Ten trailblazing best mountain bikes for under £3000, two categories, two outstanding winners - the most important bike test of the year
We bring you the rundown of the 10 best mountain bikes under £3000. Trail bikes In both 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes.
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
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.
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.
All 10 contenders
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