Best Mountain Bikes for Older Riders under $400 – Full Suspension Bikes

Cycling can be a great low impact activity for older people.  It provides light exercise whilst also getting yourself out of the house and meeting with friends and family.  We’ve researched what makes a mountain bike suited for older riders and picked out our best mountain bike for older riders that include the features that an expert has recommended.

Did you know that around 20 million bikes are purchased every year in the US?  Cycling is on the rise, as it provides a lot of health benefits as well as social benefits.

Hopefully this post will help answer your questions.  By clicking on some of the drop downs for the answers to the questions.

Are There Specific Mountain Bikes for Older Riders?

As far as our research went we couldn’t find any mountain bikes that were originally designed for an older rider.

However, there are certain components that make a bike more ‘friendly’ for the older generation.

I’ve put that in quotes because I’m sure some of the older riders would be able to beat me in a vertical climb race.

We’ll go into detail on all of the parts later but as an older rider I would recommend looking for a bike with dual suspension, raised handlebars, comfy seat, wide range of gears, disc brakes, and some tires with great traction.

From researching those were the main outcomes that would make a bike more suited to an older person.  Like I’ve mentioned we’ll go into detail on all of those parts in the ‘What makes a mountain bikes suitable for an older rider’ dropdown.

Specific Mountain Bike Brands to look out for?

As for specific bike brands.  Brands such as Schwinn, Raleigh, Diamonback are three very well known bike brands in the US that are known for there quality.  They wouldn’t be the top brands for so many if they didn’t provide high quality bikes at affordable prices.

In terms of choosing between the three.  It’s all down to preference of the bike it self.  From previous experience in buying a bike from each of the three manufactures I’ve not had a problem with any.

What About the Other Brands on Sites like Amazon?

If you go on amazon and type in mountain bikes you’ll be brought back dozens of different bike brands you’ve never heard of.  In fact some of them I’ve never heard of to this day.

There’s a reason for so many more options in the market today.  And that’s mainly down to the price of bike parts which have come down quite significantly over the recent years.  Meaning more room for competition.

More competition isn’t always a bad thing though.  It’s meant that the top brands have had to increase their quality to stay competitive.

So Why not Buy from an Off Brand?

There isn’t anything wrong from buying from another brand that I haven’t mentioned.  I’m sure there are a lot of high quality mountain bikes out there.  But the primary reason why I haven’t is down to customer service if anything was to go wrong.

With the main brands they’ve been established for many years so if something was to go wrong you know they’ll be in business and will help you out.

What Makes a Mountain Bike Suitable for an Older Rider?

I said we’d go into detail.  You don’t need all of these parts on your new mountain bike.  But we hope that we’ll be able to make you decide if you need any of the following parts, and put you in the right direction for making an informed decision.

Raised handlebars: Again as an older rider you don’t want to be leaning forwards trying to reach the handlebars.  So you can raise the handlebars on your bike to a more comfortable riding position.  If you can’t raise them enough then you can look at getting an raised handlebar extender from sites such as amazon which will increase the height even more.

Comfy seat: Primarily down to the comfort situation.  Having a comfy seat whether this is a seat with memory foam padding or a seat with suspension.  It’d be difficult finding a mountain bike with a suspension seat.  However, you can pick one up fairly cheap on the internet which will help reduce the impact from any bumps or uneven surfaces you’re travelling on.

Wide range of gears: More gears mean that you’ll have a wider gear ratio which ultimately makes pedaling easier as long as you’re in the right gear.  More gears are suited to people with less strength in their legs.  It’ll make climbing hills easy whilst being able to get to higher speeds on the flat surfaces.

Disc brakes: It’s commonly known that as you get older your reaction time decreases.  It sure as to me.  I wish I still had the same reaction times that I had 20 years ago.  But why does this mean disc brakes will be better for you?  Well disc brakes compared to the older style linear pull brakes offer a huge increase in stopping power.  Meaning that you’ll stop a lot quicker.  Stopping quicker is sometimes necessary so having disc brakes will help keep you safer on the roads and trails.

Tires with great traction: A study found that tires with better traction are easier to handle and steer.  This is because the tire grips to the terrain your riding on.  As an older rider I’d want to make sure that I have the maximum grip to keep from sliding when I turn corners.  Normally this will also result in using slightly wider tires.  And wider tires means that it will absorb more of the impact from bumps in the roads, which again leads to increased comfort.

Other Types of Bikes you Should Consider?

From my cycling journeys I’ve seen older people use two other types of bikes other than the mountain bike.

First off the Hybrid Bike which is known as the hybrid bike because it was designed by combining both the mountain bike and the road bike.  It takes the comfort upright riding position from the mountain bike and combines it with the lightweight and fast rolling wheels on the road bike.  It’s a great bike if you plan on using the bike for light single track and trail use.  But also plan on using it on the road or paved surfaces.

Secondly the Comfort Bike which is primarily designed for leisure use.  Is also designed for maximum comfort.  You’ll find suspension seats, a dual suspension frame, wider tires for added comfort.  As well as the frame having front and rear suspension you’ll also find that a lot of the comfort bikes have low step-through frames making it easier to mount and dismount the bike.

A comfort bike is a great alternative to the mountain bike for older riders as long as you only plan on using it for short distance riding, which mainly consists of leisure use to the local shops and riding around your local town.

Mongoose Status 2.2

Mongoose Status 2.2

The mongoose status 2.2 is a full suspension mountain bike which’ll absorb a lot of the impacts from bumps in the road.

We spoke about having a high number of gears to make pedaling easier.  Well the mongoose comes with a 21 gears.  With a high quality shimano range rear derailleur which will help keep those gears changes nice and smooth.

It’s a standard 26 inch wheel mountain bike.  With 2.125 inch wide wheels for ultimate control.  The tires will roll over many surfaces whilst keeping you in control.

Riser handlebars help you get the perfect height so you won’t be leaning forward to much.

Unfortunately at this price point you won’t be getting front and rear disc brakes.  Instead you get front and rear v brakes which provide a good level of stopping power.

The seat included is just a standard seat you’d find on a lot of mountain bikes.  But this can easily be swapped out for a comfier seat if you find it uncomfortable.

Schwinn Protocol 1.0

Schwinn Protocol 1.0

The Schwinn offers a lightweight aluminium frame that also includes both front and rear suspension.  A slight upgrade to the mongoose in our pick, the Schwinn comes with a 24 speed shifter instead of the 21.  However, you won’t notice much difference between 21 and 24 gears.

Front disc brake and rear alloy v brake provide a good amount of stopping power in all conditions.

Whilst the knobby mountain bike tires provide excellent grip and cushion the bumps from the uneven surfaces quite well.

Only a front disc brake.  If you was putting a disc brake on the front.  It would make more sense to include a rear disc brake as well.

Once again at this price you won’t be getting a ‘comfy seat’  but one can be purchased for a low price and swapped out for well under the price of looking for a mountain bike with a comfy seat attached.

Unusual spoke layout may not be suited for heavier riders

Mongoose Impasse

Mongoose Impasse

The Impasse is an upgraded version to the mongoose status that we’ve reviewed.  The 21 speed shifter provides a good range of gear ratio’s for all terrain types.

As well as the aluminium frame being lightweight, strong and durable.

Both front and rear suspensions provide a comfortable ride whilst reducing the impacts of the uneven surfaces you’ll be riding over.

The main upgrade to the mongoose status is that the mongoose impasse comes with front and rear disc brakes.  They provide great stopping power on all terrains.

Handlebars may be slightly low with the frame geometry.  This can easily be solved with an handlebar raiser but unless you are tall you will probably get away with the height.

James Dawson

After learning how to ride a bicycle much later than all the other kids, James Dawson hasn't looked back. The author now actively rides a bicycle as a part of the community cycling group and competes regularly in local competitions. Aside from that, he loves technology and always keeps up to date with the latest cycling tech.