Updated: February 25, 2021
Each month I'll pick out some of the best mountain bikes at each price point from entry-level budget bikes to high-end dream bikes. These are bikes that I think are exciting, a great value, or just fun options for cyclists struggling to pick their next ride.
If a bike on this list has been sold, or it’s not the right size or price, don’t worry. New bikes are added every day. You can browse all bikes to see what's in stock or look through our In the Stand inventory to see some of the exciting new bikes coming soon to our site.
This is the entry-level price-point. In our article on how much new riders should spend on their first bike, this is the minimum we suggest spending to get a bike that will ride well, work reliably, and help build essential skills.
Orbea Occam H20 - 2020, Medium - $2,333.99
Redesigned for 2020, the Orbea Occam has grown to 140mm of travel to become a more downhill-oriented trail bike. It's lighter and easier to pedal than its big brother, the Rallon, but still capable enough to handle rough and gnarly trails. The H20 model uses a durable aluminum frame, perfect for riders who ride hard on a budget.
Ragley Mmmbop - 2019, X-Large - $2,498.99
U.K. brand, Ragley, is synonymous with hardcore hardtails. This style of bike is becoming more popular as it combines the simplicity and reliability of a hardtail with progressive, forward-thinking geometry. This Mmmbop uses a tough aluminum frame and has a crazy-slack 63.75-degree head tube angle to give the rider maximum confidence when bombing downhill.
These are great mid-range bikes for riders who are progressing in mountain biking. Bikes in this price range have components and features that can help take your riding to the next level.
Santa Cruz Tallboy C - 2020, Small - $3,799.99
The Tallboy was redesigned for 2020 to embody Santa Cruz's vision for the future of short-travel trail bikes. With a modest 120mm of travel, the Tallboy remains efficient and playful. But add in a 130mm fork and geometry that mirrors the progressive numbers of the Hightower and Megatower and you get a short-travel rocket that can handle almost anything.
Spot Rollik 607 - 2018, X-Large - $3,899.99
The Spot Rollik uses Spot's unique Living Link suspension system that moves on a carbon fiber leaf spring instead of a traditional pivot. The result is an incredibly playful bike that loves to take flight. If your style is to jump and jib your way down the trail, the 27.5" Rollik will give you the playful pop you're looking for. With a futuristic SRAM AXS drivetrain, it's a good value too.
Bikes in this range are built for serious riders who push their bikes hard, put down big miles, ride competitively, and have the experience to know what they want from a bike.
Trek Fuel EX 9.8 - 2020, Medium - $5,499.99
The Fuel EX is Trek's quiver-killer trail bike that can handle everything from fast and flowy XC trails to technical and gnarly enduro tracks. The vast majority of riders won't need anything more or less than the Fuel and it'll satisfy everyone from beginners to experts. It's a true all-rounder, and the ideal choice if you only have room for one bike.
Salsa Rustler Carbon XT - 2020, Medium - $5,063.99
My first mountain bike was a Salsa and I'll always be a fan of the practical and purposeful designs it produces. With its new generation of carbon mountain bikes, I think Salsa has introduced some of the best paint jobs on the market. The subtle matte fade on this Salsa Rustler makes it stand out from the crown without being ostentatious. And with 130mm of travel, a 150mm fork, and modern geometry, it's ready for any trail.
Are you a serious rider who needs ultimate performance? Do you want to float up climbs, smash downhills, or just spank your friends out on the trail? These bikes use advanced frame designs, geometry, and components to help you go faster.
Intense Primer S - 2021, Large - $5,791.99
Lovers of motorsports tech will likely be familiar with Ohlins suspension. Its used at the highest levels of racing, and recently, Ohlins has made its way onto mountain bikes, most notably the World Cup championship winning downhill bikes of Loic Bruni. The Ohlins suspension alone is enough for me to drool over this fresh Intense Primer. When paired with the Primer's enduro geometry, and JS Tuned suspension, it's sure to be a ground-hugging, downhill beast.
Orbea Rallon M-Team - 2020, X-Large - $6,120.99
Like the Ohlins equipped Primer above, my interest in this stealth black Orbea Rallon largely come down to the Push ElevenSix coil shock. Push is based out of Loveland, Colorado, and makes top-of-the-line shocks that are perfectly tuned to the specific kinematics of each bike. Paired with Shimano Saint downhill brakes, it's clear that this Rallon enduro bike is meant to charge hard and win stages.
These are super-bikes that make no compromises for performance. They match or exceed bikes used by pros and might be super-rare or special edition. If you're looking here, you're probably a true bike aficionado who needs very little help picking what you want.
Cannondale Scalpel - 2021, Large - $7,599.99
After spending time on Cannondale's ultra-fast F-Si hardtail, I'm sold on the amazing stiffness, plush feel, and performance of the new Lefty Ocho fork. This Scalpel takes things to the next level with a more capable full-suspension frame, a SRAM AXS drivetrain, and color-matched ENVE 6-series wheels. For cross country and light trail riding, it'll be hard to beat. There's even room for two water bottles in the frame.
Trek Supercaliber 9.9 - 2020, Med/Large - $8,486.99
Trek kept the Supercaliber under wraps (they literally hid the suspension under fabric during races) while Trek’s World Cup racers proved it out at the highest level. The Supercaliber uses a unique suspension system that combines the frame stiffness and weight of a hardtail with the extra compliance and traction of a full-suspension. With 60mm of ultra-efficient rear travel, this is the ultimate tool for serious XC racers.