The Search for the Best Mountain Bike Under $1000
Are you ready for mountain biking? Getting your hands on a high-end mountain bike is great, but what if you have a limited budget or you're still trying out the hobby? This is why we rounded up five bikes, any of which can be considered the best mountain bike under $1000.
Best Mountain Bike Under $1000
Why Not Just Use Any Other Bike?
Mountain biking requires more than the right riding skills; you also need the right bike to tackle the terrain. You need to consider the following factors when choosing your mountain bike. For this roundup, we'll focus on hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes.
Hardtail Mountain Bikes
Hardtail mountain bikes are characterized by having rigid frames and front fork suspensions. Hardtail mountain bikes are lightweight, easy to maintain and a little more comfortable than rigid mountain bikes (no front or rear suspension).
Hardtail mountain bikes make great starter bikes in general because they encourage the rider to develop basic mountain biking skills such as shifting the rider's body to minimize the effect of riding over bumps along the trail.
Full Suspension Mountain Bikes
Full suspension mountain bikes feature frames that are divided into two "triangles" joined by pivoting joints. When a full suspension bike hits a bump on the road, the pivot allows the rear part of the bike to swing up or down to dampen the impact. The amount of sway allowed is limited by a rear shock spring.
Thanks to this rear suspension, full suspension bikes don't just offer better comfort, but also helps riders navigate more technical trails a lot easier. The only main drawback of full suspension bikes is that they require a little more maintenance than hardtail bikes.
Regardless of the type of mountain biking you prefer, most of the strain will fall on the bike's frame. Aside from supporting your body weight, it must be tough enough to absorb impact from navigating on rough terrain. An ordinary city bike would get bent or damaged after in just a few weeks of use.
Mountain biking will put your bike's durability to the test so it needs to be as tough as possible without sacrificing weight and ease of use. High-end bikes ay feature lightweight alloy and even carbon frames, but the alloy frames for bikes under $1000 are usually good enough for entry-level mountain biking.
Different mountain bikes offer different sets of features. One of the most important things you should consider when looking for a bike is the number of gears it has. Changing the gear can help you adjust your bike's torque, acceleration, and ability to maintain top speeds.
While having plenty of options is great, having too many gears could mean putting unnecessary weight on your bike. You should also consider the chances of cross chaining, which is when the chain is on the largest gear on the front and the smallest gear on the rear. This puts a lot of wear and tear on the chain.
If you want a perfect balance between control and smooth transition, many veteran bikers recommend getting a 21 or 26-speed bike. The number of gears should be more than enough to provide you with what you need for most kinds of terrain.
Speaking of control, you need a bike with a good set of brakes, especially if you're traversing steep inclines where not being able to properly stop a bike can lead to big trouble. Most entry-level bikes have rim brakes, which are rubber pads designed to press against the rim when you pull the brake.
If you want more stopping power, you have to switch to something with disc brakes. Available as either hydraulic or cable-operated, disc brakes are stronger, so you do not have to pull on brakes too hard. This may not seem like much, but anything that helps reduce strain on your hands is actually a big plus.
This factor greatly depends on the rider; you can have the best bike in the world to help you tackle the most challenging terrain, but it won't help you much if the bike is too tall for you. On the other hand, something too low will cause you to hunch over or ride uncomfortably.
Take time when looking for a bike that fits you. If you can, try to ask for a test ride to get a better feel of the bikes you're trying out. If you feel even the slightest discomfort, make the possible adjustments or switch to a better fitting bike altogether.
If you can't find an exact fit, the best thing you can do is pick something a bit smaller. It's much easier to make adjustments in a smaller bike than an oversized one. Don't forget the wheel size; 26-inch wheels are recommended but there are bigger wheel sizes for those who want more speed and stability.
Ready to start your search? We've come up with a list of five mountain bikes under $1000, all of which are known for being some of the best options you can find online.
Best Mountain Bike Under $1000
One of the highest rated mountain bikes online, the Diamondback Overdrive is a no-nonsense option that's good to go right from the start. The hardtail frame is made up of aluminum so it's light and simple, but still good enough for even moderately technical terrain.
Other features designed to enhance the Diamondback Overdrive's capabilities are Tekto disc brakes, which spares you the need to upgrade ASAP. With its 20-speed drivetrain, you can transition from road to rough without too much trouble. The 27.5-inch tires is also a fine balance of speed and agility.
- Easy to assemble.
- Features are good enough even for intermediate-level riders
- Wheels are big, but still allow plenty of maneuverability.
- Excellent for trail riding.
- Hardtails are more difficult to use for downhill rides and this bike is no exception ( although the disc brakes and 20-speed drivetrain helps)
- Some riders may prefer lighter alloy frames
If the Overdrive is Diamondback's go-to entry-level hardtail, the Recoil would be its full suspension counterpart. Although still considered a trail bike like the overdrive, the Recoil's rear suspension allows for an even smoother ride, which is perfect for those extra-bumpy rides.
Another feature designed for even smoother rides is the 27-speed drive train. Offering even more speed options than the Overdrive, you get a lot more control over speed and torque. It also uses 27.5-inch tires, but the full suspension's ability to keep the wheel planted makes it even better for technical riders.
- Excellent entry-level full suspension bike.
- Overall better control than the Overdrive.
- Others may find the front fork and drivetrain still lacking.
- A bit heavy, could be an issue for uphill biking.
Weighing it at only 33 pounds when fully assembled, the Merax Finiss is an excellent choice for those who want to try out cross-country racing. Part of its light weight lies on its frame and wheels, which are made of treated aluminum.
The Merax Finiss is all about speed and control. The 27.5-inch wheels and mechanical disc brakes are perfect examples of this kind of balance. 21-speed settings mean you can ride this bike in any terrain without any trouble. It's easily one of the most versatile mountain bikes you can find below $1000.
- Excellent value for its price.
- Easy to assemble.
- Very light and easy to carry.
- Some find the front shocks a bit too soft, it may require an upgrade for more serious rides.
One of the best "training" bikes you can find right now, the Granite Peak has all the basics needed to make a bike good enough for both urban and complex areas. While it may not have disc brakes, the linear pull brake is more than good enough for beginner-level trails.
Unlike the previous bikes on this list, the Granite Peak features a steel frame. While this makes the bike a bit heavier, it also means it's stronger, which is a plus for inexperienced riders who might stumble upon obstacles more often.
- Excellent for beginners as a training bike
- Steel frame makes it stronger; more rugged
- You may want to switch to disc brakes
- The steel frame makes it heavier than other options
We had to put this one on the list for being a FOLDING mountain bike. Most people are familiar with folding bikes with small wheels and a frame that is designed for road travel only. Big wheels and rigid frame of the Paratrooper may not be as compact as regular folding bikes, but it's still easy to carry.
In order to survive the constant shock and wear and tear from mountain biking, the Paratrooper has a unique, sturdy frame design that minimizes a folding bike's tendency to "flex" around the joints when the rider steps on the pedals.
- It's a good alternative for bikers who don't have enough room space
- Easy to store when not in use
- Not as compact as regular folding bikes
Which one is the best?
While all of them can easily be the best, there can only be one winner for this roundup, and that's the Diamondback Overdrive. Its low price combined with easy assembly and performance makes it a great entry-level bike that would last for a long time.
That wraps up our rundown on the best mountain bikes under $1000. Got other suggestions for bikes that you think we should check out? Let us know by leaving a comment below!