The 8 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000 for Men & Women to Buy in 2022

Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000: A man sitting on a rock looking at the beautiful view. His mountain bike is leaned against a rock.

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This is a selection of the best mountain bikes under $1000. I included 27.5″ and 29″ MTBs for men and women.

I read dozens of reviews, discussed mountain bikes with my friends who run bike stores, and asked them for tips on choosing a mountain bike. Then, I summarized all info in this article to save your time.

The best mountain bike under $1000 overall is the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2. It offers the best price-value ratio of all bikes in this selection.

Continue reading to learn what to expect from mountain bikes below $1000, what wheel size to choose, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the shortage of bike components and high demand for bikes, many bikes are out of stock online. Unfortunately, it is necessary to wait even several months for some bikes.
As pinkbike.com predicts, the prices of bicycles will probably keep increasing in 2022 due to multiple factors like increased labor, shipping, and material costs.
Therefore, if you like a bike and its size is suitable for you, I recommend buying it.


What Are the Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000?

The best mountain bikes under $1000 are mostly cross-country or hardtail mountain bikes (bikes with only the front fork suspension). Unfortunately, this price range doesn’t allow manufacturers to offer full-suspension MTBs. You can expect bikes mostly with 27.5″, but there are also models with 29″ wheels. Aim for bikes with disc brakes that provide better stopping power than rim brakes.

If you are new to mountain bikes, feel free to read the buyers’ guide first to find more info to help you decide what bike to choose.

Blue Marin Palisades Trail 2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Polygon Xtrada 6

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Brown Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2

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Red Trek Marlin 6 men mountain bike with disc brakes
Trek Marlin 6

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Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 Bike

Brown Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 Bike | Source: rei.com

Main Features

  • Well kitted out all-rounder hardtail 
  • Reputable WTB tires with bags of grip
  • Front fork with 120mm of travel for all of your trail center and bridleway adventures
  • 18 gears to help you up the hills
  • Flat pedals included

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 32.47lb (14.73kg)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Altus 2x9spd, 18 gears (11-36t cassette)
  • Wheels: 27.5” (XS-M) or 29” (L, XL)
  • Tires: WTB Trail Boss; 27.5 (29) x 2.4 in
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR dual piston suspension, 120mm travel

Co-op’s one of the most popular bikes, DRT 1.2 is a great entry-level bike. It comes with a Shimano Altus drivetrain and 18 gears to help you conquer various terrains.

It is equipped with 27.5” or 29” wheels, depending on the size. This differentiates it from Marin Palisades Trail 2 in a good way because 29” wheels are faster, and the bike is more stable.

To keep you on track at all times, the wheels use WTB Trail Boss tires that are known for their good grip and won’t puncture easily.

DRT 1.2 is pretty comfy also, thanks to the 120mm travel fork that absorbs bumps in terrain. You can lock it on smooth terrain to save some energy.

This bike has included platform pedals, so you don’t have to buy them separately. If you decide to do so, check out this selection of flat pedals for MTBs.

Overall, Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 is suitable for beginners and slightly advanced riders who want to ride on forest roads, trails, or more demanding terrain.

I also recommend checking out the Co-ops Cycles DRT 1.1, which is more affordable but comes with lower-end components.


Polygon Xtrada 6

Blue Marin Palisades Trail 2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Polygon Xtrada 6 | Source: bikesonline.com

Main Features

  • Highly durable double-wall alloy rims
  • 1X Shimano Deore drivetrain for quick and easy shifting
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 120 mm fork travel for increased riding comfort

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: Shimano’s Deore (1x11spd)
  • Wheels: Entity XL2 Disc
  • Tires: Entity Spyderbait SA-290, 2.25″
  • Fork: Suntour XCR 32 LO-R with 120mm travel

The Polygon Xtrada 6 offers surprisingly great value for the money.

It follows the trend of 1X drivetrains, where you don’t have to think about cross-chaining. Instead, you simply choose one of the 11 gears that will suit you best.

The 11-51T cassette will provide you with gears for steep climbs but also for fast flat sections.

This bike is perfect for climbing thanks to its slack head tube and steep seat tube that allows you to push into pedals effectively.

And once you go downhill, you can stop, thanks to the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes effectively.

The Xtrada 6 is the mid-range model from the Xtrada range. You can also check out Xtrada 5 with a 2X drivetrain and entry-level components.

Or, if you have a larger budget, check out the Xtrada 7 with a 1X drivetrain and better components.


Marin Bobcat Trail 3

Blue Marin Palisades Trail 2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Marin Bobcat Trail 3 | Source: bikesonline.com

Main Features

  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 120 mm fork travel for increased riding comfort

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Altus (2x8spd)
  • Wheels: Marin Aluminum Double Wall, 25mm Inner, Pinned Joint, Disc Specific
  • Tires: MTB, 27.5/29×2.25″
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCM HLO 120mm with 120mm travel

Are you looking for a mountain bike suitable for trails? Look no further because that’s what Marin designed the Bobcat Trail 3 for.

It’s the entry-level MTB from the Bobcat Trail family, suitable for beginners and people on a tight budget.

Bobcat Trail 3 geometry features a slack head tube, low standover, relatively long reach, and steep seat tube angles, making its handling predictable on trails.

It comes with a 2×8spd Shimano Altus drivetrain, so you will have 16 gears to choose from.

You will also get powerful stopping power in all conditions with the Tektro M275 hydraulic disc brakes.

Keep in mind the wheel size differs depending on the bike size. Smaller sizes come with 27.5-inch wheels, while larger sizes with 29-inch wheels.


Diamondback Hatch 2

Blue Marin Palisades Trail 2 mountain bike with disc brakes
Diamondback Hatch 2 27.5″ | Source: performancebike.com

Main Features

  • Highly durable double-wall alloy rims
  • Shimano Tourney drivetrain with gearing that is perfect for hills, trails, or flats
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 100 mm fork travel for increased riding comfort

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: SunRace, 11-34T & Shimano Tourney Combination (3x7spd)
  • Wheels: Aluminum MTB DDM-2 double wall
  • Tires: MTB 29 x 2.25
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCE suspension with 100mm travel

The Diamondback Hatch 2 is designed for the recreational mountain biker looking to explore the local singletrack, bridleways, and wherever the heart takes you. 

It is made from lightweight yet durable aluminum, paired with a 100mm travel suspension fork and a reliable Shimano drivetrain. This bike is at home on the trails, helping you push your boundaries with every twist and turn. 

Its 29” wheels and 2.25” MTB tires give you the right balance of comfort, traction, and control through any terrain. Ensuring you are confident hitting the trails and cornering at speed without thinking twice.

It is specced with a Shimano Tourney drivetrain, and with the gearing – you’ll be set for the steep hills and long fire roads without leaving you feeling shattered after and needing to call it a day early. The mechanical disc brakes provide excellent stopping power that works well in various conditions and at speed. 

With the double-wall alloy rims, you’ll be able to point and shoot over rocks and bumps with confidence. You’ll be at home with the great entry-level bike.

Also available at rei.com


Trek Marlin 6

Red Trek Marlin 6 men mountain bike with disc brakes
Trek Marlin 6 | Source: trekbikes.com

Main Features

  • Lock out front suspension 
  • Eye-catching colorways 
  • Rack & kickstand mounts, making it multi-use
  • Hydraulic brakes front and rear to stop you on time, every time
  • S & XS specifics – curved top tube, smaller wheel size & short-reach brakes

Technical Spec

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: n/a
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 11-46 10 Speed
  • Wheels: Bontrager Connection 27.5” on XS/S & 29” on M upwards
  • Tires: Bontrager XR2 Comp from and rear. 27.5” on XS/S & 29” on M upwards
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCT 30 100mm 

Whether you’re testing the waters of off-road riding or looking for an all-rounded bike to get to and from the office and play on the weekend, Marlin 6 is a great option and at a great value.

The S & XS sizes have a curved top tube, smaller wheel size & short-reach brakes, specifically designed for shorter riders, including women.

It offers both rack mounts and a rear kickstand, so you can use this bike as a commuter and put in some serious time on forest drive to let your hair down.

With the front suspension lockout, you’ll find it easy to put your foot down and go the distance easily. In addition, the internal routing will stop any noisy chatter while you’re going over uneven ground on the trails. 

The Marlin has one of the smaller forks from the lineup I have listed, but don’t let that steer you. It’s more capable than it may first seem.

It’s packed with features usually found only on more expensive bikes, like a stylish frame with internal shift cable and brake hose routing, which can help your cables last longer by protecting them from the elements – looking after you for the long haul. Also, you’ll be in good hands knowing that Trek’s lifetime warranty backs it. 


Giant Talon 1

Black Giant Talon 1 mountain bike with disc brakes

Main Features

  • Reliable well-known drivetrain 
  • Double-wall rims for extra stability and rigidity 
  • Rebound adjust forks for ride adjustability 
  • Modern geometry 
  • 2 wheel sizes 

Technical Spec

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: n/a
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 10 speed 11×42
  • Wheels: Giant Spot Tracker
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon 27.5 or 29×2.4, wire bead
  • Fork: Rock Shox Judy 80mm

If you’re looking for a bike with modern geometry, the Talon is one to consider. It is based around an all-new trail frame designed in the UK, which comes loaded with all of the latest tech, making sure you’re well kitted out for any day out on the trails.

This frame is also perfect as a long-term upgrade platform. Its chassis and handling characteristics make it a great option. 

It boasts other practical touches, such as the twin bottle cage mounts, internal cabling, and rack mounts on the rear, meaning it is a quiet and multi-purpose machine.

Also, the seat tube bottle position is super-low to allow maximum seat drop for those all-important descents. 

The 2 areas that let it down are the Talons brakes and the fork. The brakes are not as powerful as what other bikes offer in the same field, and the fork does not compliment the frame’s advanced geometry (and not being much travel), which is a shame as it has a great offering apart from these 2 points. 


You may also be interested in the Best Mountain Bike Shoes.


Vitus Nucleus 27″ + Vitus Nucleus 29″

Black Vitus Nucleus 27″ mountain bike with disc brakes

Main Features

  • Tubeless-ready for fewer punctures 
  • Winner of several global ‘Hardtail of the Year’ awards
  • Threaded bottom bracket for increased durability
  • Tektro M275 brakes will give you ample stopping power
  • A mixture of Vitus and Nukeproof components – 2 great brands come together to make something amazing

Technical Spec

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: n/a
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 8 speed 11-42t
  • Wheels: WTB ST I30 front and rear – tubeless ready
  • Tires: WTB Vigilante Comp on front & WTB Trail Boss Comp on the rear
  • Fork: SR Suntour 120mm

Warning: Don’t be fooled by the price point. From its aggressive to its geometry, the Nucleus isn’t your run-of-the-mill entry-level mountain bike. Instead, it’s a dark horse in the market and a good one. 

Vitus has thrown its hat into the ring with the Nucleus, and for a good reason. It offers two different wheel sizes, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Both sizes are evenly matched with components and aggressive geometry, so you’ll be hooked straight away and shredding the trails endlessly. 

It is complemented with meaty WTB tires, a well-equipped cockpit, powerful hydraulic brakes, and a slick-shifting 2x drivetrain hanging from its finely sculpted and eye-catching alloy frame. It wouldn’t look out of place on a bike costing double the money than what it’s asking. 

With it being light and agile, you can effortlessly maneuver around the trail without thinking twice or muscling the bike around.

It certainly is understated, with it being just as comfortable blasting down rocky bridleways at high speed as it gobbling up those trail kilometers without having to think twice. This bike has no major shortcomings and is one to consider.


Does the bike come without pedals? Feel free to check this selection of the best clipless mountain bike pedals.


Cannondale Trail 6 and Cannondale Trail 6 Women’s Bike

Dark grey Cannondale Trail 6 mountain bike with disc brakes
Cannondale Trail 6
Dark grey Cannondale Trail 6 women mountain bike with disc brakes
Cannondale Trail 6 Women’s Bike

Main Features

  • Men’s & Women’s specific models
  • Light and durable SmartForm C3 Alloy frame
  • Remote lockout of front suspension for ease of climbing 
  • Threaded bottom bracket for durability
  • Comfortable saddle – say less.

Technical Spec

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: n/a
  • Drivetrain: Shimano 11-34 8 speed
  • Wheels: Shimano rims with WTB hubs
  • Tires: WTB Ranger Comp, 29×2.25″ (27.5×2.25″ – XS, SM), DNA Compound
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCT, 100mm

Cannondale’s offering in the market is second to none. It simply does it all, from the gravel paths to the mountain climbs. 

The bike’s 29-inch wheels (included with medium to extra-large frames) and 100mm front suspension complement each other well, ideal for smooth singletrack or bridleway with maybe the occasional root or rocky section to keep you switched on. 

The 2.25-inch WTB Ranger tires offer bags of grip in the hard-packed dirt. However, it’s worth mentioning that you may come unstuck in muddy or greasy conditions as there is less grip. But with less rolling resistance, you will soon find yourself speeding down the trail center trails along the bridleways without much effort. 

As always, I am honest here. The fork is lacking on this bike and will be an area that you will come unstuck on. The limited travel will struggle on the rougher terrain and will undoubtedly bring a few spicy moments. 

However, this doesn’t exclude this bike from being open to upgrades down the line. Alternatively, this bike is perfect for the tamer riding out there and not be discounted as a viable and great option.

There is also a slightly more expensive alternative – Cannondale Trail 5 that comes with a 1x10spd drivetrain.


My Verdict

The best mountain bike under $1000 is the Co-ops Cycles DRT 1.2. Here is why:

It is a well-equipped hardtail bike that offers 120mm SR Suntour XCR suspension and Shimano Altus/Alivio 18-speed drivetrain to conquer any terrain.

DRT 1.2 comes with 27.5” or 29” wheels, depending on the bike size. So keep that in mind when ordering it. The bike will be more agile with 27.5” than 29” wheels but a little less stable.

It is a versatile mountain bike suitable for dirt & forest roads, trails, gravel, and mountain bike adventures for a reasonable price. You will still have some money for other bike accessories.


How to Choose a Mountain Bike Under $1000?

The following part explains what features you should expect from a mountain bike at this price range and how to choose a mountain bike that will fit your needs.

Suspension

The first thing you should consider is the suspension which is also closely related to the mountain bike type. There are 2 types of suspension – front and rear:

A front-suspension mountain bike icon
A mountain bike with front suspension
A full-suspension mountain bike icon
A full-suspension mountain bike

Front-suspension bikes are more affordable than full-suspension bikes. The suspension fork absorbs vibrations so your hands won’t get numb from absorbing them.

Full-suspension bikes have a suspension fork and rear suspension (shock). They tend to be more comfortable because both wheels are suspension and handle more difficult terrain. But, on the other hand, they are much more expensive.

 ProsCons
Hardtail• Lower weight of the bike
• Lack of rear suspension maintenance
• Lower price
• Lower energy loss when pedaling
• Better for climbing
• Right riding technique for rough terrain needed
• Not as comfortable as full suspension bikes
• Doesn't handle rough terrain as well as full suspension bikes
Full suspension• Better comfort in rough terrain
• More versatile (jumps, drops, rock gardens, roots...)
• Easier to ride in more difficult terrain
• Better for downhills
• Higher price
• Higher overall weight of the bike
• More parts that can break
• Rear triangle maintenance
The pros and cons of hardtail vs. full-suspension mountain bikes

At the below $1000 price range, I don’t recommend buying a full suspension bike because you would sacrifice the quality of other components like the drivetrain, brakes, etc. Go for a hardtail bike.

Another important thing to consider when buying a mountain bike is suspension travel. The longer the suspension travel, the larger impacts the suspension can absorb.

Check the following table to see standard suspension travel ranges for different types of mountain bikes.

Type of Mountain BikeSuspension Travel
Cross-country90-120mm
Trail120-150mm
All-Mountain/Enduro150-180mm
Downhill180-200mm

Mountain Bike Type

There are 5 basic types of mountain bikes (see the picture below). However, if you are looking for a good and quality mountain bike (yes, I don’t mean cheap bikes from supermarkets), the below $1000 range will be enough for cross-country mountain bikes only. Trail, enduro, fat, or downhill bikes tend to be more expensive.

types of mountain bikes - cross-country, trail, enduro, fatbike, downhill
Basic types of mountain bikes | Product pictures were used with permission of canyon.com

Cross-country bikes (also called XC bikes) have ‘pedal-focused’ geometry. This means they are easier to pedal on compared to downhill bikes, for example. In addition, they have a shorter wheelbase that allows easy handling.

According to BikeExchange, XC bikes are fitted with 90-100mm of travel at the frame and form, with some models offering up to 120mm.

This type of mountain bike is pretty versatile. You can use it for racing, trail riding, casual trips to the forest, countryside, etc.

What is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

When shopping for a mountain bike, you will certainly come across the term hardtail mountain bike.

A Hardtail mountain bike is a bike without a rear suspension. It can be a cross-country mountain bike, hardtail enduro, hardtail trail, or hardtail fat bike. These mountain bikes differ from each other in geometry, front suspension travel, wheelbase, etc.

Frame Material

Another feature to consider is the frame material. There are 2* main materials used for mountain bikes under the $1000 price range:

  • Aluminum mountain bikes are popular because they are affordable, relatively stiff, and durable. They are slightly heavier than carbon mountain bikes.
  • Carbon mountain bikes are stiffer, lighter, and more expensive than aluminum bikes with the same components.

*The steel and titanium mountain bikes are rare in this price range. Therefore, I won’t explain them further. Instead, you can read my article on bike frame materials to learn more.

When I discussed whether to buy a carbon or aluminum mountain bike for the same price, they all agreed that it is better to buy an aluminum mountain bike with better components than a carbon bike with worse components.

A good mountain bike for under $1000 should weigh below 33lb (15 kg).

Groupset

The groupset is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a bike. It significantly contributes to your riding experience. Unfortunately, poor-quality groupsets need to be maintained more often, and they also wear out faster.

Mountain bikes use one of the 3 types of chainrings – 1X, 2X, or 3X.

An illustration of a 1x chainring
1x chainring
An illustration of a 2x chainring
2x chainring
An illustration of a 3x chainring
3x chainring

1X and 2X chainrings are most popular on mountain bikes under $1000. 3X chainrings are usually used on beginner mountain bikes only.

1X chainrings are lighter and easier to operate. They are also easier to maintain. Their downside is that the jumps between individual gears are larger than on 2X or 3X chainrings. On the other hand, there is a lower risk of a dropped chain thanks to tall, unramped teeth and alternating tooth widths, as Bikeradar explains. A thing to consider with a 1X chainring is its size. The larger – the heavier the gears.

2X and 3X chainrings offer a large gear selection and smaller jumps between gears. However, their main downside is the weight, complexity, and more things that can go wrong. There is also a higher chance of a dropped chain.

Cross-chaining vs. good shifting - illustration of the wrong and right chain positions
Avoid cross-chaining to reduce chain friction and drivetrain damage. Follow good shifting best practices to improve efficiency.

Wheels

Most modern mountain bikes use 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. There are also mountain bikes with 26″ wheels.

A side by side comparison of the 26" vs. 27.5" vs. 29" wheels
Comparison of 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheels

26″ are outdated these days. They don’t offer the benefits of 27.5″ and 29″ wheels. Their only advantage is that they accelerate quickly, but they are not as comfortable.

27.5″ wheels are ideal for shorter people or those riders who want to have an “agile” bike that is easier to handle in tight spaces. They offer better traction and stability than 26″ wheels.

29″ wheels are better for taller riders, but shorter people can use them too. These wheels have bigger inertia, so they maintain speed easily. They are also more comfortable on rougher terrain, more stable, and have better traction. Their only downside is that they accelerate slower than the two bike wheel sizes described above.

So, should you go for 27.5″ or 29″ wheels?

If you can, feel free to take a test ride. If you can’t, the general rule of thumb is that shorter riders prefer 27.5″ wheels and taller riders 29″.

NOTE: Some retailers use different wheel sizes for different bike sizes. For example, sizes XS-M come with 27.5 wheels and L & XL with 29 wheels.

Brakes

Mountain bikes under $1000 are mostly equipped with disc or rim brakes.

  1. Disc brakes provide better stopping power in any conditions and effectivity, but they are heavier and more expensive than rim brakes. There are 2 types of disc brakes:
    • Mechanical disc brakes are cheaper and easier to maintain but are not as convenient and easy-going as hydraulic disc brakes.
    • Hydraulic disc brakes use a different technology that allows you easier brake control. But their maintenance is more complicated.
  2. Rim brakes are cheaper, lighter, and easier to maintain than disc brakes. However, elements like water or dirt easily affect their stopping power. So, mountain bikes with rim brakes are better for casual riders who don’t push their bikes to their limits.

You can find plenty of mountain bikes with hydraulic or disc brakes in the $1000 range. I would personally choose the hydraulic disc brakes because of their convenience.

Mountain Bike Size

The last thing to consider when buying a bike is its correct size. If you plan to buy a bike online, read the How to Choose a Mountain Bike Size article. It includes an interactive calculator and bike size charts to determine the right size for you.


Mountain Bikes Under $1000 FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you with the most up-to-date product tips. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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