Best Entry Level Mountain Bike – 2017 Buyer’s Guide

If you’re looking to get started into biking and you want to find one of the best entry level mountain bikes to get started with, you’ve come to the right place! In this particular post, you’ll learn all about the different things you might want to keep in mind as you look at different mountain bikes. Additionally, you’re going to find five product reviews from some of the most highly recommended products on the market. If you want to save some time and skip the guessing game, you won’t go wrong with one of the products reviewed below so I recommend paying close attention to those.

Best Entry Level Mountain Bike – Things To Consider Before Buying

Tires

When it comes to choosing which tires you are going to buy, the most important thing for you to consider is where you are going to be riding the bike. The terrain you are going to be riding on is important when it comes to the tires of the bike because they perform different whether they are going on rough or smooth terrain. If you want to find a high speed mountain bike, you want to go with slick tires that have reduced rolling resistance and increased speed. If you’re looking for something with a good grip, go with a deep thread on the tires. Do some research on bicycle tires.

Handlebars

When it comes to a mountain bike, you’re going to find two different types of handlebars to choose from. You can go with the flat bars or the riser bars. As you might expect, the flat bars are going to sit lower and will be slightly lighter than the other. They are most likely going to be used by anyone who wants to ride long distances. Riser bars come in a lot of different shapes and they are typically wider and easier to reach than flat bars. They allow you to sit more upright and they are preferred for downhill riding.

Pedals

Obviously when you go to purchase a bike, it is going to come with pedals already attached and you’re going to be able to keep those on if you choose. These are flat and simple pedals and can be just fine if you are riding around town or commuting from place to place. However, if you want to ride further and longer distances, then you can go with clipless pedals that allow them to spin faster. If you want to upgrade your bike, the clipless pedals are certainly the way to go, but in a lot of situations you can get away with the standard pedals included.

Seats

Let’s just get this out of the way right now because nobody likes to sit on the seat that is included with your bike because it is usually uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there is not a single seat that is going to work for everyone because the needs of each person are different. Ultimately, the seat choice is going to come down to your personal preference. If it is at all possible for you to do so, I recommend trying out the seat before you buy it because the only way you are going to know about the comfort is to try it out. Additionally, you can always consider a pair of cycling shorts with some extra padding to help improve the comfort of your ride.

Frame

The frame material used to be an easy decision to make but there are a lot of different materials now so the decision is more difficult. The two biggest factors in the frame are the strength and the weight. Aluminum is one of the most popular choices you will find because it looks great, it’s strong and durable and it is lightweight and affordable compared to the other options you have found. While that is the most popular options, you can also buy bike frames made from carbon, steel and titanium.

Suspension

It never used to be this way, but the suspension of the bike is going to be included in every purchase and it plays a crucial role in getting a much more enjoyable and smooth ride overall. Even if you happen to buy a bike that doesn’t’ have shocks, the suspension will be there and it will come as either front or full suspension. The front suspension only has one shock in the front as you might have guessed and the full suspension has shocks throughout the entire bike. Best Entry Level Mountain Bike

Overall Use

You really need to put a lot of thought into how much you are going to use the bike and where you are going to use it because that will help make your decision. Be honest with yourself and figure out how much you are going to use the bike. If you plan on using it a lot, then it might make sense to buy a more expensive bike that will last you longer overall. However, a cheaper bike will do just fine if you only plan on riding it place to place. If you figure out exactly what you plan on using the bike for, then you can easily and quickly determine which features you should pay attention to and which are most important.

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5 Best Entry Level Mountain Bike in 2017

1. Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er Mountain Bike

When you choose an entry level mountain bike to use on a daily basis, you should really try and find one backed by a great brand and that’s exactly what you get with this bike from Diamondback. It comes with an aluminum alloy frame, technological suspension features, a 27 speed drivetrain and extra large wheels so that you get the best performance out of most bikes in this similar class.

Aluminum Alloy Frame

Perhaps one of the most important parts of the bike is the frame and this particular bike uses a strong, solid aluminum alloy frame as the backbone of everything this bike is capable of doing. It comes with tubing formed and butted for incredibly strength and an overall lightweight finish which means that no matter where you are riding this bike, it is lightweight, fast and incredibly easy to maneuver at all times during your ride.

Suspension LockOut Features

Every bike you look at is going to have some sort of suspension so it’s hard to call suspension anything really special but this particular feature is great because it enables you to get the most power in situations where your suspension isn’t going to be necessary. When you are climbing up something or riding around a smooth and even surface than you know that there is no need for suspension, so it harnesses the power saved from not using suspension and puts it into your bike.

27 Speed Drivetrain

If you want to get the best results and performance, then you need to make sure you have enough speed and power with your bike and this particular option gives you 27 different speeds to choose from. Each and every time you shift from speed to speed, you’re going to find that is is easy, smooth and responsive so that you have no problem shifting. This helps lead to instant acceleration and change of speed whenever you need it.

Large Diameter Wheels

Since a mountain bike is meant for the mountains and to be taken off the road a little bit, it makes sense to try and find something that has wheels to accommodate that. This particular bike has 29 inch wheels which are incredibly large in diameter to help make sure you can handle just about any terrain. Whether it is smooth or rough, you’ll find that it is no problem for you to get a good roll with your bike.

Pros

  • Smooth and easy ride
  • Easy assembly
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Reasonable priced
  • Lightweight
  • Incredibly comfortable

Cons

  • Seat is very uncomfortable

Highlighted Features

  • 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame
  • Tubing formed and butted
  • Strong and lightweight
  • SR Suntour XCR-LO suspension fork
  • 3×9 Speed drivetrain
  • SL7 aluminum double wall rims

Final Verdict

While it’s hard to go wrong with any of the bikes that are going to be talked about in this post, this is one of the best options for anybody that wants to find a bike that is built with strength and durability in mind and is also backed by a great brand name like Diamondback.

Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er

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2. Nashbar Single-Speed 29er Mountain Bike

Nashbar Single-Speed 29er Mountain BikeWhen it comes to a bike, there are some people that want to have a ton of speed options while other people are okay with just a single speed. If you’re the type of person that can live with a single speed, then I highly recommend this particular bike for you. It comes with a ton of features and it is one of the best single speed mountain bike that you are going to find on this post and in the market as a whole.

Frame

Like the previous bike that was reviewed in this post, you’re going to find that this is a 6061 aluminum frame and it is lighter than steel but manages to provide plenty of strength and durability to the bike as a whole. In addition, the aluminum frame is able to stand up to all types of weather, which is great for those who might want to bike in all sorts of weather.

Chainring Guard

Maybe this isn’t the flashiest of points to talk about but it can be a really nice and convenient feature for avid bikeriders. There is a plastic guard on the front of the chainring that helps to protect you and ensure that nothing gets wrapped up in the chain. It might be plastic, but it is black so it is hardly even noticeable on the bike.

Tektro Novela Brakes

If you’re buying a bike, you need good brakes in order to stop and you might find that the brakes on this bike will be unique and perfect for you. They are mechanical disc brakes and they work to stop you at all times and no matter how bad or sloppy the conditions get, you can easily stop in plenty of time thanks to these brakes.

Chromoly Fork

It’s not often that the fork of the bike gets talked about, but this rigid fork on this bike is great because it helps to be incredibly tough and it gets a great, smooth ride that steel is so well known for. In addition, it helps to reduce the vibrations and it is built specifically to handle everything the brakes can do on this bike.

Pros

  • Strong and durable frame
  • Lightweight
  • Stands up to weather
  • Single speed
  • Large wheels

Cons

  • Brakes could be better
  • Lack of quick-release on back wheel
  • Cheap components

Highlighted Features

  • 32×18 gears
  • 6061 aluminum frame
  • Rigid chromoly fork
  • Tektro Novela brakes
  • 680mm wide aluminum bar for leverage

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are a ton of great features offered by this bike and it’s sure to not disappoint. This is the perfect choice for anybody that might be looking to find a single speed bike without worrying about all of the other bells and whistles that come with other mountain bikes on the market.

Nashbar Single-Speed 29er Mountain Bike

Nashbar Single-Speed 29er

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3. 2017 Gravity FSX 1.0 Full Suspension Mountain Bike

When push comes to shove, you might have to find a bike that meets the majority of your needs while sacrificing a couple things it doesn’t meet. In this situation, you’re going to find that this bike comes with a ton of features so if it doesn’t meet every single need, it’s going to come pretty close to meeting all of them. For the price and the features offered, this is one of the best bikes you’ll find.

Aluminum Frame

As you have probably noticed with all of the other bikes we have reviewed so far, an aluminum frame is one of the most popular and common choices you will find. This particular frame on this bike is strong and durable and the perfect choice for beginners.

Double Wall Rims

When you have the tires on your bike, you want to make sure that they are supported by a quality rim that can be used at all times. In this particular case, the double wall rims on this bike are both strong and light so that they will not only support the person riding, but they won’t inhibit your movement due to weight.

Shimano Shifters

If you’re looking to find some of the easiest shifters that you can use, you’re going to love the Shimano Shifters on this bike. They provide you with one of the easiest and simplest ways to shift your bike to different speeds. Once you use these, it’s hard to imagine trying anything else.

Quick Release Wheel

If you’re going to ride a trail or bring your bike with you anywhere, you’re going to need to fit it in your vehicle and that can be tough to do. Luckily, this bike comes with a quick release wheel in both the front and the rear so that they can easily be taken off for transportation and popped back on when you are ready to ride.

Pros

  • Strong and durable frame
  • Strong and light rims
  • Quick release wheel
  • Assembly is a breeze

Cons

  • Tires could be better
  • Seat is very hard
  • Tough to adjust

Highlighted Features

  • Front and rear disc brakes
  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano shifters
  • Adjustable suspension
  • Double wall rims
  • Quick release wheel

Final Verdict

When it comes down to it, this is going to be one of the better bikes you can purchase. While it might not be one of the most well known brands, it packs in some of the best components that you can find and you’re sure to love everything it has to offer if this is the bike you end up purchasing.

2017 Gravity FSX 1.0

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4. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Mountain Bike

When it comes to finding a bike to buy, you’ll have a hard time finding one better than Schwinn because they offer one of the better brands that you will find and their bikes are typically second to none. This bike comes with a full suspension frame, 24 speeds and plenty of other features to help make it a great bike for everyone.

Full Suspension Frame

When it comes to Schwinn, you’re going to appreciate the aluminum full suspension frame offered by this particular mountain bike. The front suspension fork is built specifically to deliver a smooth, reliable and responsive ride at all times.

24-Speed Shimano Shifters

As mentioned earlier, Shimano shifters are some of the best shifters out there and these are the EZ-Fire type which means they provide you with an even better experience overall. You can use these to give you a wide range of speeds and incredibly smooth shifting when you are out riding.

Front And Rear Brakes

If you’re look for the best stopping power when it comes to a mountain bike, you found it in this one. This bike uses a front disc brake and a rear alloy V-brake so that they can combine together to make sure you stop in time in all conditions you might face.

Schwinn Alloy Crank

If you want to find the best when it comes to gearing, you’re going to love the Schwinn alloy crank on this bike. Not only is it made from the best materials to make sure you don’t have to worry about the strength, but it also helps to minimize the maintenance needed on your end.

Pros

  • Reliable and responsive riding
  • Easy shifting
  • Perfect stopping
  • Durable
  • Little to no maintenance

Cons

  • Assembly could be easier

 

Highlighted Features

  • Aluminum full frame suspension
  • Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Alloy rims
  • Alloy crank

Final Verdict

As you can see, this bike is certainly not lacking when it comes to features. If you would like to find something to reach the fullest potential on your ride and you want to get a bike backed by a great brand name, this is the bike to go with.

Schwinn Protocol 1.0 for Men’s

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5. Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike

Last but certainly not least, this mountain bike from Vilano is a perfect option for just about anyone. Not only are you going to get a high quality bike with some solid components, but you’re also going to get it all at an affordable price for everyone involved.

Aluminum Frame

It’s somewhat fitting that the last bike we review comes with an aluminum frame as well since all of the other ones has this frame too. This double butted 6061 aluminum frame is built to be strong and lightweight, which means it will be the perfect choice to help take your riding to the next level.

Disc Brakes

The mechanical disc brakes on this bike help to provide superior stopping power compared to any other brake no matter what the weather is going to be like. Whether you are riding at the fastest speed or the slowest speed, this bike can stop you with no problem.

7 x 3 Drivetrain

If you don’t need a ton of speeds and gears for your bike but you would like a little bit of an option, this drivetrain is perfect for you. With 21 different speeds to choose from, you can easily find the one that’s perfect for where you are riding.

Vilano Quality

When it comes to finding a strong, quality and affordable bike, Vilano has been the go-to option for over 8 years. They have extensive knowledge when it comes to all things to do with bikes and they pride themselves on building strong bikes that won’t hurt your wallet, which means you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting exactly what you want.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Smooth and sweet ride
  • Affordable
  • Strong brakes

Cons

  • Tires could be better

Highlighted Features

  • Butted 6061 aluminum frame
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Shimano Shifters
  • 3 x 7 drivetrain
  • 26” Wheels

Final Verdict

If you’re looking to find a strong bike without paying a ton of money, you will have a hard time finding a better option than what is offered in this bike right here.

Vilano Ridge 1.0 Mountain Bike

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Overall Final Verdict

As you have probably already noticed, there is a lot that you should keep in mind as you go to purchase your mountain bike and if you haven’t done it before, it can be a pretty overwhelming experience. By following the advice provided above and paying attention to the product recommendations, you’ll be ready to go with your new mountain bike in no time!  

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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