With events like the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem rolling around the corner, you might be inspired to go out and try a marathon mountain bike event – but what machine is most suitable? For something like a 24hr mountain bike race, along with as much food as you can possibly carry you’ll need a certain type of bike and with £1,000 in your pocket you can’t go far wrong nowadays.
Within this budget you should be looking for and expecting some key attributes. In terms of weight most bikes will be around 12-13kg which is certainly light enough for the task at hand and still be able to withstand the constant abuse of riding for a whole day and night. The courses are not very technical, with fitness being the primary test, so you should be considering a 29” wheel size with its ability to carry speed more effectively and lower rolling resistance. The bike should feel more stable too, which is helpful if you are struggling to hold on near the end.
You’ll probably find the ability lockout your suspension useful as well, when climbing a lot of your energy can go into compressing the suspension fork and tire you out faster. You want all that effort to go into forward motion.
Most of the bikes in this list feature mid-range gear systems from Shimano or SRAM which over the years of development are now better than ever. With technology from the higher priced groups trickling down, you really are buying a new bike at the best time. Disc brakes have come on leaps and bounds also, even budget brakes provide plenty of stopping power for this intended use.
There are also opportunities to upgrade wheels and change your contact points (saddle, grips and pedals) in the bikes listed below should you feel you need improved performance. The bikes will probably arrive without pedals, but this is the norm and I recommend investing in a good pair of shoes and pedals. These contribute to rotational weight on the bike and spending a bit more in this area is highly encouraged. Wheels too in the long run.
So where should you splash your hard earned cash? With the list of 5 below you can’t go wrong and should be able to focus on the task at hand – coughing your lungs up and trying to battle against being sleep deprived!
Top 5 mountain bikes for less than £1,000
Grand Canyon AL 6.0
Canyon are a German based brand that do things a little differently. Having no bricks and mortar shops, deciding instead to sell direct to the consumer online has meant that they are able to offer far more value than most other brands. The spec is in no way compromised here with a Shimano XT shadow rear derailleur, Rockshox Reba RL w/motion control lockout, Mavic Crossride, avid elixir 1 brakes, Shimano Deore cranks – this is the best package on the list! You do lose out on the expertise of a shop, but Canyon have recently set up an office in Kingston-upon-Thames if you need any further advice.
LTD Pro 29er
Another German based brand, Cube are fast becoming a household name in the UK and their bikes ride well. With Manitou Marvel TS Air w/remote lockout, XT shadow rear derailleur, Shimano disc brakes, XT hubs on alex rims wheelset – you’ve got everything you need.
One of the most recognised bike brands in the world, Specialized have it all. With the current Olympic champion riding their bikes, development is top of their agenda. This frame is a butted A1 aluminium offering – which means it’s a bit lighter. This means you’ve got a solid basis should you wish to upgrade later. The key features include avid elixir 1 brakes, rockshox XC30 w/remote lockout, sram x7 and specialized own brand wheels.
Nino Schurter is Scott’s flagship racer and has been dominating on the world cup circuit – overall series winner and current world champion. The swiss contingent know their stuff and the ride this bike offers is exceptional. Coming with a 6061 aluminium frame, Rockshox XC 32 Solo Air, XT rear shadow derailleur, Syncros (Scott’s in house component brand) rims on formula/shimano and Shimano 446 disc brakes – you can’t go wrong.
Of all the bikes here I have to say that the Trek’s frame is my favourite, and why it’s a little over our £1,000 budget. The Alpha Gold aluminium construction combined with Gary Fisher (godfather of mountain biking) G2 geometry comes highly recommended, the inner cable routing is a tidy touch too. Rockshox Reba RL Solo Air w/ motion control remote lockout, Trek’s in house brand Bontrager wheelset and finishing kit, SRAM x7 drivetrain and Avid x1 elixir brakes – a great package.
By Paul Haysom
Wait! There’s More
- Wiggle Mountain Mayhem: A run-down of the grand daddy of the endurance MTB races.
- Endurance MTB essentials: Tips on preparing for your first endurance MTB race, from a man that’s definitely been there.
- BeMC Race Report: A report from the ‘toughest mountain bike race in the Benelux.
- The top multistage MTB races in the world: Fancy a little break in between your racing? Check these guys out.