For outdoor enthusiasts, one of the best things ever is pedaling like crazy to reach the summit of a mountain or the buzz of hurtling downhill. Mountain biking, in fact, is a perfect way to explore nature and keep you in shape at the same time.
To make the most memory cycling trips and conquer more beautiful scenes viewed from mountains, a good mountain bike is worth-investing.
Don’t worry, the list below includes only the best mountain bike under 500 that won’t cost you an arm and leg to get it. Let’s get started, shall we?
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Top 11 Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Reviews In 2020
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike
In the global market for mountain bikes, Diamondback is one of the most reliable brands where you can find second-to-none products at low prices. This Overdrive 27.5 is a good example.
It’s crafted from a 6061-T6 aluminum frame in combination with the signature Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes, multiple 24-speed drivetrains, and SR Suntour XCT 27 coil-spring fork.
In general, the bike is rather lightweight, durable, and exceptional in performance.
It gives you full control whether you’re on a muddy trail or paved road. Besides, the excellent comfort which thanks to its efficient shock absorption will leave you minimal fatigue even in long hauls.
Last but not least, I’m very impressed with their helpful customer services. The representatives of Diamondback are always ready to give you a hand, which is perfect.
- You have complete control regardless of riding conditions
- Great shock absorption for extra comfort when riding on long distances
- Good customer services
- The grips are rough, which is uncomfortable to use in long hauls
- Flimsy brake cables
- Not comfy saddle
Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike
The Mongoose Dolomite is a beefy mountain bike highlighting all-around versatility.
The secret lies in its 26” by 4” fat tires.
They excel at the bike’s traction level for a more stable ride with full control, therefore, no matter of ground conditions – wet, snow, or muddy surfaces, you can conquer all of them confidently.
Of course, on difficult trails, braking plays a crucial role and in this product, you can count on its front and back disc brakes.
Not only do they provide better stopping power in uneven conditions than the caliper models, but the brakes also give you more grips to go downhill safely. Particularly, it stops quickly without losing control to save you in emergency cases.
- Highlight two fat tires to ride stably on every terrain, even the roughest, with complete control
- Excellent stopping power and grips without losing control for ultimate safety
- Unpleasant tire smell
- Not comfy saddle -> not ideal for long rides
- Brakes are noisy
Cannondale Trail 8 Bike – 2020
Whether it’s your first-time off-roading or preparation for the next big adventure, the Cannondale Trail 8 is a top-rated contender.
It emphasizes many seriously dirt-ready components, such as WTB tires, Tektro mechanical brakes, and SR Suntour forks ready.
This excellent combo excels the bike’s traction and stopping power to give you superior controllability and endure rides regardless of the terrains. Whether that’s in rocky, loose trails, wet or dry conditions.
But making it really outstanding is the beautifully crafted aluminum frame.
It showcases Cannondale’s decades of expertise in aluminum craftsmanship to make the bike stronger than other counterparts but still keeping a lightweight profile.
The best thing is, it comes at a sweet price so even if you’re in a tight budget, just confident to pick this.
- Highlight beautifully crafted aluminum frame for superb strength and lightness to handle harsh abuse better
- Give excellent traction and stopping power to ride with full control and grips on difficult terrains
- The dropper post is just available on top models
- Limited size options
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1W Women’s Bike
Made of quality Shimano components, the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1W is a versatile choice for both beginners and intermediate riders.
This is the most inexpensive version made by Co-op Cycles and yet, it still features premium parts. Such as mechanical disc brakes, Shimano Acera rear derailleur, Shimano 3 x 8 drivetrain, and carbon forks.
Compared to the XCM bikes, this is much lighter so you can easily lift it up to carry around or up/down the stairs.
Its 2.1” wider tires are specifically made for rough trails or forests. The disc brakes are also worth-considering as they give a lot less power to stop the bike.
Compared to the unisex version, this is easier to ride and its curved top tube makes it look more feminine. If you want to boost low-slung standover height, this is a great choice.
- Lighter than the XCM bikes
- Specifically designed for forests and rough trails
- Require less power to stop the bike -> less hand and finger fatigue
- Help you enhance low-slung standover height
- Suspension without lockout
Merax 26″ Mountain Bicycle with Suspension Fork 24-Speed
If you plan to use your first-time mountain bike as a weekend recreation, don’t hesitate to pick this Merax 26”.
What I appreciate the most is it doesn’t compromise on safety.
The bike is constructed with 24 speeds available and a lockout suspension system to descend the risks of rough terrains and possible accidents.
In addition, its fitted Shimano derailleurs and shifters deliver easy shifting between the gears with full control to take you on different rough terrains without throwing off your balance.
The aluminum frame also caught my attention.
It highlights the heat-treat finish, implying for higher hardness and lighter weight yet lower brittleness to be much stronger and more durable. Plus, the alloy wheels of this bike are made of high-grade magnesium.
You can say it, this is an extraordinarily strong yet lightweight mountain bike at under $300 out there.
- Constructed with 24 speeds available and a lockout suspension system for decent safety
- It fits different tough terrains with full control and easy gear shifting to not throw off your balance
- Constructed durably compared to the price – heat-treated aluminum frame & magnesium alloy wheels
- It’s time-taking when installing this bike
- Brake levers and pedals are plastic
- Noisy hubs
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 Complete Mountain Bike 2019
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 was a surprise performer throughout my testing process.
There are many remarkable keywords about it, such as “21 gears”, “front suspension”, “27.5” wheels”, and “lightweight”.
Handling is keen. Its flat tires help smooth out nicely all sharp edges of trail obstacles to let you flick in/out of turn or pick up speed even on hilly terrains with ease.
The bouncy fork and highish front end make the front wheel easier to pop up.
The sweet balance of top tube reach and medium height front end puts you in a more easygoing and upright riding position. As a result, you’re kept away from back and neck pain.
All-in-all, this is an eagerly responsive hardtail mountain bike for those who want an affordable product with Shimano parts for regular recreational rides on gravel roads.
- Give you a more easygoing and upright riding position to relieve back and neck pain efficiently
- Can handle all sharp edges of trail obstacles
Merax Finiss 26″ Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes
Merax Finiss 26” 21-speed – Another good choice to check out!
It’s a tremendous fit for weekend riders or commuters who love riding with style. By featuring clean and clear lines with ostentatious graphics, it is arguably one of the sleekest designs out there.
A good thing is these graphics are painted on, meaning that they won’t peel off easily after many runs through gravels or muds on the trail.
Compared to its 24-speed sibling, although this comes in less flexible experience, it is much lighter to strike back with decent maneuver and consistency. The best part is, you can easily lift it up to carry around or up/down the stairs.
Riding comfort is one of my most concerns about mountain bikes and luckily, this completely satisfied me.
The great combination of a front suspension, a mountain bike frame design, and less knobby tires really makes it absorb vibrations better. Making it versatile on different riding conditions.
- Graphics are attractive and they’re painted on for decent durability
- Lightweight -> deliver decent maneuver and consistency
- Good vibration absorption -> ride more smoothly and comfortably on different terrains
- The seat isn’t well-padded
- Just one size available
- Wheels aren’t as strong as the aluminum or steel made
Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike with Front Suspension
Schwinn Bonafide works greatly out of the box.
It boasts full-sized 29-inch wheels with 2.25-inch ultra-wide knobby tires to readily smooth out any rough terrains.
Additionally, there comes a powerful suspension fork and a lightweight aluminum frame that soaks up vibrations like a hero to give you a more reliable and joyful experience.
Of course, safety and convenience are two paramount things to Schwinn.
That’s why they choose Shimano components to equip this bike. Namely, it comprises of Shimano Derailleurs and 24-speed Shimano E-Z trigger shifters.
This combination makes the unit not only much smoother and easier in gear modifications but also highly controllable in various terrains. Besides, its dual mechanical disc brakes offer crisp all-condition quitting out on the path for extra safety.
To top all the goodies off, there is also a 5-year warranty included.
- Deliver prominent smooth riding experience regardless of ground conditions
- Allow you to modify gears easily and smoothly
- Provide a 5-year warranty to give you more confidence to buy it
- Cassette wobbles
Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
Priced merely $350, the Mongoose Impasse is affordable enough to fit any starter’s budget for a full suspension 29’er mountain bike.
It can roll over even the harshest conditions with no problems, all thanks to the combination of element suspension forks and ultra-large 29” x 2.1” wheels. The bike also features 21 available speeds with SRAM twist shifters.
Although this is not the most versatile option out there, it’s just adequate for beginners to intermediate riders to conquer many hardcore terrains.
On the other hand, its front and rear disc brakes offer instantaneous stopping power with little noise and jarring, which will make you feel more confident.
A small note is that to make the bike run just right, you should give it a full tuning before starting the rides.
- It can roll over even the harshest conditions with no problems
- Give adequate gears for beginners to intermediate riders to conquer many hardcore terrains
- Offer instantaneous stopping power with little noise and jarring
- A bit heavy
- Don’t have a water bottle holder
Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike with 26-Inch Wheels
While most of my mountain bike options in this list are entry-level, the Mongoose Malus is a bit different. It is specifically designed for experienced to pro riders.
The bike nails up with wide 26” x 4” fat tires, large rims, and 7-speed gear setting. By giving more balance on the road, it is extremely ideal to ride on sand and snow.
On rough conditions, it absorbs vibrations like a breeze and the well-padded saddle makes it even comfier.
The heavy-duty construction also lets it handle heavy loading weight a lot better. In fact, it can carry 300 pounds as a maximum.
What I appreciate the most about this affordable mountain bike are its pedals.
Unlike other low-price brands who usually choose to cut down on this component’s quality to save more manufacturing costs, this highlights beach cruiser pedals. They are very soft and easy to use.
- Help you keep balance better on uneven, bumpy, or rocky terrains -> ideal to ride on sand and snow
- Comfortable saddle to descend body fatigue efficiently
- Can handle 300 pounds of max loading weight
- Good pedals
- Slightly heavier than other counterparts
- Lack of rack mount
- Don’t include any cage or bottle
Kent KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike, 26-Inch
Like most mountain bikes in this list, Kent KZ2600 is constructed from an aluminum alloy frame so that you can benefit from its durability and weight.
Besides, the full-suspension system does a nice job in weight distribution across the frame. Combining with a 65mm coil fork, it gives you the comfiest riding gesture to minimize body fatigue and back pain.
But take note that this type of MTB fork is more suitable for flatter conditions because, in hilly terrains, its lack of pushing power when pedaling will make you quickly exhausted.
Diving more into this product, another worth-mentioning feature is its braking system. It performs perfectly on rough roads and pavements thanks to the decent stopping force.
All-in-all, this is one of the best value mountain bikes under $500.
- Lightweight, durable, and weatherproof
- Give comfortable riding position to relieve body fatigue and back pain
- A bit heavy
- Not suitable for hilly terrains
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Mountains Bikes Under 500 In 2020
Regardless of your budget, don’t ever sacrifice the frame material of your mountain bike. It’s key to decide whether the bike is sturdy and easy to ride or not.
At under $500, there are three popular frame materials:
Aluminum: This is the most common because it’s inexpensive, lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant to last for years come under common abuse.
Steel: If you’re at a tighter budget, steel is worth-considering. It’s very durable and strong to handle more rough terrains than the aluminum frame. In turn, steel is the heaviest material out of three so ensure that you have strong arms when considering this.
Carbon fiber: The best material out of three, carbon fiber is known for its unbeatable lightness and durability. But you get what you pay for – they say. Carbon fiber is also the most expensive so make sure that your budget is loose enough to effort it.
This factor is determined by the terrains that you’re about to ride the bike on regularly – is it mountain or hill?
There are generally three wheel sizes – 26”, 27.5”, and 29”.
The larger the wheels, the comfier. But I would recommend 26” wheels for novice riders because they give the most complete control so you can ride it with more confidence.
When it comes to mountain bike suspension, you’ve got three options to choose from:
- Full suspension with front and rear fork suspensions
- Rigid mountain bikes with no suspension
- Hardtail mountain bikes with fork suspension in the front
Of course, full suspensions are the most expensive option that other mountain bikes at under 500 can provide.
That said, there are still some sweet exceptions, such as the Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike and the Kent KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike, 26-Inch.
If you are in a tight budget, the mountain bikes with rigid suspensions are my recommendations because it’s the most inexpensive with far fewer upkeep requirements.
The hardtail bikes are slightly better because its fork suspension will deliver better shock absorption than the rigid models. They are also the most common at this price ranges.
How Much Does A Decent Mountain Bike Cost?
A really good mountain bike commonly costs within $1000 to $1500 but a decent model is probably more because it needs additional gears.
What Are The Best Brands Of Mountain Bikes?
The following brands are generally well-known names with a long-standing history and enriched expertise in bike manufacturing:
- Co-op Cycles
What’s The Best Entry-Level Mountain Bike?
My picks are:
- Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1W Women’s Bike
- Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
- Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike with 26-Inch Wheels
Are Diamondback Mountain Bikes Good?
Diamondback is a reputable brand specializing in high-quality and durable hybrid, road, and mountain bikes at rock bottom price points.
The biggest selling points of their products is using only high-quality components – such as Shimano and SRAM, even in entry-level bikes.
How Heavy Should A Mountain Bike Be?
Do You Need A Full-Suspension Mountain Bike?
If you want to ride technical trails and are willing to pay a little more, choose a full-suspension mountain bike.
Why Are Mountain Bikes So Heavy?
This is because most of its components are made to be thicker, stronger, and bigger to make it more durable and better handling.
It’s obvious that you can’t get the best mountain bikes under $500 that universally fit all purposes. So before heading into the market and drop your money on something, determining what you need and which is right for you are two important factors.
I hope the ultimate guide above has helped you, more or less.
Thanks for reading and good luck!