Updated: January 8th, 2017 (Updated to 2018)
Picking the best mountain bikes of 2018 out of thousand bikes on the market is crucial! The market is full of bikes in varying prices scales, but which mountain bike fits you perfectly?
My previous article about best road bikes of 2018, was very popular and therefore I wanted to do the same with mountain bikes.
Okay, let’s have a look at the bikes. I’ve found reviews and compared bikes to bikes. Contacted the manufacturers and picked the best performers. I really want to give you the best choices. I built it on $500 / $1,000 / $1,500 / $2,000 and for $2,500 price scale.
In this review I cover different price scales and types of mountain bikes. It’s been hard work reading countless hours about the bikes to pick the best ones. Like always, my aim is to give unbiased feedback about the components, frames etc. There aren’t many reviews online, and therefore I wanted to give the best overview. I did so by contacting the manufacturers for additional info, a step that most reviewers would not take 🙂
Best Mountain Bikes of 2018 - Comparison Table
|Make, Model and Picture||Price - Under:||Type||Suspension||Wheel Size||Gears||Level|
Diamondback Overdrive ST
|500$||Hardtail||80mm SR Suntor||27,5"||3x8||Entry-Level|
Overdrive Comp 29er
|1,000$||Hardtail||100mm RockShox in front||29"||2x10||Trainer|
Diamondback Atroz Comp
|1,500$||Full-Suspension||120mm RockShox Recon on front and Monarch R on rear||27,5"||1x11 SRAM||Advanced|
Diamondback Mason Comp Plus
|2,000$||Hardtail||130mm Fox 34 - 3 position lever||27,5"||1x11||Racer|
Diamondback Mission 2
|2,500$+||Full-Suspension||160mm Fox 36 Float in front and Fox Float EVOL LV on rear||27,5"||1x11||Maximalist|
The article incudes all you need to know to when choosing a new mountain bike, and where to spend your hard-earned money!
Okay, let’s see the bikes and what to expect…
Best Mountain Bike Under $500 in 2018
What to look for in mountain bikes under $500
Yes, you really can start with a mountain bike under $500. With this bi2ke, you can make your long promised Sunday training rides a reality. Also, if you want, you can take longer trips (although it would be a more comfortable trip on a higher scale bike). These mountain bikes, under $500, have in most cases alloy frames, and Shimano component sets. Bikes in this price scale are suitable for entry-level riders who don’t have high standards. In this range, they do fine.
- Weight around 33 pounds
- Aluminum frame
- Shimano Tourney, Altus, Acera, Alivio or SRAM X3 – X4 components. Both Alivio and X5 are superb if you have them. Some have third-party components. Often Tektro brakes.
- Sturdy wheels with disc brakes
- Heavy front suspension
Best Mountain Bike of 2018 Under $500 – Diamondback Overdrive ST
For under $500, you will not find much better than the Diamondback Overdrive ST. Why? Let’s take the closer look…
The frame is made out of high quality aluminum which keeps the bike relatively light. It has been designed around 650b wheels (27.5”). These are the size in between 26” and 29”. They roll and handle relatively well making it the best wheel size option that they could have chosen.
The Diamondback Overdrive ST is also a hardtail mountain bike frame meaning that it does not have a rear shock. This increases peddling efficiency but of course decreases bump absorption. The dropouts of the frame are forged and the derailleur hanger is easily replaceable in case it gets bent.
This bike has components that could be classified as beginner components. The components on this bike are on the low end of the component spectrum however, for the price, you cannot expect much more. Upfront you will find a SR Suntour XCT fork that features 80mm (just over 3 inches) of front travel. The fork is sprung via internal coils which work okay. It is best for trails that are not too harsh or for urban use.
All of the shifters and derailleurs on this bike are Shimano which is a nice touch. They perform as they should and you likely will not find this quality on other best mountain bikes of 2018. The chain is made by KMC which is a very reliable brand so you can be sure that it will not break on you (with proper care).
This bike also comes with Tektro Aires mechanical disk brakes which is a big step up from the V-brake alternative. They do not have much feel, but for their stopping power and value, it is a great brake. Other components including the handlebars, grips, stem, rims, seat and seat post are all made by diamondback and are quite decent.
The 2017 Diamondback Overdrive features 8 gears on the back and 3 upfront. In total this leaves the bike with 24 gears that will get you through pretty much any riding situation. Good choice when choosing the best mountain bikes of 2018 on $500 price scale.
- Modern 650B (27.5) wheel size
- Shimano shifters (Atlus) and derailleurs (Tourney, and Acera)
- Aluminum frame
- Four frame sizes
- Beginner components that work okay but not for avid cyclists
- Will be a rough ride on harsh terrain
Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000 in 2018
What should you expect from mountain bikes under $1,000?
$1,000 is the price level where MTBs dramatically change (for the better). It’s the same with other bike types too. They start to have better components, and the frames get a little bit lighter. It can be your next step if you want become more serious about mountain biking.
NOTE: I suggest that you be careful with carbon bikes under $1k. You might find some carbon mountain bikes in that price range, but they’re not very reliable.
I must admit that aluminum bikes are pretty good in this range in 2017 or 2018, and provide much more riding and quality value than cheap carbon bikes. So the best mountain bikes of 2018 in under $1,000 scale has typically still carbon frames.
- Weight below 30lbs or less
- Mainly Shimano Alivio/Acera or SRAM X4 –X5 components.
- A fine aluminum (6061) frame with butted head tube.
- Possibly low-end-carbon-fiber frame which I don’t recommend.
- Heavy wheels with disc brakes
- Own-Brand bar, stem, and saddle.
- Mid-Level SR Suntor fork or low-level RockShox.
Best Mountain Bike Under $1,000 – Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er
OUR BEST PICK for under $1,000!
The Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er is a smooth fast bike that will comfortably take you around most XC trails. There are very few reviews online as it is new for 2017.
The Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er frame is made from butted 6061 aluminum creating a light weight yet sturdy build. The frame has spacing to accommodate 29” wheels. These wheels will comfortably roll over most terrain. Especially when paired with the Rockshox fork that is included. It is a hardtail frame meaning there is no rear shock.
The components are on the lower to middle range, and for the price are very well chosen. On best mountain bikes of 2017 like this Comp , the Shimano Deore shifters and derailleurs make changing gears a breeze. The cranks are also Deore which is a nice touch as they are quite stiff for the price of the bike. The rims are tubeless compatible, and as so many people are turning away from tubes, this is a very good selling feature.
The tires are Kenda Honey Badger’s which provide a medium amount of traction with little rolling resistance. Like mentioned above, there is a relatively plush Rockshox Recon fork mounted to the front that has 100mm of travel to help you through average XC trails. In charge of braking is Shimano’s BR-M315 hydraulic disk brakes.
They have a relatively nice feel to them however there is no reach adjustment. This is alright for most beginner to mid-level riders, however, a lot of people like to have their levers in a certain place so the lack of adjustability might be a pain for them. Diamondback has equipped this bike with most of their own components such as bars, stem, grips, seat, and seat post.
The 2017 Overdrive Comp comes with a 2X drivetrain meaning that there are 2 front gear rings. On the back is a 10 speed cassette. This results in 20 different gears to choose from which is a wide range, and will work well for both climbing and fast paced riding.
- Shimano Deore all around proves to be excellent for the price range
- 29” wheels are fast rolling for XC focused riders
- Tubeless ready rims
- Not a very “playful” bike
- Tires will need to be changed for more aggressive trail riding
- Brakes are good but lack contact point adjustment
Find your size and purchase safely on Amazon
Best Mountain Bikes Of 2018 – Under $1,500
What should you expect from mountain bikes of 2018 under $1,500?
Within this price range, you can get a proper mountain bike that will even work decently during a race. You will also enjoy the bike on recreational rides. Probably noting how well it rides compared to your old, cheaper bikes.
If you’re choosing the best mountain bikes of 2018, then you should know the main differences between the bikes around $500 and $1,000 vs $1,500 is the components. The better the components, the lighter and more reliable they are. This ultimately leads to better performance (and of course more fun)!
Related: Fix your ride – Silca T-Ratchet & Ti-Torque Kit Review!
If you are avid rider, this should be the price level that you start from. Otherwise, you will find yourself changing or upgrading your bike after very short time.
- Good quality light-weight aluminum frame. Rarely other composite materials or even low-end carbon.
- Weight around 28lbs.
- Quality groupset (Shimano Deore, SLX or SRAM X9, X7 or similar level components)
- Good Full-Suspension bikes start in this price range
- Frame designed to be aerodynamic
- Mid-weight rims
Best Mountain Bike Under $1,500 – Diamondback Atroz Comp
Full-suspension! OUR BEST PICK for under $1,500!
Currently available only on Amazon!
The 2017 Diamondback Atroz Comp is a capable beginner to intermediate full-suspension trail bike. For the price, you will not find a better spec’d full suspension ride.
The frame is aluminum and 650b optimized with a single pivot suspension system to absorb impacts and bumps in the trail. The pivots are made of sealed cartridge bearings that hold up well to the elements. Diamondback made the frame to have a tapered steerer tube that allows for the use of a tapered fork.
Rockshox suspension was used on both the front and rear of the bike. For the rear shock, Diamondback chose to use the Monarch R air shock. It is very easy to set up by simply pumping in the correct air pressure for your weight and riding style, and then adjusting the rebound speed. On the front is a Rockshox Recon with 120mm of travel.
As far as shifting gears go, there is the SRAM NX 11-speed groupset. This is a new “wallet friendly” product line that includes many of SRAM’s higher end product features. The tires are Kenda Nevagal Lite which are quite good for most people on best mountain bikes of 2018 on this scale.
However, some rougher trails or more aggressive riders may require something a bit more heavy duty. The nice thing about this bike is that Diamondback also started to include some high quality Race Face components. The Race Face respond handlebar and stem combo are a nice touch. The rest of the components are made by Diamondback which are still good quality, just not quite on the same level as other brands.
However, these components also helped keep the price down so it was a good decision on Diamondback’s part. Tektro Gemini hydraulic brakes have an okay feel to them, and the lever reach adjust will help with personal set-ups.
The SRAM NX shifters and derailleur provide very smooth gear changes. This bike has a modern 1 X 11 speed drivetrain while still providing a very wide gear ratio range. This is a nice touch as it takes away the bulk, weight, and complexity of a front dera
- Easily adjustable rear shock
- Reach adjust levers
- Modern 1X drive train
- It would have been nice to see a bit better of a fork (perhaps a Rockshox Revelation)
- The tires are okay for easy trails but many riders buying this bike could make use of a more aggressive tire
Find your size and purchase safely on Amazon
Best Mountain Bikes of 2018 – Under $2,000
What should you expect from mountain bikes under $2,000?
With a bike from this price point, you will find yourself discovering new and fun trails everywhere. A path you wouldn’t have dreamed of taking before may become a reality. Bikes in this scale have decent components which are reliable. This is also the price point that you should buy your first bike from if you intend to race it. The higher level components, and light weight will help keep your race performance better than if you raced with a cheap bike.
Mountain bikes under $2,000 are capable of taking you to the racing level, but only when you want it. Trust me when I say, this level of performance is something you want!
- High-end aluminium frame or low-mid level carbon
- Weight around 26lbs
- Enthusiast level components
- Mid-level wheels
- Good front-suspension with lock-out
Best Mountain Bike Under $2,000 – Diamondback Mason Comp Plus
OUR BEST PICK for under $2,000!
If you are looking for a well spec’d hardtail that can tackle just about anything, the Diamondback Mason Comp Plus is worth a look. Let’s look closer
The frame is made up of 6061-T6 Aluminum which is light and sturdy. In the rear triangle you will find boost spacing which means the bike will run extra wide hubs to allow for wide rims and plus sized tires. It also features the new style ISCG-05 tabs for the attachment of a chain guide.
Taking into consideration that this bike is priced right around $2,000 on best mountain bikes of 2017-2018, it is amazingly put together with mid-level parts. The Fox 34 Float Performance fork offers 130mm of travel and is fully adjustable with a 3 position lever for on the go tuning. Through axles are found on the front and back of the bike to keep it stiff. Plus sized tires seem to find traction anywhere and offer great bump compliance.
SRAM GX makes changing gears a breeze at any time. Diamondback was smart to put a KS dropper post on this bike. It allows for a very quick adjustment of seat post height via a remote on the handle bars. This is great for this bike as the rider using it will likely use it in a verity of situations (climbs and descends), which require different seat heights for ultimate comfort.
When it comes to stopping, SRAM was again the go to manufacturer. The SRAM level-T hydraulic disk brakes are used and include reach adjust (must be done via the use of tools). There are 180mm rotors on the front and back so that you have consistent, and powerful braking without fade. Diamondback components can be found throughout to help keep the price down.
New to the Mason Comp for 2017 and 2018 is a 1×11 speed drivetrain. No front derailleur keeps the weight down and bike simple to use. There is a 10-42 tooth gear range on the back that is easily a wide enough ratio for just about any type of mountain biker.
- Dropper post
- Extra wide plus tires
- Fox 34 fork
- Diamondback own components are not anything special.
Best Mountain Bikes of 2018 – Expert Level
What should you expect from enthusiast level mountain bikes?
Bikes in this price-range have been designed to last long and offer pure pleasure. With this Diamondback, you’ll find your riding gets taken up a level. Since the price is high, there are more resources available for the company to put into the bike. The most obvious way to see this is to look at the high level components. You can get either a full-suspension, or hardtail mountain bike in this price range. Choose whichever suits your riding habits best – you can choose both in this price range on best mountain bikes of 2018.
Bikes in this price scale typically receive better support from local bike shops and from the manufacturer than cheap bikes do. This is for a few reasons, firstly, mechanics see average bikes from day to day so when they see a high quality bike, they take a lot of care.
Secondly, best mountain bikes of 2018 in this price scale usually make the bike shops and manufactures a bit more money, meaning that they have more to invest into the customer service. Lastly, top quality bikes also have more adjustment than cheap bikes so tuning help can be easily offered.
- Top-notch race components (Shimano XT or SRAM X0, XX etc)
- Ultra-strong and light-weight aerodynamic frame
- Bike meant for races (this does not mean that is has to be raced).
- Reliable performance on many different types of trails
Best Mountain Bikes for Maximalists in 2018 – Diamondback Mission 2
Full-Suspension – OUR BEST PICK for maximalists!
The 2017 Diamondback Mission 2 is an all mountain monster. It features 160mm of front and rear suspensions that will easily handle a day in the bike park as well as everyday trail rides.
The frame itself is made of 6061-T6 Weapons Grade Aluminum to assure its reliability and strength. It has a 1.5” tapered head tube and the modern ISCG-05 mounting bracket for chain guides. The suspension pivots are designed to follow the well-known Knuckle box technology to assure a good pedaling platform and active rear shock.
This bike is loaded with high quality components. The suspension is taken care of by fox with a bump swallowing Performance 36 Float fork on the front and a Float DPS EVOL shock on the back. Both are fully adjustable and air sprung offering almost unlimited ride customizability.
Shimano’s SLK group proves to be a great drivetrain. Race Face products can also be found all around this bike as a testament to the high quality build that Diamondback was going for. There is a KS LEV dropper post for quick adjustment of seat height that is controlled by a remote on the handlebars. Stopping is also controlled via Shimano SLX brakes. They have ample stopping power and tool free reach adjust levers. There is a boost front hub and wide tires for maximum traction.
The tires are WTB Vigilante Race and they perform very well. Of course, tire choice is always preference so some people may want to swap them out anyway. It is recommended to go tubeless as well. To help with this, tubeless valves are included in the extras. This bike is capable of being pushed without letting you down, leaving riders with a powerful option for the price.
As extras Diamondback includes a shock pump, tubeless valves, a torque wrench with bits, a mudguard, and even and extra derailleur hanger. All in all, Diamondback hit the nail on the head with this bike!
The perfect choice to put a 1×11 speed Shimano drivetrain on this bike leaves owners with the ability to ride whatever they want without the hassle of a front derailleur. With a 32 tooth ring up front and an 11-42 tooth range in the back, it is unlikely that you will ever need more gears.
Related: FULL Mission Series Review
- Lots of suspension provided by Fox
- 1×11 speed Shimano drivetrain offers a huge gear ratio range without needing a front derailleur
- Dropper post helps quickly puts the seat in different positions
- Comes with lots of extras
- The inline shock does not quite match the forks performance
- Maybe a little much for everyday use.
Best Mountain Bikes of 2018 – What To Expect?
Well, there are bikes, and each bike may belong to a different performance class. What bike should you choose? You can compete in races with an entry-level mountain bike, but you will be limited by the bike’s performance. This is mainly because of its components and weight. You should select the right mountain bike based on your needs. It is important to choose well. I’ll let you know of the best mountain bicycles by price.
Entry level, training bikes, or competing and maximalist are the different classes that I group bikes into. Most of the riders have started with the entry-level bikes and gone up to maximalist bikes made of carbon.
Cycling is like an addition, just make sure your husband or wife doesn’t find out how much you are paying for your hobby! 🙂
Well, here it is – countless hours of investigating but it was pure pleasure. The list you just read included the best mountain bikes of 2018. You can rely on those bikes and you’ll wish you had bought one sooner!
PS! Like this guide? Feel free to spread the word and share below 🙂