Gears Mountain Bikes

12 Best Mountain Bikes under $1000 – 2023 Update 

Mountain bikes are always fun to ride. You get a chance to explore the natural beauty around your favorite off-road tracks. Further, you can experience some of the best scenery around the town. However, the popular mountain bike brands out there may break your bank.  

That’s because mountain bikes aren’t that cheap. They have a cost to pay. Check out our take on mountain bikes under $300. Anyhow, if you plan beforehand, you can also buy an affordable mountain. This article shares some of the best mountain bikes under $1000. So, let us get into it. 

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000 For 2023 – Our Top Picks  

  1. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 ($999) 
  2. Cannondale Trail 5 ($950) 
  3. Giant Talon 1 ($980) 
  4. Ghost Kato 5.9 
  5. Diamondback Mason 1 
  6. Sava Deck 300 
  7. Trek Marlin 6 
  8. Marin San Quentin 1 
  9. Salsa Timberjack 
  10. Trek X-Caliber 8 
  11. Raleigh Tokul 2 
  12. Diamondback Hook

1: Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 ($999) 

It is not an easy job to go in-depth and find out the mountain bike that perfectly fits under the $999 price bracket. However, we found that the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 is an excellent mountain bike with a lot of cool features. 

For instance, it has the longest front suspension travel among its competitors. Its front suspension travel is around 120mm, which we think is an excellent thing. That’s because we don’t commonly see such high-quality suspension from budget-oriented mountain bikes. 

We think this could be an excellent mountain bike for beginners as well as intermediate-level riders. That’s because it ticks the majority of boxes that an ideal mountain bike should tick. For example, it has a solid frame, a respectable 2*9 drivetrain and a quality full suspension system.  

All in all, the DRT 1.2 is an excellent mountain bike. For just under $1000, you get a quality bike with the best in class suspension travel. 

2: Cannondale Trail 5 ($950) 

Now let us talk about the mountain bike that helps you save $50 out of $1000. Well, that’s because Cannondale Trail 5 costs around $950 (To-Date). It is a comfortable mountain bike and has a lot of cool features to offer. We all know that Cannondale has impressed the mountain biking industry for 25 years. So, we expect their products to last for some good time. Anyhow, let us specifically talk about this mountain bike.  

The bike comes with a double-welded, something we like and appreciate. Therefore, its frame is quite durable. At the same time, it offers a stable, comfortable, quality ride. The Suntour XCM fork does a nice job here. Unfortunately, the gear system maxes out at 9. That was something that we weren’t expecting from this brand. Anyhow, the 9-speed gear system works well. However, a 21-speed gear system would have been a better addition here. 

All in all, the Cannondale Trail 5 is a good trail bike. It has a good frame and a decent performing gear system. Lastly, it is an offering from a reputable brand name, so you shouldn’t worry about the durability of this product. 

  • Double-Welded Frame for Smooth Riding 
  • Great Looks
  • Easy to Ride
  • Poor Brakes
  • Only 9-Speed Gear System 

3: Giant Talon 1 ($980) 

The Giant Talon 1 is another great mountain bike from a quality brand name. This particular bike gets the job done with ease. By this, we mean that it comes with some good features and specifications. Compared to some other bikes, there is less to dislike here. This particular model comes with an aluminum frame. Now aluminum isn’t a bad material by any means. In fact, it is quite lightweight, which is an added bonus. 

The frame supports either a 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheel configuration. Also, it is an agile and nimble frame. The front suspension here is also quite remarkable. The suspension travel varies from 80-to 100mm (depending on the wheel size). Further, the performance of its suspension is very good. All in all, we think the Giant Talon 1 is a great mountain bike. It performs quite well on various tracks.  

  • Lightweight Frame
  • Available In Multiple Tire Size
  • Quality Suspension 
  • No Full Suspension System

4: Ghost Kato 5.9 

The Ghost Kato 5.9 is a very good mountain bike. That’s because it comes with a quality full suspension system. Now, it is not easy to find a mountain bike with a full suspension system under $1000. Thankfully, brands like Ghost have kept the hopes of the majority alive. This bike ticks almost every box that an entry-level to intermediate-level user demands. It is one of those bikes which has hydraulic disc brakes.  

As we highlighted earlier, hydraulic brakes perform much better than mechanical disc brakes. This means that this bike has great stopping power. These brakes will help you ride with even better confidence. Because of its great features, the Ghost Kato 5.9 is also referred to as the cross-country bike. The 29-inch wheels of this bike also speak of its ultimate performance.  

The gear system of this bike is very impressive. It comes with an SX Eagle drivetrain which is basically a 12-speed gear system. So, you can expect some great off-road performance from this bike. These all-great features make this bike different from some of the best mountain bikes for women. 

  • SX Eagle Drivetrain
  • Great-Quality Frame
  • A Kind of All-In-One Mountain Bike
  • Full Suspension System 
  • Carbon Fiber Frame Would Have a Great Addition 

5: Diamondback Mason 1 

The Mason 1 is priced at just under $850 (To-Date) and packs some exciting features. It is a hardtail mountain bike, so it comes with a front suspension system. However, the brand has designed this bike in such a way that it doesn’t make you feel that you need a full suspension system on it. Its 120mm front shock absorbers ensure that you ride it on almost all types of terrains.  

Furthermore, you get a  Shimano  Drivetrain here. So, changing the gears is simple, easy and reliable. The seat of this bike is also made from quality materials. So, we think with all these quality add-ons, this is also one of the best hardtails under $1000.  

  • Reliable Gears 
  • 120mm Suspension Travel
  • Ideal For Up Hilling 
  • Lacks Back Shock Absorbers 
  • Mechanical Brakes

6: Sava Deck 300 

We have been urging our readers to go with carbon fiber steel frames for a while. However, not every mountain bike manufacturer manufactures these bikes with carbon fiber frames. Luckily, we came across this exciting mountain bike under $1000. The Sava Deck 300 is an easy-to-assemble bike. It is ideal for entry-level to even some mid-lever bikers. 

Thanks to its durable T800 carbon fiber frame, you don’t have to worry about the durability aspect of this bike. It’s not too heavy nor too light. Furthermore, you get a reliable gear system here. The bike has both disc brakes at the front and the back. However, these are mechanical disc brakes, but they still perform decently. The seat is nice and comfortable too. Sava Deck 300 is also a hardtail bike. So, it only has front shock absorbers. All in all, it is a good hardtail under $1000.  

  • Carbon Fiber Frame
  • Shimano Gears 
  • Easy to Assemble 
  • No Hydraulic Brake System 

7: Trek Marlin 6 

The Marlin Series from Trek has always impressed the majority. The Marlin 6 here is no exception. This bike is great for almost every type of rider. That’s because the brand focuses on designing a mountain bike that is tough in nature and durable. In addition, the brand claims that they have built the frame of Marlin 6 from high-quality silver aluminum. This frame is lightweight yet durable.  

The bike has a reliable Shimano drivetrain. So, forget about clunky gear shifts. Moreover, the bike has dual disc brakes. So, the stopping power is also respectable. In short, we think the Marlin 6 is an ideal beginner mountain bike to buy in 2023. It is lightweight and has all modern-day features. So, you can consider this bike option if you are planning to buy a top-rated mountain bike under $1000. 

  • Lightweight yet Durable Frame
  • Dual Disc Brakes
  • Ideal for retirees and hobbyist cyclists 
  • None

8: Marin San Quentin

Marlin San is another mountain bike to invest in. Let us talk a bit about this brand name. The Marlin has been in the industry for decades. Right now, they have top-quality mountain bikes available. It is also one of the best mountain bike brands that we can recommend. The Marin San Quentin is no exception in this regard. That’s because it has what it takes to classify as the top mountain bike under $1000

First of all, let us start with the frame of the bike. We really liked the aggressive geometry of this bike. Its geometry makes it an ideal option for entry-level to mid-level riders. Furthermore, it has a reliable front suspension system as it is a hardtail bike. Therefore, you can ride it on steep hills with ease. On the other hand, though, some people claimed that the drivetrain performance could have been a bit better. 

The brand has now launched the successor to the Marin San Quentin 1, i.e., Marin San Quentin 2. It offers even better performance for nearly the same price.  

  • Great Geometry
  • Good Suspension
  • Ideal for Entry-Level Riders 
  • Gear Range Is Limited
  •  Quentin 1

9: Salsa Timberjack 

Want to invest in a bike that helps you push the limits? If yes, the Salsa Timberjack is for you. It is a mountain bike that focuses on providing maximum value to the riders. The bike comes in various sizes and variations. So, you can easily buy the one that matches your riding requirements. 

This bike has excellent climbing capabilities. It is one of the best hardtail bikes we have reviewed so far. An adjustable wheelbase is also there for some added flexibility. Its front shock absorbers do a fantastic job of absorbing all types of bumps. This bike even has various integrated bottle holders for the ease of riders. Further, the performance of this bike is backed by a durable 12-speed gear system. 

All in all, the Salsa Timberjack is definitely one of the best mountain bikes under $1000. It looks good and performs quite well. 

  • Solid Frame
  • Rear Attachment Option for Extra Storage 
  • 12-Speed Gear System 
  • Stock Tires Aren’t That Good 

10: Trek X-Caliber 8 

So, we are back again with another exciting mountain bike by a brand name that’s no short of any introduction. The Trek X Caliber 8 is a mountain bike that you can go with eyes closed. That’s because it comes with a fairly durable RockShox XC32fork that promises quality performance. Therefore, you won’t be disappointed by its performance. Further, the 2*10 gear system helps you climb even some of the steepest hills. 

The frame of this bike also impressed us. It is quite durable. In fact, the build quality of this mountain as a whole is very impressive. You’d be surprised to know that this particular mountain bike comes with tubeless-ready rims, which is an added bonus. In addition, you get Shimano Brakes here, which are reliable and durable brakes. So, with so many quality features, we can confidentially say that you should go with this mountain bike. 

  • Great Ride Quality and Balance
  • Shimano Brakes 
  • RockShox XC32 Fork
  • None

11: Raleigh Tokul 2 

The Raleigh Tokul 2 is a mountain bike that looks amazing. It is a perfect bike for riding in hilly areas. Now, this is one of those mountain bikes that come with hydraulic disc brakes. We really like this addition because the hydraulic disc brakes are great. They last for a fairly long time and don’t require frequent maintenance. The Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes work like a charm. Moreover, you also get a reliable, durable drivetrain here. 

So, you can climb steep hills without too much effort. The drivetrain of Raleigh Tokul 2 will do the hard work for you. Let’s not forget the high-quality suspension system of the bike. The suspension has good travel and doesn’t disappoint with its performance. So, these aspects make the Raleigh Tokul 2 an ideal mountain bike. Find out more about the top-rated beginner bikes of 2023 here. 

  • Excellent Quality Hydraulics Brakes
  • Durable Suspension
  • Comfortable Saddle 
  • None

12: Diamondback Hook 27.5 Inch 

This particular mountain bike also has some quality beginner mountain bikes to offer. Anyhow, we decided to review the 27.5-inch model as it has been the talk of the town for its decent performance. So, the Diamondback Hook 27.5 inch has a lightweight aluminum frame to offer. Now, aluminum frames are quite common in this price range because of the cost factor. However, the frame here seems pretty solid. 

The 120mm front shocks perform pretty well for most. This hardtail bike can be used on various types of terrains. The 8-speed gear system also performs adequately well on most terrains. We also like the fact that this bike has disc brakes. However, they are not hydraulic disc brakes, but that is okay, considering the price tag. So, this mountain bike performs pretty decently for a sub $1000 price tag. 

  • Lightweight Aluminum Frame
  • Solid Geometry
  • Disc Brakes 
  • Lacks Hydraulic Braking System 

What to Look for In the Best Mountain Bike Under $1000? 

It’s perfectly okay to think ahead of buying your first mountain bike. However, for many people, $1000 is a significant amount. They don’t want to ruin their hard-earned amount. Further, $1000 is a significant amount for many people. So, they want to get the most out of it, which is absolutely fine. Therefore, we have included this detailed buying guide for the ease of the majority. So, let us get into it! 

1: Choose a Good Brand Name 

Choosing a good brand name is essential here. That’s because not every mountain bike brand offers a top-quality mountain bike. Therefore, one really has to think a lot before finalizing the best available option. For example, Specialized is a quality and renowned brand name out there. They have some of the top-rated mountain bikes available. Their quality and set of features are something hard to overlook. Further, they don’t compromise on the quality of their mountain bikes, which is a big plus here.  

So, brands like these are worth considering. Basically, the point here is that you should choose a good brand name. Don’t go after a cheap brand just to save some cash. If you are short on budget, you can read out our take on the best mountain bike brands of 2023.  

So, in short, you should focus on choosing a brand with a decent reputation. Also, users who have already invested in their machines should be satisfied with the performance of their bikes. For this, you can visit different forums. You can also read out different reviews regarding your chosen brand name.  

2: Look for Decent Specs 

Now, let us talk about some specifications. Every bike you’ll see on the web comes with a specification table. There are various types of specs listed in that table. However, it is important to know about those specs so that you can buy them with ease. 

By decent specifications, we mean you should go for a bike that has a reliable suspension system, a durable frame, and hydraulic disc brakes. The list doesn’t end here. That’s because there are so many aspects to look for in a mountain bike. 

For example, the durability of the frame is an essential factor. Choose a mountain bike that has either carbon fiber or steel frame. The aluminum frame gets the job done but don’t expect miracles here. So, this way, you should consider the important aspects of any mountain bike.  

3: Hydraulics Brakes are a must  

As we lighted earlier, you should choose a mountain bike with hydraulic disc brakes. Now, disc brakes perform a lot better than traditional V-Brakes. We all know that. Mechanical disc brakes are also there, and they do a fine job. However, their longevity is a concern.  

Mechanical disc brakes don’t perform that great in the longer run. They require frequent maintenance. On the other hand, hydraulic ones have a fluid that keeps the brake caliper nice and cool. Therefore, hydraulic disc brakes outperform mechanical disc brakes. So if you want peace of mind, go with a bike that comes with hydraulic disc brakes.  

4: Suspension System 

The suspension system of the mountain bike is a crucial aspect. You don’t want to invest in a mountain bike that doesn’t have a reliable suspension system. Ideally, a full suspension system works best. That’s because you get shocks at both ends. Usually, not all bikes come with a full suspension system.  

On the other hand, you have bikes that only come with front suspension systems. These bikes will perform decent but not great. Also, for beginners, the full suspension system will be more helpful and will offer better ride quality and comfort.  

In this regard, it is also essential to note that you need a good budget to buy a mountain bike. Not all affordable mountain or mountain bikes under $1000 have a full suspension system. So the choice is yours as always. 

Final Thoughts! 

So, that was our take on the best mountain bikes under $1000. Nowadays, buying a top-rated mountain bike on a budget is not tough. However, you must be careful when choosing the brand name. But don’t worry, our buying guide will help you make an informed decision. The bikes we have reviewed are the industry’s top models. So, you can buy any of these bikes with confidence. 

1: Can You Get A Good Mountain Bike For $1000? 

Yes, you can easily get a top-quality mountain bike for under $1000. There are many brands that manufacture affordable mountain bikes. You can check out our reviewed mountain bike above for an idea.  

2: Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own MTB Or Buy One? 

You can build a cheap MTB yourself. However, we will recommend you to buy any top-rated mountain bike or hardtail bike that suits your budget. This will help you save some money and enjoy a good quality ride. 

3: What Is the Best Model of Mountain Bike? 

There are many quality bikes available out there. However, we found that the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 is an excellent mountain bike with a lot of cool features. 

For instance, it has the longest front suspension travel among its competitors. Its front suspension travel is around 120mm, which we think is an excellent thing. That’s because we don’t commonly see such high-quality suspension from budget-oriented mountain bikes. 

About the author

Tara James

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