Few of us have the financial means to purchase our first bicycle for a thousand dollars. Instead, this is the pricing range for people who have already spent some time on a mountain bike and have decided to advance their riding skills.
While budget is certainly a factor, the bikes in this price bracket are geared more toward trail riding. As a result, you can expect more heavy-duty suspension and electronics that can handle the rigours of off-road riding.
Hardtails dominate this price range, but if you’re willing to spend close to £1,000, you can obtain a solid, complete suspension bike, and full-sus bikes under £1,000 aren’t uncommon among the best trail mountain bikes.
Although hardtails are lighter and easier to maintain, having front and rear suspension on steep descents will give you more confidence and traction.
The industry appears to have come to an agreement on wheel size, with most bikes at this price utilizing 27.5in / 650b wheels.
Dropper posts are becoming more prevalent at this price bracket, giving a bike more adjustability and, as a consequence, allowing for a far broader range of riding.
Hydraulic disc brakes are practically normal at this price. We’d nearly suggest that bikes without them should be avoided because they provide better and more secure performance than wire brakes.
At this price point, it’s wise to look for a bike that uses the Boost mountain bike axle standard.
Every machine on this list is appropriate for usage at any trail center, most cross-country events, and off-road exploration in general.
Whatever bike you choose in this price range will help you get more out of yourself and your riding – after all, that’s why we ride bikes in the first place.
Best hardtail under £1000
1. Boardman MHT 8.9
- As tested, £1,000
- A trip that packs a punch considerably more than the pricing suggests
- This fantastic set makes the best use of the sorted frame
- Its adaptable frame allows it to be used for commuting
The MHT is more of a development than a revolution when it comes to reconstructing Boardman’s fast trail 29er. Given the Boardman’s light overall weight, it’s lightning-fast. When you weigh it, you’ll note that it’s about 2kg lighter than comparable bikes in the same price range.
To help you climb even the steepest hills, its lightweight aluminum frame is combined with a rock-solid RockShox Reba RL fork and well-organized Shimano SLX 1x gear with a 46t crawler cog.
The MHT is also suited for commuting because of its rack mounts, low overall weight, and durable tyres.
2. Calibre Bossnut (2020)
- £1,100 (as tested)
- Excellent component choices
- A well-maintained trail bike that’s ready to ride right away.
- It’s still the best full-suspension bike at £1,100 (£1,500 without a £5 Go Outdoors pass).
Okay, so this bike is technical £100 over budget (after you’ve purchased the Go Outdoors discount card), but it’d be a shame not to stretch a little farther than the £1,000 budget to get your hands on it.
There are two bottle cage bosses under the down tube, external cable routing, and an internally hosed dropper post port on the seat tube on the Bossnut 2020.
The geometry works well on a trail bike as well. The large has a reach of 460mm, a head angle of 66 degrees (one degree lower than the preceding bike), and a seat tube angle of 74.5 degrees.
To attenuate the 130mm travel, a RockShox Monarch R air-spring rear shock is coupled with a RockShox Recon RL fork with 130mm travel.
SRAM’s 12-speed SX Eagle transmission and Level T brakes are also included. WTB rims and tyres are also available.
This bike’s equipment is exceptionally well-organized for the money, and the areas where Calibre has saved money will teach you how to improve it even more.
We wondered if any other bikes could compete for the money on the trail with the Bossnut. It’s not ideal, but for the money, it’s the best you can get.
3. Calibre Line 29
- £905 (as tested)
- The stable geometry inspires confidence over challenging terrain.
- The great spec list includes a dropper post.
- A small seat tube may not be optimal for the tallest riders.
Caliber’s well-known recipe for success is used in Line 29. It brings modern, progressive geometry to the mix, building on the brand’s amazing success thanks to the Rake, Line 10, Bossnut, and Sentry models, which are all high-value and high-performing.
Unsurprisingly, the frame comes with top-of-the-line components, including SRAM’s NX 11-speed drivetrain, Guide T brakes, and a KS 122m travel dropper post. The Recon RL fork with Motion Control damper from RockShox is also included.
On the trail, the good geometry combines with the generous spec to produce a bike that is confident and serene on tricky descents, riding predictably and demonstrating that a bike costing approximately £900 doesn’t have to be ridden conservatively.
4. Voodoo Bizango Carbon
- As tested, £1,000
- Excellent XC performance and reasonable weight for the pricing
- It’s trail-ready thanks to its modern geometry
- Good selection of high-quality components
Because of its internally routed wires, sophisticated architecture, and sleek, unbroken lines, the carbon-framed Bizango appears to be a considerably more expensive rig. It’s 1x specialized, so there’s no front mech, which helps improve stiffness.
The attractive frame is also made of high-quality materials. Thanks to Shimano’s MT-400 brakes, SRAM’s 12-speed XS Eagle transmission, and a RockShox Judy fork, the Bizango has progressed beyond cross-country rides.
It competes with more expensive XC bikes and gives the rider little incentive to fall behind. Although the shape makes it simple to descend, the carbon frame is uncomfortably uncomfortable to ride.
5. Cannondale Trail SE 4
- £900 as tested
- Potential to upgrade
- Smooth climbing and descending
- Shimano Deore groupset
The Cannondale Trail SE 4 is made for low-impact trials, but the Boost spacing and dropper post compatibility allow it to evolve.
The Trail SE 4’s tapered head tube is compatible with a wide selection of forks, and the Boost spacing allows you to upgrade the wheels down the line.
The bike, however, is still built to provide a smooth ride. The reduced seat stays contribute to the smoothness, but the coil-sprung Suntour front fork also feels supple.
The geometry of the bike is XC-inspired. When sat, it’s low and forceful, but when you get out of the saddle, it’s a lot more upright.
The Shimano Deore gears provide a good variety of ratios, while the Shimano Alivio brakes contribute to the bike’s comfortable ride feel.
6. Carrera Titan X
- £850 (as tested)
- It comes with more features than practically anything else at this price.
- A rear suspension is a good alternative for the money.
- On uneven terrain, it has a significant advantage over hardtails
The idea when Halfords designed this bike was to create a full-suspension mountain bike with a 12-speed gearbox and a dropper post for less than a grand.
We were perplexed as to how the brand would go about it. Surprisingly, it not only met that target but did it for only £850.
What exactly has Halfords done to achieve this? Although it isn’t the most refined-looking package, we believe that it is a concession worth making because it does not affect performance on trial.
We have one major concern that the three-size range won’t fit the tiniest or tallest riders. This, however, will not be an issue for those in the middle of the curve.
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