Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting interested in mountain biking, the sheer number of various models, components and criteria to pay attention to may seem staggering, not to mention the annoying technobabble that usually accompanies anything even remotely specialized. Now add “budget-friendly” to the list and try your hand. If you have a pro to lend a helping hand, you should be fine. If not, then this article is just the thing for you.
If your budget is a bit lower than 1,000 USD – Check out our review of the best mountain bikes under 500.
So, how to choose the best mountain bikes under 1000? Well, the first thing you should realize is that this amount can actually buy a nice mountain bike, well able to go on par with more high-end and higher-priced two-wheelers. This is perfectly fine for your first ride; if you shell out too much for it, you risk being called a punter in the community – not a good start. You can expect to find a lot of aluminum frame in this range, with some carbon fibre components. Depending on how you ride, next you’ll need to decide on the type. Roughly speaking, there are three – XC (cross country), All Mountain (Enduro) or Downhill. If you’re not quite sure which way to turn, go with the second type.
Comparison of the best mountain bikes under 1000 complete chart
Six of the Best mountain bikes under 1000 reviews
1. Diamondback Overdrive Comp Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Overdrive is one of those rare products that live up to the name. It’s almost guaranteed to get you into overdrive for the sheer joy of riding it. On a more realistic note, the bike is really very well built around a lightweight aluminum frame, and comes with some upper-tier quality components, such as the 2×10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and matching disc brakes. It’s a hardtail model, which does feel a bit stiff, but also cheaper and better for climbing.
The Overdrive Comp is ideal for those who never liked buying from IKEA because it requires almost no assembly (the so-called ReadyRide program by Diamondback).
The Diamondback has probably the best price to quality ratio on this list, in spite of the fact that it’s also the priciest on it. It’s great for beginners and semi-pros, and will feel absolutely dialled on any trail without breaking the bank.
2. Diamondback Line Mountain Bike
There’s nothing special about the Diamondback Line Mountain Bike, unless you count its lack of being special as special. It’s designed to do a job, and it delivers. Thanks to its 6061-T6 butted alloy frame, the Diamondback Line keeps things lightweight without sacrificing the integrity. It’s a bit stiff, seeing it’s aluminum, but the SR Suntour fork does a great job of reducing vibrations and making the ride a bit smoother. This is a hardtail model, meaning it only has front suspension, which somewhat detracts from the comfort, but at the same time detracts from the price, so it kind of evens out. Besides, hardtails are much better for climbing and Enduro events.
The Diamondback Line Mountain Bike is excellent if you want a running start. In other words, if you’re just getting interested in mountain biking, or have been interested, but only recently have started being serious about it, the Line should be a worthwhile investment.
3. Diamondback Atroz Mountain Bike
Finding a hardtail mountain bike under 1000 is easy enough, but finding one with full suspension without sacrificing too much in way of component quality is rare enough. That’s exactly the type of find the Diamondback Atroz Mountain Bike is. It manages to deliver (risking to beat a dead horse) a streamlined dual suspension, along with an 11-speed SRAM drivetrain and Tektro Gemini hydraulic disc brakes for absolute stopping power.
The bike features 27.5-inch wheels, which have a bit less traction than 29ers, but are lighter and outperform them in terms of maneuverability.
The suspension is definitely a huge plus, though it does mean some compromises in the components department (ironically, the fork feels somewhat too soft). Other than that, this is an excellent buy, especially if you’re looking to get your money’s worth.
4. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
It goes without saying that a 1,000-dollar bike will outperform one that doesn’t even cost half that, but the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 is more than able to give such bikes a run for their money (no pun intended). It should also go more or less without saying that bikes in this price range will have aluminum frames, though a steel rear and dual suspension might catch you off guard. This goes a long way to reducing trail vibrations, for which your hands and spine will thank you immensely.
If you’re looking for a decent, inexpensive mountain bike for beginners, then you should definitely check out the Schwinn Protocol 1.0. It’s great to start you off, and comes almost ready to ride, with just minimal assembly required. However, you’ll need another 50 bucks for the tune-up if you’re not experienced.
5. Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle
Professional riders may call it a “department store” bike, but the Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bike is actually a nice little buy, especially if you’re working within a prohibitively tight budget. It comes with a decent frame, and adequate components, so be ready to splash out some more for fine tuning it. Returning to the frame – it’s aluminum, though the stiffness is greatly reduced by its dual suspension. This makes it slightly heavier in the back than a hardtail, and not all that good for climbing, but it’s more comfortable, so it kind of evens out.
The rear 21-speed Shimano derailleur works nicely in conjunction with the SRAM twist shifters, and it’s nice and quiet, though they could’ve used better shifters.
The Mongoose Impasse is not the best mountain bikes under 1000, not even close. However, it is a decent entry-level bike and a great canvas if you decide to upgrade.
6. Merax Finiss Mountain Bike
The best way to describe the Merax Finiss Mountain bike would be adequate. It’s a nice, inexpensive bike, with some fair to middling components (though the aluminum frame and rims are quite good), but it can’t really compare to top-tier mountain bikes. Still, it’s quite lightweight and comes with 26-inch wheels, which makes it great for maneuvering and climbing.
The drivetrain is 21-speed Shimano, derailleurs and shifters, the whole shebang, though they’re not exactly the highest-end Shimano components. The suspension fork does a nice job, giving 80mm travel, which is more than enough to soak any bumps on the road and give you better control
We recently released our TOP review article on the best electric bikes under 1000. Check it out!!
If you really want to cheap out on your buy, you should definitely check out the Merax Finiss. It’s the lowest you can go, and the lowest we’d advise you to go and still get a decent bang for the buck.
We kicked off this round-up with a few budget-minded options, and ended it with as many penny-pinchers, taking special care there is a little something for everyone (and everyone’s pocket). However, there are still some more specialized recommendations to be made, in case you want the TL; DR version. On a balance, it’s tough to pick the favorite out of the whole six, but with a gun to the head, we’d pick the Diamondback Overdrive. It does cost a pretty penny, but rest assured you’ll feel where each of them went (or, rather, you won’t feel). The Diamondback Line comes in a close second, whereas the Atroz would definitely have to go down as one of the best mountain bikes under 1000 with full suspension. Out of the penny-pinchers, the Schwinn 1.0 wins by a landslide, though the Mongoose Impasse is nothing to sneer at, either, and both are excellent beginner’s bikes. As for the Merax Finiss, it’s the most budget-happy option you’ll find on this list, and with decent quality-to-price ratio, at that.