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Best Mountain Bikes Under $2,000

Jeff Balton

Best mountain bikes under $2,000$2,000 is a nice amount of money. We’ll show you how you can spend (read: invest) it on a proper mountain bike!

Depending on your appetite and your budget, mountain biking can become a very expensive sport. You can easily spend more than $5,000 on a bicycle and still not be anywhere near the top of the price range. There are some mouth-watering models that cost close or above $10,000. However, for the majority of us mortals, that is much more than our budgets can handle.

Luckily, advanced cycling technology and higher-end components are now entering the under $2,000 market.  Therefore, there are many excellent mountain bicycles that you can get for less or around that number.

We’re showing you our 10 best mountain bikes $2,000 below, including hardtail and full-suspension models!

 

#1 – Salsa Mukluk

Best Fat Bike Under $2,000

Salsa Mukluk fat bike

 

Lightweight, stiff, and efficient aluminum frames offer a fantastic balance between price and performance. Salsa Mukluk is living proof! It is the best aluminum fat bike you can get for less than $2,000.

Apart from the lightweight aluminum, there are other sweet features that will come in handy when you hit the trails on it.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Mukluk Aluminum
  • Fork: Bearpaw Carbon, 150 x 15mm thru-axle
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle, 12 Speed
  • Tire dimension: 26 x 4.6 in
  • Brakes: SRAM Level, Hydraulic Disc

 

Salsa Mukluk has a lot to offer to a mountain biking enthusiast. It is an excellent choice for riding in extreme conditions, tackling rocky trails, or riding year-round. The massive tires can handle it all, along with the other competitive components.

Fat Tires and a Carbon Fork

Apart from the light aluminum frame, this Salsa model also offers the comfort of 45NRTH Dillinger 5, 26 x 4.6 in., tubeless-ready tires. They roll over bumps, rocks, and roots much more efficiently, diminishing any chances of getting a flat.

The Bearpaw carbon fork enhances comfort and pedaling efficiency, so front suspension would be redundant. Plus, it keeps the total weight of the bike under control.

The drivetrain supplies you with 12 speeds and a SRAM SX Eagle rear derailleur, which is a great mid-range option.

If you always wanted to own a fat bike with excellent components and enjoy its comfortable ride, Salsa Mukluk is your ticket to this world.

Buy Directly from REI

 

#2 – Ghost Kato FS 2.7

Best 27.5 Full Suspension Under $2,000Ghost Kato FS 2.7

Ghost Kato FS 2.7 is our top pick of a full-suspension mountain bike with 27.5″ wheels. This is a bike with a pretty slack geometry that’s excellent for descents, but it does really well when climbing as well, thanks to a steep seat tube angle. Plenty of travel on the front and rear suspension give you the freedom to forget about the brakes and keep picking up speed over bumps.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR 34, 130 mm
  • Rear shock: SR Suntour DUAIR, 130 mm
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle, 12-spd
  • Tire dimension: 27.5 x 2.35
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M285, 180mm rotors

All Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

Ghost Kato FS 2.7 does not have a carbon frame, as it is very hard to get both carbon and full suspension in this price range. Instead, it has a durable and lightweight hydroformed aluminum frame, designed especially for this bike.

1×12 Drivetrain & 130 mm of Travel

Kato FS 2.7 is made for riders who love to climb and descend. It has SR Suntour’s 130 mm suspension both front and rear, so it can tackle different obstacles on singletrack trails quite easily. It’s capable of hitting ramps and jumps as well, making it an excellent training bike for someone who is looking to advance their skills.

The SRAM SX Eagle 12-spd drivetrain is excellent for climbing, whereas the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are there when the time comes to go down. Use the dropper post as well to get the saddle out of the way.

The Maxxis Forecaster tires are 2.35″ wide, so you don’t need to worry about traction on loose patches on the trails.

If you’re on a limited budget and a full suspension rig is a must for you, then we can safely recommend the Ghost Kato FS 2.7.

Get From REI

 

#3 – Niner Air 9 2-Star

Best 29″ Hardtail

Niner Air 9 2-Star

 

Niner Air 9 2-Star has the best of both worlds — a Trail country geometry and 29″ wheels. It costs less than $2,000 and does not make too many compromises when it comes to the build and components, which is great. It’s an excellent 29er hardtail for any newly-made trail enthusiasts out there.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Hydroformed aluminum
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 120mm Travel
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle, 12-spd
  • Tire dimension: 29 x 2.4″
  • Brakes: SRAM DB Level, Hydraulic

 

Niner Air 9 offers a smooth ride on the trails thanks to a combination of the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 suspension fork and the lightweight aluminum frame. It offers some basic adjustability, such as lockout and rebound, so you can dial it to your weight and preference fairly well.

Recommendable Quality Aluminum Build

Niner has made a name for itself for supplying all price ranges with excellent choices. The Air 9 2-Star model is intended for the average MTB enthusiast. It has SRAM’s SX Eagle groupset with 12 speeds, which is the cheapest entry ticket into the 1×12 team.

The bike rolls on Maxxis Minion and Rekon 2.4″ front and rear tires and Niner Alloy rims which are a good combination in this price range and will take plenty of beating on the trails. You can feel free to test them on descents with SRAM’s DB Level hydraulic brakes in the back of your mind.

Niner Air 9 has a balanced head tube angle of 68° and a steep seat tube angle of 74° so it’s quite capable of both climbing and descending. If you need a bike that can do both, this is an affordable choice.

Get From JensonUSA

 

#4 – Co-Op Cycles DRT 3.1

Best Full-Suspension 1x

Co-op Cycles DRT 3.1

Co-op Cycles is well-known for supplying the MTB market with surprisingly good entry-level and mid-range bikes. The Co-op DRT 3.1 is the best budget full-suspension bike with the benefit of a lightweight 1x drivetrain. This bike also sports 27.5+ tires (26″ on XS and S frames), RockShox suspension, and some other hidden gems.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox Sektor RL, 140mm
  • Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch R Solo Air
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore Shadow +
  • Tire dimension: 27.5 x 2.8
  • Brakes: Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc

 

One surprising feature on the DRT 3.1 is the X Fusion Manic dropper post with a remote. It has 100 mm of travel, so you can get it completely out of the way in a second. It comes with a bike that costs under $2,000, which is a really nice plus.

Extra Large Tires for Extra Large Bumps

One of the most recognizable features of this Co-op model is its 2.8″ wide WTB Ranger tires. They are 27.5″ in diameter, so they are quite nimble and responsive when cornering. Their width will give you all the confidence you need to choose more demanding lines than before.

The RockShox Sektor RL fork gives you either 120 mm or 140 mm of travel, depending on the size of the frame. Sizes XS-S come with 120 mm, whereas larger frames travel 140 mm. You get a lot of adjustability options with it as well.

The groupset on this bike is Shimano’s reliable and affordable Deore Shadow + which is seen on many bikes in this price range. Tektro’s Auriga brakes are not that common, but they are a dependable choice as well.

Budget riders on the lookout for 1x drivetrains shouldn’t really have second thoughts about Co-op Cycles DRT 3.1.

Get From REI

 

#5 – Cannondale Trail Tango 2 Women’s

Best Women’s Entry-Level

Cannondale Trail Tango 2

 

Any list of the best mountain bikes, no matter the price tag, would not be complete without at least one model from Cannondale. In this case, we chose to include the Cannondale Trail Tango 2, which is the best women’s MTB under $2,000 with versatile 27.5″ wheels. It’s a playful bike that offers an equal amount of fun as a full-suspension two-wheeler.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox XC30 TK (100mm)
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore, 10 Speed
  • Tire dimension:  27.5 x 2.25 in.
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200 hydro disc

 

The Cannondale Trail Tango 2 is a unique bike on this list because it comes with women-specific geometry. This iteration sports 2.25″ wide WTB Ranger (My favorite tire btw!) tires, but you can fit wider tires here as well, as there is enough clearance. It’s up to you to decide what your ride requires. But it’s always nice to have a choice.

Quality Shimano Components All-Around

Trail Tango 2 has a 68° head tube angle, so it’s not extremely slack. However, don’t think that that will impair your descending skills. The RockShox front suspension with 100 mm of travel offers more than enough amortization. This geometry provides a nice and balanced ride for female riders with different styles.

Other components fitted on this capable trail bike are mostly sourced by Shimano. The drivetrain is a tried and true 10-speed Shimano Deore and the brakes are Shimano MT 200. Both are precise, reliable, and packed into a lightweight package. That’s why they are such a frequent sight on the best mountain bikes under $2,000.

If you want the freedom of choice, dependable Cannondale build, and quality mid-range Shimano components, this Chameleon model is made for you.

Get From REI

 

#6 – Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2

Best Budget Hardtail for Trails

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2

 

Let me introduce you to one of the best bikes on this list, especially for those riders who want a hardtail setup at a very low price. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 is at the top of its price range, and if you do not care about carbon’s marginal gains, you should definitely consider it for your stable.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR dual-piston, 120mm
  • Groupset: Shimano Altus/Alivio, 18 speeds
  • Tire dimension: 27.5/29 x 2.4″
  • Brakes: Tektro hydro disc

 

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 is built around a compliant and light aluminum frame with a tapered head tube, Internal cable routing, and 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. Therefore, it’s compatible with most high-end components on the market at the moment, if you choose to upgrade in the future.

Aggressive Geometry and Efficient Components

DRT 1.2’s frame has a 68-degree head tube angle, which is a good balance between steep and slack. Coupled with the 29″ wheels and 2.4″ WTB Trail Boss tires, that gives you some serious edge on the trails. Roots, rocks, and bumps are no match.

The front suspension with 120mm of travel will definitely help here as well. This is an air fork, which has numerous advantages compared to coil-operated models.

Just like most bikes at this price, DRT 1.2 touts the Shimano Altus/Alivio drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, both of which are safe choices that get the job done.

By getting the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2, you’ll save money in the bank, but you’ll earn some profit on the trails.

Get From REI

 

#7 – Marin Pine Mountain 2

Best Designed 29″ Hardtail

 

Marin Pine Mountain 2

Women need a bike they can use to show their skills on trails and XC routes as well. The one we chose is Marin Pine Mountain 2. It is the best hardtail bike with 29″ tires that you can get if you have just $2,000 to spare.

It offers a variety of sizes, modern and funky design, and top-notch components that you can get for this amount of money. It comes with a dropper post as well.

This is not a women-specific bike, but it’s geometry and graphics are suitable for women as well as for men.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Steel
  • Fork: RockShox FS 35, 120mm
  • Groupset: Shimano SLX, 12 Speed
  • Tire dimension: 29 x 2.6″
  • Brakes: Shimano MT520 Hydraulic Disc

 

Get More: Best Bikes For Women

Marin Pine Mountain 2 is the perfect bike for experienced trail riders who want to jump on a hardtail bike straight away or for mountain biking enthusiasts who want to get more suspension and better components.

It sports a Series 3 Double Butted CrMo frame with Boost 148x12mm spacing and a 73mm Threaded BB.

Entry Ticket Into the World of Trail riding

With its quality set of components, Pine Mountain 2 will give any rider the necessary boldness to take a riskier line and come out of it unscathed.

The RockShox FS 35 front suspension is a mid-range setup that offers 120 mm of travel. That’s a good amount for all-day cross country rides and quick trail and single track loops.

The Shimano SLX 1×12 drivetrain can conquer any hill and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes can guarantee a safe descent from it.

The star of the show, of course, is the 29 x 2.6″ wide tires, so you’re unlikely to lose traction no matter the terrain.

All in all, Marin Pine Mountain 2 is a versatile women’s bike for different types of trail terrain.

Get From Jenson USA

 

#8 – Giant Revolt Advanced 3

Best Gravel Bike

Giant - Revolt Advanced 3 Complete Bike 2020

 

For aspiring all-mountain riders who want to do it all, things don’t get much better than Giant Revolt Advanced 3 in this price category. This is a gravel bike, but we decided to include it on our list because it has wide tires and a Carbon frame that’s capable of doing a lot of damage on rough roads. This is a versatile machine that’s perfect for anyone.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Carbon
  • Fork: Carbon
  • Groupset: Shimano Tiagra, 10-speed
  • Tire dimension: 700 x 38mm
  • Brakes: Shimano Tiagra hydraulic

 

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes

Giant’s Advanced Composite Technology carbon frames perform well and weigh very little, which translates to efficient gravel riding. The handling is strong, stable, and nimble, so you can explore your limits on different sections of the trails and unpaved roads.

Great Looks and Even Better Riding

Giant Revolt Advanced 3 has very clean and sleek lines, partly thanks to internal cable routing for the brakes and the derailleurs.

Revolt deals with vibrations and obstacles on the trails with its tapered carbon fork with mounts for a front rack. The Giant Crosscut AT 1 tires are 38mm wide, which enters the gravel category and gives you all the grip you need to corner, climb, and descend.

The drivetrain and brakes are Shimano’s. Shimano Tiagra front and rear derailleurs change the 10 speeds and the Tiagra hydraulic discs provide you with stopping power.

What more can an off-road enthusiast ask for but giving Giant Revolt Advanced 3 a spin around their favorite gravel roads?

Get From JensonUSA

 

#9 – Marin Hawk Hill 1

Best FS for tall riders

Marin Hawk Hill 1

Marin Hawk Hill 1 is a confidence-enhancing fun machine with modern geometry, wide tires, a full-suspension setup and Shimano components. When Marin was making it, their main goal was to make a fun bike that will not break the bank. We believe they’ve made it, and you can judge by yourself by taking a closer look below.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox Recon RL, 130 mm
  • Rear shock: X-Fusion O2 Pro
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore Shadow Plus, 11 Speed
  • Tire dimension: 27.5 x 2.3″
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-Mt201 Hydraulic Disc

 

Marin Hawk Hill 1 is an affordable rig with a Series 3 6061 Aluminum Frame that features Marin’s MultiTrac Suspension Platform. It also has a threaded bottom bracket and Boost thru-axles. The result is a stable, fun, and durable machine.

A Fun and Affordable Full-Suspension Bike

Marin’s frame sizes accommodate a crazy range of different heights. The X-Small frame begins at 4’11” and the X-Large frame caps at 6’4″. Therefore, this bike is suitable for both very short and very tall riders. Of course, everyone in between will easily find their size as well.

Once you choose the right size, you can start enjoying the efficiency of the RockShox Recon RL fork and the X-Fusion O2 Pro R rear shock. Together, they are a great combination for steep descents and rugged rolling flats.

The Shimano Deore drivetrain puts 10 speeds at your disposal with a 1×10 drivetrain which is light, simple, and easy to take care of. The same can be said about the powerful Shimano’s hydraulic brakes as well.

If you’re like us and you ride bikes because they’re fun, you’ll probably like Marin Hawk Hill 1 as much as we do.

Get From JensonUSA

 

#10 – Specialized Chisel Comp

Best 1x Setup

Specialized Chisel Comp

Do you know why Specialized Chisel is called that way? Because it can chisel a line wherever you direct it. This bike leaves little to be desired from an XC trail bike in this price range as it delivers generously in most areas. It’s a lightweight aluminum 29er with 12 speeds that meets the requirements of different types of riders.

A quick glance:

  • Frame: Specialized D’Aluisio Smartweld M5 Alloy
  • Fork: RockShox Judy Gold 29
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle, 12 Speed
  • Tire dimension: 29 x 2.3″
  • Brakes: Shimano MT-501 Hydraulic Disc

 

The Specialized D’Aluisio frame is known to be stiff in the right places and compliant and comfortable everywhere else. Therefore, it feels comfortable when descending or going fast and responsive when you stomp the pedals to gain some speed. The 69.8° head tube angle makes the ride nimble and confident at the same time.

A 29er Hardtail with Specialized’s Magic Touch

The RockShox Judy Gold 29 fork provides 100 mm of travel and comes complete with lockout and adjustable rebound damping. This travel is suitable for XC riding, but the geometry of the bike gives it some Trail elements as well.

The SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain supplies you with 12 speeds and Shimano MT-501 hydraulic disc brakes guarantee all the braking power you need, whenever you need it.

Once the Fast Trak 29 x 2.3″ tires gain momentum, they’re hard to be hindered by any challenge you’ll encounter on dirt roads and single tracks.

So if you want the best bike with a 1x setup with Specialized’s logo on it and stellar components, Specialized Chisel Comp will put a smile on your face when you take it for a ride.

Get From Specialized.com

 

Bottom line

suggestedDon’t get me wrong – all of these bikes are winners. Even though #10 is the last on the list, it is still a winner because it won its place after it was compared to hundreds of quality bikes.

Therefore, whichever model you end up choosing, you’ll get a reliable and durable bike that can handle most XC routes and trails.

Let us know which one you like the most and share your experiences below! Happy riding!

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