Expert reviews of the very best mountain bikes under £1000/$1400 right here from our expert testers. From rapid hardtails through to burly hardcore bikes.
What to look for on the best mountain bike models under a grand? A sub 30lbs overall weight (if a hardtail). A butted aluminium frame with modern geometry. An air-sprung fork with a degree of damping adjustment. Hydraulic disc brakes from a big brand. Grippy tyres with a good compound and tubeless capabilities. Dropper posts are rare but worth their weight in gold. Similarly, bolt thru axles are a bonus. A single-ring drivetrain with a wide range cassette at the back.
Best mountain bikes under £1000, or $1400
- Voodoo Bizango review
- Whyte 605 review
- Saracen Zenith Pro review
- Kona Mahuna review
- Vitus Sentier V275 VR review
- Ragley Marley 2.0 review*
- Voodoo Bizango Carbon review*
*yes, we know these bikes are not under £1000/$1400 – but you at least need to be aware of them!
Also, avoid supermarket bikes (no after-sales backup or spares when they go wrong). If you really are on a strict budget you should also consider getting one of best mountain bikes under £500 and spending some of money left over on some kit and/or possibly some instant upgrades at time of purchase (always a good time to haggle!)
‘View Deal’ links
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Best Hardtail of the Year winner
Price: £750 | Frame: Triple-butted aluminium | Weight: 13.1kg (28.88lb)
Pros: Pretty much everything… starting with the price
Cons: Slim availability in the current climate
The latest Bizango is slightly longer and slacker, and gets a shorter stem to reflect the slight shift in attitude. Voodoo has also added a 22in size option, so that even more riders can enjoy this amazing bike. A lot has changed in the last few years, but one thing remains the same, this bike is an absolute joy to ride. It feels fast and efficient when the trails are dull, but springs to life as soon as you engage with the bike and you’re environment. So weather you racking up the miles for fitness or smashing turns for fun, the Voodoo Bizango will leave you spellbound.
Whyte 605 V3
Great all-round ride quality
Price: £775 | Frame: 6061 aluminium | Weight: 12.93kg (28.51lb)
Pros: Lovely ride feel to the whole package…
Cons: …Despite the skimpy tyres and handlebar
In 2017 the Whyte 605 was our Hardtail of the Year in the £750 category, just missing out on a perfect 10/10 rating. Since then the price has crept up around £100, but the improvement in geometry and specification more than makes up for the extra outlay. Now boasting a single-ring drivetrain for lighter, simpler and more secure shifting, along with a slacker head angle and longer reach to make it far more capable in the dirt. Whyte has pushed hardtail performance like no other brand in the last ten years, and the 605 V3 brings the fruits of its labour to the lowest price point yet.
Saracen Zenith Pro
Superb handling, parties hard on the singletrack
Price: £699.99 | Frame: Series 2 6061 aluminium | Weight: 13.85kg (30.53lb)
Pros: Impressively lightweight flyer
Cons: Suspension fork is disappointing
Instead of opting for the tired and tested, the geometry the Zenith Pro is cutting edge – it’s the longest bike on test, the slackest and one of the lowest. The Zenith Pro is lively, agile and also comfortable, with the frame having just the right amount of flex to take the sting out of rocky and rooty trails. In fact, riding hard technical trails only one bike could keep up and that was the Nukeproof Scout.
Great shape, excellent standover, lively and forgiving ride
Price: £749 | Frame: 6061 aluminium | Weight: 14.06kg (31lb)
Pros: Comfortable and capable
Cons: You’ll need to fork out for a decent chainstay protector
We’ve tested Kona hardtails at this price point before and each time our conclusion was ‘great geometry and handling, poor quality parts.’ The Mahuna looks much better specced. The frame is made from a double-butted aluminium and the welding and finishing is neat on the outside. It also has some of the best tyres on any bike at this level, the WTB Trail Boss have tons of grip and are quick rolling.
Vitus Sentier 275 VR
MBR Best Hardtail of the Year under £1000/$1400
Price: £999.99 | Frame: 6061-T6 alloy | Weight: 12.94kg (28.5lb)
Pros: Flawless in every way
Cons: No dropper post, resin-only rotors
Couple the Sentier’s impressive sizing and weight to its aggressive geometry, then add in the perfect selection of components and the 2.6in Maxxis tyres and you’ve got a mind-blowing hardtail for £1,000. And it looks like Vitus has made it even better for 2020, so we’re confident that it will still the bike to beat in our Hardtail of the Year test.
Ragley Marley 2.0
Playful character, decent spec
Price: £1099.99 | Frame: Custom butted 6061-T6 aluminium | Weight: 14.47kg (31.9lb)
Pros: Just that little bit better than sub-£1k bikes
Cons: It’s not sub-£1k
Even if a little short in the reach compared to some rival bikes, the Marley maintains its incredible trail prowess, thanks to a low bottom bracket and slack head angle. When the terrain gets rowdy, it never feels fazed, and its ability to rail corners is simply unrivalled in this category.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon
Superb frame finish, stellar specification
Price: £1000 | Frame: Black Magic carbon | Weight: 12.8kg (28.22lb)
Pros: Incredibly good value for your dosh
Cons: Lacks good chainstay protection
What’s better than Biznago? A Bizango Carbon of course! Yes the Voodoo Bizango Carbon is £300 more expensive than the aluminium original, but that extra cash gets you so much more bike for your money. In fact, if we put this bike up against the Vitus Sentier 27 VR, the winner in the £1,000 category in last year’s Hardtail of the Year test, it’d definitely be vying for one of the top spots – it really is that good.
Best mountain bikes under £1000, or $1400
There you have it. The best options if you have anywhere between £500/$750 and £1000/$1400 to spend on a serious mountain bike. Keep checking back to the site, we’re adding bike reviews each and every week.
What are the key things to look out for when hunting around for the best mountain bikes under £1000/$1400? Number one, is decent trail bike geometry. You cannot change your bike’s geometry. You’re stuck with it. If the geometry is poor, no amount of higher spec kit is going to cure. Other than that, make sure the expensive essentials are acceptable: suspension fork and wheels are the two biggie considerations here. Both are expensive to upgrade. Everything else on the bike – yep, including things like hydraulic disc brake and even dropper posts – can be had affordably in the sales if you know where and when to look.
Make sure the frame is the correct size, with capable geometry, the suspension fork is decent (with service and spares back-up) and the wheels are okay for a couple of seasons at least.