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Comb through the frame, track, and fork considerations to pick a trail ride that fits your needs and more.
Mountain biking is a dose of adrenaline, your Nature fix, and a heart-pumping exercise, all rolled into one magic potion you can sip in whenever you feel like it. Workdays, holidays, relaxed time or gym time – fit mountain biking into any part of your schedule with a reasonably-priced, intuitively-designed machine for your ride.
For all these benefits, it isn’t a hobby where you are strong-armed into bottomless spending. You have bikes available at many price ranges, and this particular bracket is a reasonable one.
The list of best mountain bikes under 2500 offers an engaging mix of good looks, performance, and sophistication of componentry that you miss in lower-end models. At the same time, you’re not spending so much as to stage a direct budget war with a motorbike.
Chin up and scan the trail ahead, your opportunities are endless.
Best Mountain Bikes under 2500 before you dash off:
1. Diamondback Bicycles El OSO Fat Bike
Don’t, for a moment, think a ‘fat bike’ weighs too much. It weighs just under 38 pounds. The whole series of bikes from El OSO named Uno, Dos, and Tres have increasing price tags and exciting features to match.
With the Diamondback Bicycles El OSO Fat Bike, DB breaks new ground to draw out the meeting point of a fat bike and a mountain bike and creates something that draws favorable reviews from all bikers.
For the purposes of this review, we analyze what the El OSO Tres has to offer. Diamondback’s proprietary 6061-T6 aluminum frame and fork embed lightness and strength to this bike. Real users typically use this solid fork with stiff rear through-axles to roll effortlessly over stairs, bumps, loose sand and sudden drops from fallen boughs. This bike is well-suited for the typical terrain that you are bound to encounter on a mountain slope. In addition, you will see that it handles marshy, moist earth, sand, and snow/sleet with an agility you haven’t seen elsewhere. The travel fork of 100 mm from Manitou keeps the bumpiest rides feeling plush. Shimano SLX M7000 hydraulic disc brakes keep the momentum in check.
The core of the bike is a 1 x 11 Shimano drivetrain with a Shimano M8000 Shadow Plus shifter set – one of the best in the market. Not having to bother with a front derailleur keeps the rider less distracted.
The star feature is the 26” tires with a 4-inch width. They grab on to the surface in a way that shows you why the fad for the fat bike is not a passing one.
- Shimano hydraulic disc brakes stop in a second
- Thick wheels for loads of traction
- Tires are heavy but they’re worth it
Verdict: Choose among black, gray, and purple color choices in the frame. Three sizing choices cover a rider height range of 5”4 to 6”1. Make the most of the mountain ‘fat’ bike and see what all the fuss is about. You won’t regret the purchase at this price point.
2. Diamondback Release 1 FS mountain bike
Diamondback is a famous name in the world of biking. These specialists of BMX bicycling turned their attention to making light, affordable, and feature-heavy mountain bikes to suit all kinds of bikers’ sensibilities and needs.
The ‘Release’ is a whole series that ends with some carbon frame models. On the other end, toughened aluminum makes the Release 1 tensile if not uber-light. The first thing you notice about the bike is the weight. Despite a front suspension with a travel of 130 mm from SR Suntour and a rear shock from RockShox with Rebound adjust, it weighs only about 30 pounds.
The frame is a stylized through-axle one with a single-chainring drivetrain of 1 x 10 from Shimano Deore at the core of it. The FSA Comet cranks are light in weight and tough in the face of wear and tear. Riders report smooth shifting and the hydraulic disc brakes from TRP Slate X2 carry out the stopping function with crisp efficiency and low braking distance.
Mounted on 27.5-inch wheels, it comes with tires of 2.35-inch width. The wheel measurement makes it ideal for speeding up and maintaining high speeds downhill. The rims within are Blanchard 28R made by Diamondback. They support riders who are all ready to make the transition to tubeless functionality. Enjoy riding with lower tire pressure find the convenience of fewer flat tires and maintenance by doing this low-cost upgrade.
- Ultra-smooth suspension and rear shock
- Top-quality componentry used
- Tool kit, eyelets, mudguards, protectors present
- Some might choose to upgrade the wheelset after a while
Verdict: Everything that you’d expect at this price point is included – adjustable seat post, ergonomic handle-grips, alloy pedals – you name it, it’s got it. A 780 mm wide handlebar gets things moving. But where simplicity is your need, DB Release has that too.
3. Addmotor Motan Mountain Fat Tire E Bike
An electric motor fitted onto your mountain bike can be an added benefit when you are in the mood for some additional push. And we’re not talking about a half-hearted motor gunning to supply you with the basic speed. It’s a proper, chargeable Lithium-ion battery that can power ahead the entire weight of the bicycle and the rider’s up the steepest climbs.
Addmotor Motan is a set-up with a removable 48 Volt battery. The apparatus can carry an adult of weight up to 300 pounds. It supports riders of heights 5”10’ to 6”6’. Riders acknowledge it widely as a sophisticated appendage since it can lug ahead cargo and a rider over a mountain bike indigenous to the slopes. It can accelerate up to a speed of 23 miles per hour and is good for 45-55 miles after one full cycle of charging. Despite the indubitable powers of this motor, it is not one of those sputtering ones which drown out the stillness of the mountain, your music, or the traffic around you. A quiet motor runs noiselessly producing 750 Watts – the brushless model ensures that it doesn’t hum and snort unlike the motors of less evolved yesteryear motorbikes.
Riders also have the option to pedal in Level-1 Assist. The bike works well in both assist mode, e-bike mode, or pure pedaling mode. You can charge using the USB charging cable provided. This makes it a completely sustainable model if you are in the mood to go green with your purchase.
This is a perfect mountain bike that also offers oodles of traction because of its fat bike capabilities. Thanks to the 26-inch tire from Kenda with 4-inch thickness, the grip on sand, snow, marshy earth or clayey soil is just right. Tektro mechanical alloy disc brakes ensure that the 7-speeder doesn’t run away with you. There is a 5-inch display in which you can check at a glance the speed you’re firing away at and quickly rein it in.
- Wide, fat bike tires for extra grip
- Rear cargo rack for smart commutes
- Customer service is not so great
Verdict: It is an above-par e-bike with plenty of capabilities – pedaling assist, e-bike, or just self-powered smooth sailing. The luxury of options is yours to enjoy. And it really does deliver an average of 22-23 mph even on steep uphill climbs.
4. YT Jeffsy Base 29
As a hydroformed aluminum bike with simple but functional specifications that has kept in the news since last year, Jeffsy Base is winsome. It is elegant, high on the fun-factor, and has a mass of positive reviews corroborating its strength. It has an otherworldly kind of look that captures riders’ imaginations easily.
For the serious rider – beginner or one of moderate interest in jet-setting through a bike park, this is a bike that will pay back in terms of fun, enjoyment, and performance. Riders of both sexes will appreciate the simple drivetrain and no-nonsense installation. Most parts just snap into place.
The bike designers spring a luxurious 150 mm travel suspension on the front fork for the 2020 model. The 2019 model has 140 mm. Jeffsy essentially calls it a trail bike. But it is big on performance specs with a front suspension fork and a rear shock made by FOX Float. The rear-shock has 3 positions. An inimitable through-axle keeps the bike sturdy and stiff on a variety of tracks.
Another fine example of a tapered head tube and adjustable seat post with hidden wiring – this bike doesn’t look like it’s accommodating of much customization. But it does. On the face of it, it’s a full-suspension bike that comes in four sizes, with a seat tube length of range 400 mm to 520 mm. Jeffsy also adjusts the wheelbase on par with the sizing. The geometry is one that organically breathes into downhill racing – it literally becomes the wind in your sails. Despite the dual suspension forks and feature-heavy componentry, the bike weighs an incredible 30 pounds 10 ounces. Some would still call this heavy, though.
Everything about Jeffsy from the bike down to the accessories is designed to aid your convenience and enjoyment of the ride. An Allen wrench, grease for the bearings, yes, everything down to a bottle clip comes in the box.
- Adjustable quick-release seat post
- 12-speed SRAM chainset, rear derailleur, and Eagle shifters
- Pedals not included
Verdict: This bike fits perfectly into the budget and specification requirements of modern bikers. It is also one that gets you ready for more upgrades and facelifts since Jeffsy is famous for being upgradable. Strong models win favor and better versions are a product of ongoing research. Watch out for a slight drag on the uphill climb.
5. GT Sensor Alloy Sport
This is a mountain bike that will make you think things over if you ever thought mountain bikes cannot look good and stylish. The tapered head tube kicks things off. The elongated geometry promotes riding in a straight line. The alloy frame retains strength while keeping the weight of the machine down. It weighs about 34.5 pounds despite the presence of both front suspension and rear shock.
The tube and frame are reminiscent of minimalist design – at one glance it might even seem over-simplistic, what with the external cabling. However, if you think about it, it makes the bike eminently tunable without calling for too much expertise.
The front fork is supplied by RockShox and offers a travel of 130 mm – commendable by any standards. The rebound and lockout fitted into the rear shock are from X-Fusion. A standard 780 mm wide handlebar keeps the mountain bike suitable for trustworthy, speedy downhill riding.
The core of the bike remains simple despite the many features on offer. It tells you that the simplicity of the rear derailleur with an SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain and the absence of a front derailleur are desirable features. Users report convenience in shifting and appreciate the eliminated steps of choosing among multiple drivetrains.
Standard hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro keep the control very much within the rider’s palms. 32H rims from Alex MD27 support tires of 29-inch size with a width of 2.25 inches. This makes the bike stand up straight and also amenable to easy tubeless upgrades.
- Adjustable seat post and angles
- Admirable bump absorption
- Great traction in loose, sandy tracks
- Pedals not included
Verdict: The full-suspension GT Sensor Alloy is one for the trails that beginners will enjoy. Advanced riders will welcome the upgrades that it makes room for as a natural extension to its promise of durability. It’s decently priced and well-regarded among users. Still, it is considered an entry-level mountain bicycle in terms of both specifications and pricing as far as FS bikes go.
6. Polygon Siskiu T8 all-mountain Bike
Here’s another good-looking trail/AM bike that uses simple componentry, a frame made of aluminum and a 29-inch wheel. They work in excellent synchrony to provide the rider with seamless flow and climbing.
The simplicity comes from the Shimano XT/SLX 1 x 11 drivetrain. With a 140 mm travel on the front suspension fork made by RockShox and a rear shock from Deluxe, the total weight of this bike on the road is 31.5 pounds. Polygon attempts to make this bike’s specs close to the ones carbon-frame bikes have. However, the rear shock doesn’t win the praise of users as the travel is limited and feels sluggish. Shimano SLX shifters are as effective in steep climbs as they are in downward sloping rides. The standard 780-mm handlebar fulfills the requirements of a classic mountain bike. But the handle-grips are rather indifferent.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bike with commensurate capabilities in both uphill climbing and downhill flow – and this is where the T8 impresses mountain biking fans. The 29-inch tires with a thickness of 2.35 inches make it a moderate trail bike. However, users have expressed serious concerns about the Shimano braking system which is purportedly a disc brake, but the stopping action is neither prompt nor strong in its impact.
While the specifications of the tire sound just right, users share the disappointment of experiencing many flat tires. Assembly is quite straight-forward and can be done by newfangled bikers as well. But it does require regular tune-ups.
- Balanced climbing and downhill riding
- Components are entry-level and not durable
- Hardy on tough trails
- Wheelset needs an upgrade
Verdict: This is a bike that will handle rough use if you have the patience and skill to keep it in tune. The design and suspension are of good quality but may peter out to lowly performance if they’re not maintained in a good condition.
7. Giant Trance 3 Men’s Trail Bike
The distinguishing point of this sleek mountain bike is the suspension. 150 mm at the front fork and 140 mm at the rear shock – this level of cushioning keeps the stance solid in the face of sudden drops and chunky hill climbs.
The front suspension comes from Suntour Aion and the rear shock is from RockShox Recon – both of which users found to be problematic from the tuning perspective. The original drivetrain in the 2019 model is from Shimano Deore 1 x 10 but in the 2020 model, the SRAM SX drivetrain is a necessary and tangible upgrade.
The appearance of the Trance 3 is rather beguiling. It looks too lanky to carry a heavy rider up a steep angle but the proprietary alloy of an aluminum frame is wiry and tenacious in its tensile strength. The bike itself weighs about 32 pounds for the largest size variant. There are four size variants supporting a height range of 5”4’ to 6”6’. For all four sizes, the standard-issue tire size is 27.5 inches. A 29-inch variant is also available in the Giant Trance series of bikes. The reach varies from 16-18.5 inches for which reason it is regarded as a men’s bike that is also well-suited to some tall women. The wheelbase along the 4 sizes is between 44.4 – 47.6 inches. 2.5-inch width tires are knobby and highly traction-friendly.
While climbing, users can feel the weight of the bike – a drag that is not felt downhill. Connoisseurs of mountain bikes would count this as a negative. But to some others, this heavy feeling can actually count as solidity and stability while passing over rocky paths. Not having a front derailleur is an advantage as it allows ease in shifting. The sleeve-joint rims are tubeless-ready and allow for simple upgrades.
- Smooth, crisp shifting
- Tubeless-ready rims
- Pedals not included in the box
Verdict: It’s not a light, funky ride. It flows easier on the downhill paths than on climbs. The usual conveniences of a dropper post and standard 780-mm handlebar keep the rider on the familiar, bankable ground even on the stoniest paths and tough trails.
Considerations for a Mountain Bike
How much should one spend on a mountain bike?
There is definitely a lower limit on the budget for mountain bikes – hardtails being priced slightly lower than full-suspension bikes. At the current price bracket, you can get a taste of both if you are patient and thorough in the research you put in.
The call of mountain biking isn’t the death knell for your bank account. Your budget doesn’t have to hit the skies.
Let the amount you decide to spend on the bike be a function of the following factors:
The amount of time you spend on the bike: If you only go out to the hillside once a week, a hybrid bike or even a mid-range hardtail will do the trick. On the other hand, if you spend hours on the bike snaking through trails and dirt paths, you need a good quality bike with suspension and tires that can handle drops and roots.
The paths you choose to conquer: If you plan to do cross-country trips, you don’t have the need for a heavy suspension fork. XC bikes fulfill this purpose. If you wish to conquer slopes with speed and momentum, you need the very best suspension. In the latter case, choose FS or soft-tail bikes. There is another category called trail bikes. They are relatively inexpensive and have uncomplicated gears. Endurance bikes and downhill bikes are more expensive but they also handle more challenging tracks. If you look for long wheelbases, choose Downhill bikes. If you wish for long reach, go for endurance bikes.
How much vibration you can tolerate: Obviously, you’d like to feel fewer of those uncomfortable vibrations as you touch challenging tracks. But the more sophisticated materials such as carbon-fiber or titanium which conquer vibrations better are more expensive. Look for aluminum or steel body bikes that cut through vibrations with good quality wheels, suspension, and frame geometry.
We pick the Diamondback models as the best of the listings because of their overall performance, long-lasting componentry, and reliable customer service.
However, there are a few lesser-known brands that can offer admirable all-round performance. Do not miss out on considering Jeffsy’s capabilities before you make the final purchase decision.