6 Worst Mountain Bike Brands To Avoid: Save Yourself Money and Headaches

A mountain bike is a bike that you can ride both on and off the road. They often have a suspension system to help absorb bumps when riding over rough terrain. We can use mountain bikes for long distance cycling or even racing, but they’re also great fun if you like doing tricks and stunts!

Mountain Bikes are strong enough to carry heavy loads while staying maneuverable. They’re great for a variety of terrains and weather, so you can go riding whatever the weather is doing outside. Plus, they have gears to help with uphill climbs and flat terrain. They are also lighter than standard bikes, making them easier to control when going downhill fast.

Mountain bikes are something that many people want to buy, but not everyone knows where to start. There are so many brands and models out there.

In this article, we will help you avoid the most common pitfalls when shopping for a mountain bike by discussing what brands to avoid buying.

How to Spot Terrible Mountain Bikes

Often, people get a mountain bike because they don’t know any better and end up getting ripped off. This is especially true when you go to department stores or other cheaper outlets that sell low-quality bikes.

The following are some things to watch out for:

  • Suspension systems (shock absorbers) should not be adjustable. Adjustable shocks often result in poor performance and a squishy ride that is uncomfortable.
  • Lack of gears which makes them harder to handle on sloping or bumpy terrain. If you want a bike for going up hills, then be sure the one you buy one with at least 21 speeds, ideally more.
  • Frame made from poor quality metal. You should avoid frames that are solid rather than tubular, as they can crack or collapse when going over rough terrain at speed.
  • No wear indicator on brake pads, so it’s impossible to tell when they need to be replaced. It’s crucial to know the wear on your brake pads, or you risk losing your brakes as they wear down. Which, depending on when it happens, can lead to very dangerous situations.
  • Low-quality tires which can burst at speed, rendering them useless and even dangerous on some terrain. Bad tires can also ruin the ride and stability of your bike.
  • Poor quality wheels that can bend or warp when going over rough terrain at speed. This means you’ll need to straighten them with a spanner before riding, which is not something most people want to do after they buy their new bike. And it’s also dangerous.
  • Lack of disc brakes on the front and rear wheels, or at least equipped with hydraulic rim brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are more expensive but prevent your wheel from locking up when you brake hard, making them safer for downhill segments of a trail.
  • The thread in the pedals should be steel, not alloy, which can strip causing the pedal to fall off. And pedals falling off while you’re going over rough terrain is the last thing you want.
  • A high-quality bike should come with an 18-month warranty at minimum. If it doesn’t, then stay away because anything under that has substandard components and could break anytime, meaning you might lose your money altogether.

6 Worst Mountain Bike Brands to Avoid

These brands share the same issues outlined in the above section. Which means they make it harder to enjoy mountain biking. But——they are dangerous. It’s easy to fall down or have the bike falling apart while you’re driving it on a bumpy road.

This is a big issue for mountain bikes, since they are supposed to shine off the road. Instead, these brands produce mountain bikes that are more likely to fall apart.

We recommend staying away from these brands. If you can’t afford a better bike, buy a used one, or save for a higher-end model. Your safety is too important to save money on it. You can do without the extra bell and whistles of models that cost thousands of dollars. But you can’t do without basic features that make mountain biking safe and enjoyable.

Editor’s note: Notice how most of the brands on this list come from big box stores. As in, they are house brands of the big retailers. For example, Infinity is Costco’s house brand. Basically, these retailers buy low-quality parts and then get them assembled as cheaply as possible.

Schwinn

Schwinn is an American bicycle brand that has been around for over 100 years. They are historically known for their cruiser bikes, which were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but they also make mountain bikes as well.

Unfortunately, Schwinn is not an excellent choice for buying a mountain bike because on top of being expensive, their bikes are often heavy and poorly designed. For example, they use cheap suspension systems that offer little in the way of performance (they also do not lock out meaning when riding uphill on a smooth surface. There is no difference between pedaling with or without shock absorbers).

Schwinn bikes are also fitted with inferior quality gears and wheels, which means they perform poorly when going uphill or over bumpy terrain. Schwinn mountain bikes should be avoided because the poor design and components used mean you’ll spend more on upgrades than if you just bought a better bike right away.

Schwinn bikes are so bad you shouldn’t even consider them for short commutes. While the other brands on this list have at least some redeeming qualities for city bikes, Schwinn’s are absolutely atrocious. Do not give money to them.

Mongoose Bicycles

Mongoose is another American brand that manufactures bikes, mainly mountain and road cycling models. Their range includes entry level to professional class bicycles, but most of them are designed for recreational use with no emphasis on performance or high-end components or materials.

Mongoose bikes, mostly, are fitted with low-quality suspension systems and tires, which means you’ll have a hard time going uphill without your bike slipping all over the place (and that’s not something you want when riding downhill). They also don’t offer disk brakes on their cheaper models, so if you hit a bump or drop off an edge at speed, your wheel is likely to lock up.

For these reasons, Mongoose mountain bikes should be avoided because the brand put all their focus on style rather than performance and safety.

Editor’s note: This only applies to Mongoose’s cheap models, the kind you’d find in big retail stores. Their high-end bikes are absolutely fine. But since this article is aimed at beginners, we assume you’re looking for something that will get you started. Seasoned veterans should know most of this already.

Diamondback Bicycles

This is another American brand that manufactures and markets bikes for all cycling disciplines (except downhill). However, Diamondback’s mountain bike models are designed more with comfort in mind rather than speed or performance. This means they have high-end components but not the right kind, which can be unsafe, especially when riding downhill.

Diamondback bikes are fitted with high cushioning forks, which offer more comfort but at the expense of performance on rough terrain or when descending hills at speed. And while Diamondback mountain bikes have disk brakes, they’re only present on their highest priced models, so you won’t get them if your budget is lower than $1500.

For these reasons, you should avoid Diamondback mountain bikes because the brand’s focus on comfort means you’ll spend more money than necessary for upgrades and repairs (and to fix the damage caused by riding a poorly designed bike).

Note: Diamondback used to be the laughing stock of bike brands. But in the last ~5 years they turned things around. If you are ok with spending over $1000 on your bike, then you’ll find great models from this brand. If you’re lucky, you can get some hefty discounts too, and save hundreds of dollars on these mid to high-end bikes.

Diamondback’s higher-end bikes are—mostly—excellent. It’s just their lower-end stuff that stinks. Your best option to avoid getting screwed is to buy the bike directly from their online store. You can find their bikes in big box stores like Dick’s sporting and Academy. These are usually the bad ones.

The main issue with buying online is that you can’t try the bike before riding it. It’d be best if you could ride it beforehand to make sure it fits you and you enjoy it. If your local bike shops carry Diamondback, you’re golden! Try the bike out, make sure the components are up to par, and go for it if you enjoy it.

Infinity Mountain Bikes

Infinity is a brand that started in Orange Beach in 2008. They produce bikes for all cycling disciplines, but their mountain bike range is mainly entry level.

Infinity’s major priority appears to be affordability, not quality or performance, which means you’ll spend more on upgrades and repairs than if you bought a better brand.

Their mountain bikes are fitted with low-quality suspensions systems, which means going uphill will be harder than it needs to be. They also don’t offer disk brakes on any model, so if you hit a bump or drop off an edge at speed, your wheel is likely to lock up and that’s very dangerous, especially when riding downhill.

Their “About Us” page is also suspicious. The first advantage they claim is being able to finance their bikes. Like, why would that be a major benefit? Tell me why I should buy your bikes, not that I can finance them!

Warning: Infinity makes the bikes you find at Costco. Just a heads up.

NEXT Bikes

NEXT is another brand that manufactures bikes designed for all cycling disciplines.

Their mountain bike models are entry level to professional class, but most of them have inferior quality suspensions systems. This is actually dangerous, especially when riding downhill. It also means you’ll have a hard time going uphill, regardless of the terrain, which can be frustrating.

NEXT mountain bikes also don’t offer disk brakes on their cheaper models. Your wheels are at increased risk of locking up because of this.

Their mountain bike models are also more expensive than they should consider their low-quality suspensions systems, which means if you want better components, you’ll have to spend even more money on upgrades.

For these reasons NEXT mountain bikes should be avoided because the brand puts more emphasis on price than quality or performance, which means you’ll spend more money than necessary.

Huffy Bikes

Huffy is an American bike brand that produces bikes for all cycling disciplines. Much like every other company on this list, their mountain bikes’ quality is less than stellar.

Poor suspension system, bad forks, poor disk brakes. The whole shebang. Avoid them at all costs.

Of course, they are fine if you are looking for a short-commute bikes, but then you shouldn’t be looking at mountain bikes.

That said, they have a couple of models worth buying. If you find a 7-11 Team Huffy or the models made by Carlton, you’ll be fine. But these are hard to find. Still worth a try if you’re looking for a decent bike.

Buy from These Brands Instead,

While there’ are plenty of terrible mountain bike brands, there are also many excellent ones. Too many to list here, and they’d go beyond this article’s scope. But we figured to give you some options to start from.

What’s great is that you can easily find used bikes from these manufacturers. Provided the owner has performed some maintenance over the years, they’ll be as good as when they were new.

Note: This list is in no way or shape intended as a complete guide. There are plenty of great bike brands out there. The ones on this list are just meant as a starting point for your research. You can check out what components they use, and then look for bikes with similar ones.

Giant

Giant is an international bike company that manufactures bikes for all cycling disciplines. They have a wide range of mountain bikes that are suitable for different riding styles, needs and budgets.

They have an excellent reputation for quality, performance and reliability, which means you can buy with confidence.

Their bikes offer superior comfort, which means you won’t feel the impact on your body as you would with other brands. They also offer different suspensions systems depending on the model, which allows you to choose the one that’s best suited to your style of riding.

They also provide lifetime support for any purchase made from them, including spare parts, tools and maintenance, which means their bikes will last longer than others.

Last, their prices are comparable to other brands, which means you’ll get more value for your money.

Giant is the top brand in the mountain bike industry and while this might not mean much, we can guarantee that if you buy one of their bikes, it will be worth every single cent.

Trek

Like Giant, Trek is an international bike company that manufactures bikes for all cycling disciplines, including mountain biking, which means you’ll be able to find the right model regardless of your riding style or needs.

Trek has a long-standing reputation for high quality products and excellent service, which means their frames are sturdy and they last a long time. This is because their mountain bikes are made of the highest quality materials, which provide superior comfort, performance and reliability so you can enjoy your ride without having to worry about anything else.

In addition, Trek’s suspension systems have been designed with ergonomics in mind for comfortable riding experiences even on rough terrains. They also provide excellent braking power which allows you to stop faster and control your bike more effectively.

Trek is known as one of the best brands in mountain biking, but their prices are comparable to other brands on this list, which means you won’t be spending a lot (and getting plenty) when buying from them.

Canyon

Canyon is a German bike manufacturer that has been producing high-quality bikes since 2002 and they have established themselves as one of the best mountain biking brands available today, renowned for their excellent performance and stunning good looks so you can be sure your ride will turn heads wherever you go.

Their bikes are designed by Simon Smart, an engineer who has spent many years in the bike industry and is one of the best designers available today. Their designs combine excellent performance with beautiful aesthetics, so their bikes look just as good as they ride.

Last, Canyon offers lifetime support for their bikes, so you can be sure they’ll last a long time and you won’t need to buy another one soon.

Honorable mentions: Marine and Krona.

Again, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list.

Conclusions

Mountain biking is a grand sport. It helps with staying in shape while also letting you experience great scenery and breathtaking sights. But it all starts with good equipment. Finding the right mountain bike for you can be a daunting task, with so many choices available on the market.

Luckily for us, there are many brands you can discard right off the bat. The mountain bikes listed in this article are not worth a dime. They’ll break easily and ruin your experience. Avoid them at all costs.

It’s better to invest a little more money to get a quality bike than trying saving them, only to find out you’ve wasted them.

Now you’re much better equipped to understand how to pick a good mountain bike for a decent price. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to enjoy mountain biking. But you still need a bike that will let you travel around and experience what the hobby offers.

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7 thoughts on “6 Worst Mountain Bike Brands To Avoid: Save Yourself Money and Headaches”

  1. Most of the high end mountain bikes only have 11 or 12 speeds. Even though this article is aimed at entry level bikes, the number of gears isn’t necessarily indicative of a quality bike.

    Reply
  2. This article is from 20 years ago, right?! I thought it was an april fools joke, but it’s November! “Adjustable shocks”, “less than 21 gears”, “no brake wear indicators”, the horror! Serious mountain bikes are expensive and NOBODY buys them at the big box stores. Also, none of these recommendations apply. Cheap mountain bikes are cool for casual fun, but nothing more. The author should been way more specific about the context in the title. Watch this for fun info on what you are buying into: https://youtu.be/yotOZVELSMc

    Reply
  3. This article for a list the worse mountain bikes brands to buy, is just confusing. I make statement because I think that.it would have been easier just mention model of the brand that should be avoided rather than mentioning good brands manufacturers who produce inferior bikes. Or, why not just day some bikes look like mountain bikes but they’re really just road hybrids- which really shouldn’t used on a mountain bike track or circuit.

    Reply
  4. This is a terrible article. Sorry, no way around it.
    Most of your recommendations are laughable and don’t apply to any decent bike worth riding off road.
    Non adjustable suspension? At least 21 gears?
    The list of worst brands is also not quite there. Mongoose is a household name in BMX, and diamondback makes very decent and affordable bikes. Can’t argue on the rest.
    Please consult an expert if you’re writing an article about a topic you’re not that familiar with. Good intentions are not enough to inform people.
    For anyone looking for information on the topic, you’re much better off watching this: https://youtu.be/K882pvG395w

    Reply
  5. I have not seen wear indicators on any of my mid level bikes. Most quality bikes now are 1x drivetrain and do not have 18+gears and they are great for riding. Everybody wants adjustable shocks that will provide squish when you want and need, as in say rock gardens. Tires sure can be one of the first upgrades, but I have never seen one just explode for no reason. Disc brakes are awesome, but rim brakes are fine if you just road riding. Now, to the meat of the article…. Diamondback has some dang good bikes, worthy of any entry level riding. Same with Mongoose that I got from a box store and it served extremely well as my first trail bike. Next is a solid nope! The others I am unfamiliar with. Bottom line, after you ride some and understand what you like, then buy the best bike you can within your budget. Look at upgrade potential in year or so. There is a huge used market and you will need to be smart about it and do your research. But, you can get a good deal for a used that is better than a new basic entry bike, still at a substantial price increase thou. Enjoy the ride.

    Reply
  6. A comprehensive list of Walmart bike brands and other department store brands. I was questioning the comment about diamondback, because they do make some great high end bikes, mongoose too and even Schwinn, but reading huffy and NEXT told me your blinders are on bikes at the big box store as all those brands have bikes sold under their brand there. Maybe, instead of looking for brands, how about going to a local bike shop and speak with them directly. They will point you right to the right bike for you, size you and send you out the door with a maintenance plan for it, and even invite you on group rides (all things that Walmart can’t do).

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