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The great buycycle mountain bike test

The great buycycle mountain bike test
Photo by Carter Moorse / Unsplash

Find the best MTB for you

Off the asphalt, over hill and dale, cycling is the most fun for many people. The more uneven, the better. With the right mountain bike almost any surface can be ridden on. Bicycle manufacturers have over the past few years brought better and better models on the market. The fun factor of off-road riding has always been great - nowadays you experience innovative technologyspecial optics and very robust components. The bike market outdoes itself, which is also reflected in the price. Learn here how you spend when buying a MTB only for the money you really need. Here is an honest buying advice on the right MTB for you and recommendations of proven models.

1. what are the MTB types?

Not all mountain bikes are the same - on the contrary. There are a lot of variations of the popular type of bike. Simple suspension or full suspension, suspension travel, intended use, riding characteristics - there is a lot of difference in the respective models. This can be confusing for bike newbies, but it's not witchcraft. Get an overview of the common MTB variants here, you can also find more info in our MTB Guide.

The hardtail

Hardtail is the name for a bike that has a suspended front wheel. It manages without a rear shock. The suspension fork is lockable on most models. The suspension travel of the fork can vary greatly. Most manufacturers install suspension forks under 120 mm travel in hardtails. Smaller potholes and roots can be rolled over. The greater the suspension travel of the suspension fork, the more upright the seating position of the rider. In order to ride uphill still sitting comfortably higher suspension travel is not recommended. The most common frame materials are Carbon or Aluminum. Carbon frames can achieve particularly low overall weights of the MTB. This is noticeable in the usually higher price. A fall can lead to cracks in the carbon fibers. Before the frame finally breaks, it can still withstand quite a bit. Aluminum frames are tried and tested and robust. Heavier, but cheaper. The frame can bend if dropped, but it does not usually break.

Hardtails can be equipped with wheels be purchased in different sizes. Rims with a diameter of 27.5" or 29" are common. While the wheel size 27.5 "allows particularly agile driving, 29-inch wheels are considered smoother running. They better compensate for vibration caused by bumps. In practice, the maneuverability of 27.5" tires is minimally better. 29" offer significantly better rolling characteristics, as well as longer ground contact. This leads to increased traction. Practical accessories such as luggage racks are usually dispensed with in order to save weight. Of course, you can still retrofit it. The hardtail is particularly popular for cycling tours over field and forest paths. Due to the low weight, uphill riding is also easy. Longer tours can be easily managed due to the comfortable seating position, the hardtail offers a certain driving comfort. Nevertheless, the hardtail is often underestimated as a piece of sports equipment. Due to the lack of a damper, it is only considered to have limited off-road capabilities. It does not roll over larger obstacles as smoothly as a Fully. Thus, more attention should be paid to the driving technique. For beginners who are interested in riding on dirt roads, it is ideal for learning the technique. Technical riding also makes challenging trails possible with the hardtail. It is less maintenance-intensive as the Fully, because it contains fewer suspension elements.

The cross-countrybike

Cross-country bikes are also called XC bike . Their suspension fork usually offers a suspension travel of around 100mm. There are also variants with full suspension, i.e. an additional shock absorber. These are often called XC-Fully or Race-Fully. The total weight should be kept as low as possible. Carbon frames are often used. As a rule, the XC bike comes to about 10 kg total weight. The seating position is slightly bent forward. The Cross-Country bike makes it possible to get everything out of a ride. This is the installation of 29-inchwheels common to combine speed with excellent rolling characteristics. This mountain bike is particularly popular for off-road races, such as so-called cross-country races. The surface should not be too rough, on gravel, dirt and forest roads, the XC bike is unbeatably efficient. This MTB is also designed for long climbs and descents. The rather low suspension is ideal for long tours. For the bike park or stony trails, the XC bike is not designed.

The dirtbike

An unusual hardtail is the dirt bike. It has the highest 100mm travel, the suspension fork is strongly pumped up. It should only cushion particularly hard landings. Tend dirtbikes have smaller wheelbases than other mountain bikes. The frame size is intentionally chosen smaller. Material for the frame is usually aluminum or steel. Thus, the bikes are very robust. The small wheels are striking. 24" or 26" are installed, regardless of the size of the driver:inside. This determines the seating position significantly. The Dirtbike does without much technology. Gear shifts are unusual. In addition to a suspension fork, there is a coaster brake. With only one rear sprocket and one front chainring, the bike is always ridden in the same gear. Bicycles with one gear are called "Singlespeed" or "Fixie". The two variants of the 1-speed bicycle are distinguished by the wheel hub. In the case of the fixie, the hub is immovable, so each wheel rotation moves the pedals. The dirt bike's range of use is also unusual. Whether in fun parks such as the dirt or skate park, on pump tracks or in the City. This MTB is excellent for spectacular tricks and jumps. It is designed for acrobatics and only conditionally suitable as a means of transport.

By the way, the BMX bike is similar to the dirt bike in many respects. However, it has no suspension and does not count as a mountain bike. Normally, BMX bikes are still a bit smaller, more maneuverable and very robust. For beginners who want to dare to do tricks, the BMX is particularly interesting. In terms of price, it is usually below the dirt bikes.

The fatbike

The fatbike is available both as a hardtail and with full suspension. In some cases, suspension elements are completely omitted, as the special tires provide a similar effect. It stands out due to particularly robust and wide tires. In addition, these are not fully inflated. The body weight of the driver:inside is distributed over the wider contact surface on the ground. This ensures grip on particularly loose surfaces such as snowmud or sand. Due to the tires, the MTB moves rather sluggishly. On asphalt, you can still move with the fatbike.

The Fully

Fully stands for "full suspension", or translated "fully suspended". These mountain bikes have both a suspended front wheel and a rear shock. The suspension fork travel varies greatly, depending on the type of mountain bike. Often a hydraulic seatpost is often installed. It ensures that the saddle can be driven up at the touch of a button. Depending on the terrain, the seating position can be adjusted. Also important for the seating position is the steering angle, also called head angle. The steeper downhill you ride, the flatter the steering angle should be. Obstacles can also be rolled over better as a result. The more suspension travel, the heavier the total weight of the Mtbs due to robust components and stable frames. Both carbon and aluminum are also used as frame material for the Fully. The tires increase according to the requirements in grip by large lugs and thus also in weight. Fullys, which are designed for downhill riding, are sometimes built with wheels of different sizes. So-called Mullet or hybrid bikes have 29-inch wheels at the front, the rear wheel measures 27.5". This makes the steering and seat angle even flatter. Moreover, the idea behind these designs is to combine the best possible traction and maneuverability. In practice, this is exactly what is noticeable, but the feeling uphill deteriorates due to the changed geometry. In terms of price, the fullys are usually above a hardtail due to the components. Fully is therefore a collective term for other types of mountain bikes that have full suspension. The most common types are explained below.

The all-mountainbike or trail bike

As the name suggests, the all-mountain is a bike that is as versatile as possible. Trail bike is a frequently used synonym. Both uphill and downhill, any terrain can be climbed with these wheels. There is the all-mountainbike also with simple suspension. Mainly it is traded with full suspension. The front suspension travel varies normally between 110-140mm. It is based on a lightweight construction, aluminum and carbon are common frame materials. Mainly it is found with 29-inch wheels. Due to the mostly lockable suspension elements, uphill riding is possible, even if there are faster alternatives on MTBs. Downhill, the all-mountainbike is designed for light scree and small jumps and drops. As an all-rounder, it is ideal for the weekend trip to the bike park, the crossing of the Alps in summer or the active vacation in the bike mecca of choice. For the landscapes within Germany, the suspension travel is sufficient in the vast majority of cases to be able to roll over obstacles damped.

The Endurobike

Between all-mountain bikes and freeriders are the enduro bikes. With a suspension travel of 140-180 mm, they roll over rough scree. Deeper drops and further jumps than are common with the all-mountainbike are compensated by the suspension. One relies on long frame geometry with a flat steering angle. This results in an upright riding position. The mountain can thus be pedaled up independently, while rough descents are also no problem. Due to the comparatively higher weight of about 13 kg, however, many Enduro riders tend to use a shuttle service or the gondola to the chosen trail start. The Enduro is the all-rounder for bright characters. If you will, the big brother of the all-mountain bike. However, if you want to cover long distances on flat terrain, you should reach for a mountain bike with a stiffer frame. The following models are also designed for alpine terrain.

The freeridebike

The Freeridebike offers a spring travel of 160-200mm. Thus, very long jumps, meter-deep drops and rolling over large stones can be absorbed. Very stable components are used to cope with the massive loads of a full-blown freeride adventure. Mainly you ride the Freerider in the bike park or on very rough trails. Driving uphill is fun with the fewest models. For this, steep slopes can be overcome all the better. Since this terrain is technically highly demanding, the Freeridebike is worthwhile rather for competitive athletes, cycling professionals and amateurs with years of experience. Rarely do you come on excursions on surfaces that require such a suspension travel.

The downhillbike

The freeridebike can still be surpassed in terms of suspension travel. A whole 180-250 mm are possible for downhill bikes. A very flat steering angle and a lowered saddle ensure that the rider's center of gravity is shifted as far back as possible. Downhill bikes are also subject to high loads. A lot of weight goes hand in hand with the frame's high load capacity. The suspension fork has a double bridge. This also provides stability. Riding uphill is hardly possible with a downhillbike . Everything is designed to cope with rough slopes at high speeds and to compensate for deep drops. Professional athletes therefore use this type of mountain bike for downhill races.


Various types of mountain bikes are now offered with a built-in electric motor. Especially uphill, this is a relief. E-bikes are an excellent support to get to unique mountain peaks and viewpoints that would require great effort under their own power. E-fullys are especially popular. The trip to the gondola or shuttle service to the trailhead can be saved by getting assistance uphill from the motor. Normal fullys are often too heavy to reach the elevated starting point of a trail several times under their own power. The e-mountain bike allows a higher number of descents. Due to the usually very high total weight, it has a pleasant grip on the ground, which increases the downhill riding fun. If the battery of the e-motor is empty, it becomes troublesome to ride uphill due to the high weight. The fun is limited - until the next battery charge.

2. what to look for when buying MTB?

It is tempting to be influenced by a beautiful bike frame, high-quality components or impressive suspension elements when looking for a mountain bike. As a result, bikes that are particularly expensive and do not correspond to the true area of application for which you will use them quickly catch your eye. That's why it's especially important to do some soul-searching in advance and make some considerations.

The terrain traveled

In what terrain will you be riding most of the time? It makes a difference whether you ride the MTB over forest and dirt roads, or whether large scree and wide jumps take place in your route planning. This is where the essential decision starts, whether you reach for the hardtail or the fully. Do you want to do long tours on slightly uneven ground or reach the top of the mountain independently? In addition, the way down should be fun and lead over rooty trails? Then the less expensive and less maintenance-intensive hardtail can be the perfect choice for you. Do you feel like adrenaline, bumpy descents and full fun in the bike park? Then look around at the fullys of your favorite manufacturers. And if it should be a fully, how much travel do you need? A lot Suspension travel can roll over larger obstacles easier, but the uphill ride is more difficult. Also note that if you plan to make a trip to the bike park, but that is unlikely to lead to a regularity, then a freeridebike probably not worth it and bring you less fun in everyday life, as a variant with less travel.

The right circuit

If you want to ride uphill a lot, it may be worth paying special attention to the gearshift. You have the choice of one, two or three chainrings. The single drive has the advantage that you can not shift uphill. The disadvantage can be that you may "miss" a particularly easy gear.

Aluminum or carbon

The question of the frame material also arises. Aluminum has the advantage of being cheaper and very robust. Carbon, on the other hand, is more expensive, but lighter.

The right wheel size

The wheel size also has an influence on the driving behavior. While 27.5'' tires are considered particularly fast to accelerate and very agile, 29'' tires are known to roll over obstacles particularly well.

hope pro hub
Photo by Lukas Smith / Unsplash

3. how much does a good MTB cost?

The prices of mountain bikes vary greatly. The cheapest MTB variants are hardtails. After all, there is only one suspension element, and the hardtail does not have to install as robust elements as, for example, a freeridebike, which is exposed to much higher loads. The price in a hardtail is strongly dependent on which frame material was used and thus how light the total weight is. In addition, different component manufacturers such as Shimano or Sram also have different shifting groups or different hydraulic disc brakes. The higher quality, the more expensive. A reasonable hardtail starts in price at about 400€. Particularly high-quality models can cost 5,000€ or more.

The brand name is also always relevant. However, a good price-performance ratio can also be found at some renowned bike manufacturers. Full-suspension mountain bikes are usually more expensive than hardtails. After all, more robust frames and components are needed here, plus the frame has a completely different geometry and there is an additional suspension element in the rear triangle. The technology in a Fully is much more sophisticated. Here, too, prices can vary greatly. The new price for a good Fully starts at just over 1,000€. Then there is hardly an end upwards in price. On average, you pay for a Fully now around 4,000€, while particularly high-quality models can cost over 10,000€. In recent years, cycling has become a trend sport. Demand has increased, resources have become scarce in some cases, and new prices have exploded as a result. buycycle has made it its mission to provide an online marketplace for high-quality used MTBs and road bikes. So we bring bikes, some of which have hardly been ridden but are no longer needed by the current owner, to the next bike enthusiast who will enjoy them again. Are you still looking for a new bike for the upcoming season? Then take a look at buycycle.com around.

4. which is the best MTB brand?

There are quite a few bike manufacturers. Nevertheless, you always see the same brands in the bike park or in the mountains. On the one hand, this is due to the excellent marketing of the brands, which can therefore attract many customers. On the other hand, the models of many manufacturers have proven themselves over the years. If you are looking for an MTB, a model from Cannondale, Cube, Orbea, Pivot, Santa Cruz, Scott, Specialized or Trek you can't go wrong. There are also many other great manufacturers.

5. these are the best MTB models

Every year, bike manufacturers outdo themselves with their new models. You can find the best mountain bikes for the next season here.


Trek ProcaliberThe Procaliber is single suspension. It is listed by Trek as an XC-Race bike and is considered the perfect blend of comfort and speed. It allows you to go full throttle off-road, as long as there is not too much debris in your way.

Trek Procaliber 9.6 Volt/ Raw Carbon

Other cool hardtails are, for example, the Santa Cruz Highball or Chameleon.


Cannondale Scalpel: The Scalpel is a full-suspension XC bikebike. It stands out due to its light weight. If you want to get down your local trails as quickly as possible or even have competition ambitions, the Cannondale Scalpel could be just the thing for you.

Cannondale Scalpel Carbon SE1

Other cool XC bikes include the KTM Scarp, the Orbea Oiz and the BMC Twostroke.


Santa Cruz TallboySanta Cruz is known for its high-quality mountain bikes. With the Tallboy, there is now a trail bike that combines the best of XCbike and downhill. With this model, you can roll over rough obstacles as well as climb countless meters of altitude using your own muscle power. This is possible thanks to the frame geometry and the 130 mm suspension travel.

Santa Cruz Tallboz 4 AL 29 R

Other cool trail bikes include the Propain Hugene, the Orbea Occam, the BMC Speedfox or the Cube Stereo.


Orbea RallonThe Rallon is ideal for long days in the bike park, deep drops in the local woods and climbs rough rocks with ease thanks to the suspension. Despite its robust construction, the Orbea Rallon places great importance on the overall weight, relying on a carbon frame. With 170mm of suspension travel, this bike is suitable for high mountains.

Orbea Rallon M20

Other cool enduro bikes include the Propain Tyee, the KTM Prowler and the Scott Ransom.


Propain Spindrift180 mm travel allows you to make long jumps, roll over big obstacles and have lots of fun in the bike park with the Spindrift. Local trails are child's play on the Propain Spindrift. Nevertheless, it can also be ridden uphill, and no surface is challenging enough - whether mud, sand or roots.

Propain Spindrift CF

If you have any questions about MTB, our buycycle-team with advice. You can contact us at any time contact usso that we can find your dream bike together - because we can tell you this much: among the thousands of high-quality used bikes on our website, there is sure to be one for you. So take a look at buycyle.com and, as always, we wish you happy browsing, happy cycling!