Trickle-Down Tech: Bikes We Recommend under $2,000

Carbon fiber, new wheel sizes, electronic shifting, tubeless wheelsets… new technologies cause bike prices to go through the roof. The good news? A ‘trickle down’ of high-end features is now coming to the masses.

goldgenie racing bike
Not a budget buy: The 24k Goldgenie racing bike cost $400,000

The bike industry is a bullet train of incremental (and sometimes massive) innovation. Constant research and design, and new product launches keep current-year bike model costs high, like used-car-level high.

But a smart buyer who does not need tip-of-spear innovation? You my friend are in a lucky place. Top-shelf design and technology from just a couple years ago is now making its way to the mid-tier.

We’ve been focusing on this sweet spot for the past few months, testing a range of bikes from numerous companies. This article looks at five bikes we like (or love) that cost less than $2,000. Whether you are bombing singletrack, cruising long road rides, racing, or crushing gravel, these rigs stand up to the test and won’t break the bank.

Note on availability: Most bike here are just coming to market (summer 2016); check with your local bike shop or the brands for availability if you’re looking to buy soon.

GT Verb – Expert ($1,630); Elite ($1,299)

GT Verb

At just $1,630, the Verb Expert is a serious value. Highlights include a full Deore driveline, hydraulic disc brakes, 27.5 Nobby Nic tires, and an air spring shock. It weighs 32 pounds and has 120mm of “independent drive train” rear suspension that isolates pedal forces better than the single-pivot designs normally found at this price.

GT Verb Elite
The Verb Elite – MSRP $1,299

We rode the Expert model in Park City, Utah, last month and it felt only a little bit over-matched on the harsh terrain there, performing better than we expected. It shifted and braked well despite the affordable Deore components.

Tip: Deore works almost as well as anything now, as the trickle-down from more expensive component groups have come down to this group. The only penalty that comes with Deore is weight, not shifting or braking performance.

Review: Plus-Size 'Bargain Carbon' Marquette 27.5+
Review: Plus-Size 'Bargain Carbon' Marquette 27.5+
Review: A gorgeous carbon-fiber frame, respectable specs, and a (very) fair price tag make the Framed Marquette mountain bike a solid choice for riders looking to dabble in the world of plus-size bikes. Read more…

Likewise, the Verb inherited once premium-priced tech; the “Independent Drive” rear suspension, once the flagship technology of GT’s mountain bikes, finds itself here. It is probably the most efficient rear suspension design at this price point.

Conclusion: It was a bit flexy on both the front and back end under our 180-lb. test rider, but for $1,600 or $1,300 this is a huge value. The frame is good enough to upgrade a bit, if desired.

Page 2 (Road Bikes under $2,000)…

Tom Puzak

Contributing Editor Tom Puzak, a former attorney, found himself more interested in his bike than filing copies in triplicate. Now as GearJunkie's resident "bike junkie" he makes less money but enjoys a more creative work atmosphere. Puzak is based out of the Minneapolis office.