6 Best Entry-Level Mountain Bikes For 2021 Reviewed

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Mountain biking is not only fun but also healthy. It’s a popular outdoor recreational activity with a plethora of benefits.

We have provided a buying guide to help you know what exactly you need to consider when buying your mountain bike. We’ve also reviewed the 6 best entry level mountain bikes for 2020.

Overview For Our Top Choice

Raleigh Tokul 2 is our best choice for beginners.

How To Choose A Mountain Bike – Things To Know

Are you contemplating buying the best entry level mountain bike? If so, be sure these tips will make the process stress-free.

We’ve provided a one-stop-shop guide for everything you need to know.

Frame Material

The frame is the heart of every best entry level mountain bike, and you don’t cut corners with this feature. It can either give you a thrilling experience or make you grip in fear.

Why? You can easily upgrade brakes, gear sets, and other features. However, you can’t upgrade a frame without buying a new bike.

The sturdiness and durability of a frame normally depend on the material used. The kind of mountain ride you’re participating in will also dictate the material to choose. The frame materials include;

  • Aluminum
    Aluminum is the commonly used materials in the construction of the best entry level mountain bikes, and it’s corrosion-resistant with high strength-to-weight ratio. It’s relatively light and reasonably affordable.

    The combination of these features makes it a popular choice for riders who want to have fun at a competitive price.

    The aluminum frame is typically responsive and stiff for snappy handling and fast acceleration. However, it can be tricky to repair an aluminum frame.

  • Titanium
    This is another popular material with custom bike builders. It has a greater resistance to fatigue and corrosion compared to steel.

    With the highest strength to weight ratio, this material makes lightweight and durable frames. That’s why most of the titanium frames come with lifetime warranties.

    The material also offers a smooth ride quality, making it suitable for a hardtail, custom road, and touring mountain bikes. However, titanium is relatively rare, making such bikes quite pricey.

  • Carbon Fiber
    Carbon fiber is commonly used for both the higher-end road bikes and the best entry level mountain bikes. It’s a composite of reliable carbon sheets molded together using resin. This gives the material the needed stiffness and lightweight nature.

    Carbon fiber frames are excellent for absorbing road vibrations. This translates to a safe and comfortable ride.

    Carbon fiber can be molded into complex shapes ideal when trying to boost aerodynamic efficiency. This flexibility, however, comes with a price.

  • Steel
    Steel is still the bike-building material choice for most manufacturers. It’s associated with smoothing riding characteristics, especially for touring and mountain bikes. It’s stronger and denser than aluminum.

    It’s highly durable and resistant to fatigue. You can quickly repair a steel frame at an affordable price.

Wheel Size

The wheel size debate of mountain bikes is still evolving. Previously, the best entry level mountain bikes used to have 26-inch wheels, regardless of the race you’re undertaking. However, today it’s completely different.

The wheels have been redesigned and redeveloped to cater to the dynamic of the Mountain biking landscape. Today, bikes come in different wheel styles and sizes. The size ranges from 26-inch to 29-inch. 

The 29-inches wheels are gaining momentum since they can ride over anything. The combination of 29ers with a stable frame will help you ride over logs, seamlessly.

This detailed wheel size chart will offer more guidance.

Wheel Size Wheel circumference in mm
32-630 27 x 1-1/4 2199
28-630 27 x 1-1/4 Fifty 2174
40-622 28 x 1.5 2224
47-622 28 x 1.75 2268
40-635 28 x 1-1/2 2265
37-622 28 x 1 3/8×1 5/8 2205
18-622 700 x 18C 2102a
20-622 700 x 20C 2114
23-622 700 x 23C 2133
25-622 700 x 25C 2146
28-622 700 x 28C 2149
32-622 700 x 32C 2174
37-622 700 x 35C 2205


The best entry level mountain bike should be fitted with the best brakes. The stoppers give you control when riding. brakes are available in three types;

  • Rim brakes
    They include Y-brakes and V-brakes though they have the same basics. A rim brake comes with two pads fitted on either side of the tire.
  • Coater brakes
    The coaster locks the rear wheel when skidding. These brakes are making a comeback on some bikes.
  • Disc brakes
    They are the most popular brakes in mountain bikes. Disc brakes come in two favors; mechanical and hydraulic.

Mechanical vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Mechanic brakes utilize a steel cable for a pull on the lever into a pull on calipers. They’re less expensive and easy to maintain. On the other hand, hydraulic brakes use a piston-cylinder system jam-packed with a fluid, similar to what you’ll find on a car or motorcycle.

Hydraulic brakes provide more stopping power with enhanced modulation. They’re, therefore, suitable for rugged terrain compared to mechanical brakes.


The MTB suspension provides enhanced control, superior traction, and unrivaled comfort on rocky, rooty trails. Suspension variation are grouped into the following classes;

  • Full- suspension
    These types of mountain bikes have suspension in the rear and front. It helps in boosting comfort and allows you to ride on more technical terrains.

    However, they are weighty and expensive. If you’re an amateur, it’s advisable to gain more experience before buying your first full-suspension bicycle.

  • Hardtail
    This is where the bike is equipped with suspension shocks on the front fork only.

    Hardtail bikes are more affordable and lightweight. They have better handling compared to entry-level full-suspension MTB. Their rigidity and lighter weight make them suitable for racing and cross country biking.

  • Rigid
    A rigid bike is not equipped with a suspension either on the front fork or rare. They are comfortable for riding on parks or pavements.

    However, they might not be the best choice for off-pavement or hard-pack dirt riding.


Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding, meaning they require a certain degree of control. Therefore, choosing a bike with the best handlebars will make a difference. Handlebars have a significant impact on bike steering accuracy, fit, and comfort. 

These bars are made with different materials, with carbon fiber and alloy ruling in the marketplace.

The material used defines the weighty and cost. Generally, alloy bars are weighty but cheaper than carbon fiber counterparts.

Mountain bikes are constructed with flat bars (zero rises) up to 100mm. However, today’s bars are rarely 100mm rise.

The range is between 40 – 50mm. there are two types of handlebar rise:

  • Riser
    This is where the bar is a bit flexible than a straight bar, with the assumption that both bars have identical widths and diameters. They have a 7-9-degree backward sweep angle.

    By choosing the ideal rise, you can customize your bike’s handling comfort and characteristics. With a riser bar, you will lift your hands, putting you in a relaxed, neutral riding position.

  • Flat bars
    This is where the handlebar doesn’t bend upward. They have a small back sweep angle. It keeps your hand position down and in line with the stem. The low position prepares you for a racey, forward body position.

Top 6 Entry-Level Mountain Bikes Reviewed

1. Raleigh Bicycles Hardtail Mountain Bike- Tokul 2

Key Features:

  • Aluminum frame
  • Front fort lockout
  • Wheel size: 27.5-inch
  • Hydraulic disc brake
  • 1×9-speed drivetrain

Raleigh mountain bikes are suitable for tough and hilly terrains, and Raleigh Tokul 2 is no exception. It will conquer tough and rough trails. When it comes to the best entry level mountain bike, a powerful braking system should not be negotiable. 

That’s why this bike features hydraulic disc brakes to provide unrivaled braking power under any weather condition.

The brakes are located on the bars for a secure grip. This positioning enables you to reach the brakes in emergency cases.  It’s fitted with a broad and robust wheelset to handle rough terrains. 

With a diameter of 27.5-inch, the rims are stable to conquer rough, rocky, and muddy terrains effectively.

The Raleigh Tokul 2 features an excellent suspension fork for a smooth ride. The suspension system is fitted with SR Suntour XCM for smoothening out bumps. The drivetrain allows the motorcycle to take you through the ups, downs, and around smoothly.


  • The aggressive trail geometry allows you to go uphill effortlessly
  • The sturdy, reliable aluminum frames render the bike durable
  • It features powerful hydraulic disc brakes


  • Features flat pedals
  • The bike is pricey
  • It can be a bit difficult to assemble

2. Schwinn Bonafide Men’s Mountain Bike

Key Features:

  • Aluminum mountain frame
  • Front and rare mechanical disc brakes
  • 29-inch tires
  • 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger
  • Durable alloy cranks

The Schwinn Bonafide is a flashy, hardtail, and a best entry level mountain bike that promises high performance at an affordable price. The red flashes clash perfectly with the matte black body for a stunning look. Although it doesn’t come assembled, the instructional manual is easy to understand for a fast and seamless assembly.

The mechanical disc brakes with cables are ideal for a standard mountain bike. Furthermore, the bike performs exemplary well on various terrains. You don’t have to fear the muddy, rooty, or rocky terrains.

With a speed of 28mph, the Schwinn Bonafide is fast, reliable, and stable. Due to its flexibility, you can twerk it, adding pieces of equipment for a customized ride experience. The combination of a robust suspension fork and aluminum mountain frame helps in socking thumps and bumps.


  • The high-profile double-wall rims are strong and durable for added durability
  • The mechanic disc brakes provide a superior controlling experience
  • The wide wheel offers ultimate stability
  • Inexpensive


  • It will take time to assemble the bike
  • There is no suspension lockout
  • It’s heavy
Schwinn Bonafide Men and Women Mountain Bike, Front Suspension, 24-Speed, 29-Inch Wheels, 17-Inch Aluminum Frame, Matte Black/Red
Schwinn Bonafide Men and Women Mountain Bike, Front Suspension, 24-Speed, 29-Inch Wheels, 17-Inch Aluminum Frame, Matte Black/Red

    Last update on 2024-07-20 at 17:15 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    3. Diamondback Overdrive 29 Black Hardtail Mountain Bike

    Key Features:

    • Weight: 46 pounds
    • Tektro mechanical disc brakes
    • 29-inch wheel size
    •  6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame
    • SR Suntour suspension fork

    If you’re looking for the best entry level mountain bike, the Diamondback Overdrive is the ultimate choice. It comes with a sturdy frame, speed range, and balance capability. The bike comes 95% assembled; hence you won’t take long to assemble it.

    The Diamondback overdrive has an outstanding design, and it’s comfortable to use. It has a sharp head with a low bottom bracket height for seamless uphill riding. The 29-inch wheel is perfect for rolling fast. It can also easily convert to tubeless.

    The bike has a wide range of gears to help you get you up and down the hills. You can choose the appropriate gear for a particular terrain or ride and enjoy an enthralling experience.


    • It’s easy to assemble
    • It comes with a sturdy frame for excellent balance
    • The suspension fork provides superior comfort and control


    • Some users complain of the saddles
    • It’s weighty
    • It’s an expensive bike
    Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike, Black
    Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike, Black

    Last update on 2024-07-20 at 17:15 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    4. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tires Mountain Bike

    Key Features:

    • 18-inch frame
    • 26-inch wheel
    • Dual mechanical disc brakes
    • Weight: 59 pounds
    • Shimano drivetrain

    The Mongoose Dolomite is fitted with fat tires for a perfect riding on snow or sand. You can ride this bike on sand without sinking, thanks to the 4-inch fat tires. The aluminum lightweight frame enhances control and balance.

    The sturdy and durable frame makes Mongoose Dolomite one of the best entry level mountain bikes on the market. As its name suggests, the motorcycle is explicitly designed for male bikers. Riding through dirt and over obstacles will be nothing but fun and easy.

    The outstanding chain functionality allows precise gearing and effortless pedaling. This Mongoose Dolomite is one of the finest beach mountain bikes for men. The frame design used on this bike offers superior performance, and it’s appealing aesthetically.

    The wheels might not be the largest among the best entry level mountain bikes, but they’re large and tough enough to overcome obstacles easily. The 4-inch, wide tore prevents the bicycle from sinking in sand, dirt, and snow.


    • The heaviness makes it ideal for workout
    • The wide tire prevents the bike from sinking
    • The front and rear disc brakes provide maximum stopping power


    • The bike needs a comfortable saddle
    • The heavy tire and steel frame renders it heavy
    • It’s not ideal for long rides
    Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike, For Men and Women, 26 Inch Wheels, 4 Inch Wide Knobby Tires, 7-Speed, Adult Steel Frame, Front and Rear Brakes, Navy Blue
    Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike, For Men and Women, 26 Inch Wheels, 4 Inch Wide Knobby Tires, 7-Speed, Adult Steel Frame, Front and Rear Brakes, Navy Blue

      Last update on 2024-07-21 at 00:19 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      5. 2020 Gravity FSX 2.0 Disc Brakes Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

      Key Features:

      • Dimensions: 20 x 8 x 21 inches
      • Weight: 20 pounds
      • Aluminum frame
      • Aluminum riser handlebar
      • Suntour long travel fork

      Here is one of the best entry level mountain bikes featuring 24-speed dual suspension. If you have been looking for a sturdy and reliable, then Gravity FSX 2.0 is the ultimate choice. 

      The bike is fitted with an aluminum frame constructed with a single-pivot technology. The lightweight frame gives a stellar hydroformed tubing performance. 

      The Gravity FSX 2.0 is tough, sturdy, and can tolerate a substantial amount of shock. The gears and crankset work incredibly to ensure you have a smooth ride. The front suspension is designed with the ability to absorb the toughest bounce.

      When it comes to comfort, the Gravity mountain bike leads the pack. It does become a burden while ascending the hill. The saddle provides the needed comfort.

      It’s fitted with mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors to help you perform a sudden break. This renders it among the best entry-level mountain bikes in the market.


      • It’s fitted with solid tires and rims for stability
      • Great mechanical disc brakes for superior stopping power
      • The wolverines are great for rough and tough downhill rides


      • It’s quite heavy
      • Some users complain about the rear shock
      • The bike is a little small
      2023 FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike Gravity Suntour (Matt Black with Green Wheels, 19inch)
      2023 FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike Gravity Suntour (Matt Black with Green Wheels, 19inch)

        Last update on 2024-07-20 at 17:15 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        6. Merax 26-Inch 24-Speed Mountain Bike

        Key Features:

        • Weight: 40 lbs
        • Weight capacity: 330 lbs
        • Dimensions: 54 x 29 x 8 inches
        • Dual disc brakes
        • Aluminum frame

        Closing the list of the best entry level mountain bikes is Merax mountain bike. Merax is a reliable brand in the market, and you can be sure to the best entry-level mountain bike. 

        With the treated, through the aluminum frame, the lightweight bike is suitable for riding on rocky and rooty terrains.

        The 26-inch double-wall wheels allow easier rolling over roots, bumps, and holes. It has Shimano EF500-3/8, 24-Speed derailleurs, and shifters for reliable and stable shifting. Merax bike comes packed with front suspension forks to enhance control for fluid riding.

        If you’re riding on rugged terrains, you don’t have to fear taking control. Thanks to the dual disc brakes, which provide incredible stopping power.


        • It can support up to 330 lbs
        • It’s ergonomically designed to conquer hills
        • Shimano 24-speed shifters provide smooth and reliable gear shifting


        • Harder to assemble
        •  It has heavy pedals which might make riding an awful experience
        •  The tires might not offer the much-needed traction

        The Best Choice for Beginners

        Undoubtedly, all of the above mountain bikes are valuable. But Raleigh Tokul 2 is our perfect choice for beginners. When buying your first bike, you would love to enjoy incredible features, maximum speed, and control power. And Raleigh combines all these elements.

        This hardtail bike is one of the best entry level mountain bikes for all rough and tough riding ideas. The wide tires offer unrivaled steadiness without forgetting robust Tektro hydraulic brakes for sufficient stopping power.

        Its geometry is excellent for rocky and rooty paths. This best entry level mountain bike has all you need to conquer hilly and steep terrains. More so, it comes at a competitive price suitable for your budget.

        Picking a wrong first mountain bike will give you an awful biking experience. If you want to get enthralled, then Raleigh Tokul 2 can be the best bet.

        Photo of author
        Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.

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