8 Best Entry Level Mountain Bikes

When you break into the world of mountain biking, your mountain bike will be one of the best assets. However, not everyone needs the best mountain bike and there are a variety of options to choose from. The best entry level mountain bikes are great for beginners and will allow them to explore while minimizing the costs if you decide to stop cycling.

Best Entry Level Mountain Bikes

Top Entry Level Mountain Bikes

There are tons of mountain bikes and many of them are affordable. However, you will need to choose the right one if you want to have the most fun. We have done some research and searched for some of the best mountain bikes on the market today. Instead of buying any bike, you can find the best entry level mountain bikes for you right here.

 Frame TypeMaterialsDrivetrainPriceRating
Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29HardtailAluminumSRAM X5$$$$★★★★★
Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1Full-SuspensionCompositeShimano Deore Xt$$$$$★★★★★
Trek Roscoe 8HardtailAluminumSRAM Eagle NX 12$$$★★★★★
Santa Cruz Bicycles ChameleonHardtailCarbon FiberSRAM GX Eagle 12$$$$★★★★★
Yeti Cycles SB130 Turq T1 XTFull-SuspensionCarbon FiberShimano XT 12$$$$$★★★★★
Diamondback Release 29 2Full-SuspensionAluminumShimano SLX Shadow Plus$$$$★★★★★
Ibis Mojo 4 SLX Mountain BikeFull-SuspensionCarbon FiberShimano SLX M7100$$$$$★★★★
Evil Bikes Calling GX Eagle Mountain BikeFull-SuspensionCarbon FiberSRAM Eagle GX 12$$$$★★★★

Best Entry Level Mountain Bikes on the Market

If you are used to reading the articles on our site, you must know by now that we put a lot of work into finding these bikes and do a tone of research. Much like the other articles, we have included a small buyer’s guide that will show you the most important features to consider. However, here are the best entry level mountain bikes for beginners.

 Top Pick: Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29

The first bike to make it onto the list is the Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29. The bike is designed as one of the entry-level options and features the Specialized A1 Aluminum frame. It has a hardtail design, which means the bike will have less drag and it is should be efficient for those that love to climb tough trails.

The SRAM X5 2 x 10 drivetrain is one of the smaller drivetrains on the market today. However, it is packed full of great features to give you versatility. We also love the Tektro Aurigo hydraulic disc brakes that form part of the design. The disc brakes make it a great option to ensure you have good stopping power in all conditions.

Pros:

  • Lightweight: Aircraft-grade aluminum might not be the lightest materials, but for the price, it is worth it.
  • Wheel Size: The bike features 29-inch wheels that make it great for the average rider to get in the saddle.
  • Disc brakes: The bike does not have standard disc brakes, but rather hydraulic disc brakes for the ultimate stopping power.

Cons:

  • Colors: It does not have standard colors and you might find that some of these colors are slightly distorted.

Best Hardtail Bike: Trek Roscoe 8

Trek is another one of the top brands on the market today and we have selected the Trek Roscoe 8 for the stylish and mysterious design that it brings to the table. The bike is made from the Alpha Gold Aluminum frame that will ensure you have durability, while the 27.5-inch tires will give you more than enough size to work with.

The SRAM Eagle NX 12-speed drivetrain is regarded as one of the best drivetrains on the market today and it has a solid structure and easy shifting mechanism. As you will see with most of the other top options, the hydraulic disc brakes will add additional stopping power. Overall, it is a great bike for beginners to get started.

Pros:

  • Tire Size: While the one that we reviewed has a tire size of 27.5-inches, you will also notice that there are 29-inch versions available.
  • Disc Brakes: It is hard to skip over the fact that the bike has some of the best disc brakes you can find on the top trail bikes.
  • Price: Some bikes are far more expensive, but the Trek Roscoe is not as expensive as some of the others.

Cons:

  • Size: Unfortunately, you cannot find the bike in smaller sizes, and this means that only larger riders will enjoy it.

Best High-End Mountain Bike: Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1

Giant is one of the leading brands when it comes to top-quality mountain bikes and they have built a reputation to be unrivaled. The Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 is comparable to some of the best mountain bikes for 2021. It features a composite frame, which combines the best of different high-end materials to give you a good bike.

The bike is fitted with some of the best accessories and these include high-end hydraulic disc brakes. For the drivetrain, you have the Shimano Deore XT, which is also used in many professional competitions. The bike is highly popular among some of the experts, but it is a newer model to the market in 2021.

Pros:

  • Frame: The composite frame is a combination of the best materials that are combined to give you value for your money.
  • Disc Brakes: Much like the other top options, the hydraulic disc brakes will give you excellent stopping power.
  • New Bike: Since the bike is brand new to the market, you won’t have anyone meeting you with the same bike.

Cons:

  • Untested: While it might be new, one of the downsides is that the bike is still untested among many of the top riders.

Best Carbon Fiber Hardtail Bike: Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon Carbon 29 S Mountain Bike

While aluminum is one of the most affordable options, the Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon Carbon 29 S Mountain Bike is made from carbon fiber, which means that it weighs far lighter than some of the others we have seen. The bike includes large 29-inch wheels that will shorten your riding distance and improve the performance speed.

For those worried about the drivetrain, the SRAM GX  Eagle 12-speed drivetrain is regarded as a top option by many of the expert riders. We also love the design of the bike and aside from the carbon fiber construction, it has a hardtail shape. The bike should be perfect for climbing hills and riding trails with obstacles.

Pros:

  • Drivetrain: The GX 12 drivetrain is one that people often overlook, but it is similar in design to the NX 12 when looking at features.
  • Frame: As mentioned, carbon fiber is great and you will generally find it in some of the best mountain bikes.
  • Hardtail: We like the hardtail shape and it is perfect for climbing. However, it does not have the suspension for downhills.

Cons:

  • Price: Unfortunately, the carbon fiber frame makes it slightly more expensive, but it is still worth it in the end.

Best Bike For Serious Riders: Yeti Cycles SB130 Turq T1 XT Mountain Bike

As you become even more serious, you might need a bike like the Yeti Cycles SB130 Turq T1 XT Mountain Bike. It is one of the most durable bikes and features a full suspension that will reduce the strain when descending from hills. The bike is also made from carbon fiber, which significantly reduces the overall weight.

As for the drivetrain, you have one of the best developers that have produced the perfect drivetrain for the bike. The Shimano XT 12 is a useful drivetrain that makes it possible for you to change your speeds more elegantly. Additionally, it features large 29-inch wheels for some of the bigger riders that also love these bikes.

Pros:

  • Full Suspension: As mentioned, the bike has a full suspension design, which makes it possible to absorb shock.
  • Frame: The carbon fiber frame should not be taken for granted and it will ensure that you have a lightweight bike.
  • Drivetrain: The Shimano XT 12 is a great option that will ensure you have a solid shifter from the Tour de France sponsor.

Cons:

  • Price: With the overall design of the bike, it is worth noting that it also one of the most expensive on the market today.

Best Beginner Mountain Bike: Diamondback Release 29 2 Mountain Bike

Diamondback might be perceived as a high-end brand and while they have top of the range mountain bikes, they have numerous affordable options. The Diamondback Release 29 2 Mountain Bike is one of the most popular options they have on offer and features an aluminum design. However, it has a full-suspension frame as well.

The Shimano SLX Shadow Plus drivetrain is one of the most useful for anyone looking to have a good mountain bike. However, it is not the most popular drivetrain on the market today. Like all the other top options, the hydraulic disc brakes offer good stopping power. The bike should stop efficiently in all weather conditions.

Pros:

  • Brakes: We have to put some emphasis on the hydraulic disc brakes and while they are more expensive they offer good stopping power.
  • Drivetrain: The drivetrain might not be the best Shimano drivetrain, but it should be sufficient for anyone.
  • Full-Suspension: The full suspension makes the Release 3 one of the best mountain bikes for descending.

Cons:

  • Hard To Master: It can feel like the bike has a lot of drag, which makes it hard to master for beginners.

Best Full-Suspension Mountain Bike: Ibis Mojo 4 SLX Mountain Bike

A full-suspension mountain bike is a great option for those that are looking to have a bike to reduce the shock on their bodies. One of the best on the market today is the Ibis Mojo 4 SLX Mountain Bike. The bike is made from carbon fiber, which means that it is lighter than most of the other bikes and the full suspension reduces the strain on your body.

The Shimano SLX M7100 drivetrain is the option for the bike and it will ensure that you have smooth shifting. It also makes the bike more fluid to control and we should mention that the lighter weight is great for beginners. There are no real downsides to the bike aside from the massive price tag, but the features will make up for it.

Pros:

  • Frame: As with any top of the range bike, a carbon fiber frame is a good option for most top riders.
  • Brakes: The hydraulic disc brakes on the bike offer you the best possible stopping power in all conditions.
  • Value: Ibis might not be the most popular brand on the market today, but it offers you value for your money.

Cons:

  • Price: One of the biggest concerns is the price and many might feel that the price is directed at expert riders.

Best Wildcard Bike: Evil Bikes Calling GX Eagle Mountain Bike

The evil bike is a brand that is known in certain parts of the United States. However, it is not a brand we see often at competitions. We have selected the Evil Bikes Calling GX Eagle Mountain Bike for the carbon fiber frame and the stylish design of the colors. It should be a bike that will make you smile when showing it off to friends.

The bike has a DELTA dual-suspension system, which might seem foreign to you, but refers to the quality of the suspension. The SRAM Eagle GX 12-speed drivetrain will propel you forward and a fast-shifting mechanism will ensure that you never have any issues. The bike has hydraulic disc brakes like most of the others for good stopping power.

Pros:

  • Shifters: The shifters have caught our attention due to the stylish design and fast manner in which they can be operated.
  • Frame: Having a carbon fiber frame is more expensive, but will give you a lightweight and durable bike.
  • Price: It is still an expensive bike, but the price will cover all the top features and ensure you have peace of mind.

Cons:

  • Not Well Known: While it might be argued that the bike is popular, it is not a household name like Trek or Giant.

What You Need To Look For When Buying The Best Entry Level Mountain Bike

We have revealed 8 of the best entry level mountain bikes on the market today. However, there are many more and they are releasing as we speak. If you don’t like any of the above-mentioned options, there are other options to consider. We have compiled a list of features that will help you when selecting the best entry level mountain bike.

Frame Type

One of the first things to keep in mind is that mountain bikes come in two frame types. The hardtail frame is the most common and also the most affordable. These frames are solid and sturdy, which means they have less drag and they are easier to climb with. Alternatively, you can look at the full-suspension frame that has an additional suspension to help absorb some shock.

Materials

The next important thing to consider is the frame materials. Beginners should consider the aluminum frame to save a couple of bucks. However, the carbon fiber frame is more durable and lightweight. For those just breaking into the sport, a steel frame is an option. However, it can make the bike very heavy for beginners.

Brakes

The next part to look at is the brakes the bike has and having high-end brakes will ensure that the bike stops when you command it to stop. The disc brake is the best to ensure you have the best stopping power. However, you need to choose between the mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are more expensive but slightly more reliable.

Drivetrain

When looking at the major components of a mountain bike, the drivetrain is the final thing you need to look at. It makes it possible to maneuver the bike and change the different speeds. The main brands are SRAM and Shimano, but both of them have great drivetrains. You can read more on the drivetrains in our in-depth drivetrain article.

Wrap-Up

There is so much to be said about the best entry level mountain bikes, but you must find one you are the most comfortable with. Many of these bikes have great features and we would recommend all of them. The top bikes can make your life easier as a cyclist and help you move through the skill levels much faster.

Remember to look at all the bikes features and learn what components come with each bike. The more you learn the more you will get hooked. If you’re unsure on what bike to get, consider renting a mountain bike to make sure you pick the right one.

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you can pin it to your Mountain Bike Board!