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!