The best value hardtail mountain bikes you can buy for under £700

You can get a good trail-ready mountain bike for £700 or less these days, and there’s plenty to choose from out there. Here’s our simple guide to what to look for and some suggestions for where to spend your hard-earned cash.

[Updated August 24, 2021]

What to look for in a £700 mountain bike

Mountain bikes at this price will mostly be hardtails, with a rigid frame. Although you can get a cheap full suspension mountain bike in a supermarket, we strongly advise you to stay away because, quite simply, it will not be very cop. A hardtail frame gives the manufacturer more budget to glue quality parts to the frame, like a good suspension fork, decent tires, brakes and finishing kit, parts like handlebars and saddle.

Look for a lightweight aluminum frame, disc brakes (preferably hydraulic) and a very good suspension fork. These are the parts that will most influence the quality and performance of the ride. You’ll pay more for a good frame and suspension fork, but those are really important parts of the bike, so that’s what we’re after rather than glitzy components that will eventually wear out anyway.

The geometry of the bike dictates how it rides and handles, and how well it adapts. The wider the range of sizes offered by a manufacturer, the more likely you are to get one that fits you. Geometry is also a measure of how the bike will ride, and longer and slacker generally means a more playful and capable bike on fun trails when speeds are high and smiles wide.

Best bikes under £700

Carrera Fury — £650.00

Carrera-Fury-2021-review-100.jpg, by Jon Woodhouse

Carrera’s Fury offers such incredible value for a £650 mountain bike that it’s fair to wonder how they make money off of them, with the 10-speed single-ring drivetrain, air-sprung fork with axle through and dropper post installed typically only seen on much more expensive machines. The Fury is built around an aluminum frame that gets a rather pleasing matte finish and subtly contoured tubing, rolling on 650b wheels and sporting a 120mm fork up front. It’s a good combination for a fun trail hardtail, with smaller wheels that keep the handling lively and engaging while there’s enough fork travel to provide plenty of comforting cushion when the trail gets rough. With wide-range Shimano gears and hydraulic disc brakes, the spec package is also very far from shabby. For most riders just starting out on their mountain bike adventure, this is all the bike you’ll need.

Marin Bobcat Trail 3 – £695

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Marin’s Bobcat Trail 3 manages to both look and ride like a much more expensive bike than it is, with a quality frame and geometry that comes from the “proper trail bike” book to deliver a ride really capable. The compromises in the drivetrain and suspension to stay within the budget are obvious, but it’s still a solid machine that offers a lot of fun for little money.

Kona 29 Lava Dome — £699

2022 Kona lava dome.jpg

You can get this stunning Kona Lava Dome for just under £700. Kona is a brand steeped in history, they pioneered the radically sloping top tube that provides ample clearance, making it easier to launch the bike through corners. This bike features an aluminum frame, coil-sprung Suntour fork with 100mm of travel, Shimano Altus 24-speed gearing and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Specialized Rockhopper 27.5 – £449

Specialized Rockhopper 2021.jpeg

The Rockhopper is the most affordable mountain bike in Specialized’s massive lineup, and it ticks the boxes if you’re buying your first mountain bike. First, there’s a well-designed aluminum frame with butted tubing to save weight, and Specialized has used the nimble 27.5-inch wheel size. There’s a mix of Shimano and microSHIFT in the drivetrain and the Radius CX7 disc brakes take care and stop. The Suntour XCE fork offers up to 100mm of travel and uses coil springs with custom multi-circuit damping to keep things under control.

It’s a very decent package for the money, with an eminently upgradable frame as your skills and ambition grow.

Trek Marlin 6 2022 — £620

2022 Trek Marlin 6.jpg

The Trek range of mountain bikes start at £450, but we chose the £625 Marlin 6 because it looks like a great bike. Like many bikes at this price point, the Marlin takes inspiration from cross-country bikes and Trek has tried to replicate that in geometry and construction, which revolves around an aluminum frame and 29er wheels. . You get a 100mm Suntour fork with internal coil springs, Shimano Deore single-plate gearing and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Voodoo Braag 29er — £550

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Based on the larger 29er wheel size, this Voodoo Braag from Halfords is a decent-looking package, and the brand has a history of making well-designed entry-level mountain bikes. An aluminum frame keeps weight down, the Suntour XCM fork provides up front cushioning and extra control, and Clarks hydraulic brakes provide all the power you need to stop speed. Elsewhere, there’s a wide-range 1×9 drivetrain from Microshift.

Boardman MHT 8.6 — £700

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A replacement for the old Boardman Comp, the Boardman MHT 8.6 is a strong contender for any £700 MTB shortlist. The budget was well spent, with a triple-butted 6061 aluminum frame and an easily adjustable air-sprung Suntour Raidon fork with a lockout option. Shimano provides the gearing in the form of a 10-speed cassette and single chainring up front, and there are Tektro hydraulic disc brakes to provide the stopping power.


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