Do you have more than £1500 or $2000 to spend? These are the best mountain bikes under £2000, or $2800. Decent parts mated to good geometry for rewarding handling.
We’ve got a theory at mbr that the category of mountain bikes under £2,000, or $2800, is where it’s at these days. The reason is simple: the frames on mountain bikes under £2,000/$2800 are often identical to the more expensive flagship models. Frame geometry and suspension play the biggest part in differentiating machines, so if these are dialled 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. Pound-for-pound performers that are hard to beat.
Best hardtails under £2,000 (or $2800)
- Whyte 905
- Nukeproof Scout 275 Comp
- Ribble HT 725
- Orange Clockwork Evo 29 S
- Specialized Fuse 29 Comp
Best full suspension bikes under £2,000 (or $2800)
- Calibre Bossnut
- Vitus Mythique 27 VRX
- Trek Fuel EX 5
‘View Deal’ links
You will notice that beneath each product summary of these mountain bikes under £2,000/$2800 is a ‘View Deal’ link. If you click on one of these links then mbr may receive a small amount of money from the retailer should you go to purchase the product from them. Don’t worry, this does not affect the amount you pay.
Best hardtail mountain bikes under £2,000 (or $2800)
Whyte 905 £1,750
Whyte has never been afraid to follow the path less travelled. And while it’s not the first brand to go down the Plus size hardtail route, it’s one of the only bands to implement the more extreme geometry that make hardcore hardtails so much fun to ride. The combination of the chunky 2.8in Maxxis tyres, custom offset RockShox Pike fork and dialled geometry made the new 905 an instant hit. Whyte claims that this is the best 905 it’s ever built and we wholeheartedly agree. It also the best hardtail we’ve ridden period and easily deserving of a perfect 10 rating.
Nukeproof Scout 275 Comp £1,799.99
After taking it on the chin for two years straight, the new Nukeproof Scout has come out swinging. The completely revised frame design and fatter 2.6in Maxxis tyres totally transforming the bike. Gone is the eyeball-rattling ride of old, replaced instead by a smooth, reactive, playfully bike that still punches hard out of every turn. And with a full Shimano Deore groupset in its corner, the Scout easily stood toe to toe with the Whyte 905. And much as we were rooting for the underdog, Whyte’s polished performance left nothing to chance.
Ribble HT 725 £1,899
A classic steel frame with bang-up-to-date geometry and a wallet-friendly price – that’s the Ribble HT 725. This Enthusiast build comes in at £1,899/$2,567, but there’s also a Sport build at £1,449/$2,026 and a Pro Build at £2,199/$2,972. You can also customise the accent colours and tweak the spec with an array of component options.
Orange Clockwork Evo 29 S £1,750
With the Clockwork Evo 29 S, Orange has nailed all of the fundamentals. The geometry and sizing are bang up-to-date and, more importantly, the ride quality of the 6061 alloy frame is second to none. As such, Orange has delivered a 29er that’s easy and fun to ride. It’s also fast and engaging, without feeling painfully harsh.
Specialized Fuse 29 Comp £1,599
The Fuse 29 is a fast, fun and efficient alloy hardtail, but best of all it doesn’t shake the life out of you on rougher trails. But rather than simply making up the numbers in the trail hardtail category, Specialized could tweak them and lead the way. With a slacker head angle, lower BB height and extra length in the front end, the Fuse would have the attitude to match the ride quality of its superbly engineered frame. Maybe Specialized needs to roll out a Fuse Evo, just like it did with the Stumpy.
Best full-suspension mountain bikes under £2,000 ($2800)
Now it’s the time of the full-sus shortlist. Any of these five sub-£2k/$2800 full-suspension bikes will be a blast to ride if your terrain or riding style is better suited to full sussers.
Calibre Bossnut £1,500
Calibre’s Bossnut redefined the entry-level performance full-suspension bike category when it was introduced, and is still winning tests and collecting awards six years later. And while the Bossnut has evolved with successive iterations, the latest version is by far the best yet. It’s seen a raft of revisions to the geometry, tubing profiles and specification, but let’s address the elephant in the room first – the price has crept up to £1,500.
Vitus Mythique 27 VRX £1,799.99
With a riding position that’s totally dialled, and superb geometry, the Vitus Mythique 27 loves to shred. There’s also a 29er version of this bike, but we preferred the lower bottom bracket of the 27.5in option, as we sat in the bike, rather than on top of it, and that let us attack trails with a speed and confidence totally unexpected on a bike at this price.
Trek Fuel EX 5 £2,150
Yes it just exceeds our price limit by a small margin, but the Fuel EX is a classic trail bike from one of the world’s leading brands. All of the changes Trek has made to the Fuel EX platform are positive. The tweaked suspension makes it more capable, while the revised geometry bring it up-to-date. It’s a bonus, too, that you can actually change the geometry via the Mino-Link.
Full suspension or hardtail mountain bikes under £2000/$2800?
Almost certainly most folk will at least be eyeing up full suspension at this price level (£1500 to £2000/$2000 to $2800), as well they might. The rise in particular of direct sales brands and own brand marques from the bigger retailers mean you can have your cake and eat it ie. you can have full suspension for £2k and not suffer too many compromises.
If you want to check out what you can get in the front-suspended world, go check out our Hardtail of the Year test as well as the bikes here in this round-up.
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 120-140mm travel full-suspension 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 suspension 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.
Shopping for mountain bikes under £2,000/$2800
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.
Bikes that are easy to set up are easy to ride and even easier to love.
Let’s not pretend that looks aren’t important. Sure, a cool looking bike that rides like a dog is a no-no but if you’re drawn to the styling of one particular bike even if it scores the same as – or even a point lower than – another bike, we reckon you should go for the bike you actually want to ride.
Try not to be overly put off by the weight of a bike if it appears to be a pound or two heavier than a rival. Chances are the weight won’t translate to much on the trail and all it may take is a couple of choice component changes further down the line (in a year or so basically) to hack some weight off it.
Sure, 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.
A trained eye can possibly 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 all ride.