The Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000 Dollars

Updated on 08/09/2021 with the best options currently available

They may not be the lightest or come equipped with the latest high-end gear, but there are plenty of quality entry-level mountain bikes that sell for around $1,000. These are great options for beginner mountain bikers and young riders who may soon outgrow their current bike. Keep reading to learn what to look for in your first mountain bike and check out our list of the best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars (or close to it).

Are you a new mountain biker? Learn more in our Beginner's Corner.

Best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars

Schwinn Axum
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

Take on new trail challenges with the Axum mountain bike by Schwinn. This mountain bike is the lowest-price on our list. It's a suitable entry-point to cross-country riding for riders new to the sport. The Axum features a light aluminum frame and a 100mm suspension fork. It has a 1x8-speed drivetrain and front and rear mechanical disc brakes to deliver reliable stopping power. Plus, the Axum rolls on high-volume 29x2.6 tires that make it easy to roll over just about anything. It's available with or without a dropper seatpost-our advice is to upgrade to the dropper-post equipped version.

Related Reading: Click here to for our full review of this bargain-priced mountain bike.

Price: $598

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Haro Steel Reserve 1.1
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

The Steel Reserve is built to take a beating as you hone your skills on the dirt jumps and the jump track. The frame is suspension corrected and can be upgraded from a rigid fork to a suspension fork. The frame comes with a rear disc brake and has Weinmann XM260 Alloy Double-Wall Rims that are exceptionally durable.

Price: $599

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Cannondale Trail 8

If you're just getting started and expect to spend half your time riding pavement and half on beginner-friendly trails, Cannondale's Trail 8 is the perfect gateway to mountain biking. It features a lightweight aluminum frame, a 3x7 drivetrain a suspension fork and mechanical disc brakes.

Price: $575.00

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REI Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0

The DRT 1.0 is designed to bridge that gap between youth and adult mountain bikes. It's a great option for young teens as well as small adults. It features a lightweight aluminum frame with a low-slung top tube that gives riders plenty of standover clearance and small diameter 26-inch wheels that are easy to handle. The 3x7 drivetrain has plenty of range and it comes with hydraulic disc brakes for confident stopping.

Price: $549.00

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Mongoose Argus Trail 26
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

The Argus Trail 26 is a fat bike that sports 26x4" tires, which provide gobs of traction and will let this bike go where traditional mountain bikes can't. Explore snow-packed trails all winter long. The Argus features a lightweight aluminum frame with a 2x8 drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes.

Price: $619.99

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Trek Marlin 7
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

The Marlin 7 is where race-worthy mountain bikes begin. The smooth, lightweight RockShox fork and upgraded parts make this model the best choice for new riders who want a fast cross-country hardtail that will hold its own against Trek's higher-end race bikes.

Price: $849.99

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Marin San Quentin 1
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

The San Quentin is for the aggressive hardtail trail rider looking for a blend between singletrack capabilities and extended air time. It features a 120mm-travel suspension fork with long and slack geometry for stability at speed and confident handling in technical terrain. The 27.5" wheels and tires keep the handling lively.

Price: $899.99

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Specialized Rockhopper Elite 29
Best Mountain Bikes Under 1000

Specialized has packed a ton of value into this race-ready hardtail that comes in right at the 1K mark. The Rockhopper Elite features a wide-range 1x10 Shimano drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and RockShox Judy SoloAir.

Price: $1,000

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What to know before buying your first mountain bike
Best mountain bikes under 1000: Trickle-down technology means you can get a lot of bang for your buck in a budget-friendly mountain bike.
Trickle-down technology means you can get a lot of bang for your buck in a budget-friendly mountain bike.

But before you head out to your nearest bike shop or online bike seller, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the best mountain bikes under $1,000. For starters, no matter what bike you buy or how much it costs, make sure it fits you well. Because if a bike fits, it's going to be a whole lot more fun to ride and will be less likely to end up collecting dust in the back of your garage. And while pro-level bike fits are pricey, any decent local bike shop should be willing to help get your position dialed, adjusting saddle height and swapping stem to get you the best fit.

Related: 5 things you need to know when buying your first mountain bike

The second thing you should know when searching for the best mountain bikes under $1,000 is that you are going to want to opt for a hardtail. Sure, there are some budget-priced full suspension options out there, but unless you happen to catch a super sale, the odds are that at this price point, you're going to get a bike with inferior components that may not work very well or last very long. That's why we suggest you stick with a hardtail and make the jump to a full-suspension down the road when you have a little more budget to work worth.

Best mountain bikes under 1000: Mountain bikes without rear suspension, commonly called hardtails, are lighter, more affordable, and require less maintenance at the $1000 price point.
Mountain bikes without rear suspension, commonly called "hardtails," are lighter, more affordable, and require less maintenance at the $1000 price point.

At this price point, hardtails are the best choice for their lightweight and efficiency. The other big advantage of choosing a hardtail, especially for beginners, is that they can help you become a better rider because they force you to develop your skills and make better line choices instead of just being a passenger and plowing through things. And once you've mastered the basics (and saved a little more money), your second bike can be a full-suspension model.

Related: 5 Best MTB Upgrades

The other option, if you really want a full suspension bike but only have $1,000 to spend, is to shop the used bike market. Online re-sellers such as The Pro's Closet have a massive inventory of bikes, but you'll need to keep an eye on their ever-changing inventory and hope the right bike in the right size turns up. Craigslist, eBay, and the various bike website forums are other good places to peruse. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting before you transfer your hard-earned money.

Related: 5 tips for buying a used bike

As for buying new, aside from fit, if possible, opt for a bike that's spec'd with parts from respected component brands such as Shimano, SRAM, Fox, and RockShox. All these companies make a wide range of products, meaning that their lower-priced options typically benefit from trickle-down technology. They also have reputations to uphold, so it's unlikely that they'll put out parts that are going to fall apart in a few months.

Now that you have some basics shopping strategies, here are the best mountain bikes under $1,000 (or reasonably close to it) listed from most affordable to most expensive.

Related: The Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000 FAQ
Q: What should I look for when buying a mountain bike?
There are numerous things to consider when purchasing a first mountain bike. When buying a new mountain bike at or under $1,000 you should look for a hardtail with disc brakes, a 1x drivetrain (single chainring) and an air-spring suspension fork that can be adjusted to suit your weight and riding style. Mountain bikes come in a range of sizes, take the time to work with a bike shop to find the propper size for you.

Q: How much does a decent mountain bike cost?
The first "trail-worthy" mountain bikes that are designed to be ridden on actual trails generally start at $700-$1,000. These bikes feature quality components that can withstand riding over rough terrain and the occasional tumble.

Q; Do I really need a full-suspension mountain bike?
Many mountain bikers prefer full suspension mountain bikes because the rear suspension provides additional traction. Full suspension mountain bikes also come with higher price tags. If you're looking to spend less than $1,000, we strongly advise you to purchase a hardtail. They weigh less, require less maintenance, and give you more bang for your buck.

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