Mountain bikes are all about adventure, and the choice of three available wheel sizes–26, 27.5 and 29-inch–offers a range of handling characteristics.
Factor in the bike’s suspension system plus its gear range and there’s no reason to buy more or less capability than you need. Find your favorite among these 12 models (or our selection of road bikes), and get ready to roll this summer
1.Best for All-Conditions Riders: Santa Cruz Highball 29D
BUY NOW $1,650-$2,200
Tight through corners and with enough power to conquer climbs, Highball comes in an aluminum-frame model to trim costs. Built to take a pounding with a Rock Shox Recon fork, 29D’s respectable SRAM components shift and brake smoothly. A Race Face crank adds performance for $350-$500 less than competitors.
2.Best for Hardcore Explorers: Surly Krampus
BUY NOW ~$1,500
Testers rode this 3-inch wheel model into some tough conditions in Nevada. Pure fun, easy handling, and apocalypse-worthy construction come well under $2,000 in a 29-inch frame. Krampus rolls through (and over) nearly any obstacle in the deepest woods or battered pavement of the biggest cities.