You don't need to spend thousands of pounds to get a good mountain bike ripe for razzing the trails, under £1,000 will get you a capable hardtail and even a good full susser or two from some budget brands. We have been testing a variety of bikes that all cost less than £1,000, here are the cream of the crop with these top bikes all having scored 3.5 stars or above.
[Updated 19th October 2019]
The best bikes for under £1000
£399 (with discount card)
The Calibre Two Cubed manages to pack in a sweet riding frame and cracking spec that really does belie the asking price, though to get it under £500 you'll need a Go Outdoors discount card for a mere fiver. There's very little complain about at this money, with a decent quality Shimano 27spd drivetrain and RockShox fork with 100mm of travel up front.
The Voodoo Bizango is the totally sorted hardtail that’s ruled the roost for a few seasons at this price point. Over the years, Voodoo has added a smaller 16” size to fit shorter riders, lowered the top tube for more room to move and changed the aluminium frame’s blend for a smoother ride. One thing they’ve never done though is mess with the excellent value and impressive ride quality. The Bizango is a nimble, well-balanced package that’s not only fun, it rides and steers like a proper trail bike on flatter trails. With the basics nailed down, for a tad over £500 this Voodoo is simply a killer deal anyone can enjoy riding.
Forme's Curbar 1 offers a load of fun for not a lot of money, with respectably modern handling and kit that does the trick largely without issue. Serious off-roaders will need some more aggressive rubber in the short term to make the most of the trail geometry and long term upgrades should include the fork and brakes, but it's a solid platform to start with.
While the Curbar 1 has some stiff competition - Voodoo's £725 Bizango being the particular elephant in this room, along with Calibre's budget offerings - the bike acquits itself well on handling and performance, meaning it's a worthy option if you want to have a lot of mountain fun without a whole lot of money.
The new Rockrider AM100 from Decathlon looks a great bike on paper but on the trail, it’s fantastic, a riot of fun and hugely capable. Modern geometry gifts this sub-£1,000 hardtail great handling and the parts package is all top-notch with no real weaknesses, with the dropper post being especially rare at this price.
Buy now from Decathlon
If you’re after a do-it-all hardtail ready for rough and tumble riding, then the Vitus Sentier 29 VR hits the spot with a solid and well-thought-out spec for the cash and confidence inspiring handling paired to the big wheels. While the aluminium frame isn’t the most comfortable thing out there, budget for a dropper post and you'll have a superb ride.
Whyte’s affordable 605 hardtail might not break the bank, but when it comes to on-trail performance it blows most rivals out of the water thanks to a frame sporting bang-up-to-date geometry and well-chosen components. All in all the Whyte 605 is hugely impressive for the money. Yes, you can buy bikes at this price point that come with much better bits bolted to them, the bendy coil sprung fork and lightly treaded tyres being the ones you might feel most keenly, the latter especially in the winter.
However, if you’re looking at as the bike as a complete package then it’s bloody hard to beat. If you want a bike that’s going to allow you to push your riding onwards, boost your confidence both uphill and down and you aren’t fussed about what’s written on the components then the Whyte is a superb machine - and not just by the standards of ‘budget’ bikes.
Marin's Bobcat Trail 3 manages to both look and ride like a much more expensive bike than it is, with a quality frame and geometry that comes from the 'proper trail bike' book to deliver a really capable ride. Compromises in the drivetrain and suspension to get it on budget are apparent, but it's still a solid machine that delivers a lot of fun for not much cash.
Not strictly under £1000, but use a Go Outdoors discount card and this bike comes in at £900, give or take a penny. The Calibre Ladies Bossnut V2
is the women’s version of the regular Bossnut V2, a 130mm trail bike from Go Outdoors. The full suspension mountain bike brings bounce at both ends to the masses at a very reasonable price and with great performance too. As it is the ladies Bossnut V2 is an ideal bike choice for an introduction to mountain biking; it doesn’t cost the earth, the components are well thought out and reliable and the geometry will suit a majority of riders from beginners to those gaining experience.
We'll be updating this list as we test out more great bikes under £1,000, so check back soon for those. If there's a bike you'd like to see reviewed, let us know in the comments below.
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