BIKING

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000: Finding the Best Bike for Your Buck

Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Let instinct and intuition be your compass as you follow unknown paths. Biking has become a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Some take to the rough sloping terrain while others choose the easy scenic route. Wherever your path takes you, let me be your guide as we take a look as some of the best mountain bikes under $1000, so that you can plan your next adventure.

Whether you are buying your first mountain bike or looking for a suitable upgrade, there are some things you need to figure out before you shop. Mountain bikes have different sizes and features to suit everyone’s needs.

different types of mountain bikes

Figuring out the Frame

When you start to look at the materials listed for mountain bikes there are mainly two choices, aluminum versus carbon. The aluminum isn’t 100% pure, it is a metal mixture which is often referred to as alloy.

There are a few key differences between the two materials that you should be aware of so that you can decide which material is best for you.

Weight

Carbon is lighter than aluminum which gives it an advantage for users who carry their bike frequently. However, there are some individuals who prefer their bikes frames to have a little weight to help with better downhill control.

downhill mountain biking

Price

Aluminum is better valued when it comes to the price. Carbon has always been higher, but in recent years the price gap has closed significantly. Unless it is a special model, you should be paying close to the same price for either material.

Durability

Aluminum has much a much better durability rating than carbon. Carbon has evolved some and isn’t as fragile as it used to be. Upon a hard impact aluminum will dent or deform and carbon will crack. One thing to know is that an aluminum frame can still be ridden on when dented, even thought the manufacturer doesn’t advise it. Cracked carbon on the other hand is not fixable.

dented aluminium frame on mountain bike

Molding the Frame

Due to the material, carbon is able to be molded into more intricate shapes for the frame, while aluminum is made into standard frame shaping. If you see a design that is a little different with the basic shape, then it is most likely carbon.

So which frame material is for you? It all depends on which attributes you prefer. Both carbon and aluminum have excellent traits. It mainly comes down to whether you want a more durable bike or a lightweight one.

different frame shape on carbon bike

If you will be carrying your bike up and down paths or even on flat terrain, you should consider the lighter carbon. However, if you tend to ride rougher and are at risk for bumps and potential hazard, then you would want the more durable aluminum.

Bike are also made from expensive titanium and steel, but there are not as many on the market due to the popularity of carbon and aluminum.

Speed settings

The speed number on a mountain bike refers to how many gears it has. The gears are located from the back pedal to the rear wheel. The chain on your bike will shift to each gear as it is changed.

gears on mountain bike

When it comes to looking for the right speed bike, you have a few to choose from. Most standard mountain bikes come in 21-speed, 24-speed and 27-speed. Not knowing much about the speed settings can hinder your decision.

  • 21-speed  This is a great setting for beginners. There are plenty of gears for you to chose from as you ride and you will be able to adjust to the terrain. This set is recommended for new to intermediate riders or for individuals that want a mountain bike but will be on easy terrain.
  • 24-speed – This setting is made for easier adjusting to rough and uphill terrain. With three additional gears you will be able to tackle steep slopes with ease. If you will be out riding in more difficult terrain then you should consider a 24-speed bike.
  • 27-speed – The most expensive option of all is the 27 speed bike. It adds an extra three gears from the 24. While it gives you a little more ease when going uphill, the chain on the bike is thinner to accommodate all the gears. The chain isn’t as durable and will need replacing after awhile.

biking uphill with 27 speed mountain bike

Finding your fit

While shopping around you will notice that mountain bikes offer an additional measurement in their options. This measurement is very important because it will help you find the right fit for your height.

The bikes are measured in distance from the top of the seat frame tube, down to the center of the pedal arm (also known as a crank). If you want a comfortable ride, then you should aim to purchase a bike in your size requirements so that you are not stretching too far, or feeling to cramped up as you ride.

different types of mountain bikes

The chart below will give you a better idea of what size bike frame you should use.

Your HeightYour InseamBike Frame SizeDescriptive Size
4’11”- 5’3”25”- 27”13 – 15 inchesSmall
5’3”- 5’7”27”- 29”15 – 17 inchesSmall – Medium
5’7”- 5’11”29”- 31”17 – 19 inchesMedium
5’11”- 6’2”31”- 33”19 – 21 inchesLarge
6’2”-6’4”33”- 35”21 – 23 inchesXL – Extra Large
6’4” and up35” and up23 inches and upXL – Extra Large

Bike Suspension

As you look further into the specifics of mountain bikes you will see two different types of suspension, a Full suspension and a Hardtail. Suspension is describing the shocks that help to soften the impact when you are on rough terrain.

Full Suspension

On this model there will be two shocks, one on each wheel. It is recommended that if you will be on harsher trails, rough paths or have high speed descents. The full suspension will be heavier and most expensive, but it is well worth it to help protect from the bumps when you are on unforgiving surfaces.

full suspension mountain bike

Hardtail

This refers to a single shock, located in the front of the bike. These models are more lightweight and are often less expensive. If you will be riding on medium to easy trails and pavement then this is a great option. It is still efficient for climbing hills.

riding a hardtail bike

Wheel sizing

For the longest time, 26-inch wheels were the standard sizing. As mountain biking has become more popular, manufacturers have fine tuned details and found that larger wheels have more traction. With only a few inches differing these styles, take a look below to help decide which wheel size is best for you.

  • 26-inch – Since this is the standard size wheel that mountain bikes have been based off of, the 26-inch wheel has the best maneuverability on the market. Also it has been around the longest, so plenty of fine tuning details have made this not only the go-to size, but also the best for all around performance.
  • 27.5-inch  Often referred to as the ignored middle child sizing, this wheel offers the best of both worlds in ability to roll over large debris and still maintaining the great maneuverability of the smaller size. This is also a great option for shorter riders to feel a larger wheel, without being overwhelmed by the larger option.
  • 29-inch – Commonly called “29ers”, this large wheel can roll over almost anything without trouble. The technology behind this sizing allows debris to hit the rim at a lower point, which makes it easier for the wheel to glide over the obstacle and keep you from stopping.

different wheels size

The only downside is that with a larger wheel, you will lose the stable feel that the 26-inch provides. It doesn’t have the best handling and gives a slower acceleration from a complete stop.

Bikes Currently Available

Now that you have a better grasp on what to look for that will best suit your riding trails and accommodate your size, let’s take a look at some of the bikes that are on the market.

Diamondback Overdrive 29er Bike

Diamondback-Overdrive-Sport-29er-Mountain-Bike

Wheel size: 29 inch

Gears: 27 speed

Features: Hand built aluminum alloy frame; SR Suntour XCR-LO suspension fork; 3 x 9 speed drivetrain; Shimano Altus shifters.

Large and in charge, the Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er is ready to take on whatever terrain you throw at it. The large 29-inch wheels have high rollover capability when it comes to obstacles.

A handbuilt aluminum alloy frame gives you a sturdy and durable bike that you can rely on. The Suntour full suspension fork gives you a softer ride as you battle over the rocky terrain and offers a Lock-Out feature that gives you maximum power transfer.

The 3 x 9 drivetrain gives you 27 speeds to adjust to so that you can tackle any hill no matter the size and cruise down it with ease. The Shimano Altus shifter allows you to smoothly change gears as you ride.

Check the price on Amazon

Alton Mammoth 2.0 Fat Tire Bike

Alton-Mammoth-2.0-Fat-Tire-Bike

Wheel size: 26 inch

Gears: 27 speed

Features: Alloy frame; thick knobby tires; Promax disc brakes; wide handlebar; Shimano shifters.

Built to power through harsh terrain effortlessly, the Alton Mammoth 2.0 Fat Tire Bike is equipped to get you there. Durable to the core with an alloy frame, to let you take a hit and keep on going. This bike comes in a great army green matte finish.

The 26-inch tires are made with a 4-inch wide thick and knobby design. This allows riders to plow through snow, dirt, sand, and other rough terrain with ease. Shimano shifters give you a smooth gear change every time and Promax disc brakes give this powerful bike an easy and controlled stop.

Check the price on Amazon

BEIOU Toray T700 Mountain Bike

BEIOU-Toray-T700-Carbon-Fiber-Mountain-Bike

Wheel size: 26 inch

Gears: 27 speed

Features: Carbon frame; Shimano Altus shifter; flat handlebar; speed control system; dual disc brake;

Lightweight and durable, the BEIOU Toray T700 Mountain Bike gives you the best of both worlds. Made with a highly resistant carbon fiber blend, this bike can take a beating and still hold up well.

The Shimano Altus 370 gives you ease of shifting. The speed control function allows the rider to decelerate or accelerate the bike according to their will. The dual breaking disc allows you to have a smoother and more consistent braking.

The front suspension and 26-inch wheels give you better handling over bumps. This bike comes in an array of different colors to suit all personalities and preferences.

Check the price on Amazon

Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike

Diamondback-Overdrive-29-Hardtail-Mountain-Bike

Wheel size: 29 inch

Speeds: 24 speed

Features: Hand built 6061-T6 aluminum alloy hard tail frame; SR Suntour fork; Tektro mechanical disc brakes.

The Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike is ready to climb any obstacle you throw at it. The hand built aluminum alloy frame keeps this bike strong and durable.

The Suntour suspension forks gives you an extra layer of control and comfort when you are out on the trail. The 29-inch tires blaze through common debris that would slow down other bikes. This is a great entry level mountain bike, with its well researched features, it makes riding the trails easier for beginners while still living up to expectations for more intermediate riders.

Check the price on Amazon

SE Bikes Big Mountain 2.0 Bike

SE-Bikes-Big-Mountain-2.0-Bike

Wheel size: 29 inches

Gears: 21 speed

Features: Double wall alloy rims with disc hubs; SR Suntour 75 mm travel suspension fork; Tektro mechanical disc brakes.

The SE Bikes Big Mountain 2.0 Bike lets you discover new paths without breaking the bank. This popular and affordable bike is fitted with a durable aluminum alloy frame.

The double wall alloy rims matched with 29-inch wheels give you extra durability as you roll over larger debris with ease. The Shimano gearing system gives smooth gear changes as you head up or down slopes.

The SR Suntour suspension forks softens your ride and helps you keep momentum as you go. Tektro brakes give you the stopping power similar to disc brakes while providing easy maintenance.

Check the price on Amazon

Polygon Bikes Siskiu 6 Mountain Bike

Polygon-Bikes-Siskiu29-6-Hardtail-Mountain-Bike

Wheel size: 29 inches

Gears: 20 speed

Features: Lightweight ALX Advanced hydroformed alloy frame; internal routing; SR Suntour XCR remote fork; full Shimano drive train.

Make to stand out, the Polygon Bikes Siskiu 6 Mountain Bike is unique in the subtle ways. The cables have been internally routed to give this bike a cleaner look.

The alloy frame is hydroformed, which means it was formed with a special machine that allows aluminum to be shaped in more complex ways. Hydroforming also shifts the material to be more lightweight and durable after shaping. The 29-inch wheels give riders of all experiences a better ride by rolling over debris and holding traction in difficult terrain.

Check the price on Amazon

Mongoose Men’s Salvo Sport Mountain Bike

Mongoose-Men’s-Salvo-Sport-Mountain-Bike

Wheel size: 29 inches

Gears: 24 speed

Features: Aluminum dual suspension frame; SR Suntour rear shock; suspension fork with hydraulic lockout; Shimano 24 speed drivetrain; Tekro hydraulic brakes.

The Mongoose Men’s Salvo Sport Mountain Bike is well equipped to get you there and back. The aluminum dual suspension frame is extra durable against impact and will stay strong after vigorous rides.

The full suspension fork system with hydraulic lock out will give you better control with your speed and braking as you take on large slopes. Tekro Hydraulic brakes add control and a consistent braking. Fitted with large 29-inch tires to keep you moving, this is a great option for trail riders looking for a sturdy yet simply option.

Check the price on Amazon

Montague Paratrooper Mountain Folding Bike

Montague-Paratrooper-Mountain-Folding-Bike

Wheel size: 26 inch

Gears: 24 speed

Features: No tool required fold and stash; double cage aluminum pedals; quick release lever.

Grab, pack and go with the Montague Paratrooper Mountain Folding Bike. This bike folds open to ride or down to pack away within 30 seconds with no tools required for assembly.

The custom alloy frame provides durability and sturdiness to the bike. Double caged aluminum pedals add an extra level of grip and durability to your ride. Front and rear disc brakes give you an even stop.

The 26-inch wheels fit this bike perfectly, giving it excellent maneuverability while handling rough terrain like a pro. Full suspension keeps you comfortable while racing downhill.

Check the price on Amazon

In Conclusion

While all bikes sport a similar shape and base design, when you really begin to look at the details, you can see how different they are. These key differences in mountain bikes can lead to a great ride, or a complete struggle. You should know your main terrain levels and what you need your bike to be able to perform to.

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000

Take the time to decide on your options. A mountain bike is a great investment and you don’t want to just pick the cheapest option. If you are seeking a better value then stick to basic designs and materials with standard 26-inch wheels. A basic core design can still measure up to some of the higher priced models in ability and durability.

Have something to add or want to ask a question? Leave us a comment below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

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