Looking for a great value budget mountain bike under £1000 / $1400? Our expert testers have ridden, rated and reviewed a lot of bikes and these are the ones they recommend, from rapid hardtails to full-suspension options.

You don’t have to spend thousands to find a good budget mountain bike. While demand for cheap mountain bikes has soared over the last few years, so have issues like manufacturing costs and supply chain delays, so while there aren’t as many lower priced options as there once was, you can still find a great value mountain bike for under £1000 or $1400 that will perform well and give you an enjoyable, capable and comfortable ride.

Of course, if you want to blow the budget, check out our guide to the very best mountain bikes on the market, covering trail, enduro and cross-country options. Or of course there are the best electric mountain bikes; pricy, but a whole load of fun.

Vitus Nucleus VR studio shot

Vitus Nucleus VR

Vitus Nucleus VR

Best budget mountain bike under £1000

Wheel size: 27.5in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 14.38kg | Suspension travel: 120mm front | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Ride quality and build kit belie its price tag

Cons: Demand always outstrips supply, so be quick!

By bestowing the same level of detail on the Nucleus VR that most other brands reserve for their flagship models, Vitus has had amazing success with its entry-level hardtail. Every year without fail, Vitus has tweaked the Nucleus VR to ensure that it stays ahead of the competition.

And by a couple of steps, it’s often superior to most of the bikes in the sub-£750 class of our Hardtail of the Year test.

Sadly, as is the case with so many bikes recently, the price has gone up and availability is scarce. However, if you see the Nucleus come into stock, don’t hesitate to snap it up, even at £599, as it’s still a bargain and by far the best hardtail mountain bike at this price.

Read our full test review of the Vitus Nucleus VR

Voodoo Bizango Pro

Voodoo Bizango Pro


Voodoo Bizango Pro

Amazing value 29er hardtail mountain bike

Wheel size: 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 13.2kg (29.2lb) | Suspension travel: 130mm front | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Good geometry and superlative spec choices. Low weight and comfy ride feel

Cons: BB could be a finger’s width lower. Rear Rekon tyre needs beefing up

The Voodoo Bizango has smashed pretty much any test it’s ever entered, winning our Hardtail of the Year award multiple times, earning regular podium places on our list of the best hardtail mountain bikes, and impressing everyone who rode it. It must have been very tempting for Halfords to stick with the old frame, add a modern colour, fettle the spec and keep mixing up that winning mix.

We’re extremely glad they didn’t then. For Halfords’ sake, standing still in the ultra competitive hardtail market is suicide. And for our sake, the new Bizango Pro is much the superior bike to anything Voodoo has made before and ultimately more fun to ride.

Great brakes mean you can go faster in the happy knowledge you can stop when you need to, while the 12-speed shifting means you can cruise the hills faster than plenty of full sus bikes out there. And then there’s the fork, it’s hugely superior to anything I’ve tried before on a £1k hardtail: air sprung so you can set the sag to your weight, effective rebound dial for control, and a really smooth feel.

Read the full Voodoo Bizango Pro review

Voodoo's Braag is a cracking entry level mountain bike

Voodoo’s Braag is a cracking entry level mountain bike

Voodoo Braag

Quality alloy frame with modern geometry that makes a great platform for future upgrades

Wheel size: 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 14.6kg | Suspension travel: 120mm front | Rating: N/A

Pros: Amazing price, great geometry and range of sizes, spot-on cockpit and component choices, and an active fork

Cons: The fork tops out with a clunk.

Using the same frame as the multi award-winning Voodoo Bizango (featured below) the Braag saves money in a few areas to bring the price point under £600. So you get the same confident, fun handling and excellent spread of sizes, along with a wide-range yet simple 9-speed drivetrain and a plush coil-sprung suspension fork.

The only fly in the ointment is that the fork can get a bit clunky, but overall this is a killer bike for the money and one you can upgrade as your skills progress.

Read our full review of the Voodoo Braag

Voodoo Bizango

2022 Voodoo Bizango looks the part

Voodoo Bizango

The bike that rewrote the definition of entry-level hardtail performance

Wheel size: 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 13.1kg | Suspension travel: 120mm front | Rating: 10/10

Pros: The price, updated geometry, light weight, lower range gears, wider handlebar and improved handling. And did we say the price?

Cons: You’ll probably struggle to get hold of one.

The alloy Bizango simple has no competition. It is simply unbeatable for the money. In fact, given the choice we’d probably opt for this bike over many decent £1,000 mountain bikes (saving a couple of components upgrades for the ensuing seasons). Good brakes, good gearing, plenty of standover, decent fork. Shames many bikes at twice the price.

Read our full review of the Voodoo Bizango

Vitus Sentier

Vitus Sentier

Vitus Sentier

A proper hardcore hardtail that won’t break the bank

Wheel size: 27.5in or 29in | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 12.94kg | Suspension travel: 140mm front | Rating: 9/10

Pros: Smooth ride, rewarding handling, grippy tyres.

Cons: Fork rattles, gears lack range, uncomfortable brakes.

Vitus as a brand has quickly established itself as the smart choice for anyone looking for affordable mountain bikes that shred hard and don’t cut corners.

Ultimately we want a bike to put a smile on our face every time we ride it, and the Vitus passes this test with flying colours.

The frame is excellent quality and the ride quality is infectious, but much of the credit for the Sentier’s trail manners can be attributed to the tyres rather than the geometry or the suspension. Another great feature of the Sentier is that you can get it with either 29in or 27.5in wheels for the same price.

Trek Marlin 8

Trek Marlin 8

Trek Marlin 8

Fast yet frugal option for racers on a budget

Wheel size: 26in (XXS), 27.5in (XS, S), 29in (M, L, XL, XXL) | Frame sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL | Weight: 13.2kg | Suspension travel: 100mm front | Rating: N/A

Pros: Bargain entry-level race bike. Massive size range. Quality alloy frame

Cons: Old school XC geometry with steep head angle and short reach means it’s a handful on technical terrain.

Trek has been building XC race bikes for over 30 years, and it currently boasts the Olympic XCO women’s champion and world champion on its books, so it knows a thing or two about building a great race bike.

The Marlin 8 is very traditional in its ethos, with a light, efficient alloy frame at its heart and a 100mm suspension fork up front to take the sting out of the trail. There’s a fantastic range of frame sizes, with appropriate diameter wheels throughout, so you won’t have a problem getting the perfect fit.

With conservative geometry, it’s not a bike for tackling the steepest, most technical trails or hitting big jumps, but it will be in its element covering long distances and ripping along fast, flowing singletrack.

Read our full review of the Trek Marlin 6

Polygon Siskiu D5

Polygon Siskiu D5

Polygon Siskiu D5

Best full-suspension mountain bike under £1000

Wheel size: 27.5in | Travel: 120mm | Frame sizes: S, M, L | Frame: 6061 T6 Aluminium | Weight: 15.43kg (34.02lb) | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Same frame and five star handling as the old Calibre Bossnut. Even cheaper too

Cons: Some of the parts are not as good. Doesn’t get a single-ring 1x drivetrain.

Team Sky Ineos would be proud of Calibre’s ability to aggregate marginal gains. Continual updates to sizing, geometry, shock tune and specification helped make the Bossnut the benchmark entry-level suspension bike.

While Calibre has struggled with supply issues over the last couple of years – and Bossnuts have been off the shopping list as a result – Polygon (who manufactured the bikes for Calibre) still sells the frame as the Siskiu model through retailers Blacks and Go Outdoors. If you want a quality full-suspension bike that’s fast, fun and ridiculously good value, the Polygon Siskiu is a serious contender.

Read our full test review of the Calibre Bossnut / Polygon Siskiu D5

How we tested

All the bikes included in this test have been extensively ridden by our expert bike testers on their local familiar trails, so they are able to get a good idea of how the bike performs. This includes climbs, descents, and trail features such as rollers and drops, which allow the testers to check every aspect of a bikes performance.

In the last two years, there has been a massive increase in demand for cheap mountain bikes fuelled by Covid, and alongside this there have been supply chain issues, increases in shipping costs, raw material price rises and additional Brexit costs, which means there are nowhere near as many quality sub $/£1,000 mountain bike options as there used to be.

This guide covers only the bikes that have been tried and tested by us and we’re happy to put our name against, which is why a few of them are now just above the £1000/$1400 threshold.

What to look for in the best budget mountain bikes under £1000 / $1400

Start by looking for a butted aluminium frame with modern geometry. Aluminium is light and strong and cost-effective at this price point. Ideally the overall weight should be sub-30lbs (if a hardtail). The lighter the bike, the easier it will be to accelerate, climb and corner. Make sure you choose the right frame size as this will really affect the bikes handling and how comfortable it is to ride. Most manufacturers will have a size guide on their websites, but it may not always provide the best recommendation.

In terms of suspension, look for an air-sprung fork with a degree of damping adjustment, as this will mean you can set the correct air pressure for your body weight. Air sprung forks are also usually lighter than coil sprung forks. Look for an air valve at the top of one of the legs if you’re not sure which it is. We’d recommend 100-130mm of travel at this price point.

Hydraulic disc brakes from a big brand will give you safe and controllable stopping power. They need less set-up and maintenance than rim brakes or cable-operated disc brakes. Likewise grippy tyres are crucial unless you’re only riding dirt roads and canal towpaths. Look for an aggressive tread with a good compound and the option to convert to tubeless. This will save weight, reduce the chance of punctures and often improve the grip and ride quality.

Dropper posts are rare but worth their weight in gold. Similarly, bolt thru axles are a bonus as they increase frame stiffness.

A single-ring drivetrain with a wide range cassette at the back will cover all your gearing needs while saving weight, reducing complexity and helping keep the chain from derailling on rough terrain. Look for 10 speeds with a cassette range from 10-46t at minimum, better still, 10-51t.

Avoid supermarket bikes, as they will not after-sales backup or spares if or when something goes wrong with them. If you really are on a strict budget you should also consider looking at the 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!). Another good tip is to take advantage of the Cycle to Work scheme, which will allow you to save up to 42% depending on your income tax bracket.