The best mountain bikes under £2,000 in 2021 | Top rated hardtail and full-suspension MTBs

Our pick of the best mountain bikes between £1,000 and £2,000

The best mountain bikes under £2,000

There’s a staggering array of great mountain bikes available under £2,000. Luckily, the good ship BikeRadar has done the heavy lifting for you and put together the very best mountain bikes under £2,000 in 2021.

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Between £1,000 and £2,000 is the point that full-suspension mountain bikes begin to make more sense, with decent builds that make few compromises.

If you’re looking to buy a hardtail in this price range, you’ll also have a hard time buying a bad one. This price bracket is a popular one for enthusiast cyclists, which has made for an incredibly competitive market, forcing brands to spec bikes with increasingly high-quality builds, including more expensive mountain bike groupsets.

If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, be sure to check out our guides to the best mountain bikes under £1,000, £750 and £500.

If you’re feeling a little more flush, our guides to the best mountain bikes under £3,000 should tickle your pickle.

Lastly, for a more overall guide, check out our guide on how to choose the right mountain bike for you.

The best mountain bikes under £2,000, as rated by our expert testers

  • Calibre Triple B: £1,499
  • Calibre Bossnut: £1,100
  • Canyon Stoic 4: £1,639 / $1,799 / AU$2,649 / €1,699
  • Merida Big. Trail 500: £1,350 / AU$1,849
  • Vitus Mythique 29 VRS: £1,450 / $1,800 / AU$2,500 / €1,700
  • YT Jeffsy Base 29: £1,999 / $2,299 / €2,299
  • Boardman MTR 9.0: £2,000
  • Marin Hawk Hill 1: £1,445 / $1,600 / AU$2,399 / €1,599
  • Radon Cragger 8.0: £1,847 / €1,950
  • Saracen Zenith Elite LSL: £1,750 / $2,296 / AU$3,350
  • Sonder Signal ST NX: £1,599/ $2,297 / AU$2,914 / €1,799
  • Specialized Fuse 27.5 (2021): £1,149/ $1,500 / AU$2,000
  • Vitus Sentier 29 VRX: £1,600 / $2,000 / AU$3,000 / €1,800

Calibre Triple B

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
The Calibre Triple B has a top-spec list for its price.
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
  • £1,499 as tested
  • Amazing value for money
  • Cracking performance, even when pitted against bikes worth double
  • Grippy tyres are good on descents but a bit of a drag on long climbs

The Triple B is the Bossnut’s better-specced big brother kitted out with SRAM’s Guide RE brakes, NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain and a RockShox Sektor RL fork and Monarch RS rear shock.

This top-tier spec – for the cash – is backed up by modern trail bike geometry that boasts a 65.5-degree head angle, 74-degree seat-tube angle and a lengthy 460mm reach on the size large, which combines to provide a superb ride.

Our testers loved how the Triple B tackled fast and flowy terrain and supported them through turns and compressions without wincing over trickier ground.

It is a bit on the hefty side, so if you’re really worried about headline weight figures you might want to consider another bike, although we challenge you to find one that performs as well as the Triple B at this price.

Calibre Bossnut

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
Calibre’s Bossnut is another top performer from Go Outdoors.
Laurence Crossman-Emms
  • £1,100 as tested
  • Great geometry
  • Kitted out with decent parts considering the price
  • Great on the trail
  • Non-Boost axles could limit any upgrade potential

Because the Triple B and Bossnut share the same frame, you get the same fantastic geometry as the more expensive model.

So it’s in the spec where Calibre has saved the money. There’s a RockShox Recon RL fork and Monarch R shock, a cheaper SX Eagle drivetrain and SRAM Level T brakes.

For the cash, our expert testers really struggled to fault the Bossnut out on the trails, but because it lacks Boost axle spacing, you might struggle to find compatible wheels when it’s time to upgrade.

Canyon Stoic 4

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Canyon Stoic 4
The Canyon Stoic 4 has a modern geometry that provides plenty of control on descents.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £1,639 / $1,799 / AU$2,649 / €1,699 as tested
  • Gravity suitable all-rounder
  • Well considered spec
  • Modern geometry

Canyon says the Stoic 4 is ‘the best Enduro hardtail’, and it is true that the bike can fly down descents like a full-suspension bike – as long as things don’t get too rough – while retaining that hardtail simplicity.

It achieves this thanks to the solid rear end that can gain speed from every rise and fall in the trail as well as the modern, slack geometry.

The long wheelbase helps spit you out of turns perfectly and you can maintain control over rocks and roots. The dropper post also opens up plenty of room for you to move around.

This aluminium bike might be aimed at descending, but it won’t make getting to the top of a trail a drag, as it ascends surprisingly fast considering its burly 14.86kg weight and deep tread tyres.

With a 140mm travel RockShox fork and SRAM groupset, the Stoic has a great spec for the price, but there are also two less pricey versions of the Stoic in Canyon’s lineup starting from £799.

Merida Big. Trail 500

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Merida Big.Trail 500 hardtail mountain bike
Merida has chosen some top-performing parts for its spec.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £1,350 / AU$1,849 as tested
  • Impressive going downhill and calm handling
  • Balance of Merida parts and branded parts
  • Make sure you pick the right size

Compared to bikes at the leading edge of the sport, the Merida Big. Trail 500’s geometry is relatively short. This means on paper it doesn’t have the stability of bikes with a longer wheelbase.

But, the Merida has a shorter seat tube than many other bikes allowing riders to size up without worrying about standover height, unlocking a longer reach and a more stable wheelbase.

With this in mind, the Big. Trail 500 is a comfortable climber. The longer reach in testing meant there was plenty of room to move around and the steep seat tube improved comfort, made pedalling easier and reduced front wheel lift.

When it comes to descents, the Recon fork has plenty of mid-stroke and low-speed compression helping you go fast and amplify the aluminium frame’s calm feel.

The mix of Merida’s own-brand kit, including a dropper post, and branded kit from Shimano keeps the bike’s price down but this doesn’t stop it from being one of the most capable bikes for under £2,000.

Vitus Mythique 29 VRS

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
A Horst-link pivot on the chainstay allows better tuning of how the rear brake influences the suspension action.
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
  • £1,450 / $1,800 / AU$2,500 / €1,700 as tested
  • Great, grippy Schwalbe rubber
  • SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain impressed
  • Some geometry updates would be nice to see

If you’ve got your heart set on Vitus’s Mythique, it’s well worth spending the extra cash to upgrade to the VRS model from the VR we also reviewed.

It’s decked out in impressive kit, headlined by Schwalbe’s ADDIX Soft compound Magic Mary and Hans Dampf combination. Complementing the tyres is SRAM’s 12-speed SX Eagle drivetrain and Shimano’s top-performing MT-401 brakes.

While we thought the X-Fusion Sweep RC fork could have performed better, it was a marked improvement over the RC32 fitted to the VR version.

YT Jeffsy Base 29

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
The Jeffsy’s a good looking bike with burly intentions.
Alex Evans
  • £1,999 / $2,299 / €2,299 as tested
  • Impressive downhill demeanour and exceptionally fun to ride
  • East to get the suspension dialled
  • Great performance for the price
  • Some upgrades would drastically improve it

YT’s bikes always strike a great balance between performance and cost, and the Jeffsy’s no exception.

With a RockShox Yari RC fork and Deluxe rear shock its 150mm of travel tackles tricky terrain with impressive competence.

That confidence is backed up by Maxxis Minion DHF and DHRII tyres that are impressively grippy.

We did struggle to get the gear and dropper levers set up in the correct position, and if we are being really picky, it needs to go on a bit of diet to help improve its climbing performance.

Boardman MTR 9.0

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Boardman MTR 9.0
Boardman MTR 9.0.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £2,000 as tested
  • Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes
  • Full suspension with RockShox forks and rear shock
  • Rides with confidence and one to consider for gravity riding

The MTR 9.0 is the flagship bike in Boardman’s MTR series, with a 6066 alloy frame that has smoothed welds, RockShox shocks front and back and a groupset that is mostly Shimano SLX.

The full-suspension bike has four-pot brakes that help its overall feeling of stability on descents, and the tyres provide plenty of grip.

Despite its emphasis on descending it climbs reasonably well, aided by the 10-51t cassette and steep seat tube angle.

The bike has a dropper seat post which is welcome on a bike like this, but one small thing is that the lever isn’t particularly good.

Overall, the bike rides with more confidence than you would expect from the price. There are small niggles – like the dropper lever – but none that would cost much to change.

Marin Hawk Hill 1

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
Marin touts the Hawk Hill as its most playful trail bike and it’s easy to see why.
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
  • £1,445 / $1,600 / AU$2,399 / €1,599 as tested
  • Exceptionally fun bike to ride
  • Well-tuned suspension
  • Front-to-back balance is sorted
  • It needs a dropper post

The 27.5in-wheeled Hawk Hill 1 is most at home riding berm- and jump-filled riding spots, living up to Marin’s claim that it’s the brand’s most fun bike to ride.

It’s got a RockShox Recon fork up front and an X-Fusion 02 Pro shock at the back that’s been custom-tuned for the bike’s suspension design.

Impressively, considering its price, it handles small bumps and hard compressions with ease. Unfortunately, it lacks a dropper post and only has ten gears when most bikes at this price point now have 12.

Radon Cragger 8.0

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Radon Cragger 8.0 hardtail mountain bike
For the price, the Cragger’s spec isn’t far off perfect. The DVO Sapphire fork is a boutique offering with 130mm of travel and plenty of adjustment.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £1,847 / €1,950 as tested
  • Fast uphill and downhill
  • Excellent spec throughout
  • Long seat tube reduces the standover height

Radon’s direct-to-consumer model has enabled it to spec the Cragger with components that exceed the bike’s price, including the 12x SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain.

The Craggon has relatively progressive geometry and is a charging descender. It’s not the smoothest downhill, but it’s capable and confident with the 29in wheels rolling quickly over harsh terrain and the DVO Sapphire front fork doing a fantastic job.

The long top and seat tubes give the bike a stretched out feel that’s great for hard efforts uphill but doesn’t lend itself to more genteel climbing.

The slender aluminium tubing and smoothed welds give the impression the Cragger might be carbon fibre and cables can be routed internally for maximum neatness.

Saracen Zenith Elite LSL

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Saracen Zenith Elite LSL hardtail mountain bike
The Saracen Zenith Elite LSL could do with a few upgrades, but then it would be amongst the best.
Max Wilman
  • £1,750/ $2,296 / AU$3,350 as tested
  • Good on rough terrain
  • Climbs well
  • Low centre of gravity
  • RockShox front fork

The Saracen Zenith Elite LSL is well suited to any rider that’s looking for a hardtail for easy trail smashing and some more demanding and gnarlier days on rougher terrain.

The bike might feel large thanks to its 29in wheels and long geometry, but this lends itself to riding through harsh chunder and makes up for not having rear suspension.

Some of the kit is fairly budget, but the Zenith does punch above its weight and a  few tweaks, such as swapping out Saracen’s own-brand finishing kit, would put this bike up there as one of the best hardtails.

Sonder Signal ST NX

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Sonder Signal ST NX hardtail mountain bike
The Signal presents a subtle yet purposeful profile.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £1,599/ $2,297 / AU$2,914 / €1,799 as tested
  • Great geometry
  • Short travel dropper
  • SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain
  • Small rotors hold it back

The Sonder Signal ST NX sticks to the British brand’s goal of delivering good value for money, high performing steel bikes.

The steel frame gives the bike a weighty feel but once you’re riding the Signal has a comfy climbing position, spinning up fire trails and over steep, technical sections. It’s not the fastest up climbs, but a bike like this is never really intended to be.

Once you point the bike downhill, the geometry and tyres come together to form a highly competent trail machine that gets over rough terrain with ease and urges you to go faster.

Sonder has clearly prioritised certain aspects of the bike to give the optimal ride for the money with a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and has a RockShox fork.

It would be good if it had larger rotors to really unlock the bike’s descending prowess.

Specialized Fuse 27.5 (2021)

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Specialized Fuse 27.5 hardtail mountain bike
Although it’s supplied with 27.5in plus tyres, the Fuse 27.5 is compatible with 29in wheels and tyres, too.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £1,149/ $1,500 / AU$2,000 as tested
  • Comfortable contact points
  • Impressive RockShox fork
  • Low front end limits descening capability
  • Comes with 27.5in wheels but can be used with 29in

The Specialized Fuse 27.5 combines plus-size tyres, a 1 x11 drivetrain, a dropper post and an aluminium frame with modern geometry.

The generous top tube length gives the Fuse a comfy seated climbing position and the oversize tyres provide plenty of grip.

Out of the saddle on steep inclines, the low front end makes climbing difficult, but the large range of gears does compensate for this.

The low front also impacts descending, pitching your weight forward on steeper sections and making it harder to balance. On the other hand, the Fuse feels particularly calm on flowing bike park descents.

The dropper post does help with descending, as does the RockShox fork which is supple.

Different wheel sizes suit different styles of riding, and on the Fuse you can switch the 650b wheels out for larger 700c wheels, which might make sense as this bike is most at home cruising on less technical trails.

Vitus Sentier 29 VRX

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Vitus Sentier 29 VRX hardtail mountain bike
The Sentier is built from double-butted 6061-T6 aluminium tubes with smooth lines and a sophisticated paint job.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £1,600 / $2,000 / AU$3,000 / €1,800 as tested
  • XC orientated hardtail
  • Fluid descender
  • Top spec parts for the price

Vitus is owned by retail giants Chain Reactions and thanks to the brand’s buying power the Sentier is kitted out with some top components.

The aluminium frame is covered in Shimano XT and SLX parts that work faultlessly. Upfront there is a Fox Rhythm fork and the 29in wheels are WTB rims on Vitus hubs that come set up tubeless.

The relatively short top tube gives the Sentier a comfortable climbing position and over rougher terrain it works well to smooth out bumps.

Occasionally in testing sharp edges kicked the rear wheel up but this compliance doesn’t translate to a feeling of vagueness when hurtling along.

On descents, the Sentier is forgiving but a longer reach and a slacker head angle would bring some extra stability and help with steeper drops.

Overall, the geometry could be tweaked but the ride and the bargain price make it hard to fault this bike.


Also consider…

The following bikes scored fewer than four out of five stars but are also solid performers and worthy of consideration.

Ragley Piglet

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Pack shot of the Ragley Piglet hardtail mountain bike
The Piglet is a do-it-all trail bike that’s happy over most terrain. This latest iteration has some important updates including more modern geometry.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

Vitus Mythique VR

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
The budget Vitus Mythique VR is an impressive bike for the price.
Steve Behr

Norco Fluid FS 3

3.0 out of 5 star rating
The best mountain bikes under £2,000
At the rear, you get a ‘proper’ four-bar linkage with a chainstay pivot.
Mick KIrkman / Immediate Media
  • £1,395 / $1,799 / AU$2,299 / €1,799 as tested
  • A well-proportioned frame
  • Suspension that resists pedal bob
  • Impressive SRAM Eagle drivetrain
  • Could do with a fork upgrade and feels a bit sluggish to get up to speed
  • Read the full Norco Fluid FS 3 trail bike review

Canyon Spectral AL 5.0

This is a first ride review and is currently un-scored.

The best mountain bikes under £2,000
The ‘bike in a box’ approach is easy to get behind when the kit’s this good.
Russell Burton
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