This is a list of the best mountain bikes for under £500 according to the findings of our expert testers. In this group test, light wheels such as the Roval Traverse SL on the Specialized Stumpjumper have proven themselves to be an effective performance boost. In this group test, we review 15 of the most exciting models of the season. Text Alerts Newsletters. The motor can give you a proper push on the climbs if needed but it’s just as much fun to ride the bike with minimal support and to really tire yourself out. Besides forest service roads, we also took on a lot of technical climbs. Read more: Christmas gifts for mountain bikers (that don’t suck) One price range, ten bikes, two wheel sizes and no duplication makes this year’s Trail Bike of the Year test one of the most competitive to date. Trailhead (s): Silver Lake Village Deer Valley, Top of the Town Lift, Top of Pay Day, Red Pine Gondola. We bring you the rundown of the 10 best mountain bikes under £3000. It’s riding around regular tracks and trail centres with the occasional 50km moorland epic thrown in and the odd uplift day or two. Local Popularity 90 in Mountain Biking [+] Great section of trail, most typical Mid Mountain. Digital & free: Why is an eMTB included in the test field? Be sure to give yourself a bit of time to acclimate before this outing, as the trail sits around 8,000 feet above sea level. The king is dead, long live the king! YT have combined this with a low slung top tube and plush suspension kinematics, giving you a bike that is lots of fun to ride and that excels on demanding trails. If you step on the pedals, you expect propulsion! Take a left on Aspen Springs Drive, follow it around to Delta Drive where you’ll turn left. At £500 or under, having nine gears at the back paired to a crank with three rings up front is ideal, but cheaper bikes may have just eight at the rear. The latter is the best eMTB currently on the market. On the descents, the Ripmo is the most versatile bike in the test field. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and mountain biking. Length 9.9 mi Elevation gain 1,158 ft Route type Out & … However, all is not as golden as it may seem. The trail can also get a bit overgrown and a bit loose in sun exposed spots. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported. It is striking that apart from the Canyon Spectral, all of this year’s bikes are rolling on 29” wheels. View Mountain Report. The Yeti SB130 is a ripping trail bike that may just be the ultimate daily driver. MountainTrails.org About Us. Over at Park City Resort, stronger beginners can try out the popular Jenni's Trail, easily be spotted from the chairlift. Links. Thanks! But more on that in a moment. Follow us. For this reason alone, but also due to the developments in the industry, it was clear to us that ENDURO has to engage with the topic of eMTBs. On the Habit, the effective seat tube angle slackens out significantly as the dropper post gets extended thanks to a pronounced kink in the seat tube. The past weeks and months have seen some very exciting bikes being launched. When it comes to brakes Shimano was considered the ultimate in reliability for many years. Here is our review of the SCOTT Genius 900 Tuned AXS, Looking at the price and spec of the RADON SLIDE TRAIL 10, it’s difficult not to order it right away. Reviewing the YT JEFFSY PRIMUS JP 24 – a full susser for ambitious... First Look: Canyon Stoic – A new trail-hardtail from Canyon. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. A bike with mixed wheel sizes benefits from better rollover behaviour at the front while staying agile thanks to the smaller rear wheel and usually shorter chainstays. 436. We declared 27.5” to be dead from frame size medium upwards after our most recent enduro bike group test and we’re seeing this development even more clearly on trail bikes. The recommended Mid Mountain route starts at Silver Lake at Deer Valley Resort, but you can create your own ride by taking Sweeney North, Sweeney South, Daly Canyon or Deer Valley to Mid Mountain. This question pops up after every group test and the answer is relatively simple. The Rake has a modern, long and low geometry, and quality components from RockShox, Shimano and WTB. Open Terrain. Trail bikes In both 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes. OUT NOW! The Tuscan trail paradise has served as our base camp for group tests many times before and besides super-diverse trails and sunny weather, you can’t help but love the Italian flair. Park City. Thanks to our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE, our editorial team has gained an incredible amount of know-how on the subject over the years, which we made use of for this group test. The next thing you need to think about in your search for a budget mountain bike is the kit that makes it stop and go. It’s not cross-country. A popular hike from just outside Phoenix, this mountain is relatively small compared to some others, but the red rocks rising through the green undergrowth make it a very scenic walk. Trail bikes are the most versatile of the lot. As a rule, we always have three to four testers ride the bikes at ENDURO in order to get the most complete picture possible – this time it was eight! Here is our review of the Nukeproof Reactor 290C RS. Otherwise, these are the best bikes we’ve reviewed around the £500 mark. If you’re not careful, you quickly lose grip on the front wheel and wash out. If you can afford to spend a little more, check out our best mountain bikes under £750. The flame broiled rotisserie is the showpiece of the kitchen, and is highlighted in the production & design in many of the dishes. Thanks to the storage space in the down tube, the most important essentials can be stowed in the frame. Open Trails. Every human body is unique and so the contact points of the bikes are subject to our test riders’ personal preferences. Speaking of tires: the MAXXIS tan wall tires look cool but they’re only available in the hard dual-compound version. Trail bikes are the undisputed all-rounders of the bike industry. Particularly on long rides, a good saddle and high-quality grips can do a lot to increase riding comfort. However, the riding position is stretched and relatively uncomfortable, which significantly reduces long-distance comfort. While it may be officially an eMTB, its agile handling belies that fact, differing only slightly from that of a non-motorised bike and making it feel more like a trail bike with a motor. One value that you can’t trust is the seat tube angle. Get on and go is the motto on the Norco Optic. One thing we can say for sure is that this bike sets new standards. Pedal, push and hike in any terrain with the comfort, traction and support made for an all-day adventure. The 17.7 kg Levo SL Expert descends like any other trail bike in the test field. Suspension forks are a big plus when it comes to control and comfort off-road, but because many forks can cost £500 (or double that) just on their own, the units fitted at this price can vary wildly in performance and longevity – as well as the adjustment control on offer. Partly Cloudy. They perform on the quick after-work lap just as well as they do on long multi-day rides and don’t have to shy away from bike park excursions either. You can access this trail from a few different locations. What started out as an experiment for this group test quickly emerged as the most important development of the year. Jack has been at BikeRadar for three years now and is regularly testing an esoteric mix of weird and wonderful bikes. Watch Queue Queue You can get to the Mid Mountain Trail via Armstrong, Spiro, SweeneyNorth or Sweeney South, Daly Canyon (Tour de Suds), or Deer Valley. Our reviews will list the weight and the effect it has, but cheaper bikes inevitably take a bit more effort to get up the hills than more expensive machines. However, there was one bike in the test field that put an even bigger grin on the faces of our eight-person test crew, eliciting many involuntary cries of joy: the Specialized Levo SL. However, even if there is nothing to complain about in terms of the stopping power on their current model and we prefer the friendlier mineral oil brake fluid, we find the loud rattling of brake pads and the constantly wandering bite point on many of Shimano’s brakes to be very annoying. If you’re looking for a classic, do-it-all trail bike, this is it! While the rear suspension feels very defined that also means that it’s not overly comfortable. Trail bikes are the undisputed all-rounders of the bike industry. Admittedly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any really bad mountain bikes in the high-end segment in 2020 and there were no total failures in this test either. Although it performs excellently in every situation, it occasionally lacks character or flair in certain situations and for specific uses. Group tests don’t only serve to find the best bike in a certain category but are also the perfect indicator by which to evaluate new trends and developments in the industry. But what makes the American bike good enough to outshine the competition for two years running? In this group test, we review 15 of the most exciting models of the season. 17. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Level: Easy to Hard. It’s here to stay. Brakes that use hydraulic fluid rather than cables are a big plus too because they require less maintenance and give more consistent stopping power. Mid Mountain is an epic ride that begins in Park City and climbs the Spiro Trail, touches very briefly on the Powerline Trail, then makes it's way all the way down to the Canyons Resort! The Genius plays in its own league on the climbs where it is super efficient, quick and light-footed. Once again, the Ibis Ripmo was able to assert itself as the most versatile and best trail bike of the group test. Get £10 off the fantastic 1000W Cooks Professional Stand Mixer, Whip up some of your best bakes yet with this powerful and easy-to-use stand mixer. Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you, Best turbo trainer: top-rated smart trainers, Read our full review of the Vitus Nucleus 29 CR, Read the full Marin Bobcat Trail 3 review, Read our full review of the Pinnacle Kapur 2, Read our full review of the Saracen Mantra, Ten tips to stay motivated through winter, Best mountain bike 2020: how to choose the right one for you, Best mountain bike pedals | 18 of our favourites tried and tested, Long, relaxed geometry makes for an easy riding bike, 29in wheels help the Aizan roll over obstacles, An otherwise great bike let down by outdated geometry. Bikes with almost identical travel, such as the Norco Optic and Nukeproof Reactor, can offer completely different handling characteristics. Nevertheless, we were able to identify some components that none of our eight riders could get on with: the saddles and grips some brands spec on their bikes almost amount to assault. It finishes off on a nice paved bike path, the Farm Trail and the Olympic Trail, back to the trailhead. A 130 mm travel bike can feel astonishingly cumbersome while a 150 mm travel bike can be very agile. Sitting in the center of the Chinook Trail System near Battle Ground, Silver Star offers expansive vistas from the get-go, and is one of the absolute best spots in Southwest Washington for wildflowers in the springtime. Santa Cruz Nomad CC 5 2021 in review – 27,5″ ain’t dead! https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7002512/mid-mountain-trail Mid Mountain Marathon on Trailforks.com. From UtahMountainBiking.com. Quite simply, it’s going to be significantly heavier and it’s likely to offer very little advantage in comfort or control. 56. When else do we have the opportunity to compare so many bikes directly against each other? None of the new players managed to knock this bike off its throne. If it had lighter wheels, it would probably have scored even better in this group test. Here is our review of the Cannondale Habit Carbon 1, All bikes in test: Cannondale Habit Carbon 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral CFR 9.0 SL (Click for review) | Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 (Click for review) | Ibis Ripmo AXS€ (Click for review) | Nukeproof Reactor 290 (Click for review) | Norco Optic C1 (Click for review) | Orbea Occam M-LTD (Click for review) | Radon Slide Trail 10 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve (Click for review) | Scott Genius 900 Tuned AXS (Click for review) | Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper SRAM AXS 29 (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS Project ONE (Click for review) | Yeti SB130 TLR (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY CF PRO (Click for review), Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer/Finlay Anderson/Markus Frühmann/Jonas Müssig. When we started planning this group test, we already knew that Specialized would launch a particularly exciting new bike shortly before the release of this issue – the Levo SL. It's a favorite of local mountain bikers. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. When we think of the Cannondale Habit, images of Josh Bryceland sailing through the air with the bike doing 180s immediately come to mind. Watch Queue Queue. Getting going is useless unless you can stop, and happily most bikes at this price now come with disc brakes, which offer much better, all-conditions performance than brakes that use the rim of the wheel to stop. If you buy this bike, you get the handling of a classic trail bike with the benefits of an eMTB, minus the disadvantages you would get with a classic eMTB. The Trek Fuel EX has won this test in the past and it was among the top contenders here once again. Be sure to give yourself a bit of time to acclimate before this ride, as the trail sits around 8,000 feet above sea level. The Mid Mountain Trail is a popular attraction for dogs visiting Park City. We doubled the size of our test team for this group test. Weight is an inevitable side-effect with budget mountain bikes, especially because mountain bikes need to be able to take a beating. Subscribe today and get the next 3 issues of your favourite cycling magazine for just £5! Current Conditions Thu 17 Dec 10:30 PM MST. On average, though excluding the Levo SL, the bikes in this group test cost € 7,376 and weigh 13.4 kg. The flame broiled rotisserie is the showpiece of the kitchen, and is highlighted in the production & design in many of the dishes. Distance: 1-23 miles. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. We think the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon represents the next level of mountain biking and therefore secures this group test’s coveted Best Buy tip! Many riders choose to take the lift (day pass $30 adult, $26 kids) up to the Mid Mountain Trail and make the 1,300 foot descent through aspens and across ski runs on smooth switchbacks. Although the effective seat tube angle slackens as you extend the seat post, it is never too slack. That’s why we only differentiate between cross-country, trail, enduro and downhill bikes. However, our test field included five other outstanding bikes that deserve mentioning here and which, depending on personal preferences and where you plan to ride, may even be the better choice for some. 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