Through online stores and direct buy brands, you can buy a fair few mountain bikes online and get them shipped straight to your door. Most assure buyers of a full build and safety check prior to shipping to your home address too, meaning all you have to do is jump on and ride. Here are the best bikes, scoring over 4 stars, that we have tested and that you can get posted to you.
[Updated 25th September 2020]
The best mountain bikes you can get shipped direct
This is one mighty long list, some of these bikes are from direct buy brands, whilst others are bought and shipped by online retailers. For ease, we've split the bikes by price category so either scroll away or hit the link to a bike directly below and jump straight to that choice.
Strictly speaking, this bike should be in the under £1,000 category, but given the £525 price it's much better placed here we think, we don't reckon many will quibble over the extra £25 even on a 500 pound budget. 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.
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 from Halfords in store and online this Voodoo is simply a killer deal.
Available on Wiggle or Chain Reaction Cycles and shipped direct to your door, the Vitus Sentier 29 VR is do-it-all hardtail ready for rough and tumble riding. It 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. Get one online from Rutland Cycling or Wheelbase for example
If you’ve got £2,000 to spend on a new bike and want a good all-round trail bike, you could do a lot worse than consider Merida’s One-Twenty 600, available online from Tredz. The 120mm travel 29er is a well-specced option with good geometry and suspension that combines to provide very good trail manners whether grinding up or slashing down.
Available online from Halfords, our Jon reckons, Boardman's new MTR 8.9 manages to deliver the amazing value their full suspension range has always offered, but performance is now a step up thanks to revised geometry and suspension. It's not just a good bike for the money; it's a bike that's more than capable of shaming machines double or triple the price making it well worth a look.
We reckon you could build this decently priced Cotic Soul up for well under 2k! This trail hardtail has a rich history and somewhat of a cult following, but this fifth-generation model brings it bang up to date with stretched-out 'Longshot' geometry and all mod cons, despite the retro skinny steel looks. It's extremely versatile, hugely capable and a proper hoot to ride, though a steeper seat angle would really help it shine on climbs.
The Sonder Transmitter in this NX1 Revelation spec is an aluminium trail hardtail with impressive geometry and some good looks, with some obvious thought put into the frame. It is beaten by other bigger brands when it comes to value though, leaving us to make a decision between aggressive geometry or better parts. Alpkit brand Sonder ship around the UK and to Europe too.
Again shipping from Chain Reaction Cycles or Wiggle, the Vitus Sentier 27 VRS is a 27.5" hardtail with plenty of bang for your buck. This one proved to be a fun trail bike at a very reasonable price, it’s not the most aggressive bike you’ll ever sit on but it's an entertaining ride and the spec updates made in 2019 are great upgrades.
If you want a light and fast hardtail for getting into mountain biking that can handle everything from just riding to cross-country racing, and don’t want to spend an absolute fortune, the Rose Count Solo 3 is a very appealing choice. It’s also, in our opinion, a very good looking bike with a cracking paint job.
The Rose Count Solo delivers a very impressive performance for the price but it’s not exactly very progressive when it comes to geometry. If you’re in the market for a hardtail for cross-country and gravel riding and not railing descents, there’s a lot to like. If you want more aggro there are more suitable choices. If you are feeling flush, the Count Solo 4 (£1,269.69) gets an upgraded Shimano XT groupset, and propping up the range is the cheapest Count Solo (£725.15) with Shimano Deore, all using the same underlying frame and key features.
The Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 7.0 is a cross-country racer with winning intentions that will be easier on your wallet than its competitors and can provide you with just as much speed.
If you are set on pushing your limits on the cross country course then the Grand Canyon will be a good partner. It’s not radically different from other XC bikes on the market and it doesn’t break the mould in terms of geometry, but with the help of the 110mm fork on the Grand Canyon, its slacker than other XC hardtails which I think can only be a good thing and with the release of the Canyon Lux it appears the brand is thinking in terms of more progressive geometry. As ever with Canyon, though, the spec list and price is the thing that will make it stand out from the crowd.
Specialized's Chisel Comp X1 is a cross-country racing machine that delivers a solid spec for the money. On paper, it might struggle to match direct-sales rivals, but it makes up for that with a truly impressive ride quality and sorted, if old-school handling for anyone that wants to cover ground, quickly.
Also available shipped from Tredz, the Merida One-Sixty 600 is the most affordable model in Merida’s 160mm travel range but there are no shortcuts. It’s packing some decent equipment and the performance is nothing short of impressive, though it could stand to lose a bit of weight if we are being super critical and we’d love to see a compression/climb switch on the rear shock.
It might not have the desirability or cool factor of many rivals in this category, but judged solely on its performance the One-Sixty 600 has a lot to offer. Add in the excellent value for money and easy availability in the UK, and you have a thoroughly appealing choice.
This is in the category 'also worth a look' as we have only had time for a 'first ride' on this bike, rather than a full review, Bird ship fully built bikes from their base near Hamsterly.
From our first impressions though, we reckon this bike might score highly, with our tester saying: "The Aeris 145 is some serious bang-for-your-buck bike. With far superior (than many) geometry, the ability to customise your ride, a lifetime warranty and at a significantly cheaper price point than many other, sub-par, big boy brands, the Aeris 145 should certainly be on your radar for a real world trail slaying weapon."
With builds starting at £2,082 it's well within the under 3K price bracket too.
Available direct from Shand in Scotland, the Shug lands itself in the 'best for under 3k' category as the frame and fork come in from £1,795 but we think for a half-decent build to do this frame justice, you'll be looking at just under 3k.
The Shand Shug is an aggressive short travel, steel hardtail hero that we’d be very happy to have in our bike stable. The progressive geometry will see you tackling techy terrain and the beautifully made frame will no doubt be the awe of all your friends. If you have the cash to spare the Shug will be an excellent trail bike for those who love the feel of riding steel and like to thrash a hardtail on any type of trail.
As for the Shand above, the Ritchey Ultra frameset sits in the under 3k category as we reckon you might spend a pretty penny building this one up. This frame is a gorgeous steel hardtail that operates as a lithe and engaging cross-country and trail bike. It’s fast and fun on all sorts of trails from fast and flowing to tight and technical, the steel frame looks after you on rough terrain but isn’t negatively flexy, and the big tyres provide stacks of traction and bump absorption. It’s just a huge amount of fun.
The Marin Hawk Hill 3 is a 120mm full susser that can hold its own with the big bikes, is well specced and comes in at a very reasonable price too. It’s hard to fault this versatile bike, whilst not ground breaking in terms of design or geometry it does its job of being a fun and capable trail bike very well indeed. Get it online from somewhere like Tredz.
The Trek Remedy 7 is a long travel trail bike that sets a great standard for this category of bike. It’s reasonably well priced too, providing a nimble ride that will put a smile on your face. It's probably not the fastest bike you'll ride but it is a lot of fun! You can get one from Evans Cycles online.
Direct buy brand Canyon kick things off with their Lux CF SL 8.0 Race. It's is a super high value and blisteringly quick cross-country race bike that can also take some rapid trail riding in its stride. The suspension and geometry work well for the intended task but the Gripshifter is a very odd component choice that undermines control and needs changing.
Another direct buy brand Ribble, drops into our list of best trail bikes. The Ribble HT Ti is a thing of beauty, but this titanium hardtail isn’t just about looks – it's got substance, thanks to progressive geometry that puts it firmly in the ‘enduro’ camp. A few spec choices seem at odds with the build and there's a steel version that makes this one look pricey, but if you're a sucker for titanium and hard, fast trails, you’ll want to take this bike for a ride.
Not a direct buy brand, but you can get a Merida shipped to you home from the online portion of the shop Tredz. Merida's eOne-Sixty 10K sits at the very top of the brand's long-travel e-bike range, with a carbon fibre front end with integrated 500Wh battery driving a Shimano motor and mismatched size wheels. It's got handling that strikes the right balance between agility and outright stability, but harder or heavier riders might find the rear end too willing to give up the travel if they want to push their limits.
You can buy Cotic bikes, either as a frame only or in one of the specs offers at a range of prices. Our Rach had a Cotic Rocket frame on long term test frame has ridden some hard miles, raced a bit of enduro and tested a lot of components on it. She says its been an awesome long travel partner especially seeing as this 2019 bike got the progressive Longshot geometry treatment.
Canyon's totally reworked Strive CFR 9.0 Team is an extremely rapid and long-legged trail and enduro bike that impresses with a much-improved travel and geometry adjusting Shapeshifter system paired to big wheels. It's not the most radical shaped enduro rig out there, but it's blisteringly quick, versatile and excellent value nonetheless.
The Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon is a sleek, light and very useable take on the e-bike. The motor might be less powerful than most, but it also has far less mass to push, it's smooth and the battery lasts really well. The spec – in particular the fork – holds it back on rowdy trails and the geometry verges on dated, but for flowy trails and long adventures, the 'superlight' e-bike concept is a winner.
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