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Best Mountain Bikes for the Money Under $1,000

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - July 20, 2022

mountain bikes

Although the thousand dollar mark is considered an entry range among seasoned cyclists, there is still plenty of good quality yet affordable bikes on the market.

Many of us, recreational cyclists, are looking for a new bike in 2022, and this is the amount we are willing to pay. 

By today, the selection of bikes and components has increased drastically over the past decade, and down here you’ll find a selection of the best entry-level mountain bikes for just under the thousand dollar mark!

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000

10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000

Diamondback Line $900 27.5×2.35″ 120mm 9sp Shimano Acera
Shimano MT200 hydro
Cannondale Trail 6 $850 27.5″ or 29″ 100mm 2x8sp Shimano Altus & Acera
Shimano MT200 hydro
Marin Bobcat Trail 3 $819 27.5″ or 29″ 120mm 2x8sp Shimano Altus
Tektro M275 hydro
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 $999 27.5″ or 29″ 120mm 2x9sp Shimano Altus Tektro Hydro
Norco Storm 4 $719 27.5″ or 29″ 100mm 3x7sp Shimano Tourney
Tektro M275 Hydro
Cannondale Trail 8 $625 27.5/29×2.25″ 75mm 2x7sp Shimano Altus
Tektro Mechanical
Marin Bobcat Trail 4 $735 29x 2.25″ 120mm 2×9 Shimano Altus
Tektro M275 hydro
NS Bikes Zircus $950 26×2.1″ 100mm Single-speed
Tektro MD rear brake
Specialized Rockhopper $1,000 29×2.3″ 100mm 9sp microSHIFT Advent
Tektro HD-M275
Giant Talon $720 27.5″ & 29″x2.2″ 100mm 9sp microSHIFT Advent
Tektro TKD143, hydro

#1 Diamondback – Line 275

Best for XC / Trail

diamondback line 275

MSRP: $900

  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR, 120mm travel
  • Frame: 6061-T6 Aluminum frame
  • ISCG-05 Chain Drive
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Acera M3000 Shadow
  • Brakes: Radius BG-960 hydro
  • Tires: 27.5″ x 2.35″

Buy on JensonUSA.com

#2. Cannondale – Trail 6 ‘2021

MSRP: $850

Cannondale Trail 6 is the epitome of a straightforward trail bike. Great for beginners and casual off-road riders. It’s a bike that does well on aggressive XC rides, moderate downhills, and also climbs nicely. All that thanks to its versatile geometry and clever design solutions. Although this is far cheaper than you’d normally go for – it still does a great job for the price!

  • SmartForm C3 Alloy frame
  • 2×8-speed Shimano Acera & Altus
  • XS,S 27.5″ / M-XL 29″ wheels
  • 100 mm fork travel
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 68.0° head tube angle

Cannondale Trail 6 is on this list not because it is much better than all the other bikes shown here, but because it is a tried and true choice. Cannondale’s Trail line has been around for a while and has been pretty much perfected to smash XC routes and trails. The head tube angle is 68.0° on the S frame and 68.5° on larger frames, which is slack enough to let you approach obstacles more aggressively.

However, a longer stem will still center you over the bike and give you a good overview of the trail ahead. Trail 6 brakes with Shimano’s MT200 hydraulic disc brakes and 160mm rotors and shifts its 16 gears with the done & trusted Shimano Altus (f) & Acera (r) derailleurs. Tires are 2.25″ wide on all versions, while the wheel size varies from XS, S – 27.5″ and 29″ for M, L, and XL frame sizes. If you’re in the market for your first XC or trail bike and you want an affordable option, Cannondale Trail 6 is a safe choice by a huge bike brand!

Frame Sizes from XS to XL
Fits riders 4’6″ to 6’3″

Buy on REI.com

#3. Marin – Bobcat Trail 3 29″

2022 Release – a massive 120mm fork for serious trails!

marin bobcat 2022 mtb

MSRP: $819

Best for recreational mountain bikers, this nice and glossy Bobcat Rail 3 is a sweet deal during this time when cheap mountain bikes are hard to come by online.

Marin bikes is a large bike brand like Cannondale, Trek, Scott, Merida, and this is their version to hook up new mountain bikers. By looking at the specs, they have managed to succeed on their approach rather well! The Bobcat thrives on lighter trails by offering a nice and smooth ride, both on the hills and urban areas alike. Best for beginner or intermediate mountain bikers, this truly is a catch if you are looking for a new 29er mountain bike to get out on the trails.

The best features about the bike are the lightweight aluminum frame, 29er wheels, and hydraulic disc brakes. The 2×8 drivetrain is standard at this price tag, and Shimano Altus is a more advanced technology than the commonly used Shimano Tourney. Long story short, for $800, there is more than enough of an XC/Trail mountain bike on the budget!

  • 2×8 speed
    Shimano Altus drivetrain
  • 120mm travel SR Suntour XCM HLO coil fork
    Hydraulic lockout
  • Tektro M275 hydraulic disc brakes
    180/160mm rotors
  • 6061 aluminum frame
  • 29×2.25″ tires

Frame Sizes M-XL

Buy on JensonUSA.com

#4. Co-op Cycles – DRT 1.2

REI Score – 4.7/5 out of 37+ ratings

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 mountain bike

Best XC Race Model – Lots of Travel and Even More Grip

MSRP: $999

Co-op Cycles – DRT 1.2 is one of the best choices from the numerous DRT family of trail bikes. Its affordability is just one of the reasons why we opted to include it in our top 10 rosters.

The DRT 1.2 offers possibly the most bang for the buck in several areas, such as components, tires, and the overall design! Thanks to its longer travel and wide-range gearing, this bike will enable you to ramp up the speed on the flats and climb efficiently as well. It does not have a dropper post, but it can be easily fitted with one.

One of the highlights of the DRT 1.2 is its capable WTB Trail Boss tires. They are 2.4″ wide which gives you plenty of grip when tackling tight bends and loose surfaces. The wheels are 27.5″ on sizes XS through M and 29″ on larger frames. Next is the dual-piston SR Suntour XCR front suspension with 120 mm of travel. That’s the best option from this Suntour’s line. All cables are internally routed so DRT 1.2 has pretty clean lines.

  • Aluminum frame
  • 2×9 Shimano drivetrain
  • 27.5″/29″ wheels
  • 120 mm fork travel
  • 69° head tube angle

Shifting is relegated to Shimano Altus and Alivio group sets and braking is enforced by Tektro hydraulic discs. There are 18 gears on disposal, which is an excellent range for all terrains. DRT 1.2 is a remarkable choice for performance-oriented riders who are getting back into the trail racing game or are just taking their first steps.

Frame Sizes from XS to XL
5′ to 6’3″

Buy on REI.com

#5. Norco – Storm 4

Best value mountain bike

norco storm 4 mtb

MSRP: $719

Besides the strict looks, the Storm 4 is equipped with everything to get you from A to B through the varied terrains! It’s got the essential mountain bike components such as the 27.5″ or 29″ wheels (Depends on the frame size), 100mm travel SR Suntour XCE28 front suspension, and Shimano Tourney/Altus derailleurs, and hydraulic disc brakes!

Whether you are looking for an all-rounder bicycle or simply a commuting ‘tool’ to get you through the rougher surface, the Norco Storm 4 is well equipped for a great multi-purpose use for sure. The only downside is the 3×7 drivetrain which is not the best compared to 1×10, or 2×8 speed drivetrains.

XS, S, M – 27.5″
L, XL – 29″

Buy on JensonUSA.com

#6. Cannondale – Trail 8 2021

Budget hardtail with Cannondale’s excellent Smartform C3 framecannondale trail 8 hardtail mtb

MSRP: $625

Bikes like this Cannondale are very hard to come by at tight times like now – early 2022.

At under $1,000, they have managed to squeeze a nice set of components into a nice-looking hardtail mountain bike. You’ll get an SR Suntour M3030 fork, 2×7 Shimano Tourney/Altus groupset, mechanical disc brakes which are a must-have for any entry-level mountain biker. There’s nothing to add or remove the bike if you are looking for a off-road commuter that has the capability to tackle most trails, hills, descents, and ascents alike.

The drivetrain choice is not as common as Deore, but it can be trusted for sure. As it is an entry-level 2x drivetrain, the rear derailleur and chain won’t stress out the derailleur too fast which improves the longevity of the components as well. A perfect choice for recreational mountain bikers, two thumbs up!

  • SR Suntour 75mm fork
  • 2×7 speed Shimano Tourney/Altus
  • Tektro Mechanical disc brakes
  • WTB SX19, 32H rims

Buy on REI.com

#7. Marin – Bobcat Trail 4

marin bobcat trail 4


MSRP: $919

Another serious tool for the trails at under $1,000. Marin is known for its broad range of MTBs for entry/mid-range cyclists, and the Bobcat is definitely a mountain bike to consider. What stands out is the 2×9-speed drivetrain compared to the other 2×8 or 1×11 gear ranges.

29 = Better speed and roll-over ability,  great for rolling tracks and taller riders.

  • Series 2, 6061 aluminum frame
  • SR Suntour XCM HLO DS fork
    120mm travel
  • 2×9-Speed Shimano Altus
  • Tektro M275 hydro brakes
  • 29×2.25″

Buy on JensonUSA Buy from GovVelo.com

#8. NS Bikes Zircus

Lightweight and reliable dirt bike with solid components

NS Bikes Zircus


MSRP: $950

NS Bikes Zircus is a fun dirt mountain bike that you can ride around the block or take to the pump track. It is rocking a solid geometry and components that will definitely stand the test of time, though the 100mm SR Suntour fork could be upgraded to make this a serious dirt bike.

This NS Bikes model has an aluminum frame with 26″ wheels that are wrapped with 2.1″ wide tires. It also boasts a rear mechanical disc brake and a single-speed 10x26T drivetrain.

Whether you need a bike for fitness, exploring, or simply for commuting through urban areas with some gravel and off-road paths, the Zircus will meet your needs and provide you with lots of fun.

Buy from Mike's Bikes

#9. Marin Palisades Trail 2

Marin Palisades Trail 2


MSRP: $1,019

Marin Palisades Trail 2 is one of the most popular bikes in this price range. The bike is perfectly suited for recreational cyclists who are looking for a reliable mountain bike with the latest technologies.

Well suited for those who want a bike that’s capable of tackling light trails with comfort, while having the capacity for demanding trails – the Palisades Trail 2 is specced for anything. Although we’d say that serious trail-ready hardtail bikes start from around $1,500, this Marin is equipped with everything you need.

  • Shimano Altus/Alivio 2×9-speed
  • Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc brakes
  • RockShox Judy Silver TK, 100mm Travel
  • Series 2 6061 Aluminum
  •  WTB Trailboss Comp, 27.5 x 2.25″, TR tires

For around $1,000, it sure is a steal – especially at times right now when most bikes have been sold out! An 18-speed drivetrain by Shimano and 100mm suspension is something that puts this bike at the top in this price range.

Buy on JensonUSA.com

#10. Diamondback Hook

Best affordable mountain bike by a big mountain bike brand

diamondback hook


MSRP: $815

Diamondback Hook is definitely a bike that deserves to make it on our list due to the plethora of decent features it packs at a very low price. You most certainly won’t win the DH Championship with it, but you might win all of the challenges against your trail friends.

The aluminum frameset that the Hook is built upon can be seen on much more expensive bikes because it is hand-built and offers the perfect balance between strength and low weight.

A good frame is the prerequisite of a good trail bike as it allows you to upgrade the bike in the future. That way, you can extend its life span significantly.

A Bike with a Place in Everyone’s Garage

One of the reasons why Diamondback Hook would find a place in everyone’s garage is because it is simple, affordable, and very fun. It has an SR Suntour XCM fork with 120 mm of travel, so you can ride it on trails, XC tours, and singletracks.

The Vee Rubber Crown Gem tires are 27.5″ in diameter and 2.35″ in width. These are dimensions that offer nimble and responsive steering, as well as fast and grippy cornering. Hydraulic disc brakes will help in this area as well.

  • 6061-T6 Aluminum frame
  • 8-speed SRAM X4
  • 27.5 wheels
  • 120 mm fork travel

The 8-speed drivetrain with a SRAM X4 rear derailleur gives you enough gears to ride like a granny or stomp the pedals. If you have just $815 to spare and your requirements are fantastic looks, high-quality frames, and reliable components, you’ll be happy with this bike no matter if you are a beginner or an enthusiast.

Buy on JensonUSA.com

Final Takeaways

What to expect from the $1,000 price tag in 2022?

mountain bike components - wheels and chainrings

This list of components was not as common just five years ago!

  • Aluminum frame.
  • Clean and modern design.
  • Wheels – 27.5″ or 29″ – Depending on frame size & bike model.
  • Suspension – Coil fork – Generally 100-120mm travel.
  • Front Chainring – Preferably 1x. 2x front cogs are a standard.
  • Disc Brakes – Hydraulic – Mechanical brakes are not as common anymore.

27.5″ vs 29″ wheels

mountain bike prices

  • 27.5″ (650b) mountain bike wheels are more suited for technical tracks. The geometry of the 27.5-wheel bike is best suited for shorter, or average-height riders.
  • 29er wheels are best suited for faster trail riding. The geometry of 29-inch wheel bikes is designed for taller riders.

Sum UpWhen choosing a new mountain bike, make sure to adequately process your needs and skills. A thousand dollars is a large sum of money that gets you a nice bike for years, so take your time to choose the one that suits your needs best.

How much to pay for a mountain bike in 2022?

Although entry-level mountain bikes start as low as $500, remember that these bikes are equipped with super basic components and often a rigid fork. You’ll find cheaper hardtail MTBs on Amazon, but we wouldn’t personally recommend anything below the $500 – $600 mark.

For $1,000, there are many decent MTBs that are equipped with a nice set-up that can be taken out to meet some rough trails as well. Check out the Merida Big Nine 400 Review which is a $999 single front chainring, hydraulic disc brake 29er MTB.

Overall, mountain bikes under $1,000 are great for recreational riding on gravel roads, or competing on XC races alike.

The process of buying a new bike:

  1. Know your skills & limits – Check out the Type
  2. Evaluate your budget
  3. Study the market – see what can you get for the budget, and what’s hot
  4. Seek out a bike and do a research
  5. Commit to a one
  6. Make sure to get the right size by looking up each bikes size chart
  7. Enjoy

What size mountain bike to buy?

Check out each bikes’ size recommendation charts to find you the most suitable model. If you fall in-between two sizes, it is recommended to choose a size larger when your legs are above average and a size smaller when your arm span is shorter than your height.

27.5″ vs 29″

27.5″ wheels, also known as the 650b, are well known in the mountain bike scene by having slightly better acceleration, and this wheel size is also better for technical tracks whereas the 29″ wheels are known to have better roll-over capabilities, therefore more stable on higher speeds.

Shorter riders find 27.5″ better than the 29″ wheels.

What are the different types of mountain bikes & travel range?

  • XC – up to 100mm travel
  • Trail – 100-130mm travel
  • All-Mountain – 130-160mm travel
  • Enduro – 160+ travel
  • Downhill/Gravity – 180mm+ travel

Tube vs tubeless MTB tires & wheels

The thousand-dollar mark allows us to look into some bikes that come with TLR (Tubeless-ready) wheels. The main goal of mountain bike tires is to offer the best possible traction, which is achieved by having the right amount of pressure inside the tire.

  • High-performance & advanced cyclists prefer to use TLR wheels & tires set-up.
  • Beginner, recreational and intermediate cyclists don’t mind using tubes.