Have you been getting seriously into off road cycling? Are you constantly looking for the next challenge that awaits you outdoors? Do you need a comfortable, durable, smooth riding bicycle that you can use for you commute to work?
Do you want a better bike that you can ride around town and feel proud of owning?
If you are reading this, you are probably already an avid bicyclist and have a bicycle that you are already using. Some of you may be reading this looking for your first serious bicycle in years, to sink your teeth into and start riding.
Whether you are just jumping into using a mountain bike for the first time or you have been cycling consistently for years, you need to have some basic know-how and research for finding the perfect mountain bike for you.
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Now, when you are looking at the right mountain bike for you, there are some careful considerations that you need to make involving your future bicycle.
Let’s walk through some of the basic and advanced criteria that you need to be taking into account when you are shopping for your quality mountain bike.
This is one of the most important things to take into account when selecting the right mountain bike for you. Some people who live in big city’s prefer riding mountain bikes to get to work and around town, as their preference over road bikes and hybrids.
Others like to use their road bikes or cars, of all things, for their commute to work or around town, and leave their mountain bike for their weekend cruiser or a nice trail ride. So the question that you need to ask yourself first, where are you going to be riding your bike the most? Here are some of the most common biking environments that you should take into account.
Are you going to be riding it on the weekends at the beach? Is this mountain bike going to be your daily transportation to go to work, run errands, etc.? Is this bicycle purely going to be for workout and fitness purposed to be used 2-5+ times per week?
Is this bike going to be for hitting rugged outdoor trails, and something that you need to be able to handle a beating out on rocky, slippery roads with tight banks and turns. Is this something that you simply want to take out for family bike rides to enjoy the occasional cruise with your loved ones?
How you are going to be using the mountain bike should be one of the greatest indicators of the kind of bike that you are going to need.
This goes hand in hand with the previous piece of criteria. What kind of environment are you going to be riding your mountain bike in? This can vary from what country you live in, what part of a certain country you live in, and if you live in a rural, suburban, or urban environment. All of those things will dramatically affect your decision in what mountain bike to buy.
Here are some things that you should consider in the environment around you when shopping for a bicycle. Is it relatively flat where you live? Are there a lot of steep hills or hills at varying grades? Are you surrounded by crowded streets or open and mostly empty roads that stretch for miles? Are you going to be riding this bike down the street, or do you have safe sidewalks that you can ride your bike on?
Are there bike lanes in your town and city? How does that affect your ability to get around? Are you in a safe neighborhood where your bike will be okay chained up? Or are you in a shady part of town where you would be worried about getting your bike or parts of your bike stolen?
It’s best to go through and answer each one of these questions carefully before making the decision on what kind of mountain bike you are getting. Those answers will give you what you need in a bike from pricing, to wheels, components, gears, material, weight, and more.
How often you will be riding is another one of those key factors when looking at bikes that you absolutely cannot set aside. If you are going to spend hours riding your bicycle 6-7 days per week, should you spend a little more money to get a better built, lighter weight, more comfortable more durable bike? Or is this something that you may only be riding a few times a month leisurely or for activity purposes?
How often you will be riding or planning to ride will tell you a lot about what you need in a bike in terms of parts, components, durability, comfortability (especially if you are going to be spending hours on your bike every week), price, brand, etc.
Climate has a serious impact on the kind of mountain bike that you need. Dry, mild, or even arid desert climates are normally going to lend themselves to bikes that just don’t need to be as high tech. With desert climates you don’t have to worry as much about inclimate moisture, weather, and rusting.
If you have a lot of adverse weather conditions like high winds, rain, storms, snow, and hail you are going to make sure that you have a durable, weather resistant bike.
Getting fitted for your bike is extremely important in terms of maximizing comfort, preventing injury, and maximizing the amount of power that you are going to get after every pedal stroke.
If this is going to be the first bike that you have owned in a while or you aren’t sure what size you need to be riding, we recommend going to a knowledgeable local bike store so that you can find out what size and fit you need in a bike.
With mountain bikes, suspension and shocks are always going to be top priority. Both of these pieces are going to make sure that you have a smooth ride no matter what kind of terrain you are riding over.
If you are going to be riding over a lot of bumps on the roads and sidewalks, hopping curbs, or taking your bike off road, having quality shocks and a good suspension will dramatically reduce the jolt and impact that you feel while riding.
You will find that most of the bikes in this review clock in between 30-45 pounds, and are made out of mostly aluminum frames.
Aluminum mountain bicycle frames are going to be lighter and more forgiving on bumpy roads than your standard steel frame bicycles. Just in case you run across any steel frames, you may want to steer clear of them and stick to aluminum.
The weight of your bicycle is very important as well, especially if you are having to carry it up or down multiple flights of stairs strap to your car for travel, or hang it from a high rack or ceiling in your house or garage. Make sure that you find a light, durable frame that will work best for your needs.
Components are something else that is extremely important when choosing your mountain bike. We already touched on how important shocks and your suspension are, and next you are going to want to take a look at the brakes and gears.
What kind of breaking system does the bike have? Who makes the components for the bicycle? Shimano is pretty much the standard of good quality companies when it comes to making great, reliable bike components.
How many gears are you getting on your bike and how many do you think you will need? In general, the more gears that you are getting, the better versatility and more comfort you will have, especially when climbing hills. Just make sure that you have good brakes, deraileurs, chains, and components.
Are there any additional features that you would like to have in a mountain bike? Do you need a place to hold your water bottle? Do you need your bicycle to be able to fold down so that you can store eat even more easily?
Are there any other features that you may want your mountain bike to have to make your life or riding experience more enjoyable? Take a look at some of the features that each of these bikes offer and match them up against each other.
Price point is another important feature that you cannot go without noting. If you have a flexible budget, are a serious biker, or maybe both of those statements define you, you may may the option or desire to get a higher quality bike at a higher price point.
Price point is everything though. You can find tons of great quality mountain bikes at lower price points that look and perform like bikes that are 2-3x more expensive than they are.
Budget mostly comes down to
How much money you have to spend for a bike. Just because you have a large budget doesn’t mean you need to spend it all. And don't spend all of your money for the bike, you need to buy important bike gears like gloves, bike computers & best bike lock.
How often you ride your bike? Where you are riding your bike mostly?
After doing a little browsing, block out a budget for yourself and set a price range for what you would like to spend in.
Now that you have all of these pieces in consideration, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the best mountain bikes that you can find under $1,000.
The Montague Paratrooper is by far the most interesting bike that we are going to take look at in this review. You can tell just from the way that this bike looks how it stands out from the rest of the pack.
This a compact mountain bike that can literally fold up to store, stow, and travel with just about anywhere.
The compact nature and patented folding design of this bike is what makes it really unique. This mountain bike weighs in at only 30 pounds, and can fold up or fold open in 30 seconds, which makes it great for riding to work and taking to the store or on errands.
It is equipped with a smooth 24 speed shifter to tackle hills and obstacles.
No plastic here. This bike is equipped with heavy duty aluminum pedals that can take a beating on the open road, on the trail, or around tight turns in the city.
This mountain bike is equipped with powerful front disc brakes for responsive stops.
This bike is built for a paratrooper. That means it requires very little maintenance, depending on how much you ride it of course. Even though this bike is a unique design, you can get it worked on at just about any bike shop.
It has Shimano shifters and is a 24 speed bicycle, and adjustable suspension in the front and rear of the bike. It has very light but really strong double wall rims for a smooth and safe ride.
The body of this mountain bike is made from a sturdy and resilient aluminum frame, that it pretty lightweight too.
This bike has both front and rear brakes for maximum control on any grade of downhill
It has dual suspension so whether you are riding over rocks, dirt, hills, or down a newly paved road, you are going to have a smooth ride.
These wheels aren’t the thin wheels that you will find on some road bikes. They are really thick so that they can take a beating outdoors, but they are also surprisingly lightweight.
Another great aspect of this mountain bike is that it comes in a variety of sizes from extra small to extra large, so it can fit riders of any size.
The Polygon Xtrada 5 Hardtail Mountain Bike is within the same pricing bracket as the Diamondback that we just looked at, but has a completely different vibe and feel.
This unique bike features Shimano components as well, with 27 speed options so that it can handle any hill that you want to climb. It has a lightweight Alutech alloy frame.
It has a 120 mm plush front suspension that can conquer any obstacle in your path. This bike is equipped with high quality Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, that will still work in the deepest of mud and the hardest of rain storms.
Once again, the fact that this bike is already equipped with a Shimano drivetrain package puts this bike at the top.
Not only does this bike have a Shimano drivetrain, it is way deep in gears. This bike provides 27 different speeds so that you can climb just about any hill that you want to face.
The Alutech alloy that the body of this mountain bike is made of is both durable and forgiving. It is great for smooth surfaces and built for rugged outdoor rides.
The plush front suspension on this mountain bike is a really nice touch. It will make going over rocks, bumps, and rough terrain much smoother than if you didn’t have it.
This mountain bike is equipped with a powerful set of weather resistant brakes. Brakes are equipped in both the front and rear for maximum control and stopping power that will work in harsh rain and on muddy roads.
It has a sturdy Schwinn made suspension, and alloy rims. This has 21 speed gear shifters so that you have plenty of versatility for going up just about any grade of hill.
Remember what we were saying about frames earlier and how important they are for your ride? This Schwinn aluminum frame is an excellent, lightweight frame that is perfectly constructed for absorbing the impact of rough terrain, bumps, big cracks in the road or sidewalk, and will provide for a smooth ride, just about anywhere you want to take it.
This mountain bike has a 21 speed deraileur with reliable Shimano components. Since Shimano is one of the most widely known names in biking components, you know that you are in good hands.
This mountain bike has both front and rear brakes for maximum control and braking capabilities. Whether you are going down a steep street or narrow drop on a trail, these brakes will give you the power that you need to come to a full, safe stop.
The alloy, quick release front wheels on this bicycle are both durable and convenient for making your bike compact for storage or chaining. In a few seconds you can totally remove the front tire for movement, chaining up securely, or storing your bike.
This Schwinn mountain bike comes with a comfortable, cushioned, adjustable seat so that you can adjust your bike to the perfect height that suits you.
It has a SR Suntour XTC suspension with support on the fork and at the rear of the bike, to soften up the rocks and bumps that you will be going over. It has a super responsive 24 gear shifter with Shimano components for the brakes, cassette, etc. so you know that you are in good hands.
This mountain bike is made with a super durable and forgiving aluminum alloy frame that is great for making a smooth ride around town or off road.
The Suntour suspension on this bike is really smooth and has an incredible response.
The cassette, deraileur, drivetrain are all Shimano components, so you know that you have a smooth shifting and performing bike on your hands. This bike has 3 x 8 speed shifters for a total of 24 gears.
This mountain bike is equipped with Aires front and rear brakes for maximum braking power and control.
Unlike the Schwinn that we just looked at, the Diamondback has a Kindshock coil in the rear for added shock absorption. Your ride is going to be so much smoother with that rear shock on the back of the bike, especially when going over rocky or rugged terrain.
In the end, there was one bike that really stood out to us the most. All of these bikes are excellent choices, but the clear winner of this challenge to us is the last bike that we looked at, The Gravity FSX Mountain Bike. In our minds, it offers everything that you need in a good mountain bike with the best bang for your buck.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!