There’s No Climb Too Steep for These Affordable Mountain Bikes

October 4, 2021
Cheap mountain bikes can get the job done without a steep price

Who said that mountain biking has to be expensive?

Anyone can get something out of mountain biking. If you are a casual rider, you can leisurely take in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Otherwise, you can get down and dirty as you tear through challenging trails.

However, not everyone has deep pockets to afford all the expensive gear like bikes and helmets. Getting into the sport is going to be a significant investment. But don’t lose hope, because you’re in luck.

We have searched far and wide for cheap full suspension mountain bikes. Read on and discover the perfect one for you.

What to Look For in a Mountain Bike

Going cheap doesn’t mean placing an order for a bike with the lowest price tag. “You get what you pay for,” as the saying goes. Be a smart consumer by getting the most out of every penny you spend.

Here are the important things that you have to look out for when buying cheap mountain bikes:

  • Price: Since you are here, this must be your primary consideration. Set a budget for a bike and don’t go over it. Upgrades are tempting but they can wait until the next paycheck.
  • Suspension: Mountain bikes have to endure the extreme ups and downs of a biking trail. A good bike should be able to absorb the rider’s weight while also maintaining stability. There are various suspension systems in the bike market that are built for every situation and terrain. We’ll discuss this further in the article.
  • Gear: This is especially important when making climbs. Gears determine how much effort you have to exert on the pedal. Knowing when to use the right gear for the right terrain makes a more comfortable riding experience.
  • Brakes: Bikes come with different braking systems. Some kinds of brakes are better than others. This is an important bike component as brakes determine the level of control that you can have.
  • Tires: Bike tires come in different sizes and levels of thickness. Larger wheels have higher attack angles, making it easier to conquer obstacles like bumps and rocks. Thicker tires offer better stability because of the larger contact area.
  • Size: A bike too large or too small is not only uncomfortable but, more importantly, may cause accidents and injuries while on the trail. Take note of the size and shape of the frame, wheel size, and wheelbase length.
  • Frame Material: The materials used in the bike’s frame determine how strong your bike is. Choosing the right materials depends on what you are willing to compromise. Some materials are stronger but heavier. Advancements in material science lessen the trade-offs between weight and durability by introducing new, more advanced materials into bike manufacturing.

Why Full Suspension?

Your trusty buddy in rapidly going down the trail and making those impossible jumps is your suspension.

Suspensions absorb the shock from the smallest bumps to the steepest descents that you may face along the trail. Your comfort and safety depend on the quality of suspensions that your bike has. Mountain bikes are almost always equipped with suspensions—with “rigid” bikes being the only exception.

If your bike only has suspensions in the front, then it’s a “hardtail” mountain bike. However, if it has suspensions on both ends, then it’s what we call a “full suspension” or “full sus” bike. For the average rider, a full suspension mountain bike is the way to go.

What most riders will get from a full suspension mountain bike is a comfortable riding experience on even the most treacherous terrain. Instead of your body, the suspensions will absorb the bulk of the shock from bumps and jumps. The lesser toll on the body allows the rider to ride longer without body aches and fatigue.

With a full sus bike, you can easily traverse any difficult trail. Technical trails, with all their obstacles such as mud, roots, steep climbs, and descents, are the exact kind of terrain that the full sus was made to face. You will surely have a fun time going down these trails at great speeds.

Our Recommendations

Are you on the prowl for cheap mountain bikes? We made the hunt easier for you with these recommendations. These full-suspension bikes will definitely fit your tight budget without compromising on quality and performance.

Vitus Mythique 29 VR

Vitus Mythique 29 VR

Specs at a glance

  • Suspension: RockShox Monarch R
  • Gear: Shimano Deore (10-speed)
  • Brakes: Shimano MT-401
  • Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Dampf
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Price: $1,649.99


  • Tires offer significant traction
  • Reliable brake system


  • Suspension could be improved
  • Limited gear speeds

Initially a steel tubing manufacturer, Vitus became well-known for its high-end frames in France. Its frames were used in racing competitions, making their name synonymous with high-quality frames. Becoming pioneers in the industry, they maximized the lightweight properties of aluminum and carbon fiber to produce high-performance racing bike frames.

With the Vitus Mythique 29 VR, take full control of every climb and descent on your trail. The Shimano drivetrain and brakes are more than capable of handling high-speed and intense maneuvers. Its 10-speed drivetrain gives you the ability to adapt to any situation that you may encounter along the trail.

Confidently take on any terrain with the Mythique’s tried-and-tested Schwalbe tires. The front tire features the crowd-favorite Magic Mary which is well-known for its all-around performance. On the rear end, the Hands Dampf lends its superior puncture protection to the Mythique, making it safer and more durable even on difficult terrain.

Taking the brunt of your stunts, the RockShox Monarch R suspension allows 130 mm of travel on both ends. The suspensions have a lightweight construction. Capable of delivering a strong rebound with smooth travel, the Monarch R features the company’s patent Solo Air springs.

The Vitus Mythique 29 VR is a value-packed full suspension bike that has everything a beginner rider would need.

2021 Marin Rift Zone 29 1

2021 Marin Rift Zone 29 1

Specs at a glance

  • Suspension: X-Fusion O2 Pro R
  • Gear: SunRace (11-speed)
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-MT200 (front and rear)
  • Tires: Vee Tire Crown Gem
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Price: $1,899.00


  • Aggressive geometry for technical trails
  • Powerful suspension
  • Balanced tire performance


  • Including a dropper post could be a nice touch

With 30 years of experience under its belt, Marin Bikes has consistently pushed out competitively specced bikes into the market. They have bikes suited for anyone and everyone thanks to their diverse product lines. Their Rift Zone line of trail bikes features the best combination of top-of-the-line bike components.

The 2021 Marin Rift Zone 29 1 takes pride in its long, low, and slack geometry. With this design, the rider can assume an aggressive posture, granting them greater maneuverability at faster speeds. If you ride competitively, level up your game and take the Rift Zone with you.

Maximizing its configuration of handpicked components, the Rift Zone climbs steep hills effortlessly. You can even liken it to a cross-country bike because of its lightweight and agile feel. This bike handles trails with high inclination like a breeze.

Despite being on the heavier side, the Vee Tire Crown Gem tires offer good traction that you can count on. The 29-inch tire features a dual-compound structure that combines durability and a strong cornering grip.

The 2021 Marin Rift Zone 29 1 is a best-of-its-class full suspension mountain bike that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Norco Fluid FS3 2021

Specs at a glance

  • Suspension: X-Fusion RC32 Air (front) / X-Fusion 02 Pro R (rear)
  • Gear: SRAM SX Eagle (12-speed)
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M275 Hydraulic (front and rear)
  • Tires: Goodyear Newton
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Price: $1,799


  • 12-speed drivetrain
  • Includes a dropper post
  • Decent frame geometry


  • Fork suspension could use an upgrade

One of the first companies to produce 10-speed bikes, Norco now boasts an extensive product line. Their bikes cater to riders of every age. Known for their efforts to popularize BMX, Norco introduced their Fluid full-suspension bikes to cater to trail bike enthusiasts.

The Norco Fluid FS3 2021 puts you in a comfortable and stable position as you approach a climb or make a descent. No matter the size you end up with, the size-scaled tubing gives all riders the same riding experience. With this attention to detail, Norco provides a tailor-made experience across sizes.

Working as a tandem, the X-Fusion suspensions and Goodyear Newton tires cushion every bump and drop to provide a comfortable ride. The Newton tires are specifically designed to handle big drops and steep terrain. They also provide good traction with their unique tread pattern.

The Tektro hydraulic brake system provides reliable and responsive braking action. If the default configuration isn’t to your liking, the brakes can be easily adjusted. The brake pads are easy to clean and replace as well.

The Norco Fluid FS3 2021 is a safe and reliable option for entry-level riders.

Calibre Bossnut

Calibre Bossnut

Specs at a glance

  • Suspension: RockShox Sektor Silver (front) / Monarch R (rear)
  • Gear: Shimano Deore (10-speed)
  • Brakes: Shimano M506
  • Tires: WTB Vigilante (front) / WTB Bee Line (rear)
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Price: $1,400


  • 12-speed drivetrain
  • Unbeatable value in this price range
  • Suspension system absorbs shocks really well


  • Dropper post is not included

Calibre Bikes is the cycling brand of the British Go Outdoors company. Go Outdoors specializes in diverse outdoor gear. When it debuted its Bossnut bike, Calibre Bikes proved it was possible to have a full-suspension bike at a low price.

The Calibre Bossnut is the company’s flagship offering. With a cheap price tag and impressive spec sheet, it is an absolute steal. The Bossnut delivers performance that competes with those in higher price brackets.

Riding the Bossnut is a blast with its Shimano Deore drivetrain. The Deore gives the rider reliable control over the bike as it zips through the trail. The drivetrain lives up to Shimano’s reputation as a dependable option for this price range.

You can ride with confidence regardless of the terrain thanks to its Vigilante and Bee Line tires from WTB. The Vigilante offers unbeatable traction and grip while the fast-rolling Bee Line balances it out. The combo works amazingly well in all kinds of trails.

The Calibre Bossnut is the no-brainer option for anyone who’s on a budget but who doesn’t want to compromise on quality and performance.

Giant Stance 2021

Giant Stance 2021

Specs at a glance

  • Suspension: Giant Crest 34 RCL (front) / Suntour Raidon R (rear)
  • Gear: Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon (front) / Maxxis Ardent Race (rear)
  • Frame: 6011 aluminum alloy
  • Price: $1,720


  • Overall lightweight construction
  • Patent aluminum alloy
  • Rolls fast without losing grip


  • Missing a dropper post

The Giant Stance 2021 stands out among its competitors due to its price and specs. Giant proves that no price is too low to be able to deliver a quality riding experience. Only a few bike manufacturers are able to fill this price range without making significant compromises.

Relying on Giant’s own design, the Stance is built with their in-house ALUXX aluminum. The ALUXX is a 6011 aluminum alloy that offers a superior strength-to-weight ratio compared to more conventional alloys. Their proprietary production processes allow them to produce alloys with properties that are not present in their rivals’ offerings.

Absorbing every bump and shock along the trail, the suspension system performs really well. The Giant Crest 34 RCL front shock features a dampener that allows the rider to adjust its stiffness to their liking. On the rear end, the Suntour Raidon R gives the rider a smoother riding experience.

The Giant Stance 2021 is absolutely one of the best cheap mountain bikes out in the market.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a beginner rider or an experienced one, good cheap mountain bikes will always have a place in your heart. An enjoyable riding experience shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. This price bracket has seen fierce competition among rival bike manufacturers.

We have reviewed five of the most compelling options in the market. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. But none of these bikes have compromised performance and reliability for a cheaper price tag. Take your pick! The sooner you do, the sooner you can make those insane jumps

Cycle Buddy

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