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The 6 Best Mountain Bikes Under $3000 of 2022

By: Jon Kennedy: Bike Buyer | May 24, 2022
 

Historically, mountain bikes have been split into two categories: Absurdly expensive wonder bikes that cost more than many cars, but have all the latest and greatest tech and geometry, and more affordable, entry level bikes that are too unreliable, with too flimsy of components to really be ridden seriously. However, in recent years, manufacturers have been making a push to design and sell affordable mountain bikes with the same geometry as their more expensive siblings, paired with careful component choices that help riders save money while still getting great performance. All of the bikes on this list fall into that category, they’re all designed to get you 99% of the fun and performance of top-end bikes at a fraction of the cost.

So how do they hit such an affordable price point? Well, if you study this list of the best mountain bikes for under $3000, you’ll find that most of the frames are made out of aluminum which is a tiny bit heavier than carbon fiber, but a whole lot more affordable. And they use lower-tier suspension and drivetrain components that deliver the majority of the performance benefits of the top-end units, without the flashy graphics and inflated prices. But what you won’t find on this list is dated geometry. Every bike here has modern geometry that will feel at home on any trail, and compete with any top-end bike’s numbers. So save some money for a riding trip, and grab a new bike for less.  For more information on choosing the right bike for you, please see our helpful mountain bike sizing and geometry guide.

 


Marin Bobcat Trail 3

Marin Bobcat Trail 3

Get out and explore the trails less traveled one the Marin Bobcat Trail 3 Complete Mountain Bike. With a relatively slack trail inspired geo, the Bobcat Trail 3 is more than capable of handling techy rock gardens and root sections, and it does so without sacrificing pedaling efficiency. If you're looking to get into the mountain bike game for the first time, or are simply looking for a capable hardtail to go a little deeper, the Marin Bobcat Trail 3 Complete Mountain Bike is a winner. The Bobcat is one of the most affordable options out there, perfect for anyone who just wants to give mountain biking a try.

 
Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$819.00

Shimano/Microshift 2x8

Hardtail

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Marin San Quentin 1

Marin San Quentin 1

The Marin San Quentin 1 Complete Mountain Bike might be a hardtail, but it's a long ways from the rigid frame mountain bike you remember riding around the block at your grandma's house. This thing is shaped with mean trail geometry inspired by Marin's top of the line dirt jumpers. It pedals like a dream and crushes downhill, and comes with a very reasonable price tag to boot. Get it in the air, thrash it down the singletrack, pedal back to town. Easy money. The San Quentin 1 is a great first bike, but even after you’ve been bitten by the bug and upgraded to a full suspension, the San Quentin will still find its place in your expanding quiver of bikes.

 
Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$1099.00Microshift Advent 1x9Hardtail

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Scott Scale 970

Scott Scale 970

Good luck finding more bike for the money! The Scott Scale 970 Complete Mountain Bike isn't overly dramatic or fancy, unless you count the remote fork lockout lever mounted on the handlebar or the SRAM 1x12speed drivetrain. Actually, this is kind of fancy for a bike that costs less than your neighbor's fork. The amount of value Scott manages to pack into the Scale 970 is unbeatable, it’s a great starter bike that will keep rocking for years down the road.

Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$1499.00

Sram SX Eagle

Hardtail

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Norco Fluid HT1

Norcor Fluid HT 1

Shock? What shock? The only shock you need is the shock and awe experienced by your squishy bike'd trail partners when you leave them in a cloud of dust kicked up by this aluminum monster. The Norco Fluid HT 1 Complete Mountain Bike is bringing the hardtail back, with modern trail geometry and a pedaling power unreachable by any full suspension bike. It hammers uphill with Spiderman-like grip and inhuman speed and agility, providing a stable and nimble platform to play with on the way down. Shocked? The Norco Fluid is a rowdy, capable hardtail that’s ready to party at any trail network in the world.

 
Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$1699.00Shimano Deore 12 SpeedHardtail

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Santa Cruz Chameleon A D MX

Santa Cruz Chameleon A D MX

Creativity and versatility are the name of the game with the Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon A D MX Complete Mountain Bike. You'd be hard-pressed to find a bike that's more customizable, with every configuration making a lot of sense for its intended purpose: singlespeed or geared, big slicks or smaller knobbies out back, so much is possible with the easily swappable rear dropouts. With a twist of an allen key you can make the coolest bar bike into the most fun trekker. With 130mm of fork travel and a dropper, this is a bike that'll survive the apocalypse--but "cockroach" just isn't a very good name! The Chameleon is happy to adapt and become whatever you bike you happen to need this year, it’s a solid investment thanks to its long term versatility.

Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$2599.00

Sram NX Eagle

Hardtail

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Orbea Laufey H10

Orbea Laufey H10

The Orbea Laufey H10 Complete Mountain Bike is as precise and quick as any carbon hardtail in the game, but has the no-nonsense durability of aluminum alloy. With its Marzocchi Bomber fork leading the way at a very comfortable 65.5 degrees, the Laufey H10 is stable at speed, easy to control, and even easier to push, encouraging you to seek out more aggressive terrain. You'll love honing your skills with this refined hardtail. The Laufey H10 stands out in a crowd, for all the right reasons, it’s a capable, affordable bike with a great parts list.

 
Original PriceDrive TrainRear Travel
$2599.00Shimano Deore Hardtail

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Learn About our Favorite Bike Gear:

Our bike buyer has an endless amount of knowledge on all things bike stemming from years of experience in the bike industry in tandem with their countless hours out on the dirt, gravel, and tarmac. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Jon Kennedy

Jon is a Bike Buyer and joined evo in 2015 to help launch the category. He has a long tenure in the bike industry bringing over 20 years of experience.

Jon was formerly the Marketing Manager for Diamondback bikes and was the Executive Director for the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance prior to that. His broad experience in the bike industry from the brand, advocacy and retail side has contributed to a well-rounded understanding of trends, needs and opportunities.

Jon grew up in the Seattle area and currently resides there with his wife Ilana, kids Erez and Lilah, and his Boston Terrier Marley. He is a daily rider packing countless miles in every year, loves all disciplines, and simply considers himself a cyclist… a title he embraces with great passion.