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.
This article was last updated on September 26 2018
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.
Calibre Bossnut Evo / Bossnut Evo Ladies
- Price: £1,000 (£1,300 without a Go Outdoors card, which is £5)
- Amazing component choices
- A sorted trail bike, straight out the box
- Still the best full-suspension bike for £1,000
After spending several years dominating the budget full-suspension market, Calibre’s original Bossnut was getting a little long in the tooth. This new version picks up where the last bike left off.
The RockShox air suspension at either end of the bike will quickly accommodate different rider weights and are more than up to the task of what most riders looking to spend this sort of cash are going to throw at them.
The 67 degree head angle, 780mm wide handlebar and stubby 45mm stem all combine for a reassuring and obedient feel and a bike that is easy and enjoyable to ride.
The kit on this bike is amazingly sorted for the cash, and the places where Calibre has saved money will give you a clear path to upgrade this into an even better machine.
SRAM’s reliable NX single ring drivetrain means you’ll get none of the chain slap or potential chain drop of the old Bossnut and the WTB rims will happily go tubeless once you’ve worn out the original Vigilante/Trail Boss tyre combo.
Buy this and you can be confident that you’ll have the best full suspension bike on the market for £1,000.
The women-specific version of the Bossnut Evo, the Bossnut Evo Ladies, is also equally brilliant and arrives with a lighter shock tune, different contact points and its own turquoise paint.
Boardman MHT 8.9
- A ride that punches far beyond what the price would suggest
- Great kit makes the most of the sorted frame
- Versatile frame means it can also switch to commuting duties
If you’ve got £1,000 to spend on a quick trail hardtail then this absolutely has to be in your shortlist as its ride is capable of outclassing nearly everything else in its category.
As a rework of Boardman’s fast trail 29er, the MHT is more evolution than revolution. It’s blisteringly fast, with a lot of that pace coming directly from the Boardman’s lack of overall weight. Pop it on the scales and you’d see it actually comes in at around 2kg lighter than most similarly priced bikes.
Its understated alloy frame is paired with a very capable RockShox Reba RL fork, while a sorted Shimano SLX 1x drivetrain with 46t crawler cog should see you up the steepest of inclines.
The MHT can even lend itself to commuting duties thanks to its rack mounts, low overall weight and hardwearing tyres.
It’s a different proposition from the full-suspension bikes you’ll find in this list, but if you like going quickly and don’t suffer with a bad back then it could be the smarter choice.
Jamis Dakar A2
- Well-equipped build
- Impressively controlled suspension
- Nicely finished but slightly dated frame
Another top value bike for exactly a thousand pounds is the Jamis Dakar A2. It wasn’t quite capable of dethroning the Calibre Bossnut Evo of its top spot but it sure came close.
Like the Bossnut, the Dakar comes with an enviable spec for the money but we were a little disappointed to see a QR fork and front wheel.
We praised the Dakar for its controlled suspension, well-balanced handling and top component choices. We were also very impressed with the finish of the frame with its triple butted tubes, tapered head tube and internal cable routing.
Although progressive for a budget bike, the geometry on the Jamis (and indeed the Calibre) is conservative in terms of reach and for some people that can be a bit of a sticking point.
All things considered, this is still a really good way to spend £1,000 on a mountain bike.
Pinnacle Ramin 3 Plus (2017 model)
- Suspension-free plus-sized playfulness
- Lack of weight and simplicity makes this a trustworthy partner for bikepacking adventures
- Decent components for the cash
Not everyone wants the complexity of suspension for their sub £1,000 bike, and Pinnacle's Ramin 3 addresses things nicely for those people. Here we have a rigid plus bike with an eye for big adventures.
Its double-butted alloy frame is paired with a rigid steel fork in a package that amounts to a respectable 13.05kg (28.8lb). Its lack of bounce also frees up plenty of cash for components, and the 1x10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and hydraulic brakes are both an excellent choice.
Those chunky WTB tyres can amount to plenty of grip but like all plus tyres are extremely sensitive to pressure changes. The low pressures necessary to get the most from them mean you'll be likely to pinch puncture regularly too, so going tubeless is a great idea.
As well as being relatively light with little to go wrong, the Ramin also has bottle mounts on its forks and plenty of space for frame bags, making it the perfect choice for bikepacking.
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 2019 bikes and will update this article accordingly. In the meantime, be sure to bookmark this page.