Boardman Pro 29er
The Boardman Pro 29er has won itself plenty of attention with its impressive styling, 10mm RockShox Reba suspension forks (with lockout for making hill climbs easier), Shimano Deore XT components and a ride that is hard to beat for putting a grin on your face.
Ellsworth makes some droolworthy bike frames, which cost more than £1,000 alone. Spec up with appropriately quality components and we're talking more than a car. Not for everyone, then, but the Enlightenment is a true two-wheeled dream machine that is as strong as it is nimble. Just remember the bike lock.
US$1,395 (frame only) | Ellsworth
GT Force X Pro Carbon
GT â short for Gary Turner, the co-founder â is another veteran of two-wheels and its Force 650B full-suspension mountain bike shows all the tricks it has learned. The GT Force can take one hell of a beating, thanks to 160mm of front suspension travel and a carbon fibre frame. An impressive spec list, including hydraulic disc brakes, make this a winner â if you can afford.
Orange Crush AM
The founders of Orange were originally going to call the company O-range, but decided that made little sense and the fruity name was born. Years on and we're still being treated to some fantastic bikes, including the bright green Crush AM. It combines 27.5-inch wheels with 140mm RockShox suspension, aluminium frame, powerful stoppers and unforgettable styling.
VooDoo Bizango 29
VooDoo is a Halfords exclusive and has been responsible for a number of award winners over the years. One of the latest is the Bizango 29, an affordable 29-inch wheel hardtail made from aluminium. The bigger wheels take more effort to get rolling, but are harder to slow down so you can keep momentum up on the trails. The components are solid and hydraulic brakes are a big bonus at this price point.
Pinnacle Jarrah Two 650b
Pinnacle is Evans Cycles' own brand. It has proven popular because of the stylish frames and value for money, which has you getting an impressive spec for less money than you would get elsewhere. The Jarrah 650b has 29-inch wheels so it is happy to keep up the pace. Tektro hydraulic discs provide good stopping power and are a step up from mechanical variants that can be problematic. 27 gears and 100mm of front suspension help the Jarrah stand out for the price.
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Rocky Mountain makes some extremely desirable bikes and the Thunderbolt is no different. Manitou suspension offers 120mm of bump-soaking ability, while the back offers even more bounce for when the going really gets tough downhill. 30 gears ensure you have the gearing you need at any time, while the Maxxis tyres are nobbly enough to provide grip and soak up the terrain without making hills a chore.
Santa Cruz Bantam
Santa Cruz bikes were born in California on the trails of, you've guessed it, Santa Cruz. The company was responsible for the single pivot suspension design copied by many of its competitors, a system used for the full-suspension Bantam. This green-machine is built to survive whatever trails you throw at it, in part thanks to 27.5-inch wheels, RockShox suspension at the front and an enviably impressive component list â one that you can build on if you have the readies.
GT Sensor Comp
The GT Sensor Comp is adept at blasting down trails, having ridden up them. It has 27.5-inch wheels for better rolling, while the X-Fusion suspension soaks up lumps and bumps, while remaining stiff enough as you pedal so there's less wasted energy. In white it will be a nightmare to keep clean, but it looks the business.
Vitus Bikes Sentier 275 VR
The Vitus Sentier 275 VR has a triple-butted aluminium frame so it's light and strong. At the front is Suntour suspension, which does a decent job of soaking up whatever the front wheel rolls over. Meanwhile Shimano hydraulic disc brakes help you stop in rapid time. Deore components and Continental tyres compliment a bike that was cheap at £1,000.
£549.99 | Vitus