Our expert reviewers take you through the wide range of Halford mountain bike models and separate the wheat from the chaff, leaving a decent shortlist of proper bikes to weigh up.
There are over a hundred different Halfords mountain bike listings. By that, we mean bikes that are called ‘mountain bike’ on Halfords website. That’s a lot. But by filtering two must-have features (hydraulic disc brakes and at least 9 speed gears) the field quickly narrowed own to 21 models to choose from.
It’s from these bikes that this guide covers.
Normally it can be easy to narrow the choice down even further by choosing the best mountain bikes that are best suited to your intended style of mountain biking ie. cross country, enduro, downhill and so on.
This is not the case with Halfords mountain bikes. The good – and bad – thing about mountain bikes from Halfords is that they are all just… well, for normal mountain biking.
There’s no long travel enduro bikes. There are no full-on XC race bikes. They are all normal trail riding mountain bikes (with the exception of a couple of Voodoo bikes which are aimed at slightly more aggressive riders and technical terrain). This means you are unlikely to end up with an inappropriate or overly-specialist bike. This is a good thing.
The bad thing is that it can make it very difficult to decide on which Halfords mountain bike to go for.
Thankfully there are some filtering-out questions you can ask yourself. Do you want a hardtail or a full suspension bike? Do you want 27.5in wheels or 29in wheels?
Both of these questions can be hard for some people to answer.
Hardtail or full suspension
Our advice would be, if you can afford it, go for full suspension. In which case you don’t need to answer the wheel size question as there’s only 27.5in (AKA 650B) full suspension models to choose from. Sorted!
27.5 or 29in wheels
If you’re going for a hardtail then, as for the wheel size debate, we’d advise going for 29in if you’re tall and 27.5in if you’re short. For average height people, go for… either. Despite the hype, there isn’t a wild difference between them these days. Choose the bike with the best paintjob if you prefer. It’ll be fine, honestly.
Right then, now you should pretty much know what sort of mountain bike you want (£1000 27.5″ wheel full suspension bike, or £500 29in wheel hardtail etc etc).
We’ll split the range of Halfords mountain bikes via their brand (Carrera, Boardman and Voodoo) and go into each model from there in increasing level of price. Starting off with Carrera mountain bikes.
‘View Deal’ links
You will notice that beneath each 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!
Carrera, Boardman and Voodoo mountain bikes:
Carrera Kraken is a £450 hardtail with 27.5in wheels and an aluminium frame with generous standover that affords confident proper mountain biking. Build highlights are the 120mm travel Suntour fork, the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano 3×9 drivetrain.
Carrera Titan X
There are a couple of Carrera Titan X models and,whilst the £850 version is no doubt tempting, it just has too many compromises for us to safely recommend it. This £1ooo veriosn however is a different kettle of fish. Decent alloy frame and RockShox Recon fork both offering a useful 130mm of travel. Coupled with wide-range SRAM Eagle gearing and hydraulic brakes from Shimano, the Titan X is a great first full susser for loads of folk.
Boardman MHT 8.6
The Boardman MHT makes a change in attitude for Boardman and mountain bikes. Essentially it signals a move away from the cross-country end of the spectrum and a welcome move to the more all-round trail bike remit. A nicely made alloy frame with a pretty good set of geometry numbers and a nicely thought out spec sheet that sees no hidden cost-cutting or teeth-sucking cautionary choices.
Boardman MTR 8.8
Like the Titan X above, there is a cheaper version of the Boardman MTR in the range but, again it just has too many compromises gone into speccing it to meet a price point that we don’t think it’s the best bang for buck MTR option. The Boardman MTR 8.6 is a capable 140mm travel trail bike that has no doubt come about due to other high street (and mail order) brands offering full sussers around the £1k mark. Halfords want a piece of that action. We’re all winners when it comes to cut-price capable bouncy bikes.
Voodoo are exclusive to Halfords. They product three mountain around the £500 mark with this Bantu being the regular 27.5in wheel option. Sporting an aluminium frame an a typically ‘Voodoo’ hard-riding attitude (the brand shares a fmaily tree with cult favourite Kona bikes). Plenty of confidence inspiring standover, a modern rangy stance and a stable front head angle. The spec list may not compare well to other brands around £500 but this is a well designed bike that’s designed to upgrade over the years and be your new best friend.
This is the £500 hardtail rocking high volume 2.8in ‘Plus’ tyres. ‘Plus’ simply means ‘really fat’. Fat tyres add grip and comfort, kind of like suspension but without the extra weight, cost and durability issues. It’s rare to find a Plus bike at this price and this one is impressively specced too: 130mm travel Suntour fork, Clarks hydraulic disc brakes and 2.8in Kenda tyres. A real hooning hardtail.
Voodoo Bizango is a sub-£700 hardtail with 29in wheels and is actually a hell of a bike. We’ve always loved the previous Bizangos and this new version updates to modern long ‘n’ slack geometry and ups the spec to include a stout 34mm-legged suspension fork (130mm travel), Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and SRAM NX 1×11 gearing.
Voodoo Bizango Carbon
We like Bizangos. We’ve always liked them. The alloy Voodoo Bizango is one of the genuine modern classic hardtails. There’s good reason it has won an award in our coveted Hardtail of the Year tests on multiple occasions. Good geometry, fun ride, sound component choice and good value. The new carbon Bizango looks set to take all that’s great about the Bizango and polish it up a notch. A carbon fibre hardtail with pretty sorted geometry and no-nonsense finishing kit for a thousand quid. Yes please.
Voodoo Canzo is a £1,000 full suspension bike with 27.5in wheels that is the upgraded and middle-spec Voodoo 140mm travel full susser. Should you get this one over the Minustor? We strongly recommend so yes. Should you save up and get the £1,200 Zobop below? Um… no, possibly not. Mainly because we think the extra height of the fork on the Canzo improves the bike’s handling.
Voodoo Zobop-E electric mountain bike
The 2020 Zobop-E initially moved from Bosch to the newer Shimano Steps E7000 motor but due to supply-vs-demand issues they’ve not upgraded the motor to a Shimano Steps E8000. 140mm rear travel paired with 150mm fork, both from RockShox. 27.5in wheels front and rear, shod in 2.8in Plus sized Maxxis tyres. There’s no denying that it’s a capable and very fun ride.
Your Halfords mountain bike not featured?
Looking for a Halfords mountain bike you’ve seen but can’t see it listed above? Chances are it hasn’t made our cut due to it either lacking hydraulic disc brakes or having 9 speed (or more) gearing. Sorry!