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Our Favorite Mountain Bikes under $1000

Man holding mountain bike looking at hills
Photo – Pixabay/Pexels

In the world of mountain biking, one thousand dollars is where you start to see bikes that aren’t full of compromise. Cross country (XC) bikes get lighter and trail bikes become capable of handling rougher trails. All mountain “hardcore hardtail” bikes are pretty rare at this price, but there are a couple of really exciting options.

What to look for in a $1000 hardtail mountain bike:

  • Lighter weight – around 29 lbs for an XC bike, 31 for a trail bike
  • Sturdy fork with lock out
  • More slack geometry
  • 1×9+ derailleur set-up
  • Hydraulic disc brakes

Full suspension bikes at this price point are still very rare and will be heavy with entry level components. Because of that, we will only feature one here.

Cross Country (XC) Hardtail Mountain Bikes under $1000

Marin Bobcat Trail 5

Marin Bobcat 5
Marin Bobcat Trail 5 – photo: https://www.marinbikes.com/

The Marin Bobcat Trail 5 stands out with components that are a step above many others in this price range. We especially like the Shimano Deore 1×11 drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic brakes. This bike has been set up to perform and to last.

The Marin Bobcat Trail series features geometry that is on the aggressive end of the XC bike range, but well short of the super-slack San Quentin. This means a nice balance and a bike that should be comfortable for any level of user while allowing you to ride some pretty serious terrain.

Where to buy:

Trek Marlin 7

Trek Marlin 7
Trek Marlin 7 – photo: https://www.trekbikes.com/

If you are looking for a bike that can handle anything from a trail in the hills to the commute through town, the Trek Marlin will do it all with ease. The frame geometry is set up to make it maneuverable and comfortable on any length ride.

The 7 is the top of the Marlin range, and get you rock solid trail capable components including a Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain and MT200 hydraulic brakes. The Rockshox Judy fork is still a heavier coil spring, but is a step up from what is on many bikes at this price.

Where to buy:

Hardcore Hardtail – Trail, Park, All Mountain and Enduro Hardtail Mountain Bikes Under $1000

Marin San Quentin 1

Marin San Quentin 1 - hardcore hardtail for under $1000

The Marin San Quentin is one of the rare bikes in this price range built to hit big jumps and bomb downhill. It’s geometry features slack head tube and seat tube angles yielding a wider wheelbase that will be more stable at speed. The beefed up front fork features wider stanchions and much longer travel than XC bikes. That 130mm travel means the fork can soak up bigger hits.

The Microshift d√©railleur for the 1×9 setup has a clutch to keep the chain from hitting the frame or coming off as you hit rocks, roots and landings. It is a step down in gear range from the XC Marin Bobcat Trail, which won’t matter if you are using the lift or shuttle to get to the top of your downhill trails.

Where to buy:

Voodoo Bizango or Horde

Voodoo Bizinga mountain bike

The Voodoo Bizango and Horde are an incredible value option and offer a more trail oriented package than most sub-$1000 bikes. With a slack (but not as slack as the Marin San Quentin) head tube angle and longer travel air forks, these bikes are definitely meant for faster downhill rides over rougher terrain and bigger turns.

Instead of giving each level of bike a different number, Voodoo has different names for most of the bikes using the same frame. So, the Bizango is a step up from the Horde, in the same range, and with the exact same frame.

Because they are a UK-based company, you are taking on longer shipping times and some potential added costs if you have any warranty issues. There is also the shipping cost, which is currently $135. That said, this is a big company with a solid reputation that has been well regarded for a long time.

Where to buy:

Full Suspension

There are not many full suspension bikes for under $1000 that will hold up to real trail riding for long. Our selections are good bikes that will allow you to tackle some new terrain, but there will be trade offs. Those trade offs include weight, suspension range (how big of a hit can be absorbed) and the finer performance of the components.

Polygon Siskiu D5

Polygon Siskiu D5 full suspension mountain bike
Polygon Siskiu D5 – photo source: bikes online.com

The Polygon Siskiu has a MSRP of over $1000, but it is often available for less. It is the entry to the Siskiu line and features quality, but basic components that are heavy but competent. There are a few really nice features, such as the Shimano MT-201 hydraulic disc brakes with a larger 180mm disc in front and a Suntour air shock in the rear.

Where to buy:

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