This year, Jamis has upped the stakes. The price of the entry-level Jamis Dakar A2 has crept up by £100 and Jamis has made some key revisions to the spec.
Successfully defending its 2018 title, the handsome Vitus Sentier 27 VR defies its sub £1,000 price point with the best spec, geometry and overall finish.
The Nukeproof Scout 275 Sport's slack head angle and long wheelbase gives it stacks of stability when the going gets steep and rough.
Absent from last year’s test after taking top honours in 2016 and pushing close in 2017, the Ragley Marley is back with a bang for 2019.
With slackest head angle, longest reach and shortest stem, the Sonder Transmitter is built for bombing, inspiring confidence to fully attack descents.
French outdoor pursuits supermarket, Decathlon, has listened to what the British rider wants and delivered this, the Decathlon Rockrider AM 100 HT.
Rocking a burly 34mm Suntour fork, and rolling on the biggest, stickiest rubber on test, the Merida Big Trail 400 feels solid and well built.
Trek Roscoe 6 is a plus bike with 120mm travel fork, a bolt through axle, and an aluminium frame that wouldn’t look out of place on a £1,000 hardtail.
With an excellent four sizes in the range the GT Aggressor Sport should suit pretty much every rider’s size, lanky old me included.
With progressive geometry and a top quality frame the Pinnacle Kapur 2 has a really nice feel to it – direct and efficient without any jarring.
Specialized Pitch Sport underwent a round of revisions – updates to the geometry and layout that dramatically improved handling and standover clearance.
In its black and orange livery, the KTM Chicago Classic makes you think of motorcycles blasting though the desert at events like the Dakar rally.
Carrera Vulcan has some of the best components and spec on test, and it’s clear this is where Carrera has spent its money, creating a good entry level bike.
The Saracen Tufftrax is a fun bike to ride, the frame is just big enough to accommodate my frame and there’s something playful and poppy about it.
The Giant ATX 2 feels lightweight, comfortable and quiet on the descents, despite the poor fork, which we’ll get to in a minute.
What can we say about the Vitus Nucleus 27 VR that’s not been said? As winner of this test four years in a row, its accolades say everything.
The Calibre Two Cubed is the Go Outdoors own-brand's latest bike. The Two Cubed is dominant in the hardtail arena as £1k Bossnut is in full suspension.
The Voodoo Bantu might be right at the entry point of Voodoo's mountain bike range but it shapes up as anything but entry level in ride quality and spec.
Lapierre Edge XM 127 is the entry point into UK-specific Edge range of hardtails. Designed in collaboration with Lapierre's UK distributors Raleigh UK.
Sitting like a shining beacon at the top of their range is the Insync Riddick RD900. Some great kit adorning the aluminium alloy frame.