These are the best mountain bikes under £2,000, boasting top-quality frames, these bikes deliver performance surprisingly hard to beat
Are you wanting to wash away those post-summer blues by treating yourself to a new bike? Well, if so you’re looking at the right price point because we’ve got a theory at mbr that the sub £2,000 full-suspension category is where it’s at this season.
The reason is simple: the frames on mountain bikes under £2,000 are often identical to the more expensive flagship models. Frame geometry and suspension play the biggest part in differentiating machines, so if these are dialed then everything else should fall into place. Spend more and you’ll gain benefits in weight but you’re unlikely to find huge leaps in overall performance.
Watch how to top up your trail bike skills with and enduro pro
The term ‘trail bike’ is as generic as mountain biking itself. It is synonymous with singletrack shredding, but with as many styles of bike as there are varieties of terrain; it’s easy to see how you could drown in a sea of choice. And that’s without even considering all of the different wheel sizes on offer.
One category that has always hit the trail bike sweet-spot, at least in terms of suspension, are 140-150mm travel bikes. With a broad spectrum of freshly designed or updated models to choose from, the good news for riders is that performance is better than ever.
You can expect well-damped shocks and forks that can easily be adjusted to different rider weights and riding styles. It’s also the price at which components become light enough that they can be used to make longer-travel bikes viable as all-day companions.
We’ve picked our favourites, some of which are £2,000 on the nose and the rest will leave you with enough change for a helmet, knee pads or even a dropper seat post.
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The best mountain bikes under £2,000
Superbly tuned, competitive spec and solid feel topped off with a great ride - £2,000
An addictive full suss that's faster than a bee on amphetamines - £1,799
A rewarding, flowing ride that barely puts a foot wrong
Lightweight and good value but difficult to set up and rattly - £1,986.09
Frame quality on a par with amazing value spec. Sounds like a winner? - £1,699
The new Escarpe marks a turning point for direct-sales brand Vitus - £1,999.99
With wider Boost hubs, frame and fork, the Occam TR H30 is a solid and stable package that goes exactly…
As a trail bike, Cannondale’s new Habit 4 perfectly straddles the divide between XC speed and all-day capability
With a taut, lively chassis, the One-Twenty bubbles over with energy
We’re more than happy to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. The real question is: should YOU have to? We don’t think so, which is why a lot of the bikes that scored low could be improved with a bit of tinkering, especially where suspension is concerned.
The Trek Remedy 7 instantly impressed us with its affable nature, it was super-easy to set up, and even easier to ride. It helps, too, that it looks amazing. With a RockShox fork, it’s something of an anomaly in the Remedy 27.5in range. More importantly, it’s the only model not to get the increased fork offset that usually comes part and parcel with Trek’s G2 geometry. It’s easily one of the most capable 140mm bikes we’ve tested to date.
Jump on the Nukeproof Mega TR Race and any concerns about weight or price disappear in flash as you instantly become immersed in the ride. It’s not perfect though. The Shimano Deore chainset it a little under par on a £2k bike and the RockShox fork, although smooth and well damped, isn’t really stiff enough for the ripper attitude the Mega TR frame naturally exudes.
Once again it goes to show that you can study the geometry charts and go through the specs with a fine-tooth comb, but even experienced testers can’t predict how a bike is going to ride. Sure, a trained eye can spot a dud a mile off, but you can never tell how a bike will perform until you actually ride it. Yes it’s our job, but it’s also big part of why we ride.