Image
Gear Guy

What mountain bike can I get for under $1,000?

I looking to buy my first mountain bike and the more I look, the more frustrated I get. I've read some reviews in biking magazines, as well as Outside's March 2003 review of full-suspension bikes. Anyway, I'm looking for a full-suspension model with smart or rear-suspension lockout and good components (disc brakes would be a plus). Here's the kicker though: I looking to spend around $1,000, give or take a few hundred. I don't think that's unreasonable, so do you have any suggestions? Alex Hayward, California

Image

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today and save 20 percent.

Not unreasonable, maybe, but not exactly a slam-dunk, either. In the past five years, bikes have become so much cheaper, considering their features. Today, a full-suspension bike can be had for under $1,000. But they’re usually a little on the clunky side, with the suspension more for show than go. You’ll note that the cheapest bike in the recent Outside review, the Marin Rift Zone, went for $1,700.

Still, there are some decent options. The Schwinn Moab DS1 is right at $1,000, has full suspension, and comes with a surprisingly robust parts setup, including a Shimano XT rear derailleur and Hayes hydraulic disc brakes (www.schwinnbike.com). Here, you get a lot of bike for the money. There’s also the Specialized Rockhopper FSR Comp, which goes for a little more than the Moab, doesn’t have the disc brakes, but puts a lot of good components onto a very light aluminum frame ($1,360; www.specialized.com). K2’s Attack 2.0 uses lower-end Shimano stuff, but it still puts disc brakes on a full-suspension bike, all for $1,000 (www.k2bikes.com). Personally, I’d go for higher-end components over discs if I were you, as discs add weight and cost to a bike, and really only offer a qualitative advantage over rim brakes if you ride a lot in mud.

You should also check the second-hand market. Look for bikes that cost $2,000 a year ago, such as the Jamis Dakar Pro. Then start trolling want ads, Web marketplaces, eBay, and the like. See what you can find. Spend $100 for a tune-up and new cables, and it’ll be like a new bike!

sms