10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $2000 – Reviews & Top Picks

Mountain biking isn’t a cheap sport and neither is it an affordable pastime. Mountain bikes are designed to survive and provide optimum performance in harsh environments and are thus made up of expensive components that deliver durability, agility, and control.

Mountain bikes come in several different categories, from trail bikes to fat bikes and from cross-country bikes to downhill bikes. Each type typically differs in only one distinct category and every type of mountain bike performs well on difficult terrain.

However, that doesn’t mean that mountain biking is limited for the ultra-rich. Owing to a stratospheric public interest in extreme sports involving mountain bikes, a range of affordable options are now available.

In addition, the trickle-down effect has resulted in technologies once reserved for the most expensive models finding their way onto affordable bikes as well.

Below follows a list of the 10 best mountain bikes under 2 000 USD. While a plethora of different mountain bikes is on the market at this price point, the 10 below provide the greatest value for money while including components that will provide optimum performance almost anywhere on the planet.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Mountain Bikes Under $2000

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are mountain bikes under $2000 that most people buy).

  • Niner Air 9 2 Star Top Pick
  • Cannondale Cujo 2 Runner-up
  • Giant Stance 2 Runner-up

Top 10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $2000 2020 – Our Reviews:

1. Niner Air 9 2 Star

This beast from Niner looks more like a fat bike as opposed to a mountain bike because of its 29 x 2.4 tires that are as capable of riding on snow as they are on hard rock.

Featuring a lightweight aluminum frame, the 2 Star combines agility and peak performance into a neat little package. Rockshox Judy Gold forks ensure minimum transfer of shocks to the rider while jumping or going through depressions.

The drive train of this bike is the 12 speed SRAM NX Eagle which ensures unmatched performance on elevated surfaces. Unfortunately, internal cable routing isn’t provided but this doesn’t have any impact on the bike’s performance whatsoever.

With a price tag of $1950, this mountain bike from Niner Air is perfect for riders who wish for a machine dependable enough to push themselves to the limit.

Pros

  • Perfect for professionals who wish to push themselves to the limit
  • Wide tires provide great grip on all surfaces
  • Unmatched performance and durability

Cons

  • Nothing so to speak

2. Cannondale Cujo 2

There’s no doubt that the Cannondale Cujo 2 is an affordable machine, but what sets it apart from others is its comfort and performance.

The frame is made from a lightweight aluminum alloy and the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty means that there’s no need to play it safe. The bike’s wide tires ensure comfort over rocky trails.

RockShox Judy provides frontal suspension while a rear shock is sadly lacking. Internal routing of cables and a Tranzx dropper round out the bike’s impressive array of features.

Also, supports are provided for both luggage and water bottles to facilitate long-distance journeys.

The Cannondale Cujo 2 is the perfect entry-level mountain bike for those looking to do regular biking trails into the mountains. Professional mountain bikers may be a little disappointed with the Cujo 2 but I’m not complaining.

At only $1350 USD, the Cujo 2 is the cheapest bike on this list by a significant margin.

Pros

  • Cheapest trail bike in its price bracket
  • Great for beginners
  • Includes top-level components

Cons

  • Professionals may not be impressed with this bike

3. Giant Stance 2

Giant has been one of the more popular names in the biking industry for quite some time now and their Stance 2 doesn’t disappoint at all as a capable full suspension mountain bike that will put its competitors to shame.

The bike’s frame is made from aluminum and it curves slightly, resulting in a look that’s a little different from the rest. While the bike only comes with a basic saddle, enthusiasts and pros can easily swipe it for a dropper post for added comfort.

Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes and an SRAM SX Eagle crankset are included among the bike’s components ensuring great performance and durability over a long period of time.

The frame provides an option for adding a water bottle as well, which comes in handy over long distances.

What is even harder to believe is that a full suspension frame like the Stance 2 only costs $1550. By our standards, the Stance 2 is one of the best bikes on this list, providing unparalleled performance and control on almost all terrains.

Pros

  • Full suspension resulting in a comfortable ride
  • Extremely competitive considering its price range

Cons

  • The only downside is that the Stance 2 only comes with a basic saddle

4. Santa Cruz Chameleon

Although the Santa Cruz Chameleon may cost around $1800, this mountain bike provides a terrific bang for your buck. Available both in aluminum and carbon fiber frames, the Chameleon is a great hardtail bike.

Both front and rear 29er wheels ensure great grip and control over a variety of surfaces, while power and speed are provided by the SRAM SX Eagle drive set. The bike performs exceptionally on both ascents and descents.

Brakes are hydraulic from Shimano while the dropper post is from Race Face. Supports for water bottles and luggage are also provided.

Unfortunately, the Chameleon doesn’t come with full suspensions and buyers would have to make do with front suspension only. 

Like its namesake, the Santa Cruz Chameleon can adapt to a variety of surfaces with ease, providing one of the more comfortable mountain bike experiences of any bike presently. It also looks great with its sleek frame covered in a glossy finish that sets it apart from the rest.

Pros

  • Easy to control and drive on almost any terrain
  • Shimano brakes provide terrific stopping power
  • Justifiable price for such a terrific lineup of features

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with full suspension

5. Scott Spark 970

It’s hard to get a full suspension bike under $2000 but the Scott Spark 970 bucks this trend by providing both front and rear suspension. This makes it extremely easy to control and ride on in difficult terrain.

Made from an alloy, the bike includes a front suspension fork by RockShox while a rear suspension by X Fusion RL. Recon tires work perfectly at low pressures, ensuring that most shocks are absorbed before they travel up the frame.

It’s hard to go wrong in the presence of the SRAM SX Eagle driveset and Shimano disc brakes. A Syncros seat post is also included but a lack of suspension here means that some jumps may feel a little uncomfortable.

At only $1800, the Scott Spark 970 is a steal considering the dearth of features it provides. Both seasoned bikers and professionals are sure to take a liking to this beauty.

Perfect for both cross-country trips and rocky trails, this bike is definitely one of the most capable and most comfortable bikes on this list.

Pros

  • Full suspension resulting in an extremely comfortable ride
  • Competitively priced considering the plethora of features in the frame

Cons

  • Dropper post not included

6. Diamondback Catch 1

The Diamondback Catch 1 isn’t only a great looking full suspension bike but also has the specs to back its impressive figurine. A high head tube angle enables the frame to arch forward which comes in handy while rolling down steep slopes.

A 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain powers the bike while Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes are also included for optimum stopping power over both wet and uneven surfaces.

Rockshox Recon RL forks come with the aluminum frame while rear suspension is provided by RockShox Monarch RT. 

The Volt saddle is comfortable enough too. However, it can easily be replaced with a sleek looking Tranzx dropper post for added support on long routes.

Costing a hefty $1900, the Diamondback Catch 1 comes in two beautiful colors: glossy black or shiny silver. Owing to its high-grade components, this mountain bike is a formidable force wherever it goes.

One downside is that this bike is shipped disassembled, meaning the buyer needs some rudimentary skills to put it all together. However, one can just as easily pay the local bike shop to do the same.

Pros

  • Full suspension making trail riding extremely comfortable
  • Great control and stopping power due to Shimano brakes
  • Competitively priced considering its capabilities

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive at a price of $1900
  • Needs to be assembled once bought

7. Cannondale Fat Caad 2

Among bikes under 2,000 dollars, the Fat Caad 2 is nothing less than a beast. With a simple geometric frame, this bike is primarily for old school pros who wish to push themselves and their machine to the limit.

With a 70° head tube angle, the Fat Caad 2 performs great on elevated trails.

The mechanical components are a mix of Shimano and SRAM. The SRAM SX Eagle drive train and Shimano brakes combine to provide dependable performance on difficult terrain.

The Fat Caad 2 is a little heavier than its competitors on this list but that’s because it’s designed for durability and toughness in the most extreme of conditions.

The seat post is from Cannondale itself and sadly doesn’t come with added suspension that may make journeys over uneven terrain more comfortable. Supports are provided for water bottles and luggage for long-distance retreats into far-flung areas.

The fact that it’s priced at $1900 makes the Fat Caad 2 unsuitable as a bike for beginners. However, daredevils and pros are bound to love this machine for its unmatched control, dependable performance, and overall feel that it can survive almost anywhere on the planet.

Pros

  • A proper fat bike that can conquer any terrain
  • Professionals will love it for its features and performance

Cons

  • A lack of dropper post means some shocks will reach the rider through the frame

8. Marin Pine Mountain 1

Made of a sturdy steel frame, the Marin Pine Mountain 1 looks like it can conquer anything that nature can throw at it. With an imposing design that prefers durability over style, the Pine Mountain 1 is sure to last a long time.

The most noticeable thing about this mountain bike is its large tires. 27 5 x 2 8 tires from Vee Crown Gem provide this beast with the grip and control required for extreme riding among the mountains.

The drivetrain includes Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for the required stopping power on difficult terrain. In addition, the Shimano Deore drive set is also included for speed shifting on trails with rapidly changing elevations.

The frame provides joints for holstering up to 3 water bottles in addition to separate points for luggage as well. As a result, this bike is perfect for long retreats into the unknown.

Priced at an affordable $1300, this bike will find its fans among beginners who are looking to up their ante. Designed to survive driving mistakes as well as crashes, the Pine Mountain 1 remains unmatched in its endurance.

Pros

  • Quite affordable at a price point of only $1300
  • Top-line components assure great performance

Cons

  • May not be preferred by professionals

9. Trek Roscoe 6

At a shockingly low price of $1020, the Roscoe 6 is hands down the most affordable bike on this list. With a frame geometry that may best be described as simple, the Roscoe 6 packs enough punch to help beginners start their mountain biking journey confidently.

The drivetrain is Shimano Deore whose 10-speed gear set ensures great performance on almost any surface. SRAM level disc brakes are included for good control over difficult terrain.

One of the best aspects of the Roscoe 6 is its Alex rims that support tubeless-ready tires. In addition, the aluminum fork easily dampens bumps encountered on the journey.

Support points for both water bottles and luggage are also provided on the frame for longer journeys.

The Roscoe 6’s retail cost has purposefully been kept low so as to position it for beginners. While professionals may not be inclined to choose the Roscoe 6 for their retreats on nature trails, this bike will fit the requirements of those starting out. 

Pros

  • Shimano Deore drivetrain ensures optimum performance
  • Cheapest bike on this list at just over $1000
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Only for beginners and will not appeal to professionals

10. Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2

The DRT 2.2 is sure to be the most unique design on this list, looking significantly different from most mountain bikes out there. While some may scoff at the lack of style offered by its aluminum frame, this is offset by the sheer value for money that the DRT 2.2 provides.

Regarding the parts spec list, the bike’s 27 5 x 2 8 inch wheels provide both traction and comfort on rocky trails while the SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain provides the necessary power to confidently steer up elevated tracks. The bike has a front suspension of Rockshox Recon RL, supported through an aluminum fork.

The saddle height is just about perfect for the young and old alike. For those who don’t like the default saddle, a dropper post can be added instead for improved shock-absorbing over rocky terrain.

The DRT 2.2 performs well enough but for some professionals, this might not be satisfactory. However, as it costs less than $1800, the DRT 2.2 is a great entry-level mountain bike perfect for beginners and weekend riders.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Good for beginners
  • Dependable and durable over difficult terrain

Cons

  • Rear shock not included
  • Visually basic which may put some prospective customers off

Conclusion

In no way can a mountain bike be classified as a fun machine. Mountain biking is a serious business and thus, capable machines durable enough to survive in the harshest of environments are a prerequisite to this sport.

A $2,000 price point is strategic in the sense that it not only includes entry-level bikes but also the more capable models with drive sets enhanced enough for both peak performance and maximum durability.

Overall, if I were to select the best mountain bike under $2 000, I would definitely choose the Niner Air 9. This beast provides unmatched performance and comfort among all its peers while looking stylish at the same time.

For beginners who are looking to get their feet wet, the most optimum choice should be the Trek Roscoe 6. Not only is it easy on the pocket but it also provides great baseline features in a frame that will be just about perfect for those starting out.

The list above includes mountain bikes under $2 000 for customers of every type, providing a range of options that not only provide dependable performance but are light on the pocket as well.