5 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000 for the Budget-Conscious Cyclist

Mountain bikes are one of the best options for appreciating nature and the outdoors while being able to maintain one’s physique. Riding mountain bikes gives you the opportunity to go anywhere you would want to go.

According to statistics, more than 10 bikes are released monthly, and each of them has its own unique and highly advanced features.

However, you just can’t test all these bikes on release. As such, we have thoroughly researched and tested various bikes for you. Most of them were disappointing, but there are some that have met our expectations and worthy of being included in our list of best mountain bikes under 1000.

Let’s start!

Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000 – The Top 2 Choices

Top-End: The Schwinn High Timber

The Higher Timber is a good bike for those who are starting out in mountain and trail biking.

Low Budget: Diamondback Overdrive

The Diamondback Overdrive is an accessible bike with its affordable price. The bike’s core is a hand-built 6061-T6 frame made of aluminum alloy.

Recommended Models of Mountain Bikes that Fall Below the $1,000 Category

This list contains the best mountain bikes that are below $1,000 which have been reviewed by our team. We’ve also considered feedback from previous customers who were able to try the bikes. They are as follows:

  1. The Schwinn High Timber – Ideal for starters

The High Timber is a good bike for those starting out in mountain and trail biking. It’s a simple bike with no unnecessary add-ons. The steel frame provides good support and absorbs shocks and vibrations when biking over rough terrain, making it somewhat a comfortable hardtail. Meanwhile, its front suspension helps reduce the effect of bumps to a minimum.

The bike’s rear derailleur and grip shifters are made by Shimano. Despite being priced at just under $200, it’s surely a sweet deal. This bike is also offered in a version that’s designed for women. It comes with a 26-inch sized wheel which can be upgraded to a 29-inch version by adding a few dollars.

As far as performance and budget are concerned, the Schwinn High Timber is no doubt a perfect bike to get you started. It even comes with a lifetime warranty.

  1. The Diamondback Overdrive – Performance and budget squeezed into a single bike

The Diamondback Overdrive is a product that will surely meet or even exceed your expectation of a mountain bike. It’s among the best budget-friendly hardtail bikes offered in the market.

The core of the bike is a hand-built 6061-T6 frame made of aluminum alloy and is offset by a 4-inch SR Suntour XCT fork. The frame’s natural stiffness lets you ride through any hard terrain such as stones, gravel, and mud.

The 24-speed gears can tackle any sort of grades easily, and its huge tires will provide grip support even if you’re riding on a loose surface. It is also equipped with mechanical disc brakes courtesy of Tektro.

Overall, the Diamondback is a really affordable option that’s packed with high-end parts, making it worth every penny. It’s also offered in a 29-inch version.

  1. The BEIOU CB005/CB020 Carbon Fiber – A racing machine that’s ultra lightweight

This East-Asian brand is a product that’s worth considering. The carbon in the handlebars, seatpost, and the bike overall is made with the same grade as the one you can find in Trek/Giant carbon bikes which are known for their expensive price tag.

The bike is equipped with the 30-speed Deore system and M355 Hydraulic disk brakes. The Shimano gears and brakes will provide you with superb quality which allows you to maneuver the bike easily.

The bike also comes in a 27.5-inch version that features an internal cabling. All of the components of this bike is covered in carbon. Even the wheels have carbon fiber hubs and a lock-out setting for its suspension fork.

  1. The Diamondback Mission 2 – Excellent performance that won’t compromise

Diamondback bikes are known for their quality performance that other brands can’t keep up with. The Diamond Mission 2 is designed for extensive use because of its dual suspension system. No compromises were made with its improved design.

Its frame is made of hydroformed aluminum which is considered a weapons-grade material. The bike is equipped with some of the best suspension components you can find in the market and gives you that hardtail feeling until you need its rear shock.

It also features a standard KS Lev Integra dropper seatpost allowing you to adjust the saddle by pushing a button. This is necessary if you want to switch between riding while standing or seated.

The Diamond Missionback 2’s other components include the SRAM’s 1×11 drivetrain, DB5 hydraulic brakes, and Easton ARC27 wheels that comes in full compatibility with tubeless tires. The quality of the bike can also be seen in its chromoly steel material used in the saddle rails and magnesium lowers in the forks.

The Basics of Choosing the Right Mountain Bike 

Before purchasing a mountain bike, you should consider several factors first. The last thing you want is to get a bike that can’t provide you with what you need in terms of size, comfort, features, and durability. As such, we have made a list of the factors you should take note of when buying your bike. They are as follows:

  1. Size of the Frame 

Sizing is not a very crucial factor in mountain bikes compared to road bikes. However, it is still important to get the ideal size suited for you to achieve that maximum experience. The ideal size varies between men and women, with men’s generally having larger frame size and height.

There’s not that much difference with women-specific frames except that they are a lot easier to step through. Given the right size, gender shouldn’t matter that much. In general, sizes will slightly differ from one manufacturer to another.

If you’re torn between choosing the right size, it’d be ideal to choose one with a slightly smaller frame.

  1. Types

There are a lot of specific bikes made for various mountain biking disciplines like Enduro, Freeride, Downhill, and others. In this article, however, we are going to focus on two of the most common types: dual suspension and hardtail.

  • Dual Suspension

Dual suspension, also known as full suspension, has both its front and back wheel suspended. It is known to have many performance benefits despite being more expensive and heavier. It would be good to consider a full suspension when you plan to engage in racing or can afford to buy a high-end bike.

  • Hardtail

They refer to bikes that only have one suspended front wheel with the help of shock absorbers in the fork while having a hardtail or rear. Hardtails are considerably faster when faced with moderately uneven surfaces compared to off-roading. Additionally, they may be a lot lighter compared to their than dual suspension counterpart.

As hardtail mountain bikes are designed to easily take on rough terrains, they are considered to be a lot more durable. Additionally, they have a more upright frame compared to other bikes.

The term has been derived from the bike’s design in which the tail has no suspension compared to the front which is capable of softening any strong vibrations that come from rough or bumpy surfaces. This absence of a rear suspension allows a hardtail bike to get over obstacles easily, while the front can absorb more impact to offer an overall comfortable ride.

  1. Size of the Wheel 

Mountain bike wheels come in different sizes depending on the features they offer. Here are the three most common wheel size options:

  • 26 inch – this is the standard and traditional size of mountain bike wheels. Despite its small size, a 260-inch wheel is a lot stronger than larger sized wheels because of its shorter spoke length, not to mention that it’s also lighter. These wheels are ideal for agility or off-road trails that require a lot of turning.
  • 5 inch – it’s latest wheel size and is also known as the 650b. As a mid-range wheel size, it can offer you both the benefits of the 26-inch and 29-inch variants.
  • 29 inch – despite being new to the mountain bike market, 29-inch wheels have become already popular. Bigger wheels have a lot of momentum in them, thereby making them a lot more efficient. They’re also a good choice if you like trailing over larger obstacles as you go off-roading. If you prefer converting your bike into one suited for more on-road use, these wheels are what you need. Additionally, they’re compatible with a lot of hybrid tires to offer you more options. If you are looking for speed or maximum bike performance, these wheels are for you.
  1. Materials Used 

Two of the most popular materials used for both parts and frames are carbon fiber and aluminum. Parts made of carbon fiber tend to be a lot lighter and stronger, most especially for parts that bear load or impact. However, they are a lot more expensive. On the other hand, aluminum materials offer a good balance between durability, lightness, and stiffness.

It is recommended to purchase easily replaceable parts, most especially in a sport with frequent falls and impact. Your safety as the rider should always be the top priority. Either way, both carbon and aluminum will provide you with good performance.

Steel is the heaviest material, but in spite of that, it’s a good absorbent for shocks and impacts. It is also cost-efficient and offers a good level of comfort. This material is worth considering if you are looking for an entry-level or recreational bike and not too concerned about weight.

  1. Groupset

The groupset, also known as the drivetrain, is the collective term for the bike’s mechanical parts which include the brakes, gear shifters, crankset, chain, and more. Like any other machine, these parts have to be maintained and replaced when needed in order to keep your bike in tip-top shape. These parts can be upgraded individually or as a set.

So far, the most widely used parts are the ones manufactured by popular manufacturers Shimano and SRAM.

Good road groupsets help in improving the bike’s performance. However, they become less of a propriety once you go beyond the mid-range cycling tier. Instead, weight becomes an important factor especially when you plan on competing.

1x or “one-by” groupsets has one chainring which eliminates chain slack, reduces the overall weight, and improves shifting performance. As mountain bikes are more exposed to harsher conditions than other types of bikes, it’s important to maintain and keep the parts clean.

Good performance will reflect from a well-maintained bike. Maintaining your bike is an investment itself, thereby allowing it last longer.

  1. Forks 

The fork is the component that holds your bike’s front wheel and houses the front shocks which are the most important component for your bike’s overall suspension. Forks have different levels of “travel” which refers to the up or down movement of the wheel to absorb shock and help in stabilizing the bike.

A fork that comes with a lot of travel has a better ability to absorb shocks and impact; however, it makes the bike more difficult to handle because of its less direct steering. Meanwhile, a longer fork would mean more material which therefore adds more weight to your bike.

Deciding what is the ideal travel in your bike’s fork will depend on the type of riding you do or would wish to do. A fork with a “lock-out” is ideal when you plan to ride on paved roads, most especially on smooth roads.

For more information about forks, you should check out this article:

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/mountain-bike-suspension-forks-a-buyers-guide-55/

  1. Tires

Mountain bikes take on different types of surfaces, whether they be rough, uneven, or smooth surfaces. As such, you should place an emphasis on the tires as they play a vital role as well.

Tires that are designed for mountain bikes tend to be wider and feature a lot more resistance to puncture. You can also consider getting tubeless tires which can significantly reduce punctures.

Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension

Earlier, we’ve talked about the two different types of bikes which are hardtail and full suspension. There’s been an ongoing debate regarding which of the two is the best option. While each of them has its own pros and cons, ultimately it will all boil down to personal preferences.

Regardless, let us take a look at the differences between the two of them:

The key difference between a full suspension and hardtail bike is that the latter only features a suspension at the front compared to a full suspension which has both front and rear.

Due to the hardtail’s simple design, it is a lot lighter and easier to maintain. Depending on your current budget, a hardtail can have frames made of carbon fiber to allow more comfort and flexibility. However, it can’t offer the same comfort that a full suspension bike can give.

That said, you can find a number of decent hardtail bikes in the market which goes under $1,000 compared to full suspension bikes which can cost a lot more.

Here’s a short comparison video regarding which of the two is the faster option:

Downhill Performance

While hardtail bikes are capable of handling a downhill terrain, full suspension bikes have a huge edge. Due to the presence of two suspensions, they can offer a lot more comfort as they can absorb more shock and vibrations. This is actually an important concern as the more energy you can conserve, the better your endurance will be.

Meanwhile, riding on technical downhills on a hardtail will allow you to make better riding choices, which in turn allows you to improve your biking skills.

Climbing Ability

When it comes to climbing, hardtails have better power transfer towards the rear wheel. In even surfaces, this results in a better acceleration. You can even maintain a consistent speed easily with a hardtail bike. As the terrain becomes rougher, the absence of a rear suspension would mean more rear wheel power output. As such, you can easily control and handle your bike over obstacles.

Ease of Maintenance

Since hardtails have less moving parts compared to full suspension bikes, it simply means there is less maintenance. Thus, if you’re in need of a low maintenance bike, hardtails are no doubt a better choice. On the other hand, full suspension bikes will require periodic maintenance on their pivots and rear shocks.

Level of Comfort

For younger riders, comfort level might not be that much of an issue on their bike. However, for those who can’t handle a bumpy road, an extra level of comfort becomes a necessity. This is especially true with full suspension bikes.

Overall Weight

With technological advancements, most mountain bikes available in the market are a lot lighter compared to their predecessors. For example, hardtails now only weigh roughly around 20-40 pounds. Additionally, they’re around 1 kg lighter compared to full suspension bikes, although you can find a lot of lightweight full suspension bikes as well.

Keep in mind, however, that it can also affect its price. Lighter bikes tend to cost more than heavier ones due to the type of material used in their construction.

Closing Thoughts

Mountain biking is a sport that takes time to learn the skills and techniques involved. Keep on practicing and always keep in mind that your safety as a rider should be your number one priority.