should make it to your list because of the wide tires that roll over any obstacles and incredible specs for the price.
Who is it for? For trail enthusiasts who want to ride in the extremes or travelers looking for long yet comfortable rides.
A list of the best mountain bike would simply not be complete without a fat bike. And what better contender for the place than the amazingly light carbon Salsa Beargrease. I had no doubts to include it. Plus, it’s a bike with one of the best paint jobs out there, in my opinion!
Apart from great looks that scream, “Ride me!” Salsa Beargrease can boast of having the top of the line SRAM components. Starting from the SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, to the SRAM Guide T hydraulic brakes.
The 45NRTH Dillinger 4 27.5″ x 3.8″ tires are just monstrous! Not all fat bikes have these. I always feel more confident when riding on wide tires, and this is as good as it gets! If you deflate them enough, you can even ride on the sand.
When you look at the whole picture, the Salsa Beargrease is a real bargain for all types of terrain. It will certainly make you fall in love with cycling over and over again.
Niner RKT 9 RDO
Best MTB For All Terrain
Wheel Size: 29″ | Front Travel: 120mm | Rear Travel: 210×50-65mm | Gear(s): 12 | Head Tube Angle: 69.5° – 70°
MSRP: from $3,900
Why should you buy this? The Niner RKT 9 RDO is a do-it-all terrain machine that can both climb hills efficiently and tackle fast flats and downhill.
Who is it for? It’s intended for experienced, versatile trail riders.
The Niner RKT 9 is built around an RDO Carbon Compaction technology, which makes it amazingly lightweight, stiff, and resilient. The frame is made complete with the Fox 34 Float Performance Elite fork with 120mm of travel and the Fox Float DPS rear suspension with three possible positions. These make this Niner a true XC bike, but give it some trail traits as well.
This frame is Di2 ready with internal cable routing and has a constant Varying Arc which I love as it makes pedaling much more efficient.
Today’s bikes generally do not lack gearing, so the Niner solved that with a lightweight and quick 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain.
Hydraulic disc brakes are a must on a bike of this caliber, so a more than ample braking is provided by the SRAM Level hydraulic brakes.
It’s one of the most versatile bikes and best looking, as it’s available in two colors – Orange and Carbon Green.
Co-Op Cycles REV 24 Plus
Best Kids’ Mountain Bike (24″ Wheels)
Wheel Size: 24″ | Front Travel: none | Gear(s): 7 |
Why should you buy this? It’s a low-priced entry-level kids MTB, with decent components, perfect to show your kid what mountain biking is all about.
Who is it for? Co-Op Cycles REV 24 Plus is made for children who are making their first pedal strokes on tame forest trails.
The Co-op Cycles REV 24 Plus was an obvious choice for us because we could not let down the youngest mountain bike lovers.
When you’re buying your child their first bike, it’s a good idea not to overspend, because you do not know if they will like it or not. Their first bike should be simple, to show them the best sides of this sport.
With the $379 you spend, your kid will get the budget bike with decent Shimano components on a drivetrain with 7 speeds – more than enough for most moderate trails.
It even has mechanical disc brakes, which is not common at this price, and the difference is enormous compared to V-brakes.
The REV 24 is a good buy for a first mountain bike that your kid will thank you for.
Check out the full REV-series review for kids
Diamondback Haanjo 5C
Best Gravel Grinder
Wheel Size: 27.5″ | Front Travel: None | Gear(s): 20 | Head Tube Angle: 69° – 72°
Why should you buy this? Gravel bikes are sweeping the industry right now due to their versatility and, speed, and comfort – everything the Haanjo 5C has.
Who is it for? Diamondback Haanjo 5C is for cycling or travel enthusiasts who like to wander off the beaten track.
The Diamondback Haanjo 5C is the most optimal choice from the Haanjo line, that would meet the requirements of most mid-experienced riders. However, depending on your preferences, you can also choose the same-priced Haanjo 4 or the higher-priced Haanjo 7C. They are a good buy as well.
What, if you ask me, makes Haanjo 5C a great buy is the extremely light and stiff carbon frame and everything that is fitted on it. That goes especially for the 2×10 Shimano drivetrain, combined from Deore, XT, and Tiagra parts. A Shimano’s monster that will be your best friend on all terrain.
I also have a very high opinion of the HED Tomcat wheels, which are tubeless ready and the WTB Byway 47mm tires fitted on them. The only let-down is the mechanical disc brakes. However, they still brake quite well, so you’ll have no problems stopping.
What Else Do You Need To Know?
Wheel Size – Which Is Best
There isn’t really the best wheel size.
The two most popular sizes for mountain bikes are the 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Both of them are good for different things.
29ers have better traction, smaller attack angle (therefore smoother ride), and more efficient acceleration. However, these wheels are slower than 27.5″ ones and add more weight. Moreover, 27.5″ wheels are easier to maneuver, because of better responsiveness.
Most fat bikes have 27.5″ wheels.
As you can see, both have advantages and disadvantages, so learn more to decide which is better for you.
Short, mid vs long-travel
Short suspension travel is less than 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.
We can also combine these traits in mid suspension travel, but we lose some of the advantages of both worlds this way.
How many should it have?
Gears are generally not a problem on today’s mountain bikes. These 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 some extremely steep hills.
Head Tube Angle
The head tube angle is important because it affects handling.
Basically cross country bikes have steeper head angles, whilst downhill bikes have slacker head angles.
Aggressive enduro and trail bikes have sharper head tube angle (65-68 degrees), which makes the fork more parallel to the ground. This provides more stability, but it affects handling
On the other hand, XC bikes have a steeper head tube angle (69-71 degrees), which makes the fork more upright and provides sharper handling.
To Wrap It Up
I must say that all of the bikes listed above are top-notch bikes for the money. They will serve you well and you will be happy with them if they are right for the type of riding you are doing.
Therefore, 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!