9 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 – The Best Budget Bikes Around

Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport, and it’s one with which you’ll get better the more often you do it. However, if you’re a beginner, one of the most daunting things can be finding the best mountain bike under $500. This is because it will hold up to your learning curve without putting too big of a dent in your wallet.

At a Glance:

What Is A Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes are bicycles that are designed for riding on unpaved trails. They have thicker tires and frames than traditional road bikes, and they also typically have more gears to allow for easier climbing of hills.

Mountain bikes come in both hardtail and full-suspension varieties. A hardtail bike has a front suspension fork, while a full-suspension bike has front and rear suspension.

When you’re shopping for a new mountain bike, some features to look out for include:

  • A lightweight frame made from aluminum or another alloy
  • Wider gear ratios (the number of gears the bike has) than on standard road bikes.
  • A durable suspension system, with a front shock absorber and coil spring.
  • Disc brakes instead of rim brakes.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it will help you get started in your search for a great-performing mountain bike that won’t break the bank.

How To Find The Right Mountain Bike For You

If you’re a beginner, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that a mountain bike typically comes with a larger frame than your average road bike.

This means that if you’re going from a road bike to a mountain bike, you will likely have to purchase new clothes as well. This is because your jeans probably won’t fit.

If you plan on riding in a wide variety of conditions, you may want to choose a bike with front and rear suspension. This will ensure that your ride stays smooth and enjoyable no matter how rough the terrain is.

Mountain Bike Frame

When looking for a mountain bike, one of the most pertinent things to take into consideration is the frame. This is because it typically takes a lot of abuse, and it’s also one of the most expensive components on the bike to replace if need be.

There are three basic types of mountain bike frames:

Hardtail – A hardtail frame only has suspension in the front fork, but it is lighter and less expensive than a full-suspension frame.

Full-Suspension – A full-suspension frame has suspension in both the front and rear forks, which makes for a smoother ride but also makes the bike heavier and more expensive.

Fat Bike – A fat bike is designed for riding on extremely rough terrain, such as sand or snow. It has large, wide tires to help it traverse these surfaces.

Mountain Bike Fork

When looking at mountain bike forks, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • The first is the amount of travel that the fork provides. This is how much the fork moves up and down when you hit a bump. The more travel the fork has, the smoother your ride will be.
  • The second is the stiffness of the fork. A stiffer fork will absorb less vibration from the road, making for a rougher ride.
  • The third is the weight of the fork. The lighter the fork, the easier it will be to carry around.
  • Finally, you’ll want to take into account the axle type of the fork. There are two types:

QR – Quick Release- uses a lever to unlock and remove the wheel from the frame

Thru-axle – A thru-axle is a rod that passes through the wheel and frame, providing more stiffness and security than a QR.

Mountain Bike Wheels

When looking at mountain bike wheels, there are three main things you’ll want to consider:

The size of the wheel – The size of the wheel will affect the overall size of the bike. It will also affect the type of terrain it can be used on.

The type of wheel – There are two types of mountain bike wheels:

  • Clincher wheels have a rubber tire that is glued to the wheel and requires a tube to hold air.
  • Tubeless wheels do not require a tube, as the tire is airtight and seals to the wheel. This is a newer technology and is becoming more popular.

The type of hub

The hub is the part of the wheel that the spokes attach to. There are two types:

  • Fixed-gear hubs have a single gear that is attached to the wheel, which means that the wheel cannot spin while the bike is in motion.
  • Freewheel hubs allow the rider to coast while riding, which makes for easier pedaling.

Mountain Bike Drivetrain

When looking at mountain bike drivetrains, there are two main things you’ll want to consider:

Number of gears – The number of gears on your bike will affect its overall price, as well as how steep the hills you can ride up are.

Chain type – There are two types of chains:

  • Riveted chain – A riveted chain is the standard metal chain that is most commonly found on mountain bikes. It is durable and long-lasting but will stretch over time.
  • Non-riveted chain – A non-riveted chain is made of round discs that rotate around each other, making for a stronger and lighter chain than the riveted variety.

Which Mountain Bike Is Right For You?

It’s imperative to consider your budget when selecting a mountain bike. Also, keep in mind the type of terrain you’ll be using it on, and how often you plan on riding.

A good rule to follow for any rider shopping for a new mountain bike is that if you can afford one with higher specs than you currently need, get it.

You will appreciate the features down the road and can always upgrade individual parts later on to match the level of your old bike.

If you’re just starting, a hardtail mountain bike is a reasonable option. It’s less expensive than a full-suspension bike and is capable of riding on most types of terrain.

As you improve your skills and want to ride more challenging trails, you can invest in a full-suspension bike.

While you can find some good mountain bikes for less than $500, it’s important to remember that a bike with a lower price tag isn’t necessarily going to be better for your needs.

When searching for the most reliable mountain bike under $500, you should consider a few key features to make sure that your money is well spent. These include the bike’s frame size, its height, and how durable it will hold up over time.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the best mountain bikes under $500, as well as their key features. This list will help you to narrow down your options when searching for a suitable mountain bike that fits both your budget and your needs.

DesignMountain BikesRetailer
Best PickMongoose Malus Fat Bike
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Budget PickNeffice 27.5 Mountain bike
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Staff PickSchwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
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Budget PickRoyce Union RTT Mountain Bike
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Mongoose Switchback Trail Mountain Bike
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Merax Finiss 26-28 Mountain Bike
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Cube Aim 27.5 All Road Hardtail Bike
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Trek – Marlin 4
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Batch The Mountain 29
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Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

Best Pick
Mongoose Malus Fat Bike
Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

Mongoose’s Malus Fat Bike is a top-rated hybrid bicycle with 26-inch tires that make it easy to ride on both the road and off-road. It has a durable steel frame for more strength, as well as a front suspension fork for further comfort moving across different terrains.

Key features:

  • SR Suntour XCT HLO suspension fork
  • Front and rear hand brakes
  • Shimano EF-50 7-speed rear derailleur
  • Sealed cartridge bottom bracket

This bicycle comes with an SR Suntour XCT HLO suspension fork with 100 mm of travel, and it also has Shimano EZ-Fire shifters for easy gear shifting.

It has front and rear brakes that provide you with better control of your speed on steep slopes. It has a Shimano EF-50 7-speed rear derailleur for easy gear changes, and the sealed cartridge bottom bracket ensures that it won’t be damaged even after using it in wet conditions.

And this one is a really good mountain bike for the money available in the market and the best deal if you don’t like to spend more than 500$ on your first MTB mountain.

Pros

  • Fat wheels can drive over any type of terrain
  • Quite strong
  • Excellent brake discs.

Cons

  • It’s not as fast as a bicycle.

Neffice 27.5 Mountain bike

Budget Pick
Neffice 27.5 Mountain bike
Neffice 27.5 Mountain bike

The Neffice 27.5 mountain bike is a good choice for riders who want to enjoy off-road rides but have limited space in their home or apartment. It’s designed with a 27.5-inch wheel that can handle both on and off-road conditions.

Key features:

  • Both front and rear disc brakes,
  • SRAM 24-speed grip shifters.
  • Giant alloy wheels
  • Alloy fork and suspension seat post.

Neffice has both front and rear disc brakes that help in controlling your speed on different surfaces. It comes with SRAM 24-speed grip shifters that make it easy to change gears.

The durable alloy wheels and suspension fork go a long way towards keeping the bike rideable over many miles. The alloy fork and suspension seat post also contribute to the bike’s comfort for smooth riding.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Easy to assemble
  • Front shocks open or closed

Cons

  • It takes time for adjustments

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

Staff Pick
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

The Schwinn High Timber mountain bike is a rugged hybrid bicycle that accommodates riders of all sizes, with its 21-sized frame.

It’s designed to be a “best for the money” bike with performance features that are comparable to more expensive models. It has an aluminum suspension fork for better control and comfort on differently rough surfaces. 

Key features:

  • Front suspension fork (100.
  • 24-speed Shimano twist shifters.
  • Steady gearing.
  • Wheel size measures 27.5″.

Steady gearing is one of the most important features to look for when buying a mountain bike under $500.

It has an SR Suntour suspension fork with coil springs, and to ensure a comfortable ride, it also sports a plush saddle.

The Schwinn High Timber mountain bike features a 24-speed SRAM drivetrain, as well as front and rear hand brakes that you can use to control your speed.

It also comes with a padded saddle for additional comfort on both small and large bumps in the road. In addition, it’s equipped with a suspension fork that’s adjustable to suit different riders.

This bike is designed for both new and experienced riders alike. It has an aluminum construction that makes the bike lightweight but strong enough to handle rough terrain.

The Schwinn High Timber mountain bicycle also features an SR Suntour suspension fork with coil springs that can be adjusted to suit different riders

Pros

  • Schwinn alloy crank is durable
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Steady gearing
  • It’s comfortable

Cons

  • Size issue

Royce Union RTT Mountain Bike

Budget Pick
Royce Union RTT Mountain Bike
Royce Union RTT Mountain Bike

The Royce Union RTT is one of the best mountain bikes that features a heavy-duty steel frame that’s been pre-welded, making it easier for you to put together when you first get it. It also has an SR Suntour front suspension fork, with a preload feature that helps you to customize the feel of the bike’s ride.

With a 21-speed Shimano derailleur, this mountain bike provides you with options that are ideal for both flat and hilly terrain.

Features

  • The weight limit of this mountain bike is 250 pounds.
  • The frame on this bike measures 20″ and its wheel measures 26″.
  • It has a suspension fork that adjusts from 100 to 120mm. This makes it easy for you to customize your ride’s feel, depending on what type.

Pros

  • A lightweight, strong aluminum frame
  • An attractive silver-and-gloss design
  • Keeping your shoulders and back in a neutral position while riding
  • Smooth stopping power

Cons

  • It is not suitable for tall riders

Mongoose Switchback Trail Mountain Bike

Mongoose Switchback Trail Mountain Bike
Mongoose Switchback Trail Mountain Bike

This budget mountain bike provides you with plenty of power for taking on both flat and hilly terrain. However, it still features an affordable price tag that makes it ideal for novices looking to get their feet wet in the biking world.

Key features:

  • It offers a 21-speed Shimano shifting system.
  • Shimano EZ Fire shifters
  • Aluminum rims with quick release front hub and rear axle
  • It has an SR Suntour alloy suspension fork that’s adjustable from 80 to 120mm.
  • 27.5-inch wheels size

For comfort and climbing, this bike is equipped with a reliable 7×3 speed Shimano drivetrain. For descending, the exposure suspension fork will help you have smooth-riding gear management while you maintain steady precision.

It has Shimano EZ Fire shifters that are easy to use, as well as an SR Suntour alloy suspension fork that’s adjustable from 80 to 120 mm.

This best mountain bike features aluminum rims that are built to last, as well as quick-release front and rear axles.

It’s also equipped with shifters and a drivetrain that makes climbing easier. This bike features an industrialized suspension fork made from a premium alloy that is easily adjustable to suit any rider.

Pros

  • Portable mountain bike
  • Comfort at its highest level
  • Gear changes are quick and steady

Cons

  • It comes without a kickstand

Merax Finiss 26-28 Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss 26-28 Mountain Bike
Merax Finiss 26-28 Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss 26″-28″ mountain bike is one of the best cheap bikes under 500. It’s designed with 26-inch wheels, which can provide a more stable ride than smaller tires. The front suspension fork further contributes to this stability by providing comfort on bumpy terrain.

Key features:

  • Shimano 21-speed twist shifters
  • Giant front disc brakes,
  • Shimano rear derailleur,
  • Lightweight aluminum frame.

Merax Finiss 26″-28″ has Shimano 21-speed twist shifters that make it easy to control your speed. It has giant front disc brakes for better control of your speed on steep slopes.

It also comes with a Shimano rear derailleur, which makes it easier to change gears. This bike has an aluminum frame and fork for durability and a Chain Guard that protects your clothes from getting greasy while you ride.

To conclude I’d like to say that for any kind of commute and off-road, it’s the best bike under 500$ and one of the best mountain bikes you can find on the market today.

Pros

  • Drivetrain and shifters with 24 speeds
  • Suitable for an entry-level rider
  • Easy to control
  • Dual disc brakes

Cons

  • Not found

Cube Aim 27.5 All Road Hardtail Bike

Cube Aim 27.5 All Road Hardtail Bike 2021
Cube Aim 27.5 All Road Hardtail Bike

This is a great mountain bicycle that provides you with plenty of comforts and a smooth ride on flat terrain, as well as a feature-packed drivetrain for tackling both uphill and downhill terrains.

When it comes to durability, the Cube Aim Allroad Hardtail Bike features a strong aluminum frame with internal cable routing.

Key features:

  • Rockshox Recon Silver TK fork with 100mm travel
  • Shimano 3×8-Speed drivetrain
  • Lightweight aluminum frame.
  • Wheel size measures 27.5″

It also offers a durable drivetrain that features both front and rear derailleurs, making it easier for you to navigate rough terrain.

It has a Shimano 3×8 Speed drivetrain that provides you with a high gear range for flat surfaces. It also features a RockShox Recon Silver TK fork with 100mm of travel, as well as a Shimano 3 x 8-Speed drivetrain that makes it easier to tackle both flat and hilly terrain. The bike’s aluminum frame is built to be lightweight yet strong, making it the ideal choice if you’re looking for a more affordable mountain bike.

Pros

  • A lightweight aluminum frame
  • Internal Cable Routing
  • Easy mount kickstand available
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Suitable for streets

Trek – Marlin 4

Trek – Marlin 4
Trek – Marlin 4

The Marlin 4 is one of Trek’s most affordable mountain bikes, and it sports a robust aluminum frame for durability and a smooth ride. With this bike, you’ll be able to ride on varied terrain with little difficulty.

Key features:

  • 21-speed Shimano grip shift twist shifters
  • Giant SRAM V brakes and a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur
  • Aluminum alloy wheels with 27.5″ tires
  • Shimano 3×8 speed gearing.

Marlin 4 has 21-speed Shimano grip twist shifters. You can enjoy an all-around gear range with this bike, and the twist shifters are also ideal for making quick shifts on rough terrain.

It comes with a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur and Giant SRAM V brakes that make it easier to control your speed, especially on steep slopes.

The Marlin 4 features aluminum alloy wheels with 27.5″ tires, and it also comes equipped with a Shimano 3×8 speed gearing. This is great for handling flat and hilly terrain with little effort, though you may have to occasionally fix a flat tire.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Fast, strong and reliable
  • Very high quality
  • Beautiful colors

Cons

  • Low quality forks

Batch The Mountain 29

Batch The Mountain 29
Batch The Mountain 29

The Batch mountain bike is a great hybrid bicycle that features plenty of speed and power, making it ideal for riders who plan on undertaking both uphill and downhill terrain. Affordable bicycle option for novices because it’s designed to be rugged and sturdy.

This is the best entry-level hybrid that offers a very smooth ride.

Key features:

  • SR Suntour XCE28 fork with 100 mm of travel
  • Alloy V-brakes
  • 29-inch wheels
  • The frame is constructed of 6061 aluminum with a Suntour XCE28 fork.
  • Shimano Altus 21 speed drivetrain

It also boasts a steel frame, which ensures that you’ll be able to take full advantage of the bike’s 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur.

With this mountain bike, you’ll be able to tackle both flat and hilly terrain without any difficulty. For the price, this is one of the best mountain bikes for beginners.

The Batch 21-speed hybrid bicycle also features an SR Suntour XCE28 fork with 100 mm of travel, as well as high-quality disc brakes on the back that make it easier for you to control your speed.

The mountain bike also features a rear derailleur that offers you multiple gears, giving you the power to tackle both flat and hilly terrain. With this bicycle, you’ll be able to use top speeds of up to 22 mph without any difficulty.

As with many quality mountain bikes, this hybrid doesn’t come equipped with suspension for your front fork.

Pros

  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Reliable stopping power
  • Attractive colors

Cons

  • Not found

What To Look For When Buying A Mountain Bike Under $500

Mountain biking is an outdoor sport enjoyed by people all over the world. It consists of riding bicycles off-road on steep slopes and treacherous trails. A mountain bike (or “mountain bike” for short) is a type of bicycle specifically designed for this type of terrain.

Mountain bikes are equipped with sturdy frames, thick tires, and other special components to help riders traverse rough trails without causing damage to the bike or themselves. If you’re interested in finding out more about mountain biking, then keep reading.

A mountain bike is composed of several parts. The main ones are the frame, fork, handlebars, seat post, wheels, pedals, and cranks.

Frame

The frame is the main structural component of a mountain bike. Made from metal or aluminum alloy or carbon fiber, it provides support for all other components on the bike. The frame also allows you to stand over the top tube (which connects the seat to the handlebars), and gives the bike its general shape.

Fork

Also called a front suspension fork, this part attaches to the front wheel and provides shock absorption when riding over bumpy trails.

It allows riders to more easily control their bikes without bouncing around, resulting in better handling capabilities. The design of the fork varies widely between different types of mountain bikes.

Handlebars

The handlebars control the bike’s steering and provide a place for the rider to grip while riding. They are attached to the fork and stem (the tube that attaches the handlebars to the frame) and can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, carbon fiber, or titanium.

Seat Post

The seat post is the tube that extends up from the frame and connects to the saddle or seat. It is made from metal, aluminum alloy, or carbon fiber and can be adjusted to different heights to accommodate different riders.

Wheels

Mountain bikes come with either 26″ or 29″ wheels. The larger size provides more stability and is better suited for rougher terrain. The wheels are attached to the frame and fork with spokes, which are usually made from steel.

Pedals

The pedals attach to the cranks (see below) and allow the rider to power the bike with their feet. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are usually made from either plastic, aluminum alloy, or chromoly steel.

Cranks

Also called the crank arms, crank set or bottom bracket, the cranks are attached to the pedals and provide a platform for the rider’s feet. They connect to the bottom bracket on one end and to one of the chainrings (see below) on the other. They are typically made from aluminum, Chromoly steel, or titanium.

Chainrings

The chainrings are the circular metal plates that are attached to the cranks. They have teeth on them that engage with the bike’s chain (see below) to power it forward. There are usually two or three chainrings, depending on the type of mountain bike.

Chain

The chain is a metal cable that connects the chainrings to the rear derailleur (see below). It transmits power from the rider to the drivetrain and allows the bike to move forward. The quality of the chain can affect how smoothly the bike rides.

Rear Derailleur

The rear derailleur is the component that moves the chain between the different gears on the cassette (see below). It is attached to the frame and allows riders to change gear ratios while riding.

Cassette

The cassette is a collection of circular metal plates that are attached to power it forward. The cassette is connected to the rear derailleur, which moves the chain between different gears on the cassette.

Freewheel

The freewheel is a circular metal plate that attaches to the rear of the cassette. It contains a set of teeth that engage with a corresponding set of teeth on the rear wheel.

They have teeth on them that engage with the bike’s chain (see below) to power it forward. There are usually two or three chainrings, depending on the type of mountain bike.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a new mountain bike, we hope this list has been helpful. We know how challenging it can be to find the most reliable bikes under 500$, and we are confident that with our help, you will make an informed decision.

Whether you are just starting on your current bike, these 9 options should provide excellent quality at affordable prices. Take care when shopping so that you purchase something suitable for your needs!

 The best mountain bikes under 500$ offer a variety of features and styles to suit your needs. We hope this list has given you some ideas for the perfect bike that meets all your requirements, be it for commuting or weekend adventures with friends.

Whether you want something hardcore like a 29er or something more mellow like an upright cruiser, we have listed what our experts believe are the best mountain bikes under 500$.

Remember to read reviews from other customers before making any purchase so you know exactly what to expect when buying online without being able to test ride in person!


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Bennie Henderson
By Bennie Henderson

Bennie is the man behind Top Bikes Guide! Growing up with an elder brother, he remembers spending most of his time with his brother biking everywhere and this blog is a result of that passion!


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