The New Hiland 29 Inch Mountain Bike: What’s Changed – Is It Better?
As many of our dedicated readers know, Hiland has been one of the most popular entry level mountain bike brands for a long time. This s why we have made them one of our top priorities in terms of researching, and riding any new bikes that they come out with. The all new Hiland 29 inch mountain bike was released on August 3rd of this year and over the past few days we have been meticulously riding and inspecting every aspect of this new addition to the Hiland lineup. Previously, the largest wheeled mountain bike that Hiland produced was the Hiland 27.5 inch, which was our number one overall pick of the Hiland bikes that we reviewed. This is a great utility bike and with the 27.5 inch tires and adjustable seat it is a good in between bike, however, for our taller team members, and those looking to ride just a bit faster, the smaller wheels were somewhat underwhelming. Enter the brand new Hiland 29 inch mountain bike!
Hiland 29 Inch Mountain Bike Review
The new Hiland 29 inch mountain bike is designed for a more ambitious rider in mind. With larger wheels this new Hiland brand bike can accommodate a taller and more sophisticated rider, while also being suitable for a more entry level mountain biker. Additionally, if you are well versed in physics and momentum, you will know that a larger diameter wheel will give you a distinct speed advantage. While the larger wheel will not actually spin faster, they will make your bike move at a faster pace, and have more momentum to continue moving further after you stop pedaling. If you would like to learn more about the physics of a bicycle wheels be sure to read this excellent article by Exploratorium.edu which gives a high level overview of how bicycle tires work, and how different size tires perform differently .
This was one of the distinct differences that we noticed when comparing the Hiland 26 inch MTB, the Hiland 27 inch MTB, and the new Hiland 29 inch MTB. While riding the new 29 inch Hiland we immediately felt the difference in wheel size; the new Hiland was more challenging to start from a dead stop however once we got the bike going it felt as though we did not even need to pedal. Over the course of this in depth review of the new Hiland 29 inch mountain bike we will go over our experience with the bike, from purchase and assembly, to our time riding this mountain bike over the last few days since it first became available to purchase.
Purchase and assemble: Easy, but Not the Best in the World
Like with most mountain bikes that we purchase from amazon buying the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike was a relatively straight forward task. After purchasing our Hiland 29 inch MTB on the 4th of August, we received our new mountain bike nine days later on the 13th, a somewhat slow shipping time. Since it has arrived we have assembled and ridden the new bike and will be sharing all of our experiences with you throughout the rest of this review.
Assembly of the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike was similar to the other Hiland MTB’s that we have reviewed. Like most of their lineup the Hiland 29 inch comes almost fully assembled which is certainly a plus for anyone who doesn’t have much experience working with bikes. If you have ever tried to put together a mountain bike from scratch you know that it can be tedious, complicated and frustrating, so having your new Hiland come almost fully assembled it’s a great feature. Obviously our team here at Mountain Bikes Lab has a great deal of experience putting together bikes so assembling the Hiland 29 inch MTB took us all of 30 minutes.
This is probably a bit unrealistic for someone who does not work in the biking industry and we would estimate that it would take a nonprofessional up to two hour to assemble this bike, if following the helpful instructions provided to you by Hiland. Another good feature is that the tools needed for assembly are included with the purchase of your bike. This is a pretty standard practice for all box bikes however the tools included are never high quality. When building the Hiland 29 inch bike we first put the bike together using our own set of professional grade tools, this took us around 30 minutes.
We then took apart the bike and rebuilt it using the tools Hiland provided and while it was not a bad experience it did take up around 45 minutes, a significant increase. If you have your own set of tools at home we strongly recommend using those instead, or if you are looking for a set of mountain bike tools please read our guide on the best tools on the market.
First Rides: City Roads and Flat Ground
Whenever we purchase a new entry level mountain bike here at mountain bikes lab we first ride it on asphalt and concrete roads and sidewalks. This is because we know that if you are looking to buy a beginner bike you are most likely going to be using it for reasons other than exclusively mountain biking. Knowing that the bike you buy can handle the everyday wear and tear of commuting or simply riding around your city is very important to know before you decide to purchase a new bike.
Our first ride on the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike was a short but was 1 mile sprint around a local track, going fast is one the best parts of mountain biking but you never want your first time going top speed on a bike to be down a dangerous trail. We always like to do this 1 mile speed circuit as our first ride because it gives us a great feel for how the bike will accelerate and how it will feel maintaining a high speed for a decent amount of time.
Due to its larger wheel size the Hiland 29 inch MTB is certainly more difficult to get up to its top speed. Even with the 21 speed drive train when starting from a dead stop this bike took a bit of effort to get moving. However once after about 50 yards we had picked up great speed and it was smooth sailing after that. The great part about large wheels is that once you are going your momentum will keep carrying you forward with less effort than smaller wheels. Over the smooth track the bikes suspension felt great, no unnecessary bumping or jerking and although we didn’t need multiple speeds, when shifting up and down gear the drivetrain was smooth and responsive.
The next ride we took the Hiland 29 inch MTB through the city on a 7 mile urban route. These longer rides are great because you get to know your bike a bit more intimately while still not risking taking your bike on a difficult off road adventure. We got a better sense of how the bike rode over terrain, and a more nuanced experience with the comfort and quality of the riding performance. As with the track ride, while on urban roads and sidewalks the hardtail suspension fork performed well giving us a smooth, if somewhat mundane riding experience. For an entry level bike this suspension was better than expected, but obviously if you are looking to invest a couple hundred dollars on a high end fork you will get a far better ride.
In terms of the comfort the generic Hiland brand seat was surprisingly decent and was as comfortable as some of the seats we have ridden on more high level bikes. It was not the more high quality however and we fear that after sustained use the cushion may wear down rather quickly. If this does happen be sure to read our guide on How to make your bike seat more comfortable.
Over the course of this 7 mile ride we went through the entire range of speeds on the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike and were pleasantly surprised. Shifting remained smooth and controlled even on the more rugged parts of our trip and the chain only came off its gear once as we were shifting while going off of a steep curb. Shifting while going up large obstacles is never recommended and although the Hiland 29 inch MTB does have Shimano derailleurs we would still err on the side of caution when changing speeds.
Overall our urban riding experience with the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike was certainly a positive one. Whether at high or low speeds the Hiland rode smooth and consistently and only had real trouble when trying to pick up speed for a dead stop. This is to be expected as larger wheels take more power to get moving however to be thorough we needed to mention it. Now on to our time riding this bike on the trail!
Off Road Experience: The Good and the Bad
After a couple of urban rides to get a feel for the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike and get ourselves a bit more familiar with its riding performance we took our new mountain bike to some trails in southern California to see how it would fare off road. This is an entry level mountain bike so decided the only fair way to test it would be if we took it on entry level trails because with the components that the Hiland 29 inch MTB comes with there is no chance it would fare well on hardcore downhill mountain biking trails.
The three trails we took the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike on were rated two easy (green circle), and one moderate difficulty (blue square). These are trails that should be suitable for an entry level mountain bike, and you can read more about trail difficulty symbols from the International Mountain Biking Association here.
First the Good
When riding the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike on both the two easy, and moderate difficulty trails we had a great experience. As with the urban rides the hardtail suspension for help up surprisingly well and we were quite comfortable while riding. Additionally, because of the large tires we were able to pick up some great speed while doing downhill which made for an exhilarating riding experience.
Although the trails that we took this mountain bike on were not the most technical in the world there was certainly some terrain to deal with and some decently sharp turns. The mechanical disc brakes which were very dependable on the road still performed decently on the trails however as with all trail braking there was a bit of a falloff in performance when compared to the street. After a bit of riding on the trail however we got more comfortable riding this bike off road and were able to ride this bike very well.
The Shimano derailleurs also performed admirably over the rugged terrain, allowing us to switch speeds quickly throughout our ride. This model is not the most high end Shimano derailleur, however it is still made by the well-respected Shimano manufacturers and gave us pretty good performance.
Now for the Bad
Thankfully there are not too many bad things to discuss about the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike however there are certainly a few areas where this bike does not perform very well. As we said before getting this bike up to speed is a bit more difficult due to the larger wheels and this is especially true while mountain biking. Mountain biking involved much more changes from downhill to uphill and with the larger wheels going uphill can be a bit difficult. If you are proficient in changing speeds and shifting this will not present too much of a problem, however if you are new to multi speed bikes there will definitely be more of a learning curve than with a 26 or 27.5 inch bike.
Additionally, when shifting while riding over rugged terrain we had some slight issues with de-chaining, although this was easily remedied by not changing speeds except on more level terrain. As with the other issue this is not a huge problem but will take some getting used to for a new rider. We were also able to greatly diminish this issue by readjusting the derailleur however if you have this problem we recommend taking your bike to a professional mechanic to have them adjust it for.
Our Teams Rating and Finals thoughts on the Hiland 29 Mountain Bike
When rating an entry level mountain bike it is only fair that you compare it to other entry level mountain bikes. With that being said, after riding this bike numerous times and over a variety of elevations and terrain, our team feels that this bike is an 8.5 out of 10. It is one of the better entry level bikes that we have ridden and it has the high quality components that give it an edge over other beginner bikes in terms of performance. For the price you are paying the Hiland 29 inch mountain bike will serve you well as an entry level bike and we feel that there are few better option for a beginner. This is more of a hybrid between and road and mountain bike, and you will be able to ride it every day with no issues if you so desire. With a durable frame and high quality components the Hiland 29 inch MTB can withstand the wear and tear of daily use while also acting as a great entry bike into the world of true downhill mountain biking. We would recommend this bike to someone looking to purchase a new ride that can function both as a day-to-day commuter bike as well as an entry level mountain bike. As always we hope you enjoyed this review, check out our Hiland Brand Guide if you are looking to learn more about the company that is changing the game for entry level mountain bikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall should I be to ride the Hiland 29er?
The recommended height for the Hiland 29er, or Hiland 29 inch, mountain bike is between 6’ and 6’ 3” however, anyone taller than 5’8” should have no trouble riding this bike with the adjustable seat height.
Where are Hiland bike made?
Hiland, which was founded over 20 years ago, currently produces its bikes in China and exports them to over 60 countries around the world.
Is Hiland a good mountain bike brand?
Hiland bikes are known for being high quality and affordable entry level mountain bikes. Although they will not give you the same level of performance as a high end bike manufacturer, for the price you are paying Hiland is a great company. As always though we want to be clear that Hiland is an ENTRY level mountain bike, and you should not be expecting any Hiland brand mountain bike to be able to handle intense downhill mountain biking trails.
Physics of a bicycles tire: https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro
Mountain Biking Trail Guide: https://www.imba.com/resource/trail-difficulty-rating-system
- Hiland 29 Inch Mountain Bike Review
- Frequently Asked Questions