“Dedicated to all the free spirits who love the outdoors.”
Mountain biking is one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports in the world.
Its popularity is also predicted to grow exponentially, given how much a lot of people are showing more 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 beginner 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, this list showcasing the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars is your invitation to one of the greatest outdoor sports in the world.
Based on numerous factors, including 30 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.
Before choosing any of these affordable bikes, it is important you know how to get the right size with 3 easy methods!
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
PS: If you are not ready to spend 500 bucks at this moment? Check out a couple of cheapest alternative options the best mountain bikes under $300, or best mountain bikes under $200 articles from our blog.
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 designed and manufactured by 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.
- Aluminum mountain frame and a powerful Schwinn suspension fork.
- High-quality Shimano E-Z trigger shifters and Shimano front and rear derailleurs that make it easy for you to change gears.
- Front and rear mechanical disc brakes have great stopping power.
- High-profile double-wall alloy rims are light and durable.
- 29-inch trail-gripping tires can handle any terrain.
- The front forks have no adjustment.
- It needs better routing of cable brakes.
- The ride is rough and inconsistent (Note: it is a “hardtail” bike).
Complete with assembly instructions and a limited lifetime warranty, this bike is ready to hit the trails 24/7. Schwinn 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 2
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, building bikes for high-end and folks on a budget.
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 Rockton 30-inch forks with 100mm travel smoothing out large bumps on the road and trail.
Also, the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes are great at stopping even in any weather condition.
- 29-inch wheels designed to get you over road bumps easily.
- Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes for incredible stopping power.
- It has a custom-butted aluminum lightweight frame.
- The Shimano Atlas derailleur is of high quality.
- 18 speeds to provide you a full range of gears for any riding situation.
- Better suited for urban or cross-country riding isn’t suitable for all-mountain.
- Noisy rear derailleur makes it uncomfortable while riding.
- It is shipped partially assembled, so you have to do the rest.
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.
So, 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
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 as well as the 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.
This bike comes with Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes as well, which ensures great stopping power on 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 design 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 to the mountain, matching any budget road bike, quality for quality.
- It has a four-inch Suntour suspension fork.
- Powerful disc brakes provide precise stopping.
- 24 speeds to provide you with enough gear for any level of riding.
- Custom formed and aluminum lightweight frame.
- Large knobby tires have a good grip on slippery slopes.
- Customer service is lacking.
- Assembly is confusing even with directions.
- It’s a good bike but could be better with upgrades.
Potential purchasers of this bike should take note that as one of the best hardtail mountain bikes under 500 bucks, it lives up to its name 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. Gravity Monster Mens Fat Tire Bicycle
Fat tire bikes are the current sensation in the biking world 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 condition, 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 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 to more places than with a bicycle with regular-sized tires.
- Strong, lightweight aluminum frame.
- Powerful Tektro front and rear brakes.
- It offers 16 speeds.
- High-traction, super-wide 26 x 4.0 tires.
- Priced reasonably for a superior quality bike.
- Assembly can be difficult to bring it to a bike shop.
- It requires many “fine tune” adjustments.
- The seat is uncomfortable.
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.
Click the following link and learn more about this incredible bike from Gravity.
Related: Speaking of Fat Tire Bike, Check Our Top 10 Fat Bike Mostly Suitable For Big Guys!
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, reviewing the best mountain bikes under $500.
This Schwinn S29 Bike is the perfect bike to choose if you want to go trail riding. It includes some of the latest features found on higher-end mountain bikes without an increase in the 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, thanks to 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.
- Aluminum 29er full lightweight suspension.
- Front and rear disc brakes provide powerful stopping power.
- High-quality SR Suntour three-piece alloy cranks.
- Strong alloy 29-inch wheels.
- 21-speed trigger shifting will provide ultimate shifting for quick gear changes.
- It has a Quick-release seat post that makes seat height adjustment easy.
- Its lifetime warranty is well worth the investment.
- Needs an excessive amount of tuning for brakes and gears.
- The handlebars will not stay tight.
- It is a good bike but it has cheap inner tubes.
- Fits riders who are 5’8″ and above, so it’s not good for shorter riders.
A mountain bike with this quality of engineering and design should and often does cost considerably more than what this bike currently sells for.
Check out the following link for more information on this mountain bike.
6. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike
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.
- 17 inches solid steel frame for durability.
- Shimano rear derailleur with seven speeds makes hills easier to climb.
- The threadless headset is adjustable for riders of different heights.
- Lightweight alloy rims keep the weight down.
- It has a three-piece crank and sport seat.
- Massive 4-inch thick tires provide plenty of traction on any terrain.
- The bike is heavy.
- It has a weak chain.
- It is comfortable but slow.
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.
Its supersized knobby tires can take on any terrain easily and comfortably!
Slimmer ladies might want to try out some other lightweight bikes that are affordable too.
All in all, this is a perfectly fine mountain bike to consider. Click here for a full review of the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike.
Look for more information regarding this fat tire mountain bike by clicking the following link
7. Gravity FSX 2.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Not many mountain bikes can do what you want them to do and still maintain the best level of comfort. If you wish to advance to a ride that doesn’t dig deeper into your pocket and offers reliable performance, you should check out the 2.0 GravityFSX Full Suspension Mountain Bike.
This mountain bike features a slightly lightweight aluminum frame and 26-inch tires capable of shelving around 250-300 pounds. It rolls on a Shimano drivetrain with a total of 24 gears. While there are limits to where it can go, it holds itself fine on rocky, prairie, and other beaten paths.
There are two things we found to be so appealing about 2.0 GravityFSX Full Suspension Mountain Bike; quick-release wheels and adjustable suspensions. This kind of freedom only comes with high-end bikes, yet this one costs under $500. Quick-release wheels make maintenance and repair pretty easy, especially when you are still dealing with the ABCs of bike assembling.
This bike has solid brakes that can provide effective stopping force. The seat post is pretty long to allow for extensive adjustment to fit any person. Out-of-the-box, this MTB might not actually need any replacement of parts because it already has the best.
- The Shimano EF51 shifters are easy to use.
- Strong and durable aluminum frame enough to cruise through challenging terrains.
- Multiple gears to adapt to various terrains.
- Quick-release parts and adjustable components make this ride flexible.
- Extremely comfortable.
- This bike has no serious structural flaws.
Gravity FSX Full Suspension Mountain Bike is a good choice for anyone who is looking for a fairly advanced mountain bike without overpriced tags. It boasts of premium-level technologies and a level of adjustability you don’t see in mid-budget bikes. Furthermore, it comes in 15’’, 17’’, 19’’, and 21’’ sizes to fit both junior and mature riders.
Speaking of Gravity FSX, check out our other Gravity FSX 1.0 review here!
8. Takara Jiro Dual-Suspension Disc Brake Mountain Bike
It pops up with durable Shimano derailleur and smooth tuning Shimano Revo Twist shifters. With a total of 21 gears, this bike can handle all sorts of inclines and slopes. If you factor in the almost-large 27.5-inch wheels, and the dual suspension, you get a very comfortable ride-all under 500 bucks.
If you are a pro rider, you might also appreciate the lightweight design of Takara Jiro Dual Suspension Mountain Bike. It’s stripped down to the basics to give you more room for performing intricate maneuvers.
- Shimano Tourney derailleurs providing smooth shifters.
- High profile and traction-rich wheels can handle a variety of road surfaces.
- Extremely durable yet lightweight.
- Disc brakes for increased stopping ability.
- Composed of a few top-level features.
- Pretty much affordable given the nice add-ons it has.
- You still might need to replace some parts (e.g., pedals, seat, etc.) to get the best performance.
Takara Jiro Dual Suspension Mountain Bike is easy to assemble, has a lightweight design, and incorporates a few bits of the best technology. So if you are looking for a bike that might need less upgrading to give you pro-level performance, then this ride is worth paying some attention to.
Also Read: 26″ Huffy Trail Runner Women’s Mountain Bike
9. Max4out Mountain Bike
If you are a serial bike rider, then chances are high you hit the roads less traveled. So if you always find yourself on mountain tracks, forests, beaches, and prairies, then you should SERIOUSLY (yes, in caps) consider buying Max4out 21-speed Double Disc Brake Mountain Bike.
With such massive tires, this bike can tirelessly absorb continuous impacts and help you achieve some serious maneuvers without losing stability. On top of that, you have a front suspension and a cushy saddle to make your rides feel like sitting inside a Rolls Royce.
Bold tires aside, Max4out Mountain Bike features a carbon steel frame-a much-admired piece of work that hardly comes cheap. This helps to keep the weight a little lower, considering how huge tires tend to be heavy.
Any bike that comes close to $500 must be a solid work of art. That’s why Max4out sports a flawless gearing system. With 21 options on the table, you don’t need to break sweat unnecessarily. And when it is time to stop, you can rely on the dual disc brakes to provide sufficient stopping friction no matter the weather.
- Steel frame and excellent welding technology.
- 21-Speed shifters with Shimano rear derailleur for smooth navigation of most any surface.
- 26 Inches fashion rims more safe and fastness.
- Made for all types of terrain.
- Double disc brakes ensure impressive stopping power regardless of weather conditions.
- Nothing serious but can be personalized some more to meet your demands.
Max4out 21-speed Double Disc Brake Mountain Bike is a piece of work. It is inarguably a tempting offer at any price under $500, and there should be no point in resisting it. When you want no terrain or riding conditions to stand in your way, then this is the bike to go for.
Impeccable construction aside, its comfort is something anyone with muscle problems and back pains could benefit from.
10. EUROBIKE Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Europeans are well-known for their love of bicycles and the cycling traditions that have been a long-lasting part of their heritage.
Expanding its coast and with quality built into each component of this mountain bike, the European flair is now available in the USA.
This 27.5-inch mountain bike offers an oversized but lightweight 18-inch aluminum frame. Its 27.5-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.
Related: Best bike seats for women
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.
- Steel frame provides an excellent reactivity
- Shimano 21-speed gears make it easy and fast to move gears.
- Dual disc brakes easier to control in various terrains.
- It has free pedals and an ergonomically-designed saddle for comfort.
- Easy to assemble within 40 minute.
- There are currently no negative issues from users.
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
Things You Should Consider When Buying a Mountain Bike
Buying your first budget 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 considerations 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 multiplied by the number of sprockets on the cassette.
There are some with 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, though.
Fat bikes commonly use 27.5+ inches, with the + sign designating tires 2.8 or more in overall width.
In any case, upgrading to a bigger or wider tire will depend on the terrain.
The weight of your bike is of vital importance. From aluminum to steel frames, the 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 should consider.
Hardtail mountain bikes are a form of cross-country bikes. However, they only have front suspensions, hence the name hardtail. The 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 the fewer complex mechanisms they are manufactured with and 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 with 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 because the 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 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.
The 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 terrains 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 period that involves 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 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 tapping into the endless possibilities and creating awesome technical stunts and tricks for riders who enjoy riding on difficult barren terrain.
They are different in many ways when compared with 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 and 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.
Starting (or continuing) a cycling hobby doesn’t need to break the bank. You too 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.