Mountain biking has become hugely popular over the last 30 years. People of all ages enjoy the sport. It’s not only thrilling, but it’s also healthy. Getting out in the fresh air and nature and away from stress and problems in your life is always a good thing. Our guide to the best mountain bikes can help you decide what type is best for you—what style, weight, and price of mountain bike is ideal. Check out our recommendations for best 29er mountain bikes.
The Best 29 Mountain Bikes
This versatile electric-assist mountain bike weighs in at a mere 55 pounds, including the electric motor and components. It’s easy to pedal, fun to handle, and is made with premium parts, including Shimano derailleurs and shifters and an adjustable MTB fork.
The electric motor makes pedaling up steep hills a breeze, yet this mountain bike handles well in rough terrain and is a good cross-country bike. Proprietary software, chips, and a motherboard run the electric system, so it starts and runs optimally. The bike can travel 60 miles on a charge at speeds up to 20 mph.
- Optimized electrics
- Up to 60 mile range
- MTB fork, Shimano shifters and derailleurs
- Smooth-riding tail
- Brand NCM
- Model Prague
- Weight 55 pounds
Has all of the handling attributes of a non-electric mountain bike
Battery/motor may cut out
Derailleurs may need adjusting
Does not have lower braze-ons to mount bike on a rack correctly
This Mongoose 29 stumpjumper mountain bike is economically priced and gives you the full mountain bike experience. It is especially recommended for beginning riders who want to find out what the sport is all about. It features a full dual-suspension frame for comfort plus performance. Along with an element suspension fork, together these take out the rough parts of your ride.
The frame is aluminum to reduce weight. It is strong so it handles rough terrain, while the suspension fork offers great control. The mountain bike also has a Shimano rear derailleur and SRAM twist shifters, which makes shifting easy. Some riders prefer better quality tires so they swap them out. Be careful while turning because there are only 1.5 inches of clearance between the pedal and the front tire.
- Aluminum dual-suspension frame
- Element suspension fork
- Shimano rear derailleur
- SRAM shifters
- 21 speeds
- Brand Mongoose
- Model Impasse
- Weight 44 pounds
Dual-suspension frame is comfortable yet it performs
Element suspension fork offers great control and handles the bumps
Easy shifting with the Shimano derailleur and SRAM shifters
Not the best quality tires
Only 1.5 inches of clearance between the pedal and front wheel when turning
Bike may be too heavy for some
This hardtail mountain bike from Steppenwolf features a thick, carbon-tube frame that is light yet strong for riding in rough terrain, mountain biking, enduro events, and cross-country. It offers smoothness for your ride and agility as well due to a short rear end and a steep steering angle. Whether uphill, downhill, or straightaway, the ride is sensitive, smooth, and dynamic. It easily compares with high-end Treks and Cannondales.
The Tundra comes in Race, Pro, LTD, or Team LTD versions. The Race and Team LTD sub-models have 20-speed SRAM shifting. The LTD and Pro versions feature a 30-speed Shimano drivetrain. The dual disc brakes on this 29er mountain bike are responsive and firm, and the suspension front fork easily mellows out the bumps on the trail. You might want to swap out the seat for a more comfortable one. Also, the brake calipers may require adjusting out of the box.
- Strong yet lightweight at 24 pounds
- 30 speeds (20 speed option)
- German craftsmanship
- Remote lock-out, front suspension fork
- Brand Steppenwolf
- Model Tundra
- Weight 24 pounds
Carbon fiber frame
Shimano or SRAM drivetrain (order either)
Seat may be too hard for some riders
Brake calipers may need adjusting
Handlebars may be too narrow for some
This mountain bike from iconic American brand Schwinn features a full-suspension frame and suspension fork. In combination, they help you ride out those bumpy trails and city street potholes. The frame suspension is in the lower part of the “V” of the frame, and it partners with the tubular front fork (some call this “dual suspension”) for a smooth ride. The Schwinn crank is also alloy and does a great job transferring your leg power to the mountain bike’s rear drive.
Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifters allow you to shift between the 24 gears easily and smoothly. Quality Shimano derailleurs help shifting too. Mechanical disc brakes in the front and rear provide great stopping power under all conditions. The 2.25-inch wide knobby tires mounted on extra-wide, double-walled alloy rims give you a safe but thrilling ride. It’s OK to change out the seat, which mountain bike riders often do, for a more comfortable one. This is a heavier mountain bike than most, so buy accordingly.
- Full-suspension frame
- Suspension fork
- Shimano 24-speed shifters
- Shimano derailleurs
- Brand Schwinn
- Model Traxion
- Weight 52 pounds
Dual-suspension frame smooths out bumps
Shimano EZ Fire shifters make shifting smooth and easy
Wide, double-wall rims are strong yet light
Seat may be uncomfortable
Pedal threads sometimes are stripped
May be too heavy for some riders
Tommaso bikes are designed in Italy and the company’s headquarters are in Denver, Colorado where the bikes are engineered. The company manufactures and sells an entire line of bikes, including women’s bikes. The lightweight aluminum frame is warrantied for life while the drivetrain features 100% Shimano components with 24 speeds. The front fork is made by Suntour and has 100mm of travel.
A 29-inch mountain bike provides the clearance mountain bikers need to get them over rocks and roots that may be in the path. This bike also features hydraulic disc brakes for superior slowing and stopping power. For best control and cornering, the Gran Sasso has a wide 680mm handlebar. Be aware that to claim the lifetime frame warranty, the bike must be assembled at a shop. Also, there have been some reports of crank arms not assembled correctly.
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- 24-speed Shimano drivetrain
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Suntour front end fork
- Brand Tommaso
- Model Gran Sasso
- Weight 35.5 pounds
Rugged wheels and grippy tires
Precision braking in all weather conditions and terrain
Lifetime frame warranty
Warranty only good if bike is shop-assembled
Some crank arms installed incorrectly
May require tuning after assembly
This 29er mountain bike from Eurobike is great for beginners as well as more seasoned riders. The aluminum frame and rims make it a lightweight ride. It’s a mountain bike that larger riders love: the bike is a good fit for riders up to six feet, two inches tall and up to 330 pounds.
The bike features Shimano derailleurs on the front and back and a Shimano shifter as well. The shocks on the front suspension fork absorb bumps, and you can adjust the fork using a switch for a ride tailor-made for you. You can also lock out the front fork for a rigid ride experience.
- Aluminum frame
- 21 speeds
- Double-wall, aluminum wheels
- Great balance of quality and value
- Brand Eurobike
- Model X9
- Weight 30 pounds
Wheels give great control
85-percent assembled on arrival
Good bike for big riders
Easy to set up
Brakes may be unreliable
No set-up options available
May be scratched during shipping
Best 29 Mountain Bike Buying Guide & FAQ
Why Do You Need a 29 Mountain Bike
Mountain biking and cross-country riding demand a specialized type of bicycle. Of course you can attempt mountain biking on a conventional bike, but you will soon realize the benefits of wider tires, a lower profile, and specialized derailleurs and brakes. It’s not the same as riding on a city street or even a country road. Mountain biking presents hazards (and thrills) that city biking does not.
In the city, you don’t have to be concerned about rocks and branches in technical terrain that you must negotiate as you bike. A 29er mountain bike with 29-inch wheels gives you the maneuverability, agility, and power to easily trump obstacles like these and yet provides an enjoyable experience. A 29er mountain bike also makes your rides safer. It only takes one serious fall even in a bike park to realize how important a safe, solid mountain bike is to your riding experience.
Why is 29 inches better? Compared to smaller sizes, a 29er mountain bike gives you more momentum once you start rolling. In other words, you get more forward progress for less effort. Also compared to 27.5- or 26-inch mountain bikes, you get rapid rolling over rough ground.
Larger wheels and tires also give you more contact area on the terrain, better traction, and therefore increased control while climbing and cornering.
- Specially built for rough terrain, hills, and trails
- Includes specialized brakes, shifters, derailleurs, tires, and rims
- A safer ride means a more enjoyable ride
Types of Mountain Bikes
The three basic types of mountain bikes (also called trail bikes) are: full-suspension, hardtail, and rigid. Full-suspension bikes (also called dual-suspension bikes) provide the most ability to absorb bumps and the effects of rough terrain. Hardtail bikes have a suspension mechanism in the front only, while rigid-type bikes have no suspension mechanism. Each of these types serve a purpose and have negative and positive attributes.
Full-suspension mountain bikes have suspension mechanisms in both the rear and front of the bike. The suspension in the front is in the fork. It uses air, a spring coil, or a combination of these to dampen shocks and bumps. Most front-fork suspension systems can be “locked” if suspension is not needed. There are a number of rear suspension systems.
- Four bar
- Faux bar
- Virtual pivot point (VPP)
- Split pivot
- Single pivot
- Floating drivetrain
Each of these rear suspension types has advantages and disadvantages.
Full-suspension mechanisms assist in keeping the tires on the ground. The more ground contact, the better traction as you ride. However, a full-suspension system also adds weight to the bike, which may not be desirable if you are competing or if you are encountering a lot of uphill climbs.
Hardtail mountain bikes only have a suspension mechanism in the front with no suspension at all on the rear tires and rims, thus the name “hardtail.” This type of mountain bike has fewer moving parts, meaning less maintenance. They are also usually lighter, which makes them more desirable for racing and hill climbing. In addition, hardtail mountain bikes are less expensive because they have fewer parts.
You can lock out the front suspension if needed, which results in a fully rigid bike. Because they are stiff and lightweight, riders use hardtail bikes in competition and on trails that are less challenging. Yet, they still offer some suspension so you can ride on a variety of off-road terrains.
These mountain bikes have no suspension whatsoever, which is why they’re called “rigid.” Any comfort from bumps or shocks come from the tires, with perhaps some assistance from the
spokes and rims. These mountain bikes, as a result of having fewer moving parts because they have no suspension, are lighter and less expensive to purchase. Few moving parts also means they require less maintenance, so you can spend more time riding and less time fixing them.
Advancements in the design of suspension systems for both full-suspension and hardtail designs have resulted in lower costs for the consumer for full-suspension bikes. This has made rigid mountain bikes a niche market with limited appeal.
What to Look for When Buying a 29 Mountain Bike
Three basic things to look at when you consider purchasing a 29er mountain bike are the type of frame, the “groupset,” and the size. You need to be concerned about the construction of the frame because, depending on your riding habits and needs, you can pick from a number of different materials that vary in strength, weight, durability, and capacity for repair.
The groupset includes the components that make up the power (and control) section of the mountain bike, such as the crank, brakes, shifters, and derailleurs. Also, size matters greatly as far as comfort, safety, and rideability.
- The Frame
Manufacturers usually make mountain bike frames from one of four materials: aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, or titanium. Aluminum is lightweight and relatively strong, but it has a stiffness that can lead to a rough ride if your suspension is tight or non-existent. An aluminum frame is a more cost-effective material, resulting in a less-expensive purchase price.
A carbon fiber frame is less stiff than an aluminum frame, and it can be molded into shape easily, so it’s easier for manufacturers to work with. But it can crack under pressure, such as in a crash or when tightening screws. Once this happens, you either have to repair or replace it.
With better manufacturing techniques for aluminum frames and carbon fiber frames, steel is now mostly used for entry-level mountain bikes. Bike makers do not construct frames for mountain bikes of titanium very often because of its high cost. But the advantages are that it is lightweight and durable, and it does not corrode.
The groupset is the drivetrain and the brakes. The drivetrain on a mountain bike is the crank, chainring, cassette, shifters, and derailleurs. You can think of the drivetrain as the mountain bike’s engine, and it is a closed loop. In other words, all of these components work together to propel the mountain bike. In general, the more money you spend on these parts, the better durability, efficiency, and shifting ability you get out of them.
The makers of drivetrain components you will hear about most are Shimano and SRAM, although there are other makers such as Tektro and Star-Art. All of these manufacturers offer a wide variety of quality and utility, from entry level and kids’ bikes to road riding and downhill racing.
Buying the correct frame size of a 29er mountain bike is important. The correct frame size provides a pleasurable and safe riding experience. The frame size of a mountain bike is the distance calculated from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat post (a.k.a. seat tube or dropper tube).
Each manufacturer (and sometimes within the manufacturer) has different descriptions of the frame and different sizes. It is advisable to check with the manufacturer to confirm that the frame size of the mountain bike you plan to purchase will be a good fit for you and whether it’s men’s or women’s.
Also be aware of “stack” and “reach” measurements. Stack refers to the height of the mountain bike, which you calculate vertically from the top of the head tube to the bottom bracket. Reach refers to the length of the mountain bike calculated horizontally from head tube to the bottom bracket.
Tips for Buying and Using 29 Mountain Bikes
A mountain bike is used on rough terrain, including trails, hills, and other off-road areas. It is a bike constructed to handle rough, thrill-providing areas. Of course, you can ride on country roads and city streets as well, but choosing a mountain bike means you want a bike specifically designed for non-street riding.
A mountain bike operates basically the same as other bikes, so you will consider similar criteria when purchasing. These include fit, size, and weight (the weight of the bike and the amount of bodily weight the bike can handle). The “29” of a 29 mountain bike is the wheel size. This is the measurement of the inner diameter of the wheel or the spoke area, which in this case is 29 inches.
This size is based on the frame size: x-small, small, medium, large, x-large or xx-large. The frame size in turn is based on the following procedure: stand with your legs six to eight inches apart, shoes off, and measure from the ground to where your legs come together. After you have this measurement, refer to this chart. Most mountain bikes support an average-sized person. But if you have any questions whether the mountain bike you are purchasing is the right one for your weight, check with the manufacturer or distributor.
- Make sure you want a mountain bike as opposed to a road bike, BMX, or hybrid.
- Determine the size of mountain bike you need.
- Make sure the mountain bike will support your weight.
Best 29 Mountain Bikes FAQ
Some people think mountain bikes are exotic and specialized and that you need special training to own and maintain one. For the most part, this is not true. Mountain bikes operate the same as other bikes: you pedal the crank, which powers the rear wheel to move you forward. The steering is also the same. However, mountain bikes have components like an adjustable fork or full-suspension system that you won’t find on most street or BMX bikes.
Q: Can I just use my street bike or BMX bike for mountain and terrain riding?
Yes, but once you try a mountain bike, you’ll agree that the specially matched and manufactured components on mountain bikes handle trails, single tracks, and hills much better than a street or BMX bike.
Q: Are 29 mountain bikes difficult for the average rider to maintain and repair?
Not necessarily. Maintenance is similar to street or BMX bikes. Cleaning the frame and rims, occasionally oiling the chain, keeping the tires inflated, and adjusting the seat are the same on a mountain bike.
Q: What about adjusting the derailleurs and brakes? Can I do that myself?
You can if you know what you’re doing. For most mountain bike riders, it’s best to have a professional adjust those items so they operate properly and give you the best performance from your 29 mountain bike.
Our Top Pick
The NCM Prague Electric Mountain Bike is our top pick for a number of very good reasons. It’s an electric-assist bike which means if you choose, you can have help negotiating steep hills or extra-rough terrain. An electric-assist 29 mountain bike also opens up this sport for more mature riders. The bike is also relatively lightweight, only 55 pounds, including electric components, and is constructed of premium parts like Shimano derailleurs, an MTB fork, and Tektro brakes.