The trail bike category identifies total bikes in the increasingly diverse world of mountain biking. They were born to do everything and everywhere. Their location is at the center of the offer, inheriting lightness and snappy soul from the XC/Marathon. The best trail bikes take back the marked playfulness, together with the control and confidence that they transmit downhill.
It is a perfect balance between the pedaling phase and the negative slope, without forgetting the real plus, fast driving. They are bikes that give their best on flow trails with smooth surfaces and moderate slopes. There is no lack of interpretations with a more downhill soul, in terms of geometry and set-up. Here is our selection of the best Trail Bikes of 2021.
- 1 Top 6 Best Trail Bikes Reviews
- 2 Why Should I Buy Trail Bikes?
- 3 Who Should Buy Trail Bikes?
- 4 Best Trail Bikes FAQs
- 5 Final Words
Top 6 Best Trail Bikes Reviews
Let’s start with a super classic of the trail bike world. Mongoose Tyax is one of the longest-lived and most popular MTBs in the history of two-wheeled clawed pedals. For 2021, the Mongoose brand has created two different interpretations of this iconic model.
Our Tyax represents a sort of return to origins with its perfect balance between smoothness, stability, and driveability. The carbon frame features a recognizable asymmetrical Sidearm design.
The bike comes with the wagon now leveraging the controlled flex of carbon fiber on the lower stays. It can offer 130mm of travel. It optimizes the geometry for a 140mm fork with the possibility of varying the head angle and the height of the bottom bracket thanks to the Flip Chip on the rear attachment of the shock absorber.
There are three carbon trim levels (S-Works, Expert, and Comp) flanked by two in aluminum (Comp Alloy and Alloy), with prices ranging from $750 to $1500.
- Excellent performance
- High stability
- Premium carbon frame
- Meticulous design
- Reasonable price
The Fuel EX platform Huffy has strengthened over the years, taking inspiration from the all-mountain and enduro world for downhill ability without losing its agile and snappy nature on singletrack. The sturdy OCLV Carbon frame, 130mm ABP rear suspension with geometry optimized for a 140mm fork, and updated specs make it half-full or close to it.
Among the goodies, the Huffy proprietary technology shock absorber with Thru Shaft damper, the geometry modifiable through the Flip Chip called Mino Link placed between link and seat stays.
We have a high and low setup that acts on the steering angle and bottom bracket height. We get the glove compartment on the down tube below the bottle cage and the customization of coloring and graphics through Project One. The price is below $300 for the proposed model.
- Sturdy OCLV Carbon frame
- Premium rear suspension
- Ergonomic design
- Advanced technology
- Arrives with flat tires
The Schwinn Bonafide comes with all the must-haves of today’s trail bikes. It includes efficient geometry with open head angle, 130mm of suspension travel, 29-inch wheels, and the inevitable Flip Chip to convert them into 27.5 Plus.
The goal is to create a playful and capable bike even on the most challenging trails, reached by pedaling on a smooth and snappy platform. The heart of this trail bike is the full carbon frame, with rear suspension made according to the proprietary approach.
Schwinn designers have adapted the positions of the suspension pivots to each frame size to have a smooth response and ride for every biker. Schwinn Bonafide is available in different versions: full carbon frame (Habit Carbon 1), mixed carbon/aluminum (Habit Carbon 2 and 3, and SE with Enduro mold assembly), and aluminum (Habit Waves, 4 and 5), with a price below $500.
- Meticulous design
- Suitable for all terrains
- High durability
- Smooth response and rides
- Hard to assemble
The giant Schwinn has continued to strengthen its platform for trail riding over the years. We have the latest interpretation Trance X Advanced Pro 29 that offers even more excursion and fun.
This 29-inch tire with a composite frame and geometry adjustable via the classic Flip Cip becomes the ideal choice for long rides with significant differences in height. It can tackle each singletrack with safety and agility.
The 135mm Maestro rear suspension is balanced by a fork with 150mm of travel derived from Enduro with 36 mm section stems. There are two setups for this aggressive trail bike, identified by the numbers 1 and 0. For people who want to optimize their investment, Schwinn also offers similar versions with aluminum frames.
- Advanced technology
- Large-sized tires
- High stability and balance
- Multiple settings
- Low-quality derailleur
Top 5: Royce Union Gravel Bike
The Gravel series by Royce Union is one of the longest-lived in mountain biking. Born as a full suspension that winked at the enduro world, they have replaced it over the years by the more capable and solid Ransom. Now, it returns to its origins as an agile and snappy bike, for laps around the house and the most demanding and satisfying alpine rides.
The construction is wide with full carbon solutions, a mixed carbon/aluminum frame, or entirely in light alloy. So, you will have a wide price range to suit every budget. They range from $530 to $950.
- Premium quality
- Suitable for all riders
- Reasonable price range
- Low durability
One of the most beautiful and capable trail bikes in the modern off-road landscape. Hiland has a fascinating frame with current geometry, 140 mm of travel at the rear, and a 140 mm float fork or a 150 mm fork according to the set-up.
The product range is wide, with four models based on the OMR full carbon frame and as many with hydroformed aluminum frames. Hiland offers the MyO additional service for customizing the color and setting to create the bike of your dreams.
- Premium frame
- Ergonomic handle
- Adjustable settings
- Variable choices
- Flimsy frame
Why Should I Buy Trail Bikes?
Despite the geographical and organizational differences of the various MTBs, trail bikes have two fundamental aspects in common: length and variety. All of them wind along endless paths, ranging from 300 to 600 and passing kilometers, with a fund that transforms. It passes from asphalt to the technical path, without interruption.
From here, we can understand that a perfect bike cannot exist, since the variables are so many that it cannot enclose them in a single-vehicle. The advantages that a trail bike has are:
Comfortable: it must be easy to drive, absorb vibrations transmitting them as little as possible to the cyclist, and have an upright and not very aggressive seat. The trail bikes will allow you to spend several hours on them without back problems, knees, or neck soreness.
Versatile: the bike must be as versatile as possible, allowing you to tackle the dirt or singletrack sections in the middle of the woods but push when pedaling on asphalt. For this reason, the setting up must be hybrid and studied.
Besides these basic features, the bike must be able to accommodate backpacking bags to carry everything you will need along the trail.
Since most of the trials take place off-road, on dirt roads, mountain paths, and dirt roads along the banks of the rivers, it immediately comes to mind how an MTB can be the perfect bike for this kind of event. In principle, it is true. But in real life, we must make the choices about the set-up.
Who Should Buy Trail Bikes?
Before purchasing a new trail bike, it is necessary to carry out a series of careful evaluations. First, ask yourself what use you will want to use. The emotional component takes on a leading role.
Personal tastes vary from cyclist to cyclist, and everyone can choose their favorite model without particular impediments. But you must never lose sight of the specific field of use. People who simply want to have fun can settle for an entry-level beginner trail bike, while those who aspire to take part in competitive competitions must orient themselves on professional MTB models.
The time analyzes and compares the various characteristics of a mountain bike and provides all the information necessary for an informed choice.
Best Trail Bikes FAQs
Which frame should be chosen for a trail bike?
Three are the most common materials: carbon, aluminum, and steel. The carbon is light and resistant to any stress and is perfect for competitive racers, especially on the road or cross-country at good levels.
Aluminum is preferred because it is light and has a low processing cost and is good for those who want an excellent vehicle without spending an excessive amount.
Finally, steel is popular because it is cheap and has high durability, and is great for everyday routes, track cycling, and cycle tourism. The choice of the material of the frame of a trail bike may depend on the way of use but is conditioned by the budget.
What are the differences between the front (hardtail) and full mountain bikes?
The fronts also referred to as hardtails, have more compact dimensions and comprise a rigid frame and a suspension fork at the front. The full suspension is more comfortable in descent and is characterized by a frame with angles less marked and with different joints, a suspension fork in the front, and one in the rear shock. However, a full house has a slightly higher price but can guarantee better performance. It all depends on the cyclist’s needs.
What is the diameter of the wheels that can best suit any trail bike?
The 26-inch models are considered obsolete and are quick to change direction, even if they are nervous when driving. The vehicles with 27.5-inch wheels guarantee a suitable compromise between reactivity and stability. The 29-inch wheels are undoubtedly the most recent and are popular because they are smooth and able to overcome all kinds of obstacles without particular problems.
There is no recipe for everyone, nor a magic formula for the best trail bikes. The advice is to study the itinerary well, to know its asphalt and dirt sections, and to check the differences in height. After carrying out this analysis, you can move on to the choice of components, adapting them for what you need.