The Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000 Dollars
Updated on 11/25/2020 with the best options currently available
They may not be the lightest or come equipped with the latest high-end gear, but there are plenty of quality entry-level mountain bikes that sell for around $1,000. These are great options for beginner mountain bikers and young riders who may soon outgrow their current bike. Keep reading to learn what to look for in your first mountain bike and check out our list of the best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars (or close to it).
Are you a new mountain biker? Learn more in our Beginner’s Corner.
What to know before buying your first mountain bike
But before you head out to your nearest bike shop or online bike seller, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the best mountain bikes under $1,000. For starters, no matter what bike you buy or how much it costs, make sure it fits you well. Because if a bike fits, it’s going to be a whole lot more fun to ride and will be less likely to end up collecting dust in the back of your garage. And while pro-level bike fits are pricey, any decent local bike shop should be willing to help get your position dialed, adjusting saddle height and swapping stem to get you the best fit.
The second thing you should know when searching for the best mountain bikes under $1,000 is that you are going to want to opt for a hardtail. Sure, there are some budget-priced full suspension options out there, but unless you happen to catch a super sale, the odds are that at this price point, you’re going to get a bike with inferior components that may not work very well or last very long. That’s why we suggest you stick with a hardtail and make the jump to a full-suspension down the road when you have a little more budget to work worth.
At this price point, hardtails are the best choice for their lightweight and efficiency. The other big advantage of choosing a hardtail, especially for beginners, is that they can help you become a better rider because they force you to develop your skills and make better line choices instead of just being a passenger and plowing through things. And once you’ve mastered the basics (and saved a little more money), your second bike can be a full-suspension model.
Related: 5 Best MTB Upgrades
The other option, if you really want a full suspension bike but only have $1,000 to spend, is to shop the used bike market. Online re-sellers such as The Pro’s Closet have a massive inventory of bikes, but you’ll need to keep an eye on their ever-changing inventory and hope the right bike in the right size turns up. Craigslist, eBay, and the various bike website forums are other good places to peruse. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you transfer your hard-earned money.
Related: 5 tips for buying a used bike
As for buying new, aside from fit, if possible, opt for a bike that’s spec’d with parts from respected component brands such as Shimano, SRAM, Fox, and RockShox. All these companies make a wide range of products, meaning that their lower-priced options typically benefit from trickle-down technology. They also have reputations to uphold, so it’s unlikely that they’ll put out parts that are going to fall apart in a few months.
Now that you have some basics shopping strategies, here are the best mountain bikes under $1,000 (or reasonably close to it) listed from most affordable to most expensive.
Related: The Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
Best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars in 2020
Take on new trail challenges with the Axum mountain bike by Schwinn. This mountain bike is the lowest-price on our list. It’s a suitable entry-point to cross-country riding for riders new to the sport. The Axum features a light aluminum frame and a 100mm suspension fork. It has a 1×8-speed drivetrain and front and rear mechanical disc brakes to deliver reliable stopping power. Plus, the Axum rolls on high-volume 29×2.6 tires that make it easy to roll over just about anything. It’s available with or without a dropper seatpost—our advice is to upgrade to the dropper-post equipped version.
Related Reading: Click here to for our full review of this bargain-priced mountain bike.
Haro Steel Reserve 1.1
The Steel Reserve is built to take a beating as you hone your skills on the dirt jumps and the jump track. The frame is suspension corrected and can be upgraded from a rigid fork to a suspension fork. The frame comes with a rear disc brake and has Weinmann XM260 Alloy Double-Wall Rims that are exceptionally durable.
Cannondale Trail 8
If you’re just getting started and expect to spend half your time riding pavement and half on beginner-friendly trails, Cannondale’s Trail 8 is the perfect gateway to mountain biking. It features a lightweight aluminum frame, a 3×7 drivetrain a suspension fork and mechanical disc brakes.
REI Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0
The DRT 1.0 is designed to bridge that gap between youth and adult mountain bikes. It’s a great option for young teens as well as small adults. It features a lightweight aluminum frame with a low-slung top tube that gives riders plenty of standover clearance and small diameter 26-inch wheels that are easy to handle. The 3×7 drivetrain has plenty of range and it comes with hydraulic disc brakes for confident stopping.
Mongoose Argus Trail 26
The Argus Trail 26 is a fat bike that sports 26×4″ tires, which provide gobs of traction and will let this bike go where traditional mountain bikes can’t. Explore snow-packed trails all winter long. The Argus features a lightweight aluminum frame with a 2×8 drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes.
Trek Marlin 7
The Marlin 7 is where race-worthy mountain bikes begin. The smooth, lightweight RockShox fork and upgraded parts make this model the best choice for new riders who want a fast cross-country hardtail that will hold its own against Trek’s higher-end race bikes.
Marin San Quentin 1
The San Quentin is for the aggressive hardtail trail rider looking for a blend between singletrack capabilities and extended air time. It features a 120mm-travel suspension fork with long and slack geometry for stability at speed and confident handling in technical terrain. The 27.5″ wheels and tires keep the handling lively.