There’s nothing as exhilarating as hitting the trails and testing the boundaries of what your bike - and your body - can achieve. The technical demands, the range of terrains and the pure focus required make mountain biking one of the most exciting disciplines.
If you’re in the market for a mountain bike, whether it’s your first or just another one for the collection, this list of the best mountain bikes under £5,000 will point you in the right direction.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Types of mountain bike
- The best mountain bikes under £5,000
Click here to jump straight to the bikes
What will you use it for?
Mountain bikes are built to take a beating and to withstand everything that even the trickiest trails will throw at them.
Whether you’re just setting out on your mountain bike journey and building confidence on the more gentle trails, or if you’re planning to hit jumps, drops and rock gardens on the most extreme terrain, you should be able to find something to suit.
However, if this is more a bike for the commute, with a few grass or dirt track sections, or for riding gravel trails at the weekend, a fully kitted-out bike may be overkill. In this case, we’d recommend first checking out our mountain bike buying guide.
This guide runs through all the information you need to choose the right mountain bike for you, including types of bike, types of components, and much more.
Types of Mountain Bike?
Before we look at the recommendations, we’ll quickly recap the types of mountain bike and components available. Getting the type that aligns best with your planned riding is crucial.
There are four main mountain biking disciplines: cross-country, trail, enduro and downhill:
- Cross-country bikes are as good for pedalling up as they are for going down. Efficiency is key, and lightweight components prioritised, with most offering 100-120mm of travel whether a hardtail or full-suspension model is chosen. Although not specifically designed to deal with the biggest road gaps, huge drops and other extreme trail obstacles, a cross country bike is highly capable in the right hands
- Trail bikes are the all-rounders of the mountain bike world and are fun and capable. They hit the sweet spot between enduro and cross country, so for riders looking to do a bit of everything, a trail bike is ideal. They normally offer up to 140mm of bump-smoothing travel, but they’ll neither be quite as efficient as a cross country bike nor absorb quite as much impact as a full-on enduro bike
- Enduro bikes are built to endure jumps, rocks, drops and whatever other gnarly features a trail has to offer, but they are also light and efficient enough for some pedalling uphill too. Long travel - between 150 and 180mm - effectively soaks up big hits
- Downhill bikes are built for one thing: to get you down a mountain bike trail as quickly as possible. They need to be strong, stable, fast, and forgiving, able to cope with the steepest, gnarliest mountain trails at breakneck speeds. Full suspension and long travel feature, and these bikes will get you to the bottom fastest, but you’ll want to jump on the uplift to go again as they’re not so great on the flats and climbs
Mountain bikes are either hardtail or full suspension. The latter has suspension at the front and back, whereas a hardtail only has suspension on the front fork. A bike’s suspension impacts the ride quality, with more suspension absorbing more impact and improving traction. The tradeoff is with responsiveness and weight: bikes with long travel (160mm or over) suspension may feel slightly less nimble.
The more extreme the terrain a bike is designed for, the more full suspension models will be available, and longer travel will feature. Cross country bikes tend to be about 50/50 whereas trail bikes, enduro and beyond are mostly full-sus due to the bigger technical demands. Hardtails are a great way to learn, as they teach fundamental skills including smoother pedalling, and force a rider to ride at a speed that better suits their skills.
Working with a budget cap of £5,000 gives you access to higher-end, possibly lighter components, meaning a more technically capable bike: think better drivetrains, higher quality finishing kit and stronger or lighter, faster rolling wheels.
Innovations in mountain bike engineering also enter circulation at the upper tier of bikes before trickling down to lower price brackets over time. Some features you may want to look out for include:
- Electric suspension systems - Slowly trickling into the market, they automatically regulate suspension performance as required by the terrain. Still pretty limited though and only available from a few brands
- Downtube Storage - Leverage empty space in the frame and provide storage space for accessories
- Dropper posts - Let you drop and raise your saddle with a simple switch on the handlebar, and are fairly commonplace now across entire ranges
A higher budget means a bike built with more performance-oriented materials, too. Generally, you’ll pay more for carbon fibre, a material with an incredible stiffness to weight ratio, and which offers a high degree of fine-tuning during manufacture, meaning frames can be tailored to peak performance, than you will for aluminium, although there is some overlap
Electric mountain bikes have battery-powered motors integrated into their frame, designed to offer varying levels of assistance to your pedalling, up to 15.5mph / 25kph. When you’re crushing a trail, the electric bows out. When you’re riding up a beefy climb to get to the next trail, however, the motor does most of the work - keeping you fresh and energised.
This technology is only present at higher price points, but if you’re interested in an electric mountain bike, a £5k budget will cover it.
The 9 best mountain bikes under £5000
Now that we’ve explored the considerations, let’s see some bikes. These 9 bikes are hand-picked by the Sigma Sports team, and represent the cross-section between peak performance capability and value for money.
Trek Procaliber 9.6 Mountain Bike 2023
Retail price - £1,960
This hardtail bike is pitched at the cross-country racer market, or any rider looking for a fast and efficient off-roader. Shimano components and a sweet technical profile make the Trek Procaliber 9.6 an excellent choice for any rider.
- 11.37kg manufacturer’s claimed weight
- Carbon frame for a light, fast ride
- Short-travel front suspension with 100mm of travel to absorb impact
- Remote lockout on the front fork to give you control over when and where to use the suspension
- Tubeless-ready wheels give you the option for better puncture protection and stability
- 12-speed drivetrain affords control and efficiency at a range of inclines and terrain conditions
Shop the Trek Procaliber 9.6 Mountain Bike
Trek Roscoe 8 Mountain Bike 2023
Retail price from - £1,799
There are three Trek bikes in our top picks, for the simple reason that these guys create reliable, high-quality mountain bikes at a competitive price point. The Roscoe 8 is a hardtail built to provide endless amounts of fun, whatever the terrain.
- Alpha Gold Aluminium frame ensures light riding weight without sacrificing any durability
- 140mm long-travel RockShox 35 Gold RL suspension to absorb impacts and smooth out your ride
- 27.5" or 29" wheels depending on your frame size
- Drop or raise the seat to change your riding style in an instant with the TranzX drop seatpost
- SRAM GX/NX drivetrain provides slick shifts across the wide 12-speed cassette
Shop the Trek Roscoe 8 Mountain Bike
Orbea Occam M30 LT Mountain Bike 2022
Retail price - £3,225
This stylish contender may be a bit more expensive than the two Treks we’ve seen prior, thanks to top-tier components and engineering. The Orbea Occam M30 LT straddles trail and enduro designs, putting the power in your hands (well, feet) to dominate any trail.
- Orbea Occam OMR Carbon frame is lightweight, stiff and soaks up even the roughest surfaces
- Full suspension courtesy of FOX provides 150mm travel at the front and rear to soak up anything the terrain throws your way
- 29” Race Face wheels are durable and agile
- A slacker head angle keeps the ride nimble and responsive
- Shimano M6120, hydraulic disc brakes provide assured stopping power
Shop the Orbea Occam M30 LT Mountain Bike
Yeti Arc C2 Mountain Bike 2022
Retail price from - £3,599
Straddling cross country and trail disciplines, this hardtail Yeti Arc C2 Mountain Bike is built to perform, and won't let you down regardless of the terrain you choose to ride on.
- Yeti C/Series carbon fibre frame
- 130mm long-travel suspension provided by the FOX 34 Performance fork hoovers up even the rowdiest terrain features
- DT Swiss M1900 29” wheels come with Maxxis tubeless-ready tyres
- SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed gearing
- SRAM Level TL, hydraulic disc brakes
Shop the Yeti Arc C2 Mountain Bike
Specialized Rockhopper Expert Mountain Bike 2023
Retail price from - £948
This competitively priced hardtail bike is perfect for those new to MTB, or those who want to spend under £1000 on a bike. The Specialized Rockhopper Expert delivers what you need, to get off road, without breaking the bank.
- A1 alloy frame keeps this bike light and strong
- RockShox Judy SoloAir fork with TurnKey damper lockout allows you to adjust the level of rigidity out on the trail
- SRAM SX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes
- SRAM Level, hydraulic disc brakes
- Specialized Stout Alloy wheels come equipped with Specialized Fast Trak Control 2Bliss ready tyres
Shop the Specialized Rockhopper Expert Mountain Bike
Trek Top Fuel 5 Mountain Bike 2023
Retail price - £2,240
Another all-rounder, this full-suspension bike performs just as boldly on trails as it does cross country. The Trek Top Fuel 5 has a refined and intelligent design, with components selected to facilitate high performance.
- Trek Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame
- The RockShox Recon fork with its Motion Control feature offers 120mm of travel and remote lockout
- This is backed up by an X-Fusion Pro 2 suspension at the rear, with a 2-position damper
- Mino Link gives you the power to make tweaks to your frame geometry, even during a ride, to make your bike ride how you want it to
- An internal storage compartment gives you space to stash spares or snacks
- 12-speed Shimano Deore gearing has been added to keep you moving efficiently at any speed or on any incline
Shop the Trek Top Fuel 5 Mountain Bike
Specialized Epic Evo 29” Mountain Bike 2022
Retail price from - £3,749
One of the most capable bikes on our list, this full-suspension mountain bike really is a sight to behold. Specialized epitomise top-tier engineering, and the Epic Evo further enforces this status.
- The Specialized FACT 11m carbon frame is engineered to balance weight with durability
- RockShox Deluxe Select+ rear suspension provides 110mm of travel: enough that even the gnarliest obstacles will barely register
- A TranzX dropper seatpost lets you drop the saddle at a moment's notice, keeping it out of the way for technical sections
- SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed gears cater for all inclines and provide effortless shifting
Shop the Specialized Epic Evo 29" Mountain Bike
Orbea OIZ H30 Mountain Bike 2022
Retail price - £1,949
A full suspension mountain bike that will appeal to the appetite of even the most discerning rider. The Orbea Oiz H30 is as capable of being pushed hard in a cross country race as it is cruising through the woods on an easy Sunday ride.
- Orbea OIZ Hydro High Polished Aluminium main frame with an Alloylink rear triangle
- The FOX 32 Float Rhythm fork offers 120mm travel
- FOX i-line DPS Performance rear suspension gives 120mm of travel
- Shimano Deore 12-speed gearing shifts fast and is easy to maintain
Shop the Orbea OIZ H30 Mountain Bike
Specialized Enduro Expert 29” Mountain Bike 2022
Retail price from - £5,200
While slightly over the £5k price point, this Specialized Enduro Expert deserves special mention as the perfect marriage of speed and composure.
- The Specialized FACT 11m carbon frame offers peak performance, durability and responsiveness
- A FOX FLOAT 38 Performance Elite fork provides 170mm of travel
- 29” alloy wheels guarantee reliable performance on any terrain
- SRAM 12 speed gears to give full range of options for any incline, with precise shifting guaranteed
- 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes afford peace of mind for controlled stopping regardless of terrain and weather conditions
Shop the Specialized Enduro Expert 29" Mountain Bike.
The best mountain bikes: yours for the taking
As you can see, there are plenty of high-quality mountain bikes available at this price point, offering something for everyone regardless of discipline and skill level.
Taking to the trails on a hired bike is one thing. Riding your own bike, configured to your physique and riding style is something else entirely: if you like what you see above, shop mountain bikes to find your perfect bike.
Alternatively, get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to pair you up with the bike that best fits your needs.