Please be sure to read the lastest round-up of the most affordable mountain bikes for $3000 here>>
Now is a great time to buy a mountain bike. The amount of bike that you can get for $3000 has never been higher. While most of us would balk at spending $7,000 to $8,000 (or more) on a new mountain bike, those high-end bikes serve a purpose for the general mountain bike buying audience. New features and technology are always developed on the highest models in any manufacturers line-up, but after a year or two that same technology trickles down to the less expensive/more affordable models.
At Interbike, we get overloaded seeing all the latest and greatest in the bike industry and sometimes it’s easy to gloss over the fact that most bike shops will sell way more $2000 to $3000 bikes than $7,000+ models. So, we went around to several different manufacturers and asked them to show us their best value mountain bike. We told them it could be from any category, 29er hardtail, 27.5 enduro racer, womens-specific, fatbike…as long as they feel that it represents a great value to their main audience – the bike buyer and was in the $3000 price range. At this price point, there are a couple of common themes: aluminum frames instead of carbon (for the full suspension models) and for some brands, a simplified suspension design versus their marquee platform. Dropper posts should also be considered a bonus and can be found on a couple of the bikes below. As far as drivetrains go, the popular 1×11 systems are non-existent as 2×10 is the standard spec for the price point.
So, without further adieu and in no particular order (other than least expensive to most expensive) here is our list of 12 Awesome value mountain bikes.
Fuji SLM 29 2.1 – $2499
The guys at Fuji Bikes start things off with a their SLM 29 2.1 carbon hardtail. This is the only carbon bike on our list and it is the only 29er, as well. The frame is Fuji’s C10 high modulus carbon and has slick internal cable routing, oversized down tube, tapered headtube and press-fit bottom bracket.
The front fork is the Manitou Marvel Expert with remote lockout, tapered alloy steerer, 15mm thru axle and 100mm of travel. The Shimano 2×10 drivetrain features a mix of Deore, SLX and XT and stopping duties are handled by Shimano Deore disc brakes. Like most of Fuji’s bikes, the cockpit is comprised of Oval Concepts bar, stem, grips, saddle and seatpost. The 29er wheels are Oval Concepts 400 CL discs and they roll on Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29er tires.
Here at Mtbr, we are very familiar with Fuji’s hardtail 29ers including the SLM and the aluminum Tahoe and they are very well priced bikes that are race ready and highly capable. However, if 29ers aren’t your thing and you’re just dying to try out the “new” 27.5″ wheel size, Fuji also makes the similarly spec’ed SLM 27.5 2.1 for the exact same price.
For more information visit www.fujibikes.com
Giant Trance 27.5 2 – $2550
For 2015, Giant Bicycles is all about giving mountain bikers plenty of price sensitive options. I previously covered Giant’s all new value line called the Stance that offers a single pivot suspension design and a solid parts spec for under $2,000. While this is an outstanding value, I asked if they have something with their premiere Maestro suspension design, but under $3,000. The Giant Trance 27.5 2 is their answer.
This version of the Trance uses Giant’s ALUXX SL aluminum frameset with 140mm of their proven Maestro Suspension. It comes with a Fox Float CTD Evolution fork and Fox CTD Evolution rear shock. It features a Shimano Deore / SLX 2×10 drivetrain with Shimano M615 hydraulic disc brakes, Giant hubs and rims and Schwalbe 27.5 Nobby Nic tires. This is a good choice for the buyer looking to move up to something a bit more sophisticated and capable than the simple single pivot bikes (like the Stance).
For more information visit www.giant-bicycles.com
Jamis Dakar AMT Comp – $2599
The Jamis Bikes Dakar AMT is their all mountain rig that is based off of the XCT trail bike but with more travel for “bigger hits and higher speeds.” The frame is made from triple-butted 7005 aluminum and has 150mm of rear travel and rolls on 27.5″ wheels.
The Dakar AMT Comp features an X-Fusion Sweep RL2 fork (150mm) and an X-Fusion 02 RLX High Volume AV rear shock. The Shimano 2×10 drivetrain features Deore shifters and front derailleur and a Deore Shadow rear derailleur. FSA provides the cranks and bottom bracket. Shimano Deore M615 disc brakes slow you down. The AMT Comp rolls on WTB rims with Formula hubs running on Vittoria Goma 27.5 tires. Bonus points for the nice KS eTen dropper post with 100mm travel and a handlebar remote.
For more information visit www.jamisbikes.com
Felt Compulsion 50 – $2699
Felt has a new all mountain/enduro line of bikes called the Compulsion featuring 160mm of Equilink suspension and a frame made from double-butted 6061 hydroformed aluminum. The Compulsion 50 features a Suntour Aion RL-R fork with 160mm travel and a remote lockout with a rebound adjuster, 34mm stanchions and air spring. Rear cush is provided by a RockShox Monarch RT with custom tune. The bike also features Shimano Deore/XT 2×10 drivetrain, Shimano M506 brakes, WTB Speed Disc i23 rims and 27.5 Schwalbe Hans Dampf (front) and Rock Razor (rear) tires. Bonus points for the KS Eten dropper post (without remote).
Felt positions the Compulsion as their do-it-all, all mountain bike. Felt Marketing Manager Scott Sharples describes it as a bike that can, “handle Big Bear or the local bike park but still climb up. At Downieville, I rode up 2 and a half hours on the Compulsion and it handled great.” The Compulsion 50 is also rare in the fact that the price actually dropped from the 2014 model’s MSRP of $2899 to the 2015 model’s MSRP of $2699.
For more information visit www.feltbicycles.com
Marin Attack Trail XT 7 – $2699
Marin Bikes 2015 Attack Trail XT 7 is an all mountain machine that features 150mm of their QUAD 3 suspension with 27.5 wheels and an alloy frame. Suspension duties are handled by a SR Suntour Auron LC-RC Air fork with 160mm of travel and the rear is handled by a Rock Shox Monarch RL with lockout and rebound adjustment. The 2×10 drivetrain is full Shimano (SLX/Deore) and brakes are also Shimano M615 discs. Marin hubs and Alex tubeless rims run on Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5 tires.
The Marin Attack Trail line is built to take the abuse on the downhills but can still get you to the top. The frame also features some nice internal routing options.
For more information visit www.marinbikes.com
Rocky Mountain Blizzard – $2699.99
When we approached the guys at Rocky Mountain and asked them what they considered their best value bike under $3k, they gave us a slightly different answer from everybody else. The Blizzard is their new fatbike that is designed around the RockShox Bluto suspension fork with 100mm of travel. As such, it has suspension optimized geometry to take full advantage of the cush for those all day adventures or those short jaunts in snow, ice, sand or dirt. In the rear it has 197x12mm spacing to fit up to 4.8″ tires. It has a 1×10 drivetrain that includes a custom designed Race Face 24T narrow-wide chainring with driveside offset for “optimal” shifting. The 6061 series aluminum frame is double and triple butted (the downtube and toptube are triple butted, the seat tube, chainstays and seat stays are double butted.) The frame also has internal cable routing including for an internally routed dropper seatpost.
Rocky Mountain calls their design and geometry RTC (Rider Tuned Concept) and there was a sign on display that read, “We designed the Blizzard with a shorter-than-average top tube to keep it nimble, and wide 4.7″ tire clearance for maximum float on soft terrain. Engineering for a suspension fork required optimizing the additional length while providing an aggressive 68.5 degree headtube angle.”
The Blizzard on display also features a sweet looking integrated Porcelain Rocket half-frame bag, which is sold separately. The intricate graphics were a nice touch, as well.
For more information visit www.bikes.com