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Best mountain bike 2023

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Image of a green mountain bike featuring blue branding and bronze and black details at the front.
Credit: Nukeproof

When looking for the best mountain bike, it can be difficult to determine how much money you need to spend to pick up a high-quality bit of kit that's not going to fail you mid-way down a

Thankfully, we've done some of the research for you to compile this list based on specs, reviews, and price to help you determine what exactly it is you're looking for from a mountain bike.

That being said, large, wide, knobby tyres are required for stability and grip when it comes to a mountain bike, plus absorbent suspension, as we mention in our list of the best mountain bikes under 1000, is essential to iron out any obstacles for a smoother cycling experience.

Unlike some of the best BMXs, mountain bikes come with bigger frames, too, to give them a longer wheelbase. This is to ensure the bike glides over obstacles one wheel at a time rather than getting caught with two wheels off the ground.

So, with this in mind, whether you're searching for something relatively inexpensive, like this Eurobike X1, or you're after something for everyday use, like this Schwinn Surge, we've got you covered right here.

Best mountain bike

  1. Specialized Epic Comp
  2. Eurobike X1
  3. Specialized Stumpjumper Pro
  4. Nukeproof Giga 290 Elite
  5. GT Zaskar LT AL Elite
  6. Schwinn Surge
Best mountain bike Specialized product image of a red-framed bike.
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Credit: Specialized

1. Specialized Epic Comp

Best all-round mountain bike

Brand: Specialized | Frame: Carbon | Gears: 12-speed | Tyres: Fast Trak Control casing GRIPTON

The Epic Comp has been designed to be a fast and reliable bit of kit that feels at home on the racecourse and the trails.

One of the features Specialized have implemented to achieve this is the use of its BRAIN suspension where you can adjust the softness of the ride across 5 settings depending on the surface, so should suit both casual rides and more intense trails where you're tackling extremely rough ground.

Read More: Best road bikes

Moreover, Specialized has updated the bike geometry to offer you a more confident position on downward hills and is, therefore, another reason why this Epic bike is one of the best all-around mountain bikes on the market.

Best mountain bike Eurobike product image of a black bike with yellow and white details.
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Credit: Eurobike

2. Eurobike X1

Best budget mountain bike

Brand: Eurobike | Frame: Steel | Gears: 21-speed | Tyres: Unspecified

Eurobike is definitely up there as one of the top manufacturers of budget bikes around thanks to designs such as the X1 for when you want to move away from your best stationary bike onto some dirt trails in real life.

Eurobike boasts its 27.5" steel frame offers you plenty of stability while riding which is vital when trying to cycle across uneven terrain.

Read More: Best cycling gloves

Also, this bike comes with disk brakes designed to have better braking power and to reduce the chances of the brakes locking up which is particularly useful on a challenging descent.

With 21 gears and a relatively inexpensive price tag, this bike suits both beginners and more advanced cyclists looking for a great budget bike option.

Best mountain bike Specialized product image of a Gloss Oasis coloured bike
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Credit: Specialized

3. Specialized Stumpjumper Pro

Best premium mountain bike

Brand: Specialized | Frame: Carbon | Gears: 12-speed | Tyres: Butcher, GRID casing, GRIPTON

Back to Specialized and one of its more premium mountain bikes in the Stumpjumper Pro.

The 'Stumpjumper' name has 40 years of history behind it so it certainly has a reputation to live up to, but with its lightweight FACT 11m carbon frame, SRAM's XO1 Eagle AXS 12-speed drivetrain, and FOX Factory suspension, it should more than live up to the title.

Read More: Best electric bikes

Specialized designed this bike to tackle every kind of trail imaginable so, to achieve this, underwent some weight reduction without sacrificing durability, created a responsive chassis that should ride light and improve geometry to, hopefully, enhance your performance.

On the whole, this Stuntjumper bit of kit takes the crown for one of the most finely tuned trail bikes around.

Best mountain bike Nukeproof product image of an all yellow mountain bike.
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Credit: Nukeproof

4. Nukeproof Giga 290 Elite

Best enduro mountain bike

Brand: Nukeproof | Frame: Carbon | Gears: 12-speed | Tyres: Michelin Wild Enduro Tubeless

An enduro bike describes a bit of a kit designed for long travel and going as fast as possible downhill on the hardest trails around.

Like the Giga 290 Elite with its Fox 38 Performance suspension and a Shimano SLX 12-Speed groupset, as well as speed on descents, enduro bikes are designed to help you peddle back up challenging hills which are common on the most difficult trails.

In addition to the suspension and gears, the bike comes with 29" DT Swiss E1900 wheels wrapped in Michelin Wild Enduro Tubeless tyres to help you pick up speed and traction across all kinds of terrain.

On the whole, the Giga 290 Elite offers both beginners and seasoned pros a great option to satisfy their enduro bike needs.

Best mountain bike GT product image of an all blue mountain bike
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Credit: GT

5. GT Zaskar LT AL Elite

Best hardtail mountain bike

Brand: GT | Frame: Aluminium | Gears: 12-speed | Tyres: WTB Breakout Comp

Like enduro, hardtail is another mountain biking term used to describe a bike with no rear shock absorbers and is equipped with either rigid forks or front suspension.

Typically, hardtails, like the GT Zaskar LT AL Elite, are slightly cheaper and lighter than full-suspension bikes and tend to be a great choice for both entry-level and accomplished riders alike.

Engineered out of GT's own aluminium alloy, the bike's frame incorporates modern enduro-inspired geometry designed for a combination of stability, agility and all-day riding comfort.

Through a combination of fine-tuning and testing, GT has created what is likely a top-tier hardtail bike that incorporates a number of features, like Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes, to keep you confident and in control, while tackling challenging trails.

Best mountain bike Schwinn product image of a grey bike with orange details.
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Credit: Schwinn

6. Schwinn Surge

Best mountain bike for everyday use

Brand: Schwinn | Frame: Aluminium | Gears: 7-speed | Tyres: Unspecified

For everyday use, you'll no doubt be looking for something extremely versatile like this Schwinn Surge.

Schwinn boasts its geometry is designed to be a comfortable fit, offering control and stability for all riders.

It also comes with Schwinn FS26 Suspension forks to help enhance your comfort even more by supporting you as you ride over rough terrain.

Moreover, the 17" 6061 Aluminium frame should be lightweight to make it more portable for when you want to use this bike around town.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

With an abundance of variations on the market, you probably have a few questions surrounding mountain bikes, but don't worry because we're here to clear up some of the more common queries.

What to look for from a mountain bike?

There are a few things to keep an eye out for when purchasing a mountain bike, especially if you're doing it for the first time.

One of the key areas to check is the size of the bike as you'll want something that fits you. Most importantly, look at the reach (distance from the saddle to the bars) and the stack (distance from the centre of the crank to the mid-head tube), as these are key measurements for comfort.

You may also want to look out for the wheel size as, typically, they come in 27.5" for more aggressive trails and downhill courses, or 29" for cross-country rides.

As mentioned with the GT Zaskar LT AL Elite, mountain bikes come with either hardtails or full suspension, but this decision is really down to personal preference and budget as hardtails tend to be cheaper.

Is a mountain bike easy to maintain?

Much like a car, a mountain bike will need regular maintenance to ensure it rides smoothly and safely.

Crucially, you'll want to be checking your brakes regularly to ensure the pads haven't faded so you're confident they'll continue to do their job correctly.

You'll also want to be paying attention to your tyre pressure. The recommended pressure can usually be found on the side of each tyre.

Other things to maintain include the components of the bike, ensuring everything is tight and not loose, and you'll also want to regularly wash your bike as trails can be muddy so you'll no doubt want to remove the dirt to avoid damaging the aesthetics and moving parts.

What are 29er mountain bikes?

A 29er mountain bike is simply one that comes with 29-inch wheels.

The larger wheels of 29ers offer several advantages over smaller wheels, including improved rolling efficiency and better traction on rough terrain. They also have larger areas of contact with the ground, which can improve stability and control, especially when descending steep or technical terrain.

29ers are available in a variety of styles, including hardtail and full-suspension models. They are popular among cross-country riders, but are also used for trail riding, enduro racing, and even downhill racing in some cases.

How much should you spend on a mountain bike?

How much you should spend on a mountain bike really depends on your passion for the sport and your available budget.

While a premium bike, like the Specialized Stumpjumper Pro, may be tempting, we'd probably argue it isn't a good investment if you're not serious about cycling.

If you're looking for a solid, mid-range mountain bike, you'll probably want to be looking in the £300-500 range, however, as previously mentioned, you can normally pick up a hardtail mountain bike for slightly less.

How do you choose the right size mountain bike?

Choosing the right size mountain bike is crucial for ensuring comfort, control, and optimal performance while riding. Start by considering your height as a general guideline. Different bike manufacturers may have slightly different sizing charts, but you can typically find a recommended size range based on your height.

Make sure you check your handover height, which is the distance between the top tube of the bike frame and your inseam. For a mountain bike, you should have a few inches of clearance between your inseam and the top tube when standing over the bike with your feet flat on the ground.

Also, take your reach into consideration. Reach refers to the distance between the saddle and the handlebars. It determines your riding position and comfort. Longer reaches are generally more suitable for taller riders or those seeking a more aggressive riding stance, while shorter reaches are often preferred by riders looking for a more upright and relaxed position.

From this, you can work out what size bike you need. Keep in mind that there are additional adjustments you can make to fine-tune your bike's fit, such as adjusting the saddle height, fore/aft position, and stem length. These adjustments can help optimise your riding position and comfort.

And finally, the size charts and recommendations are just guidelines, and personal preferences may vary. If you have the opportunity, try out a few different sized mountain bikes in person to see which size fits best.

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