A couple months ago we asked you which mountain bike you would buy with a $5,000 budget. This time around, we want to know what you would do with $2,000 to spend on a mountain bike. For some that might be too hard to imagine, so think about a friend who wants to start mountain biking, and they can’t spend a penny more than two grand.
Of course saving up a bit longer and spending more is an option, as is buying used. For this survey however, we’re interested in which sub-$2,000 mountain bike you think offers the best value.
Bonus question for the comments: Did you pick a hardtail or FS bike, and why?
Hardtail. Kona Big Honzo. Like that it has 11speed wide range Shimano, with 96mm BCD chainrings in common with my 2017 Reign. Got the Kona here in NZ for $825 USD. Blinged it up with Shimano brakes (the Tektros went onto the old 26’er hack), Spank riser bars, and the usual 3 contact points all for around $250 USD. If I wanted a trail full suss I’d probably go Polygon.
Polygon T7. I have heard nothing but great things and kinda mad I bought a Marin instead.
Kona Process 134
On sale right now for $2000. I’ve never heard of the brakes in that build, and it probably have to be the first thing to go. But everything else on the build is workable, and it’s a very upgradeable bike.
Usually it’s difficult to get a good full-sus under $2000. I’d rather lose the rear suspension and have a decent fork and component set.
There are some good hardtails in this price range right now- and I am a big fan of Kona bikes- but I went with the Norco fluid full suspension A4. At exactly the $2k price point you get a full suspension trail bike- 140/130, with a rock shox fork, 11 speed shimano deore drivetrain, stans rims, a dripper and an E13 bar. Of course there are things to upgrade but most people will be more comfortable and happier on a FS than hardtail (i own both and will almost always choose the FS). Frame, suspension, drivetrain, wheels. If I can get a full suspension with decent spec in those four categories within $300 of a hardtail with similar parts- I’m going FS
In my extensive cheap bike experience, smaller makers are not good for low-end bikes. I had an $1800 Kona that crumpled like aluminum foil in the first real wreck I had. I’ve had similar miserable experiences with sub-$2000 Surly and others. Yet I’ve had $500 bikes from the likes of Giant and Specialized that were basically indestructible. Under $2000, stick with the big names. I’d get a Giant Fathom 29. You might get some sneers from the gear snobs at the trailhead, but at least you’re in little danger of a rapid unscheduled disassembly mid-descent.
Canyon Stoic 4
Hardtail. Stock build is pretty solid with Pike select fork, NX drivetrain, dropper post. Brakes are the weak link at Guide Ts. Clean lines with solid components
Spend the extra $250 and get a Specialized Status, Everything on will let you rip right out of the gate and it has geometry that is way more progressive than anything in that price range. If it matters It was raced to a podium finishes last year at those super gnarly Urban DH races in S America at the Pro/Elite level.
I have a Polygon Siskiu D7 and DSE. Best full suspension for under 2k. You get everything you need for a great downcountry ride.