Whether you’re a roadie or triathlete who is looking to branch out a little, or an absolute newbie to cycling in general, we really can’t recommend mountain biking highly enough. The rush you get from riding trails is unlike any other – it’s a little bit like being on the absolute edge of disaster for a sustained amount of time, with just your wits and your skill to keep you safe. In a good way!
Of course, when you’re starting out things are a little less precarious, but as you get better and more confident, you’re bound to want to try a few more risky manoeuvres. Here we’ve chosen some brilliant beginner mountain bikes that will help get you to that point where you’re ready to start pushing it.
MTBeginners under £750
Trek Marlin 5
Number one in our list is the Marlin 5 from Trek. This bike is a beautiful little ripper and is one of our most popular mountain bikes we sell in this price bracket. The front fork gives you 75mm of travel, on the lower end of what is possible with a modern mountain bike. This means it’s more stable when you’re pedalling hard, going uphill or covering ground quickly. At £325 it’s also the cheapest of the bikes in our selection, but it delivers incredible value for that money, with Shimano componentry in the drivetrain and finishing touches like grips and saddle from Bontrager.
Specialized Hardrock Disc
The Hardrock Disc from Specialized may not smash the piggy bank, but it will certainly pack quite a punch when you head out on the trails for the first time. When you’re looking for a first bike versatility is key. You want to be able to ride in as many different situations and styles as possible to begin with, to get a feel for which parts of this varied sport you truly love most. That’s why it’s great that, with its 27.5-inch tyres, the Hardrock sits in that sweet spot between the rough-riding but manoeuvrable 26es and the smoother but less nimble 29er. It’s the best of both worlds.
Jett Comp 29er
With its women-specific geometry and brilliant component package, this is a great way to get a taste for mountain biking. Designed to get you out and riding through as much cross country terrain as you can possibly desire, the Jett is all about the simple pleasures of riding, exploring and challenging yourself. The lightweight aluminium frame is reliable, sturdy and offers low standover. The fit has been created to give you a greater feeling of control over the whole bike. The front fork has 80mm of cushy travel, which is still sensitive enough to respond to your movements.
This gorgeous Diamondback 29-inch hardtail bike has been purpose-built for trail-riding. It’ll stand up to the roughest terrain, thanks largely to the magical combination of high strength and low weight provided by the Hydroformed tubing the frame is made with. Engineered for when it gets really muddy, the Ascent has huge mud and heel clearance at the back end, and with 100mm of travel in the front fork, it’s also the most forgiving of the bikes we’ve featured here – with a lockout feature meaning you can stiffen things up when you need a little more climbing power.