Please be sure to read the lastest round-up of the most affordable mountain bikes for $3000 here>>

Now is a great time to buy a mountain bike. The amount of bike that you can get for $3000 has never been higher. While most of us would balk at spending $7,000 to $8,000 (or more) on a new mountain bike, those high-end bikes serve a purpose for the general mountain bike buying audience. New features and technology are always developed on the highest models in any manufacturers line-up, but after a year or two that same technology trickles down to the less expensive/more affordable models.

At Interbike, we get overloaded seeing all the latest and greatest in the bike industry and sometimes it's easy to gloss over the fact that most bike shops will sell way more $2000 to $3000 bikes than $7,000+ models. So, we went around to several different manufacturers and asked them to show us their best value mountain bike. We told them it could be from any category, 29er hardtail, 27.5 enduro racer, womens-specific, long as they feel that it represents a great value to their main audience - the bike buyer and was in the $3000 price range. At this price point, there are a couple of common themes: aluminum frames instead of carbon (for the full suspension models) and for some brands, a simplified suspension design versus their marquee platform. Dropper posts should also be considered a bonus and can be found on a couple of the bikes below. As far as drivetrains go, the popular 1x11 systems are non-existent as 2x10 is the standard spec for the price point.

So, without further adieu and in no particular order (other than least expensive to most expensive) here is our list of 12 Awesome value mountain bikes.

Fuji SLM 29 2.1

Fuji SLM 29 2.1 - $2499

The guys at Fuji Bikes start things off with a their SLM 29 2.1 carbon hardtail. This is the only carbon bike on our list and it is the only 29er, as well. The frame is Fuji's C10 high modulus carbon and has slick internal cable routing, oversized down tube, tapered headtube and press-fit bottom bracket.

The front fork is the Manitou Marvel Expert with remote lockout, tapered alloy steerer, 15mm thru axle and 100mm of travel. The Shimano 2x10 drivetrain features a mix of Deore, SLX and XT and stopping duties are handled by Shimano Deore disc brakes. Like most of Fuji's bikes, the cockpit is comprised of Oval Concepts bar, stem, grips, saddle and seatpost. The 29er wheels are Oval Concepts 400 CL discs and they roll on Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29er tires.

Here at Mtbr, we are very familiar with Fuji's hardtail 29ers including the SLM and the aluminum Tahoe and they are very well priced bikes that are race ready and highly capable. However, if 29ers aren't your thing and you're just dying to try out the "new" 27.5" wheel size, Fuji also makes the similarly spec'ed SLM 27.5 2.1 for the exact same price.

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Giant Trance 27.5 2

Giant Trance 27.5 2 - $2550

For 2015, Giant Bicycles is all about giving mountain bikers plenty of price sensitive options. I previously covered Giant's all new value line called the Stance that offers a single pivot suspension design and a solid parts spec for under $2,000. While this is an outstanding value, I asked if they have something with their premiere Maestro suspension design, but under $3,000. The Giant Trance 27.5 2 is their answer.

This version of the Trance uses Giant's ALUXX SL aluminum frameset with 140mm of their proven Maestro Suspension. It comes with a Fox Float CTD Evolution fork and Fox CTD Evolution rear shock. It features a Shimano Deore / SLX 2x10 drivetrain with Shimano M615 hydraulic disc brakes, Giant hubs and rims and Schwalbe 27.5 Nobby Nic tires. This is a good choice for the buyer looking to move up to something a bit more sophisticated and capable than the simple single pivot bikes (like the Stance).

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Jamis Dakar AMT Comp

Jamis Dakar AMT Comp - $2599

The Jamis Bikes Dakar AMT is their all mountain rig that is based off of the XCT trail bike but with more travel for "bigger hits and higher speeds." The frame is made from triple-butted 7005 aluminum and has 150mm of rear travel and rolls on 27.5" wheels.

The Dakar AMT Comp features an X-Fusion Sweep RL2 fork (150mm) and an X-Fusion 02 RLX High Volume AV rear shock. The Shimano 2x10 drivetrain features Deore shifters and front derailleur and a Deore Shadow rear derailleur. FSA provides the cranks and bottom bracket. Shimano Deore M615 disc brakes slow you down. The AMT Comp rolls on WTB rims with Formula hubs running on Vittoria Goma 27.5 tires. Bonus points for the nice KS eTen dropper post with 100mm travel and a handlebar remote.

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Felt Compulsion 50

Felt Compulsion 50 - $2699

Felt has a new all mountain/enduro line of bikes called the Compulsion featuring 160mm of Equilink suspension and a frame made from double-butted 6061 hydroformed aluminum. The Compulsion 50 features a Suntour Aion RL-R fork with 160mm travel and a remote lockout with a rebound adjuster, 34mm stanchions and air spring. Rear cush is provided by a RockShox Monarch RT with custom tune. The bike also features Shimano Deore/XT 2x10 drivetrain, Shimano M506 brakes, WTB Speed Disc i23 rims and 27.5 Schwalbe Hans Dampf (front) and Rock Razor (rear) tires. Bonus points for the KS Eten dropper post (without remote).

Felt positions the Compulsion as their do-it-all, all mountain bike. Felt Marketing Manager Scott Sharples describes it as a bike that can, "handle Big Bear or the local bike park but still climb up. At Downieville, I rode up 2 and a half hours on the Compulsion and it handled great." The Compulsion 50 is also rare in the fact that the price actually dropped from the 2014 model's MSRP of $2899 to the 2015 model's MSRP of $2699.

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Marin Attack Trail XT 7

Marin Attack Trail XT 7 - $2699

Marin Bikes 2015 Attack Trail XT 7 is an all mountain machine that features 150mm of their QUAD 3 suspension with 27.5 wheels and an alloy frame. Suspension duties are handled by a SR Suntour Auron LC-RC Air fork with 160mm of travel and the rear is handled by a Rock Shox Monarch RL with lockout and rebound adjustment. The 2x10 drivetrain is full Shimano (SLX/Deore) and brakes are also Shimano M615 discs. Marin hubs and Alex tubeless rims run on Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5 tires.

The Marin Attack Trail line is built to take the abuse on the downhills but can still get you to the top. The frame also features some nice internal routing options.

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Rocky Mountain Blizzard

Rocky Mountain Blizzard - $2699.99

When we approached the guys at Rocky Mountain and asked them what they considered their best value bike under $3k, they gave us a slightly different answer from everybody else. The Blizzard is their new fatbike that is designed around the RockShox Bluto suspension fork with 100mm of travel. As such, it has suspension optimized geometry to take full advantage of the cush for those all day adventures or those short jaunts in snow, ice, sand or dirt. In the rear it has 197x12mm spacing to fit up to 4.8" tires. It has a 1x10 drivetrain that includes a custom designed Race Face 24T narrow-wide chainring with driveside offset for "optimal" shifting. The 6061 series aluminum frame is double and triple butted (the downtube and toptube are triple butted, the seat tube, chainstays and seat stays are double butted.) The frame also has internal cable routing including for an internally routed dropper seatpost.

Rocky Mountain calls their design and geometry RTC (Rider Tuned Concept) and there was a sign on display that read, "We designed the Blizzard with a shorter-than-average top tube to keep it nimble, and wide 4.7" tire clearance for maximum float on soft terrain. Engineering for a suspension fork required optimizing the additional length while providing an aggressive 68.5 degree headtube angle."

Rocky Mountain Blizzard Detail

The Blizzard on display also features a sweet looking integrated Porcelain Rocket half-frame bag, which is sold separately. The intricate graphics were a nice touch, as well.

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Continue to Page 2 for the Juliana Juno R, KHS SixFifty 3500, Intense Tracer 275 Alloy, Norco Range A 7.1, Santa Cruz Bronson Aluminum R, Scott Genius 730 »

Juliana Juno R

Juliana Juno R - $2799

Juliana Bicycles is the "sister" company of Santa Cruz Bicycles and they sell women's specific bikes only. They utilize the same VPP suspension in their top of the line carbon mountain bikes. Like Santa Cruz, Juliana also offers less expensive models with a single pivot suspension design (that Santa Cruz has been using for decades).

The Juliana Juno R is an all around trail bike with 125mm of rear suspension provided by a Fox Float CTD Evolution shock and a RockShox Sektor Gold RL Solo Air fork with 130mm of travel up front. The 2x10 drivetrain is a blend of mostly Shimano SLX with an XT rear derailleur, SRAM front derailleur and SRAM crank. The brakes are Shimano Deore M615. The 27.5 wheels are built with SRAM hubs and WTB rims shod with Maxxis Ardent 27.5 tires. Juliana's own brand of saddle, grips and bars are designed specifically for a woman's comfort and control.

There is also a slightly down spec version of the Juliana Juno that comes with a "D-spec" kit instead of the R kit and retails for $2599. Don't need 125mm of travel and want to save more money? Consider the Juliana Origin at $2399 with 100mm of travel and the R-spec build kit. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, if you're looking to upgrade, you might consider the Juliana Furtado R at $3599 featuring 125mm of VPP suspension and a carbon frame.

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KHS SixFifty 3500

KHS SixFifty 3500 - $2949

KHS has been in the 27.5 game for a lot longer than many other manufacturers out there. In fact, their model names still refer back to the "old" name for it, 650B. The SixFifty 3500 shown here is in the middle of the model line-up and the Horst-link FSR rear suspension design has been reworked for 2015 (due to the expiration of the FSR copyright).

The KHS SixFifty 3500 frame is made from 6061 aluminum with custom formed double butted top tube and down tube. The bike features a RockShox Reba RLT fork and RockShox Monarch RT3 HV rear shock providing 120mm of travel front and rear. The bike also features a Shimano SLX/XT 2x10 drivetrain, Shimano M506 brakes, Kore stem/bar, Stan's Rapid 25 double wall, tubeless ready rims, KT hubs and 27.5 Maxxis Ardent tires.

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Intense Tracer T275

Intense Tracer 275 Alloy - $2999

Intense Cycles was excited to show off the 2015 Tracer 275 Alloy with their Foundation kit. They consider it be the biggest bang-for-the-buck spec that they have and we agree. It has the exact same geometry as the Tracer Carbon and features 5.5 to 6 inches of adjustable travel, 17″ chainstays and 67.5 degree head angle.

The parts spec includes an X-Fusion Sweep RL2 fork and X-Fusion 02 RL Air rear shock. The 2x10 drivetrain is full Shimano SLX with Shimano BL M506 disc brakes. Colors available are: Matte Black, Intense Red, Flow Orange, Works Raw, Neo Green. The Sun Inferno rims and DT Swiss spokes roll on Maxxis Ardent 27.5 tires.

The Intense Tracer is a favorite around Mtbr HQ and we expect Intense to sell a ton of these bikes. We have one in for a full review, so stay tuned for that. Bonus points for the fact that this aluminum Intense is hand made right here in the U.S.

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Norco Range A 7.1

Norco Range A 7.1 - $3095

The "A" in Norco Range A 7.1 stand for alloy, which is standard for this price point and differentiates it from the carbon line of Ranges. Like most Norcos, the Range has an all mountain bias and provides 160mm of A.R.T. four-bar suspension. The Range A 7.1 features a RockShox Pike RC solo air fork and a Fox Float CTD Evolution rear shock. It comes with a Shimano SLX/Race Face 2x10 drivetrain, Shimano Deore brakes, Shimano hubs with Sun Inferno rims, Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5 tires. Added Bonus: the Range A 7.1 comes with a KS E-Ten dropper post with remote. This Norco is a good choice if your all mountain riding includes burly, technical downhills.

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Santa Cruz Bronson

Santa Cruz Bronson Aluminum R - $3199

Like the aforementioned Juliana brand, Santa Cruz has a variety of mountain bikes available both with their premium VPP suspension design as well as their more simple (but tried and true) single pivot. They also offer many of these models in both aluminum and carbon. Highlighted here is the Santa Cruz Bronson with an aluminum frame, 27.5" wheels and 150mm of VPP rear travel.

Handling suspension duties is a RockShox Sektor Gold RL 150 fork up front and a Fox Float CTD Evolution shock in back. At this price point, you get a "curated mix of Shimano XT, Deore and SRAM components" like SLX chain, cassette and shifters, XT rear derailleur with SRAM front derailleur and cranks. Shimano Deore M615 brakes handle the stopping duties and the whole thing rolls on SRAM hubs, WTB rims and Maxxis High Roller 27.5 tires.

If you like the Bronson but really want a carbon frame, the Bronson carbon with an R-spec kit starts at $400 more ($3599).

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Scott Genius 730

Scott Genius 730 - $3499

Although the 2015 Scott Genius 730 comes in well over the $3k mark, their company representatives were sure that this was their best value. When was the last time you heard about a bike price actually going down? The 2014 Genius 730 was $4099 so that means a price drop of $600! At this pricepoint, the frame is alloy, not carbon but it still comes with the custom-tuned FOX Nude shock providing 150mm of rear travel, a FOX 32 Float fork and Scott's TwinLoc remote suspension activation. You get adjustable travel and BB height, Shimano SLX/XT 2x10 drivetrain, Shimano SLX brakes, Syncros cockpit, Syncros rims with Shimano hubs, 27.5 Schwalbe Knobby Nic (F) and Rocket Ron(R) tires and a claimed weight of about 27.89 lbs. The Scott Genius 730 is a good all-arounder that you can even race.

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