There’s no surer sign of how far mountain biking has developed in the past couple of decades than a look at the lower priced end of the market. Compared to bikes at this price point just a few years ago you can now get some truly capable bikes with fantastic specifications that won’t embarrass themselves.
If you’re getting into mountain biking for the first time, or upgrading, £500 marks a key price point. At this level frames are made from lightweight aluminium with some even featuring butted tubes, forks will usually be basic coil spring items with some adjustment, many will have hydraulic disc brakes and finishing kit will be of a decent standard.
One key area to be aware of when buying a £500 hardtail is the suspension fork. Obviously this is a high cost component of the complete bike and some manufacturers will only be able to spec a cheap fork that offers little performance benefit over a rigid fork. As this roundup shows, not all bikes are created equally, so take a good look at the spec list before you settle for your new bike.
Read on to see the five £500 hardtails…