If you liked our article on hardtail frames for less than £500 but have a bit more budget handy, then this might right up your street.
Gone are the days when £1500 would buy you a bag of nails, with the trickle down effect of new technology finding its way down to the lower spec components. These days you can get a damn fine hardtail mountain bike with better components than ever, for less money than ever.
Winter is here and one of our top-tips for Winter MTB is to get yourself a tough, easy to maintain hardtail.
We know that you can get a hardtail for way less than £1500… but if feels like that’s the price point where you can get the most for your money, whilst still keeping the cost relatively affordable. Dip below the £1,000 mark and you start to loose features like dropper posts or decent tyres, that you’ll end up having to upgrade later.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite hardcore hardtails that come in under £1500.
Marin San Quentin 3 (£1475 at Tredz)
Far from making another aggressive 160mm hardtail, the San Quentin, with input from Marin rider Matt Jones, is essentially a trail hardtail for riders that want something a bit more lively than most on the market.
Designed around a 130mm fork, in the case of the San Quentin 3 a Rockshox Revelation RC, gives you a 65 degree head angle. For a fork that short, 65 degrees is plenty slack enough but but will ensure the bike is lively enough.
At 75 degrees, there aren’t many steeper seat tubes out there, but that should mean the San Quentin should get you back to the top of the hill sharpish.
Reach is reasonable at 444mm on the medium, a far cry from most jump/slopestyle hardtails, giving you plenty of room to manoeuvre when things get rowdy, steep or fast, or all three.
At £1475, it’s at the upper end of the price limit, but there are two cheaper models if you like the numbers but not the asking price. The Marin San Quentin 1 is just £675 if you can live without a dropper post and some lower spec bits.
Nukeproof Scout Race (£1349.99 at CRC)
The Nukeproof Scout Race is available in a 275 or 290 guise, for a not-so-princely £1349.99.
With a hydroformed 6061 frame, 142 x 12mm dropouts, a 66 degree head angle and 72 degree seat angle, there’s not many places the Scout won’t let you go. Reach is fairly short at 415 on the medium, but then so are the seat tubes, so going up a size shouldn’t be an issue.
On the Race spec, you get a DebonAir-sprung Revelation RL, giving you 140mm travel, Shinmano SLX 11-speed drive train with Alivio stoppers and the usual raft of Nukeproof Neutron finishing kit and wheels.
NS Bikes Eccentric (£1349.99 on CRC)
The Eccentric Alu EVO 27.5″ frame will take a 2.8″ tyre. Eccentric will accept 29 x 2.4″ tyres or 27.5″+ tyres up to 3″. Reach is slightly longer at 435 on the medium, and the head angle remains the same.
Designed around a 130-150mm fork, in this case, a 140mm Boost Rockshox Recon giving a 65 degree head angle. The smaller-wheeled version sports a 425 reach on the medium.
Stealth routing for a dropper and other hoses and cables, make for a very clean frame. SRAM NX 11-speed and Level brakes round off an NS Bikes and Octane One finishing kit on the Eccentric.
Buy online: NS Eccentric online at CRC (£13499).
Trek Roscoe 8 (£1095 at Blazing Bikes)
The Roscoe 9 sits at the top of the 27.5+ hardtail line up in Trek’s range and despite not getting close to the upper price limit, has some impressive kit and numbers to boot.
A shred more conservative in its geometry, the Roscoe 9 offers a 422mm reach on the 18.5″ frame, with a head angle of 68.3. Not the shortest reach, but the steepest head angle and shortest fork here.
If you’re looking for something not quite so gravity-orientated though, the Roscoe is definitely worthy of your attention.
A tapered-steerer, 120mm travel Rockshox Judy Silver keeps the front wheel right, while an SRAM NX Eagle drive train gives it the same as the Vitus below. The bike is finished off with Bontrager finishing kit and sports a DUB version of the Truvativ Descendant crank.
Buy online: Trek Roscoe 8 at Blazing Bikes (£1095).
Vitus Sentier VRS (£1399.99 at Wiggle)
Vitus’ Sentier VRS looks to continue the trend of fast, fun bikes that don’t cost an arm and a leg. First impressions would indicate that the 2019 model should do just that.
A 66 degree head angle courtesy of a 140mm Rock Shox Revelation RC, a 432mm reach on the medium and a 73 degree seat angle should see the Sentier able to go pretty much anywhere.
The Sentier is the only bike on this list to sport 12-speed in the form of SRAM’s NX Eagle throughout. SRAM’s Guide Rs also bring the stopping power for the 2.6″ Schwalbe tyres rolling WTB i29 rims.
Finishing kit is Nukeproof Neutron and Horizon, with a Brand-X Ascend dropper post to complete the package.
Buy online: Vitus Sentier VR on Wiggle (£1399.99).
Commencal Meta HT AM Essential (£1308.05 at Commencal)
Commencal’s Meta MT AM will take 27.5+ and 29″ wheels, and a fork between 140 and 150mm making it one of the most versatile frames on the list. The Essential spec comes with a 170mm Rochshox Yari RC with Boost spacing and 160mm travel.
SRAM NX 11 speed rounds out the groupset, with SRAM Level stoppers. Commencal’s-own Ride components finish out the build.
Sporting a 6061 triple-butted frame, a tapered head tube and a max rotor size of 180mm, there’s nothing missed by Commencal on this one.
With a 65 degree head angle and a 420 reach on the medium, the Meta sits somewhere in the middle ground of the geometry stakes, but should provide a balanced ride in most conditions as a result.
Orange Crush Comp (£1500.00 at Tredz)
Sitting at the very upper limit of the price point of this list, the venerable Crush from Orange comes in at £1500 on the button.
For 2019, the frame gets a Boost rear and blown stays to accept larger tyres, other than that, Orange, like Bird, have left the Crush well alone.
So with that you get clearance for a 2.6″ tyre on 27.5″ wheels, a 64 degree head angle with a 150mm fork, in this case a Rockshox Sektor. A 434mm reach on the medium keeps the Crush on the money.
The Crush sports a custom butted 6061 tubeset, 148 x 12mm Boost spacing and internal dropper routing.
Like most of the bikes here, drive train is 11-speed SRAM NX but with Shimano MT500 brakes, and Kore or Strange finishing kit.
DMR Trailstar (£1500.00 at DMR Bikes)
Truly a British icon, the Trailstair was the original do-it-all hardtail and the most recent iteration continues that trend into the 21st Century.
You get a 4130 CroMo frame, tapered head tube, stealth dropper routing, and space for 2.8″ tyres.
A 418mm reach on the medium is sensible, and a 66 degree head angle with a 150mm fork means this is still just as good an all-rounder as it ever was. You can read our DMR Trailstar review here.
Although it’s up there with the Crush for price, the spec is definitely a cut above. Drive train jumps to SRAM GX but in 11-speed, brakes are Guide R models, forks are X-Fusion’s Sweep RL2s, and the finishing kit is all DMR’s own, bar the X-Fusion dropper.
Buy online: DMR Trailstar 2 complete at DMR Bikes (£1500).