Best type of mountain bike to "learn" on?

Hi, all. Looking for suggestions on the ideal type of first bike for a person interested in getting into mountain biking.

I’m wondering if it makes sense to get a bigger travel bike that is more forgiving or look at an 100mm or hardtail which would force you to pay more attention to line choice. Or maybe it all just comes down to the type of terrain you’re most likely to ride and what your goals are?

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I’d buy a hardtail or short travel trail bike. And I wouldn’t spend too much money. It’ll be good enough for nearly everything you can ride as a beginner anyway, and once you’ve find out what type of riding you really like, you’ll want to buy a new bike anyway.

I’ll be going used all the way.

How much is “not too much”? US $1500? $2000? I am assuming an alloy hardtail is the suggestion here.

No idea, how rich are you? :grin:

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Personally, I’d be fine going up to around $4,000 if I knew it was nice and I could “grow” into it, skillwise.

I’d recommend a relatively neutral mid-travel 29er in the 120-140mm range. You can ride almost everything on these bikes, do first time races, and most of them pedal really well. You should also look into used options. Almost every brand will have one of these in the right price range for you :+1:

There are very few hardtails that I’d recommend to a first time rider. Maybe only one or two I can think of off hand.

If you need specific model guidance, happy to provide a few options.


Please, I’m open to any and all specific model advice you can give.

I would be open to racing, but primarily concerned with having fun and gaining confidence on singletrack trails.

In no particular order

Ibis Ripley
Stumpjumper ST
Giant Trance (19’ model)
Santa Cruz Tallboy or Hightower
Evil Following MB
Guerilla Gravity Trail Pistol
Canyon Neuron
Yeti SB130
Kona Process 134 (29er, newest model that just came out)
Trek Fuel EX (or new Top Fuel)
Cannondale Habit
Pivot Switchblade


Awesome. What do you think about Yeti SB4.5. I know they discontinued the model, but there are some decent used deals out there. I think it might be similar to the 130?

The 4.5 is great!

A hardtail with flat pedals is a great bike to learn on. Riding over rough stuff is so easy with a full sus but a hardtail requires more thought and this will reward you later on down the line.

I second a short travel 29er with a dropper and capable rubber. Too many options to choose from but Santa Cruz Tallboy is a great starter bike. You can race on it and you can shred on it. It also has the ability to switch to 27.5 if you ever want to see what that’s all about. I rode mine competitively into the Cat 1 ranks and pushed its limits in the bike park. Eventually went for something more race-specific and hoping to add something more Enduro…but as a starter bike, it was absolutely perfect.

This is true, but I know a lot of people who didn’t have a good time on hardtails who gave up MTB since most of their friends we’re riding full suspension. Plus, most of the hardtails out there are XC oriented and don’t have geometry suited for someone learning.

That being said, if I we’re to recommend a hardtail, the Specialized Fuse Expert is pretty cool and I would gladly ride one and recommend it to someone as a first MTB:

Man, I’d kinda like to get into mountain biking, but I just overwhelmed by the 12 different kinds of mountain bikes. What is the difference between trail (I assume you guys are saying trail as in a type of bike, not a short trail, as in front end geometry…), downhill, freestyle…freeride, endurance, cross country, XC. I looked at a couple bikes on manufacturer websites…and they all looked the same, but there was a whole list of different bikes.

Edit: On second thought…I’m not sure I want to get into mountain biking. There’s no trails around here. The issue is I just want another bike :astonished:

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Lux CF SL 6.0 Pro Race on sale right now for $2,899 from Canyon. 110MM travel up front, 12 speed SRAM Eagle, Boost, DUB, can be fully locked out, hard to find a better deal.

Canyon Lux

It’s only $100 off…also, this specific post is better for the deals thread

It’s a good deal without the sale and he asked for suggestions and I gave him one.

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Sorry, I guess the giant text thew me off a bit

I can’t say that I understand how that happened, definitely not intentional.