The halfway point between £500 and £1,000 is a very competitive price bracket if you’re looking to buy a mountain bike. This buyer’s guide is our round-up of the best mountain bikes currently available between £500 and £750, as tested by BikeRadar.
Budget is prioritised above all else when you’re sticking below £500 for a mountain bike, while breaking the £1,000 mark gives manufacturers a little more wiggle room to tailor frames to specific purposes and spec higher-quality components.
At £750, you’re caught between managing your budget and keeping your expectations realistic. You’ll come across some nicer kit on bikes in this price range, but there may be only one or two standout components among a spec list that’s predominantly made up of basic parts.
Don’t worry too much about compromising though, because manufacturers realise this is a price point that’s largely governed by budget.
As such, they tend to focus their attention on producing a decent frame and pick components that will keep costs down, on the assumption that you’ll gradually upgrade them as they wear out over time.
The trick, therefore, is to seek out a bike with a frame that’s best for you and use that as a platform on which to build. You can always upgrade parts when you’re riding has improved or you’ve got a bit of extra cash.
Dropper posts are becoming more common at this price too, as are hydraulic disc brakes and Boost wheel spacing which makes it easier to upgrade a mountain bike’s wheels. These are three things that previously were only really seen on more expensive mountain bikes.
It’s easy to get fixated on finding the best fork, gears, brakes or wheel and tyre combination, but you also need to consider the sort of abuse the weather and landscape can inflict on them in a relatively short space of time – especially during winter.
So, if you’re limited to £750, prioritise the chassis over the fancy baubles hanging off it. With that in mind, these are the best mountain bikes under £750 tested by us.
Best mountain bikes under £750 in 2021, as rated by our expert testers
- Carrera Fury: £600
- Marin Bobcat Trail 3: £525
- Pinnacle Kapur 3: £625
- £600 as tested
- Comfortable on climbs
- Great spec and value for money
The Carrera Fury offers some of the best value for money with a dropper post and hydraulic brakes, both of which are normally indicative of a higher price point.
The geometry offers great performance too, with a progressive design that gives a comfy ride on climbs and descents. The front air fork doesn’t offer the smoothest ride when bombing downhill, but the bike remains composed.
The Fury corners reasonably well too, and the WTB tyres offer plenty of grip.
The 650b wheels don’t hold momentum quite as well as larger 700c wheels but they only add to this bike’s sturdy and solid feel.
Marin Bobcat Trail 3
- £525 as tested
- Well-built frame
- Efficient brakes and drivetrain
Marin’s Bobcat Trail 3 is a seriously fun-to-ride bike, and thanks to its decent geometry and size-specific wheels it can handle a real range of trails.
On the large and extra-large bikes you get 29in wheels, while medium frames have the option of either 25.7in or 29in wheels. The smallest sizes are specced with 27.5in wheels only.
The tan wall tyres really stand out, complementing the overall look of the bike. The rest of the kit is fairly standard for the bike’s price point and although it performs well, isn’t exceptional.
Overall, the Bobcat Trail 3’s spec and geometry make the bike well-suited to long days in the saddle with a focus on miles covered rather than metres descended on aggressive trails. A few key spec changes – such as the fork and tyres – would unlock more potential from the frame.
Pinnacle Kapur 3
- £625 as tested
- Nippy, agile and fun
- RockShox front fork
Decked out with a RockShox fork, Shimano brakes and solid trail-focused geometry, the Kapur 3 would be a great first mountain bike because it’s an absolute hoot to ride.
Although the frame’s quite basic – think no internally-routed cables, no port for a dropper post or fancy-shaped tubes – it does have two bottle cage mounts and great geometry for newbies to the sport.
Its spec really stands out, though. With a RockShox Recon RL fork and Shimano brakes and gears, it’s unlikely you’ll be looking to upgrade parts right away.
This all translates to a fun ride with a nimble feel. However, the tyres aren’t mind-blowing and don’t grip amazingly well in soft terrain.
The following bikes didn’t score high enough to be included in our main list of the best mountain bikes under £750, but they are still worth considering.
Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 2x
- £675 as tested
- Solid performance for beginners
- Fast-rolling tyres
The Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 2x is a good bike for riders just starting out because its handling and cornering are good on easy-going trails. It also looks pretty smart too.
There is a Shimano Acera 9-speed cassette on the back of the bike and two front chainrings, giving the Rockhopper plenty of gears for climbing and descending. You do have to watch gear changing though because sometimes the spread of gears can interrupt pedalling cadence.
The Rockhopper climbs well and has plenty of grip, only struggling on the steepest inclines.
When it comes to descending its happiest on compacted flowing trails. The short geometry doesn’t make riding on technical trails that easy and the front suspension is a bit sticky.
Good for starting out and pootling about, but some riders might reach the limits of the Rockhopper’s capabilities fairly quickly.
Vitus Nucleus 29 VRS
- £750 as tested
- Shimano Deore-based groupset
- Good grippy tyres
The Nucleus 29 VRS comes from Chain Reactions’ in-house brand Vitus. As a result, it is well specced with a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and 29in WTB wheels.
The bike frame is built from lightweight and strong 6061-T6 aluminium and has externally routed cables for easy maintenance.
The geometry is orientated more towards trail riding than downhill, and the ride is pretty harsh too, so you probably wouldn’t want to take it over any particularly rough or difficult downhill terrain anyway. The grippy tyres do compensate a little for the feel of the bike, though.
What you’re really getting with this bike is an excellent spec thanks to Chain Reactions’ buying power. If you can afford to, you might consider the Vitus Sentier 27 which delivers a more forgiving ride.
Have you found what you’re looking for?
Could you stretch your budget a little further? There are some great bikes in our list of the best mountain bikes under £1,000.
Otherwise, there are some great bikes in our list of the best mountain bikes under £500.
Our guide on how to choose the right mountain bike for you provides some great information on what sort of mountain bikes are available and what you can expect from each price point if you’re still deciding on how much you want to spend.