Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes in 2017 – Guide & Reviews

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes

If you want to ensure the quality of your ride, and your safety, finding the hardtail mountain bike that fits your needs is essential. From brake systems, to the weight of the overall product, there are many important qualities to consider before making a final investment.

With help from our buyer’s guide, and product reviews, you can locate the product that will fit your budget, and get you the results you crave. Let’s check out our top choices.

5 Best Hardtail Mountain Bike

​We have searched all over the Internet to locate some of the most affordable and high-quality hardtail mountain bikes available on the market. By checking out various blogs, customer reviews, and more, we have determined the five best models that are worth your consideration.

I keep all of these considerations and others in mind in my reviews of the five most popular Hardtail Mountain Bike on the market below.

1. Merax Finiss 26” Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike

A quality mid-range hardtail mountain bike, the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike is perfect for users of any skill level.

Thanks to the lightweight, heat-treated aluminum mountain frame, it is easy to handle, and keeps you steady while riding on rough terrain.

Here are some of this bike’s best features.

Gear

When riding on mountain trails, you need a lot of variety in your gears.

With this in mind, the Merax Finiss 26” Mountain Bike features a Shimano-brand 21-speed derailleurs and shifters, which give the rider reliable shifting capabilities.

If you’ve had issues with gear shifting in the past, this is the model that will fix your problems.

Break

Mountain riding can provide a lot of unique challenges. With potential danger around every corner, you need to be able to use your brakes at every moment.

Additionally, rear and front brakes can provide very different functions when braking. thankfully, the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike has both front and rear brakes. This versatility adds to the already excellent handling abilities of this quality mountain bike.

Handle Grips

Speaking of handling, the comfort of this model is drastically increased by the suspension fork 80mm travel.

This feature unlocks smooth travel on all sorts of rough terrain, including smooth bumps, harsh rocks, and more.

Wheels

Do you enjoy larger bike tires for your mountain bike?

If so, the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike has 26” wheels that put many other models to shame. Combine these frames with a durable and bulky tire, and you will barely feel the rough mountain terrain beneath your feet.

For riders who put a lot of value on comfort, the 26” tires of this product should prove particularly attractive.

Assemble System

Assembly is a breeze with the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike. In fact, the front wheel can be taken apart and put together in one simple step, thanks to the quick-release pin feature.

Absolutely no tools are needed to disassemble and reassemble many different parts of this mountain bike.

If you like visual signifiers in your bike design, the L/R signs on the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike’s pedals will keep you focused out on the trail.

Additionally, both pedals have a hand thread to help optimize control.

Finally, the Merax Finiss 26” Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike arrives 85% assembled when ordered online.

Highlighted Features

  • Shimano 21-Speed Rear Derailleur
  • Front and Rear Linear-Style Pull Brakes
  • Arrives 85% Assembled
  • Visual Signifiers Built Into the Design
  • Quick-Release Pin Feature
  • Affordable Mid-Range Model

2. Schwinn High Timber Men’s Mountain Bike

Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike

The most affordable model on our list of quality hardtail mountain bikes, the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike has many competitive features that make it the perfect economical buy.

This bike scored 9 out of 10 rating from Chooserly!

Are you just getting started with hardtail mountain bike riding? If so, this may be the model you’ve been looking for.

Frame

Featuring the brand-new Schwinn mountain frame, which adds a new suspension fork, this model is highly efficient when it comes to control.

Few frames can boast about being as lightweight as the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike.

However, this does make the model more fit for beginner trails, as it does not fare as well on particularly rough terrains and trails.

Gear

Similar to the previous model, the model has the Shimano Twist Shifter, 21-speed gear shift built into the design. Additionally, this gear shift comes with a rear derailleur with quick gear changes.

However, this model also sets itself apart in the gear shift market thanks to the 3-piece alloy crank, which gives you an even wider range of gear change options.

For maximum control on the varied environment of a mountain trail, this stands out as one of the most important and attractive feature of the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike.

Break

With both front and rear brakes, the Alloy V patented brake design allows you to stop at the drop of a dime.

If you like to ride in areas where a momentary stop will keep you safe from potentially deadly obstacles, you need a strong break set like the ones provided with the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike.

The Alloy V material is also built into the wheel design, making the stopping abilities even stronger.

Warranty

Do you fret about the longevity of your mountain bikes? The limited lifetime warranty offered on all Schwinn products are some of the best rated in the industry.

As long as you own the bike, you can count on the amazing customer service department to help you with any needed repairs, tune-ups, or replacements.

Unlike many other models on this list, the lightweight design of the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike makes it more varied in one interesting and useful way: city/town commuting.

If you need a bike that can handle both on and off-road activities with ease, this may be the best model available on the market.

Highlighted Features

  • Unique Schwinn Suspension Fork
  • 3-Piece Alloy Crank
  • Alloy V Material
  • Amazing Customer Service and Warranty Options
  • Lightweight Design
  • Perfect for Both On and Off-Road Riding
  • Most Affordable Product on Our List

3. Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike

While the Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike may be far more expensive than any of our other product choices, it has the features to back up its nearly $500 price tag. 

Similar to the Schwinn High Timber Men’s 18 Mountain Bike, you can use this model for both on and off-road tasks, but it can handle much rougher terrain and off-road jobs than the Schwinn model.

Wheel size

With 27.5” wheels, the Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike sits smack dab in the middle of wheel sizes on this list.

It is due to this tire size that this model becomes so versatile. Additionally, the tires have a knobby design, which keeps you comfortable on all terrains.

The knobby design actually helps to absorb a lot of the shock of the road, giving you a lot of control over your hardtail mountain bike.

Fork

To help keep the tires in line, the 3” SR Suntour M3030 XC 75mm suspension fork keeps you steady and safe when dealing with particularly tough off-road terrain.

The suspension fork is attached to a durable 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminum alloy frame that keeps your bike tough for years to come.

Lastly, the frame features replaceable derailleur hangers to keep your control top tier.

Break

The Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike’s brakes are simply designed linear pull brakes. In contrast to many other models’ brakes, this feature helps you to be assured you can confidently stop whenever the need arises.

When combining these brakes with the 21-speed gear shifting addition, you gain an optimal sense of control that will be noticeably smoother than much of the competition.

Have you had issues with hardtail mountain bikes chains popping off mid-riding session? If so, the chainstay protector feature of the Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike has got you covered.

However, it fails to provide other convenient features that seem like a no-brainer, such as a kickstand.

Cost effective

Although it may be more expensive than many of our other choices, the Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike is perfectly fine as either an entry level or expert level hardtail mountain bike.

Simply put, the only question you should ask yourself about this product, is whether or not you want one of the best products on the market.

Highlighted Features

  • Most Expensive Model on Our List
  • Can Handle Tough On and Off-Road Terrain
  • Knobby Tire Design
  • Smaller Tire Width than the Competition
  • Shimano 21-Speed Rear Derailleur
  • Front and Rear Linear-Style Pull Brakes
  • Durable 6061-T6 Heat-Treated Aluminum Alloy Frame

4. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle

Another Schwinn model, the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle has many of the same features that make our previous choices great. Ultimately, this bike will sell you on itself due to smaller aspects, such as design and price tag.

Frame

You get the same style Schwinn aluminum mountain frames with the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle. Additionally, it comes with the same front suspension fork and Shimano 21-speed rear derailleur and gear shift as the other models.

However, this model does set itself apart with its SRAM twist shifters. This addition allows the High Timber product feel different than its counterparts.

If you are able to ride them at a local shop, it is highly recommended that you ride them before buying if possible; that way you can know which riding style best fits your individual needs.

Breaks

Similar to the Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike, the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle features front and rear linear-style pull brakes.

If you need finessed control on your local off-road trails, you owe it to yourself to invest in a product that has this amazing quality.

Easy to Assemble

The alloy style wheels of the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle keeps it steady and safe.

Additionally, it comes with quick release front features that allow you to easily disassemble and reassemble front wheel parts, no matter what you’re experience is with hardtail mountain bikes.

Overall, the maintenance and assemblage needs for the product are perfectly suited to users of all skill levels.

Riding Position

Comfort is perhaps the top attraction of the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle. Due to its comfortable athletic style frame positioning, and high quality seat, you will feel at ease when on top of this bike.

Additionally, the mixture of the large wheels, shock absorption, and brake system give you a ton of finesse and control when riding this amazing product.

Highlighted Features

  • Shimano 21-Speed Rear Derailleur
  • Front and Rear Linear-Style Pull Brakes
  • Quick Release Front Feature
  • High Quality Seat
  • Affordable Mid-Range Model
  • Shock Absorption Features
  • Great Handling Capabilities
  • SRAM Twist Shifters
  • Easy to Assemble and Disassemble

5. Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike

Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike

Do you want a hardtail mountain bike that truly sets itself apart from the other products on our list? If so, the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike holds many features you simply won’t find with our other products. 

Those who are not into Schwinn or Diamondback models will find a satisfying breath of fresh air in the innovation of the Thruster Excalibur product.

Frame

Those who enjoy artisan style products will appreciate the hand-crafted build of the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike’s aluminum frame.

It features an Alloy Crown that is 50mm, and patented Travel Front Shock technology. Few other products on our list have a frame that is as attractive or durable as this product.

Derailleur

The rear derailleur is a huge part when determining the comfort and control of a hardtail mountain bike. The Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike is the only product on the list to feature a unique derailleur model.

Its Shimano TX 35D Rear Derailleur will keep your bike turning and standing up straight with little to no effort, even when you are dealing with particularly rough mountain trails and terrain.

Break

Featuring two different types of brake systems in one model, the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike continues to set itself apart as a unique and innovative mountain bike product.

The front brake is a disc style brake, while the rear one features the more traditional linear pull brake system. Depending on your riding needs, these different brake systems provide a very unique way of controlling your stops.

You can come to a sudden but sustainable stop, or a gradual slow down with this impressive hybrid technology.

Design

If you’re concerned with style as well as substance, the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike is the product that will get you most excited on this list.

It’s beautiful lightweight frame, and ergonomic design really sets it apart against some of the bulkier or economical models on our list.

However, the brand does not allow this stylistic flair to increase the relatively small price tag of this fantastic mountain bike.

Crank

Finally, the Pro wheel Steel Crank allows you to switch between three major gear states: 28, 38, and 48.

The wide range of gear styles keeps you steady on mountain trails, and this particular gear shifting system has been highly rated and praised within the hardtail mountain bike community.

Highlighted Features

  • Shimano TX 35D Rear Derailleur
  • Front Disc Brake and Linear Pull Brake Systems
  • Prowheel Steel Crank
  • Unique Design Compared to Our Other Products
  • Wide Wheel Width
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Affordable Mid-Range Model
  • Can Switch Between 28, 38, and 48 Gear Shifts

How to Choose Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes

Before you look at our top five products, you should read up on these five important product features. Each one of these aspects of product design will be important and determining the overall value of a product you’re considering.

Our friends from ExpertVillage have a detailed video on selecting the best Hardtail Mountain Bike, before reading our own guideline, just have a look what they got to say:

Brake System

While we will cover handling features more in-depth further down in this buyer’s guide, the brake system of a hardtail mountain bike is extremely important.

A few different brake system types exist, and they will affect your ride capabilities. Most bikes feature both front and rear brakes, however some will only provide one.

Overall, you will want to avoid such models, as the sometimes harsh terrain and trails you will be riding on require as much brake power as possible.

Additionally, models that feature more than one type of brake system can be extremely useful in increasing the finesse of your control over a mountain bike.

Common Brake Systems:

  • Linear Pull Brakes
  • Disc Brakes

Weight

Do you want a hardtail mountain bike that won’t have you exhausted while you’re potentially miles away from civilization? If so, the weight of your bike’s frame is extremely important.

 Lightweight designs can take a lot of weight off of your pedaling job, and they will be easier to turn with relative ease. Additionally, they will be much easier to carry up/down any area that is too steep to bike on safely.

However, lightweight models do not absorb shocks as well as heavier frames, and may not do as well on particularly rough mountain terrains and trails. The material your bike is made from will ultimately determine its overall weight.

Common Materials for Hardtail Mountain Bikes:

  • Lightweight Aluminum Alloy
  • Steel
  • Hybrid Materials

Handling

Even if the price tag is right, a hardtail mountain bike will not serve you well if it does not have excellent handling. Handling not only makes your ride fun and stylish, but keeps you safe.

When riding trails with tons of potential hazards, you need the ability to turn with finesse, and stop at a moment's notice.

If you fail to invest in a bike without excellent handling features, your health or wallet could pay for it in the long run.

Many features can affect the overall handling capabilities of a hardtail mountain bike, but the following features are the most common and important.

Common Handling Features:

  • Brake Systems
  • Handle Grips
  • Frame Weight
  • Tire Width
  • Seat Comfort
  • Shock Absorption Features

Warranties

Purchasing a hardtail mountain bike can be a huge investment. When putting your budget on the line, you want to feel assured that your bike will last for a few years without causing you buyer’s remorse.

Thankfully, many of the products on our list come with awesome warranties to keep you protected. Whether it is a warranty on particular parts, or an overall limited warranty, you will be well served by this amazing feature.

Many brands offer discounts on any maintenance or part replacement needs via their warranties as well.

If you want to keep yourself ready to ride throughout the next few years, you owe it to yourself to research the potential warranty options of your final choice very carefully.

Other Considerations

  • Brand Name
  • Price Tag
  • Warranties
  • Suspension Fork Design

Final Verdict

Unlike many other product lists we have produced, the best hardtail mountain bike is not the most expensive model on our list. In fact, it is the incredibly unique mid-range Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike.

The biggest selling point of this product is the many stand apart features it holds. Unlike many of the products on this list, it doesn’t feature the generic build of a Shimano 21-Speed Rear Derailleur and front and rear linear-style pull brakes system.

For those who want maximum control over their mountain bike, the hybrid brake system is particularly attractive. Featuring both disc and linear pull brake systems, you gain the ability to stop comfortably and quickly, as well as a gradual slow down.

The Prowheel Steel Crank is the second stand out feature that makes the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike so exciting. You will be able to switch between a wide range of gear settings, allowing you to adjust to the terrain and slope of a trail with relative ease. If you want an affordable, unique, and well-equipped hardtail mountain bike, you owe it to yourself to invest in the Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike.

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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