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The 5 Best Mountain Bikes (A 2019 Review)

The 5 Best Mountain Bikes (A 2019 Review)

A mountain biker is like a modern day gladiator. Not only are they great at cardio, but they also have exceptional strength. A mountain bike rider has to train day in and day out in order to not only look good, but also perform well.

While people who work out at a gym may be strong, they sometimes lack actual skill when it comes to sporting and recreational activities. Big muscles don’t always necessarily mean true strength and exceptional performance ability!

If you’re looking to level up past the heavy weight gym sets, consider mountain biking. Mountain biking is not only an exercise, but it is also a sport that requires strategy and skill. Challenge your body to a real-life activity. Doing so can help you expand your strength, balance and stamina.

This article will outline and explore the benefits of mountain biking and review the latest research about mountain bikes. We also will review the 5 best mountain bikes from top mountain bike brands for you to consider. Looking for a quick summary of the best mountain bikes? Take a look at “The Rundown” section which provides an overview of the features in these best trail bikes. Also, don’t forget to try our sample workout at the end. This workout will help you be a good mountain bike rider in no time! In fact, it is best to start this workout before you even get out on your first ride.

Before we get into reviewing the best mountain bikes of 2019, let’s take a look at the science and health benefits behind biking:

Level Up with Mountain Biking

Woman Using Mountain Bike For FitnessIn order to level up your strength and fitness, get out of the gym. Huh? Gym enthusiasts are great and all, but there are better (and more fun) ways to improve your functional fitness, that is, fitness to help you accomplish tasks.

Mountain biking can help you! How? It’s important to understand the difference between exercise and physical activity.

What is exercise?

Exercise is the intentional and repetitive movement to generate a calorie burn. It can be used to improve skills used during physical activity and activities of daily living. Exercising may be the first thing we think of in order to “get fit” and/or “stay healthy.”

While exercise is great for increasing muscle size or challenging the heart, think of exercise as a pregame routine. The workouts you do in the gym should help you do daily things better like lift a heavy box correctly or make you last outlast your buddies on a bike ride.

Thinking about your current workout routine, do your exercise habits help you with tasks outside of the gym? They should be!

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is a broad term used to describe any bodily movement that generates a calorie burn. Therefore, as you may imagine, repetitive exercise is a type of physical activity.

However, there are numerous examples of physical activity! Such activity could be something like walking your dog, gardening or cleaning. Also, if you have a career with heavy occupational movement like construction or as a package delivery person, you are getting physical activity in that regard. Even engaging in a sport like mountain biking is considered physical activity. Mountain biking is a real-world example of burning calories (and needing some physical fitness to do so).

The Benefits of Mountain Biking

Benefits of Using Mountain Bike For FitnessLevel up your real fitness abilities with a mountain bike! Along with your current exercise routine, you could see real gains if you engage in mountain biking for sport and recreation. Using a mountain bike is a great form of physical activity because it provides several benefits to the rider. Here is a list of reasons to use a mountain bike for fitness:

  1. Conditions the heart, lungs and entire cardiovascular system.
  2. Exercises the leg muscles in a variety of intensity settings and incline grades.
  3. Helps improve core activation and stability via complex movements and maneuvers over real-world terrain.
  4. Generates interest in exercise since you are free to move about your neighborhood, city or park (1).
  5. People are able to mountain bike alone and/or in a group, which can improve exercise motivation (most of the time per this study).
  6. Mountain biking can improve mental health and is often used as a coping strategy to stress.
  7. You can burn calories. In fact, in one study, researchers found that one hour of mountain biking burned about 598 calories in their participants!

Achieve Your Fitness Goals with a Mountain Bike

In order for the nation to meet the current exercise recommendations by the American Heart Association (AHA), we all need to increase our physical activity! While the AHA has set exercise thresholds for weight maintenance, overall health and weight loss, many people assume that exercise is best accomplished at a gym. As a result, many people will only exercise about an hour per day and spend the other 23 hours at a desk job, sitting on the couch at home and sleeping. For better health and more physical fitness, both structured exercise and physical activity should be used to meet the AHA recommendations.

With a mountain bike, your exercise time, physical activity time and recreational time blend into one. For the multitaskers out there, talk about maximizing your time! Check out Fitnessator’s top mountain bike reviews to help you decide which bike would be best suited for you. As soon as you order your mountain bike, start doing our sample workout below so you’re in tip-top biking shape!

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

FSX 2.0 Full Suspension Mountain Bike – The Best Mountain Bike for Under $500

FSX 2.0 Full Suspension Mountain BikeWhy We Love It:

The best mountain bikes don’t have to be high-priced! That’s why we chose the FSX 2.0 as the Fitnessator’s Top Pick product. It’s the best mountain bike under $500. If you already have a gym membership and/or home fitness equipment that you invest in, a mountain bike shouldn’t break the bank.

The Research:

According to the research, full suspension mountain bikes like the FSX 2.0 offer greater comfort during use (2).For a biking novice, full suspension means that both the front and back wheel have shock absorption features. This equates to less vibration during a ride. Not only does greater shock absorption allow for a more pleasant ride, but it also opens up mountain bike riding to a wider variety of people. Young, old and those with stiff joints can enjoy a full suspension mountain bike more so than a bike without full suspension.

Details:
  • Front and rear suspension
  • 24-speed bike
  • Available in red, green and black models
  • NOTE: Each bike size has specific height requirements
  • Bike Shop Warehouse Website Price: $399
Things to Consider:

Assembly may be required for the bike depending on the brand and source. If you are not handy with tools, nuts and bolts, consider purchasing a minimal-assembly bike (or call a handy friend). Since a mountain bike can be exposed to rough rides, it is extremely important that your bike is assembled correctly and adequately.

Customer Reviews:

Per customer reviews, this mountain bike is one of the cheapest options that is also super tough. Customers claim that it withstands countless tough rides on gravel, cobblestone and incline/decline landscape.

According to one expert biker, this model is rather heavy compared to other types of bikes on the market. It is also one of the more basic mountain bikes available and lacks any special features aside from full suspension.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

In addition to being one of the best trail bikes available, it is also relatively cheap. In fact, it is one of the best full suspension mountain bikes for under $1000. Also, since it is more of a basic bike, this model would be best suited for a novice rider. Someone who wants to add biking in for extra physical activity and recreation would also benefit from this particular bike. If you are an expert biker, this model may be too basic for you.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

Toray T700 Mountain Bike – The Best Mountain Bike for Under $1000

Toray T700 Mountain BikeWhy We Love It:

The Toray T700 mountain bike is another of the preferred mountain bikes for under $1000 due to its high number of speeds and lightweight frame. If you would like the ability to choose the color of your bike, this model has several options.

Details:
  • 27-speed bike
  • 26-inch wheel
  • Assembly required (and expert assembly recommended)
  • Available in white, red, yellow and patterns
  • Xtreme Biking Website Price: $899
Things to Consider:

While this is not the most expensive mountain bike on the list, the price may still be quite the investment for some people. Also, as you will read in the customer reviews, some customers had to spend even more money in order to put in better-quality parts on the bike.

Customer Reviews:

One of the most talked-about features of this bike is the high-quality carbon fiber frame. Other customers also enjoy the 26-inch wheel for high-speed riding.

Despite the good mountain bike frame, customers were disappointed in the low-quality pedals and seat. According to one customer, he felt that the bike drastically improved when he switched out the pedals and seat. This customer also paid for expert assembly at the local bike shop. These adjustments cost him over $300, which makes for one expensive bicycle!

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Are you a speed demon? If you’ve got a need for speed, this 26-inch wheel model will help you get going fast. If you are someone who will be using the bike for speed or need a lightweight bike, the Toray T700 may be a good option for you.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

BEIOU Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike – The Best Mountain Bike for the Money

BEIUO Carbon Fiber Mountain BikeWhy We Love It:

The BEIUO Carbon Fiber mountain bike is by far the best mountain bike for the money. While expert cyclists say that this bike is comparable to the top mountain bike brands, this bike does not have the same brand markup! If you’re a sport cyclist looking to save some money on quality, this is the model for you. 

Details:
  • 26-inch wheel
  • No specific height requirements associated with this model
  • Available in several white and color combinations
  • Hardtail bike (meaning that it only has suspension on the front wheel)
  • Outdoor Chimp Website Price: $1169
Things to Consider:

As you can see, this is the most expensive mountain bike on the list. However, when you compare this bike to mountain bike brands like Giant, the BEIUO may actually be a real steal! 

Customer Reviews:

Expert bikers claim that a similar bike from the best mountain bike brands can cost $3000 to $5000! The BEIUO bike is a huge cost saver if you have invested your life into cycling. Check out this bike and see how it stacks up.

According to some negative customer feedback, this bike does not do well with true mountain biking (as in, biking in the mountains). Customers suggest using this bike for street cycling use instead.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Since the BEIUO bike has some expert-level features and is way cheaper than the most popular biking brands, cycling enthusiasts should consider this bike. If you are a beginner or just like to ride for fun, the cheaper mountain bikes would be better suited for you. 

Raleigh Tekoa Mountain Bike – The Best Mountain Bike for Beginners

Raleigh Tekoa Mountain BikeWhy We Love It:

The Raleigh Tekoa mountain bike is one of the best entry level mountain bikes available. This is due in part to several model features that make mountain bike riding easier. Beginners tend to need help with maneuvering through bumps and fighting resistance, which are key target areas that this bike tries to remedy.

Details:
  • Large 29-inch wheel for stability and ease when rolling over rough terrain
  • Available in blue
  • Assistive mechanics to help you keep up the momentum (even when you’re facing resistance)
  • Minimal and quick assembly (you can set it up in as little as 30 minutes)
  • Outdoor Chimp Website Price: $528
Things to Consider:

While this bike may be great for beginners, the price tag is not necessarily beginner or budget-friendly! It is important that you consider the assistive features on this bike and weigh those against the price.

Customer Reviews:

As you would expect with a bike that offers assistive features, customers love the smoothness and easy gliding momentum of this model. Compared to other bikes, this particular model requires less energy to operate.

According to some more advanced bikers, this bike should be reserved for beginners. Several cyclists claim that the mechanics of this bike are “what you pay for.” Aside from the experts, other customers complain that the default seat is rather uncomfortable and should be replaced or covered. 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The Raleigh Tekoa should make your short list if you’re seeking the best beginner mountain bike! With a moderate price tag (compared to other bikes) and several assistive features, you can feel confident in yourself as you work on improving your riding abilities. 

Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike – Cheap Mountain Bike

Schwinn Traxion Mountain BikeWhy We Love It:

Not only is this the best budget mountain bike, but it has some key features that are found on the more expensive models. Talk about a steal!Likewise, you could buy a few of these bikes for your family and still come in under the price of the more expensive bikes.

Details:
  • 24-speed bike
  • 29-inch wheel
  • Available in neon colors
  • Hardtail bike (this bike only has suspension on the front wheel)
  • Fitness Magazine Website Price: $390.21
Things to Consider:

This is the cheapest bike on our list! Also, keep in mind that this cheap mountain bike has several features found on the most expensive bike. In particular, the Schwinn has a large 29-inch wheel, which is helpful for beginners and speed demons. One downside, however, is that this bike does not have full suspension, so things may get bumpy!

Customer Reviews:

Customers say that this bike is superb for street riding. Also, despite the cheap price, the bike glides well and can shift gears seamlessly.

Some customers are displeased that the neon coating fades over time, however, this can be minimized if the bike is stored and maintained well. Also, one customer who is 5’7” claimed that the 29-inch wheel is a bit too big for comfort. 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Since this is the best mountain bike for the money, consider this model if you have a partner or family for which you are purchasing. Buying a couple of these bikes can get you and a friend moving in no time. Plus, 2 of these bikes may be equivalent to purchasing just one of the most expensive bike on the list!

The Rundown on Mountain Bikes 

The following chart details the main differences and similarities between the mountain bikes. This will help you compare the different products and narrow down your list of favorites.

Product

Less than $500

Total bike weight

Full suspension?

Assembly required?

FSX 2.0 (Top Pick) X 20 lbs Yes Yes
Toray T700 (Runner Up) 26 lbs No Yes
BEIUO Carbon Fiber (Honorable Mention) 33 lbs No Minimal
Raleigh Tekoa 34 lbs No Yes
Schwinn Traxion X 49 lbs No Minimal

 

Sample Workout for Mountain Bikers: Improve Your Skills

Try this sample workout routine to improve your mountain biking abilities. in addition to helping you burn calories, this workout will strengthen your body in all the right places so that your performance improves when you’re on the trails.

It’s important to note that this workout includes the use of specific exercise equipment. If you don’t have this equipment, you can modify the exercises. If you workout at a commercial gym, you should have no trouble. But, if you’re working out at home, you may need to improvise a bit more.

Beside each exercise, we’ve specified the muscle area that is targeted. This way, if you can’t do certain exercises due to lack of equipment, you can substitute with another exercise that also targets the same muscle group. Remember, before trying this or any other workout, always talk to your healthcare team to make sure you’re approved for the activity.

Exercise

Notes

Target Area(s)

Sets

Repetitions

Pushup with dowel on a stability ball
Place a dowel on top of a stability ball. With hands shoulder-width apart on the dowel, go into an incline plank position to prepare for a pushup on the dowel that is balanced on the stability ball. This is a stability and pushup exercise! Forearms, hands, core, chest 3 10
Single-arm kettle ball press (on a stability ball)
With feet on the floor, rest your upper back on the stability ball (as you would in a stability ball chest press). Using a kettle ball, chest press up with one hand only. Switch to the other side. This is a stability and chest exercise! Chest, glutes, core 3 15
Bent over barbell row
You can use adjustable dumbbells or a barbell with this one. Back, glutes 3 10
Dumbbell squats
These could also be performed on a squat rack or power rack. Legs, glutes 3 12
Pull ups
If you don’t have a pull up bar, try these bicep workouts. Arms, back 3 10

 

Before You Purchase  

Having read this complete list of the best mountain bikes of 2019, you can see that mountain biking is not just a hobby for the family! Regardless of which mountain bike you choose, you can make mountain biking more than just a recreational activity. Both a novice rider and professional athlete can benefit from having a mountain bike in their possession.

You can utilize mountain biking for improving your fitness, balance and for enjoyment. Mountain biking is an excellent form of physical activity that’s easy to add to your routine in between working out at the gym or in your home fitness space.

What will you use your mountain bike for? Exercise? Pleasure? Do you live near really cool biking trails? Tell us your plans and experiences in the comments below!

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