Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive? (Explained)

In short, mountain bikes are so expensive because they are built from expensive materials which are labor-intensive to produce, and the simple economics of high demand with relatively little market competition. In this post, we guide you through all the reasons why mountain bikes are expensive and if they are worth the money?

Is It Worth Buying An Expensive Mountain bike?

Yes. If you have the budget buying an expensive mountain bike is definitely worth it. More expensive mountain bikes are lighter weight and have much more reliable components. A high-end mountain bike will have great suspension, and super sharp brakes should you need to stop quickly.

However, if you are just getting started with mountain biking it can be worth getting a hardtail, this is because it will help you learn the base skills, like balance, and line choice – whereas a high-end full-suspension bike will allow you to get away with a lot of mistakes, and help you make up for areas where you might be less confident.

You might be want to check out: What Is A Hardtail Mountain Bike? (Why You Should Ride One)

Why Are Mountain Bikes so Expensive?

The main reason that mountain bikes are so expensive is that they aren’t made in high volumes and they still require a lot of labor to make. This means that they have to cost more simply to cover the costs of making them. 

What Makes a Mountain Bike Expensive?

One of the main reasons that mountain bikes are expensive is simply because of the time it takes to hand-build the components. 

There are, however, a number of different factors that also affect the price of bikes.


Bike companies release new designs and new components every year. If you compare them with cars, car parts can remain unchanged for years. The rate of innovation helps to drive the prices up.

Quality materials

High-end mountain bikes and their components are often made from high-end materials like carbon fiber and titanium to make the bikes lightweight and strong. Materials like carbon fiber are hand made which brings up the cost, and materials like titanium are notoriously expensive,


Mountain bike parts are built to incredible levels of precision. Parts have to work to these levels of precision while also weighing a lot less. 


It can take 1,500 people to make 15,000 frames a year. Carbon fiber bike frames have to be made by hand and are therefore only made in small numbers.

Little competition

There are only a limited number of companies making the components that go into building a bike. This means that they can charge more for the parts and the bike manufacturers who want to use their parts on their bikes have no choice but to pay.

When Did Mountain Bikes Get So Expensive?

Mountain bikes have always been relatively expensive, however, the price of mountain bikes started to skyrocket in the early ’90s. This was the era when mountain biking started to see recognition from the mass media, which grew demand for mountain bikes, and therefore pushed up the price.

How Expensive are Mountain Bikes?

The price of mountain bikes can vary massively, from $1000 for a hardtail all the way up to over $10,000 for a high-end full-suspension bike.

A good entry-level full-suspension bike will usually cost between $2,000 and $2,500 new. Any less and it’s more likely that parts will break and require costly repairs or replacements.

Price for a Beginner LEVEL hardtail:$700-1500
Price for an ENTRY LEVEL mountain bike:$2000-2500
Price for an INTERMEDIATE LEVEL mountain bike:$3000-4000
Price for an ADVANCED LEVEL mountain bike:$4000-6000
Price for a PRO LEVEL mountain bike$7000-10,000+
The average price of a mountain bike by rider ability

The Top 10 Most Expensive Mountain Bikes

Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive?
Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive?

Bike NameBrandTypePrice
Trek Supercaliber 9.9 AXSTrekFull-Suspension$10,499
Cannondale Scalpel Hi-MOD UltimateCannondaleFull-Suspension$11,499
Scott Spark RC 900 SL AXSScottFull-Suspension$11,999
Mondraker F-Podium Carbon RR SLMondrakerFull-Suspension$13,499
Pivot Switchblade Team XX1 AXSPivotFull-Suspension$13,549
Canyon Strive CFR LTDCanyonFull-Suspension$14,000
Specialized S-Works EnduroSpecializedFull-Suspension$14,999
Santa Cruz Megatower CC XX1 AXS RSVSanta CruzFull-Suspension$14,999
Yeti SB165 T-Series X01 AXS ZIPPYetiFull-Suspension$16,000
Specialized Levo SL Founder’s EditionSpecializedE-MTB$19,410
Top 10 most expensive mountain bikes

Is It Cheaper To Buy Or Build A Mountain Bike?

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to buy a mountain bike rather than build your own. This is by no means a definitive answer and there are a number of things to consider.

– The components will often have been discounted when the manufacturer bought them.

– You can usually test the bike before committing to buying it to make sure that you choose the right bike for you..

– All parts of the bike will work well together.

– You save yourself the time and potential stress of building an entire bike from scratch.

Reasons Why to Consider Building Your Own Bike

– A lot of pre-built bikes will have compromised somewhere in their build. Building your own bike means that you can choose the exact right parts for you. 

– Discounted parts. If you don’t mind using components that are a year or two old then you can get the cost of building your own bike down significantly.

You’ll end up with a bike that you know very, very well.

Where Can I Get a Good Price on a Mountain Bike?

Buying at the right time, or from certain vendors, can help to get a good price on a mountain bike. 

Buy in The Off-Season

A lot of the time bargains can be found if you shop at the right time of year. The end of the summer biking season is always a good time to find a good deal. 

Buy Second-hand

If you don’t mind not having a shiny new bike then there are often good deals to be found on second-hand bikes. Bikes lose a lot of value as soon as they are ridden, so secondhand can be a good option. Of course, buying from a private seller does come with risks and it’s a good idea to check over the bike as thoroughly as possible. see our post here on buying a second hand bike.

Buy an Ex-Rental Bike

A lot of shops sell their rental fleet at the end of summer. These bikes will usually have been very well maintained and if there are any problems it’s easy to go back to the shop.

Join a Demo Program

There are a number of programs that allow you to pay a fee to try out as many bikes as you want over a certain period and then if you find one you like, they will sell it to you at a discount.

Buy a Bike with Nonstandard Size Wheels

26-inch wheels have fallen out of fashion and many people are selling off bikes with 26-inch wheels at a huge discount. These bikes still work well and can be a good option when hunting for a deal

Buy from A Straight-To-Consumer Brand

Some brands, such as Canyon, YT Industries, and Commencal cut out the middle man and sell their bikes directly to consumers. 

Should I Buy A Second-Hand Mountain Bike?

Second-hand mountain bikes can be a great way to save some money while still getting an amazing deal on a bike. However, there are some things to look out for to make sure that you get the best possible deal. Buying second-hand bikes can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for.

Here are the main things to consider when buying a second-hand mountain bike:

Meet the seller in person

This is a good way to avoid potential fraud and it also lets you have a proper look at the bike and make sure that everything is in working order.

Check all the parts

Don’t just opt for your dream frame without paying full attention to the parts on the bike. You don’t want to get something that will let you down. When buying a second bike check for the frame for any dents, or cracks, ensure the suspension works as it should, ensure the brakes function well and don’t need bleeding, and don’t have any leaks. Check the wheels are straight etc.

Make sure it isn’t stolen

Sadly bikes go missing every day. Bikeregister.com and bikeindex.org are good resources to check that you aren’t being sold a stolen bike. Ask the seller questions about the bike, or the local trails, as well. If they are lacking in knowledge then there might be a reason for that.

How old is the bike?

The older a bike is, the more likely it is that there will be issues arising further down the line. It might also make it harder to find replacement parts that fit. (we have an in-depth post here on stolen bikes)

Taking all of these factors into consideration can help you to buy the perfect second-hand bike for you without any problems, but you are even in doubt, always walk away!

Conclusion – Are Expensive Mountain Bikes Worth It?

If you have the budget, then buying an expensive one is definitely worth it. They will allow you to push yourself to ride things you wouldn’t have thought possible. They are much more reliable, which will mean spending less money in the long term. Also having a flash new biking will be great fun to ride and you will be the envy of all your friends.

Peter Ballin

Pedro is the primary writer on the site. He’s raced downhill and enduro at a high level, spannered at mountain bike world cups, and also written a book called Mountain Bike Maintenance. He’s appeared in both print & online major media publications across the Uk, France, and Japan (and even appeared on French Television). He’s made his living from bikes in various forms, from mountain bike guiding in France and Spain, Trail building in New Zealand and Canada, and working as a bike mechanic in the French Alps for many years. Pedro loves a good adventure and is often settling random challenges like riding down Mount Fuji, swimming across Lake Geneva, and hitchhiking across America.