If you go to a local bike shop looking for the best mountain bikes under $1,000, the salesperson will probably wrinkle their face in a dismissive manner and tell you that if you want something good, you’re going to have to pay about twice that amount.
But here’s a catch:
You can make the mistake of believing them and going along with their proposal.
But really, unless you’re riding on very rough roads or in challenging competitions you can get a very good mountain bike for your money.
However, those mountain bikes will bring you to the next level on the mountain biking scene!
There are bikes to be found that are reliable, long-lasting, and require no more maintenance than any other good bike. Though because these can be time-consuming to search out, I’ve gone through the trouble of picking out the best candidates, evaluating them, and putting together reviews for the best of them.
These are the
6 9 best mountain bikes under $1,000 as of 2021.
Pick your size and enjoy!
#1: Cannondale Trail 8
Best Entry-Level Hardtail Bike
Cannondale Trail 8 is a phenomenal 27.5″/29″ Trail bike for the money and is probably one of the best mountain bikes for sale at the moment (in the lower price range).
The Trail series is intended for entry-level riders and off-roading enthusiasts so Trail 8 should be considered by beginners and those who just want to have some fun in nature.
- Frame size-specific 27.5″ or 29″ wheels.
- Aluminum frame with bottle cage, fender, and rear rack mounts.
- Tektro mechanical disc brakes.
- 14 wide-range gears for all types of terrain.
Trail 8 features Cannondale’s famous SmartFrom C3 aluminum which is seen even on much more expensive bicycles. Therefore, even if you outgrow the components on this bike, you have a good basis for future upgrades.
Cannondale Trail 8 offers the most value and asks for the least amount of money, which makes it a recreational mountain biker’s dream!
This hardtail mountain bike offers 75 mm of front suspension with the SR Suntour M3030 fork. This is a coil fork, so it is heavier than ideal, but that’s a good trade-off considering the amount of comfort you will get from it.
Trail 8 also boasts a 2×7 drivetrain with Shimano Altus/Tourney components. A 2x setup is practical and lightweight, and 14 gears is plenty, especially with the 11x34T cassette on board.
The best thing about this bike is definitely the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. They offer a lot in terms of stopping power and precision, and this feature is definitely a must on any MTB nowadays. Trail 8 also has size-specific wheels, so you will get 27.5″ with the XS and 29″ on larger frames.
Related: Mountain Bike Size Chart
We recommend the Cannondale Trail 8 to entry-level riders without any second thoughts. It’s a bike that will serve you well for years and for a plentitude of miles.
#2: Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0
Best Budget Mountain Bike
Are you a shorty and most bikes are simply too big for you? You’ve then come to the right place.
- 21 gears with Shimano front and rear derailleurs.
- Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.
- Nimble 26″ wheels with 2.1″ tires.
- A lightweight aluminum frame with a 300 lb. weight capacity.
The 26″ wheels and wide tires make the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 very comfortable and the upright riding position just adds to it.
This 26″ bike is the perfect companion for long casual rides where you’re going to spend hours in the saddle every day. Your bum and your joints are not going to feel a thing!
This trail bike can take you over any terrain thanks to its wheels, tires, and components which are all pretty decent regardless of the low price.
However, DRT 1.0 has other things to boast of as well. For example, its aluminum frame and suspension fork are sturdy, durable, flexible, and practical at the same time.
The SR Suntour fork offers 100 mm of travel, which is not enough for serious trail riding, but it will make off-road rides smoother and easier for your hands, wrists, shoulders, and neck.
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 costs around $600, and it’s definitely worth every single cent.
As far as technicalities go, DRT 1.0 has 21 pretty easy gears so it won’t be the fastest bike on the trail. However, it will be the most functional and the most versatile bike for sure.
The groupset is Shimano Tourney, which is an entry-level choice but offers good value for the money, especially for entry-level riders.
The brakes are Tektro’s hydraulic discs that have proven to be pretty decent. This Co-op Cycles bike also comes with a WTB Volt Sport saddle which is ergonomic and comfortable.
Finally, this is a unisex bike, so no matter if you’re a guy or a girl, and you’re looking for a bike that can support your off-road adventures, you should definitely give the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 a try!
#3: Mongoose Tyax Comp
Editor’s Choice! Best Beginners’ First Trail Bike
The Tyax Comp model is a fantastic introductory mountain bike that offers an exceptionally good value for the money that you need to cash out.
It’s built around a super-lightweight aluminum frame with a low standover height and geometry specially designed for trails. It’s available in five attractive colors. This bike also comes with a suspension front fork and a 146mm rear hub spacing for better control.
Mongoose Tyax Comp is a remarkable all-mountain hardtail that will give you a glimpse of what real trail riding and dirt jumping look like, at a low price.
The absolute highlight of this bike is the hydraulic disc brakes. That’s a decent deal for the money which all bikes in this price range should offer. The drivetrain offers a total of 18 speeds, with Shimano Altus derailleurs and a wide-range cassette.
Moreover, it is designed for rugged terrain which is obvious because of its 27.5” tires that bite firmly into the ground whatever the terrain. Feel free to push hard on the pedals because the 2.6” wide tires will not slide but propel you forward. The frame has enough clearance for even wider tires if you want to go crazy!
Other aspects of Mongoose Tyax Comp worth mentioning are the comfy saddle and the fact that it comes with platform pedals. So, if you’re looking for a multi-functional cross-country bike, this rig comes ready to ride!
#4: Norco Storm 4
Best for Long XC Rides
All Norco fans who love mountain biking should rejoice. This popular bike company that designs its bikes in Canada is back in the game with one of its most popular beginner models. Norco is famous for its remarkable money-to-value ratio, so we can definitely expect a lot in terms of components for a decent price tag.
Norco Storm 4 is an aluminum hardtail mountain bike with 29er or 27.5er wheels and a very attractive blue or black design. We can see that the engineers retained the recognizable straight and slim tubing, which is a big plus.
This bicycle costs $719 and for that money, you’ll get entry-level Shimano derailleurs. We’re talking about the Tourney groupset which has become a permanent resident in this price range. Therefore, there are no big surprises here. The drivetrain offers 21 gears in total, which is an excellent number for hilly off-road rides.
The tires, as we’ve mentioned, are 29″ or 27.5″ in diameter and 2.25″ wide. That’s a good balance between speed, rolling resistance, and riding capabilities on the trails. Twenty-nine-inch wheels are better for descending and tackling more robust obstacles whereas 27.5ers are better for curvy trails that require nimble handling.
Norco Storm 4 should be your go-to choice for completing day-long rides and meeting new fitness goals.
A big highlight on Norco Storm 4 is the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are more often seen for this amount of money, which makes this bike a good deal.
The SR Suntour XCE28 fork offers 100 mm of travel and pretty good performance for beginner riders. It’s slightly heavier than ideal, but the comfort you get makes it a good trade-off.
Definitely consider Norco Storm 4 if you have limited funds and you want a bike that looks good, is upgradeable and will ride nicely on dirt roads and trails.
#5: Marin Palisades Trail 2
Winner! Best For Under $1k
Marin Palisades Trail 2 is a versatile hardtail mountain bike that’s a product of a stringent research and development process. It has a pretty affordable price, so it’s intended for recreational riders and those who do not yet have too much experience on the trails.
- Lightweight aluminum frame with internal routing.
- Suspension fork with 100 mm of travel.
- Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes.
- Nimble and versatile 27.5″ wheels and tires
Palisades Trail 2 boasts numerous qualities, the first one of which is the durable, yet lightweight, aluminum frame. It’s available in just one color, bright blue, but it looks very attractive.
Some additional important aspects of Palisades Trail 2 include 27.5″ wheels, flat MTB-style bars, 2x drivetrain, and double-wall alloy rims. This bike is classified as a unisex model, so both men and women can ride it.
Marin Palisades Trail 2 has gearing that lets you climb fast and descend even faster, with wide tires that offer unprecedented traction when cornering.
Apart from all the positive features that we have already mentioned above, this bike has other things that work to its advantage. First of all, it has a RockShox Judy Silver TK fork with remote lockout and a versatile 100 mm of travel. It’s clear that this bike is capable of a lot when the going gets tough on the trails.
By purchasing the Palisades Trail 2, you will also get a set of Shimano derailleurs and shifters. The rear derailleur is an Acera, whereas the front is an Altus. Moreover, you will also get 18 diverse gears on a 2×9 drivetrain that’s made from an 11-36T cassette and a 36/22T crankset. As you can see, this is a “Shimano-stein,” but all of these parts work in harmony with each other, as all of them are built by the same company.
Braking on the Palisades Trail 2 is powerful and efficient, thanks to a set of Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. They behave really well in all conditions, including rain, snow, mud, and loose gravel. To add to that, it has a pair of trail-specific 2.25″ wide tires and sturdy double-wall aluminum wheels. Riders who own this bike claim that they offer plenty of traction and grip on rides.
Clearly, this Marin is not intended for experienced riders who abuse their bikes on a regular basis. However, it is one of the best options for recreational riders and trail enthusiasts who want a reasonably-priced bike that will justify its worth on moderate trail rides and off-road weekend trips.
#6: Trek Marlin 7
Best Cool Factor
If you’re looking for a reliable and capable MTB of any kind, a model made by Trek is usually a foolproof choice.
Trek mountain bikes keep getting more and more stylish.
Let’s take a closer look at the Marlin 7 model.
- Trek’s renowned aluminum frame with a beautiful paint job.
- Lightweight and efficient 1×10 Shimano Deore drivetrain.
- Dependable and squishy RockShox Judy fork with 100mm of travel.
- 27.5″/29″ wheels and 2.2″ wide Bontrager tires.
The spec list is a positive surprise on this Trek mountain bike. The frame is made from Alpha Silver Aluminum, the same as most other bikes in this range.
If you find a carbon frame for under $1K then you should really consider staying away from it and choosing aluminum instead. The reason is that I’ve seen many bad reviews of cheap carbon frames and their integrity.
Trek Marlin 7 offers excellent features at a low price. It’s a phenomenal choice for beginners and intermediate trail riders.
The front fork is a RockShox Judy with 100 mm of travel, and lock-out/preload control. However, it doesn’t allow too much adjustment. Although, that doesn’t mean that this fork won’t give you decent performance! It will, and it will be lots of fun too.
The components are mainly Shimano Deore, which is an excellent mid-range choice. Marlin 7 has a 1×10 drivetrain that offers a great range of gears and reduces the overall weight.
If you take care of your bike and don’t push it too hard these components will last. You can always upgrade the parts if you want a lighter and more reliable setup. However, Shimano Deore is a quality groupset that sits in the middle of Shimano’s hierarchy.
Apart from the main components and the drivetrain, Trek usually uses their proprietary Bontrager parts which are rated highly by customers.
Rims – This bike has 27.5″/29″ wheels (depending on the frame size) which ensures the best possible maneuverability and control when the trails become rough. Plus, you’ll get Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes which is always a huge surprise to see in this price range.
Nice find for the money! Trek Marlin 7 uses quality Shimano components, but on the downside, it rolls on heavy rims. This bike is suitable for riders with medium standards or for riders who are going to upgrade the wheels. By doing this, you’ll get a bike with good components, which will serve you well for many years of riding.
#7: Vivi 26″ E-Bike
Best Electric Mountain Bike
The Vivi E-Bike has a lightweight alloy frame with stylish black and red design. It’s the first thing that you’re going to notice. But If you look closer, you can see that it has pretty decent parts as well.
This electric mountain bike packs a 350W rear hub motor along with a removable 360Wh battery. It will provide you with 25-45 miles of range and support you up to 20mph with pedal assist and throttle.
It also has a 3 x 7 drivetrain, which is a tried and true choice that’s often seen on affordable mountain bikes. It’s simple but it gets the job done.
Of course, no need to mention that it has mechanical disc brakes.
But what is worth mentioning is the front suspension. It’s a basic model, but it will make a significant difference in handling when you go off the beaten path.
Vivi E-Bike has 21 gears thanks to Shimano derailleurs. These are entry-level components, but they will last for years if used properly.
Vivi’s 3×7 drivetrain is a great choice for climbing steep hills and a common find in this price range.
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Vivi weighs around 50 lbs, which is to be expected from a hardtail electric bike in this price range. The 26″ wheels offer excellent rolling capabilities, so this bike is a capable machine when it comes to climbing. The tires are wide and knobby, so you’ll have plenty of traction when riding over sketchy sections.
Don’t hesitate to get the Vivi E-Bike if you want an affordable hardtail bike with disc brakes and dependable Shimano components.
#8: Royce Union
Best Rigid XC Bike
Whether you are just taking your first steps in mountain biking or you already have some basic experience and skills, Royce Union is a bike that you should consider. This lightweight two-wheeler will be your best friend on the trail and fill you with confidence.
It is nimble, speedy, and responsive so you will have no trouble controlling it during rides and pushing your limits. Royce Union is an affordable bike with a great money to value ratio, so you will not throw your money down the drain if you decide to buy it.
This is a fairly lightweight bike, considering its price since its total weight comes down to around 30 lbs. This can be credited to the aluminum frame which offers decent stiffness and balance, but also smoothness on rough rides.
On the front, it is equipped with a rigid fork, so the Union is only suitable for light trails. If you take it to a real trail, you’re going to have a bumpy experience.
Royce Union is a versatile trail bike that would be an excellent first MTB for beginner riders thanks to reliable components and predictable geometry.
As far as components on this bike go, they are a combination of parts sourced mostly from the Shimano Claris groupset. The main drawback that users point out in reviews online is the wheels, which are heavier than ideal. If you decide to upgrade this bike in the future, these should go first.
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When it comes to the drivetrain, Royce Union has 16 speeds on a 2×8 drivetrain. This provides plenty of range to tackle even the most stubborn hills and finally reach the downhills.
On the downhills, if you need to brake hard, you can trust the quality disc brakes, with 160mm rotors on the front and back. This is a great choice for this bike and it will definitely give you lots of confidence when descending. The tires are 27.5” in diameter and pretty wide.
The bottom point is that Royce Union is a great entry-level mountain bike for any aspiring rider, that all beginners or cycling enthusiasts will enjoy and never regret buying.
#9: Schwinn Mesa
Best Introductory Model
- Versatile 27.5″ wheels and tires ideal for various surfaces and terrain.
- Entry-level Shimano Tourney components and 21 gears.
- Front suspension fork for added comfort.
- Attractive bright red paint job.
- Relaxed upright riding geometry.
Schwinn Mesa is built around a light and durable aluminum frame without internal routing, which is not a big minus at this price point. The bright red color makes it look very attractive overall.
Mesa’s aluminum frame provides plenty of clearance, so this bike rolls on wide 27.5 tires. They look massive on the bike and ride really well over rocks, roots, and bumps. They’re also extremely comfy on cross country rides.
Another feature that adds to the comfort is the Zoom aluminum suspension fork that soaks up vibrations and helps you control the bike more easily on demanding terrain.
If grip, stability, control, and the wow factor is what matters to you, then Schwinn Mesa will exceed your expectations.
In terms of components, Schwinn Mesa has a Shimano Tourney front and rear derailleurs that operates the 3×7 drivetrain. This will be enough gears for entry-level riders heading out for recreational rides.
Mesa brakes with linear-pull rim brakes instead of disc brakes. Most MTB’s nowadays come with disc brakes, but rim brakes do a great job as well unless you want to do more serious trail riding and ride steep descents.
All in all, we like what Schwinn Mesa has to offer for this amount of money. If you are looking for a dependable trail bike with wide tires and decent Shimano components, you can certainly put this one on your list.
This list consists of unisex mountain bikes. While gender-specific bikes are great and have a more comfortable design, there aren’t that many great choices in the lower price range. All the bikes on the list can count as women’s mountain bikes and as men’s mountain bikes.
If you’re looking for a multi-functional cross-country bike with great value, Marin Palisades Trail 2 is the one for you. But if you are looking for the best trail-specific mountain bike for under $1,000, then Mongoose Tyax Comp is also a smart choice. The Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 is such a nice bike to have! It has moved to 3rd place for a reason. These three are our top picks.
Royce Union also sells pretty well, so you should consider it. It has 27.5″ and powerful disc brakes.
For mountain bikers who want a choice between 27.5″ and 29” wheels, Trek Marlin 7 will be the best pick. It has a decent set of components that we think are a stand-out among bikes in this category.
Conversely, if you don’t mind lower-end suspension/components and want to get an electric mountain bike, the Vivi E-MTB would be the best pick.
In case you are looking for an attractive 29er or 27.5er to tackle some rough terrain, you should check out Norco Storm 4. If you want the same capabilities from a 27.5 bike, then Schwinn Mesa is the way to go, as it has plus-sized wheels.
Finally, if you’re looking for a popular brand and a bike with a quality, upgradeable aluminum frame, Cannondale Trail 8 is the right model to go for.
What about the best full suspension mountain bike under $1,000? Sorry, you can get one but it’s not the “best” you are looking for. You might want to read this review of the best full suspension mountain bikes.
I hope it helped! Enjoy your ride!
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