What’s the best value in $2,000 XC race bikes right now?

Looking to get into endurance mtb xc races this year, as well as continue doing the local short track series. Want to spend as little as possible, but have these requirements:

Eagle drivetrain
Tubeless wheels (hopefully tires, too)
29” wheels
Bought at a local shop
Around $2,000

We have almost every brand available from one shop or another here in Louisville, and I think I’ve narrowed my search down to the Specialized Chisel Expert and the Orbea Alma M50.

Am I missing any other obvious contenders for similar price, which is $2,000 (msrp)?

Have you considered Rocky Mountain Element? I just bought a C50 and she rips. Plus… Two water bottle mounts! 120 up front, 100 out back.

Where are you finding that around the $2000 price set by the OP?
The alloy version of that is still $3500.

This will be a hardtail bike, and most likely aluminum to hit that price.

I think the specialized epic is their XC machine.

That’s the bike I went with for endurance XC racing… love it :+1:

1 Like

Yes, the Epic HT is amazing, but as above, it’s well over the $2000 price the OP wants to spend.

1 Like

It’s been the same frame since 2016. Second hand is an option, or at least it would be for me.

Marathon is much better on a fully.

Confusious says… Make do with the bike you have, and save more for the next model up, and you’ll have no regrets.

He also said man with hands in pocket, feeling little ballsy…

Are you going to have money left over for upgrades and spares?
At that sort of price point you’re probably going to want a couple of mods.

My first rig was an alloy framed HT that was heavy, but capable enough. I added a dropper post, new saddle, brake discs, good tubeless XC tires, and a spare wheel set. Don’t forget the pedals.

For 2k, used is a great option, lot more bike for the money. Decision based on warranty importance.


I think either of the bikes you mentioned would be fine. Honestly for hardtails at a particular price point all bikes are going to be very similar once you exclude the mail order brands.

Not to harp on what others have said, but to give you an idea of second hand about 2k USD is what I paid for my current bike. It’s a carbon Norco Revolver full suspension, built up with a full XTR groupset and other high end parts.

1 Like

There is no best value for 2K in xc.

Unless you go hard tail or used - which will still be cutting it close. I’d sell my Felt Nine 1 with eagle, SID WC, specialized carbon dropper, for 2K if not more. Just to give you an idea what you’re looking at.

Pinkbike, eBay are your best bets. Have bought several bikes online like this. Used for a year or two and sold for close to what I paid for.

1 Like

Pretty much what everyone else has said, Hardtail is going to be your only option if you are buying new at that price point. Honestly, I’d save about $1500 more and get something you really want and be able to keep for a few years. Direct to consumer online brands are going to be cheaper as well, if you’re not committed to your local bike shop. On a sidenote, I’ve been very happy with the used bikes I have bought in the past. They are usually about 30-40% off retail.

1 Like

Thanks for all of the great replies!

I certainly watch eBay and Craigslist, haven’t seen much pop up that checks all of my boxes.

I already have a Giant Trance with eagle, so I don’t want another full-suspension rig and I do want the new bike to have eagle for parts sharing between the two.

Right now I’m leaning toward the Chisel because it’s pretty much ready to rock out of the box, after setting up the tires tubeless and swapping the stem.

The orbea is still tempting, because carbon frame, but I’m not hung up on that too much.

1 Like

I bought my used bike here:


I had an Epic before my Trance; it was a great race bike but I don’t want any part of maintaining a Brain rear shock.


I’m not opposed to used, just haven’t seen much locally.

I do like having the local shop behind me on a bike; my local Specialized dealer has come through with HUGE warranty claims for me before, so I’d like to buy local unless i find a great deal on something used.

1 Like

I have the Specialized Chisel and absolutely love it! Bought a frame and built it up with some new parts and some from a previous build. Just over 20 lbs.

1 Like

How is it on longer rides?

Longest ride so far was just under 3 hours. It was comfortable with no issues. I know it’s not an endurance focused bike but I would not hesitate to do longer rides on it.

I’m also going to be doing a short track series on this bike, as well as some 60-90m xc races.

I’ve done 2-hour races on a Crave SL full rigid, so I think this bike will be fine.

1 Like

For under 2k, buy used.

If you can spring 3k, look at the Canyon bikes. Direct to customer, so not through your LBS, but probably the best value bikes from any major brand right now.