The 10 Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 [2018 Budget Pick & Reviews]
“Dedicated to all the free spirits who love the outdoors.”
Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the country. Its popularity is only predicted to grow given the people’s increased interest in connecting with nature as a way to de-stress from everyday life. Unfortunately, with the continued growth of this sport, the associated cost of these bikes is expected to grow as well.
Indeed, mountain bikes are expensive. They are made of quality materials that are expected to endure the hard rides up mountainous trails. However, it is also true that there are mountain bikes, built by well-known and respected manufacturers, that are actually priced below $500!
Despite being affordable, these bikes are not cheaply-made by some unknown brands. These bikes are made with the highest quality and standards by leading manufacturers in the cycling industry. Affordable at any current budget restrictions, these best mountain bikes under $500 is your invitation to one of the greatest outdoor sports in the world.
Based on numerous factors including hours of research, consumer reviews, and side-by-side comparisons, the Schwinn Bonafied Mountain Bike comes highly recommended. With impeccable styling and design, this bike offers the rider options from cross-country to trail riding.
Here are the other best budget mountain bikes under $500 that we have chosen to review.
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Dollars
Schwinn Bonafied Mountain Bike
Raleigh Bikes Tekoa Mountain Bike
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 1 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike
Aluminum Fat Bikes with Powerful Disc Brakes
Schwinn S29 Men's 29" Wheel Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike
EUROBIKE Mountain Bike 21 Speed 3-Spoke 29 Inches Wheels
GMC Topkick Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
Raleigh Bikes Ziva Women's Mountain Bike
Nashbar 29" Disc Mountain Bike
1. Schwinn Bonafied 29" Wheel Mountain Bike
When you are stuck in an office from 9-5, life can get boring and monotonous. Take it to the next level by riding this hardtail mountain bike from Schwinn. As a leading manufacturer of a wide range of dependable bicycles for generations, this company takes it to the limit with a new and exciting way to ride the once traditional bike.
Designed for those who love to live life to the fullest, this 24-speed mountain bike will bring you to a world you have never thought existed. It is built for tough terrain, so you can take this wherever you want to. Wide 2.25-inch knobby tires provide the traction needed on unforgiving trails that are waiting for you.
Built for a variety of riders in mind, this mountain bike has a lightweight frame construction and powerful front suspension fork. It will take you from the city to the mountains easily and comfortably, leaving you refreshed body and soul after your ride.
Complete with assembly instructions and a limited lifetime warranty, this bike is ready to hit the trails 24/7. Schwinn definitely knows how to build a bike that will last.
Click the following link for more information on one of the best hardtail mountain bikes under $500:
2. Raleigh Bikes Tekoa Mountain Bike
You cannot build bikes for over 130 years based on guesswork. It takes decades of research, development, and meeting the needs of consumer demands to make a bike company last over a century. Quality bikes make Raleigh one of the most well-known and respected cycling brands worldwide.
A classic example of their high-quality offering is the Tekoa Mountain Bike. Implementing the latest in design, the perfect geometric symmetry of this rugged 29er cross-country bike makes riding this a perfect fit for those who prefer long distance rides.
This rugged mountain bike is versatile in design and usage, capable of taking on rough terrain due to Suntour XCT 29-inch forks with 100mm travel smoothing out large bumps on the road and trail. Its Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes are great at stopping even in any weather condition.
If there is one problem with this $500 mountain bike, it is the assembly. Raleigh has implied that assembly requires only 30 minutes for skilled bike mechanics and 2 hours for those with basic assembly skills. If you’re not an expert, just take this bike to an authorized bike store and pay the fee to have it professionally assembled.
Look at the following link for more information on this well-equipped mountain bike.
3. Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 1 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike, Blue
Kick it into overdrive with this hardtail 27.5 mountain bike. Designed as a solid starter mountain bike, experienced riders will also enjoy the control and rugged construction of this bike. It is capable of taking on various trails, given its specifications.
It weighs a light 29.4 lbs because of its aluminum frame. It has high-quality components, too, with its SR Suntour XCT fork and cranks. The Shimano front and rear derailleurs and shifters ensure your ride will go comfortably. It has Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes as well that ensures a great stopping power in any terrain.
As a do-it-all cross-country trail bike, getting off the beaten path once in a while opens up additional challenges and new adventures that make this bike two bikes in one. Leaving no room for omissions in quality or riding styles, this hardtail mountain bike is ready to go when you are, cross-country or up the mountain.
Potential purchasers of this bike should take note that this best hardtail mountain bike under $500 is exactly that -- a “hardtail.” With no rear suspension, riding on rough terrain may be difficult for inexperienced riders and may in fact produce your own “hardtail” symptoms. Inexperienced riders are encouraged to become familiar with riding this bike before venturing on to rugged trails.
There is more information on this good-looking mountain bike by clicking the following link:
4. Aluminum Fat Bikes with Powerful Disc Brakes Gravity Monster Mens Fat Tire Bicycle 26" x 4"
Fat bikes are the current rage that continues to draw more and more attention. Based on a simple concept of better traction and control on snow and sand, fat bikes offer a distinct advantage when the going gets tough. Virtually unstoppable in any weather conditions, the larger than life appearance of this Gravity Monster Fat Tire Bicycle will definitely hold your attention.
Available according to overall height, from 14-inch to 22-inch, this aluminum frame mountain bike may appear heavy but is surprisingly not heavier than its competition. It weighs between 30-40 lbs, depending on size, and is available in a selection of six colors.
Designed as an all-around mountain bike, it has powerful Tektro disc brakes and an excellent 16-speed SRAM drivetrain. Its super wide tires have good traction as well that you can rely on in any kind of weather.
Worried about losing control of your bike? With this Fat Tire Bicycle from Gravity, you can ride on snow and sand, mud and bogs, and keep control. It is definitely reliable even in rough riding conditions, so you get to go more places than with a bicycle with regular-sized tires.
Honestly, you could spend a great deal more for a high-end “fat” mountain bike but why? This bike is equipped with everything you need to finally get a chance to experience what others have been saying about fat bikes for years. This bike is undoubtedly the best mountain bike that you are ever going to find in its price range.
Click the following link and learn more about this incredible bike from Gravity.
5. Schwinn S29 Men's 29" Wheel Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Given its long history of producing high-quality bikes, it’s no surprise that Schwinn has more than one entry in this list of best mountain bikes under $500.
This Schwinn S29 Men's 29-inch Wheel Full Suspension Mountain Bike is the perfect bike to take if you want to go trail riding. It includes some of the latest features found on higher-end mountain bikes without the increase in overall price.
Recommended for riders 14 years and older, this bike is for those who are serious about mountain bike riding. It has a lightweight Schwinn aluminum 29er suspension frame and an SR Suntour suspension fork that gives you utmost control on the trails. Shifting gears is quick and easy, too, with its SRAM 3.0 rear derailleur and SRAM 3.0 21-speed trigger shifting. Its front and rear dual disc brakes ensure you can stop whenever you want to stop.
A mountain bike with this quality of engineering and design should and often does cost considerably more than what this bike currently sells for. This Schwinn bike is considered to be the best cheap mountain bike on the market today!
Check out the following link for more information on this mountain bike.
6. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike 26-wheel size 18" frame Mountain Bicycle, Blue
Another mountain bike that’s getting more and more popular is the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike. Built for riders 5’6 to 6’ tall, this sturdy and tough mountain bike has a supersized beach cruiser frame. Its 4-inch tires can be used on sand, rocks, and snow without you losing control of it.
The bike’s front and rear disc brakes can make you stop the moment you want to stop, too, regardless of terrain or weather conditions, while its Shimano rear derailleur has 7 speeds that can make hills easier to climb.
Whoever said that mountain bikes are expensive is not referring to this bike. It is priced affordably given its many excellent features, and it offers a lifetime warranty, too.
Granted, this bike may be slow and perhaps a few pounds heavier than similar styles; however, keep one important fact in mind: this is not a racing bike but a high-quality mountain bike that goes where no other bike can be taken. The secret? Its supersized knobby tires can take on any terrain easily and comfortably!
Look for more information of this fat tire mountain bike by clicking the following link:
7. EUROBIKE Mountain Bike 21 Speed 3-Spoke 29 Inches Wheels Dual Disc Brake
Europeans are well-known for their love of bicycles and the traditions that has been a long-lasting part of their heritage. With quality built into each component of this mountain bike, the European flair is now available in the USA.
This 29-inch mountain bike offers an oversized but lightweight 19-inch aluminum frame. Its 29-inch, 3-spoke magnesium alloy wheels make the bike easier to control in various terrains, while its 21-speed Shimano gears make it easy and quick to shift gears. It has dual disc brakes, too, for more stopping power. What's more, it has free pedals and a comfortable seat included in the package.
The bike arrives 85 percent assembled; all you need to do is install the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, and seat. Incredibly priced even for the entry-level rider, this bike is worth a second or even a third look.
With limited reviews available, consumers who have purchased this bike appear to be completely satisfied with their purchase. It is easy to assemble and competitively priced.
Check out the other great features of this mountain bike by clicking the following link:
8. GMC Topkick Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
Contrary to popular belief, this mountain bike is not produced by one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world. Built by Kent International, this dual suspension bike is ideal for the beginner who is looking for an affordable, dependable bike. Priced below similar models, this mountain bike remains one of the best $500 mountain bikes on the market today.
This bike integrates the latest in design with the highest quality mountain bike components available. With 21 speeds, shifting gears on the fly with the Microshift Shimano TZ-30GS derailleur and EZ fire shifter is smooth and precise. It is a dual suspension bike, with a large coiled spring between the rider’s legs that absorbs shocks with good placement positioning.
The bike’s matte/black finish is good, representing a clean fresh line that looks very attractive. Ideal for city riding or on rough terrain, the lightweight aluminum frame makes this bike easy to carry when needed. It is also versatile and dependable on light trails and paved roads.
This mountain bike is recommended as a good investment for beginning riders. While not a bike for rugged terrain, riding on more defined trails is still fine. Check out more features of this mountain bike by clicking the following link:
9. Raleigh Bikes Ziva Women's Mountain Bike
Designed with similar features of the Raleigh Tekoa men’s mountain bike, this Ziva women’s bike is symmetrically designed with perfect geometry for smaller riders. From commuting back and forth to class or work, or for an opportunity to get away from the city, this bike will provide women riders the experience that they are seeking.
With a durable steel frame and reliable components, this women’s bike is quite comfortable and allows for better control. A primary use for this bike is for paved roads or in well-designated trails.
It has a custom butted aluminum frame that's lightweight yet durable, and a low standover height that's perfect for women's height. Its Suntour XCT suspension fork can smooth road bumps quite easily, making for a comfortable ride anywhere. Its Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes also offer great stopping power in any weather condition.
Priced higher than some of the other mountain bikes reviewed, this bike has features that are in direct relation to the higher cost. While it is easy to assemble for experienced riders, it's still recommended to bring this bike to a professional bike shop for assembly.
Designed specifically for women, the lightweight configuration of this mountain bike allows for greater mobility when carrying and loading on bike racks.
More information on this women’s Ziva mountain bike can be found by clicking the following link:
10. Nashbar 29" Disc Mountain Bike
For the intermediate rider, this Nashbar bike is the ideal choice. Combined with affordability and ease of use, this mountain bike remains a popular choice among those with limited budgets. Its sleek styling and great color combination make this bike a good choice for mountain bikers as well as city commuters.
Combined with disc brakes for rapid stopping when needed, the Nashbar 29” mountain bike is a versatile bike with many useful purposes. It has a TIG-welded aluminum frame made for strength and durability, as well as a SR Suntour SF16 suspension fork for 100mm of travel and high-quality Shimano 3x8-speed shifters, derailleurs, and cassette for smooth gear changes.
Considered a fast and smooth bike, this bike is also great on longer rides with incredible control and functionality. Perhaps slightly heavier when compared to similar models, the rugged and durable construction of this bike makes up for any additional weight.
Even with eight speeds, climbing any significant hills with this mountain bike could be a challenge. This bike appears to be better suited for less challenging trails where less shifting of gears is required. It would appear that the lack of additional gears may present a bigger degree of difficulty than one is ready to take on when riding on or through rougher terrain.
Look for additional information and possible discounts on this mountain bike by clicking the following link:
Things You Should Consider When Buying a Mountain Bike
Buying your first mountain bike is not as easy as it appears to be. With literally hundreds of mountain bikes available on the market today, how do you choose the right bike for you? The following information will inform, educate, and guide you in choosing the bike that best fits your needs.
Typically, the number of gears a mountain bike has is a result of the number of front chainrings times the number of sprockets on the cassette. Mountain bikes have up to 30 gears. If you plan on using the bike on steep hills, you would need one with more gears. Bikes with single chainrings and wide-range cassette with cogs from 9-11 are the most widely selected.
Factoring in the applied science and equations when selecting the right mountain bike is more important than you think. It has been said that being in tune with your bike makes riding more enjoyable. Physical factors, height, weight, and application of these geometric figures will greatly increase your odds of choosing the right bike.
Bikes are either hardtail (suspension only in the front), full (suspension in both the front and rear) or rigid (no suspension at all). Mountain bike riding can and often does take a toll on your body, so choose the right suspension to prevent aches and pains when riding on rough terrain.
The ability to stop when needed is always a plus. The brakes on mountain bikes are classified as follows:
- Disc Brakes
Disc brakes have replaced rim brakes on all mountain bikes with the exception of entry-level bikes. Disc brakes are either hydraulic or cable-activated. Hydraulic disc brakes offer greater stopping ability with less effort required. They are self-adjusting, too.
- Rim Brakes
As the name implies, rim brakes have pads that press on the outer and inner rim of your bike’s wheels. Most entry-level mountain bikes are equipped with rim brakes. Rim brakes are economical to replace when worn and easier to observe wear than disc brakes.
- Cable-Actuated Brakes
Also known as mechanical brakes, cable-actuated brakes are merely hand-controlled levers mounted on your handlebars. Squeezing the lever applies brakes that are either hydraulic or rim.
Tires found on the majority of mountain bikes today are either 26-, 27-, or 29-inch. The 26-inch tires are normally found on hybrid, road, and utility bikes. The 27- and 29-inch are designed for rugged riding on rough terrain.
In the past, tires on adult mountain bikes were always 26-inch. Today, a wider selection of tires is available from 27.5-inch to 29 inches. The 29-inch wheels remain the most popular. Fat bikes commonly use 27.5+ inches, with the + sign designating tires 2.8 or more in overall width. Upgrading to a bigger or wider tire will depend on the terrain.
The weight of your mountain bike is of vital importance. From aluminum to steel frames, overall weight is a determining factor for control, maneuverability, and ability to carry when needed. Loading a heavy bike onto a bike rack at the end of an exhausting ride leaves much to be desired.
Differerent Types of Suspensions Used in a Mountain Bike
To date, there are three types of mountain bike suspensions: hardtail, full, and rigid. Purchasing a bike with suspension that is not designed for a particular riding style will leave you with an unsatisfactory riding experience. Here’s more information about bike suspensions you can choose from.
Hardtail mountain bikes are a form of cross-country bikes. However, they only have front suspension, hence the name hardtail. Front suspension of hardtails absorbs impacts, bumps, and obstacles with better control for the rider. Hardtails are better suited for climbing hills due to the lightweight configuration.
An advantage of hardtails is fewer complex mechanisms with minimal repair needed. These bikes are also more affordable and make a perfect fit for those who are interested in lightweight configuration with a higher degree of dependability.
Full suspension bikes have shock absorbers on both the front and rear wheels. These bikes tend to be a bit heavier due to the addition of extra components. Bikes with full suspension handle better on tricky trails with better traction and comfort. Compared to other types of mountain bike suspensions, the full suspension is cheaper depending on the model selected.
If you enjoy the thrill of downhill riding, the full suspension mountain bike is for you. This suspension allows for better cornering and steep climbs and descents. It also offers increased control on muddy trails with the presence of large roots.
For many years, the rigid mountain bike has been considered the birth of extreme cycling. With no suspension, front or rear, this bike is less expensive than the hardtail or full suspension. Rigid suspension mountain bikes allow riders to recognize slippery or dangerous riding conditions with a greater feel for the trail.
Practical application outlined in the types of suspension will provide you with a better understanding of which style of riding bests suits your present skill level. From novice to expert, mountain bike riding is a thrill experienced like no other.
Different Types of Mountain Bikes
Mountain bike riding attracts thousands of new outdoor enthusiasts each year. As one of the fastest growing sports, challenging yourself on rugged and unforgiving terrain is a rush that is not soon forgotten. Here are four basic types or styles of mountain bike riding.
Cross-country riders often ride on varied terrain up to seven miles. A typical route would involve 60-90 minutes of extreme cardiovascular pedaling. Used in cycling competitions, XC riders may exceed 15-20 miles in length riding uphill, downhill, and through very difficult conditions. Cross-country cycling is the most popular biking discipline and the least extreme.
Enduro riders push it to the extreme. Competitors race over a specific time periods that involve steep climbs with rapid descents. Enduro riders normally ride full-suspension bikes with larger width tires for better traction and increased absorption of shocks from jumps. Wearing full-face helmets and chest protectors, enduro mountain bike racing is not for the beginner.
Whoever said: “What goes up must come down” must have been referring to mountain biking downhill. It is for advanced and extreme riders, as riding downhill often involves high-speed descents that require a higher degree of focus and dexterity. Downhill bikes have a relaxed geometry with larger disc brakes for control and stability.
Derived from snowboarders, freeriding is taking endless possibilities to create names for technical stunts and tricks when riding barren difficult terrain. Freeride mountain bikes are different in many ways when compared to other styles of mountain bikes. Freeride bikes are specialized mountain bikes designed and built for a specific purpose and can be very expensive.
According to the U.S. Bicycle Industry, Statistics, and Facts, over 17.4 million bicycles were sold in the United States between 2004-2015. Additionally, this figure translates to over 6.2 billion dollars in sales. Mountain bike sales continue to add to this figure annually with a growing trend that sees no immediate decline or end.
If you’re looking to explore mountains and hills with a bicycle, check out our list of best mountain bikes under $500. Starting (or continuing) a cycling hobby doesn’t need to break the bank, as you can buy a high-quality and durable mountain bike for a reasonable cost. With thousands of mountain bike trails waiting for you to explore, you owe it to yourself to experience the true beauty of nature that awaits.