Best Trail Bike [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Trail bikes have taken the world by storm; they’re brilliant all-rounder mountain bikes that can shred the trail with confidence all day long. Are you a beginner or a pro rider struggling to get a new trail bike to suit your needs?
Well, good news, I’m here to guide you through.
Trail bikes are arguably the best all rounders in the bike industry. They’re the most versatile out of the lot; they excel in all kinds of terrains and make the perfect trail shredder for long fun-packed days with friends.
But with hundreds of options to choose from, there’s no wonder people find it quite daunting; by them being an all-rounder bike, there are more options than you can shake a stick at. Finding the right one for you can be a challenge.
Don’t let that put you off, though.
To make things easier for you, I have spent hours searching through all these trail bikes, factoring in design and performance components to suit your riding style, terrain, and budget.
Here’s a pro tip before we get started: before selecting any of the options I have chosen for you today, take a minute to think about your riding style, how often you ride, your skill level, what kind of terrain you’re tackling as well as budget, it helps massively trust me.
Let’s jump into my top picks!
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
Top Picks Of The Best Trail Bikes On The Market
TREK Fuel EX 5 Deore
best full suspension trail bike
Coming in straight away at number one spot is TREK Fuel EX 5; it is the gateway to full suspension trail bikes with the trail-taming front and rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, dropper post, and Shimano 1×12 drivetrain; this bike will shred the trails in style.
If you’re looking to delve in deep with the full suspension but still want a versatile trail bike, this will be your perfect fit. The Fuel EX 5 can tackle rugged terrains; it is responsive so that you can have complete confidence of control no matter the environment.
This has always been a personal favorite of mine (I’m not biased).
You’re getting a high-end ride that has exceptional value with a lightweight aluminum frame that features Boost148 and ABP to give you confident handling and room to upgrade parts as you grow.
This trail bike has the capability of a far more expensive trail bike, it shreds singletrack with confidence, but it can even handle XC or enduro races too. The dropper post allows you to lower your saddle on the fly, and then it’s out the way on descents.
But that’s not all…
The Fuel EX5 has a RockShox Recon Silver Fork, 130mm of rear travel, and a durable 12-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain. You’ll have gears for every challenge, and in terms of braking power, this bike has the very best hydraulic disc brakes for superior stopping power.
You’ll be getting full-suspension performance, high-end frame technology, and everything you’d expect out of a trail bike 3x the price! The price tag is low, but the stoke level is high– an absolute winner in my books!
Lightweight aluminum frame
12-speed shimano drivetrain
Hydraulic disc brakes
No user reported any problem yet
Latest deal: TREK Fuel EX 5 Deore
Ribble HT Ti - Sport SRAM NX Eagle 12 Speed
Ribble HT Ti bikes provide incredible performance and durability on mountain trails. This bike has a 3AL/2.5V Titanium frame which is responsible for the great riding experience. It comes with a RockShox Revelation RC fork that makes the trail smooth for you while riding on a difficult trail.
The Ht Ti comes with SRAM’s NX Eagle groupset and 1×12 system; it offers a wide gear range and reliable technology used in high-end models. You will be sure to have enough gears for every terrain.
This bike has Level 35 wheels and Level XI bar and stem, responsible for a great rolling experience and smooth trailing experience. It has a Level 1 alloy seat post which makes this bike a serious trail-shredder.
But here’s the best bit:
This bike has 150mm of travel and a chassis that offer unmatched stiffness when down the trail, while the revolution forks are designed to withstand the demands of the gnarliest trails. These forks will absorb all the bumps and humps, so you don’t have to.
It makes a world of difference when it comes to comfort. All in all, this versatile bike is ready for your trail adventures, are you?
Latest deal: Ribble HT Ti – Sport SRAM NX Eagle 12 Speed
Vitus Nucleus 27 VR Mountain Bike
Looking for something slightly more budget-friendly? Well, maybe I can convince you with the Vitus Nucleus Mountain Bike, it offers excellent value for money, and you’ll be impressed with the features you get for under $700!
Rolling up on 27.5-inch wheels and equipped with superb components on the quality frame, this hardtail will give you more confidence and performance you need for shredding the trails.
There’s no need to be fooled by the price; Nucleus provides comfort and aggressive geometry needed to shred the trails in style. This bike isn’t any ol’ run-of-the-mill entry-level mountain bike; it will get you hooked on tackling adrenaline enduring trails.
Here’s more, though:
The brakes on this bike will be sure to get you out of trouble when you need it the most; these Tektro M275 disc brakes will give you superior stopping power no matter the terrain you’re tackling.
You may be asking yourself, what about durability and shock absorption? Nucleus has this covered, too, don’t you worry! For starters, the low, long, and slack geometry is coupled with 120mm of Suntour Air suspension and threaded bottom bracket for absorbing shock and adding durability for the rough terrain.
The Nucleus VR Mountain Bike will step your riding up to the next level and bring the thrill of riding on intense trails to life!
Great value for the price
27.5 inch wheels
120mm Suntour air suspension and threaded bottom bracket
Tektro disc brakes for superior stopping power
Limited color choices
Latest deal: Vitus Nucleus 27 VR Mountain Bike
Vitus Sentier 29 VR Mountain Bike
The Vitus Sentier 29 VR Bike is another Vitus bike great for mountain adventures as it provides control and power. This bike has a solid 6061 alloy frame construction which makes it easy to handle all the challenges of the ride.
The Sentier is another award-winning hardtail bike that’s engineered to provide great stability, efficiency, and fun when hittin’ the trails. The durable and agile aluminum frame is equipped with Marzocchi Bomber Z2 suspension forks making it suitable for riding anywhere.
This bike can attack anything that comes your way.
The Sentier is double the price of the Nucleus, but it goes much further than just being an entry-level mountain bike; this trail bike is ready to tackle the roughest of terrain with complete confidence and control.
I have already told you that the Sentier is equipped with 130mm to travel Marzocchi Bomber Z2 front suspension forks, but what does this mean? Well, this bike will provide a RAIL damper which will eat up any rough terrain. This, paired with the Shimano MT410 brakes, provide superior stopping power and shock absorption no matter the terrain.
You’ll never run out of gears with the Sentier either, the reliable Shimano 1×11 speed, wide range Deore drivetrain. You’ll have enough gears to take on any terrain face on in an epic day down the trails.
Here’s the kicker: The Sentier is tubeless ready with tubeless-ready wheels and tires. Tubeless tires are the tires of the future; they offer superior durability against punctures and flats as they ride at a lower pressure; you’ll always have the confidence to push the limits.
This is an ideal bike for those looking for that little extra while remaining on an honorable budget.
Latest deal: Vitus Sentier 29 VR Mountain Bike
Nukeproof Mega 275 Comp Alloy Bike
Coming in at number five is a brilliant trail bike by Nukeproof. The Mega is designed to overcome any challenge on the mountainside with complete ease. Equipped with full suspension, the Mega is designed to tackle long and steep climbs and absorb all the shocks and add comfort to every ride.
This bike will provide great efficiency and exceptional stability and control for fast and adrenaline enduring descents. With the mega V4 alloy frame and 170mm travel RockShox Yari suspension forks, SuperDelux rear shock provides superior comfort on rugged terrain.
The NukeProof Mega has been adapted, developed, and evolved to meet riders’ and customers’ demands; the Mega has been chiseled and shaped to create a thoroughbred Enduro race bike.
Now, here’s more:
Brake with complete confidence and control no matter the challenge with the Deore 12-speed groupset and hydraulic disc brakes. This bike is even kitted out with Sun Ringle Duroc wheels wrapped in Michelin Wild Enduro tires for ultimate grip.
As a regular mountain biker, I can tell you how important comfort is. The Mega’s new geometry is now designed around the saddle offset for each size to optimize seated weight distribution. Plus, the offset forks help smooth out rough rides, which help with comfort.
This enduro bike is a real giver for the price.
Dropper stead post
Frame scratches slightly
Latest deal: Nukeproof Mega 275 Comp Alloy Bike
Vitus Mythique 29 VR Bike (Deore 1x10) 2020
Introduced by Vitus, the Mythique 29 is a manufacturing marvel. The alloy frame, full suspension MTB, offers a biking experience unlike any other. The bike has a Horst-link 4-bar suspension design that provides high performance on every off-road outing.
Another Vitus bike, are you sensing a theme here?
The big and bold frame coupled with the horst-link 4-bar suspension design offers agility, strength, control, and reliability to take your performance to new heights. This trail bike was designed to shred off-road, and experience rugged landscapes nature has to offer.
The Mythique 27 comes with an x-fusion front and rear suspension system for better comfort and control. In addition, the inbuilt mt-401 brakes and the web tubeless rims confidently get you through these rugged pathways with speed and style.
The Mythique takes your trail riding dreams and ambitions to the next level giving you a capable and fun performance for riding anything the unpredictable mountain terrain decides to throw at you with confidence.
But wait, here’s the kicker:
The modern alloy frame is made with modern enduro-inspired geometry that allows the perfect balance of strength, control, and weight. In contrast, the Shimano 1×10 speed groupset and hydraulic disc brakes allow for unmatched control and confidence on the trails.
If you’re having a bad day, taking a ride on this beauty as you shred the trails will completely change your mood. You won’t be able to get a smile off your face after your ride. Yet another Vitus trail bike that will take your breath away!
Cassette built for hills
Need to buy a dropper
Latest deal: Vitus Mythique 29 VR Bike (Deore 1×10) 2020
TREK Roscoe 8
Here’s another trail bike hit that will be sure to bring wonder to your ride if you want a little fun and looking for a playful trail bike with high-quality parts and plus-sized tires that will give you some serious fun while out in the dirt, the Roscoe 8 is the one for you.
The only thing you’ll need to worry about is your face hurting from all the smiling while riding an intense, adrenaline enduring ride. This hardtail is ready to blast any trail from singletrack to the rugged loose stuff; this mountain bike is ready to groove.
Plus, for under $2000, it is an absolute bargain.
The strong aluminum frame has everything: a RockShox 35 Gold fork with a lockout, confidence-building 27.5+ wheels, grippy tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper post! You can get low on descents, shred corners, and brake with complete confidence.
Plus, the SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and wide range of gears make this bike ideal for climbing and taking on rugged terrains head-on. Plus, the RockShox forks can be easily adjusted to provide unique suspension to every rider.
High-quality components for high-quality trail days, soak up all the fun with a trail bike that’s ready for it all. With over 300 glowing 4 or 5 star ratings, you cannot argue with the quality.
Fun packed bike
Wider tires for tackling rugged terrain
Rockshox 35 gold fork
Hydraulic disc brakes
Latest deal: TREK Roscoe 8
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX Mountain Bike
The Vitus Sommet 29 CRX Bike provides superb full-suspension rides with confidence on aggressive off-roads. The CRZ provides top-performance, agility, and control needed for riding rugged enduro routes and daring all-mountain terrains.
The Sommet 29 CRX is kitted with a carbon front triangle with an alloy back end, combined with Fox Factory Kashima suspension and a Shimano XT 12-speed groupset. This will provide a gripping, comfortable, and smooth ride even while tackling the most rugged terrains.
There are slick performing components in this bike, such as SRAM SX 1×12 gearing and SRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc brakes that provide amazing power, grip, and control. Manitou Mezzer Proforks absorbs shock on the bumpy road of mountain trails.
As if that was enough, there’s more!
Vitus has adapted and straightened this bike’s leverage curve and increased the progressivity to improve the small bump sensitivity and mid-stroke support to help keep you in control even when the trails get rough.
But along with improved geometry, the Sommet also has more seat post insertion, which allows for a longer dropper post to be fitted. Vitus has consistently considered their riders when designing new bikes to ensure they’re getting the very best ride.
If you’re looking for a confidence-inspiring trail bike, then the Sommet is up to the bill.
Hydraulic disc brakes
Brake bleed required
Latest deal: Vitus Sommet 29 CRX Mountain Bike
Ragley Piglet Hardtail Bike
Another brilliant trail bike I cannot wait to get into is the Ragley Piglet Hardtail Bike; it has refined geometry and adjustments to increase performance handling and comfort. This hardtail is designed for rapid trail riding, gnarly climbs, and all-day epics.
The Ragley 4130 Chromoly frame is strong, lightweight, and supple, giving you the confidence-inspiring and playful performance you’re dying for, for riding anywhere. Plus, by being armed with a RockShox Revelation travel suspension fork, you can ride in comfort.
Braking power? Unmatched. The Ragley piglet is also equipped with hydraulic disc brakes and roll up on Nukeproof Neutron wheels and Maxxis Minion tubeless-ready tires – you won’t need to worry about grip and braking power ever again.
But that’s not all:
The bike features an SRAM NX Eagle 12-Speed drive train at its core, making it easy to ride on challenging trails. There is a wide range 11-50T cassette at the rear and a 32T chain-ring at the front of this bike.
The bike travels with speed, stability, and comfort across all types of terrain.
Tires provide good grip
Rarely, users question about the quality of material
Latest deal: Ragley Piglet Hardtail Bike 2020
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 Bike
Now I know I shouldn’t have made you wait this long for this bike as it is a personal favorite of mine for the price but it’s definitely worth the wait, don’t you worry!
It was made for smaller riders ready to shred the singletrack; co-op Cycles 1.0 is a super versatile mountain bike that provides superior stopping power and confidence when hittin’ the trail.
For starters, the Shimano 3×7 drivetrain provides a whopping 21 gears ready to conquer anything the mountain throws at you. This, paired with 26-inch wheels that make steering quick and responsive, makes mountain biking feel like a dream.
In terms of the frame, the bike is made with affordable aluminum with an SR Suntour suspension fork; this makes this bike brilliant for tackling rough terrain and provides excellent shock absorption of all the bumps and humps you may come across.
But wait, here’s more!
There is no need to worry about not stopping ever again; the DRT 1.0 is equipped with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes that deliver smooth and reliable stopping power no matter the terrain– you can ride with complete confidence.
This bike is a real confidence booster and a must-have if you’re a beginner! It is a super stable frame that provides excellent control and comfort down the trails. You’ll be looking and feeling like a pro in no time.
Nothing worst has shown yet
Latest deal: Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 Bike
Best Trail Bike Buyers Guide
While looking at a product to buy, one has to think of different things so that he can choose the right one. Sometimes, you look at the price of the product if you don’t have enough range. However, if you do have the budget, you would not check the price and will look for great features.
You should choose your products and make a list based on price and quality to make sure you’re getting the very best product. From that list, you should separate out the product based on features and ratings.
Finally, you need to go for the best trail bike that has great features and suits all your requirements. For instance, if one wants to buy the best trail bike, then he would look at different features of different products to find the right one.
In this process, everyone has to compare different products and would probably go for the one with useful features. Many things differ between a good trail bike and a great one, such as the suspension system, brakes, control, grip, comfort, performance, and much more.
Things To Look Out For When Buying Trail Bikes Or All-Mountain Bikes
The following are some recurring features that most of the products mentioned above in the article have:
Brakes: The bikes for mountain trails should have a great braking system to provide a great grip and control to the rider. If a mountain bike doesn’t have good brakes, it can be tough for the rider to handle the bike on the difficult trails.
Hydraulic brakes are considered good braking systems as they provide precise and good control on the bike while riding on the difficult trails of the mountains. Most of the article’s products in the article have a good braking system and can provide precise control and good grip.
Suspension system: The bikes for trails should have a great suspension system to provide stability on the trails. If a bike has a good suspension system, it absorbs the trails’ shocks and knocks to provide smooth trail riding.
It absorbs the vibrations, and you can ride easily on the trails that are hardest. Most of the article’s products in the article have a good suspension system and can provide a smooth trail.
Durability: Durability is one of the most important features to consider when buying any mountain bike; if you think about it, this mountain bike will go through a fair amount of abuse down the trails, from riding over rocks, roots, shredding tight corners, and much more.
Trail bikes tend to come in aluminum frames; they’re super durable and lightweight. Lightweight is best for shredding rough terrain, and it makes climbs a breeze as there’s less weight pulling you down while also allowing your hydraulic disc brakes to work more efficiently on the way down.
It would help if you also looked for features such as the frame’s durability, wheels, pedals, tires, and saddle. Any mountain bikes are designed to withstand harsh environments and take a good bit of battering from the mountains, but you should look for ways to add durability.
Tires: Now tires are just as important as the brakes; with good brakes and crappy tires, you will be skidding like no tomorrow; it’s very dangerous! Getting the right tires for your mountain bike is crucial. Light wheels are worth it, but light tires are not.
Grip, damping, and puncture protection are crucial over any weight consideration; you may find that quality wheels add weight to your bike, but they’re definitely worth it. It will ensure powerful stopping, stability, and grip in all kinds of weather conditions.
Material: Material is another important factor to consider, and it’s mainly down to budget. If you’re on a fairly tight budget, I recommend going for an aluminum frame with a carbon fork. This will provide you with the shock absorption you need without getting too pricey.
If you’re looking for higher-end trail bikes, they tend to be made with carbon fiber or aluminum with many carbon features. Carbon fiber is the best material for dampening vibrations and shocks; it is also the lightest material you will find– but it comes at a stupendous price tag.
Titanium is another material but again very price.
Gears: Any mountain bike will offer a wide range of gears to tackle rough terrain; after all, you don’t want to run out of gears when coming to a steep climb; you and your bike will struggle.
Lower gears are designed to make climbs much easier, and higher gears provide smoother riding on flat trails– a wide gear range is ideal for beginners and pros (it just makes life a lot easier).
You want to find a mountain bike with a wide range of gears to help you tackle all kinds of terrains; as you well know, the mountains are very unpredictable, so you’ll want the wide gear range up for the challenge.
Geometry: Mountain bikes have gradually got lower and lower to the ground in recent years. With wheels and suspension technology consistently improving, trail bikes have become even more capable.
Wheel Size: For trail bikes, you’ll most commonly find wheel sizes between 27.5-29 inches. 27.5 inches is ideal for trail bikes as it gives them more versatility without compromising control.
29-inch wheels can tackle obstacles better than any other; they maintain momentum and ideal if you’re an aggressive rider.
Maintenance: Mountain bikes are expensive toys and require a fair bit of maintenance to keep them running in tip-top condition. Despite expecting to maintain your bike regularly, you should also go for a frame that requires less maintenance, such as an aluminum frame.
It is less prone to rust and easier to maintain.
Shimano Vs. SRAM:
Now I know what you think you’ve been faced with two main competitors of drivetrains for trail bikes, but what ones best?
Shimano has made an impressive comeback in recent years with its 12-speed smooth drivetrain; it provides silky smooth shifting and has a powerful clutch mechanism. It is also more impressive at suppressing chain slap than the SRAM but offers crisper shifting with short lever action.
Shimano, on the other hand, has been reliable for years; they offer superior stopping power. However, there is a loud rattling noise on brake pads and a constantly wandering bite point on many of Shimano’s brakes.
But all in all, it’s down to personal preference; they’re both key competitors and offer impressive drivetrains.
Different Types Of Trail Bikes:
Most commonly, you’ll find two different types of trail bikes to choose from, hardtail and full-suspension. While full suspension provides superior shock absorption, hardtail is more budget-friendly.
Hardtail Trail Bike: Hardtail Trailbikes have suspension at the front but have a rigid, unsuspended mainframe and rear wheel. They generally are lighter, don’t wear out as fast as the full-suspension bikes, and are often much cheaper as there aren’t as many parts.
Hardtail mountain bikes are super versatile and ideal for all kinds of terrain; they have no rear shock and are equipped with rigid forks. They’re ideal for entry-level riders and pro riders, and they’re a super fun ride.
Full Suspension Mountain Bike: Full suspension mountain bikes feature both a suspension fork up front and a rear shock, whereas a hardtail bike has only a suspension fork.
They often include better handling due to their rear suspension and absorb more shock on the trails. They also offer more control, traction, and comfort while riding down the trail. Full suspension mountain bikes are a real confidence booster.
The only issue with full-suspension mountain bikes is the stupendous price tag; they tend to be the most expensive mountain bike on the market; if you’re a pro rider, this may be brilliant for you, but a beginner on a budget, not so much.
If you’re interested in giving a full suspension mountain bike a go, check out my guide for the best full suspension mountain bike under $1500 here!
For those looking for a great trail bike while on a budget, I would recommend going for the hardtail trail bike. If you want that little extra shock absorption and smooth-riding, then go for the full suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are some questions that most people ask frequently:
Should I buy XC or trail bike?
If you get a cross country bike, it will let you travel a shorter distance on its suspension system, and if you want to travel a long distance, then a trail bike would be good for you. The trail mountain bikes have rougher and wider tires.
The tires on a cross-country mountain bike are thinner and smoother to provide maximum speed but can’t provide grip on mountain trails. Here comes the benefit of wider tires of the best trail bikes that can better grip the mountains’ technical terrains. Otherwise, it would not be easy to handle the bike on mountain trails.
Are downhill bikes good for trail riding?
Downhill bikes can provide a lot of fun, not just for racing, though. These bikes are instantly recognizable, brimming with the technology used to attack the most aggressive, steep, and fast trails. If you want to ride the most aggressive, steep, or fast trails, then you can go for these bikes.
What type of bike is best for trail bikes?
As I spoke briefly above, you will find two common kinds of trail bikes: hardtail and full-suspension if you’re wondering which one is best when it comes down to two factors, price and personal preference.
Personally, for beginners who don’t need to worry about budget, full-suspension bikes are better as they provide a smoother riding experience as offer more shock absorption.
However, I would always recommend hardtail for those on a higher budget as despite not having as much shock absorption, they provide a super fun ride!
Mountain bike riders who go for long rides on mountain trails need the best trail mountain bikes that can provide ease during the ride. There are many things to look at while buying the best trail bike. You’ll need to consider many factors to have safety on the bike during the ride.
The mountain trail bike should have a good suspension system to provide you with a smooth trail so that you can ride easily on the trails and can pass through the difficult and hardest trails with ease.
A mountain trail bike with a good suspension system absorbs the shocks and vibrations to provide a smooth trail. The braking system of the trail bike should be great so that one can get good control and grip on the difficult terrains so that there would be no difficulty.
There are many other things such as material, routing, and much more that matter while buying a trail bike. Moreover, each brand of mountain bike has features that differ from others. You can have the best one by comparing different products.
All the products mentioned above in the article have amazing features and will help you to find the best one for you.
Happy trail shredding!
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.