Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020

In this post I round up the best hardtail mountain bikes 2020 has to offer. I have found the best hardtail mountain bikes to suit different budgets. Therefore, you will surely find the right hardtail mountain bike for you.

In the past I have said that the minimum your should spend on a hardtail is £500 to £600. This is to ensure that it has components that are not going to fall off after a couple of months of riding. However, now (depending on where you ride and how you ride), you can get great bikes for considerably less money.

You will notice that I haven’t chosen bikes much more expensive than £1,000 for this list. This is because, at this price point you start to see the advantages of having a full suspension bike and you will probably want to buy one of those instead.

Why Choose A Hardtail Over A Full Suspension Mountain Bike?

Before I go in to my recommended 2020 hardtail mountain bikes, I am going to talk about the advantages of having a hardtail over a full suspension mountain bike.


Hardtail mountain bikes are much simpler machines than full suspension mountain bikes. This brings their cost down considerably. Therefore, they are ideal for people that are not sure how much they are going to get out on their bikes, as they don’t need to spend a stratospheric amount of money on a bike that will be sitting in the garage. In addition to this, there lower cost makes mountain biking more accessible to more people. You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands on posh full suspension mountain bikes to have fun.

Less Maintenance

Another advantage of the simplicity of a hardtail, is that there is less to go wrong with them. The lack of rear suspension means that there are less moving parts to wear out.

Winter conditions take their toll on mountain bike components. So some riders put their full suspension bikes away for the winter and bring out their hardtails. This saves them getting the tools out so often or spending money on replacing expensive components.

More Efficient

Full suspension mountain bikes bounce up and down while pedalling, (unless you can lock out the suspension), wasting your energy. A hardtail doesn’t have this bounce, so more of your effort goes in to the back wheel. The difference is pretty surprising, especially when you get off a full suspension mountain bike and jump on to a hardtail. You will instantly notice how quickly it accelerates from a standstill. During a long ride or a steep climb you will notice that you won’t be using as much energy, this will be thanks to the bike’s lighter weight.

Great For Building Skills

As a hardtail is less forgiving than a full suspension mountain bike, you have to learn how to ride it properly. As a beginner, if you start with a full suspension mountain bike, you will develop bad habits that are difficult to get out of. A hardtail mountain bike is ideal for learning the basic skills of mountain biking. These skills are all transferable when you upgrade to higher end bikes too. 

What is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike under £350

GT Agressor

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020 - GT mountain bikes

Below £350 you need to be realistic about what you are riding. At this price you can’t expect anything too fancy, but you can have a lot of fun. This is important, as this is where most people start their love affair with mountain biking. If your first bike is horrible, you are not likely to continue. Therefore, you need something like the GT Aggressor.

This is an entry level hardtail mountain bike that is designed to be a versatile bike for riders to get the most out of it. You can have a lot of fun on the trails with an Aggressor, but it is also suitable for commuting and general riding around.

The GT Aggressor comes in three different versions:

  • Sport
  • Comp
  • Expert

The Comp and the Expert are a little more expensive, but have better components that are more durable. But, as durability goes, this is a solid bike that will give you a great intro to mountain biking in 2020.

When it comes to ordering your new GT Aggressor, you can specify the wheel size you would prefer. You get a choice of 27.5″ and 29″ wheels. If you are not sure what to choose, there are characteristics each have that determine how your bike handles:

27.5″ – Easier to change direction and feels more nimble.

29″ – Rolls over bumps easier and gives a smoother, faster ride. However,  they make it less easy to turn, especially in tight corners. Usually taller riders choose 29″ wheels.


  • Frame: All new 6061 T6 Aluminium, triple triangle with floating seat stays, forged drop-outs with disc brake mounts, zero stack 1 1/8″ head tube, 27.5/29″ wheels
  • Fork: SR Suntour M3030, 75mm, coil
  • Stem: 6061 Alloy, 31.8mm clamp, 8°, 90mm
  • Handlebar: GT All Terra Alloy riser, 25mm rise, 8° sweep, 6° rise
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Tourney, 31.8mm clamp
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tourney
  • Shifters: Shimano EZ Fire EF41
  • Brakes: Cable actuated mechanical disc, 160/160mm rotors
  • Crankset: All Terra, 42/34/24T
  • Cassette: Sunrace, 14-34T
  • Chain: KMC Z51, 7 speed
  • Tyre: WTB Ranger Comp, 27.5/29×2.25″, DNA compound
  • Rims: WTB SX19, 32h
  • Front Hub: Sealed Alloy disc, QR
  • Rear Hub: Sealed Alloy disc, QR
  • Saddle: GT MTB
  • Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x300mm

Who is it for?

The GT Aggressor is a nice bike for the price. It will suit those that want a bike that want to be able to commute, ride light off-road trails and have fun on. As long as you don’t ride anything too crazy, the GT Aggressor is a good value, entry level hardtail bike.

Click here to see my review of the GT Aggressor

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike around £600/$600

Vitus Nucleus

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020 - 2020 Vitus Nucleus

The Vitus Nucleus has won multiple awards, notably the MBR hardtail of the year four years in a row. Its modern geometry, component list capability makes it feasible completion for hardtail bikes that are twice the price.

The geometry is low, slack and long, which is in keeping with the modern trend. If you are not sure why this is good, I will explain. Low bikes have a lower centre of gravity, which helps you out when it comes to cornering. When a bike is slack, it means the head angle ( the angle of the fork relative to the bike) is not as steep. This kicks the front wheel slightly more in front of you, making the bike stable on steeper descents. Long bikes are also more stable. Therefore the Vitus Nucleus is very capable.

The suspension on the Nucleus is much better than what you would find on the GT Aggressor above. It has 120mm of travel as opposed to 75mm. This will soak up the bumps a lot better, especially as it is a better quality fork too. This fork is easy to adjust too. It allows you to fine tune the damping and air pressure to change how it handles to suit you and the terrain you are riding. Firm everything up for when you are pedalling efficiency and soften it for bumpy descents and jumps.


  • Frame: Brand New 6061-T6 Alloy construction with longer, slacker and lower build and modern geometry
  • Forks: Suntour SF14-XCR32 Air 27.5”, 120mm
  • Rear Shock: N/A
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M290 disc brakes, 160/160 rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Altus
  • Shifter: Shimano Altus
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD- M2000 Altus, SGS 9-Speed
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG200-9, 11-32T
  • Chainset: Suntour CW15-XCM, 175mm, 36x22T
  • Chain: KMC Z9
  • Rims: WTB ST i29
  • Front Hub: KT, 32H, 100x9mm
  • Rear Hub: KT, 32H, 135x10mm
  • Tyres: Front: WTB Vigilante Comp, 27.5×2.3” with High Grip Compound; Rear: WTB TrailBoss COMP, 27.5×2.25”
  • Saddle: Vitus
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus 50mm
  • Bars: Nukeproof Neutron 31.8mm, 25mm rise
  • Headset: FSA
  • Top Cap: Vitus
  • Tubeless Ready: Yes, with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Who is it for?

The Vitus Nucleus is for riders that want something that is more of a mountain bike than a commuter (although you can use it for everything). It is more expensive than the GT Aggressor, but probably better value for money, as it will last longer in terms of riding fun, as you may grow out of the GT much quicker as you progress as a rider. If you can afford to go spend a little more, it would be worth choosing the Nucleus.

Click here to see my review of the Vitus Nucleus

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike under £750

Trek Roscoe 6

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020 - trek Roscoe

The under £750 category is a difficult one to place a bike in. This is because of the Vitus Nucleus above. It is a case of weighing up the cost versus the quality of the bike and its components. Do you spend a little more, or do you go with a great value for money bike? At the end of the day, it all depends on your bank account and how much you are going to ride. But, with lots of research, I have found a great option if you are willing to spend a bit more.

The Trek Roscoe 6 is designed to be a fun and easy bike to ride. Its big fat plus sized tyres soften up the ride and offer a big contact patch for excellent grip (although you may want to upgrade these for better rubber). You will find that the Trek Roscoe feels super comfortable to ride, especially when riding downhill sections of trail, thanks to its short stem and wide handlebars.

As with all these bikes so far, the Roscoe has a 1X drivetrain. This means that it only has 1 gear on the front. This is a good thing, as there is less to go wrong and you have less chance of the chain popping off while riding bumpy terrain. It has 11 gears, so you should have enough pedalling power for most situations you would put a bike like this in to.


FrameAlpha Gold Aluminum, tapered head tube, internal derailleur & dropper post routing, rack & kickstand mount, Boost141, 5mm QR
ForkSR Suntour XCM 32, coil spring, preload, lockout, 47mm offset, Boost110, 15mm thru axle, 120mm travel
Rear DerailleurShimano Deore M6000, mid cage, 42T max cog
ShiftersShimano Deore M6000, 10 speed
Chain setFSA Alpha Drive, 28T steel ring, Boost
Bottom BracketShimano 7420ST, 73mm, threaded cartridge, 124.5mm spindle
CassetteSunRace, 11-42, 10 speed
ChainKMC X10, 10 speed
PedalsVP-536 nylon platform
BrakesetTektro HD-M276 hydraulic disc, short reach lever
HandlebarBontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 15mm rise
StemBontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree
HeadsetSemi-integrated, cartridge, 1-1/8″ top, 1.5″ bottom
GripsBontrager XR Trail Comp, nylon lock-on
RimsAlex MD35, Tubeless Ready, 32-hole, 35mm width, presta valve
Front HubFormula DC-511, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle
Rear HubFormula DC-2241, alloy, 6-bolt, Shimano 8/9/10 freehub, Boost141, 5mm QR
TyresKenda Havok, wire bead, 30 tpi, 27.5X2.80″
SaddleBontrager Arvada, steel rails
SeatpostBontrager alloy, 31.6mm, 12mm offset
WeightM – 15.16 kg / 33.42 lbs (with tubes)

Who is it for?

The Trek Roscoe is for someone that doesn’t mind spending a bit more money on their bike. However, you will want to upgrade the tyres for much better versions. This will make it feel more planted. To be honest, I would save my money and buy a Vitus Nucleus, or I would save up for a Vitus Sentier.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike under £1,000

Vitus Sentier

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020 - vitus sentier VR

The Vitus Sentier is similar to the Nucleus in terms of its modern geometry. It is an aggressive hardtail that you will have huge amounts of fun on. It will also last you a long time, as it is not a bike that you will grow out of quickly as you progress.

It has a great component list for a bike of this price. They are god quality components from well known and established brands. Even the tyres are great. Maxxis Minions are tough and grippy that are good for lots of different riding conditions. To make this a better bike, you can upgrade to a dropper seat post and upgrade the brake discs to ones that can be used with organic or sintered pads. Brake disks are not expensive, so if you find yourself changing your pads too often, it may be worth considering upgrading. However, organic pads give you more stopping power, but ware out quickly.


  • Frame: Brand New 6061-T6 Alloy construction with longer, slacker and lower build and modern geometry
  • Brakes: Shimano MT-400 disc brakes, 180/160 rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 1×10
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore M6000
  • Forks: 140mm RockShox Recon RL fork
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M6000
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-500 10-Spd, 11-42T
  • Chainset: Suntour Zeron 170mm 32T
  • Chain: KMC X10 EPT
  • Rims: WTB ST i29
  • Front Hub: KT 32H, 110x15mm “Boost”
  • Rear Hub: KT 32H, 148x12mm “Boost”
  • Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF, 3C Maxx Terra 27.5×2.6”
  • Saddle: Nukeproof Neutron
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus 45mm
  • Bars: Nukeproof Neutron 31.8mm, 25mm rise
  • Headset: FSA
  • Top Cap: Vitus
  • Tubeless Ready: Yes, with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Who is it for?

The Vitus Sentier is a very capable hardtail mountain bike. It is light weight, fun and you will feel naturally at home on it straight away. If you want to ride singeltrack and trail centres with confidence, while have great fun without spending thousands, this is the bike for you.

It is pretty good value for money in terms of its capability and how much fun you will have on it. You will probably want to upgrade the brake pads and brake discs to ensure that you don’t need to keep replacing the pads all the time. The only other thing that would improve this bike, is to install a dropper seat post. These small changes will give the Vitus Sentier longevity with its ownership.

Click here to see my review of the Vitus Sentier

The Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020 has to offer?

As you can see, you can get pretty capable mountain bikes for under £1000 these days. The Vitus Sentier is my favourite in this list. There are also higher specced versions, but the one featured here will satisfy your trail shredding needs.

What do you think? Please let me know what you think about these bikes. Should I include something else? Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.

12 thoughts on “Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2020

  • 20/09/2019 at 12:49 pm

    Done and seal then, I am going to buy the GT aggressor for myself. I just want a nice looking hard tail mountain bike that can just be used for the light rides and not for the rugged rides. Thankfully this GT aggressor us perfectly suited with my budget. Besides, I love the specifications and features and it kind of blends well with my gut feelings. Thanks

    • 20/09/2019 at 1:11 pm

      Hi RoDarrick,

      The GT Aggressor is a popular bike and great for getting around on. Thanks for your comment.

  • 20/09/2019 at 12:51 pm

    These are some really nice suggestions of mountain bikes you have here. For some time now I met mat with people who complain about having parts falling off their bikes as they ride it through stony path and how annoying it can be losing some parts. However I’m not much of a mountain rider but mountain bikes have been my favorite, It GT Agressor seem to me more of my kind of bike than the rest. I’ll love to get one for me and my son who is a prospecting biker, I’ll get him a much better bike later on. Thanks for sharing.

    • 20/09/2019 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Dane,

      Thanks for your comment. The Aggressor is a great bike for a novice mountain biker.

  • 20/09/2019 at 12:57 pm

    I love bikes very much but the funniest part of my experience about bike is that it took me a very long time before I could gather the courage to ride one of my own. This is a really nice post, bike lovers will find it really interesting and useful, I also like the bikes and their specifications, my favorite is the Trek Roscoe 6, its gonna be NY comfort ride very soon, lol, I’ll GE one for myself soon. Thanks for sharing this informative article, its really useful. 

    • 20/09/2019 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Jones,

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad to be of help.

  • 20/09/2019 at 1:00 pm

    I am on a very tight budget at the moment, I was off work for a while due to a back injury, I have been advised to do various exercises to strengthen the muscles in my back and riding a bike would also be beneficial, however, I am very reluctant to ride a bike on the busy roads, I just wouldn’t feel safe and a friend of mine does some off road biking, so I have been on the lookout for a suitable and affordable bike, I haven’t been having much luck until I came to your post here, I think the GT Aggressor is perfect for me and I can afford the £350. thank you for sharing. 

    • 20/09/2019 at 1:08 pm

      Hi Russ,

      Thanks for your comment. A GT Aggressor is a great option for light trail riding and commuting, it is also great fun to ride.

  • 20/09/2019 at 1:07 pm

    Hello, I feel really lucky seeing these wonderful array of mountain bikes. Personally I had no interest in bikes but since i got married, my husband who is a biker have given ma a hundred reasons to like it, lol. Currently the bad bikes he has at home just keeps increasing by the number and he has stopped buying any more bikes. I’ll want to get him one for his forth coming birthday and out of his love for fat tires and budget,  I’ll love to get him the Trek Roscoe 6. I hope he likes it, its nice being here.

    • 20/09/2019 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Chloe,

      You can never have enough bikes, even if they don’t work 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

  • 13/04/2020 at 8:13 pm


    Nice post! My cousins are huge fans of mountain bikes. For some reasons, they’ve always preferred the hardtail mountain bikes to the full suspension ones, I’ve always wondered why until I came across your post just now. It’s safe to say I prefer the hardtail mountain bikes now. And thanks for the list you gave, you helped me with making a choice on which bike to get for one of my cousins as a birthday gift and I’m gladly going for the Vitus Nucleus. Thanks for sharing your post.

    • 13/04/2020 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Isanren,

      Thanks for your comment. The Vitus Nucleus is a good choice.


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