Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
Biking is fun, but mountain biking is even more fun! There are many reasons mountain biking is the best form of biking. You get a better workout, you’re in nature, you’re challenging yourself differently each time you hop on the bike…The list could go on and on.
If you’re as convinced as I am that mountain biking is the best form of biking or you’re simply wanting to get into the sport to try it out, you may be on the search for a bike to get started.
- Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
- 6 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
- What Can You Get In A Mountain Bike Under 500 Dollars
- How to Choose the Right Size Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes come in a wide range of prices. From $200 all the way to $10,000 and more, there is a mountain bike for almost every budget. But, if you’re a beginner or you want a bike that will be of good quality without breaking the bank, the $500 price point is ideal. Mountain bikes at this price point have great features, made of quality material, but don’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s a wonderful investment to get you introduced into the sport without worrying about it breaking down.
Today, I’m going to be sharing with you our 6 best mountain bikes under $500. Whether you want a bike to tackle extreme mountain bike courses or a bike to explore local trails, there’s something for you on the list below!
6 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
Each bike is different and has different pros and cons. It’s also important to note that every person is different and has different things they are looking for in a bike. Because of this, the list isn’t in any order.
If you’re looking for something even lighter and different, the Gravity 2021 FSX 1.0 may be for you! It’s an aluminum frame and incredibly light for a mountain bike at 27 pounds. The wheels are smaller as well at 26 inches. As with the others on this list, you’ve got to assemble some of the bike, but not all of it.
The reviewers are definitely in favor of this smaller bike giving it 4.4 out of 5 stars. Most love it and use this mountain bike for casual use. Because it’s lighter, it would probably struggle with more difficult terrains. So, if you aren’t planning on anything too crazy as a beginner, this could be for you.
If you’re looking for a 29 in wheel, this is a great option for the price range. It has an aluminum frame like the others, but it’s definitely on the heavier side weighing 39 pounds. Some assembly is required for this one as well!
In terms of reviews, it currently has 4.3 out of 5 stars. Reviewers appreciated the typical and easy assembly and there really wasn’t a specific qualm any of the reviewers had with this bike. It seems like an all around solid choice for a 29 inch wheel.
- 18-Inch/Medium Aluminum suspension frame maximizes comfort & performance
- Element suspension fork smooths the bumps and increases control
- 21 speed rear derailleur with SRAM twist shifters changes gears easily
- Alloy wheels with quick release front
- Alloy front & rear disc brakes
Our second 29 inch wheel mountain bike is this Mongoose Impasse. It’s got disc brakes just as the other bikes on this list and an aluminum frame. While aluminum is typical on the lighter side, this bike is not. It weighs a whopping 44 pounds!
When compared with the Schwinn Bonafide, it doesn’t have as favorable of reviews, but still good. It received 4 out of 5 stars with really easy assembly. The one issue some people had with this bike is the parts, sharing that the bike was solid and sturdy, but some of the mechanics brought about some issues.
- Conquer any off-road trail with ease with this steel-framed mountain bike with supersized all-terrain knobby tires
- The threadless headset is adjustable for riders of different heights; For added speed and performance, the strong, lightweight alloy rims keep the weight down
- Ride comfortably with beach cruiser pedals and ensure safety with front and rear disc brakes
- Rear derailleur with seven speeds makes hills easier to climb, while twist shifters make it smooth and easy to change gears while riding
- This bike ships ready to be assembled. Sized for adult riders 5' 6" to 6' tall, and has a limited lifetime warranty
For the last bike of our 6 best mountain bikes under $500, we’ve got the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire. Like the name suggests, these are definitely the thickest tires on this list (at 4 inches wide) while the wheels are only 26 inches. This is also the only bike on our list that is a steel frame as opposed to aluminum. Because of this, it is the heaviest at 52 pounds!
If you’re wanting a more unique bike that will be incredibly sturdy and a more comfortable ride, this could be exactly what you’re looking for. It has received 4.5 out of 5 stars, which is the second highest rating on this list. However, many reviewers have reported issues with the disc brakes.
- Durable mountain bike designed for trails and neighborhood rides
- Alloy crank provides steady gearing and less maintenance
- Twist shifters with rear derailleur for quick gear changes on the trail
- All-terrain, wide knobby mountain tires sit on light and durable alloy wheels for added stability
- Quick release seat post makes for easy height adjustment
Coming in right at the price point, the Schwinn High Timber mountain bike has 24-29 inch wheels with disc brakes and an aluminum frame.
This bike is the Amazon Best Seller for mountain bikes. It has 4.2 out of 5 stars from 1700 reviewers. Many share that it is a great beginner bike and is incredibly sturdy. When searching for improvements or any shortcomings, I found mentions that the quality of the components could be improved.
- Assembly tutorial is located in the related video shorts section; 18-inch frame is suggested for minimum inseam of 32 inches; 20 inch frame is also available
- The lightweight aluminum hardtail frame is backed by our limited 10-year frame warranty (see owner's manual for details); aluminum (much lighter than steel) provides more rolling momentum so it's...
- An all-Shimano drivetrain delivers 21 speeds of ultra smooth, precise shifting with just your index finger and thumb; premium padded ATB saddle is stitched for quality
- Front suspension delivers the right response for whatever terrain you ride; the front-load stem with forged crown provides extra strength for riding comfort; knobby tires grip dirt and gravel paths...
- Alloy linear pull brakes together with machined alloy wheel rims provide smooth stopping power; slight-rise handlebar enables upright riding to minimize back and shoulder strain; ATB-type resin pedals...
The Huffy Hardtail comes in 24-27.5 inch wheels and has an aluminum frame. Brakes are alloy linear pull brakes (not disc). It has a Shimano drivetrain and 21 speeds. The Hardtail has received 4.1 out of 5 stars.
What Can You Get In A Mountain Bike Under 500 Dollars
Alright, we’ve seen the 6 best mountain bikes under $500, but maybe you need a little more about what you’re actually getting. When it comes down to it, $500 is going to get you a solid mountain bike with some important features, but you need to expect and understand that it will not be top of the line.
For what you can actually get from a mountain bike under $500, we’re going to be discussing the biggest key elements below.
As I discussed in “6 Best Road Bikes Under $500,” the material they make your frame of will impact the weight of the bike itself, its weight capacity, and its durability. For a mountain bike at this price point, you’ll be looking at either steel or aluminum.
They both have their own pros and cons. Steel is going to be heavier, but that also means that it’ll be more durable and typically have a higher weight capacity. Aluminum is more lightweight so you’re able to be more nimble and move more quickly. It is also more expensive, but many argue that it is just as durable.
Drivetrain and Components
All the mountain bikes listed in our list of the top 7 under $500 have disc brakes. In the past, mountain bikes only had v-brakes, but in recent years disc brakes have overtaken the mountain bike market. They provide the best for control, safety, and power on varying terrains.
For quality and price of disc brakes, a bike under $500 will not have the top of the line. But, it is reassuring knowing that this price point will provide the best type of braking system the market offers.
Most mountain bikes (including the best mountain bikes under $500) come with 27.5 or 29 inch wheels. Like the frame metals, both wheel sizes bring their own benefits and drawbacks. The 27.5 is faster and lighter with decent traction. Meanwhile, the 29 inch wheels are slower and heavier, but have even better traction. Along with this, it is said that the 29 inch wheels are better for people who are taller.
On the list above, you can find both wheels and a 26 inch one (which is often regarded as more of a children’s bike or a free ride bike). So, at this price point, you have your pick of wheel size! You just need to determine what is best for you!
If you get a steel frame, you’re going to have a heavier bike. And while steel frames are the most affordable, there are plenty of aluminum options at this price point! And I mention frame regarding total weight because that makes up the vast majority of the weight of the bike. In other words, it has the biggest impact.
Most of the best mountain bikes under $500 are going to be somewhere in the ballpark of 35 pounds or more, which is a great place to start.
In the best mountain bikes under $500, some assembly is going to be required. Most of the bikes on the list above come mostly assembled with an average of 30-45 minutes of time allotted to putting it all together. You will not have to build the bike yourself, but you will have to follow the directions and put on the final touches.
If assembly isn’t your jam, you can always take your bike to a local bike shop, and they will do the work for you. It’ll up the price of your bike, but if it’s in your budget, it’s always an option.
How to Choose the Right Size Mountain Bike
Similar to choosing the right road bike, choosing the right mountain bike for you comes down to a few crucial factors: your size, your lifestyle, and your personal style.
For size, you’ll need to think about your height for the bike frame, but you’ll also need to consider your weight. If you’re near the weight limit on a bike, consider a more sturdy material or a bike with a better limit.
For your lifestyle, are you mountain biking for fitness and leisure or for sport? Some mountain bikes handle more intense circumstances better than others. But, if you’re doing lighter, less intense trails, you will have more options.
Lastly, consider your personal style. Does the bike look good to you? If you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of money, it’s got to look nice, right?