Best Hardtail Under 2000: Comparison of 7 Top MTBs

If you’re looking for the best hardtail mountain bike under 2000, you’re likely on a tight budget.

The pricing of many MTBs starts at about $1,000, meaning that you’ll have limited options to pick the best hardtail MTB under 2000. Fortunately, bikes in this price range actually do offer excellent features that you wouldn’t find in full suspension MTBs of the same price range.

Of course, you may have to evaluate which features you value more, since you likely won’t get all the high-end features in one product.

Here are 7 of the top products to help you choose the best hardtail under 2000.

Norco’s Fluid HT 2 is a great bike for nimble and confident handling.

Every feature is designed to deliver exactly that.

Firstly, the bicycle has a progressive aluminum frame design for a powerful pedaling position. When sitting on the bike, your weight is properly distributed between both wheels to ensure that the front suspension soaks up bumps effectively and keeps the tires always in contact with the trail.

How is that achieved?

Well, the frame design creates a forward weight distribution. That’s made possible by the bike’s long reach (relates to your hands being stretched out to grasp the handlebar), slack head tube angle (the front wheel is further in front of the headset), and steep seat tube angle (steep incline of the seat tube).

All that is complemented by a long wheelbase.

What is the end result?

With such bike geometry, you can achieve increased climbing traction, more powerful pedaling, plus added grip and control when descending.

Essentially, you’ll be fully in control when navigating trails.

Beyond the powerful navigation, you’ll have a more efficient riding experience.

More of your energy will go into making your bike surge forward. In turn, you’ll experience less fatigue, and actually enjoy your cycling adventure on long trails.

This model offers both 27.5” and 29” wheel versions.

You’ll get XS, S, and M frame sizes for the 27.5″ wheel version. M, L, and XL frame sizes are available for the 29″ wheel version.

The bike’s 120 mm SR-Suntour XCM32, an adjustable suspension fork, soaks in bumps on trails so you can enjoy a smooth ride. That’s complemented by the Shimano Deore 11 Speed drivetrain which helps you swiftly shift between different speeds as you tackle varying terrain.

The Norco team also included design features for better descents.

A particularly valuable feature is the Tranz-X 130 mm Stealth dropper post. This keeps you from leaning over dangerously on steep downhill descents. You also have powerful Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc brakes that give you a well controlled descent every time.

That’s not all…

The tubeless compatible 2.6″ tires give you excellent traction apart from being more durable than conventional tires.

Clearly, the Norco Fluid HT 2 is a serious contender for the best hardtail under 2000.

In summary, here are the main benefits and disadvantages.


  •          27.5” and 29” wheel versions
  •          adjustable suspension fork
  •          11 Speed drivetrain
  •          hydraulic disc brakes


  •          a bit heavy

Norco Fluid HT 1 – Second Best Hardtail Under 2000

The Fluid HT 1 offers many of the features found in the Fluid HT 2.

It’s not as feature-packed as the HT 2, but offers a lower price range.

The key defining feature of such Fluid HT bikes is the typical slack head tube angle, long reach, and steep seat tube angle. This combination gives the bicycle a forward weight distribution.

A long wheelbase also gives riders excellent playful and capable performance.

In effect, you’ll enjoy more powerful pedaling, greater climbing traction, as well as added control when descending. That makes the HT 1 an all-round performer capable of navigating multiple trails.

You also have the choice between 27.5” and 29” wheels.

An effective air suspension fork (120 mm X-Fusion RS32) is the icing on the cake which turns any bumpy trail into a smooth ride. Moreover, you get an amazing 12 Speed drivetrain which is surprisingly lightweight.

Even when riding fast, you’ll have full control with the Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc brakes.

Best of all, you have both front and rear brakes.

And you won’t have any discomfort with your sitting posture during descents, thanks to the Tranz-X 130 mm Stealth dropper post.

But how durable is it?

With a 6061 Alloy frame, you shouldn’t worry about anything falling apart even on the toughest trails. Harsh weather and wet conditions won’t harm the HT 1 either since the headset has sealed bearings.

The tough Shimano Deore CN-M6100 chain will also last for many years.

Riding this bike is sure to make you feel confident and in control, especially with the well-positioned 750 mm handlebar that has a 15 mm rise.

In summary, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Norco Fluid HT 1.


  •          slack head tube angle
  •          long wheelbase
  •          air suspension fork
  •          hydraulic disc brakes


  •          damping on the fork is a bit light

Trek Stache 5 – Third Best Hardtail Under 2000

Trek’s Stache 5 is a trail hardtail with 3” mid-fat tires.

This is the type of option you would select if you’re not quite ready for a flat tire bike, but want the benefit of monster-truck traction when riding through rough and loose terrain. On top of that, you also get a burly suspension fork. That’s absolutely necessary to stay in line when riding through particularly rowdy trails.

Since the bike is designed for rough terrain, durability is a key consideration.

For example, the frame is made of Alpha Platinum Aluminum designed to last a lifetime. The internal derailleur design will also prolong the life of your bike since sensitive parts will be protected.

Most importantly, the fork design is valuable for rough rides.

The Manitou Machete 32 Comp air spring fork has a 120 mm travel. It provides great cushioning. This is further enhanced by the Bontrager alloy front and rear hubs which sustain rough use for many years.

With the tubeless ready tires you’ll never worry about where you take your bike.

Apart from those all-terrain features, the bike’s 10 speed drivetrain will help you get to your destination fast.

As you may expect, this MTB also comes with dropper seatposts.

When cycling, you can maintain a comfortable posture with arms stretched out on the 750 mm wide Bontrager alloy handlebars. The 15 mm rise of the handlebars places them in the perfect position for an ergonomic sitting posture.

If you’ll have lots of descents in your trail, the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakeset will ensure you have maximum control.

Even with all those features, the bike’s weight is only 13.38 kg (29.5 lbs).

And the amazing part is its high weight carrying capacity of 300 pounds (136 kg), which consists of the combined weight of the bicycle, rider, and cargo.

One feature that stands out among the rest is the elevated drive-side chainstay. This allowed Trek to make the rear center shorter compared to bikes with traditional tires and wheels.

Based on all those features, here are the key pros and cons that stand out.


  •          frame made of Alpha Platinum Aluminum
  •          internal derailleur
  •          air spring fork
  •          10 speed drivetrain


  •          pedals are not included

Trek X-Caliber 7 – Fourth Best Hardtail Under 2000

Trek markets X-Caliber 7 as the perfect entry point bike for fast cross country ride and races.

Despite being an entry point bike, it has the features you would expect in the best hardtail under 2000.

It’s certainly a fully capable hardtail MTB with high-level tech. It has all the right parts that impact performance, including frame design, suspension type, and brakes.

So, what type of tech does it have?

Firstly, it has a lightweight Alpha Gold Aluminum frame. This makes the bike highly resistant to bumps and knocks, so it will last long. What’s more, the RockShox 30 Silver 100 mm suspension fork includes a lockout and air spring that’s more adjustable and lighter than a coil spring.

The bike is also great for climbing.

That’s made possible by the dependable Shimano 1×10 drivetrain which offers a wide range of gears that make climbing easy. Tubeless ready wheels also make riding possible on the roughest terrain. This is further complemented by wider Boost141 hubs that deliver increased wheel strength and tire clearance.

Just because it’s an entry point bike doesn’t mean it’s deficient.

In fact, the X-Caliber 7 has many high-end features, like:

  •           internal cable routing
  •           tapered head tube
  •           dropper post compatibility
  •           boost hub spacing

Best of all, the entire platform is designed to be easy to upgrade in future. You can literally transform it from an entry point into a high-end model.

Having a relatively light weight (13.39 kg / 29.53 lbs) makes the X-Caliber 7 great for races too.

And you can carry a considerable amount of weight: up to 300 pounds (136 kg).

In summary, these are the key advantages and disadvantages.


  •          relatively light weight (13.39 kg / 29.53 lbs)
  •          1×10 drivetrain
  •          lightweight Alpha Gold Aluminum frame
  •          100 mm suspension fork


  •          doesn’t include clipless pedals

Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Bike 2021 – Fifth Best Hardtail Under 2000

The Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Bike 2021 is designed to do exactly what hardtails are meant to do: easily conquer technical climbs.

How does it do that?

It all starts with the sturdy and lightweight 6061 aluminum frame. This means minimal downward gravity pull when going uphill.

You’ll get maximum traction with the ground with the 2.6″ tires. That means every effort you put in results in forward motion. That’s clearly evident from the 130 mm or 140 mm of travel you derive from the well-optimized front end.

Being dropper compatible, the growler is also supremely comfortable when going downhill.

Ultimately, the Growler’s geometry is designed for fun trail riding.

A 1×10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain makes things even better. This makes climbing and riding through rough trails so much easier. You can quickly control your speed to match the trail features.

It goes without saying that such a climbing machine should also effectively handle descents.

One critical feature that helps you handle descents is the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. They give excellent stopping power for controlled descents.

The tire makeup is also optimized for climbing.

The Rocky Mountain’s tires are tubeless which offers a smoother ride, greater traction, as well as fewer flats. Combined with the 130 mm travel Suntour XCM34 DS fork, you’ll hardly notice the bumps along the way and barely sweat when climbing.

Having a sealed cartridge bearing keeps the sensitive parts protected from harsh environments.

In summary, these are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Growler.


  •          6061 aluminum frame
  •          2.6″ tires
  •          hydraulic disc brakes
  •          tubeless tires


  •          fork damping is not adjustable

Marin Pine Mountain 1 Bike 2021 – Sixth Best Hardtail Under 2000

For the Marin Pine Mountain 1 Bike 2021, “steel is real, real fun.”

So, what makes this MTB possibly the best hardtail under 2000?

Unlike other MTBs, the Pine Mountain features a classic steel frame. This is a unique material, since many MTBs have aluminum alloy.

Another interesting feature is the large 29″ tires offering great roll-over characteristics.

It’s definitely a great choice for challenging trail rides.

The Rock Shox Recon fork ensures you get a supple and smooth ride. And you’ll be spoilt for choice with the Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain, which gives you all the gears you need for a steep climb. Even when descending, you can confidently rely on the powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes that have incredible stopping power.

But will it need constant repairs?

Well, it will be a long while before you need any repairs – even tire changes. The Marin Tubeless Ready wheels will ensure fewer flats, apart from giving you incredible traction.

The Pine Mountain can handle fast flowy singletracks, all day bike-packing adventures, and everything in between.

And this 2021 model is a great improvement from the 2020 version.

The fork compression and rebound adjustment is one excellent addition.

Although the frame is made of steel, you’ll still find a bit of aluminum on the wheelset. This wheelset accommodates 2.6” tires that offer a wider surface area for more traction.

The handlebar is also made of 6061 double butted aluminum.

Designed with a 780 mm width and 28 mm rise, the bike’s handlebar is quite comfortable to grasp and maneuver through rough terrain.

Out of all these features, the following key benefits and downsides stand out.


  •          large 29″ tires
  •          1×11 drivetrain
  •          tubeless ready wheels
  •          fork compression and rebound adjustment


  •          relatively heavy bike

Farley 5 – Seventh Best Hardtail Under 2000

Trek considers the Farley 5 their best value fat bike.

Marketed as “your ticket to all-season freedom,” this MTB can comfortably roll over sand, snow, roots, and rocks. It offers the stability and traction of monster trucks on wide, beefy tires.

But it’s not just because of the fat tires.

It also features an efficient Shimano drivetrain and a lightweight aluminum frame, which give you the extraordinary capability.

Another valuable feature is the rapid drive 108 rear hub.

The 108 points of engagement provide nearly instant acceleration – not a clunky lag when stepping on the pedals. The smooth, immediate power helps you blast out of corners and hammer through rough stuff.

And the bike’s extra pedal ratchet enhances control when tackling tricky climbs.

As if the fat tires weren’t enough, they are also tubeless.

Wide fat tires are sure to give greater traction, and tubeless tires will ensure optimum cushioning. You also have minimal risk of flat tires when riding through rough terrain.

Despite being a rugged machine, it looks quite sleek.

That’s partly due to the internal cable routing. You don’t get to see an unsightly messy network of route shift and brake cables. Everything is discreetly contained within the frame.

Most importantly, the frame is strong enough to handle rough handling.

Made of alpha platinum aluminum, it can absorb all the impacts without any dents. Despite being so strong, it adds very little weight to the whole machine, while having the capacity to hold far heavier weights (as much as 300 pounds/ 136 kg).

With a 100 mm fork travel, you’ll hardly feel the bumpy road.

It gets even better with the 10 speed Shimano Deore M4100 Drivetrain, 750 mm wide handlebar, and SRAM level hydraulic disc brake. Even with all those features, the bike only weighs a mere 14.66 kg (32.33 lbs).

In summary, these are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Farley 5.


  •          rapid drive 108 rear hub
  •          tubeless tires
  •          fat tires
  •          alpha platinum aluminum frame


  •          a bit heavier than other hardtails


Based on all these reviews, the Norco Fluid HT 2 seems to be the best hardtail under 2000.

This product does exactly what you would expect of a hardtail MTB.

It’s nimble and delivers confident handling. What’s more, the frame design creates that special forward weight distribution that you’ll certainly need during steep climbs.

However, this doesn’t mean that the other models aren’t good.

Depending on your specific needs, you may be better off with any of the other options. For instance, the Farley 5 would be a great fit for all-year riding, whether in deep winter snow or muddy rainy weather.

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