Selecting the very best mountain bike is difficult. There’s a great deal of them. All of them look related but totally different. Our skilled panel of reviewers slender issues down.
Mountain bikes come in several designs relying on their supposed use. A mountain bike for racing cross-country just isn’t the identical as a mountain bike designed for weekend path driving. As such, our round-up of the very best mountain bikes obtainable proper now options successful bikes from totally different disciplines throughout the broad church that’s mountain biking. We’ll undergo the variations in disciplines additional down this information.
What’s your funds?
£400+ is an efficient begin for a motorcycle that may stand as much as off-road abuse with out falling aside in 5 minutes, however… maintain your horses. We’re going to enter what you get (and don’t get) on your cash in a second. You may get a wonderfully first rate mountain bike for beneath £600. It’s also possible to max out your bank card and drop over £10k on a mountain bike.
Are these bikes 10x higher? No, they aren’t. The regulation of diminishing returns undoubtedly applies to mountain bikes, notably as you spend over £4,000. They’re higher, generally considerably so relying on the rider and terrain, however primarily you get much less drastic enhancements in bike high quality the upper you go up the value scale.
Our present picks in any respect value factors:
We’ve examined the entire following bikes. Examined them correctly in opposition to their friends, backed up with years of expertise reviewing 1000’s of mountain bikes since MBR was launched again in 1997. This isn’t some shortlist pulled collectively from shopping brochures and model web sites – these bikes are ridden and rated by among the most skilled testers within the enterprise, all with a shared ardour for mountain biking and supplying you with the very best shopping for recommendation potential.
Bounce straight to your value level:
Skip forward to the part that’s best for you, or be happy to browse your approach down our collection of top-rated bikes.
Beneath £600 mountain bikes
What to look out for on the greatest mountain bikes beneath £600: Keep away from full-suspension in any respect price. Keep away from grocery store bikes. They’ll be heavy and/or flexy with poor damping and there’ll be no after-sales backup or spares after they go improper. Go for aluminium frames quite than metal/chromoly to avoid wasting weight. Select hydraulic disc brakes if potential as they’re extra dependable.
Intention for fashionable path bike geometry over steep, twitchy XC angles. Air-sprung suspension forks make it simpler to set the bike as much as your physique weight. Shimano or SRAM drivetrains will guarantee high quality and reliability of shifting, ideally with a single chainring up entrance and wide-range cassette on the rear. This simplifies gear choice and reduces the possibility of the chain coming off on a tough descent.
High quality alloy body with fashionable geometry that makes an awesome platform for future upgrades
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 14.6kg | Suspension journey: 120mm entrance | Score: N/A
Execs: Wonderful value, nice geometry and vary of sizes, spot-on cockpit and part selections, and an energetic fork.
Cons: The fork tops out with a clunk.
Utilizing the identical body because the multi award-winning Voodoo Bizango (featured beneath) the Braag saves cash in a number of areas to convey the value level beneath £600. So that you get the identical assured, enjoyable dealing with and wonderful unfold of sizes, together with a wide-range but easy 9-speed drivetrain and an opulent coil-sprung suspension fork. The one fly within the ointment is that the fork can get a bit clunky, however general this can be a killer bike for the cash and one you may improve as your abilities progress.
Learn our full assessment of the Voodoo Braag
Merely astounding spec and efficiency for the value
Wheel measurement: 27.5in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 14.38kg | Suspension journey: 120mm entrance | Score: 10/10
Execs: Experience high quality and construct package belie its price ticket
Cons: Demand at all times outstrips provide, so be fast!
By bestowing the identical stage of element on the Nucleus VR that the majority different manufacturers reserve for his or her flagship fashions, Vitus has had wonderful success with its entry-level hardtail. Yearly with out fail, Vitus has tweaked the Nucleus VR to make sure that it stays forward of the competitors. And by a few steps, it’s usually superior to many of the bikes within the sub-£750 class of our Hardtail of the 12 months take a look at. Sadly, as is the case with so many bikes just lately, the value has gone up and availability is scarce. Nonetheless, if you happen to see the Nucleus come into inventory, don’t hesitate to snap it up, even at £599, because it’s nonetheless a cut price and by far the very best hardtail mountain bike at this value.
Learn our full take a look at assessment of the Vitus Nucleus VR
Beneath £750 mountain bikes
What to look out for on the very best mountain bikes beneath £750: Truthfully, at this little nudge up from the £600 bikes detailed above, you’re merely searching for barely higher elements. Issues like higher high quality tyres (folding kevlar bead, decently treaded), undoubtedly an air-sprung fork, gears with a wider vary. Learn our purchaser’s information for extra data on selecting the greatest hardtail mountain bike.
The bike that rewrote the definition of entry-level hardtail efficiency
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 13.1kg | Suspension journey: 120mm entrance | Score: 10/10
Execs: The value, up to date geometry, mild weight, decrease vary gears, wider handlebar and improved dealing with. And did we are saying the value?
Cons: You’ll most likely battle to pay money for one.
The alloy Bizango easy has no competitors. It’s merely unbeatable for the cash. In truth, given the selection we’d most likely go for this bike over many first rate £1,000 mountain bikes (saving a few elements upgrades for the following seasons). Good brakes, good gearing, loads of standover, first rate fork. Shames many bikes at twice the value.
Learn our full assessment of the Voodoo Bizango
Beneath £1,000 mountain bikes
What to look out for on the greatest mountain bikes beneath £1,000: an general weight decrease than 14kg (though it may be arduous to search out listed weights for bikes as of late sadly). As with the £750 must-haves above, it’s extra about searching for enhancements within the bike’s general spec. Two game-changing options which will begin to seem at this value level are dropper seatposts and bolt-thru axles.
Wonderful worth 29er hardtail mountain bike
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 13.2kg (29.2lb) | Suspension journey: 130mm entrance | Score: 10/10
Execs: Good geometry and superlative spec selections. Low weight and cozy journey really feel
Cons: BB may very well be a finger’s width decrease. Rear Rekon tyre wants beefing up
The Voodoo Bizango has smashed just about any take a look at it’s ever entered, successful our Hardtail of the 12 months award a number of instances, incomes common podium locations on our checklist of the greatest hardtail mountain bikes, and impressing everybody who rode it. It should have been very tempting for Halfords to stay with the previous body, add a contemporary color, fettle the spec and maintain mixing up that successful combine.
We’re extraordinarily glad they didn’t then. For Halfords’ sake, standing nonetheless within the extremely aggressive hardtail market is suicide. And for our sake, the brand new Bizango Professional is way the superior bike to something Voodoo has made earlier than and in the end extra enjoyable to journey.
Nice brakes imply you may go sooner within the blissful data you may cease when it’s essential, whereas the 12-speed shifting means you may cruise the hills sooner than loads of full sus bikes on the market. After which there’s the fork, it’s vastly superior to something I’ve tried earlier than on a £1k hardtail: air sprung so you may set the sag to your weight, efficient rebound dial for management, and a extremely clean really feel.
Learn the complete Voodoo Bizango Professional assessment
A correct hardcore hardtail that gained’t break the financial institution
Wheel measurement: 27.5in or 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 12.94kg | Suspension journey: 140mm entrance | Score: 9/10
Execs: Clean journey, rewarding dealing with, grippy tyres.
Cons: Fork rattles, gears lack vary, uncomfortable brakes.
Vitus as a model has shortly established itself because the sensible alternative for anybody searching for inexpensive mountain bikes that shred arduous and don’t reduce corners.
Finally we would like a motorcycle to place a smile on our face each time we journey it, and the Vitus passes this take a look at with flying colors. The body is superb high quality and the journey high quality is infectious, however a lot of the credit score for the Sentier’s path manners might be attributed to the tyres quite than the geometry or the suspension. One other nice function of the Sentier is that you would be able to get it with both 29in or 27.5in wheels for a similar value.
Learn our full assessment of the Vitus Sentier
Beneath £2,000 mountain bikes
What to look out for on the greatest mountain bikes beneath £2,000: Ought to have the entire stuff talked about for the £1,000 bikes above, plus… A choose handful of full-suspension bikes are first rate choices at this value level. BUT, a hardtail goes to be lighter and considerably higher specced. Fats tyre hardtails (with 2.6in + tyres) must be thought-about and take a look at ridden if you happen to’re after a path bike. Search for a single chainring drivetrain, ideally 11-speed or greater. A suspension fork with damping adjustment and tuning potential (quantity spacers and so on). Dropper seatposts are good to have however can at all times be fitted later. Hardtails can be break up by driving disciplines (XC, Path, Enduro) so select your weapon properly. SRAM NX or Shimano SLX drivetrain (or higher). Quick stem. Broad handlebars.
The legendary Calibre Bossnut by a distinct identify
Wheel measurement: 27.5in or 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 15.6kg | Suspension journey: 150mm f/140mm r 27.5in, 140mm f/135mm r 29in | Score: 9/10
Execs: Progressive sizing and geometry, nice worth for cash
Cons: Wants a Shimano chain
Calibre Bikes, bought solely via outside big, Go Outdoor, blew the entry-level full-suspension bike market to smithereens when it launched the unique Bossnut again in 2016. And it continued to be the benchmark full-suspension bike till the pandemic hit. Provide points have meant the Bossnut has disappeared from showroom flooring just lately, however whereas we watch for Calibre to launch a brand new vary of bikes, there may be an alternative choice. Calibre’s frames had been made by Polygon, and the Indonesian producer has adopted the geometry and suspension tuning that made the Bossnut head and shoulders above the competitors, and utilized it to the Siskiu. Additionally bought via Go Outdoor, the Siskiu is on the market with 29in or 27.5in wheels relying on the body measurement, with the bigger frames utilizing 29in wheels and the smaller ones getting 27.5in hoops.
With the Siskiu T8 29, Polygon has confirmed that entry-level pricing doesn’t should equate to entry-level efficiency or a lacklustre body end. And due to the completely fashionable geometry and sizing, the Siskiu T8 is a motorcycle that may be ridden arduous straight from the get go. Sure, there are some weaknesses within the construct package, however becoming a brand new chain and higher tyres are simple and inexpensive fixes. As such, the Siskiu T8 can evolve with you as your driving progresses, with out it ever making you are feeling prefer it’s the tools that’s holding you again.
Learn the complete assessment of the Polygon Siskiu T8
Excessive efficiency path bike at an unbeatable value
Wheel measurement: 27.5in or 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 15.54kg | Suspension journey: 150mm f/140mm r 27.5in, 140mm f/135mm r 29in | Score: 10/10
Execs: Sensible body high quality and handing
Cons: Truthfully can’t consider any!
There are 4 totally different fashions within the newly refreshed Vitus Mythique vary for 2023, with costs beginning at £1,599.99 and topping out at £2,399.99. All fashions use the identical alloy body with four-bar linkage suspension, however put on totally different elements relying on the value level. Like Polygon, Vitus makes use of each 27.5in and 29in wheels for the Mythique vary, however on this case all 4 body sizes and three spec ranges can be found with both wheel, so that you don’t should compromise in your final combo. Cheaper bikes get X-Fusion suspension and a 1×10 drivetrain, however there’s nonetheless grippy Maxxis tyres and an indispensable dropper put up on the entry-level mannequin. Additional up the vary you’ll discover 1×12 drivetrains and higher suspension, with Marzocchi forks and RockShox shocks, so that you’ll end up going sooner with better management. New for 2023 can also be a AMP mannequin with a RockShox Pike Choose fork and different alternative upgrades.
Pace, smiles, and magnificence; the brand new Vitus Mythique VRX has all in equal measure. It’s a path bike that covers an enormous remit with out the hefty price ticket to match. And whereas each price-point bike is a compromise, Vitus has emphasised the issues that matter most to journey high quality, with out leaving any obtrusive holes within the specification. The truth that the body seems each bit as polished as high-end bikes, simply provides to the general attraction. So whether or not you’re beginning out in mountain biking or are a seasoned rider searching for a path bike that provides unbeatable worth, we merely cannot suggest the Mythique extremely sufficient.
Learn the complete assessment of the Vitus Mythique 29 VRX (2023)
The hardtail that flatters specialists and freshmen alike
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: M, L, XL | Weight: 14.41kg | Suspension journey: 120mm f | Score: 10/10
Execs: Amazingly composed and secure dealing with.
Cons: Low-profile rear tyre could not swimsuit all situations. No measurement small – for that you simply want the 27.5in wheel 901 or 905.
The Whyte 629 V4 actually impressed us, and in some ways it mirrors its stablemate, the 905, in setting new hardtail requirements, this time for 29ers. Finally it’s balanced, composed, secure and exact, and whether or not you’re a relative newbie, or an skilled path rider, you’ll immediately grow to be hooked on its methods…
Learn our full assessment of the Whyte 629 V4
Mild weight with sharp dealing with
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL | Weight: 13.86kg | Suspension journey: 140mm f | Score: 9/10
Execs: Lighter than most rivals. Helpful software stashed beneath the saddle.
Cons: Poor moist climate brake efficiency, however you’ll want new discs and pads to enhance it
Merida has executed every part proper with this newest evolution of the Huge Path. Its participating journey high quality and feature-packed body immediately impressed us – making it a really compelling alternative. With its low weight and candy dealing with the Huge Path 600 ripped, particularly in drier situations. The body’s vary of sizing (and strategy to it) ought to cowl riders huge and small, with out having to go for a smaller wheel measurement.
Learn our full assessment of the Merida Huge Path 600
Succesful all-rounder that’s positive to make you smile
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: M, L, XL | Weight: 13.95kg | Suspension journey: 130mm f | Score: 9/10
Execs: Stellar specification. Compliant journey.
Cons: Care wanted with sizing. Tall seat tube. Solely three body sizes.
Though it doesn’t boast probably the most up-to-date sizing and match, we will’t fault the journey high quality of Nukeproof’s Scout. Once we final reviewed the Scout it was the smaller wheeled 270 and we praised the compliance of its body. It’s no totally different with this 290 Comp both – clean, snug and quiet, permitting your thoughts to remain targeted on the path forward. Sure, the XL Scout will surely profit from a shorter seat tube and an extended head tube, or on the very least and adjustable stroke dropper to get the very best from the body and because it’s very a lot at house on the descents.
Learn our full assessment of the Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp
Additionally value contemplating:
Beneath £3,000 mountain bikes
What to look out for on the greatest mountain bikes beneath £3,000: Ought to have no less than the entire stuff talked about within the ‘£1,000 to £2,000’ bikes vary, plus… Extra full-suspension choices seem, particularly over £2,000. Weight acutely aware cross-country riders are arguably nonetheless higher served with a hardtail, however everybody else might be higher off on full-suspension because it brings rather more consolation and management. Carbon enters the world right here, primarily with direct-sales manufacturers. Dropper seatpost must be current. Suspension fork and rear shock with compression damping adjustment. Full-suspension bikes can be categorised into driving disciplines (XC, Path, Enduro) so select accordingly. Some drivetrain components from SRAM GX or Shimano XT (or higher).
Fluid suspension really feel and agile dealing with
Wheel measurement: 27.5in or 29in | Body sizes: S (27.5in solely), M, L, XL | Weight: 15kg | Suspension journey: 160mm f/140mm r 27.5in, 150mm f/130mm r 29in | Score: 9/10
Execs: Earlier winner of our Path Bike of the 12 months. Excellent suspension and versatile dealing with.
Cons: Seat tubes may very well be shorter for improved standover clearance.
After an excellent few years (a long time?) of arguing amongst ourselves, the MTB world has just about settled on what constitutes a contemporary path bike: a mid-travel 29er. With 140/130mm journey the 29er Reactor ticks the essential bins, nevertheless it’s a lot greater than that. Extremely supple suspension allied to a body form that’s not too radically slack or low, so cuts throughout flat singletrack with scalpel-sharpness, but nonetheless has the composure to really feel at house on rougher enduro tracks. Additionally obtainable with a carbon body and 27.5in wheels, the Reactor vary has one thing for everybody. Which is why it was our Path Bike of the 12 months in 2020 and the costlier Professional model secured a 9/10 score within the newest 2022 TBoY take a look at.
Learn our full assessment of the Nukeproof Reactor 290 Professional
Inexpensive blended wheel enjoyable manufacturing unit
Wheel measurement: 29in f/27.5in r | Body sizes: S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 | Weight: 15.75kg | Suspension journey: 160mm f/160mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: Killer worth for cash. Inspiring dealing with.
Cons: Sluggish NX shifting, lack of official product information is irritating
If you happen to’re beginning to see a number of gray hairs seem then you might properly keep in mind the long-lasting Specialised Huge Hit. Though not the unique mullet bike, it was maybe probably the most profitable blended wheeler earlier than the development’s current resurgence. Why was it such a giant hit, if you happen to’ll excuse the pun? Nicely, it wasn’t designed for lengthy distances or going racing, it was constructed to place a smile on riders’ faces. And it succeeded in spades. The Standing invokes the spirit of that basic Huge Hit, with a blended wheel set-up, an inexpensive value and the power to generate enjoyable at each flip. For 2022 there are two fashions on provide, one with 140mm journey and the unique model with 160mm journey. Whichever one you decide, you’re in for a good time.
Learn our full assessment of the Specialised Standing 160
Additionally value contemplating:
Over £3000 mountain bikes
What to look out for: Fortunate you. Simply be sure you get a motorcycle that fits your precept driving self-discipline (XC, Path or Enduro) and also you’ll not go improper with something at this value! Regardless, search for no less than the entire stuff talked about above, plus… Carbon frames are value contemplating, particularly above £3,000. Tubeless set-up wheels and tyres. Full SRAM GX or Shimano XT drivetrains or higher. (Psst… absolutely you should even be considering the greatest electrical mountain bikes at this value..?)
Hilarious pace freak
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 11.25kg | Suspension journey: 120mm f/120mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: Good pace/functionality ratio.
Cons: Enterprise-like approach it retains wheels on the bottom.
Did somebody say down-country? The Spur is so on development it hurts. Transition as a model is often a frontrunner quite than a follower and this quick journey, progressive geometry ripper is true on the forefront of recent mountain biking. The Spur just isn’t designed for hitting chunky enduro tracks blind at warp pace; the Spur is all about maxing out the enjoyable on trails which can be extra acquainted and/or calmer. It’s not low cost, however that’s the value you pay for being on the reducing fringe of pace and dealing with.
Learn our full assessment of the Transition Spur
The final word path bike!
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 | Weight: 14.6kg | Suspension journey: 160mm f/150mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: A very versatile path bike with addictive dealing with, adjustable geometry and inner body storage
Cons: Makes use of a smaller 30t chainring, so you may run out of gears on descents.
Our Path Bike of the 12 months for 2022, the Specialised Stumpjumper Evo Comp effortlessly blends pleasure and efficiency and boasts the last word adjustability of any path bike, with head angle, BB and chainstay adjustment. Choose both an alloy or carbon body, relying in your funds, and there’s a complete vary of sizes to select from, all providing a super-low standover top. Half enduro shredder, half path ripper, the Stumpjumper Evo makes each journey higher and even boasts someplace to retailer your snacks.
Learn our full assessment of the Specialised Stumpjumper Evo Comp
Path bike perfection at a cut price value
Wheel measurement: 27.5in or 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 15.12kg | Suspension journey: 150mm f/140mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: Quick, quiet and killer worth.
Cons: Stiff dropper distant motion. Lacking an higher chain information.
Trendy geometry, impeccable dealing with and a min-blowing spec make this the last word direct-sales path bike. It gives a clean and silent journey that allows you to give attention to shredding as arduous as you may. An environment friendly climber, it’s actual forte is lengthy, flowing descents, the place it nearly rides itself. Select from 27.5in or 29in wheels and three ranges of spec – all with carbon frames.
Subsequent stage efficiency with built-in information logging
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 13.65kg (30.09lb) | Suspension journey: 150mm f/130mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: Quick and succesful, built-in suspension information acquisition, wonderful on-trail efficiency.
Cons: You want a 4G connection.
With Ahead Geometry, Mondraker revolutionised how we take into consideration mountain bike sizing. Ten years on and it’s revolutionising suspension set-up. With MIND, Mondraker’s built-in suspension information acquisition, suspension set-up and evaluation has by no means been simpler or extra correct. By itself, the Raze RR is a superb package deal, with MIND it gives subsequent stage know-how and efficiency for a small up-charge. Extra importantly, Mondraker has nailed the stability of pace, compliance and functionality with the Raze RR to completely seize the essence of the short-travel path class.
Learn our full assessment of the Mondraker Raze Carbon RR
Additionally value contemplating:
Finest light-weight XC mountain bike
What to look out for on the greatest XC race bikes: Whereas hardtails are nonetheless ridden by a number of diehard racers, most opponents now race on full-suspension bikes. Why? Nicely XC programs have grow to be extra technical and XC full-suspension bikes have grow to be lighter and extra environment friendly. Until you’re solely going to journey dash races (lower than 2 hours) on clean terrain, a full-suspension XC bike can be rather more versatile and allow you to increase your horizons to soak up the very best singletrack and path centres as properly.
Cut price pace machine
Body: UD Carbon | Weight: 11.34kg (25lb) | Score: 10/10
Execs: Speedy up and down. Typical Vitus worth.
Cons: Just one bottle mount.
The Vitus Rapide is a pure XC race bike, simply not within the conventional sense. Sure, it’s received 100mm journey and the complete carbon body weighs solely 2,080g, however take a more in-depth take a look at the remainder of its very important stats and also you’ll immediately see that the Rapide FS is closely influenced by the development of recent path bike geometry. It’s competitively mild given the value, and if Vitus was to launch an AMP model, it could simply search in beneath the 11kg threshold. It’s additionally a blisteringly quick bike and never simply in a straight line. The trendy geometry and beneficiant sizing assist you to assault more durable or get well extra simply on the descents, however the Rapide nonetheless climbs and sprints with the very best of them, due to its secure however supple suspension so going quick has by no means been as a lot enjoyable.
Learn our full assessment of the Vitus Rapide FS CRX
Cheetah (or ought to that be cheater?) bike
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 10.4kg | Suspension journey: 100mm f/100mm r | Score: 8/10
Execs: Punches properly above its weight.
Cons: Rear suspension is simply too energetic when pedaling
At 10.45kg in measurement giant, the Blur delivers easy pace. Whether or not you’re sharpening your elbows on the XC race scene, or wanting the last word gravel bike killer for smashing lengthy distance epics, the Blur will get the surroundings shifting at unbelievable velocity. Succesful sufficient to hit jumps and rip turns, it additionally has the effectivity to maximise each joule of vitality.
Learn our full assessment of the Santa Cruz Blur CC X01 AXS RSV
The unique down-country bike is now an actual head turner
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 11.12kg | Suspension journey: 120mm f/120mm r | Score: 9/10
Execs: Ruthless in its effectivity. Hidden shock ought to want much less upkeep.
Cons: Suspension may very well be extra supple in Descend mode.
Scott’s Spark has gained extra trophies than some other race bike, with double Olympic gold again in 2016. Redesigned just lately with a glossy new body and extra fashionable geometry, the Scott Spark has misplaced none of its efficiency, nevertheless it has grow to be much more versatile. It additionally will get a hidden shock for diminished upkeep, and distant suspension management for uphill effectivity with out compromising on downhill confidence.
Learn our full assessment of the Scott Spark RC WC AXS
Additionally value contemplating:
Finest enduro mountain bike
What to look out for on the greatest enduro mountain bikes: Enduro bikes are all about going quick downhill, positive, however in addition they should be environment friendly pedallers to deal with the lengthy liaisons and a number of climbs present in an enduro race. As such, the very best enduro bikes are secure and simple to pedal within the saddle on lengthy climbs, however they’ll deal with a descent with the arrogance of a DH bike. Search for journey between 160mm and 180mm mixed with both 29in wheels entrance and rear, or mullet set-ups (29in entrance, 27.5in rear). Huge rotors are a should (200mm) and strengthened tyres with a gentle compound up entrance. Chain guides get fitted for further safety and you might even discover a number of coil shocks on some fashions.
Precise one bike quiver
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, M/L, L, XL | Weight: 15.02kg (33.11lb) | Suspension journey: 170mm f/160mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: Quick, enjoyable and environment friendly. Tight, reactive journey. Progressive geometry. Versatile, composed. A do-it-all bike
Cons: XL would profit from a steeper seat angle
For an enduro bike with progressive geometry, the Trek Slash 9.8 XT is extremely versatile. Get on the fuel and it responds with a way of urgency that’s often reserved for shorter journey bikes. Land deep of a drop, or soar, nonetheless, and the rear suspension graces you with a featherlight touchdown. Cool and composed in each scenario the Trek Slash just isn’t the outright plushest bike we’ve ever examined, however the suspension response is at all times proportional and measured, so that you by no means really feel beneath or over-biked. It’s what makes the Slash the best alternative for anybody searching for that one do-it-all journey.
Learn our full assessment of the Trek Slash 9.8 XT
Devours the roughest tracks but climbs with poise and effectivity
Wheel measurement: 27.5, 29in or mullet | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL | Weight: 15.4kg | Suspension journey: 180mm f/170mm r | Score: 10/10
Execs: All the journey, not one of the downside.
Cons: Michelin tyres are temperature delicate.
The Giga is testomony to the adage that you would be able to have your pudding and eat it. You possibly can the entire all-ness the entire time. A great deal of journey. Slack AF head angle. The most important of wheel sizes. And probably the most exceptional factor? It rides similar to a standard mountain bike when the gradient ideas up. The Giga actually is a race-worthy enduro bike that doesn’t really feel like a chore to pedal round in your Sunday Social rides. Poppy and playful, the Giga isn’t any passive plough.
Learn our full assessment of the Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Manufacturing unit
Race-ready 29er enduro bike that blows the doorways off every part else at this value level
Wheel measurement: 29in | Body sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 15.75kg | Suspension journey: 170mm f/160mm r | Score: 9/10
Execs: Impartial dealing with, killer construct.
Cons: No low-speed adjuster on rear shock.
In the identical vein because the Trek Slash or Yeti SB150, the Vitus Sommet CRS is a 29er enduro bike that’s designed for large days within the saddle, not simply sitting in your ass on a ski elevate. And by merely swapping the sticky Maxxis MaxxGrip entrance tyre for a sooner rolling MaxxTerra, it will probably simply serve double obligation as a quick, environment friendly big-hitting path bike. The truth that the whole bike prices lower than probably the most boutique enduro frames and weighs beneath 16kg, goes to point out that you simply don’t have to promote your automotive to have a very nice bike.
Learn our full assessment of the Vitus Sommet CRS
Additionally value contemplating:
How we examined the very best mountain bikes, and why you may belief our opinion
Our checklist is drawn up by a take a look at panel of mountain bike journalists, most of whom have over 20 years expertise reviewing bikes (learn extra about our bike testers and writers them right here). In recommending the very best mountain bikes to you, we draw on that have and our expansive data and complete overview of the market. In 2022 alone we examined over 80 totally different mountain bikes and we’ve been testing bikes since MBR was launched in 1997. In 25 years that’s over 2,000 bikes reviewed – that’s why you may belief our recommendation.
We by no means take a product at face worth and producer’s claims are at all times probed. That’s why we measure the load, journey and geometry on all our take a look at bikes (the numbers we publish are our personal figures except specified). In group exams we at all times attempt to match management tyres to create a extra stage taking part in area and assist isolate crucial variations in dealing with and suspension efficiency.
What kind of driving are you going to do?
While your funds might be going to be important factor you’re desirous about at first, it shouldn’t be. First, it’s essential determine on the kind of mountain bike goes to swimsuit you greatest. Then you may take a look at what your funds will get you.
Mountain bikes at the moment are very succesful and versatile machines. They’ll flip their hand to all types of driving. Extra so than ever as of late actually. You possibly can go for a path journey on an enduro bike. You possibly can journey enduro trails on a down-country/XC bike. So that you aren’t closing off all avenues of driving by going for a sure kind of bike. However you’ll have a extra enjoyable and rewarding expertise if you happen to get a motorcycle that most closely fits your important kind of driving.
Conversely, don’t be tempted to get a motorcycle for the intense 1% of the driving that you simply’ll do on it. A burly gravity-fuelled bike is ok and dandy for an annual uplift day, however you’ll should pedal that factor round for the opposite 51 weekends of the yr.
For the needs of this information let’s ignore the intense ends of the spectrum. Likelihood is you aren’t searching for an Olympic XC race bike. Nor are you searching for a World Cup stage Downhill bike. This patrons information is about ‘regular’ mountain bikes. However even throughout the realm of ‘regular’ mountain bikes there are numerous sub-genres. Some are gimmicks, some are irrelevant, some are seemingly fully fabricated by advertising departments.
In a nutshell: the very best mountain bike for most individuals
In our opinion, if you happen to’re doubtful, get a Path bike. These can be succesful sufficient on extra excessive terrain however gained’t really feel like a burden on calmer, flatter terrain.
Selecting the very best mountain bike for: Path driving
Path driving is arguably greatest outlined by what it’s not. It’s not cross-country. It’s not Enduro. It’s driving round common tracks and path centres with the occasional 50km epic thrown in and the odd uplift day or two. Path bikes sport between 120mm and 150mm of journey and are designed to be robust sufficient to face up to all types of abuse with out being too portly.
Advisable mountain bike: hardtail or full-suspension with 120-140mm suspension. 29in, 27.5in, or blended (mullet) wheels (29in entrance and 27.5in rear).
Learn the mbr assessment of the Nukeproof Reactor 290c Elite
Selecting the very best mountain bike for: Cross-country (XC) driving
That is much less about jumps and slamming berms and extra about pedalling miles and crossing fells. However maintain on, don’t write it off pondering it’s for doddery older riders on uninteresting, broad fire-roads. XC driving and racers are nonetheless about off-road pace. However with cross nation there’s extra of an emphasis on climbing. So the bikes are as mild as potential. In addition they don’t pack a lot in the best way of suspension journey (sub-120mm) as extra suspension journey leads to heavier bikes. They’re additionally usually much less overbuilt when it comes to fork/body/wheel stiffness. Once more, stiffer stuff means extra weight. In addition they aren’t in a position to set up a dropper seatpost resulting from having slender (sub-30.9mm) seat tubes. Crucially, XC bikes can even nonetheless have quite old school geometry that usually ignores descending prowess and continues to be closely modelled on street bikes. That is all properly and good if you happen to’re Nino Schurter, however for most individuals the tip result’s pretty terrifying on any technical terrain. Consequently, even if you wish to journey cross-country you’re most likely higher off on a (mild as potential) path bike than a sketchy XC bike.
Advisable mountain bike: light-as-you-can-afford hardtail or mild full suspension with 100-120mm suspension and 29in wheels.
Learn the mbr assessment of the Specialised Epic Evo
Selecting the very best mountain bike for: Enduro driving
Enduro driving deliberately and unashamedly prioritises descending functionality and pace. The terrain can resemble Downhill race tracks however there’s no uplift right here. It’s important to pedal your approach round. Enduro bikes are primarily longer journey (160+mm) Path bikes with stronger components. Consequently they’re heavier than Path bikes. Or the identical weight and considerably costlier. Enduro bikes are very a lot in vogue however you ought to be cautious earlier than you robotically head down this route. A few kilos could not sound a lot nevertheless it’s at all times there it doesn’t matter what path you’re on. If most of your driving is path centres then an Enduro bike goes to be OTT and really most likely slower than a Path bike. One space the place Enduro bikes are main the best way for all types of driving nonetheless is geometry. A leading edge Enduro bike can have a driving place that bests each XC and Path bikes for climbing, descending and contouring. Enduro bikes are on the forefront of mountain biking. A light-weight Enduro bike is an incredible factor. And amazingly costly.
Advisable mountain bike: full suspension with 150-170mm suspension. 29in, 27.5in or mullet (29in entrance, 27.5in rear) wheels
Learn the mbr assessment of the Specialised Enduro Elite
Hardtail or full-suspension?
It’s simple to imagine that everybody can be driving full suspension bikes as a substitute of hardtails if there was no value distinction. This isn’t actually true. Hardtails do have some benefits over full-suspension bikes no matter price ticket.
Hardtails are lighter. Hardtails have much less to go improper or require servicing. Hardtails are simpler to wash. Hardtails might be sooner and extra enjoyable on smoother trails. Including to this the truth that hardtails are cheaper than their full-sus counterparts implies that hardtails aren’t going to be extinct anytime quickly.
What are the advantages of going full-suspension? In the beginning, management. Full suspension bikes monitor the bottom higher and as such provide better traction. Full-suspension bikes are extra composed and never as sketchy to journey as hardtails. The fatigue and luxury advantages are additionally essential, notably over longer distances. Being much less overwhelmed up and fewer drained on longer rides is an added bonus of bounce.
What are the drawbacks of full-suspension? They’re heavier than hardtails. They often have a decrease part spec (in comparison with hardtail of the identical value). They’ve bearings and pivots that may finally put on out and price cash to interchange/service. They are often mud traps. They are often troublesome to wash correctly. And if you happen to don’t perceive the fundamentals of setup suspension, then a full-suspension bike can journey actually badly, inefficiently and sketchily.
Riders have switched on to e-bikes in big numbers over the previous couple of years for one easy purpose: they allow you to pack much more trails into your traditional journey. In truth you may usually take pleasure in double the space and metres climbed/descended in a typical three hour Sunday journey than you may on an analogue bike, and with individuals’s lives busier than ever, that’s a giant incentive. E-bikes have additionally improved massively for the reason that early variations got here out in 2013/2014, with loads of energy, spectacular vary and dealing with that may be as enjoyable as any non-assisted mannequin.
E-bikes are ruled by various authorized restrictions, to allow them to solely help when you’re pedalling and solely as much as 15.5mph, however that doesn’t maintain them again off-road, and the very best fashions will slap an even bigger grin in your face than some other bike you’ve ridden. So what’s the catch? Nicely, e-bikes are typically costlier than analogue fashions, there’s much more to go improper, they’re costlier to take care of and they’re very totally different to journey. Some may say they’re much less pure, and they’re for the lazy. It’s true, you might be lazy on them, however you can too get a extremely good exercise (together with your higher physique) if you happen to put your thoughts to it.
If all that sounds engaging, take a look at our purchaser’s information to the very best electrical mountain bikes and the greatest funds electrical mountain bikes.
Carbon or aluminium?
On the mid to excessive finish stage there’s one thing of a crossover level the place you may generally select between a carbon framed bike (with decrease finish components) or an aluminium framed bike (with higher bits) at across the similar value level. We’d at all times suggest going for the higher specced aluminium mannequin.
Is carbon value the additional cash? For many riders, no it isn’t. Simply how a lot further does it price anyway? To go carbon will price you roughly an additional £1,000 (for the equally geared up bike).
What does this £1,000 get you? A lighter body for positive. However not that a lot lighter, possibly 700g or so on the absolute most. The extra convincing argument for going carbon just isn’t weight, it’s journey really feel. Carbon bikes journey otherwise to aluminium bikes. Stiffer. Generally with a damped (lifeless) kind of feeling. And as of late carbon bikes are sometimes stronger than their aluminium counterparts.
The carbon really feel and energy is what it’s all about. This isn’t to say that this racy, rally-car ‘carbon really feel’ goes to swimsuit everybody. Some riders choose the texture of aluminium bikes over carbon.
Some persons are even making huge hype about metal once more. This time metal full-suspension, with manufacturers like Cotic and Starling main the cost. Possibly issues can get too stiff on a mountain bike? When this happens, fatigue will increase. Line alternative turns into more durable. Possibly some chassis flex leads to a sooner journey? However then, metal full-sussers are going to be even heavier than aluminium.
On the finish of the day, the body materials isn’t going to have an effect on most individuals’s bike driving. Tyres, wheels and suspension setup is way, way more important. So we might really say that body materials isn’t value worrying about overly.
Which wheel measurement is greatest?
This previous chestnut. Once more, we’re going to be mildly controversial and say that the distinction between 27.5in bikes and 29er bikes isn’t as pronounced because it was again within the mid ’00s.
These days you will get 29ers with first rate quantity of suspension journey (as much as 170mm – extra for DH) and with first rate geometry, so the wheel measurement debate has fizzled out. Some manufacturers even provide two variations of every mannequin, one with 27.5in wheels and one with 29in wheels, so you may simply select the choice that fits you.
29ers are extra secure and have higher grip. However they’ve unavoidably greater entrance ends and the rear tyre can hit your bum on steep stuff if you happen to’re beneath 6ft tall. The upper wheel axles could make the bike really feel taller in tight switchbacks and thus require extra leaning over. 27.5in bikes might be stiffer, can have decrease entrance ends and the rear tyre gained’t boot you up the behind on steep drops and chutes. The decrease wheel axles require much less physique English in tight hairpins so the bikes can really feel extra nimble for a given rider enter.
If you happen to’re 6ft tall or over, you’re most likely going to higher served by a 29er. If you happen to’re beneath 5ft 6in then a 29er is probably going going to really feel too huge. Which is the place the mullet bike, or MX, suits in. These fashions use a 29in wheel up entrance (for optimum stability, pace and rollover) paired with a 27.5in wheel on the again (to enhance agility and bum clearance). They’re an awesome possibility for riders who need a enjoyable, playful bike or have shorter legs.
Which suspension design is greatest?
A bonus debate for you. Sorry! Though there’s much less hype and grand claims made about totally different suspension body designs as of late (in comparison with the slanging matches and OTT advertising of yore, anyway) there may be nonetheless a legitimate curiosity in how the designs differ from one another. The mountain biking market is now mature and skilled sufficient to confess that there isn’t any single Finest Suspension Design. The four-bar (or Horst Hyperlink) was once the Holy Grail. Single pivots used to get ragged on for being crude. Neither of those stances are appropriate.
To be frank, just about all suspension designs are good. However they aren’t all the identical. They do differ in how they really feel and reply (to each the path and to the rider onboard). Some are fussy in how exactly they’re arrange, some are extra forgiving. Some additionally require extra upkeep than others. The rear shock – and how one can tune it – is arguably extra essential than body suspension design as of late. It’s now potential to do an terrible to with a rear shock to alleviate any body design niggles you might encounter. Bike too bob-prone, or wallowy, or harsh backside out? Likelihood is one thing might be executed with the rear shock to handle this.
Mainly, bike firms have gotten many of the kooky, unhealthy designs out of their system now. The variations between them at the moment are extraordinarily refined. Studying about suspension principle and setup is extra essential.
Geometry, geometry, geometry
The angles and lengths of the body tubes governs nearly every part in how a motorcycle will journey. The very best suspension on the planet counts for nought if the geometry is poor. Equally, a motorcycle with nice geometry can usually overcome any suspension shortcomings and journey simply high quality.
What’s the greatest geometry for a mountain bike? This can be a difficult space and one which continues to be filled with previous myths and prejudices. However right here’s our tackle it…
Lengthy attain (the space between saddle and handlebars, in layman’s phrases) is sweet. Steep seat angles are good. Slack head angles are good. And we’re not speaking simply ‘good for descending’. This geometry is sweet in every single place. Slack head angles don’t trigger entrance finish wandering on climbs (that’s attributable to slack seat angles and/or quick prime tubes).
Low backside bracket heights are typically good (for stability and for cornering), however riders who pedal in rutted/tufty/stumpy terrain, or prefer to be challenged by rocky, trials-style terrain, could get uninterested in frequent pedal strikes and so choose the next backside bracket top and settle for the compromise in dealing with.
Chainstay size is one other space filled with cliché. Quick chainstays are seen as extremely fascinating. Lengthy chainstays are seen as unhealthy. Why is brief good? We’re undecided it’s notably. It makes bikes simpler to handbook however that’s about it. They are often problematic on climbs if the seat tube is simply too slack, making it troublesome to maintain the entrance wheel weighted. Lengthy chainstays provide better stability and climbing prowess, however there’s a trade-off in agility.
One other side as of late is the return of standover as being excessive on the essential checklist. The arrival of dropper posts with 150mm+ of journey has meant that bike designers are factoring shorter seat tube lengths of their bikes now in order that they’ll slot in lengthy drop dropper posts. Fact be advised although, you continue to can’t choose how a motorcycle will journey by its geometry chart. Geometry is a mixture of a number of components that each one work together with one another. One remoted measurement doesn’t govern every part.
How a lot do you have to spend?
In case you have lower than £1,000 to spend then we nonetheless assume a hardtail is the best way to go. Sub-£1k full-sussers are going to be overly hefty and sport low-end package that may impair your journey expertise.
As of late you will get succesful and enjoyable full-suspension bikes for between £1,000 and £2,000. They aren’t particularly mild however they aren’t restrictively heavy both. And the components package deal on an excellent £1k susser will function completely good things from recognised manufacturers. Certain there’ll be some cost-cutting right here and there, and a few no-name ending package, nevertheless it gained’t overly have an effect on the bike’s journey.
What measurement bike do you have to get?
Lots of people are driving across the improper measurement bike.
The primary delusion to bust is that smaller bikes are extra nimble/playful/manoeuvrable. Nope. Smaller bikes are much less secure, extra sketchy and uncomfortable. Don’t purchase a motorcycle that’s too small pondering it’ll be alright. Don’t get suckered into shopping for the improper measurement bike as a result of it’s at a cut price value. An inexpensive bike that’s sufficiently big for you and has good geometry can be infinitely higher than a half-price bling bike that’s too small for you.
One of the best ways to do it’s seek the advice of a measurement calculator (most bike manufacturers have them), consult with different homeowners, and (if you happen to’re within the 5ft10in-5ft11in top vary) take a look at our evaluations. We at all times add the rider top and measurement examined data within the specification desk and we are going to often touch upon the sizing inside with assessment. You also needs to take a look at our information to picking your mountain bike body measurement. Keep in mind that there’s a diploma of adjustability in relation to match with any body measurement – you may slide saddles fore and aft on the rails, you may run longer or shorter stems, high-rise or low-rise bars – however you may by no means change the size of the seat tube.