- If you want a lighter bike that is fast on a smooth trail, get a hardtail bike such as the Trek Marlin bike.
- If you want a heavier bike that you can ride on rough terrain, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO is better.
- The Ibis Ripmo V2 is somewhere between the two.
- No bike is good for everything. A heavier bike that can handle harsher trails is usually not as fast on an easier trail.
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All-terrain bikes can handle rough trails that would be way too bumpy for a road bike. What are the best bikes for all-terrain?
The Ibis Ripmo V2 XT is my favorite all-terrain bike. The suspension is powerful enough that I can ride it downhill on a bumpy trail, and it also works well on easier trails. The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, Trek Marlin, and Diamondback Mission 2C Carbon are all good choices.
I own a few mountain bikes and I have tried many others. I have tried all of the bikes I recommend on trails and they all perform very well and are fun to ride.
The Best All-Terrain Bikes You Can Buy in 2022
Ibis Ripmo V2 XT
Reasons to Buy
- Excellent suspension
- Good for going up and down hills
- Very fun to ride
- Available as frame only
- Not quite as good for downhill riding as a true enduro bike
- Possibly not enough of an improvement over the Ibis Ripmo AF
The Ibis Ripmo V2 XT is great for going either up or down hills. Some bikes that have powerful suspension systems are not good for climbing. However, the Ibis has a lot of suspension travel (147mm/160mm) and still performs well when climbing hills.
When heading downhill, the Ibis is even more impressive. You can fearlessly go fast and the bike will remain stable. It is a great bike for an adventurous rider.
Performance On Rough Terrain
While this Ibis isn't quite an enduro bike, it can handle rocky ground. It is a middle ground between enduro bikes (for downhill rides and particularly difficult terrain) and trail bikes (more general-purpose). The Ibis performs best with large 29-inch wheels.
Available As a Frame Only
If you want, you can buy only the frame and put the bike together yourself. You can get whatever wheels, gears, and brakes you want and attach them to the very strong carbon frame.
However, you probably won't be able to get a complete bike of similar quality for much cheaper this way. Only order the frame only if you want to make a custom bike with the parts you want.
High Fun Factor
More than anything else, the Ibis Ripmo V2 is a joy to ride. It is almost as powerful as an Enduro bike but is not as heavy.
It is great if you want a very rugged bike that still works as a general-purpose trail bike. It can handle high speeds and rocky ground without feeling too heavy on flat ground.
Is the Ibis Ripmo V2 Worth the Money?
In my experience, the Ibis Ripmo V2 is a great bike. However, one could argue that it is not much better than the Ibis Ripmo AF, which is significantly cheaper.
The biggest difference is that the Ibis has a superior carbon frame, making it lighter and more durable than the aluminum Ibis Ripmo AF. The suspension also has slightly more travel, and there is a longer wheelbase, a slacker head tube, and some other small improvements.
Some reviewers say that the Ibis Ripmo V2 is significantly more nimble than the Ibis Ripmo AF, so it may be worth the money. The carbon frame may be significantly better and the small changes might add up to a big difference.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO
Reasons to Buy
- Particularly good for downhill rides on rough terrain
- Excellent handling
- Lots of room in the cockpit for tall riders
- Slack head tube angle is great for downhill riding
- Adjustable in many ways
- No real disadvantages
The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO is a true Enduro bike for genuinely rough trails. You can ride it down a mountain path with lots of rocks as long as you are a careful and skilled rider. Despite the bike's size, the front handling lets you make precise, controlled movements.
With 160mm of front and 150mm of rear suspension travel, even a drop won't hurt you. Especially with large wheels, you can easily ride over terrain features that you would have to avoid with other bikes.
If you get a large model, there is a lot of room in the cockpit, so even a taller rider will never hit their knees on the handlebars. Even at my height, there is plenty of room to spare. The bike comes in six different sizes.
Slack Head Tube Angle
The Stumpjumper has a slack head tube angle, which means that the front fork goes down on a slack angle and not a steep one. This has many advantages, such as:
- Keeps the wheels farther apart for better stability
- Better at absorbing the impact of bumps at high speeds
- Better for going around corners fast
- Makes you feel safer when going downhill because you don't feel like you are going to fall forward
- Significantly better for downhill riding
For an Enduro bike like the Stumpjumper, a slack head tube is certainly better. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as:
- Worse for turning very tight corners
- Worse for climbing hills
- Slower on flat terrain
- Somewhat worse handling
For a bike like the Stumpjumper, don't worry about the drawbacks. The slack head tube angle helps you ride downhill fast and you can still climb hills with the Stumpjumper if you pedal hard and use a low gear.
If you decide you don't like the slack head tube, you can adjust it and make it steeper. Another thing you can adjust is the bottom bracket height. If you lower it, you will lower the center of gravity, which makes it easier to turn corners without tipping over but can result in your pedals hitting the ground.
Trek Marlin Mountain Bike
Reasons to Buy
- High quality and reasonable price
- Internally routed brake and gear shift cables
- Lockable and powerful front suspension
- Fast on relatively easy trails
- Not good for bumpier trails
Not everyone wants a bike for the roughest trails they can find. Sometimes, the best trails in your area are smoother and less difficult. In that case, a hardtail mountain bike with front but not rear suspension is a good idea.
While the Marlin isn't great at high speeds on the roughest trails, it is fast. You can speed across dirt, gravel, and grass without getting tired for a long time. It is a light, fast bike for lighter and flatter trails, not a heavy bike for the harshest trails you can find.
The relatively basic suspension also makes the Marlin reasonably cheap. It costs about $1000 and it is efficient and durable enough for most people. Try the Marlin if you aren't ready for a bike that costs several thousand dollars.
Simple 1X Drivetrain
The Marlin has no front derailleur, so you can only change the gears on the back wheel of the bike. This keeps everything simple, as you don't have to know about how your bike performs with different combinations. You can simply shift into a lower or higher gear using a single shifter.
Despite the simplicity, the Marlin gives you all the gears you need. It can climb a steep hill on the lowest gear, or reach a high maximum speed on the highest. Eleven gears are more than enough for most people.
Powerful and Lockable Suspension
While there is no rear suspension, the front suspension is powerful. It is also lockable, so you can "turn off" your suspension if you don't want to use it. If you don't need your suspension, lock it to improve your pedaling power.
Smaller versions of the Marlin are also easy to mount and dismount for smaller riders. The curved top tube makes them easy to use.
The Marlin is in many ways comparable to a higher-priced bike. The brake cables and gear shift cables are routed inside the bike, which protects them from damage. There are also rack mounts for long biking adventures, a rear kickstand mount, and many different sizes to choose from.
Diamondback Mission 2C Carbon
Reasons to Buy
- Exceptional suspension
- Powerful brakes and tires with strong traction
- Durable frame
- Quality components
- No real disadvantages
The Diamondback Mission 2C Carbon offers an incredible 180mm of suspension travel on the front fork and 160mm at the back. You can use it for fast downhill rides on rough terrain.
The suspension is what really makes the 2C Carbon stand out. Both the front fork and the rear shock use compressed air suspension. This means you can adjust the bike for different terrain by raising/lowering the air pressure.
The frame is also made of high-tech carbon and is very durable. While the Mission 2C Carbon is fairly expensive, there is a good list of high-quality components. The bike is good enough for racing, so it is not expensive for its quality.
Performance on Different Types of Terrain
I have used the Mission 2C Carbon on many different types of terrain and it performs well wherever I take it. It works well uphill and downhill, on grass, dirt, gravel, bumpy ground, and sometimes even mud as long as it is shallow. It is not as fast as my road bike on pavement, but it still works reasonably well on the road.
Gears, Frame, and Components
The Mission 2C Carbon is a 1x12-speed bike that only changes gears at the back and not at the front. This gives you fewer gear ratios to choose from than a bike with 24 or more speeds, but the right gear ratios are present. You can climb a large hill off-road if you pedal hard and use one of the lowest gears.
The carbon frame is light, durable, and good enough for a bike of this price. The other parts, such as the SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, are quite good for the money as well. The Kindshok E201 dropper post allows you to raise and lower the seat easily, which you can control with buttons on the handlebars.
The Mission 2C Carbon has SRAM Code RSC rotors with 200mm Front rotors and 180mm Rear rotors. The powerful brakes plus wide tires (Maxxis DHR II 2.40 and Maxxis DHF 2.50) help the bike stop fast even if you are going downhill off-road. The Mission 2C Carbon also comes with a tool kit and a pump for the shock absorbers.
Why Get an All-Terrain Bike?
Sometimes, you want a sturdy bike that you can take anywhere. A fast bike that performs well in a city is not always good for off-road riding, where you need wider tires and a stronger frame.
Road bikes are very light, do not have suspension (suspension can slow a bike down), and have narrow tires. They are faster than all-terrain bikes but are too bumpy to ride on rough terrain.
All-terrain bikes have wider tires for control rather than narrow tires for speed. They use suspension, usually on both the front and the back of the bike, to minimize the impact of whatever you hit on a trail. A good all-terrain bike should be durable enough to use on trails without wearing out quickly.
Some All-Terrain Bikes Are Adjustable
No bike can be very good for every situation, but some mountain bikes perform reasonably well as road bikes. You may be able to lock the suspension, making the suspension not work at all.
Locking the suspension makes it easier to go up hills on pavement, where the suspension can slow you down. The suspension bobs up and down when you pedal, which makes pedaling inefficient. If you don't need the suspension, it is best if you can lock it.
You can also change the tires. Not every tire will fit on every wheel, but you can put a wider tire on your bike for trails and use a narrower tire for pavement. Mountain bikes do not have to perform poorly on the road.
Get a Bike That Fits You
You could have the best all-terrain bike in the world and not like riding it if it is too big or too small. You need to look at more than the size of the wheels - the position of the handlebars also matters, plus other things.
You might fall if you use a bike that is too big for you and move fast. If your bike is far too small for you, your knees will hit the handlebars. If your bike is only a little too small, your riding position will be poor and your bike won't handle as well as it should.
Types of All-Terrain Bikes
Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes
Full-suspension bikes are best for rough and bumpy trails. They have suspension on both the front and the back, minimizing impacts. The suspension does slow you down slightly.
Rigid Mountain Bikes
These are unusual mountain bikes without suspension. They are not as common as they used to be, because people want mountain bikes with shock absorbers.
However, they are still made today, and they are lighter and cheaper than mountain bikes with front or front and rear suspension. They can also be fast on smooth terrain.
Hardtail Mountain Bikes
Hardtail mountain bikes have suspension on the front but not the back of the bike. They are the middle ground between rigid and full-suspension mountain bikes. A bike without rear suspension may be cheaper than a similar bike with it.
Fat bikes are for terrain you usually wouldn't bike in, including snow. The tires are ultra-wide, so they work in mud, and on soft sand. The very wide tires make them perform somewhat poorly on other terrain.
Gravel bikes aim to be as fast as road bikes and as suitable for trails as mountain bikes. A gravel bike cannot work well as a mountain bike and be as fast as a road bike, so gravel bikes are somewhere in between. However, many people want a bike that is somewhere between the two.
Cross-country bikes are off-road bikes designed to be as fast as possible. You need the right kind of bike if you want to win cross-country races. Cross-country bikes are built for efficiency and competition and not only for recreational trail use.
Trail bikes (also known as all-mountain bikes) are similar to cross-country bikes but for harsher terrain. Some cross-country bikes can't handle the rougher trails that trail bikes can.
Enduro bikes are for even harsher terrain than trail / all mountain bikes. If you want to ride down a rocky mountain path, you may need an enduro bike.
Gravity/downhill bikes are for riding downhill at the highest speeds and on the roughest terrain. They need more powerful suspension systems than other bikes.
Important Features for All-Terrain Bikes
Most likely, you want a full-suspension bike or at least a hardtail bike for off-road riding. You probably won't like a rigid mountain bike. If you try a rigid mountain bike and a full-suspension bike, you will agree that suspension is better.
Some bike suspension has more "travel" than others. This means that the suspension can move a farther distance when it compresses to absorb the impact of a bump.
For example, if the front fork of a bike has "140mm of travel" it can compress by up to 140 millimeters. More travel means your bike can take harder bumps. Some types of bikes have more travel than others:
- Hardtail bikes may have 80mm to 100mm of travel
- Full-suspension and some hardtail mountain bikes may have 110mm to 130mm of travel
- Full-suspension mountain bikes known for being able to handle rough trails have 130mm to 150mm of travel
- Enduro bikes have 150mm to 170mm of travel
- Downhill bikes have 170 to more than 200mm of travel
An all-terrain bike needs to be durable, especially if it costs a lot of money. The frame, components, wheels, and tires should all be strong enough for off-road riding. There should be a warranty that protects you from the bike wearing out prematurely.
Nearly all mountain bikes used to have 26-inch wheels. Today, wheels vary a lot in size. If you are taller, I recommend 29-inch wheels or at least 27.5-inch wheels.
Bigger wheels can help you ride faster and get over obstacles more easily. However, smaller wheels are lighter and better in some situations. Anyone interested in dirt jumping should stick with classic 26-inch wheels.
The more gears your bike has, the more gear ratios you have to choose from. Some gear ratios are good for climbing hills without it being too hard to pedal, others are good for building up speed going downhill or riding on pavement.
If you put your bike in a lower gear, it is easier to pedal but your maximum speed is lower. Higher gears make it harder to pedal but increase your maximum speed.
Brakes are crucial for keeping you safe when riding fast on trails. You need brakes that can stop you on a dirt path and not only on pavement. Some tires also help you stop quickly by gripping the ground properly.
There are two main types of all-terrain bike brakes, mechanical disc brakes, and hydraulic brakes. Hydraulic brakes use fluid to stop your bike and are better than mechanical brakes which use calipers to squeeze the wheel and stop the bike. Get a bike with hydraulic brakes even if it is a bit more expensive.
If you have an efficient bike, then the energy you put into pedaling will make you move quickly. With an inefficient bike, pedaling hard won't get you going fast nearly as quickly. This is because the mechanical parts of cheaper bikes are not as good and waste energy.
Expensive bikes are usually better, but get a bike you can afford. While experts easily notice the difference between a great bike and a good one, beginners feel the difference less. You might start with a relatively cheap bike and then move on to an expensive one later on.