Top 13 Best Mountain Bikes for The Money Reviews In 2021 (draft)

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Whether you’re a road rider finding the thrills of going off-road and hitting the dirt, or a newbie to mountain bike, this ultimate buying guide might be what you are after.

It provides you with not only the best mountain bike for the money in 2021 but also what features to focus on during your decision-making process. Additionally, we are going to answer some frequently asked questions relating to this topic.

Check it out!

Best Mountain Bikes for The Money Comparison Chart 2021

When looking for the best mountain bike for the money, there are three solid things you should keep in mind – brake style, number of speed, and wheel size.

So before diving deeply into our product reviews, we’ve listed out these critical metrics as well as created a comparison table for you to easily compare them side-by-side:

Best Mountain Bikes for The MoneyIt’s Best ForRating
Mongoose Malus Mountain BikesBest Fat Tire Mountain Bike4.5/5.0
Outroad Mountain BikesBest for Under $500 4.0/5.0
Mongoose Dolomite Mountain BikesBest Blue Mountain Bike4.4/5.0
Huffy Hardtail Mountain BikesBest Hardtail Mountain Bike4.2/5.0
Schwinn High Timber Mountain BikesBest Schwinn Mountain Bike 4.5/5.0
Kent KZ2600 Mountain BikesBest for Beginners 4.1/5.0
Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain BikesBest for Under $10004.4/5.0
Diamondback Overdrive 29 Mountain BikesBest 29er 4.4/5.0
Merax Finiss 26" Mountain BikesBest Overall for 20204.6/5.0
Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain BikesBest for Under $20004.5/5.0
Royce Union RMT Men’s Mountain BikesBest Men’s Mountain Bike 4.3/5.0
Schwinn Traxion Mountain BikesBest Luxury Mountain Bike 3.5/5.0
Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys' Mountain Bikes4.5/5.0

What Are The Best Mountain Bikes for The Money To Buy?

This extra section is for those readers who don’t have time to read thoroughly out this ultimate buying guide to find their best mountain bike for the money. Below is a brief about the strength of each option:

  • Best Fat Tire Mountain Bike: Mongoose Malus Mountain Bikes
  • Best for Under $500: Outroad Mountain Bikes
  • Best Blue Mountain Bike: Mongoose Dolomite Mountain Bikes
  • Best Hardtail Mountain Bike: Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bikes
  • Best Schwinn Mountain Bike: Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bikes
  • Best for Beginners: Kent KZ2600 Mountain Bikes
  • Best for Under $1000: Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Mountain Bikes
  • Best 29er: Diamondback Overdrive 29 Mountain Bikes
  • Best Overall for 2021: Merax Finiss 26″ Mountain Bikes
  • Best for Under $2000: Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bikes
  • Best Men’s Mountain Bike: Royce Union RMT Men’s Mountain Bikes
  • Best Luxury Mountain Bike: Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bikes
  • Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bikes

Top 13 Best Mountain Bikes for The Money Reviews In 2021

We guess you’ve had some of your potential contenders that meet all (or most) of your own requirements when it comes to choosing the best mountain bike for the money.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into its extensive review!

Mongoose Malus Mountain Bikes

Mongoose Malus Mountain Bikes

With over 45 years’ expertise in this industry, Mongoose is currently one of the most renowned bike brands.

In terms of fat tire MTBs, the Malus is considered as one of their bestsellers, featuring beach cruiser pedals, three-piece cranks, 7-speed gearing, 4” wide wheels, and a heavy-duty frame.

It has an 18” frame size, two 26” wheels, and the knobby tires are 4 ¼”, which means the bike can conquer any kind of terrains, especially with grass, gravel, and rough roads, without tire-flattening. We were also pleasantly surprised at the power it had when tackling hills.

A big bonus is it easily takes off from a standstill with little effort. Besides, it arrives almost fully assembled, which gives less pain in the ass putting stuff together.

Watch the Mongoose Malus Mountain Bike‘s review video:

Watch video: Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike from Amazon

Pros

  • Nice torque to climb hills easily or take off
  • Able to ride through rough terrain with no problems
  • High-quality, strong, and durable

Cons

  • Not go as fast as bikes with regular size tires

Product specs:

Wheel size 26 Inches
Number of Speeds 7
Brake style Disc
Highlight features beach cruiser pedals

3 piece cranks

Alloy 4″ wide wheelset

Cruiser design frame

4 1/4″ knobby tires

Outroad Mountain Bikes

Outroad Mountain Bikes

Don’t worry if your budget is just around $500 because we’ve got this option for you – the Outroad Mountain Bike.

Just like the Mongoose Malus, it comes 80% assembled while the remaining tasks are pretty simple. Not to say that all the needed tools are included in the package so it only takes around 20-30 minutes to finish.

Besides, the seat, rear fender, and pedals are given for free.

The best part is at this price point, hardly you can find such high-quality MTBs like this one that also features 21-speed gearing, meaning that it can be ridden through almost kinds of terrain. You also can switch through the gears rapidly for different speed cycling experiences.

Take note that it is best for the rider’s weight of around 200 pounds, height ranges of 5’2” to 6’0”.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Include needed tools for assembly, along with a seat, rear fender, and pedals
  • Offer different speed cycling experience and terrain

Cons

  • The handlebar could be better

Product specs:

Wheel size 26 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Disc
Highlight features 21 Speeds

Free pedals, rear fender, and comfortable seat

Mongoose Dolomite Mountain Bikes

Mongoose Dolomite Mountain Bikes

If you’re a rider within 5’6″ to 6′ tall, and in need of a cool, stylish blue mountain bike, we highly recommend the Dolomite from Mongoose.

Its design is minimized to the possibilities to keep the weight down. Combining with a rear derailleur with 7-speed gearing, it allows you to easily climb hills, ride faster on city roads, and more.

We love using its twist shifters to change gears as it’s much easier and smoother compared to the tradition.

Another highlight feature is its all-terrain knobby tires, giving extra strength to the bike and make it ride through dirt, mud, and snow with more grips, fraction, and safety.

Pros

  • Able to ride through dirt, mud, and snow easily and safely
  • Added performance and speed
  • Easy to climb hills
  • Fast to change gears

Cons

  • The brake caliper doesn’t allow the brake rotor to slip into it.

Product specs:

Wheel size 17-Inch/Medium
Number of Speeds 7
Brake style Disc
Highlight features all-terrain knobby tires

strong, lightweight alloy rims

twist shifters

A rear derailleur with seven speeds

Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bikes

Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bikes

Ready for your next outdoor adventures with the Stone Mountain Bike – a well-known MTB model of Huffy, highlighting 21-speed gearing and an eye-catching gloss red hardtail frame.

It is specifically designed for riders with height ranges from 4’10” to 5’10”, equivalent to the ages of 12-19. People love this mountain bike mainly because of its top-line quality regardless of the low price tag.

Some notable features are Kraton grips, three-piece Kolo crank, ATB-type resin pedals, slight-rise handlebars, 24” knobby tires, and 21-speed gear.

In a short brief, it offers a reliable, fast riding experience with a responsive feel and completely comfortable gesture, whether that’s pure acceleration, downhill riding, or uphill climbing.

The detachable indexed Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur guard ensures stable gear operation while the Kolo 1200 suspension fork handles dips and bumps efficiently for a smooth-riding feel.

Pros

  • Offer a reliable, fast riding experience with a responsive feel and completely comfortable gesture
  • Ensure stable gear operation
  • Handle dips and bumps efficiently

Cons

  • A bit struggling to swift gears

Product specs:

Wheel size 24 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Linear Pull
Highlight features Kraton grip

ATB-type resin pedals

Slight-rise handlebar

premium padded ATB saddle

indexed Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur

Kolo 1200 suspension fork

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bikes

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bikes

Out of many Schwinn mountain bike lines, we find this option to be the best one.

It is strong and sturdy that can handle difficult patches of land with lots of little rocks and sand. It also has a great front fork with shocks, which does help when crossing bumpy dirt roads or concrete.

Front and rear disk brakes make it easy to control on slippery road surfaces, and the robust Schwinn alloy crank offers stable gearing with maintenance-free. To offer various riding experience with safety feeling, it is added with 7-speed Shimano twist shifters, Shimano rear derailleur, and all-terrain knobby tires.

Meanwhile, the price is super-low.

Pros

  • Able to handle rough riding conditions
  • Eliminate shocks, bumps, and dips efficiently
  • Steady, low-maintenance gearing

Cons

  • The length of the frame is a bit short

Product specs:

Wheel size 20-Inch Wheels
Number of Speeds 7
Brake style Linear Pull
Highlight features Schwinn alloy crank

all-terrain tires

The front and rear alloy linear-pull brakes

7-speed Shimano twist shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur

Kent KZ2600 Mountain Bikes

Kent KZ2600 Mountain Bikes

To beginners, a full-suspension aluminum frame mountain bike for under $300 looks like a great deal.

Although the overall standard of the parts isn’t top of the line, they’re functional enough to last you a few years’ abuses. It also looks sleek!

The Shimano 21-speed shifters combined with dual disc brakes and rear tourney derailleur enhances its versatility, making it possible to ride through most kinds of terrain. Meanwhile, the middle gears shift smoothly.

We also appreciate the added suspension fork 65mm travel for better shock absorption and smoother riding experience.

Pros

  • Ride smoothly through all riding conditions
  • Shift smoothly
  • Easy to ride and brake

Cons

  • The handlebar works a bit loose

Product specs:

Wheel size 26 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Linear pull; disc
Highlight features Shimano 21 Speed Shifters

Suspension fork 65mm

Front Disc Brake/Rear Linear Pull Brake

Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain Bikes

Looking for something that gives you not just less pesky maintenance but also optimal gearing on your end? Well, the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 can give you the best of both worlds!

Out of the box, it boasts the signature alloy crank, rims, and all-terrain knobby tires, which helps the bike ideal for everyday riding.

The perfect combination of Shimano rear derailleur and 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters delivers various riding experience with smooth shifting out of the trail. In other words, if you’re not a fan of those modern mountain bike twist gear shifter, this is the best go-to.

It also ensures your safety by featuring dual disc V-brake and front suspension fork.

The weight is perfect! It doesn’t feel too heavy to difficultly lift and move around yet not as too lightweight as the Trek or Cannondale.

Pros

  • Less pesky maintenance and optimal gearing
  • Smooth-shifting & various riding experience
  • Strong stopping power

Cons

  • The seat could be comfier

Product specs:

Wheel size 26″ wheels
Number of Speeds 24
Brake style Front disc brake and rear alloy V-brake
Highlight features Schwinn alloy crank

Front disc brake and rear alloy V-brake

24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters

Diamondback Overdrive 29 Mountain Bikes

Diamondback Overdrive 29 Mountain Bikes

The Diamondback Overdrive is one of those rare 29ers that we feel satisfied enough to add to this review list.

It is built with an aluminum frame and RockShox Reba RL fork, bringing moderate lightness but a durable feeling. The Shimano Mt500 hydraulic disc brakes and SRAM NX/GX 1×11 drivetrain is a great combination to offer not just great stopping power but also efficient and simple shifting.

Despite the low price, it performs excellently on rugged single track trails with smooth and fast experience. No loss of control, which is a big plus.

With high pride in their products’ quality, Diamondback provides this line with a limited lifetime warranty on the frame. Besides, pedals are included in the package.

Instructions are pretty straight forward so assembly is not really a hard task at all. All-in-all, if you’re new to off-road riding, the Overdrive 29 is the best bet.

Pros

  • Lightweight yet durable and reliable
  • Efficient and simple shifting
  • Great stopping power

Cons

  • The seat needs more improvement

Product specs:

Wheel size 29 Inches
Number of Speeds 11
Brake style Disc
Highlight features Shimano Mt500 hydraulic disc brakes

SRAM NX/GX 1×11 drivetrain

Rockshox Reba RL fork

Merax Finiss 26″ Mountain Bikes

Merax Finiss 26

Out of a bunch, we finally decided to choose this option as the best overall mountain bike for 2021 because of some good reasons.

First of all, it is durable and rides smoothly over bumps with great control, all thanks to the heat-treated 6061 aluminum frame incorporated with an advanced mechanical lock-out suspension fork.

The use of magnesium alloy wheels also plays a huge role in this bike’s smooth performance.

Secondly, it delivers great and safe stopping power due to the dual mechanical disc brake system. Another notable feature is its Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters which are versatile to handle different riding conditions as well as easy shifting.

Such decent performance makes it look like a $1000 bike and can hang with other much more expensive models.

Pros

  • Ride smoothly over bumps with great control
  • Safe stopping power

Cons

  • The screws are prone to rust

Product specs:

Wheel size 26 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style disc
Highlight features Heat-treated aluminum 6061 Mountain frame

Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters

Advanced aluminum mechanical lock-out suspension fork

Magnesium alloy wheels

Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bikes

Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bikes

Contrasting to the High Timber, this line is one of the most expensive of Schwinn MTBs, categorized as luxury mountain bikes. And obviously, it gives your riding experience to the next level.

It supplies the right gearing at any time thanks to the flawless combo of Shimano 7-speed freewheel and Schwinn alloy triple cranks.

The EZ-Fire trigger shifters make shifting a lot easier than the modern models.

On the other hand, it gives you great speed control and crisp stopping, which is a big thank you to the 1” wide knobby tires, extra-wide double-wall alloy rims, dual disc brakes. Designed with an 18” frame, this is definitely a good choice for riders with height ranges of 5’9″-6’2″.

Pros

  • Supply the right gearing
  • Easy and fast shifting
  • Great speed control and crisp stopping

Cons

  • The springs could be better

Product specs:

Wheel size 29 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Disc
Highlight features Shimano 7-speed freewheel + Schwinn alloy triple cranks

1-Inch wide knobby mountain tires

The 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters

an 18-inch/medium frame

Royce Union RMT Men’s Mountain Bikes

Royce Union RMT Men’s Mountain Bikes

The Royce Union RMT is exactly what we’d like to introduce to those who are in need of a good 27.5” MTB priced around $650.

Might the brand sound new to you but it provides this product line with a limited 10-year warranty, therefore, you get some peace in mind. What we like the most about it are the all-terrain tread pattern wheels.

Compared to the ordinary MTB wheels, these offer less rolling resistance to perform better on paved streets or gravel paths. It also gives lots of traction when riding over mud, dirt, and wet surfaces.

Meanwhile, the alloy linear-pull brakes in addition to the superior brake pad give consistent stopping powder without wearing out the wheel rims too fast as usual. The rims themselves are carefully machined for enhanced durability.

We’re also glad that this product line is available in 18”, 20”, and 22” frame sizes to choose from.

Pros

  • Backed by a limited 10-year warranty
  • Offer less rolling resistance
  • Offer consistent stopping power

Cons

  • Wish there was a kickstand included in this package

Product specs:

Wheel size 27.5-inch wheels
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Linear Pull
Highlight features superior brake pad

Machined alloy wheel rims

all-terrain tread pattern tires

available in 18”, 20”, and 22” frame size options

Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bikes

If the previous luxury Schwinn doesn’t meet you need in terms of the tire width or number of speed gearing, this is worth trying.

Aside from the enhancement to 24-speed shifters and derailleurs, it highlights two 2.25” wide knobby tires, meaning for a lot more grips, traction, and handling when you ride it over rough terrain.

Besides, the front and rear mechanical disc brakes allow you to stop safely yet quickly out on the trail whenever in need.

Out of such notable features, others are still remained to ensure the bike’s top-notch performance.

Pros

  • Offer superior versatility to conquer more riding terrain
  • Provide more grips and control over rough surfaces

Cons

  • Expensive

Product specs:

Wheel size 27.5 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style disc
Highlight features 2.25-inch-wide knobby mountain tires

Extra-wide double-wall alloy rims

24 speed Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifters

Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bikes

Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys' Mountain Bikes

For teenagers, we greatly suggest Mongoose Ledge 2.1.

It is easy to assemble, controllable, and feels durable. Aside from the lightweight yet strong alloy rims, supportive triple cranks, and shock-absorbent full suspension frame and fork, it lets you change gears precisely thanks to the 21-speed twist shifters.

The mountain-style athletic seat makes it look more like an adult MTB, giving your kids more excited when riding around with you.

With no compromise of the rider’s safety, it is added with alloy linear-pull brakes with an emphasis on superb stopping power. Meanwhile, the adjustable saddle and handlebar makes it not just a perfect fit for now but also for later when your kid is growing.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to change gears
  • Great control
  • Allow you to ride with safety

Cons

  • A bit heavy

Product specs:

Wheel size 24 Inches
Number of Speeds 21
Brake style Linear Pull
Highlight features Mountain style athletic seat

3-piece crank

Alloy linear-pull brakes

21-speed twist shifters

Steel full suspension frame and fork

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Mountain Bikes for The Money In 2021

Frame size

The most important thing when considering this feature is NEVER relying just on stated size (like “Small”, “Medium”, and “Large” size that most companies commonly list on the product’s description). Instead, look for the accurate numbers.

They include measurements of:

  • Distance from the mid-head tube to the center of the crank
  • Distance from the bars to the saddle

A short saddle tube is good-to-go because it offers great room for maneuver as well as good stand-over and full pedaling height without overextending the seat post.

If you intend to choose a 29” mountain bike, go for a bit taller fronts with adjustable saddle, handlebars, and stems.

Wheel sizes

On the market, there are two main options for wheel sizes:

  • 29” – trail and XC
  • 27.5” – downhill and aggressive trail

There’s a basic rule of thumb, the larger the wheels, the slower the acceleration. That means 29ers usually ride more slowly than the 27.5” wheels but they will perform more efficiently on longer rides.

Full suspension or hardtail

You might hear some people advise learning on a hardtail before getting a big bike, but don’t trust that. It is a myth! This is, in fact, a preference issue.

In comparison, hardtail and full-suspension MTBs have some differences.

The biggest one is full-suspension bikes (as their name implies) feature front and rear suspensions for better control, shock absorption when riding over rough trails, and more safety. In turn, it is expensive, heavy, and requires more maintenance.

If you’re going to conquer roots and rocks, invest on a full-suspension bike. Otherwise, a hardtail will save you lots of money and effort on maintenance. Plus, it is lighter.

FAQs

What is the best full suspension mountain bike for the money?

Our picks are:

  • Mongoose Malus Mountain Bikes
  • Mongoose Dolomite Mountain Bikes
  • Diamondback Overdrive 29 Mountain Bikes
  • Merax Finiss 26″ Mountain Bikes
  • Schwinn S29 Mens Mountain Bikes

Should I buy a mountain bike or a hybrid?

It depends on your needs and the riding surfaces you’re going to ride your bike through.

Long story shorts, hybrid bikes are fast, easy to pedal, and comfortable to ride. But as it doesn’t have suspension as well as features only thin tires, the perfect riding surfaces must be flat and smooth. In other words, it’s ideal for simple mountain terrain.

An MTB is more versatile. It can handle a wide range of surfaces thanks to the upright riding gesture, fat tires, and stronger frame.

Is it cheaper to build your own mountain bike?

Not at all. A custom mountain bike commonly costs more than a prebuilt one. In turn, that MTB will be exactly what you want.

Which is better Diamondback or trek?

If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend choosing Trek because they choose to equip their MTBs with full suspensions. If you’re an intermediate to a pro mountain bike rider, a Diamondback MTB is worth considering because of its level link rear suspension platform.

This component helps the bike absorb impact better as well as climb more efficiently.

Are expensive mountain bikes worth it?

Although we highly recommend our readers to choose an expensive mountain bike from a reliable brand for superior quality and performance, it’s not a must.

Depending on your riding levels, needs, and budget, there’ll always a good one at a good price.

Conclusion

Without trying all the MTBs out, it can be quite challenging to pick the best mountain bike for the money, and searching the internet can only take you so far. This is the solid reason we did the research for you, focusing on critical metrics to make sure that each product was tested properly.

Hopefully, our hands-on testing is helpful to you in your decision-making process.

Thanks for reading!

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About Jim Felt

Jim Felt, a man with a genuine love of speed. A man who designed his very first triathlon frame for Johnny O’Mara – the star of Motorcross at “The O-Show” – then got big successes in 1990. In 1994, Felt incorporated with Answer Products to launch his brand, starting a 7-year relationship until 2000. In 2001, Jim Felt relaunched the Feltracing brand in conjunction with Michael Müllmann and Bill Duehring. Our product lines were then expanded into a full line of commuter bikes, cruisers, MTBs, MBX, even road and tri bikes. The total number of models were up to 140 distributed in 27 countries.