Outdoors Magazine

Best Mountain Bikes 2018 – Reviews and Comparison

By Chris Noal

Mountain bikes are a great way to ensure you get plenty of adventure. You can use them for sporting as well as to find a better alternative to short travels. Choosing the best mountain bike may not be the easiest thing to do. There are several things to consider, and you might end up buying the one that does not suit you at all.

Our product reviews will help you to find the best mountain bike. If you are still confused, the buying guide will help you focus on the features that are important and how they should be like.

Best Mountain Bike

10 Best Mountain Bikes 2018

1. Scott Big Jon Bike – Best Overall Mountain bike

Scott Big Jon Bike Review

Big Jon from Scott is available in different sizes, and you can choose one according to your height and weight. The bike comes with tires of dimension 26-inch by 4.8-inch. It is a very thick sized tire which not only gives this bike its monstrous look but also provides a firm grip on the surface.

It does not matter if you are a beginner or a professional; this bike is perfect for you. The MT400 disc brakes from Shimano allow you to stop the bike as quickly as possible. The frame of this bike has butted tubing (custom) alloy 6061 and adds to the looks as well. This bike is for traveling, and you can do all that all day with the Big Jon. Furthermore, the attractive saddle of the bike is comfortable enough to allow you to ride in hilly, rocky and turbulent trials.

The only downside this bike has is the uncomfortable pedaling, especially if you are a huge person. You might not be able to ride smoothly on difficult trials.


  • Big Jon’s full-suspension system gives you a smooth off-road ride.
  • It comes with a flat handlebar which enables you to balance yourself appropriately.
  • The powerful brakes keep your ride in control


  • The pedals are not suitable for difficult terrains, particularly for bulky people.
Check Price and Rating on Scott-sports.com

2. Giant Bicycles Anthem Advanced 1 – Best Power Assistance Mountain Bike

Giant Bicycles Anthem Advanced 1 Review

The Anthem Advanced 1 mountain bike from Giant Bicycles is excellent if you are looking for power assistance. The bike provides you with a smooth ride. It allows you to have improved control over your ride which makes it a great experience.

The gear shifters (1×12) are NX Eagle from SRAM. It allows the mountain bike to have an easy shift in the gear and makes the riding more controlled and smooth on various terrains. The brakes that are installed in this bike are linear pull, but you will be able to control your ride with the shifters better.

This bike comes in about two color combinations so that your style while riding is maintained. One of them is Black (Gun Metal) while the other is Neon Orange.  The company gives a warranty for sixty days for any defects in the craftsmanship or materials. The company will repair your bike without any charges within the warranty period which will start from the date of your purchase.

The only problem that you will find on this bike is that it has no room to store your water bottle which most of the mountain bikes come with. Another factor is that this bike needs professional assembly which means that you will have to spend more money.


  • The bike comes with a full rear suspension system for a better ride on rough terrains particularly downhill.
  • It has linear pull brakes for improved efficiency.
  • This bike has a very smooth NX Eagle 12-speed gear shifting system from SRAM.
  • The bike is available in two different colors.


  • Anthem Advanced 1 needs professional assembly
  • It doesn’t come with a good warranty
Check Price and Rating on Giant-Bicycles.com

3. Trek 1120 Adventure Touring – Best All Terrain Mountain Bike

Trek 1120 Adventure Touring Review

The 1120 mountain bike from Trek has used innovative technology to design and develop this bike. The bike has a strong frame and is one of the best options for your off-road experience. Trek 1120 comes in different frame sizes ranging from 13.5-inch to 21.5-inch.

The platinum-aluminum alloy frame makes the bike very light in weight and easy to handle. Its carbon fork is the perfect way to ensure smooth riding on the roughest terrains, and you won’t feel numbness in your hands due to road vibrations. Moreover, top quality shock absorption features make it more comfortable for the perfect ride anywhere.

The gear shifting system features 11-speed SLX M7000 from Shimano which allows you to handle the speed as per your needs and requirements. This mountain bike also has an excellent braking system. The Level-T hydraulic disc braking system from SRAM is one of a kind.

However, keep in mind that you will not be able to store your water bottle anywhere on the bike. Additionally, the bike required continuous maintenance, or it won’t perform well.


  • Platinum and aluminum alloy makes the bike strong and lightweight.
  • The hydraulic braking system keeps you in control of your ride.
  • 29+ tires help run on any terrain and enable the bike to float on all surfaces.
  • Suspension with shock absorbing features makes your ride more controlled and smooth.
  • It is available in different sizes ranging from 13.5-inch to 21.5-inch.


  • The bike does not have room for a water bottle.
  • Some people have reported issues with the gear shifting.
Check Price and Rating on Trekbikes.com

4. Specialized S-Work Demo 8 – Best Downhill Mountain Bike

Specialized S-Work Demo 8 Review

The S-Work Demo 8 mountain bike from Specialized comes with a range of features that will make your biking experience one of a kind. To ensure that the bike is made rugged and durable, Specialized has used carbon fiber frame. It also keeps the bike lightweight.

Unlike other bikes, it does not have a regular suspension system. It has BoXXer WC 27.5 front fork from RedShox and Ohlins TTX custom rear fork suspension with shock absorbing qualities on both ends. This feature allows the rider to ride on the toughest terrains without worrying about losing control.

For making it safer on any terrain, Specialized has installed Code RSC hydraulic brake system from SRAM on the front wheel. It allows you to get an improved response time when you press it. The Drivetrain includes PC1130 chain from SRAM which is equipped with 11-speed PowerLink. The frame and wheels are covered under lifetime wintry while other components from Specialized come with 2-year warranty.

With all these great features, it is important to note that this bike does not come assembled and it might require the help of a professional. The height adjustment on the seat is also not very versatile which may be a deal breaker for some people.


  • The bike comes with front and rear suspension system with shock absorption.
  • It has Code RSC hydraulic brakes from SRAM on the front.
  • Carbon fiber frame makes it strong, durable and lightweight.
  • It is available in different frame sizes.


  • The height adjustment of the seat might not be too easy for a few
  • The bike needs professional assembly.
Check Price and Rating on Specialized.com

5. Cannondale Trigger 2 – Best All Day Mountain Bike

Cannondale Trigger 2 Review

The Trigger 2 mountain bike from Cannondale features Minion DHF 27.5 tire from Maxxis on the front and High Roller II on the back to ensure that the bike stays smooth on all kinds of terrains without a problem.

The Trigger 2 also comes with Guide RS hydraulic disc brakes from SRAM to provide ultimate power and response. The tires come together with the braking system to allow the perfect stop anywhere in all weathers. The frame of this bike is made of carbon which means it is very strong and feels light. The X01 Eagle 12-speed shifters in this bike are from SRAM.

Furthermore, the bike has DPX2 EVOL rear shock from Elite for floating performance on the surface.  This shock absorbing component allows better rides on bumpy terrains.  It is available in different frame sizes, and you can choose according to your height

With plenty of great features, this bike has a couple of drawbacks that may not go well for some users. Take for instance the height of the seat is not adjustable which makes this bike difficult for seat adjustments. The bike may feel a little bit heavy, and due to this, it may take a little more effort to pick up speed.


  • The bike comes with hydraulic disc brakes allow a smooth braking system
  • The shock absorber on the rear end allows better response on bumpy terrains
  • You can choose different sizes according to your height requirements,
  • Trigger 2 comes with 12-speed shifters with a durable frame that lasts long.


  • The seat adjustment of Trigger 2 is not possible.
  • It does seem a bit hefty.
Check Price and Rating on Cannondale.com

6. Diamondback Bicycles Clutch 2 – Best Women Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Women's Clutch 2 Full Suspension Mountian Bike Review

The Clutch 2 is for all the women who enjoy the adventure on edge. The bike has a powerful and unbeatable design which makes it a first-class choice for women. The bike possesses a strong and sturdy aluminum frame that is lightweight. The frame keeps the bike intact and provides substantial stability to your ride when going through the rocky paths.

The front and rear brakes of the bike are powerful enough to let you stop the bike within a second. The brakes ensure a quick reaction. They are smooth enough to prevent you from falling off. The suspension system of this bike comes from Level Link while RockShox makes the Pike RC travel fork and Monarch RT3 shock in the rear end.

One major drawback with the bike is that it requires you to assemble some of its parts. It might be a troublesome process for some of you who don’t have any prior experience of assembling a bike. The bike does come with an assembling manual from Diamondback. Therefore, it should not be that big of an issue for you.

One major drawback with the bike is that it requires you to assemble some of its parts. It might be a troublesome process for some of you who don’t have any prior experience of assembling a bike. The bike does come with an assembling manual from Diamondback. Therefore, it should not be that big of an issue for you.


  • The shifting system of the bike is exceptional.
  • The frame of this bike is lightweight.
  • The Clutch 2 comes with very strong brakes.


  • Assembling can be a daunting task for those who haven’t assembled a bike before.
Check Price and Rating on Amazon.com

7. Santa Cruz Nomad – Best Shock Absorbing Mountain Bike

Santa Cruz Nomad Review

The Nomad from Santa Cruz is one of the best options if you prefer top quality shock absorbing features. It comes in two colors that you can choose to be more stylish while riding. The gear shift system of this bike Comes from SRAM, and different versions are equipped with different sets.

If you are looking for variety, then Nomad is the right option for you. Each of the models has a different set of components as well as materials. You can either opt for Aluminum frame or choose its Carbon counterpart.

The front disc brakes from SRAM allow the bike to have a smooth and highly responsive braking system which also ensures safety while riding on rough terrains. The bike does not come assembled, and it is not that easy to assemble. You might require some professional assistance to do it.

However, the Nomad mountain bike cannot hold more than 250 lbs of weight. Plus, you cannot adjust the seat as per your requirements. Another missing feature is that this bike does not have a place to keep a water bottle.


  • Nomad mountain bike from Santa Cruz comes in different sizes.
  • You can choose between the aluminum frame and carbon frame, and these models come with different components as well.
  • The bike is equipped with gear shifting systems designed by SRAM to work on any terrain
  • It comes with different shock absorbing features to keep your ride bump-free.


  • There is no water bottle holder in Nomad
  • The bike cannot take a lot of weight (over 250 lbs)
Check Price and Rating on SantacruzBicycles.com

8. GT Bicycles Fury Carbon Expert – Best Suspension Mountain Bike

GT Bicycles Fury Carbon Expert Review

The Fury Carbon Expert from GT Bicycles is highly recognized for its top quality suspension. The bike has strong and durable tires from Schwalbe which give you strong control over your ride. You can even enjoy a ride when the roads are wet in the rainy season. The 27.5-inch Magic Mary Bikepark tires give you a remarkable grip to avoid slipping on the road.

Moreover, the bike comes with a seamless gear system from Shimano. You can interchange between the gears without any issue with its Zee SLM640 installed on the right side. You can change the gears smoothly to accelerate your speed. They are very accurate and precise.

Furthermore, you’ll be impressed with the brake control of this bike as well. The Slate T4 disc brakes from TRP are highly responsive. Whether you are riding on a rugged surface or a plain one, you’ll have an optimal brake control due to these hydraulic disc brakes. The carbon frame of this bike is lightweight, and it is very strong.

The saddle is not very comfortable. You might feel pains and aches on your back if you plan to ride it for longer periods.


  • The Fury from GT Bicycles has a spectacular design that is made durable with carbon.
  • Tires of this bike give you appropriate shock absorption and keep the ride bump-free.
  • The bicycle doesn’t weigh much.
  • The powerful disc brake control gives you a good grip.


  • The front brake is slightly hard.
  • The saddle is uncomfortable and not suitable for long rides.
Check Price and Rating on Gtbicycles.com

9. Diamondback Bicycles Release 5C Carbon – Best Hardtail Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Release 5C Carbon Full Suspension Mountain Bike Review

Diamondback Bicycles are very popular among the masses because of their durability and strength. There is nothing better than Release 5C mountain bike in this situation. The 5C Release is a unique bike, which has a carbon fiber frame and strong hydraulic disc brakes. The bike is available in different sizes, and you can pick one according to your height and weight.

The frame is relatively strong and durable, made up of carbon fiber for improved strength. The tires are made from extra flexible and extra thick rubber, with a wider sideline than their regular counterparts. This bike is great for users who want the all-condition brake system.

The Guide RS brakes on this bike come from SRAM and are hydraulic.  Normally, the brakes can fail or malfunction in most bikes, but not in the case of Release 5C. The rear derailleur is X01 Eagle from SRAM, and it can handle different speeds with relative ease and comfort.

Despite all the positives, there are a couple of negatives associated with this mountain bike. Its performance may be a bit low in wet or snowy climates, and sometimes the bike may slip or skid.


  • The carbon fiber frame of Release 5C is strong and sturdy.
  • It can run smoothly on almost all types of terrains.
  • The bike comes with a comfortable seat for long rides.
  • It has an all-condition brake system that works very efficiently.


  • The Release 5C does not perform well on wet or snowy terrains.
  • Its brake calipers may be noisy.
Check Price and Rating on Amazon.com

10. Diamondback Bicycles Sync’r 24 – Best Kids Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Sync'r 24 Kid's Mountain Bike Review

Another bike from Diamondback makes this list of best mountain bikes. The Sync’r 24 bike is best suited for kids. If you want to enhance the riding experience of your kids in the mountains, then this bike is the right choice for you. It possesses all the features that your kid desires as a biking enthusiast.

The aluminum frame gives you a strong control on the bike without affecting its weight. Your kid won’t feel the bike heavy while riding on it through rough and rocky trails. Moreover, the frame is durable and sturdy. It assures you that the bike would last for years to come.

Also, the bike possesses 24-inch with a low-slung geometry proves to be the best fit for your youngster. The wheelset provides your kid with amazing balance and stability to deal with the varied trials. These wheels offer excellent traction and gripping even if the trial is wet.

When you are riding your bike on harsh trials, you need to have a strong brake control system. After a smooth ride, you have to slow down the bike at some point. The hydraulic disc brake Aurtiga from Tektro is designed for growing hands, and it can stop the bike with proper control.

The bike has remarkable suspension, amazing brake control, a sturdy and light-weight frame which makes it stand out from its competitors. However, your kid might complain about the hard saddle that this bike has and there is no bottle carrier as well.


  • Your kid can stop the Sync’r 24 on a dime with its stable disc brakes.
  • The bike comes with smooth speed-shifting.
  • It has a lightweight aluminum frame.


  • There is no place to put your water bottle
  • The saddle is very stiff.
Check Price and Rating on Amazon.com

Guide on Choosing the Best Mountain Bike

There are several different features to consider when getting the best mountain bike. Even the smallest features which may not seem as important hold major importance. For helping you get the best of the best, our buying guide is compiled.  The following are the important features:

1. Wheel Size

Wheels are one of the most important parts of the mountain bike as they are the only connection of the bike and the surface. There are several wheel sizes available. The 26 inches provide light traction whereas 27.5 inches have a better traction and air volume than the former. The best and most heavy duty is the 29 inches wheels. They provide the most traction and the highest rollover ability. They are also most stable and work on all terrains.

2. Mountain Bike Frame Materials

There are several frame materials that mountain bikes are made up of. The following are a few and their descriptions;

  • Aluminum – Aluminum is the most common material as its heavy duty. It can make a light bike and is a cheaper option. They can be a little rough if there are no suspensions.
  • Carbon fiber – Carbon fiber is a great material but it can be hard to work with and can be very expensive. It is used in professional bikes and can hold a lot of weight too. However, it can be failed as soon as the carbon fails.
  • Steel – Steel is the most basic and least durable material. It is for the beginners’ bikes. It can be easily corroded.

3. Tire Size & Rim Width

The tire size is the width of the tire that needs to be considered. The thicker the tire, the better stability you have. However, wide tires can collect mud in them as well. Professional bikers tend to use a rim width of 1.8 to 2.2 inches. However, mountain bikers tend to use 2.1 to 2.4 inches of width for better speed and control.  The tire size and the rim width also depend on the type of tire.

The front tires of the bike will be slightly wider than the tires on the back. It allows these front tires to gain full control over the bike’s braking system. The rear tire tends to be narrower so that the tire can help in mud clearance. The rims are made with a with the intention of the handling of the tires on various terrains; rough terrains need thicker rims so that the tire may stay in place in all situations.

4. Fork & Rear Shock

The suspension forks are important in a mountain bike. These forks are responsible for allowing the rider more control and comfort when riding on rough terrains. They also help in tracking and steering in line too. The weight and the strength of the bike affect the choice of the fork. The rear shocks help in absorbing the shocks over the roughest terrains. They absorb the shock by the bump surface and allow better control over the bike.

5. Drivetrain

The Drivetrain of the bike includes a whole system which has the following:

  • Shifter and Derailleur – Shifter and derailleur work together in moving the chain. The movement of the chain is the gear shift system that controls the speed.
  • Cassette – Cassette is a cluster of cogs that are placed near the rear wheel. It helps to derive the speed of the bike according to the shifting system.

6. Seatpost

The seat post of the bike is a tube that connects the bike frame to the bike saddle. These are usually adjustable in height and be adjusted according to the needs of the rider. The right seat is very important to ensure comfort at all times when you ride.

It is also important to keep your balance according to your height when you are riding on uneven surfaces. Seatposts are usually changeable and can be adjusted if they are damaged with time. Even the seat at the top can be changed and made to be with extra padding.

7. Suspension types

The purpose of suspension in a mountain bike is to soften the point of intact with the body on the rough terrains. The suspension system makes the ride smoother and more controlled. Suspension types of mountain bikes can be very complicated and difficult to understand. The following are the few basic types that are important for you to know:

  • Rigid suspension – The rigid suspension is designed with two metal supports that help in keeping the wheel locked in one position. The rigid suspension is made with steel or titanium most commonly. However, they can be very heavy in weight.
  • Hardtail suspension – A hardtail suspension only has one suspension in the front wheel of the bike. The design of the bike is greatly affected with this kind of suspension. They are lighter and most under budget.
  • Full suspension – A bike with full suspension has suspension on its rear and front both. These bikes are the smoothest and most controlled in all terrains. However, they are heavier, and they may be very expensive. These suspensions are made for professionals most of the time and are made to ensure that the rider has full control over the change of speed and the steering of the bike.

8 Best Mountain Bike Brands

We have compiled a list of noteworthy brands to make it easier for you to choose the best brand.

1. Scott

Scott Sports Brand

Scott is the oldest of the brands mentioned in this post. It has over 60 years of experience under its belt. It not only deals in bicycles but also produces various other outdoor gears for all seasons. In 1958, Ed Scott who was an engineer and a ski racer introduced tapered aluminum for making ski poles.

At that time, steel and bamboo were quite common for this purpose. Since then, the company entered into new markets and brought in more innovation. The list of accolades of Scott is long, and throughout its 60 years, the company has significantly emphasized innovation as a philosophy.

2. GT Bicycles

GT Bicycles Brand

GT Bicycles also came into being in 1972, and it has seen all trends come and go since the time of its inception. The industry has changed a lot from the beginning, but one thing remains the same, and that is bike riding enthusiasts are all about pure fun.

For GT, fun is a serious business, and for this, they strive to achieve success through all their products. The people at the company are riders themselves too so they know what their customers’ needs and how can they provide them with products that make riding fun for them. Many professional riders and athletes embrace the brand for its high-quality bikes.

3. Specialized

Specialized Brand

Specialized came into being in the year 1974, and immediately it put all their efforts into equipping their bikes with quality tires. During that time, bikes didn’t come with quality tires. Specialized was the first one to introduce a mountain bike that was created for off-road experience.

So all you off-roaders out there; give all the credit to Specialized because they were the ones who thought about off-road biking. If you are looking for a safe ride for your next trip to the mountains, then Specialized should be your first preference. At Specialized, it’s all about giving something back to the community.

4. Yeti

Yeti Cycles Brand

Yeti began its business in 1985. The production team has a very simple perspective, and that is to create bikes that they want to ride. During that time mountain biking was very new, and Yeti was right on top of it by introducing a no-frills bike for the hardcore mountain bikers.

The advantage that the company had right from the beginning was many of the racers joined the R&D team, and the company was able to some of the outstanding designs best for mountain racing. Yeti has been very successful in mountain racing and has had many athletes on their race team including Jimmy Deaton, John Tomac, Juli Furtado, and the one and only Missy ‘The Missile’ Glove. All of them are the legends of the sport.

5. Kona

Kona Bicycle Brand

Kona believes in empowering their consumers with their bikes. The company’s philosophy is that a bike needs to be designed around the user and what s/he wants. If you want a bike your way, Kona is cool with that.

Since the beginning of 1988, a group of passionate cyclist has been running this company, and they understand what you need while riding. They started by introducing the first ever MTB fork (straight leg), and now there are over ten different versions of this fork. It is available for all range of 26-inch and 29-inch mountain bikes. A version of this fork is even available for 700cc asphalt bikes.

6. Giant Bicycles

Giant Bicycles Brand

Giant produces bikes for adventurous people who have no boundaries. It’s a reliable and reputable brand which is the number 1 choice of all bikers specifically mountain bikers. The company uses cutting-edge technologies to design and develop its bikes. The brand has made numerous appearances in Tour de France which goes to show the level of quality that we are talking about here.

Since the time of its inceptions, the company has grown and increased the number of its models. Giant Bicycles is the one who introduced the aluminum frame to the global market when steel was the standard. It first introduced the carbon fiber bikes as well. Giant also revolutionized the performance bikes by integrating Maestro suspension. The list of credentials goes on and on, and still, the company is hungry for more.

7. Trek

Trek Bike Brand

Trek is the company that doesn’t consider bike riding a sport or a recreational activity, for them, it is a passion. The company has been around for many years, and it has utilized its experience to produce different kinds of bikes. Road bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes you name it, and Trek has it.

The company uses state of the art technology to provide their consumers with the rides that are one of a kind. One of the best suspensions systems in the industry come from Trek. Their bikes are built for performance both on-road and off-road. Trek specifically emphasizes aerodynamics to create the designs of their bikes.

8. Diamondback

Diamondback Brand

Diamondback is a popular brand of mountain bikes with experience of 40 years. The brand has a strong reputation for producing durable mountain bikes at an affordable price. They manufacture a wide range of mountain bikes with amazing features.

The brand offers you bikes which are specially designed for mountain biking enthusiasts to deal with harsh trials. You can easily ride on a bumpy road without any hassle. Mountain bikes manufactured by Diamondback are designed to give you an efficient and effective performance on off-road trails. The beginners might find the brand a bit expensive, but it is worth your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How would I maintain Mountain Bike?

If you want to keep riding on your mountain bike smoothly, you need to maintain it properly. We have a few tips for you to keep your bike at its peak.

  • If you want your bike to last for years, make sure that you clean it properly every day.
  • Ensure that your brakes are working properly. Inspect them thoroughly during each mountain ride.
  • Your wheels are consistently exposed to dirt and mud, make sure that you take care of them.
  • Elevate your bike and spin your wheels to tune them properly.
  • Always keep your patch kit, tire levels, pump, and chain lube handy.

Q: How Are Mountain Bikes Sized?

The size of your mountain bike is generally according to your height. Many brands have a size chart which is correspondent to your height. Make sure that you choose the right size for yourself. Mountain bike manufacturers usually list the standard sizes as (S, M, and L)

If you choose the wrong size of your mountain bike, you’d have trouble controlling your bike on rough trails. You’d suffer from various handling problems if you plan to go on longer rides. Therefore, get the best fit to get the joy of the ride.

Q: What are the common types of Mountain Bikes

There are different types of mountain bikes which are specifically designed to tackle different road conditions. You can choose the one which suits your purpose.

  • Trail Bikes – Trail Bikers have a softer suspension which requires much effort from the rider to keep it moving. It’s a fun-to-ride bike which is suitable for light rides
  • Cross Country Bikes – Cross-country bikes are known to be the lightest mountain bikes. They give you the fastest riding experience.
  • Fat Bikes – The tires of these bikes are oversized. They give you spectacular traction and suitable for you to ride in the sand.
  • Downhill Bikes – These bikes are not suitable for climbing. As the name suggests, they are meant to drive downhill.


Conclusively, we can see that mountain bikes are more than just heavy looking bikes. They are filled with different features to make it run more smoothly. When selecting a mountain bike, keep in mind to define your purpose. With the passage of time mountain bikes are gaining more and more features. These features may differ if you are doing it for sports, leisure, or for professional competitions.

Our buying guide will help you find the features for all purposes so that your options are clear and you can make the decision much better. Also, keep your style intact! You do not necessarily have to compromise on the color and styles to go for an efficient bike.

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