Getting the Best Mountain Bike Under $1000 – The Budget-Friendly Buying Guide –

Getting into the mountain biking can be quite expensive and demanding. The market offers a tremendous amount of products for riders to choose from, and there are at least dozens of features and characteristics you need to look for, especially if you’re on a budget.

It might seem impossible to get a great bike under the $1000 mark, but today we’re going to show you it’s possible – by picking the best mountain bike under $1000.

Compare at a glance:

BEIOU Toray T700 Carbon...


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Motobecane FB5 3.026 inch Wheel...


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Diamondback Overdrive 29


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SE Bikes F@E Fat Tire Bike


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Polygon Bikes Siskiu29 6 Hardtail Mountain Bicycles


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Weight: 37.5 lbs

Frame: Carbon Fiber 

Wheel Size: 26"

Weight: 50 lbs

Frame: Aluminum

Wheel Size: 26"

Weight: 54 lbs

Frame: Aluminum

Wheel Size: 29"

Weight: 38 lbs

Frame: Aluminum

Wheel Size: 26"

Weight: 28 lbs

Frame: Aluminum

Wheel Size: 29"

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

What to look for?

Close-up view on a cyclist. Biker riding a bike on the way view from below on a background of sunrise.

If you’re a beginner, you’ve probably seen mountain bikers speeding through the mountain treks and performing incredible stunts.

You’ve probably thought: “Wow, these bikes they ride are fantastic. Wish I had one like these…”

The thing is, those bikes are specialized, manually customized and enhanced by ridiculously expensive parts. We won’t even mention the price since we want you not to feel bad for yourself.

On the other hand, if you’re on a mission to get the mountain bike under $1000, first and foremost you’ll have to address the situation properly.

By that, we mean on ditching the unrealistic expectations like having a carbon frame, high-quality suspension, or very lightweight bike, for example.

Because you’re on a budget, the things you’ll have to look for are the following:

● Hardtail frame

● Decent drivetrain

● Wheel size of 26’ or bigger

Reliable hydraulic brakes

Besides these features, there is a dozen more to check and inspect, like a front fork, back suspension (if the bike features it, pedals, seat post, etc.) but with this budget, these are the ones you should focus on.

Pro Tip: Seasonal discounts (or discounts of any type) are your best friend. Manufacturers are always fighting over customers in the sub-$1000 category, offering deals that might score you a $1300 bike easily.So, general awareness, persistence, and patience (besides being well informed – that’s why you’re here at the first place) will get you one (maybe even three) step closer to your new mountain bike.

The Frame

Young woman athlete standing on top of a mountain with red bicycle and enjoying valley view

One of the first and most essential parts of the bike, frame connects all the other parts into a single unit, and its construction and durability determine the bike’s composition, performance, and ultimately, its price.

The more sophisticated frame on the bike, higher the price. Simple.

There are two general types of frames in the mountain bike industry – hardtail and suspension.

The hardtail frame comes as a single-piece unit, sturdy and well balanced, with possibilities of mounting different forks (front wheel tubes, could be suspension or rigid) on the front.

The suspension frame features amortization and more advanced geometry, allowing the frame parts to bend under pressure and provide a significantly better comfort and shock absorption from rugged terrain.

Even though you’d think that a suspension frame would be better for you right from the start, this statement isn’t quite true, and the reason is simple – money.

For a sub-$1000 mountain bike, manufacturers have to install all the necessary parts and equipment on that frame, including wheels, drivetrain, braking system and wheels. On the other hand, a good suspension frame can cost more than $1500 easily.

So, always aim for a hardtail frame, and inspect the materials frame is made of. Carbon fiber is top of the line, aluminum is the mid-tier, and iron is the lowest quality material for bike frame. There are also alloys and mixtures, but not often. The material directly impacts the bike’s weight, and performance-wise, you do want a solid, durable bike, but the weight is important as well.

The Drivetrain

Bicycle parts rear wheel brake disc cassette fragment frame

The driving force of your bike and its performance will determine the bike’s worth and value significantly. Furthermore, drivetrain setup will be either efficient or suitable for the particular style of riding. Let’s dissect this system into sections you should pay attention to:

Crankset – the middle portion of the bike, where the pedals are attached. It can have one (downhill), two (free ride), and three chain rings to use. When looking at manufacturer’s specification, the drivetrain system is usually presented in [number]x[number] format. For example – 3x9 is the system with three-chain rings crankset.

Cassette – the back set of gears on the rear wheel is called the cassette, and it can come in various combinations and sizes. The average standard is from 7 to 9 gears, each delivering a different level of resistance to the chain’s pulling (based on you spinning the pedals). The second number in the 3x9 example is related to the number of gears on the cassette.

Shifters – these are the switches/levers located on the steering wheel, and they are installed to control the detailers (devices that move the chain on your cassette gears & crankset chain rings).

The whole drivetrain system is usually developed by the same manufacturer, and mounted on the bike altogether. Some require manual assembly when the bike arrives at your doorstep, and it’s not complicated to do so. Brands like Shimano, Deore, SRAM are global leaders, and the label you should look for in a drivetrain system.

Wheels

Mountain Bike cyclist riding single track

The wheels of a mountain bike are there to provide grip, support the bike and rider’s weight, be stable, and elastic. You should look at the type and size of the wheels depending on the kind of terrain you’ll drive your mountain bike the most.

The 26’ size was a standard for a very long time until the 29’ wheels emerged on the scene in 2010.

This season brought many changes since these wheels provided superb speed and forgiveness, yet a slightly lower reaction and absorption, resulting in a product that is excellent for less bumpy terrains, and long downhill sessions without a lot of obstacles.

As a beginner, you should look for 29’ or 27.5’ tires, since they are forgiving, and you’ll need that for sure.

Braking System

Mountain biker driving in rain upstream creek

During your thrill rides, brakes will be there to save your head. They are of utmost importance when going through rough and unforgiving terrain, and they have to be of high quality.

The most popular braking system used on mountain bikes is hydraulic disc system. It utilizes rotors (discs) mounted on the both wheels and calipers that clamp the rotor when the brake lever is pressed, inducing pressure and stopping the bike effectively.

Depending on the bike quality, you may encounter mechanic disk brakes as well, which are of significantly lower efficiency and quality, but require less maintenance and are less expensive. So when you’re on a tight budget shopping for a mountain bike, you need to be careful while inspecting the brakes.

Current Popular Mountain Bikes Under $1000 on the Market – Our Reviews

Now when we know what exactly to look for in a mountain bike below the $1000 mark, let’s see what the market offers. Many highly popular brands don’t offer models under this price tag, so we browsed carefully, and selected several products accordingly. Here are our mountain bikes under $1000 reviews:

1. BEIOU Toray T700 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Value for the price

Pros:

● Carbon fiber frame – lightweight yet sturdy

​● Decent drivetrain

​● Easy to put together

Cons:​

● Mechanic brakes​

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As you can see from the name, this is a Chinese-made mountain bike with a carbon fiber frame. If you’ve been following the article, this detail will surely grab your attention. Yup, that’s true – a carbon fiber bicycle below the $1000 mark. That’s amazing. The bike frame comes in three possible sizes (15"/17"/19") and a plethora of color variations.

Still, as you now know, the cool and light frame isn’t enough to make the perfect product. Let’s check the rest of this model from the Chinese manufacturer.

The drivetrain system comes from a reputable brand, Shimano, and the model is named Altus M370. The Altus group is on the low-end spectrum of the manufacturer’s group, but still, offers a decent performance for a beginner. This is a standard 3x9 setup, with two-click shifters that work very well; both front and end derailleurs are very responsive, and shifting gears are almost instant.

The wheels are 26-inch ones, coming from BEIOU’s either partner or branch company, with the following specs: RUITUO M200 ETRTO 559x19. They are decent enough for the price, but we can’t expect performance similar to popular brands, of course. The tires come from Chinese manufacturer as well and aren’t suited for rougher terrain.

Speaking of brakes, this is the area where Toray T700 doesn’t shine. The braking system on this bike utilizes mechanical components, not liquid. This means less performance, but way cheaper parts and maintenance. This means that it’s not recommended for advanced downhill sessions.

Overall, this is a very good product for a beginner, and a perfect entry-level mountain bike.


2. Motobecane FB5 3.0Orange “fatty” bike, ideal for the beach

Pros:

● High-quality frame

● Great and durable wheels and tires

● Good drivetrain system

Cons:

● Brakes are mechanic

● Needs some time to get assembled

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The recent trend in the world of mountain bikes (or bikes in general) is the “Fatty” bike, popular for the significantly larger and wider tires, capable of handling unsurpassable terrain like beach sand or snow. These require wider front forks, and significantly better wheels and bearings in order to operate at optimal level.

On the other hand, their looks is quite appealing to the masses, and they brought a significant chunk of newcomers to the world of biking, which is a very good thing. Is there a good fatty mountain bike for less than $1000? The Motobecane FB5 3.0 is here to try to answer this question.

Motobecane is a household name in outdoor sports, bringing wheels to adventure seekers from 1929. Their FB5 3.0 comes as a rigid bike (no suspension whatsoever) with huge (26" x 4.25) chunky tires, capable of conquering almost any terrain. Even though there’s no suspension at the front (which many beginner riders will think of as a con), the bike goes through rough terrain very well, especially when you get up from the seat and use your legs.

The frame is all alloy, and most of the parts mounted on it are from the same material. For the entry-level mountain bike, this is a good solution and a recommended combination, especially if everything comes from the same manufacturer. It comes in three sizes (17/19/21 inch), and distinct orange color.

The drivetrain system comes with 2x10 setup, all SRAM components, and more than decent quality. As you can see, it is set for lower speeds but better maneuverability and more rugged terrain.

The wheels and tires are the main components of this bike, and they are outstanding. Coming from VEE RUBBER H-BILLIE with 72 tpi capacity, you can expect superb terrain conquering.

The mechanical disc brakes come from Avid, and they perform decently considering the price. Expect mediocre performance, and quality braking when not reaching full speeds. This is a good thing when we consider this bike’s primary intent (beach, snow, and light mountain terrain).


3. SE Bikes F@E Fat Tire Bike – Superb Fatty For the Price

Pros:

● Very tough frame

● Great wheels and tires

● Hydraulic brakes

Cons:

● Pedals aren’t of high quality

● Rims could have been wider a bit

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SE Bikes is a new brand in the outdoor market, concentrated on the adrenaline junkies who perform stunts on the concretes, unicyclists, and from the recent times, fatty bike enthusiasts. Their F@E brand line is quite successful in the recent times, and their bikes can be seen on many streets and trails throughout the country.

Speaking of this bike, the frame comes with tapered 6061 alloy frame, which is quite heavy (sturdier than the previous model we reviewed), but pretty robust, and able to withstand quite the punishment. There’s no suspension on the front fork, but that can be a good thing when you’re on a budget (quality suspension forks for fatty bikes are quite expensive).

The drivetrain system comes from Shimano, and it’s a 3x9 setup, which means the bike can achieve higher speeds alongside being able to cover un-rideable terrain (sand/snow). The crank set is very good and robust, and the cassette includes nine gears, enabling quite a smooth riding.

The tire size is 26 x 4 inches, which is humongous. These bad boys will take you through the sand without any problems. On the other hand, shock absorption is quite well on the rough forest terrain, where we had the chance to try it out. The seat post is nice, but the seat itself was a bit hard for our taste.

The brakes are Tektro hydraulic, which is a nice positive addition to the overall quality build. After trying two mechanic brakes bikes, this one came as a big upgrade. These really make the difference and put this bike into a higher grade in control and stability.

Even though there’s no suspension involved, this is a very good buy if you want to get into the world of mountain bikes, and have a trendy model as well.


4. Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike – The Ultimate Budget Mountain Bike

Pros:

● Good frame

● Wheels and tires

● Value for the money

Cons:

● Drivetrain isn’t of the highest quality

● Mechanic brakes

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Diamondback is another strong brand in the US, which doesn’t take much space in the mainstream events or the media, but you can see their products almost every day on the street or trail. The Overdrive 29 Hardtail model from their big wheel lineup is quite popular in the recent times due to the more than affordable price, yet quite good feedback and performance per dollar invested. Let’s check it out.

The frame is built from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, the standard on the market nowadays; it is able to withstand some serious weight and punishment. Make sure to choose the right size when ordering (Diamondback supplies the sizes chart based on rider height). The front suspension fork comes from Suntour, one of the popular manufacturers. The fork itself (120mm travel, XCT) isn’t of the highest quality, though.

The package and bike come with a label “READY TO RIDE” which can be a bit deceiving because you’ll have to assemble it, and tune the gears and shifters. If you’re not skilled enough to do so, you’ll have to pay a visit to your local bike shop and pay the professional to do it for you. The drivetrain system is from Shimano, and it definitely comes from a low-end part of their offer.

The wheels are 29’ in size and on Schwalbe's tires, which are exceptionally good. This makes a perfect combination for a novice rider to hit the mountain. They are among the best parts of the bike.

The brakes mounted on this one are mechanic, unfortunately. They do come from Tektro, a decent manufacturer in this field, but you simply can’t expect a solid performance from them.

Overall, this is the best budget-oriented bike you can have if you want to hit the mountain and try 29’ tires.


5. Polygon Bikes Siskiu29 6 Hardtail Mountain Bicycle – Good Bike For Beginners

Pros:

● Frame is very good, as well as the fork

● Wheels and tires are on par

● Hydraulic brake system

Cons:

● Rough seat

● Requires additional setting up of the drivetrain

● Fluctuating price

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From Polygon Bikes, we have our last pick for today, the 29-incher that looks quite well on the first glance. The price is below the $1000 mark and includes free shipping. This bike doesn’t have many more units available, but will restock soon – this speaks about its quality and value quite well. Let’s see what does Siskiu 29 offers.

First of all, the frame comes from the hydro-formed alloy frame that promises the performance of high steel, yet light weight. The hardtail frame looks quite modern, with sleek bars and geometry that looks well and performs as it should – sturdy and durable. The front fork features Suntour 80mm travel, and it’s quite good for its performance grade. Don’t expect much from it, but for what it’s intended, it’s good enough.

The drivetrain system is from Shimano and features 2x10 setup (2 chain rings, 10-gear cassette), which means it isn’t designed for speeding by power, but for conquering rough terrains. The shifters are also from Shimano Deore, and they perform quite well. They might require some additional setting up during the assembly.

The wheels are 29’ and come with terrific Schwalbe Rapid Rob tires, which are designed to withstand a lot of punishment. The size makes the wheels quite forgiving, and they are very good for almost all conditions.

The brakes on this bike are hydraulic and built by Shimano. They are good enough for a beginner, but not as useful for advanced movements and higher speeds. Still, very good brakes overall, considering the bike’s price.

Overall, this is another very good purchase if you’re on a budget and a quite good investment for a beginner.


​The best mountain bike under $1000 is…

The one that fits your needs the best. The market is huge, and you might find something better, depending on your preferences, location, or budget. From the today’s picks, the overall winner is Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike. For the price it sells online, you simply can’t beat the qualities and features it brings. This is a bike that will be good enough for every beginner and can get you into the world of mountain bikes the best way. The close second is the Polygon Bikes Siskiu29, if you want a variety to pick from.

We wish you a happy time with your new mountain bike!

We’d also love to hear your opinion on today’s article – would you add something? Do you have any comments? Let us know in the comments below!

Also, don’t forget to share the article with your friends who are on the look for the mountain bike, they’d surely appreciate it!

Heather L. Makar
 

My name is Heather Makar, and I’m from Seattle. I’m the main responsible for this little bundle of witty write-ups, a collection of tips, and guides about cycling and bikes.

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