Mountain bikes have come a long way in recent years, with trends like 29-inch wheels—and more recently, 27.5-inch wheels—blazing the trail for bikes that are better and more versatile than ever before. High-end models are still notoriously expensive, but a technology trickle down effect does push some more advanced features down into entry-level models. You can, for example, find a capable 29er from a well-respected manufacturer for under $1,000. 

Below are our mountain biking gear picks, with a focus on complete bikes that are available online (you can also find a varying selection at your local bike shop) as well as important accessories like helmets and shoes. And for those that need to haul their bikes to the trailhead, we've also tested and written about hitch-mounted racks. Enjoy!

Best Mountain Bike Brands of 2020

For many mountain bikers, understanding the background, history, and ethos of a company has a major impact on the purchase of a new rig. However, with so many brands to choose from, it can...

Best Mountain Bike Helmets of 2020

If your mountain biking gear budget has been stretched thin and you’re tempted to skimp on the helmet, don’t. Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. It’s true, mountain bike helmet prices are creeping up...

Best Mountain Bike Shoes of 2020

A quality mountain bike shoe plays a number of important roles. Its solid platform delivers power to the pedals, strong construction keeps your feet protected, and secure fit...

Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2020

If you’re searching for the best way to transport bikes, hitch-mounted bike racks are the way to go. Securely attaching to the receiver hitch of your vehicle, they offer unmatched versatility and ease of use. There...

Best Mountain Bikes of 2020

From smooth and flowy post-work rides to rough and rowdy all-day backcountry epics, mountain biking can be an exceptionally fulfilling sport. But rapidly changing technology and the sheer number of available models makes choosing the best ride...

Best Gravel Bikes of 2020

Gravel bikes—also known as adventure or all-road bikes—are built to handle terrain ranging from forest service roads to pavement, dirt, and even mellow singletrack. In essence, they are more capable than road bikes yet more efficient than mountain...

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000

Not everyone needs a high-end mountain bike that breaks the bank. If you are new to the sport or don’t plan to ride that often, it’s a good idea to buy a relatively inexpensive bike and upgrade...

Best Mountain Bikes Under $2,000

Mountain biking can be a very expensive sport: there are hundreds of excellent bikes available for $4,000 to $6,000, and those aren’t even at the highest end of the price spectrum. Fortunately for those of us not ready to spend so much on something...

Best Kids’ Bikes of 2020

Getting a new bike is a big deal no matter your age, but it’s a particularly exciting event for kids. To help navigate the landscape, below we break down our top kids’ bikes of 2020, which range from toddler-sized balance bikes to knobby 24-inch models...

Best Bike Lights

Whether you’re a first-time commuter or dedicated mountain biker, riding at night can be an exhilarating experience. But traveling along dark streets or singletrack at any speed requires a quality light (or two) to illuminate the way. Below we break...

How Much Should You Spend on a Mountain Bike?

Although the type of bike you’re looking for—hardtail or full-suspension—will largely dictate your buying decision, it really comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. Those eyeing set-ups under...

27.5 vs. 29er Mountain Bikes

Not long ago, mountain bikers didn’t have a choice when it came to wheel sizes—26 inches was the only option. But once 29- and 27.5-inch wheels hit the market, the debate amongst bikers took off and has continued ever since. 29ers...

Cannondale Topstone Review

Taking the place of the unique and innovative Slate gravel bike is Cannondale's latest all-road creation: the Topstone. Released last year, the mid-range Topstone 105 features a sturdy aluminum frame...

Thule T2 Pro XT Review

Sweden-based Thule is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car racks and bike accessories, and the T2 Pro XT is their top hitch-mounted offering. An evolution of the flagship T2 Classic, this is a fully-featured rack with...

Santa Cruz Bronson Review

Santa Cruz is known for making some of the best bikes in the industry, and their attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship are second to none. The Bronson line made its debut all the way back in...

Salsa Timberjack Mountain Bike Review

Of all the bike brands on the market today, Minnesota-based Salsa Cycles conjures up the most thoughts of adventure and getting off the beaten path. I spent the last few months aboard...

Cannondale Trail Mountain Bike Review

Cannondale’s Trail mountain bike lineup is known for its balance of price, build quality, and smart component choices for beginner to intermediate cyclists. We tested the mid-range Trail 6 hardtail...

Salsa Journeyman Review

Salsa Cycles’ adventure-by-bike ethos permeates each and every model in their lineup, and the gravel-focused Journeyman is no exception. We spent most of the spring using and abusing the top-end Apex 1 650 model on gravel roads...

Cannondale Habit Review

Connecticut-based Cannondale has always done things a little differently, but their revamped and surprisingly mainstream 2019 Habit seeks to make them a top contender once again. With its...

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Review

Smith’s foray into the world of mountain bike helmets began in 2014 with the release of the lightweight Forefront. Four years later, they’ve introduced the “2” with notable updates...

Thule Vital 8L Review

Better known for their bike racks and carriers, Thule entered the hydration pack market with the mountain biking-specific Vital lineup in spring 2018. I’ve opted for hip packs the past few years on technical rides to allow my back to breathe...

Shimano ME7 Review

Shimano has made a strong push in the mountain bike shoe world of late, releasing a number of quality and functional designs for clipless and flat pedal riders. Updated for 2019, the ME7 stands at the top of their enduro and trail line-up as...

Yakima Dr.Tray Review

Yakima has been a key player in the bike rack market since 1979, and the Dr.Tray currently sits at the top of their platform hitch offerings. Fully featured and wrapped up in a class-leading lightweight package, the Dr.Tray was an exciting choice...

Kuat NV Base 2.0 Review

Founded just over a decade ago, Kuat is a relative newcomer to the world of bike racks, but they haven’t wasted any time in creating functional, polished designs. Their NV Base 2.0 is a solid hitch-mounted rack that is comparable to...