With a thousand dollars, can you really get a good mountain bike? Absolutely, you can, and to prove it we’ve put a handful of affordable mountain bikes to the test.
Around the $1000 mark, we think it’s best to buy an aluminum-framed hardtail mountain bike. There are still plenty of carbon fiber frames and full-suspension options around, but you get more for your money with a hardtail under $1000 when compared to the full suspension setups. Full suspension mountain bikes under $1000 tend to make too many compromises elsewhere to accommodate the price of the rear suspension fork.
In an attempt to help you find the perfect bike for your budget, we’ve rounded up and reviewed some of the best mountain bikes under $1000 for both men and women.
Below are the best mountain bikes to buy under $1000 that feature high-quality components distributed evenly throughout the build.
- 1 The Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000
- 1.1 1. Motobecane Fantom 29 Elite 29er Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 1.2 2. BXT Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
- 1.3 3. SAVADECK DECK300 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
- 1.4 4. Diamondback Bicycles Atroz Full Suspension Mountain Bike
- 1.5 5. Marin San Quentin 1 Mountain Bike
- 1.6 6. Orbea MX 10 29″ Mountain Bike
- 1.7 7. Marin Pine Mountain Bike
- 1.8 8. Liv Tempt 2 Mountain Bike
- 1.9 9. Giant Talon 27.5 3 Mountain Bike
The Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000
1. Motobecane Fantom 29 Elite 29er Hardtail Mountain Bike
Probably our favorite of the bunch, the Motobecane Fantom 29 Elite rides as comfortably as any hardtail mountain bike we’ve used. The 6061 Aluminum frame (hydroformed, of course) and ThruAxle Rochshox Recon Fork create a ride experience that rivals that of bikes twice the price of this.
Motobecane describes the frame as “kind of like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider, beautiful and tough”, and in fairness, we couldn’t agree more. The aluminum frame geometry is more comfortable than it is aggressive, but still has that attacking feel to it on downhill corners.
It feels like it should be more expensive than it is. This 2018 model is as good a hardtail mountain bike as you’ll find under a thousand dollars. We’re very impressed.
Features of the Motobecane Fantom 29 Elite Mountain Bike include:
- Legendary Shimano 30 Speed Dyna-SYS Drivetrain
- Super fun to ride on trails
- Comfortable while climbing hills
- An aluminum frame to die for
2. BXT Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
A perfect example of a carbon frame mountain bike under $1000, this outstanding BXT 29er Bike is one of the best of its kind.
The Toray T800 carbon fiber frame and XC29 Geometry come together to provide some of the most exciting bike rides we’ve had at this price range. The components are impressive too, especially given the sacrifices that have to be made for a carbon fiber frame under $1000.
The BXT T800 Carbon Fiber Disc Rigid Fork comes close to matching the SR Suntour forks usually found on hardtails at this range, so much so that the difference is hard to notice on most terrains.
We love this model and think it’s the perfect option for someone keen to try out a carbon frame, but unwilling to part with thousands for the privilege.
Features of the BXT Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike include:
- Best carbon frame under $1000 right now
- Impressive ride quality thanks to the fork
- Super exciting on the downhills
- Component quality is very well balanced
3. SAVADECK DECK300 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
SAVADECK’s DECK300 mountain bike is another fine example of a carbon fiber framed MTB done correctly. Toray T800 carbon fiber gives stiffness and control to a bike that is super-light and easy to handle.
Featuring an SR Suntour that is always a joy to ride on, this kitted out mountain bike is an absolute steal under a thousand dollars. The MT200 Disc Break System is a breath of fresh air in this price range and feels consistent and powerful.
Smooth gear changes come courtesy of the Shimano Deore M6000, and makes leisurely rides possible on a bike that is clearly built to handle a tough trail. This is a very, very high-quality mountain bike considering it costs less than $1000.
Features of the SAVADECK DECK300 Mountain Bike include:
- Smoothest gear changes
- Brilliant carbon fiber frame
- Requires little assembly
- High-quality durable components
4. Diamondback Bicycles Atroz Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Diamondback Bicycles are renowned for offering great quality affordable options for mountain bikes. This Atroz model is one of the only full suspension mountain bikes under $1000 that we thought worthy of this list.
The hand-built aluminum alloy frame is strong and sturdy while remaining light enough to control with ease. An SR Suntour XCM fork with 120mm of travel coupled with 27.5 in wheels makes short work of most bumps obstacles, while Tektro Aries mechanical breaks act responsively and consistently to bring you to a halt.
It looks great and feels even better. It’s perfect for trails and casual rides, and could easily take some cheap upgrades to make it even better.
As far as suspension mountain bikes go in this price range – this is simply one of the best around.
Features of the Diamondback Bicycles Atroz Mountain Bike include:
- Full-suspension under $1000!!!
- Unparalleled comfort
- Frame geometry is fun and solid
- Stock wheels are excellent
5. Marin San Quentin 1 Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for an excellent hardtail mountain bike that’s rounded enough for whatever you want to throw at it; you’ve found your match.
This great mountain bike was mastered up close and personal with a freeride icon, Matt Jones. The bike picked it’s name up from the rough terrain in Marin County, San Quentin Prison.
In terms of specs, you get an SR Suntour 120mm fork, keeping your ride smooth as can be. You get a Shimano 1×9 drivetrain and hydraulic discs from Tektro, which are super sensitive and allow you to stop in a flash.
The Marin Tubeless Ready wheels give you great a connection with the ground you’re riding on, and do well to battle against flats. This really is a bike that’s ready for anything, and one we definitely vouch for.
Features of the Marin San Quentin 1 Bike include:
- Crazy smooth SR Suntour suspension fork
- Tektro hydraulic disc brakes stop quickly and consistently
- Handles amazingly well thanks to the lightweight frame
- Compatible with 2.6″ tires
6. Orbea MX 10 29″ Mountain Bike
If you want something that’s going to get you pumped to get out mountain biking the Orbea MX10 is a great pick. It’s available in a couple of finishes, but our favorite is definitely the slick-looking orange and black. The cables are routed internally giving it a super streamlined look.
This bike has more than just looks, with a 100mm of travel through the RockShox fork, Shimano 2 x 10-speed drivetrain and Orbea wheels that are wrapped with Kenda rubber.
When it comes to the breaks, the Shimano MT201 hydraulic disc brakes (front and rear) are excellent at bringing you to an abrupt stop. This is a bike that looks great and feels even better to ride.
7. Marin Pine Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for a bike with rigid forks that’s great for climbing this bike would be perfect for you. It comes with plus-sized tires helping to give you added traction due to their larger surface area. These tires also help to compensate for the lack of suspension from the forks in terms of how smooth the ride feels.
Shimano provides both the gears and brakes, with a 1×10 drivetrain and a set of hydraulic discs respectively. You also get the Marin Tubeless Ready wheels to help with traction and reduce the likelihood of flats.
Overall this is a top-quality rigid mountain bike and if you want a bike that’s great at climbing, you won’t get much better in this price range.
8. Liv Tempt 2 Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for a women’s mountain bike under 1000 dollars, you’ll love the Liv Tempt 2. Thanks to the lightweight ALEXX frame made from aluminum, its easy to maneuver and control. Tubeless tires also work to improve the overall traction you get while riding.
The bike comes with 100mm suspension through the fork and hydraulic disc brakes. This means your ride will be super smooth and you’ll be able to stop at very short notice. This is a great quality bike we’d recommend for ladies looking for something light yet durable.
9. Giant Talon 27.5 3 Mountain Bike
Are you working with a tight budget, but want a quality bike that can compete with bikes closer to the thousand dollar mark? Look no further than the Giant Talon 3.
It features a lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame that is tailored to 27.5 wheels on Giant CR70 6061 Aluminum rims that are double-walled and look outstanding. This helps you to strike an excellent level of speed combined with stability.
You get an SR Suntour XCM HLO suspension with 100mm of travel, Shimano 3 x 8-speed drivetrain, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. With components matching bikes of almost twice it’s the price tag, you can see the Talon 3 packs a real punch when it comes to value for money. If you’re looking for a budget bike with big specs this is just what you’re looking for.
Finding A Good Mountain Bike Under $1,000
Carbon fiber, full-suspension, under $1000 dollars. Pick two.
At this price bracket, higher-end frames, and full-suspension quickly eat into the budget and leave the rest of the bike’s components suffering.
The cost of a decent bike serves as the prime roadblock for curious cyclists. Nonetheless, mountain biking can actually be both affordable and accessible, but sacrifices do have to be made at this price range.
It’s true that you get what you pay for when it comes to mountain bikes, so choosing a good balance of quality components is key. What use is a carbon frame if the rest of the bike uses budget components you’d expect to find on bikes under $500? It’ll totally ruin the experience.
There are some extremely fun and capable bikes available for a thousand bucks, and opting models that are two or three years out of production can net you an absolute bargain, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about what features you can expect..
Frames, Wheels, and Suspension Considerations
Setting some early expectations on what’s achievable in this price range will help you to buy with confidence.
Which Frame Material is Best On a $1000 Mountain Bike?
For frames, $1000s or less puts you firmly in aluminum frame territory. We’re above the heavier steel frames, but still slightly below what you can expect to pay for a carbon fiber frame.
Despite that, there are some good carbon fiber bikes at this price range, but the expense of a carbon frame means that costs are being cut elsewhere. A good carbon fiber MTB for under $1000 is one that only cuts costs on components that aren’t integral to the ride quality, and ones that are easy to upgrade afterward anyhow.
Which Wheels Size Is Best On a $1000 Mountain Bike?
Mountain bike wheels come in 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ diameters, and are made of damage-resistant parts that can absorb the impact caused by repeated blows on rough terrain.
It’s personal preference which you choose, but 27.5″ offer the best of both worlds. 29″ wheelsets can push the price up a little and are heavier than 27.5″ wheels. You can read more about this in our guide to mountain bike tire sizes, which will tell you everything you need to know.
Tire width varies between models, though to a beginner mountain biker the difference is likely to be negligible.
Full Suspension vs Hardtail $1000 Mountain Bikes?
Hardtails have a rigid back-end and a suspension fork up front, while full-suspension bikes have both a front and rear suspension fork.
It’s a similar story here as with carbon fiber frames. With a budget of $1000, that second suspension fork is going to eat into the budget, and leave you with lackluster parts elsewhere.
For this reason, we’d recommend you go with a hardtail to get the most for your money.
Again, there are good full-suspension mountain bikes under $1000, but these are usually older models that have been discounted, and it’s super hard to find a balance of quality components in them.
Bike Safety and Component Guarantees
A common tactic is to buy a used mountain bike to grab all those premium components for a fraction of the list price. If you go down this route, and you aren’t experienced with bikes, always, always have it checked over by a professional.
Mountain bikes these days are capable of reaching high speeds on some harsh terrains, and when things go wrong, it often happens too quickly for you to react.
Buying a new bike, even older models, from a respected manufacturer is usually your best bet if you aren’t up on your bike maintenance. It’ll give you peace of mind that the components are in good shape, and you can get them replaced under warranty should anything fail.
How Comfortable are Mountain Bikes Under $1000?
Comfort is a feature that is intrinsically linked to safety–a comfortable ride is a much safer ride. A quality mountain bike under 1000 dollars should be able to adapt to a variety of terrain conditions without spine-breaking jolts.
Since you’re most likely to be going for an aluminum hardtail in this price-range, comfort depends entirely on the frame build-quality and front suspension fork. SR Suntour forks are standard issue under $1000 and are exceptionally good at taking obstacles head-on with little fuss.
It may make more sense to opt for bikes with comfortable frame geometries rather than hunched aggressive, attacking ones in this price range.
Final Considerations and Summary
Mountain biking can offer an exciting experience for cyclists who desire off-road adventure. The ideal mountain bike will be comfortable enough to allow traditional cyclists to transition to the new riding style.
Further, the technical features and comfort features must complement the total safety of the bike. Most importantly, the bike must deliver those features at a reasonable price.
When a bike can meet those criteria, it is worth purchasing. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper bike, check out this list of mountain bikes under $500.