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Mountain Bike Reviews

The consensus among the mountain bike reviews we read is that the models on our list deliver decent overall performance and durability within the constraints of their budget price. These are entry-level models and not engineered for dare-devil stunts or mountaineering.

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But for light off-roading and travel along paved surfaces, these inexpensive mountain bikes hold their own. Indeed, a large share of reviewers use these bikes to commute to work or school, for occasional recreational fun, and/or as a vehicle to better health.

Two complaints pop up frequently in mountain bike reviews: uncomfortable seats (a.k.a., saddles) and complicated setup. Both issues seem readily fixed. Mountain bike reviews say seat replacement is fairly cheap and easy, and many riders recommend setup assistance from a bike shop, or at least a once-over to tweak cables, brakes, and wheel alignment before setting out on a first biking adventure. Mountain bike reviews also discuss features such as suspension, brakes, and frame.

On- and Off-Trail Handling.

Mountain bike reviews frequently comment on how the model handles, whether on the road or off. The frame, the gears, the brakes, and the seat all factor in, with the latter often getting special attention because of the comfort or lack thereof. Anyone who's ever ridden a bike with an especially hard or awkwardly-shaped seat knows how difficult it becomes to focus on any other aspect of the riding experience. An uncomfortable saddle is an oft-expressed woe in mountain bike reviews, which otherwise indicate that riders like the way our top picks move along.

Mountain bike reviews posted on Bike Line report that the Trek 3 Series 3500 Disc (starting at $399) travels with ease over roads and trails, even on 20-mile rides, and shifting is smooth and quick. Experts at Bike Radar agree, adding that the bike inspires confidence, especially for beginners, given its stability and agility. Riders themselves concur and write in mountain mike reviews on the Trek website that this is an excellent entry-level model. Many rely on it for daily commutes in town and occasional off-trail use, but caution against trying any high-performance moves. Only a few riders are less than thrilled with the seat and the vast majority commends the comfort of the ride.

BestCovery's mountain bikes review gives the Diamondback Adult Sorrento 2013 (starting at $259.99) top billing for models in its price class, saying this is a heavy-duty, sensible choice that can take some abuse and is easy to ride. In mountain bike reviews on Amazon, riders consistently comment about the bike's light weight and prowess on streets and well-maintained trails; one repeat purchaser insists it provides a ride superior to any other. One of the few digs against this model concerns the seat. Mountain bike reviews say the Diamondback Sorrento is otherwise quite comfortable, but the seat demands a gel pad or outright replacement. Experts at Extreme Sports Magazine agree the seat is a bit hard and insist this high quality bike is worth such an easy fix.

The Best Mountain Bike Reviews site is keen on the Schwinn Ridge AL Women's (starting at $225) model, noting that this bike is an exception to the rule that few budget mountain bikes designed for women receive favorable ratings. This reviewer particularly likes the responsiveness of the brakes and users, for the most part, second the overall positive appraisal. Despite a few reports about some stickiness and noise, mountain bike reviews on Amazon write that the bike shifts with ease and serves teenage and adult riders well on paved surfaces and light trails. Some riders groan about the seat, describing it as too narrow, and gripe that the handlebars can't be fit to their height.

Review continues below

The dual suspension on another of our picks, the Genesis 26" Men's V2100 (starting at $149), keeps things rolling smoothly, according to mountain bike reviews at Walmart, the sole vendor for this model. Although numerous riders complain about the extremely uncomfortable seat and flimsy pedals, they're quick to add that swapping out those parts for upgraded components produces a fun ride for commuters and off-road beginners.

Doubts about build quality earn the Huffy DS-7 (starting at $129) mediocre grades in some mountain bike reviews at Walmart. But appraisals posted at Amazon are more forgiving. These reviewers describe the ride as smooth, with easy transitions from one surface to another. Deep tire treads and what riders describe as a heavy aluminum frame, however, seem to slow the Huffy DS-7 on paved roads and trails.

Another model in the Diamondback family, the Octane Youth Mountain Bike (starting at $196 for 20" model; $222 for 24" model) garners appreciative comments from parents and youngsters alike. Reviewers at MTBR praise the 24-inch model as a good segue into the world of mountain biking, saying the front suspension can take small ups and downs but probably not hardcore trails. The Octane Youth bike handles particularly well on paved surfaces, mountain bike reviews continue, but the brakes could use some post-assembly adjustment.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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