5 Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes Under $1000

Last updated 22. March 2022

Hardtail bikes are designed with a suspension fork at the front, giving it a “hard tail” while you’re riding it. They’re meant to be lighter, cheaper and more versatile than most other kinds of mountain bike, which explains why there are so many brands and models to choose from these days: finding one that fulfills your requirements can be tricky, but there are some that have a reputation for being excellent choices as bikes for beginners and experienced cycling professionals.

Down below are some of our picks for the best hardtail mountain bikes at this price of $1000, along with an explanation as to why they made the list and what sets them apart from other hardtail mountain bikes.

Want full suspension under the same budget? We’ve reviewed the bestselling full suspension MTBs under 1000 dollars.

View The Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Under $1000 Below

1. Diamondback Bicycles Hook

Diamondback Bicycles Hook

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The Hook combines maneuverability and precision into a small aluminum frame size, using 27.5-inch wheels sizes for a greater level of mobility regardless of the terrain. The simple XRAM X3 1×8-speed drivetrain lets you climb slopes and descend hills with ease, and you can keep the Hook stable even while moving at high speeds. Thanks to the low-slung design and simple shape of the hardtail bike’s aluminum frame, it can be a great mountain bike for beginners and novice mountain bikers, especially if you’re taking your first ever steps into mountain biking.

Like most of the Diamondback line, the Hook  XRAM X3 1×8 speed mountain bike requires a little bit of assembly when it arrives, but this can offer a great opportunity to practice maintaining your bike without putting any important components at risk.

+ Easy to assemble

+ Incredibly stable

+ Excellent for beginners

+ Simple, yet versatile

+ Great at tackling sloped ground

Why We Liked It – The Hook offers beginners a powerful, reliable starting bike that doesn’t carry any gimmicks or unnecessary features. There are many hardtail mountain bikes at this price, but none quite as magnificent as this.

2. RALEIGH New 2015 Talus 2 Complete Mountain Bike

The Talus 2 21-speed mountain bike is designed to stay comfortable on both paved roads and rough terrain. The high bike seat and balanced frame give you a high vantage point to scout out what’s ahead, making it far easier to dodge obstacles and avoid upcoming slopes or drops. Its 21 different gear speeds give you full control over its performance right from your handlebars, and the lightweight materials used in its construction keep it from weighing you down when speed is needed.

The 2-inch fat bike tires are meant to absorb some of the force from bumpy terrain, letting the 27.5-inch wheels glide across most surfaces with ease, with Raleigh bikes’ own plush saddle keeping you comfortable throughout any kind of bike ride or trail.


+ Handles rough ground excellently

+ Simple enough for beginners

+ High frame for better visibility

+ Large wheels for absorbing shock

+ 21-speed mountain bike

Why We Liked It – The Talus 2 from Raleigh bikes is a very straightforward, versatile mountain bike for beginners and professionals alike.

3. Diamondback Bikes Line 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bikes Line 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike

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The Diamondback’s smooth suspension deals with the bumpy ground and sudden bounces extremely well, turning a lumpy or rocky path into something far more comfortable. The 1×9-speed Shimano Acera M3000 drivetrain helps you power through any kind of terrain, using a stable pair of 27.5-inch wheels sizes to minimize falls and give you greater control over your bike’s movements.

The strong 120mm fork and powerful hydraulic disc brakes on this Diamondback line smooth suspension mountain bike mean that you can recover from slips, falls and sudden mistakes in an instant, giving you plenty to salvage the situation when something goes wrong. This, combined with its light frame and custom shape, can keep you safe and sound without sacrificing it’s/your raw speed.


+ Extremely maneuverable

+ Lightweight

+ Powerful  hydraulic disc brakes

+ Smooth, reliable suspension

+ Stable

+ Strong 120mm fork

Why We Liked It – The Diamondback smooth suspension mountain bike is a rare mix of comfortable, safe and powerful, making it great for almost any kind of cyclist who wants to try tackling rough mountain terrain for a change.

4. Steppenwolf Tundra Carbon Race Mountain Bike

The Steppenwolf Tundra is built to be reliable and agile, easily tackling sloping terrain in both directions no matter how awkward the angle might be. Designed for moving at racing speeds, the bike uses a lightweight, compact frame to avoid getting in the way of your movements. Its geometry and wheel style strikes a good balance between a mountain bike and a conventional road bike, making it a good choice for cyclists who enjoy both.

The affordable bike’s brakes are surprisingly strong considering its weight, allowing you to control your speed better if you’re going downhill or speeding across uneven terrain. Thanks to the way the frame is balanced, you’re able to help steer with your body by leaning slightly, rather than having to jerk the handlebars in a certain direction to ensure you make a quick turn.

+ Compact frame
+ Good brakes
+ Excellent at dealing with hills and slopes
+ Balanced
+ Strong wheels

Why We Liked It – The Tundra affordable mountain bike doesn’t try to be anything more than a racing-ready mountain bike, and Steppenwolfhase focused on making it perfect for that role

5. Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Overdrive is Diamondback’s answer to trail bikes, staying efficient and easy-to-use on all kinds of natural ground. The SR Suntour XCR suspension fork lets your wheels bump over small obstacles and potholes without interrupting your trail ride, working alongside the 29-inch wheels to keep your movements fluid and smooth.

On top of that, the Shimano Acera 8-speed rear derailleur lets you easily switch between gears to help you go up and down slopes without needing to stop and adjust anything. Thanks to the powerful drivetrain, you can make full use of these gear range settings no matter how strong your leg muscles are, so the Overdrive can still work well for beginners and casual cyclists. Like a lot of Diamondback’s products, the SR Suntour XCR bike comes partially unassembled, letting you practice your repair skills in a way that won’t risk lasting damage to your new gravel bike.

+ Smooth riding experience
+ Great at climbing slopes
+ Excellent suspension
+ Great for mountain trails
+ 8-speed rear derailleur
+ 29-inch wheels
+ SR Suntour suspension fork

Why We Liked It – The Overdrive SR Suntour hardtail bike is definitely geared towards professionals and long-term cyclists, but it can still work really well as a newcomer’s first high-end mountain bike.

Hardtail Mountain Bike Under 1000 Buyers Guide

Ride quality

Some mountain bikes will be really barebones when it comes to keeping your trail rides enjoyable and pain-free, but it isn’t always a sign of cheap design. You might simply have chosen a budget bikes brand that sacrifices comfort for less weight and more speed, which only really makes a difference to professional racers. A bike’s ability to skim across potholes and deal with small obstacles – like rocks or fallen branches – plays a significant part in how much you’ll enjoy riding it, so you should always keep this in mind.

If quality is your number one concern, look for bikes that have extra padding and better tires instead of opting for cheap mountain bikes. It’s not just about the level of comfort you feel, but also your mountain bike’s ability to deal with the common obstacles and hazards you might face on a normal mountain trail.


Most mountain bikes have at least a small level of customization, allowing you to adjust the seat position or add extra padding over the top of the seat. Unfortunately, as you get into more professional territory, you might find that some of the purpose-built bikes aren’t compatible with all of the extra tools and accessories you want to add on. For example, something like a basket or bag holder for long-distance rides might not work properly on some thinner racing bikes, and a change to the bike’s chain or wheels could be difficult on heavy-duty mountain bike designs.

Frame vs. parts

Some modern trail bikes will put more emphasis on their frame’s design and materials than the parts around them, so it’s important to make a decision based on your own experiences with cycling in the past. If you’ve felt that the frame of an older bike held you back from reaching a higher speed or completing a difficult trail, you should look into new designs that are specifically built to avoid that problem. However, if you’ve had issues with accessories and other parts – like the chain or gear range – then they should be the most important part of your new mountain bike.

Cyclists with a decent understanding of building and repairing bikes will usually be able to place parts from one bike onto another, but this can lead to a much higher price tag in the long run and isn’t really an option for those looking for a ready-built mountain bike.


Some mountain bikes are built purely to tackle mountains, and might not feel right on paved roads or smooth ground. Others strike a balance between the two, but lose out on some of the raw power they could have otherwise had. It’s vital to consider where you’ll use your bike, and whether or not you’ll use it for different things in the future.

If mountain biking is something you want to treat as an occasional hobby, it might be best to find a balanced model or brand that you can use as a regular bike at other times. If you see it as a professional career or have already dedicated a lot of time to mountain biking in any form, then it’s more likely that you’d want a bike specifically built to help you improve and test your skills.

Buyers Guide Questions:

Which features are the most important for a mountain bike?

There’s no single set of most important features, especially since ‘mountain biking’ covers a lot of different terrains, trails, and events, but there are a few features and accessories that are generally seen as nearly necessary to get the most out of a trail ride. Tires with a good gripping surface and a strong suspension are two of the most common since they can help your mountain front suspension bike cling to difficult slopes and pass over small bumps with ease.

The locations of things like the gear range shifter and pedals can completely change how a hardtail bike feels while you’re using it, and your preferences will be different from almost everybody else’s. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ mountain bike, so experimentation is important.

Can I use my mountain bike on the road?

There are very few cases where you can’t use a mountain or trail bike on normal roads or surfaces, but remember that a lot of them are built to be powerful – you might find yourself moving faster than you’re comfortable with, and the lack of any tough terrain could make a lot of your bike’s benefits (like the suspension) a moot point. There are plenty of multi-purpose trail bikes and road bikes out there, so the choice really comes down to where and how you’ll be using your new bike.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re worrying so much about using your mountain bike on the road, you should avoid purpose-built modern trail bikes and instead choose something that’s less specialist. If not, you should be fine with a style built purely for mountain biking. As always, make sure you research the best mountain bike helmets before going on any trails!

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By Jason

Passionate writer, Scooter Dad, Father of two, Super active, Tough Mudder conqueror reviewing the some of the top sports related products me and my sons use and love. If you have any suggestions for improvement of MPS, please ping me a message.

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