Best Mountain Bikes 2019 - Thunderhead Alliance

Best Mountain Bikes 2019 Reviews

Airborne Seeker 2916"42 lbs
Mongoose TYAX Sport20" / Large33 lbs
Merax Finiss 2619"44 lbs
Diamondback Bicycles Hook18"44.9 lbs
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive18"32.2 lbs

Best Mountain Bikes under 1000

Airborne Seeker 29



Best Mountain Bikes under 500

Mongoose TYAX Sport



Best climbing mountain bikes




Best Mens Mountain Bike under 300

Merax Finiss 26



Best Lightweight Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Hook



Best entry level mountain bike

Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive

Top Mountain Bike Buying Guide

Mountain bike is a very wide umbrella term that applies to a wide variety of bikes.  By far one of the most popular styles of bikes, mountain bikes are built to be durable and take the abuse of off road riding without leaving the rider battered and bruised.  These bikes have to be able to handle large obstacles like logs, rocks and debris, while also being fast and easy to control while going down fast mountain trails.


References to mountain biking go all the way back to 1966 but new styles of bicycles didn’t gain any noticeable popularity until the 1970′s.  In Northern California’s Marin county, riders started taking advantage of the mountainous surroundings by taking classic cruiser style bikes and modifying their heavy and sturdy frames with better brakes, home made suspension systems and other innovations.  The sport caught on, especially on the west coast of North America and large groups of riders started popping up from California’s Sierra Mountains to Canada’s now famous North Shore Mountains.  It wasn’t until the late 70′s and early 80′s that new and previously established companies started seriously making mountain bikes.  They used technology, design techniques and materials from their road bikes and adapted them to mountain biking uses and developed new innovations to meet the needs of this growing set of riders.  In 1982, Specialized brought out the first mass produced mountain bike, the Stempjumper.


Mountain bikes cover a wide spectrum of bikes, but on the most basic level, they usually share similar features.  These include:

Frames:  Mountain bikes are built with strong and stiff frames for durability and stability while dealing with unpredictable and rough terrain.  Depending on the specific style and needs of the bike the frame can be made from a variety of materials.  The most common are variations of steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber composites.

Tyres:  Mountain bike tyres need to be wider, stronger and more knobby than road bikes.  Rims usually are 559mm but are commonly called 26″ inch tyres, even though that isn’t quite accurate given the variations of the bike.  These tyres give the bikes the traction they need in rough and ever changing terrain.

Gearing:  Mountain bike gearing can range from single geared bikes all the way up to 30 speeds.  The amount and kind of gearing you need will depend on the style of riding you’re up to.

Brakes:  Higher end mountain bikes come with disk brakes, while lower end versions are outfitted with V-brakes.  Disk brakes work a lot better when you’re traveling at high speeds but are substantially heavier and more expensive than V-brakes.

Suspension:  Mountain bike suspensions are usually judged by the amount of travel they allow.  The more travel, the more the bike absorbs impacts instead of your body.  The different suspension variations can be broken down into three main categories:  hard tail, front suspension and dual suspension.

Hard Tail:  Hard tail versions feature stiff frames but no suspension.  If you’re doing any sort of serious off road riding, you’re going to feel every bump.  These bikes are designed for the average rider who enjoys off road riding but also plans on doing some city or path riding too.

Front Suspension:  Since mountain bikes land on the front wheel first, generally, these suspensions are great.  The suspension system is loaded in the front and provides good but not great protection from serious off road impacts.

Dual Suspension:  The newest innovation in mountain bike technology is dual suspension.  Often referred to as full suspension or full-susser bikes, this system is in both front and back wheels.  While heavier and more expensive, if you’re doing big jumps and tackling the roughest courses, this is the suspension you want.

Mountain Bike Styles

What was once a niche market made up of tinkerers making their own mountain bikes in garages out of spare cruiser frames and their own custom components, mountain biking has blow up into a full scale industry.  Today mountain biking is just an umbrella term that encompasses a large variety of bikes and riding styles.

As the sport exploded in popularity many riders found their own personal styles and bikes started getting made to meet the needs of those unique markets.  Many bikes fit several categories and can be used effectively across a variety of styles, while others are specifically designed for just one.

Here is a sample of the most popular mountain biking styles today:

Cross Country:  Abbreviated XC, cross country bikes place a high degree of importance on speed and endurance.  The bikes are lightweight and not meant for the roughest off road environments.

Trail Bikes:  These evolved from XC bikes and are commonly used for recreational trial riding and can handle rougher terrain than the bikes that spawned them.

All Mountain:  This style of mountain bike is designed to climb and descend well and are perfect for all day rides up and down mountains.

Free-ride:  Bikes in this discipline are built to be heavier and more durable.  They can be ridden uphill but handle much better going downhill.

Downhill:  DH bikes have large gears, plush travel and are specifically designed to handle the stresses of downhill racing.  Their frames need to be strong but light, which leads to the use of high quality but expensive materials

Dirt Jumping:  DJ bikes are a mix between BMX bikes and free-ride mountain bikes.  They are made to be sturdy and strong enough to withstand the high impacts they are frequently subjected to.  They usually only have front suspension systems.


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