Riding a mountain bike gets better as your biking skills advance. But anyone who wants to master the mountain bike must choose the right type of two-wheeler.
When starting, it’s, of course, most suitable to find a beginner bike. Not only that – it should be the best beginner mountain bike you can find. Choosing an appropriate model will help you ease into the art of mountain bike riding and help you get comfortable spending time on the bicycle seat.
This article will help you find the best pick among the top mountain bikes on the market.
- Best Beginner Mountain Bike: Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Verdict
Best Beginner Mountain Bike: Reviews
Dynacraft Magna Front Shock Mountain Bike
Some mountain bikes are great for beginners but have a higher price. At the same time, others are budget-friendly but aren’t suited for novices. The Dynacraft Magna represents the best of both worlds. This bike will be an excellent choice for anyone wanting a dynamic and safe learning experience
The Dynacraft Magna is very stable due to its sturdy build. The bike’s steel frame makes it durable, albeit a bit heavier than you’d expect. When it comes to stability, the front shock goes a long way to ensure excellent balance, even on very bumpy terrain.
This mountain bike features reliable rear and front linear brakes that provide perfect stopping action. The brakes and Magna’s 18 gears make for a highly functional and maneuverable bike.
As indicated by the product name, the premium front shock is the first thing that deserves attention. The suspension fork can absorb most of the hits the bike will take. The shock absorption practically guarantees a safer biking experience when combined with the heavy-duty frame.
The frame itself can endure intense use without taking damage, prolonging the bike’s lifespan considerably. The handlebars are likewise sturdy and quality-made.
Another positive for the Dynacraft Magna is the adjustability of some components. For instance, the braking system levers can be adjusted to fit different hand sizes, and the seat can be modified by height without additional tools.
With all of the advantages this bike has, there are some shortcomings that potential buyers should be aware of before making the decision.
Firstly, the bike’s design isn’t the best in some regards. This flaw shows during rides as the front foot can come into contact with the tire or the ground.
Next, the welding on the frame leaves something to be desired. While it doesn’t compromise the bike’s structure, the welding can be considered subpar.
Finally, certain elements aren’t fitted properly. For example, the pedals can often fall off, and the same can happen to the brake line.
- Sturdy steel frame
- Reliable front shock
- Resistant to damage
- Responsive brake system
- Adjustable seat and brake levers
- High-quality handlebars
- Somewhat lackluster design
- Subpar welding
- Pedals can come loose
- Hard seat
- Lower quality brake pads
Royce Union RHT Lightweight Aluminum Men’s Mountain Bike
The most expensive mountain bike on this list by far, the Royce Union RHT does plenty to justify its hefty price. However, the bike is light and equipped with premium components that make every ride feel like a luxurious journey.
The Royce Union RHT’s high-quality features make this bike a premium choice. It has an aluminum frame, and the stem and handlebar are made of excellent alloy. The shifter system is Shimano SLX with 22 speeds and top-tier components.
The list of premium features also extends to other parts of this mountain bike. Its wheels, brakes, and fork are crafted precisely to deliver a great ride every time. Most of the features follow the line of high-end bikes, although it might fall a bit short compared to other products in its price range and class.
The aluminum frame of the Royce Union RHT does what aluminum does best: it remains sturdy and lightweight at the same time. In terms of quality, everything attached to the frame follows suit. The saddle and grips are designed for the greatest comfort, even during longer rides.
The fork features a robust suspension that keeps the wheels on the ground even on extra bumpy terrain. In addition, the wheels are made with quality alloy rims that make these crucial bike parts durable and very reliable in action.
This bike’s strongest point is its group set, i.e., the gear and braking systems. As mentioned, the shifter is made by Shimano and, along with the speed index, belongs to the SLX series. Additionally, the drivetrain features a Neco crank that provides dependable gear shifting.
The Royce Union RHT has hydraulic discs for precise and powerful braking action.
This bike’s advantages look great when pitted against most beginner-level products. However, the Royce Union RHT might fall behind compared with other high-end mountain bikes. In other words, the cycle could be considered too expensive for its intended use and insufficiently equipped for a premium item.
The previous point leads directly into the other issue: the price. The Royce Union RHT comes at a double or higher cost than other items on this list. That expense might not be easy to justify when purchasing a beginner mountain bike.
- Light and sturdy aluminum frame
- High-quality stem and handlebar
- Comfortable saddle
- Excellent Shimano SLX gear system
- Heavy-duty front suspension
- Quality tires and wheels
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- It may fall short compared to other premium items
- High price for its intended class
Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike, 26-Inch
The Mongoose Dolomite can be viewed as a niche product. While various riders could use this bike, it leaves the impression of being primarily geared towards taller and heavier users. On the other hand, its robust construction provides greater stability, which might be the most important feature of the bike.
The Mongoose Dolomite is a medium-priced mountain bike built to traverse any terrain. This bike boasts wide tires that increase its stability. In addition, the tires have an enhanced surface grip and traction, making accidental skidding much less likely.
In line with the improved stability and safety, the massive wheels carry a sturdy frame of rugged steel with aluminum. Moreover, the frame is done in a cruiser style, making it comfortable and easier to handle.
The Mongoose Dolomite is equipped with a Shimano-powered 7-speed system, crafted with twist shifters that provide seamless gear changes. The brake system is even better, featuring braking discs on both wheels. The high-quality brakes will enable easy stopping on every terrain and even in particularly harsh conditions.
This mountain bike is designed to be durable and sturdy. Its heavy construction all but guarantees better control while being able to carry heavier riders without issues. Of course, this is possible due to the big wheels and frame.
It’s worth mentioning that the bike is also quite resistant to severe damage since it’s built of resilient materials. Even better, the frame comes in a comfortable cruiser style along with matching pedals. This creates a combination of toughness and comfort, making riding this bike an absolute joy.
In addition, the Mongoose Dolomite comes with a quality gear system that features specially secured chains. Combining the premium gears with the excellent brakes makes for a precise and safe ride.
All of the sturdiness and heavy-duty construction elements come with an obvious shortcoming. In particular, the Mongoose Dolomite is heavier than the average mountain bike. While it isn’t as weighty as to impede movement, the bike might not be convenient to carry, and some users might find the weight somewhat hindering.
Besides the weight, another issue about the Mongoose Dolomite doesn’t become apparent until your first ride. As quality-made and reliable as they are, the brakes on this bike can be noisy, especially when used at higher speeds. While the brake sound might not be an immediate deal-breaker, it could be unpleasant for some.
- Affordable mountain bike
- Heavy-duty construction for all terrains
- Ideal for tall or heavier riders
- Robust tires
- Great disc braking system
- Secured chains
- Somewhat heavy
- Noisy brakes
- A limited number of speeds
- It might not suit all users
Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike
Reasonably priced and built to perform, the Huffy Hardtail is an excellent choice for novice mountain bikers. In addition, this bike has many quality features that make it easy to recommend as the best beginner mountain bike or, at the least, one of the best.
The Huffy Hardtail is relatively well-known among cyclists. This bike gets a favorable reputation due to its smooth movement on all terrains, even in bad weather conditions. It’s also constructed for balance and dependability, which is especially important when venturing off-road.
With 21 speeds, precise handling, powerful acceleration, and excellent brakes, the Huffy Hardtail represents everything new riders could want from a mountain bike. Plus, the bike is quite comfortable, owing to its ergonomic seat that ensures proper posture while riding.
With much going for this bike, you’d be hard-pressed to find any solid cons. In addition to its convenience of use, the Huffy Hardtail has excellent shock absorption and will provide consistent performance wherever you take the bike.
This mountain bike is equipped with a quality Shimano derailleur from the TZ-31 series. The gear system features 21 speeds and is protected by a guard that ensures gear shifting is never hindered. When it comes to the frame, it’s constructed from sturdy steel and done so dependably that the manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty on it.
The Huffy Hardtail uses knobby tires designed for dirt and other off-road paths. In addition, the wheels are equipped with quality disc brakes to ensure seamless stopping action.
The riding convenience is supplemented with great comfort as well. The seat is constructed as ergonomic as possible without impeding a more active riding style. Even better, the bike can be adjusted easily for upright riding.
As mentioned, the Huffy Hardtail doesn’t have many flaws in design or construction. However, one thing that might turn some buyers away is that the steel build makes the bike a bit heavier than aluminum models.
It should also be noted that, while the bike isn’t overpriced by any means, it comes at a higher cost than other beginner mountain bikes. However, the price point may be justified for many users due to the quality.
- Steel hardtail frame
- Excellent 21-speed Shimano gear system
- Quality disc brakes
- Comfortable and adjustable seat
- Allows upright riding
- Reliable front suspension
- Steel construction is heavier than aluminum
- Higher price than some other models
Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Regarding beginner mountain bikes, most models exhibit particular design or construction flaws that make them less than universal. However, the Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 comes close to perfection – albeit with certain caveats.
This bike features an aluminum frame that’s been welded impeccably. The material isn’t pure aluminum but rather an alloy with the best features of the real thing, including considerable strength and low weight.
While the Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 might be considered heavy compared to some bare-bones bike construction, it’s worth noting that the bike features full suspension. In other words, it’s relatively lightweight considering the installed equipment.
The gear system is Shimano, making it speedy and highly efficient. Thanks to this quality component, shifting between the bike’s 24 gears is made seamless.
The Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 has tires that would be best described as decent – without standout flaws or advantages. Yet, the brakes installed on the bike are, in fact, outstanding. These are disc brakes that allow plenty of stopping power as well as controlled braking when needed.
Suspension is undoubtedly among the highest points of the Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0. The bike features rear and front shocks, i.e., full suspension. Plus, preloads are adjustable for both shocks, making the riding experience customizable.
The seat is the next significant advantage that this bike boasts. It’s comfortable while being supported by a post made of the same alloy that gives the rest of the construction its sturdiness. On flat terrain, the increased comfort will come from the seat design. And on rougher treks, the excellent suspension will take care of any bumps.
All in all, riding this bike will be pretty enjoyable in most situations.
The combination of Shimano gearing and fantastic brakes makes the bike excellent to control. This vital function will increase safety and make taking the bike on longer journeys easier.
The factory tires included with the Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 aren’t on the same level as the rest of the build. This doesn’t mean the tires are straight-up bad, but many users will probably want to get an upgrade.
The issue with the tires is the lackluster threading, which makes them a poor fit for faster rides, cross-country biking, or any other use that calls for superior traction.
Also, while the bike features full suspension, more attention went to the front than the rear components. Although the rear suspension can be adjusted, users expecting flawless performance from that end will be disappointed.
- Premium aluminum construction
- Light and sturdy
- Expertly made Shimano gear system
- 24 speeds
- Full suspension – front and rear
- Quality disc brakes
- Comfortable seat
- Not the best factory tires
- Weaker rear suspension
When buying the best beginner mountain bike available, the choice won’t be as easy as picking the bike that feels the best. Instead, you’ll need to consider key features that truly make the difference.
The most important factors that should drive your decision are the bike type, its wheels, frame material, groupset, i.e., the shifting and braking systems, and the bike’s size.
Type of Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes can be grouped based on their frame and intended use.
A mountain bike’s frame can be rigid, hardtail, and full suspension.
Rigid mountain bikes don’t have any suspension. While this might sound like a bad trait, the lack of suspension provides certain benefits. In particular, these bikes are lighter, easier to maintain, and can keep the momentum longer.
This bike type is more responsive at the expense of comfort. While it can be particularly hard on your wrists, a rigid bike might be ideal for those who like rough and dynamic rides.
In contrast, hardtail mountain bikes feature front suspension and are often considered the mountain bike standard. They represent the most versatile of the three frame types and can be taken on most terrains without issues.
A hardtail bike is lacking compared to a full suspension type, but it has some advantages in the same regard. For example, hardtail bikes will be lighter than their full suspension counterparts. But, on the other hand, they’ll be less comfortable on particularly demanding terrain.
The full suspension type, unsurprisingly, is the most comfortable compared to other variants. Bikes with front and rear suspensions can be suitable for all riders, even on the roughest terrain. Additionally, people with injuries may ride a full suspension bike without issues.
At the same time, most full suspension cycles have the option to lockout the suspension, allowing for unhindered climbing.
The downsides of full suspension bikes come down to weight and price. As a rule, this mountain bike type will be heavier than others and come with a higher price tag. But, both facts are understandable considering the additional components.
Regarding mountain bike types based on intended use, you won’t need to learn all the details that make a particular bike well-suited for certain tasks. Instead, it will be in the very name.
According to intended use, mountain bikes can be:
- Cross country
- All-mountain or enduro
- Freeride or downhill
- Fat bikes
- Dirt jump
It should be noted that, in most cases, a bike won’t be limited to a particular discipline. For instance, buying a dirt jump bike won’t mean you can’t take it on a trail ride. Usually, the type will indicate what the cycle is most primed and optimized to do without excluding other activities.
Trail bikes may represent an exception here, as they feature a specific construction that allows them to be used on obstacle courses.
There are three types of mountain bike wheels: alloy rim, disc, clincher, and disc. Of these three types, beginner mountain bikes will, in most cases, have rim wheels.
It’s essential to consider the wheel as a system in its own right. In other words, viewing it like a collection of components is better than one item. For example, wheels can have a different number of spokes – usually between 24 and 32. Whatever the number, it would be a bad idea to ride a bike with even a single spoke missing.
These spokes can come in butted, straight, and bladed variants. The straight type is the most standard. Butted spokes are optimized for maximum strength-to-weight ratio, while bladed spokes are built for better aerodynamics.
Spokes may also be laced in different patterns that affect how the entire bike rides. The commonly used options are two-cross and three-cross patterns. However, other manufacturers may use alternative designs.
The rim itself can be made of different materials. Aluminum alloy is the most prevalent option, with carbon rims becoming more common.
Mountain bikes can have frames made of several materials: steel, aluminum, carbon, and titanium.
Steel frames come in two variants, hi-tensile and Chromoly. However, only the latter is worth mentioning when searching for the best beginner mountain bike. Hi-tensile steel is a low-cost option of relatively poor quality, while Chromoly is the more common choice in middle and high-tier bikes.
Steel construction comes at a lower price than other materials and is most appreciated for its durability. However, cyclists looking for top performance might find this type lacking.
Aluminum frames are very light and versatile. Aluminum is also quite durable and stiff, making this type of frame an excellent choice. A mountain bike with an aluminum frame will be adaptable, but only to a point. After that, these bikes won’t be a good fit for more intensive biking disciplines.
Carbon fiber frames are both the lightest and stiffest frame types. Their light build makes them a favorite among many users, but a carbon frame bike might be a poor choice for beginners who won’t get the opportunity to appreciate its benefits.
Finally, titanium frames are primarily designed for professionals and semi-professionals. While this material is highly durable, a mountain bike with such a frame would be more a vanity item than a practical solution for a novice.
A mountain bike group set includes the drivetrain and the braking system. The drivetrain consists of several components that control gear shifting. However, you won’t need to know every drivetrain detail to decide on the best group set.
Instead, try focusing on some crucial traits of the group set as a whole:
Of course, the choice will be much more straightforward once you look at the entire picture: You’ll want the lightest groupset with the greatest durability and best performance.
Getting the Right Size
The frame will be most important when talking about the size of your mountain bike. Luckily, you can determine the correct size according to your height.
For riders up to 5-foot-3, a 14-inch frame would be the best fit. Riders who are 5-foot-5 at most should choose either a 15 or 16-inch variant. Those reaching 5-foot-9 would be better off with 16 or 17-inch frames. If you’re 5-foot-9 to 6 feet tall, a 17 or 18-inch frame will be the right fit, while riders who are 6-foot-1 or taller will need a 20-inch frame.
What Size Mountain Bike Do I Need?
You can determine the right size of mountain bike by your height. The size of the bike will refer to the frame.
Do I Need Suspension?
Suspension isn’t necessary, especially if you want to go on some rough rides. However, a proper suspension will make using the bike more comfortable.
What Size Frame Should I Get?
The right frame size will depend on your height, much like the overall bike size.
How to Choose the Right Safety Gear for Mountain Biking?
Good mountain biking safety gear should provide ample protection, especially to your head and limbs. But, at the same time, it shouldn’t impede visibility or movement.
How to Ride a Mountain Bike?
Since mountain biking can get intense, starting with easier terrain is best. Enrolling in a mountain biking training class is the safest way to start.
While all five entries in this review represent quality options for beginners, the best beginner mountain bike title must go to only one. In this case, the Huffy Hardtail bike would offer all of the advantages with nearly no setbacks and does so at a reasonable price.
Of course, you should explore even more offers using the handy buyers’ guide presented here. With proper knowledge, you’ll find the right type of mountain bike to fit your needs.