Ten trailblazing best mountain bikes for under £3000, two categories, two outstanding winners - the most important bike test of the year

best full suspension mountain bike

Trail Bike of the Year in association with Alpinestars

We bring you the rundown of the 10 best mountain bikes under £3000. Trail bikes In both 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes.

Read more: Black Friday mountain bike deals for 2020

One price range, ten bikes, two wheel sizes and no duplication makes this year’s Trail Bike of the Year test one of the most competitive to date.

There are 10 bikes in the test, evenly divided between 27.5in and 29in wheels. And we’ve managed to get last year’s winners back to defend their titles; the Scott Genius now in 29er guise going head to head with Vitus Escarpe 29.

We’ve got plenty of new 29ers too. The latest carbon YT Jeffy (a previous winner in 2017), the new Commencal Meta TR 29  – the 27.5in version winning its category two years ago – and the new Specialized Stumpjumper Evo with its super progressive geometry.

In the 27.5in class the Canyon Spectral has gone up in travel and down in tyre size, but it looks every bit as good as the bike that won last year. It’s not going to be plain sailing for Canyon though, as it’s by far the cheapest bike in test and has stiff competition for the likes of Sonder, the new Sonder Evol 140mm bike coming equipped with tasty Cane Creek suspension. Then there’s the new Whyte T-130 S that looks totally dialled. The Kona Hei Hei Trail brings a more pumped up XC attitude to trail riding, while the Trek Remedy is at the opposite end of the spectrum with its 160mm-travel RockShox Lyrik fork.

10 best mountain bikes under £3000

  • Canyon Spectral AL 6.0
  • YT Jeffsy 29 CF Comp
  • Kona Hei Hei Trail
  • Sonder Evol GX Helm
  • Trek Remedy 8
  • Whyte T-130 S
  • Scott Genius 940
  • Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX
  • Commencal Meta TR British Edition*
  • Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy*

*yep, these two bikes are over £3k but it’s worth looking at what you can get for another few hundred quid and/or in the sales.

‘View Deal’ links

You will notice that beneath each mountain bikes under £3000 product summary 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.

This year’s best full-suspension mountain bike winners

best mountain bikes under 3000

Canyon Spectral AL 6.0

Best 27.5in mountain bike under £3000

Pound for pound, there is no better 27.5in trail bike that the Canyon Spectral AL 6.0. It pedals with aplomb, it feels light and agile on flatter trails and when it’s time rumble, the extra travel and dialled geometry means it’s every bit as comfortable going 12 rounds as delivering a knockout blow. The MaxxGrip front tyre is overkill for UK riding but it is the only speccing flaw. Even accounting for shipping, you could buy a faster rolling MaxxTerra front tyre and still have plenty of change from £2,500.

Read the full review

best mountain bikes under 3000

YT Jeffsy 29 CF Comp

Best 29in mountain bike under £3000

The YT Jeffsy remains a great-value bike. The Commencal Meta TR 29 British Edition and Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX both have similar builds, but as a trail bike the new Jeffsy is a more balanced package and is that much lighter too. There are a couple of things we’d don’t like – the fixed-position seatpost, clunky shifting and fork flex – but the Jeffsy wins our 29er Trail Bike of the Year because it’s the most versatile bike here with the most comprehensive sizing. It’s light enough to ride all day, but solid enough to smash a load of descents in a bike park.

Read the full review

All 10 contenders

27.5in

Canyon Spectral AL 6.0, £2,249 – 27.5in WINNER
Kona Hei Hei Trail, £2,499
Sonder Evol GX Helm, £2,799
Trek Remedy 8, £2,700
Whyte T-130 S, £2,650

29in

Commencal Meta TR British Edition, £3,406.42
Scott Genius 940, £3,299
Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy 29, £3,400
Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX, £2,999
YT Jeffsy CF Pro, £2,999 – 29in WINNER

best mountain bikes under 3000

Tale of the test

Even though our Trail Bike of the Year test is split evenly by wheel size and price, we used the same locations and trails for testing both groups of bikes. After multiple shakedown rides in the Surrey Hills to get the brakes bedded in and the suspension set up correctly, we ventured further afield in search of more demanding terrain.

First stop, the Forest of Dean for some rapid back-to-back testing with the assistance of FlyUpDownhill’s uplift service. If you’ve not uplifted with your trail bike we highly recommend it, as it is as great way to get a ton of riding in without generating a ton of fatigue. Next, we headed to the Valleys of South Wales in search of increased gradient and trails that would really push these bikes to the very limit, and in some cases beyond.

The bikes’ geometry at a glance

Geometry Canyon Kona Sonder Trek Whyte Commencal Scott Specialized Vitus YT
Head angle 65° 67.5° 66.1° 65.8° 65.3° 65.7° 65.2° 63.9° 66° 66.3°
Seat angle 70.4° 72.4° 68.7° 69° 68.3° 65.2° 68.5° 69.5° 69.4° 70.7°
BB height 331mm 338mm 340mm 342mm 320mm 335mm 342mm 333mm 355mm 335mm
Chainstay 431mm 425mm 431mm 434mm 432mm 440mm 440mm 445mm 450mm 440mm
Front centre 789mm 750mm 753mm 735mm 789mm 790mm 790mm 813mm 790mm 810mm
Wheelbase 1,220mm 1,175mm 1,184mm 1,199mm 1,221mm 1,230mm 1,230mm 1,260mm 1,240mm 1,250mm
Down tube 721mm 707mm 700mm 707mm 732mm 750mm 740mm 750mm 745mm 760mm
Top tube 620mm 610mm 615mm 595mm 635mm 625mm 634mm 635mm 640mm 637mm
Reach 460mm 455mm 453mm 455mm 480mm 475mm 466mm 475mm 467mm 494mm