Few of us are lucky enough to be able to splash a grand on their first bike. So this tends to be the price range for people who’ve already spent a few years with their first mountain bike and have decided they want something a little more serious to take their riding to the next level.
While budget is still a priority, the bikes in this price bracket are a little more trail focussed. So you can expect to find suspension that’s a little more heavy duty and equipment that’s a little better at handling the rigours of off-road riding.
You now find several full-suspension machines here (rather than just the hardtails that we used to expect — mountain bikes with front-suspension only) but the industry seems to have settled in terms of wheel size, meaning the majority of bikes at this price will now use 27.5 / 650b wheels.
Every machine here can be happily pushed into service at any trail centre, most types of XC race and any sort of general off-road exploration. Any bike you choose in this price bracket is going to help you get more out of yourself and your riding.
- Price: £1,000 (£1,299.99 without a Go Outdoors card, which is £5)
- Capable RockShox Sektor fork
- Excellent component spec
- Sorted straight out of the box
Just about nudging into this price point, the Bossnut is so good that it holds its own against bikes that are considerably more expensive. Its chassis isn’t outstanding in any way, but it does everything it needs to very well. The tapered head tube and hydroformed main tubes create a stiff-tracking front end with plenty of standover space.
Where Calibre really starts to score with the Bossnut is componentry. Even if you go through the spec with a fine-tooth comb it’s a genuinely weak-link-free selection that we’d be content with on a bike at twice the price. The 760mm Ritchey bar gives loads of trail-taming leverage and the matching stem gives a good balance of responsive steering manners for a range of riders and riding.
A full set of Shimano Deore stop and go gear brings a tonne of small but significant features as well as slick 20-speed shifting and proven durability. But the most amazing thing about the Bossnut is that nothing needs upgrading to complete a totally sorted package.
Boardman Team FS
- Price: £999
- Impressive small-bump sensitivity
- Improved rear-end stiffness
- An outstanding sub-£1k full-susser
The reworked 650b Boardman is the most sorted sub-£1,000 suspension set up we’ve ridden, offering improved climbing traction and descending confidence while still feeling efficient under power. It’s relatively light compared to its full-suspension competition and never felt conspicuously lardy on climbs.
It certainly doesn’t compromise on the kit front either, and while the SRAM GX 2x10 gearing is roughly on par with the competition, the RockShox Sektor RL complete with 15mm Maxle thru-axle is the best you’ll get at this price in terms of smoothness, consistent damping and tracking stiffness.
• Price: £800
- As good at going uphill as it is going down
- Fork performance is vastly improved with a minor tweak
- Sorted frame geometry
The VooDoo Canzo is good going downhill and doesn’t disgrace itself on the way back up either. The cranks’ square-taper axle and thin, S-curved arms mean a soft feel if you’re really stomping on the pedals but the Canzo still has a definite ‘can do’ attitude to climbs.
Once you’ve got the shock adjusted right it keeps the chunky Kenda tyres well connected even on washed-out, rock-covered trails or step-ups. The naturally sorted and balanced ride position makes it fine for multi-hour rides too.
Wondering why there aren't more contenders in this round-up? To be included in this article a bike has to score 4 stars or above, it also has to be currently available to purchase. Right now we are in the process of reviewing several 2017 bikes and will update this article accordingly. In the meantime, be sure to bookmark this page.