So you’re in the market for a mountain bike but don’t have a ton of cash to spend? Here’s a list of our top five mountain bikes for under $1,000 based on build and performance.
While it’s true this price range is usually characterized as entry-level for mountain bikes, that doesn’t mean the bike has to be of poor quality. We’ve selected 5 bikes that perform above entry-level riding expectations and can be purchased at a great value.
1. GT Avalanche 3.0 Hydro – 2013 – $599
You’re not going to find all the features of a performance mountain bike packed into this price, but the GT Avalanche rolls smooth and doesn’t feel cumbersome on or off road. One of the sacrifices is in weight, coming in at 31.6lb—it’s not the lightest bike around, but we feel that the front end’s aggressive ride stance makes up for this.
The overall stability is solid and the bike has a fairly low center of gravity. While you’re not going to get all of the top-tier components, the GT Avalanche does perform like an expensive bike.
2. KHS Winslow 29er – 2013 – $649
We like the KHS’ Winslow, and it’s definitely the most affordable 29er hardtail “performance” bike. Certainly a performance bike for the beginner, the Winslow is a 24-speed, and the newest addition to KHS’ extensive line of 29ers.
The 2013 KHS Winslow has an aluminum frame and, as the name implies, comes with 29-inch wheels. This bike comes with 3 x 8 gearing. The 2013 KHS Winslow costs $649, making it extremely cost competitive for similar bikes in this category. The trail ride is pretty smooth and handling is comparable to more expensive 29er bikes. The price weaknesses are probably the components, but the overall bike definitely performs above its retail price point.
3. Norco Charger 6.3 2013 – $690
Trail riding is not a problem with the Norco Charger 6.3. This bike is Available in both 26” and 29” options. The bike design certainly accommodates uphill pedaling and solid downhill performance.
The Charger’s custom alloy frame is designed and manufactured using the same advanced techniques used to produce Norco’s higher-end models, making it a strong, light frame that feels perfectly balanced and comfortable to the rider. In terms of components, the Charger is fitted above its price class with disc brakes, performance drivetrains, and 100mm travel forks with lockout that make the Charger a trail-ready bike you can build your skills on. This is a bike that delivers consistent performance and dependable durability at a very competitive price, but unfortunately there have been complaints about paint chipping easily.
4. Kona Tika 2013 – Women’s Specific – $690
The Kona Tika is designed for women who are new to mountain biking. We won’t write any mushy, gushy stuff about inspiring confidence and liberating freedom, but what we will say is that we appreciate that Kona has intentionally designed a mountain bike using geometry specifically tailored to the female body. The Kona Tika has an aluminum frame, 100mm fork RockShox, a 27-speed drivetrain, and Shimano hydraulic brakes. This bike did provide efficient power transfer, features female-specific grips and saddle, and performed above its price class. We felt the Kona Tika did in fact blend great performance with a great value.
5. Haro Flightline Trail 29er 2013 – $739
The Haro Flightline Trail 29er wasn’t as good of a value as the Winslow, but it did perform above its price.
The Flightline comes equipped with some fairly nice components for the price range. It features Shimano M445 hydro disk brakes, an 80mm RockShox travel fork with rebound, preload adjust, and a lockout and Pivit alloy riser bar. When compared to bikes in a higher price range, you will definitely notice component differences, especially in the derailleur. Trail ride was smooth and it performed well on all of the terrain put in front of it. Like the GT, the Haro has a nicely aggressive ride position and for the price it’s a good value.