We are continually scouring the internet for the latest and greatest mountain bikes. We buy the most compelling options and ride them to their limits. We put in this effort to help find the absolute perfect mountain bike for you. We ride each batch of test bikes and implement our thorough and scientific testing process to deliver the best information possible about each model. Our testers eat, sleep, and breathe mountain bikes and work as hard as possible to scrutinize every minute detail of each. Bike park laps, full-day rides, 5000-foot climbs, we put these bikes through the wringer. We have compiled this list of the best options in each category of bike. In other words, these are the best of the best.
Best Overall Trail Bike – Ibis Ripmo V2 XT
- Wheel Size: 29-inch | Rear Travel: 147mm
- Impressive all-around performance
- Harder charging than the original
- Excellent climber
- Not the lightest weight
Fresh off a 2020 redesign, the Ripmo V2 impressed our testers and is the best overall trail bike we’ve ever tested. The V2’s geometry has been tweaked to make it slacker and longer, and the suspension kinematics adjusted to make it more progressive at the end of the stroke. This long-legged 29er was already a confident and capable descender, but now it feels even more composed in gnarly terrain and stable at speed with improved big hit performance. It still has short chainstays and a sporty rear end, and it’s just as lively and energetic with responsive and precise handling. The V2 maintains its incredible climbing abilities, with a steep seat tube angle, very direct power transfer, and a steady pedaling platform. Superlatives like “quiver killer” come to mind with the Ripmo, as this is one bike that can do it and do it all well.
The Ripmo V2 is an excellent aggressive trail bike with an amazing combination of uphill and downhill performance. This bike makes a lot of sense for the rider who wants a bike that climbs well without sacrificing any performance on the way back down. This bike is supremely versatile and we’d recommend it to just about anyone.
Best Aggressive Trail Bike – Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp
- Wheel Size: 29-inch | Rear Travel: 150mm
- Stable and confident descender
- Highly adjustable geometry
- Adaptable for terrain or riding style
- Plush FSR suspension
- Increased SWAT storage
- A lot of bike for mellow trails
- Moderate weight
- Fox 36 Rhythm fork
Specialized really impressed us with the new Stumpjumper EVO. This 150mm travel 29er comes with a 160mm fork and is one of the hardest charging trail bikes we’ve ever tested. This bike descends with authority, the revised FSR suspension platform is near perfection and this bike eats everything in its path. It also climbs pretty darn well with a relatively supportive pedaling platform and a nice steep seat tube angle. One of the most interesting aspects of this redesigned bike is its highly adjustable geometry. The head tube angle can quickly and easily be adjusted between 63.5 and 65.5-degrees in 1-degree increments, and the bottom bracket can be raised or lower by 7mm. This gives the rider 6 distinct settings to choose from to suit their preferences, riding style, or terrain. Set it up steep and high for everyday trail riding, switch it to low and slack for running laps at the bike park, the choice is yours. Specialized also continues to impress with their attention to detail and on-bike storage. The SWAT storage now features a 20oz water bladder as well as the zippered tool sleeve that fit inside the frame, so you can avoid wearing a pack and not go thirsty.
Best Mid-Travel Trail Bike – Yeti SB130 TURQ X01
- Wheel Size: 29-inch | Rear Travel: 130mm
- Top-notch climbing efficiency and traction
- Fun on nearly any trail
- Despite aggressive geometry and burly fork, needs to be finessed in gnar
The Yeti SB130 is a mid-travel trail slayer that is a fantastic daily driver. This 130mm 29er makes a lot of sense for a huge percentage of riders in a considerable number of regions. Whether you frequent fast, rolling, flow trails or all-day big mountain missions, the Yeti has you covered. This bicycle sets you up in an excellent climbing position and delivers top-notch efficiency. Climbing traction is excellent, and the rear wheel tracks very well through technical and rough climbs. Its downhill performance is impressive, and handling is sharp. With aggressive angles and a mean front end, the SB130 shreds almost any downhill save for true enduro-grade trails. Yes, this bicycle is expensive. That said, if you’re looking for the best of the best, it might be worth considering.
These three are the best mountain bikes in 2021.