The Finest Mountain Bikes of 2020
From hardtails to all-mountain rides, we discovered the perfect mountain bikes for each using model and funds.
There are quite a lot of nice bikes in the marketplace proper now. And whereas we love the vary of choices, it may be laborious to know what to purchase. However we’ve obtained you lined. We’ve spent months researching, testing, and obsessing about all issues MTB to seek out the perfect mountain bikes of 2020.
Whether or not you’re a totally new rider searching for the perfect mountain bike underneath $1,000 or a seasoned athlete searching for a brand new trip, there’s one thing on this record for you.
We put these bikes by way of the wringer and logged some gnarly miles on all kinds of terrain. Whereas testing, we thought-about efficiency, dealing with, consolation, value, and reliability.
And if you happen to want extra assist deciding, be sure you learn the client’s information on the finish of this text.
The Finest Mountain Bikes of 2020
Finest Total: Pivot Switchblade ($6,799)
Some of the maneuverable, exact, and enjoyable bikes you should purchase, Pivot’s new Switchblade is a magical unicorn. It didn’t weigh us down on climbs, and after we encountered path options that pushed the bounds of our talent, the Switchblade helped us recover from them with its 142mm rear and 160mm entrance journey.
The Switchblade has been in Pivot’s line for a very long time, and the updates for 2020 are vital. They embrace progressive geometry that makes the bike more proficient and agile in additional conditions in addition to straighter tubes in a extra compact body that makes the bike lighter and stiffer, with extra standover peak on all sizes. This makes the bike simpler to deal with when the going will get robust. And it additionally broadens the vary of riders that may comfortably trip it to five’0”-6’7”.
A steeper seat tube accommodates an extended dropper submit. And the bike makes use of a DW-Hyperlink shock mounted the other way up to depart room sufficient within the body’s major triangle for a water bottle cage or considered one of Pivot’s new bike-mounted instruments.
Many occasions when one bike claims to have the ability to “do all of it,” it doesn’t do any of it effectively. This bike is the exception. If you would like a motorbike, not a quiver, to trip every thing from technical cross-country to lift-served bike park laps, that is it.
We examined the Switchblade with 29er wheels. It was vigorous in corners and boosting off bumps and hips, and the suspension felt supportive each climbing and slamming into an surprising gap on the backside of an enormous roll. After we didn’t know what was coming, we repeatedly reached for this bike.
The large gear vary made even the steepest climbs manageable. And on downhills, the suspension design and extra-wide Superboost rear triangle gave this bike extra capacity to soak up large options and rider failures.
Wheel measurement: 27.5-plus or 29
Suspension: 160mm entrance, 142mm rear
Professionals: Do-it-all bike for an all-mountain/enduro-focused rider, agile hill climber
Cons: Carbon body means no funds choice
Finest MTB Below $1,000: Schwinn Axum ($498)
When you’re on a funds, a hardtail bike is probably the most economical choice to get you rolling. Rail trails, rec paths, and easy singletrack spotlight the Axum’s skills. This 29er bike has a inflexible rear and a 100mm entrance suspension fork.
Climbing, a lockout on the fork stored us from bobbing round. Descending, we opened up the fork for a forgiving trip by way of bermed corners and down loamy, forest paths. The Axum has eight speeds, which was loads to navigate rolling terrain.
Schwinn selected mechanical disc brakes for this bike, which stopped us on a dime at highway crossings and path junctions. Mechanical disc brakes are lower-maintenance and extra reasonably priced than hydraulic disc brakes, with considerably extra stopping energy than rim brakes.
The Axum’s 2.6-inch low-profile tread tires are wider than what’s specced on most cross-country bikes. The extra highway contact gave this bike a secure really feel that was confidence-inspiring for newcomers.
The Axum has 29-inch rims, which additionally smooths out the terrain. Broad tires add weight, however they made the bike trip secure and made rolling over smaller obstacles a enjoyable problem.
Schwinn says this bike matches riders 5’4” to six’2” tall. We’d say that riders on the higher finish of that spectrum are going to be happier on the Axum than smaller ones.
Wheel measurement: 29
Suspension: 100mm entrance
Professionals: Value is true
Cons: One measurement solely
Finest Hardtail: Rocky Mountain Growler 50 ($1,899)
Much less upkeep, much less cash, and a crazy-fun trip. That’s what you possibly can anticipate from the slack and succesful Growler hardtail.
Rocky Mountain made this playful bike for individuals who love singletrack however can’t or don’t wish to spend greater than they should for a terrific trip. We just like the 50, the highest-end Growler as a result of it has bells and whistles that make the trip compromise-free, like a high-quality RockShox 35 Gold RL 140mm 44mm offset fork, a dropper submit, and SRAM 11-50 tooth Eagle cassette with 12 speeds.
The Growler has roughly the identical geometry as a full-suspension enduro bike, with out the rear-end squish. It has 29-inch wheels, a 64-degree head angle, a 75-degree seat tube angle, a 470mm attain, and a 1,237mm wheelbase rolling on 2.6-inch tires.
It powers by way of rocks and roots and will get you within the air to clear doubles earlier than you rail the subsequent berm. When you’re coming from a full-suspension bike, a hardtail generally is a bit jarring.
However the Growler’s 2.6-inch WTB Path Boss tires take the sting off, whereas the stiff body put some spring into our climbs. Slack geometry, fats and grippy tires, and 29-inch wheels gave this bike extra guts than we anticipated from a hardtail, although not as a lot as its full-suspension cousins. Run the tire strain low to melt the trip.
Wheel measurement: 29
Suspension: 140mm entrance
Professionals: Slack sufficient for technical using
Cons: Heavy for a hardtail
Finest E-Bike: Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp ($6,500)
That is the primary eMTB that’s mild sufficient to elevate over a downed tree within the path, and that appears and feels rather a lot like a totally pedal-powered mountain bike. This bike is supposed for using singletrack. A flip chip within the rear shock mount adjustments the top angle between 66 and 65.5 levels and alters the underside bracket peak for roughly aggressive using.
At simply over 38 kilos, the Rockhopper-inspired Turbo Levo SL makes use of a gear-driven, magnesium casing 240W motor, the identical one Specialised makes use of in its Turbo Creo highway e-bike.
It drops half the motor weight and half the ability of earlier variations for twice the enjoyable and help that feels extra like a lift from a good friend using subsequent to you with their hand in your again than a motorbike.
The bike obtained us as much as 20 mph on a 3-hour trip that included a fireplace highway so steep we might have needed to push a pedal bike. And the battery was nonetheless at 50% post-ride. To recharge a totally spent battery takes lower than 3 hours.
Like all e-bikes, the motor whines when it’s aiding, nevertheless it’s comparatively quiet. And on the SL, there wasn’t any jerkiness when the motor engaged and disengaged, as we’ve skilled on many e-bikes together with the extra highly effective Turbo Levo.
The shock tune is e-bike-specific — firmer within the early phases of journey for higher help whereas climbing, and squishier as you hammer on it more durable.
Although that is the lightest eMTB, it’s nonetheless heavier than a comparably specced pure pedal bike. So on steep, bumpy downhills, the SL was delightfully secure after we pushed it laborious into corners and at excessive speeds.
Wheel measurement: 29
Suspension: 150mm entrance, 150mm rear
Professionals: Mild, distinctive vary
Cons: Whiny motor
Finest All-Mountain: Yeti SB140 ($5,399)
Some of the playful bikes we’ve ridden, Yeti’s SB140 is for the rider who desires to crank up climbs and hoot and holler on the downhill. With this bike, Yeti adopted the kinematics of long-travel 29ers to a smaller-wheel bike. The ensuing trip is snappy, simple to pedal, fast to speed up, and instantly responsive. It likes to hop, drift, and fly while you wish to. And it was by no means flexy or twitchy.
The 65-degree head tube, lengthy wheelbase, and low backside bracket made this bike climb like a mountain goat, with no purpose to lock the shock until you’re pedaling asphalt. It aired off rocks and over gaps, and whipped by way of tight corners making dwelling trails really feel quicker and extra enjoyable.
Whereas it’s not the most important bike, the suspension design gave us loads of journey for giant options with out sacrificing small-bump compliance. Change Infinity appears like a secondary shock tucked behind the seat tube. It capabilities like an additional pivot that switches path because the bike strikes by way of its journey, which stored us from bobbing on climbs and bottoming out on descents.
The FOX Switch submit is sized to suit the body, from 125 mm in measurement XS to 170 mm in XL, becoming riders from 4’ 11” to six’ 7”.
Wheel measurement: 27.5
Suspension: 160mm entrance, 140mm rear
Professionals: Tremendous playful, extraordinarily agile
Cons: Value could also be a barrier to entry
Finest Girls’s Mountain Bike: Liv Pique 29 2 ($3,000)
One of many issues ladies’s-specific bikes do finest is to present lighter riders a shock tune optimized for riders underneath 150 kilos. This cross-country bike is fast and agile, poppy and playful, with a lightweight aluminum body and 29-inch wheels throughout the total measurement vary.
Designed for XC racing — with the identical ladies’s-specific geometry Liv’s staff is competing on in World Cup races — the bike has a good 100mm entrance and rear journey, with a distant lockout to eradicate bob on climbs and a short-travel dropper. Cranks and stem size change as Liv goes from XS to L, however the wheel measurement doesn’t.
We appreciated the inventory 30-tooth entrance chainring with a 12-speed 10-51 tooth SLX cassette, which gave us the legs for lengthy climbs on steep terrain. In all sizes, the bike was agile in corners, stiff and energy transferring on climbs and flats.
Liv did a powerful job in retaining dealing with constant throughout sizes with out dropping to a 27.5-inch wheel, one thing many manufacturers do, which adjustments a motorbike’s trip really feel and dealing with. Even on the XS, there’s room for a water bottle within the body.
Wheel measurement: 29
Suspension: 100mm entrance, 100mm rear
Professionals: Constant really feel and dealing with throughout sizes
Cons: Rides brief
Finest Enduro Bike: Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana Ride ($3,895)
This long-travel 29er is made to dominate steep, technical, featured descents, to hit jumps and to land them, whether or not you’re within the bike park or using desert dust. However not like a downhill bike, it’s a motorbike you possibly can energy uphill to get to the products.
With 160mm rear journey and a 170mm fork with a slack, 63.7-degree head angle, FOX’s beefy 38 fork and DHX2 coil shock, this bike’s DNA is crushing descents. Different Guerilla Gravity bikes have Crush and Plush shock modes. The Gnarvana has Plush mode solely as a result of it’s inevitably headed into terrain that may use all of the suspension it has to supply.
Within the Gnarvana, a carbon entrance triangle pairs with an aluminum rear swingarm that may be swapped with Guerilla Gravity’s $445 seat keep equipment to show the Gnarvana into an all-mountain bike. However that change additionally requires a brand new fork and shock.
After we added up the prices and added time for labor, we discovered it’s practically the identical to purchase a second bike. However the design helps Guerilla Gravity save on carbon molds, which retains its bike costs low throughout the board.
The Gnarvana’s GeoAdjust headset means this bike can rapidly match spot-on for a wider vary of riders. Every rider can tweak attain by 10 mm with a fast change within the orientation of the headset cups.
It’s not the lightest bike, and there are definitely different bikes which might be extra agile climbing by way of tight switchbacks. However level the nostril downhill, and the uphill inconveniences are past offset by the downhill enjoyable while you let ‘er rip.
Wheel measurement: 29
Suspension: 170mm entrance, 160mm rear
Professionals: Colorado-made, killer value, DH-capable
Cons: Not as nimble on climbs as another long-travel 29ers
Finest Price range Bike: Marin Hawk Hill 1 ($1,600)
It’s not value spending cash on full suspension until that suspension will enhance your trip. And this one does, at a value that may’t be beat. The aluminum body Hawk Hill has 120mm rear and 130mm entrance suspension, with playful 27.5-inch wheels and a succesful 10-speed drivetrain.
You hand over just a few gears with this bike over costlier fashions. However what you don’t hand over is the power to tune your fork and shock to your physique weight for a terrific trip. The suspension is responsive with good compression and rebound. It’s not fairly as plush as on different bikes, nevertheless it obtained the job executed.
The Hawk Hill has fashionable path bike geometry — a 66.5-degree head angle, 74.5-degree seat tube angle, 18mm BB drop, lengthy attain, brief chainstays, and a brief offset fork that climbed effectively and that that didn’t buck us over the bars when the going obtained tough.
The kinematics are much like what you’d discover on a path bike that’s twice the value. Hydraulic brakes helped us test our velocity on descents. And we arrange the tires tubeless so after we rode laborious there’s be much less probability of flats. The conversion was simple as a result of the wheels come tubeless-ready.
When you trip rather a lot, the elements gained’t final so long as on costlier bikes. However you possibly can improve brakes, wheels, or drivetrain as funds permits — or not. You would possibly wish to add a dropper submit to get probably the most from this succesful and reasonably priced bike. However it’s also possible to wheel it out of the store and head straight for the path.
Wheel measurement: 27.5
Suspension: 130mm entrance, 120mm rear
Professionals: Prime-notch spec for the value
Cons: No dropper submit
Finest Cross-Nation Bike: Cannondale Scalpel SE 2 ($4,000)
Constructed for velocity, Cannondale’s Scalpel SE is zippy and quick. It has a responsive suspension that retains the bike’s wheels involved with the path so you possibly can go farther quicker.
The cousin of Cannondale’s SI marathon race bike, the SE was created for velocity with out sacrifice. It’s constructed with a slack and secure 67-degree head tube, shorter stem, wider tires than on the SI, and a dropper submit. The suspension platform is proprietary.
It makes use of a flexing chainstay as a substitute of an additional pivot. This can be a distinctive design the model has fine-tuned over the previous decade to reduce weight and upkeep with out compromising compliance. Smaller SE sizes roll on 27.5-inch wheels as a substitute of 29-inch wheels to maintain the bike agile and fast dealing with throughout the board.
Dropper submit size can be particular to bike measurement. With 100 mm on the smallest measurement to 150 mm on the most important, Cannondale makes use of brief chainstays for vigorous and environment friendly climbing, and it does this whereas nonetheless leaving loads of room for larger tires and dirt.
Traction on descents was spectacular and made this race-inspired bike really feel relaxed, succesful, and assured quite than twitchy on downhills so we might descend with out restraint.
An built-in wheel sensor recorded velocity, route, and distance. We used it and Cannondale’s app to register our bike, schedule service, and to entry proprietor’s manuals. The downtube has mounts for Cannondale’s new Stash on-board instrument, which took weight out of our pockets and pack.
Wheel measurement: 27.5 or 29
Suspension: 120mm entrance, 120mm rear
Professionals: Extraordinarily succesful and quick, ladies’s-specific builds additionally accessible
Cons: Stash instrument equipment not included
The best way to Select the Finest Mountain Bike
There are three issues it is advisable take into consideration earlier than you begin looking for a mountain bike: the place you’ll trip, the way you’ll trip, and your funds.
The place Will You Journey?
When you reside the place it’s hilly, purchase a motorbike with sufficient gears to get to the highest with out strolling. Many mountain bikes now include a 1x drivetrain with a single chainring within the entrance and a variety of gears within the again.
Having one shifter as a substitute of two makes choosing the proper gear a lot less complicated. It additionally makes the drivetrain and your bike lighter, and it cleans up your handlebar, making house for a dropper submit lever.
When you purchase your bike at a motorbike store and never on-line, it’s simpler to get your bike personalized with a smaller entrance chainring to make hill climbing simpler.
How Will You Journey?
Purchase a motorbike to match your targets. When you’re all about velocity, select a quick and lightweight bike. Dreaming of a motorbike that may perform a little little bit of every thing? Go for an all-mountain or path setup, which could have extra suspension than a cross-country bike and fewer than an enduro bike.
If you wish to huck off large rocks and picket jumps or trip lifts at a ski space together with your bike and hit leap strains, get an enduro bike with sufficient suspension to deal with the impacts, and in addition one which’s made for abuse as a result of the worst type of bike is a damaged one.
When you’ll by no means depart the rec path, go for a hardtail, which can prevent the load and cash.
What’s Your Price range?
The final rule of thumb is the extra money you spend on a motorbike, the lighter and extra sturdy it is going to be. When you plan to do extra technical using, get the nicest body you possibly can afford. Components may be upgraded, however on the whole, your body can’t.
Additionally, get the bike with the perfect suspension you possibly can afford. Extra responsive and tunable suspension will make you a greater rider, and it is going to be extra enjoyable.
Bike Sorts Defined: XC, Enduro, Path, All-Mountain
A cross-country bike is constructed for uphill and downhill velocity in addition to mellower terrain. Most cross-country bikes have 100mm suspension and include 29-inch wheels, that are quicker than 27.5-inch wheels.
To optimize for climbing, cross-country bikes normally have a steeper head tube angle. However latest advances in suspension design are blurring the road between XC and path bikes.
A path bike gained’t be fairly as mild as a cross-country bike, and it’ll normally have extra entrance and rear suspension. Path bikes are quick uphill with geometry and suspension that’s forgiving and enjoyable using downhill.
An all-mountain bike is probably the most versatile model of mountain bike. It can take you nearly wherever you wish to pedal.
With 120-130mm suspension in again, if in case you have your sights set on large rides that stability climbing and descending, a nimble all-mountain bike is your best option. They rally by way of something however the greatest downhill options.
An enduro bike is downhill-focused, however a motorbike you possibly can nonetheless pedal. Enduro bikes are normally heavier than all-mountain and path bikes as a result of they’ve extra entrance and rear journey, enabling you to sail by way of technical roots and rock gardens, over jumps, and down drops.
An enduro bike could have a noticeably slack geometry. Many enduro bikes now have shorter chainstays and different fashionable bike kinematics that make them nearly as good pedaling uphill as crushing descents. However they’re made for races the place the downhill is timed, however the uphill will not be.
When you’re going to trip lifts and hit enormous jumps and excessive speeds and by no means pedal uphill, purchase a downhill bike. It can have a heavy bolstered double-crown fork with most accessible suspension to cut back flex and enable you sail over the most important jumps and drops.
Anticipate the bike to be so low and slack that uphill pedaling will likely be someplace between a chore and a push. Downhill bikes are designed to rage downhill as quick as you’re prepared to go.
Fashionable bikes have both 27.5- or 29-inch wheels. The smaller (27.5-inch) wheels are extra nimble and straightforward to maneuver, and so they usually have a extra playful really feel on the path. They’re additionally fast to get transferring.
Twenty-nine-inch wheels take extra power to get rolling, however they maintain their velocity as soon as they’re transferring. Additionally they roll over obstacles within the path extra simply than 27.5-inch wheels.
However don’t rule out a motorbike simply because it doesn’t have the wheel measurement you assume you need. A motorcycle’s kinematics and body design mix with wheel measurement to present every bike a novel “really feel” and talent set, and typically it’s laborious to inform what you’re rolling with out stopping to learn the sidewall.
Fatter tires are heavier, however they’re additionally extra secure. What sort of tread you want is determined by the place you’ll be using.
A smoother tread is quicker, however may be extra slippery. The fattest tires you’ll encounter on a mountain bike are 27.5-plus tires. These extra-wide tires sometimes measure 2.8 inches and offer you confidence-inspiring stability and a extra snug and forgiving trip.
Additionally they have extra rolling resistance, and so they’re heavier than non-plus tires. Not each body can accommodate plus tires. Test the producer’s web site.
Mountain bike frames are created from aluminum or carbon. An aluminum body will likely be extra reasonably priced. Sometimes, a carbon body will likely be costlier and extra forgiving.
Carbon dissipates shock higher, and the producer has extra management over the traits of the bike as a result of it may well decide the form and measurement of tubes in addition to and reinforce and lighten the body the place it needs.
All carbon will not be created equal — many manufacturers have a number of carbon layups. The most costly carbon construct is the lightest and most finely tuned.
A hardtail bike has entrance suspension, however no rear suspension. Purchase one if you happen to’re on a good funds or if you happen to’re using comparatively easy terrain. Most hardtails are inexpensive and lighter than comparably specced full-suspension bikes.
Many additionally include wider tires that may complement the bike’s suspension, particularly if you happen to trip together with your tires arrange tubeless and at decrease strain.
A full-suspension bike has a rear shock and a entrance suspension fork that compress and prolong as you trip to make the trip much less jarring and to maintain your wheels involved with the bottom, growing each traction and management.
The perfect full-suspension bikes gained’t pogo. Most shocks and suspension forks may be locked out for extra effectivity climbing. And most may also be tuned and adjusted to your weight, using model, and private preferences.
Ask your store that will help you set your bike up so you’ve gotten the perfect expertise no matter how a lot or little you trip. When you’re getting bucked, or your bike feels too squishy or unresponsive, it’s most likely your suspension. The costlier your bike, the extra superior and tunable your suspension will likely be.
Dropper Put up
A dropper submit is a seat submit which you could increase and decrease with a handlebar-mounted lever. When you’re using singletrack and your bike doesn’t include a dropper, add one.
It’s a straightforward improve and one that may immediately make you a greater rider. Have interaction your dropper submit, and your seat sinks, reducing your middle of gravity to make using technical terrain and downhills simpler.
“Spec” refers back to the elements in your bike, together with drivetrain, brakes, fork and shock, and extra. The costlier a motorbike, the longer-wearing and extra exactly functioning the elements will likely be.
Lube your drivetrain repeatedly. When you wait till it’s chirping, you waited too lengthy. Use bicycle-specific lubricant, and apply one drop to each second hyperlink. Bike lube cleans and oils the chain.
When you can, depart the lube on the chain in a single day. Then, earlier than you trip, maintain a rag over the chain whilst you spin the pedals backward to take away grit, grime, and further lube.
If in case you have a full-suspension or front-suspension bike, producers advocate that you’ve a store service your suspension each 30 hours of using. Test brake pads and cables for extreme put on repeatedly all through the season.
Purchase the Finest Bike You Can Afford
When shopping for a motorbike, you get what you pay for. Dearer bikes could have longer-wearing elements, lighter and stronger frames, and higher wheels.
Purchase domestically, and also you’ll usually get extras, together with the choice to demo bikes before you purchase, a 30-day tune-up, skilled recommendation that will help you get the perfect bike for you, and help swapping out elements to get your bike dialed for you.
You’re additionally retaining cash in your neighborhood. When you’re searching for a deal, ask your native store in the event that they’re promoting their demos or if they’ve a previous-year bike priced to maneuver.
Purchase a motorbike you possibly can develop into.
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