Cheap hardtails – the perfect mountain bikes for beginners
Cheap MTB hardtails are often called entry-level mountain bikes. They cost little and are robust. This qualifies hardtails under 1500 € to be the perfect mountain bike for beginners.
Mountain bike beginners are often shocked by the prices for bikes. If you look on the web, you´ll easily find bikes for 8000 € and more. So the prices of the top models seem crazy for MTB beginners at first. But we can reassure you: There are also inexpensive bikes with which you can have a lot of fun off-road. We have evaluated the entire mountain bike market and found some really good MTB models, some of which cost well below 1500 €. These models all have one thing in common: they are all hardtails. So bikes without a suspended rear. The differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages to fullys are explained in another article. Here, we assume that you do not want to spend more than 1500 €. Let´s get one thing out of the way: In the price range below 1500 €, fullys are no good!
Different hardtail types and price ranges
Classic entry-level hardtail
- 100 millimeters of suspension travel
- Aluminum frame
- Lockout on the handlebar
- A weight of about 12 kilos
Classic entry-level hardtails have 100 millimeters of suspension travel at the fork. These bikes are trimmed with good rolling tires and relatively low weight for propulsion. Long climbs or tours with 50 kilometers and more are no problem with these bikes. In addition, they can also be used in everyday life for commuting or to get bread at the bakery. Sounds good, but there are of course also disadvantages of classic 100 millimeter hardtails. On technical trails, steep descents or jumps, these bikes won´t be much fun. If you want to have fun when descending, you need excellent riding technique and even then it is not immune to material defects and crashes. In short, when used correctly, classic race hardtails are still brilliant bikes. However, for many people, and especially beginners, an all-around hardtail (see below) is the better choice.
Allround Hardtails- the new trend
- 120 millimeters of suspension travel
- aluminum frame
- telescopic post
- tires with good grip
Since 2022, the trend around all-round hardtails has really taken off. In addition to Canyon and Cannondale, brands like Rockrider, Cube or Whyte have also recognized that the range of classic entry-level bikes is too specific for most people. With slightly wider and significantly grippier tires and more suspension travel, the new all-rounders among hardtails are much more fun off-road. If you then retract the saddle with the telescopic support, the freedom of movement on the bike increases dramatically. This allows you to master more challenging trails easily. Good all-round models weigh between 12 kilos and 13 kilos and are absolutely fine for touring. The cheapest all-round hardtails are available from about 1000 euros. Good riders dare even to go on smaller jumps with these bikes. The start at a marathon is also possible with an all-round hardtail.
Trail Hardtail – the most radical Hardtail
- 130 millimeters of suspension travel or more
- telescopic seat post
- extremely grippy tires
- radical geometry with flat steering angle
Trail hardtails are the most radical mountain bikes without a suspension frame. With massive suspension forks and tires from the enduro segment, they don’t shy away from any descent or jumps. They are particularly robust and usually weigh well over 12.5 kilos. Long tours are not really fun with them. Despite their extremeness, many bikers find it difficult to experience the full potential of a trail bike. In many cases, the riding technique is not enough to really exploit all of its capabilitites. A hardtail is still a hardtail. Even massive tires and good suspension travel on the fork do not change the fact that at higher speeds in rougher terrain, the impacts on the rear wheel can really be felt and make it bounce around a fair bit. It can sometimes pull the foot off the pedals or even destroy the tires. As a conclusion to trail hardtails, it can be said: They are super robust and maximally trimmed to having fun riding them down the hill. Especially for trail lovers with a tight budget, they are a good choice. For longer tours, however, an all-round hardtail is recommended in most cases.
This is how much MTB hardtail you get for your money
Honestly, very few mountain bikes can be recommended for sporty use under 600 €. Bikes in this price range are great for commuting or everyday use, but already reach their limits on easy trails.
under 800 Euro
If you want to spend less than 800 euros on a hardtail, you should not expect a high class athlete. Of course, there are also bikes in this price range with which you can gain initial experience in the terrain. However, the majority of hardtails under 800 € feels more comfortable on roads and gravel paths, as well as on daily use. If you’re looking for a good bike to primarily ride to school or work and only occasionally want to tour, you’ll find it in this price range. For regular, sporty use on extended mountain bike tours, the suspension forks are usually not good enough. The gears with usually three chainrings on the crank and seven to ten sprockets on the cassette are also no longer up to date. Most models in this price range have mounting options for a side stand or mudguards. A child trailer can be mounted on almost all models.
price range of 800 € to 1000 €
Even if the price jump from 800 to 1000 € is relatively small, there are significant differences in the models. Under 1000 € there are bikes that have obviously already been trimmed for sporty use. Models with a little more suspension travel, modern single cranks and tires with good grip also allow for riding fun in rougher terrain. Especially for children and young people who want to start with mountainbiking, these models should be interesting.
price range of 1000 € to 1500 €
In the price range of up to 1500 €, it gets sporty. High-quality gears from Shimano or Sram and well-functioning chassis are a given in this price range. If you want, you can always ride a marathon or a cross country race with these bikes for under 1500 €. Even an alpine crossing is not out of the equation. Extended tours with easy single trails are really fun with these bikes. Here you can already distinguish between bikes with classic 100 millimeters of travel and all-rounders with 120 millimeters of travel.
CONCLUSION on the subject of THE PERFECT HARDTAIL
“The current entry-level hardtails up to 1500 € are not to be sneezed at. Instead of general bikes, the industry has many bikes for many different uses at the ready. Especially the fresh trend of the all-round hardtails should appeal to many mountain bike beginners. Click our market overview and pick out the bike that best suits your purpose. With our filters, the market can be sorted easily. The best bikes get the well-known test winner logo.”
In this article, the author Ludwig Döhl has incorporated his experience from over 100,000 kilometers in the mountain bike saddle.