7 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000 in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

If you’re looking for the best mountain bikes at the affordable end of the spectrum and you’re only willing to stretch your budget up to $1000, you’ve come to the right place.

Of course, not everyone is willing to splash the cash on exorbitantly-priced mountain bikes. Some may be dipping their toes into the world of mountain biking for the first time while others may simply favor easier terrains over trails laden with challenging obstacles.

For these cases and one where riders only bike occasionally, higher-end mountain bikes aren’t a necessity. Budget bikes may not be equipped with the most premium of bike components but they’re more than capable of offering an enjoyable riding experience.  

The demand for outstanding bicycle specifications at a competitive price point has driven bicycle manufacturers to put a lot of thought into their bikes. Never have bike brands manufactured as many outstanding affordable mountain bikes as they have now.

Listed below are some of the top mountain bikes under $1000. Any under $1000 mountain bike you end up choosing from the list will help you substantially improve your cycling performance.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the mountain bikes under $1000 that most people buy).

  • Co-op Cycles DRT 1 .2 Top Pick
  • Cannondale Trail 5 Runner-up
  • Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Runner-up

Top 7 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000 – Our Reviews:

1. Co-op Cycles DRT 1 .2

The Co-op Cycles DRT 1 .2 can be an excellent entry to the world of mountain biking. Supporting 27.5-inch wheels, this bike can be thoroughly enjoyed by both young teens and small adults new to the sport.

Boasting a lightweight aluminum frame with a low-slung top tube design, you can expect a comfortable range of standover clearance on the bike. Thank goodness, the bike is also equipped with 120 mm of front suspension, allowing riders to ride over small rocks littered on rough terrains with optimum comfort and efficiency.

The SR Suntour XCR fork on the bike, with a remote lockout feature, goes above and beyond to ensure a stable ride when you encounter tough trails.

I also like the inclusion of the internal cable routing on the bike; this feature gives the Co-op Cycle DRT 1.2 an extremely clean and tidy appearance. Other features of the bike include a set of Shimano shifters and rear derailleur, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and wide 2.2” trail-specific tires, etc.

It should also interest you to know that the Co-op Cycle DRT 1.2 can accommodate a dropper post, should you find the need to install one.

However, with its 3 x 9 drivetrain and weight of over 32 pounds, I have to admit that it isn’t one of the most nimble bikes around. Additionally, the bike components aren’t of the highest quality.

Pros

  • Offers full value for money
  • Arguably, the best trail bike under $1000 for beginner trail enthusiasts, cross-country, and recreational bikers
  • Powerful Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • Well-performing wide 2.2″ trail-specific tires on 27.5″ wheels

Cons

  • Not the best choice for experienced riders who abuse their bikes frequently

2. Cannondale Trail 5

The Cannondale Trail 5 has undergone an upgrade in recent times, supporting a slacker and longer geometry than its previous versions, giving riders more stability during steep descents and corners.

The Trail 5  also comes equipped with a fair share of wonderful bike components. It benefits from the integration of reliable Tektro MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Acera drivetrain, lightweight and sturdy Alloy frame, and SR Suntour XCM suspension fork with 100 mm travel, etc.

Plus, since the bike has a small-sized frame, it comes equipped with a set of 27. 5″ wheels, making it an inspired choice for smaller riders. Thankfully, there’s also a 29″ wheel version to accommodate the requirements of taller riders.

Other notable features of the Cannondale Trail 5 include a slack head angle design to provide optimum stability, a wide bar and a short stem to ensure total control of the bike, and short chainstays to facilitate maximum traction and agility. The wide range 18-gearing system will also assist you during steep climbs.

Where does the bike excel you ask? Well, this bike is at its best when used on gravel roads or low-impact trails.

Looking for a leisurely bike ride? None does it better than the Cannondale Trail!

Pros

  • Smaller frame and wheel size make the bike the best choice for smaller riders
  • Features a fairly contemporary geometry
  • Reliable hydraulic disc brakes have good stopping power
  • The frame has a wonderful feel and ride quality
  • One of the best hardtail mountain bikes under $1,000
  • Available in both 27.5″ and 29″ wheel sizes

Cons

  • This trail bike doesn’t have internal cable routing
  • Lacks standover clearance

3. Rocky Mountain Growler 20

The Rocky Mountain Growler 20, as you may have deduced from its name, isn’t the lightest or fastest bike around but it does have plenty up its sleeves.

Equipped with a set of well-performing 29″ wheels, a Suntour suspension fork with 130 mm travel, a 1×9 Shimano drivetrain, powerful Shimano mechanical disc brakes, a WTB Volt saddle to keep you comfortable during rides, and a durable aluminum frame, the Growler 20 is one bicycle that punches above its weight and offers plenty of features unheard of in its price range.

This mountain bike particularly excels at technical singletrack trail descents with its daring angle design. However, it also does a marvelous job of providing soft cushioning at landings.

Plus, you can bet your bottom dollar that rough terrain rides on the Growler 20 will be as smooth as can be.

The mountain bike also benefits tenfold from its overbuilt aluminum tubes. The tubes provide unparalleled strength, and when paired with 12 mm rear thru-axle, provide additional torsional stiffness.

However, I must admit that I missed the presence of a dropper seat post on the mountain bike. Irrespective of its misses, it’ll be hard for you to get an able singletrack machine like the  Growler 20 for its price point.

Pros

  • Outstanding geometry and durable aluminum frame
  • Reliable and well-performing Deore drivetrain
  • Shimano mechanical disc brakes have good stopping power
  • WTB Volt saddle to keep you comfortable during longer rides
  • One of the best mountain bikes in terms of efficient riding
  • Well-performing 29-inch wheels

Cons

  • Glaring absence of a dropper seat post

4. Calibre Line 10

Supporting 27. 5-inch wheels in an advanced long, slack, low geometry design, the Calibre Line 10 is fully capable of giving higher-end premium bicycle models a run for their money.

Additionally, the Calibre Line 10 comes with a RockShox Recon Solo Air 140 mm suspension fork that can absorb shocks and vibrations produced on most rough terrains. I am also a big fan of the bicycle’s generous reach and long front center as they work together brilliantly to provide excellent stability on speedy technical trail sections.

Also, the fact that the bicycle offers phenomenal agility on corners also adds to its charm.

I also like the integration of the KS Rage-I 125 mm dropper seat post on the bicycle, allowing you, as a rider, to quickly adjust your seat height, thereby enabling you to attack the technical sections of a trail to your heart’s content.

Other notable features of the Calibre Line 10 include awesome compound 2.6″ tires that provide fantastic traction, reliable Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes to keep your rides safe, and a durable aluminum frame-set to ensure the bicycle stands the test of time.

In essence, the Calibre Line 10 performs as good as a hardtail mountain bike that is twice its price.

Pros

  • Modern geometry with long travel fork suspension
  • Integration of a useful seat post
  • Wide 27. 5-inch wheels with fat front tire
  • One of the best mountain bikes for trail riding

Cons

  • Lack of inner cable routing
  • Not available in smaller sizes

5. Diamondback Overdrive 2

Diamondback is a household name among bicycle brands and it’s particularly renowned for its line of high-quality mountain bikes. Thankfully, the brand doesn’t disappoint with its offering of the Diamondback Overdrive 2.

Constructed of a lightweight alloy frame, the  Overdrive 2 manages to grab attention everywhere it goes with its stylish red design. Thankfully, this bike is more than meets the eye.

The Diamondback Overdrive 2 has a well-performing, reliable 2 x 9 drivetrain, powerful hydraulic disc brakes, and sports a 100 mm front suspension to provide the smoothest of rides in the most treacherous of terrains. Also, the bicycle comes equipped with 18-gear Shimano derailleurs.

Though the bike contains only entry-level groupsets, they’re more than capable of lasting a long time, provided they’re used with care.

I’m also a big fan of the bike’s 29” wheels and wide, knobby tires as they assure you of phenomenal rolling capabilities and enough traction during rides on tough terrains.

If you’re on the lookout for a good-quality, entry-level mountain bike, you can go for the Diamondback Overdrive 2 with your eyes closed.

Pros

  • Suitable for both the male and female mountain biker
  • Durable and lightweight alloy frame
  • Easy to assemble
  • The Overdrive 2 bikes feature outstanding 29” wheels and wide, knobby tires
  • 100 mm front suspension
  • Excellent price point

Cons

  • The saddle can be a bit uncomfortable on longer rides
  • No lockout function available
  • The plastic pedal may face issues during colder months

6. Giant Talon 3

The Giant Talon 3 is an aluminum hardtail mountain bike that can tackle everything from singletrack trails to dirt paths.

With 27.5 inch tires that offer fantastic traction and handling, frame geometry specifically designed to optimize stability, and a 100 mm SR Suntour XCT 30 suspension fork with lockout feature that soaks up obstacles on the trails like a sponge, the Giant Talon 3 is your ideal companion for rides on rugged, adventurous trails.

Other features of the bike include comfortable platform pedals, Shimano Altus shifters, microSHIFT FD-M282 front derailleur and Shimano Acera rear derailleur, and reliable Tektro HDC M275 hydraulic brakes.

The Shimano 2 x 8 speed drivetrain deserves a special mention for its offering of reliable and accurate shifting. Also, the fact the drivetrain offers efficient power distribution throughout your rides only adds to its charm.

To ensure the mountain bike maintains a sleek and clean appearance, the makers have outfitted the bike with Ally disc 32 H hubs and stainless steel 14 g spokes.

All in all, I would say that the Talon 3 mountain bike offers great specifications at an affordable price.

Pros

  • 100 mm front suspension fork with hydraulic lockout provides outstanding support on challenging terrain and cross country riding
  • The Talon 3 bikes feature powerful hydraulic  brakes
  • microSHIFT FD-M282 front derailleur and Shimano Acera rear derailleur
  • Lightweight yet durable aluminum frame construction
  • Shimano 2 x 8 speed drivetrain facilitates responsive and smooth gear change

Cons

  • For hardtail bikes, I think the Giant Talon 3 mountain bike has been priced a bit steeply

7. Trek Marlin 5

Don’t be fooled by the cheap price of the Trek Marlin 5. This bike can more than hold its own with the big boys. Boasting a sleek frame and boosted with the integration of inner cable routing, the Trek Marlin 5 is as good looking as it gets for a budget bike.

However, as we’re all too aware, looks can only get you so far. What about its performance you ask?

Well, the  Marlin 5 doesn’t disappoint in that department either as it comes with a well-performing  21-gear Shimano 3 x 7 drivetrain, which is more than enough for the average trail rider, durable aluminum frame construction, and SR Suntour XCE 28 fork that has 100 mm of plush travel.

However, it’s the Tektro hydraulic brakes that manage to steal the spotlight. The brakes enable the bike to perform superbly in all types of weather conditions and terrain.

In short, the Trek Marlin is best suited for beginner riders looking for an entry-level mountain bike. This bike will allow them to explore the dirt roads in their vicinity to their heart’s content.

Pros

  • Versatile offering from Trek
  • 21 gear Shimano 3 x 7 drivetrain
  • SR Suntour XCE 28 suspension fork that has 100 mm of travel
  • The Marlin 5 bikes come with neat inner cable routing

Cons

  • Weighing 32 lb, this mountain bike is a bit too heavy for my liking
  • Not a big fan of the flimsy-looking bicycle components

What to Expect from Mountain Bikes that Cost Under $1000?

Unlike in the past, you can get really good value out of mountain bikes that cost under $1000. Unfortunately, you won’t get a lot of full-suspension bike options for this budget.

Also, even if you do, you can rest assured that the full-suspension bikes won’t be worth the splurge. For this price range, you can get many hardtail bike options.

You can expect to get an under 30-pound bike that boasts of lightweight yet durable aluminum frame construction. If you search long and hard enough, you’ll get a bike equipped with an air fork.

In terms of brakes, you’ll be allowed to choose between mechanical brakes or hydraulic disc brakes.

Additional features such as a dropper post, bolt thru-axles, and drivetrains with 12 gears are also available.

However, don’t be under the impression that the mountain bike components will be of exceptional quality. For every quality component, there will be a flimsy component integrated into the bike to cut costs.

As long as you know what you need and what component you prioritize over the other, you’ll be able to make an informed choice.

Conclusion

There’s no need for you to feel sorry for yourself if you don’t have the financial power to acquire expensive mountain bikes.

For under $1000, there are more than enough mountain bikes to satisfy your thirst for trail riding, cross-country riding, or mountain biking. The options I’ve provided you with are all excellent choices in their own right.

However, if you’re still undecided and would rather have me direct you to a specific mountain bike option, I would be happy to oblige. My pick for you would be the Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Mountain Bike.

This mountain bike comes equipped with a set of well-performing 29-inch wheels, a Suntour fork with 130 mm travel, a 1×9 Shimano drivetrain, powerful Shimano mechanical disc brakes, a WTB Volt saddle to keep you comfortable during rides, a durable aluminum frame to handle the abuse, and outstanding geometry to encourage maximum riding efficiency.

What more could you ask for from a bike that costs under $1000?

If a thousand dollars is beyond your budget though, you’ll be glad to know that there are also great mountain bikes under $500.