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Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Jeff Balton

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

In this review, I will reveal the seven different best mountain bikes under $500 you can buy online!

PLEASE NOTE: Prices may vary and some bikes cost more than $500. It all depends on the seller. However, I try to keep all my posts up to date. If you see any false info, please let me know!

Finding the right mountain bike for you can be tricky because you want to take it up to the mountains and you need it to perform.

After all, you want a good bike that will actually last. Read below, I have best mountain bikes under $500 right here.  Before buying a good mountain bike under $500, here are the best 6 7 you need to consider!

Take me to the winner!

REVEALED: The 8 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 for everyone!


Well, these top 7 picks are the best mountain bikes for under $500 dollars. Enjoy!

Product image for Graphite

Cannondale Trail 8 is an affordable bike, perfect for being your first bicycle for hitting the off-road. It is affordable, good-looking, and incredibly easy to maintain. It has a popular SmartForm C3 alloy frame that Cannondale makes especially for their trail bikes. Durability is its main trait, but it is also pretty lightweight for this price, as the whole bike weighs around 32 lbs.

The SR Suntour fork travels 75 mm up and down to absorb any imperfection and bumps on the road. This is not a good choice to do high jumps and aggressive descents, but it is an ideal choice for relaxed, recreational rides on fire roads and moderate trails.

If you want comfort, that’s exactly what the Cannondale Trail 8 bike can offer. This bike has 21 gears which you can change using reliable Shimano front and rear derailleurs, as well as Shimano shifters.

The highlight are the mechanical disc brakes which are really going to make a big difference whenever you need to stop suddenly or go for a faster descent. Add to that the 2.25″ wide tires and you have a bike that is safe and stable, which is the most important thing.

To sum, if you want a cheap but quality bike that will take you through the forest and up the mountain on a relaxed ride, don’t hesitate to get the Cannondale Trail 8.

Get From REI

2. Diamondback Overdrive 29

Please note: Currently, the price is over $500!

Diamondback bikes are consistently some of the best ones entry-level bikes available like you already know. They also have a good guarantee.
They provide value where it is most needed, like on components and strong wheels. Also with high-value standards, almost all bikes have disc brakes which aren’t common on cheap mountain bikes.
When choosing inexpensive bikes, then Diamondback offers good quality.

This Diamondback is the best mountain bike under $500 because it is made of high quality balanced with the price:
29″ wheels and disc brakes which allow you to negotiable obstacles and quickly stop. It has Schwalbe tires, which are the most widely used variety on traction bikes and a good kind of mountain bikes.

Assembling might require some technical know-how to. When so done, it might be little on the heavier side, due to its aluminum frame. When inflating, keep in mind that it has Presto valves!

Almost every MTB has Prestos, which require a Presto specific pump good pump. The Prestos used to be the valves, that nobody had a pump for. But now most of the bikes have them.

Good Components: This hardtail bike has Shimano Acera derailleurs. I wouldn’t advise going any cheaper, so if you have $50, run to your local bike shop and buy the next level.
It isn’t strictly necessary but if you want to you should, because for the price, it is good and worth it. The components on this bike are going to last until you decide to wrap yourself around a tree, but maybe you shouldn’t.

Reviews on Amazon

Double Walled Rims: Many bike manufacturers, especially online cut the price on the rims and they can bend easily. The rims, like the frame, are however very important, especially on budget mountain bikes because they want to put very cheap parts on it. But the double-walled rims on the Diamondback basically means that they have two layers for greater strength.

Suntour XCT will fit make the ride smooth.

Note: Diamondback has raised their prices, but if you get it around $600, then you’ve still done very well

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon

Or see the 27.5″ model

 

3. Fuji Nevada 1.9 (27.5″ & 29″)

(Was $500, Now $40!)

Fuji Nevada 1.9 2018 review

The 27.5″ & 29″ and even women model!

I am quite excited to introduce this great deal from Fuji! The venerable brand is well known in the cycling industry, but perhaps under-represented in our testing – until now.

The Nevada 1.9 secures its place as one of the top mountain bikes costing under $500. With its unique, low-slung top tube, Nevada 1.9 29’s A2-SL frame design does more than look fast – it enhances rider confidence and performance on rough terrain by decreasing the bike’s standover height.

About the numbers – it‘s available in two colors – black or white, five sizes and has 21 gears! But, there’s more:

Nevada 1.9 29’s components are suitable for entry-level mountain biking and include SR Suntour’s lockable SR14 fork with 75 mm of travel and Tektro M280 mechanical disc brakes for solid stopping power. All this is rolling on 29” wheels with Vera Eos tires. (I’m not very familiar with these tires, but their short knobs indicate that they’re suitable for both on- and off-road use.)

Related: Bike Computers 101

I’m compelled to point out the Oval Concept handlebar, stem, saddle, and seatpost – these components are normally found on considerably more expensive bikes!

  • 29” wheels
  • Vera EOS tires for impressive off- and on-road action
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Available in five frame sizes; two color options

Talking frame sizes, you can determine which Nevada 1.9 29 size is best for you by using this guide.

I’ve found one review for this 2018 model, and am proud to report it was a positive one. The owner gave high marks to every aspect of the bike and found it a superlative holiday gift. So, this review definitely confirms our own thoughts about the bike and the value it represents!

Aesthetics matter – the black and red color combination reminds me of the more expensive Specialized Stumpjumper. Fuji has done a fine job of on the Nevada 1.9 29; despite the low price, it doesn’t look like a cheap mountain bike.

The Nevada 1.9 29 is available for just under $500, yet it’s enough bike to bring your trail and hybrid adventures to next level. This great value will provide years of performance and riding bliss to the entry-level rider you have in mind.

NOW AVAILABLE on AmainCycling

 

4. Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1W (Best for Women)

Co-op DRT 1.1 mountain bikeMen model, women’s also available

  • 24 gears
  • Three sizes to accommodate female riders from 5’ to 5’9” in height
  • Free warranty tune-up from REI.com
  • Powerful hydraulic disc brakes

Co-op Cycles may sound like a new brand to your ear, but we’ve monitored it for several years now. It’s owned by REI.com, the maker of a few pretty slick mountain bikes priced at under $500 range.

The DRT 1.1W is designed for women who want to take up trail riding and spend some time in nature. You can see the curved top tube, which is the essential difference between the women’s and unisex (read: men, in this case) DRT. Women who don’t need the enhanced low-slung stand over height can choose the unisex model as well.

The DRT 1.1W is the best mountain bike under $500 for women because of the excellent component spec and tailored fit for a female’s geometry. The bike employs lightweight 6061 aluminum alloy frame tubing coupled with 100 mm of travel on the front suspension, which will make all trail surfaces feel much smoother, and also will increase the rider’s control and confidence.

Another standout feature of DRT 1.1W is that it has not only disc brakes but hydraulic disc brakes. This means that you’ll need less power to operate these brakes than you would need for non-hydraulic ones.

The bike’s overall weight of 30 lbs. won’t prohibit a rider from carrying it up and down stairs. (All MTBs under $500 weigh similarly, if not more.) The bike requires minimal mechanical prowess to assemble – the provided comprehensive instructions and tools make it easy!

User reviews confirm our thoughts –The DRT 1.1W is very intuitive and easy get comfortable on, and some owners point out that it’s a steal at this price. The word is out!

The DRT 1.1W is a great choice for women who are making their initial foray into mountain biking and seeking a reliable “companion” to see it through. We hope that more and more female riders discover Co-op Cycles because it looks like they might be the new Diamondback – proven to be reliable and a great value!

 

5. Kawasaki Mihara Fat Bike

Our Top Pick – Best Fat Bike Under $500!

Did you know that Kawasaki doesn’t only make motorcycles but bicycles as well? What’s more, they’re very good at it. This MTB review page would not have been complete without a fat bike, as they are becoming more and more popular. With that in mind when choosing mountain bikes under $500, the Kawasaki Mihara fat bike was the most logical choice.

Fat bikes are versatile workhorses of the cycling world, which can tackle any kind of terrain. Thanks to their monstrously wide tires, you can comfortably and confidently ride a fat bike over rocks, through mud, and even on deep snow. It won’t give in in any situation.

Moreover, fat bikes are usually more robust and less complicated than other types of bikes, which makes them the perfect candidate for entry-level riders since maintenance is much easier.

Related: Cycling Shoes 101

Sturdy build 

Kawasaki Mihara combines aluminum and steel to achieve an equilibrium between weight, speed, comfort, and durability. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum, while the fork, which is rigid, is made of tough steel.

The wheels are 26″ in diameter and come with a set of knobby 4″ wide tires that can basically go anywhere. All fat bikes usually come with disc brakes, since they need more stopping power because of their higher weight. Kawasaki Mihara has a set of mechanical disc brakes, which might need more strength in your fingers to fully engage, but they brake much more efficiently than V-brakes. We believe that each best fat bike under $500 should have disc brakes.

Shimano components

At this price, you cannot expect high-end components, that’s for sure. However, Kawasaki Mihara doesn’t give you the cheapest components either. It comes with a pair of Shimano Alivio front derailleur and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur, which is really decent for this price.

Fat bikes usually do not come with a lot of gears, but Kawasaki Mihara is an exception. You’ll be pretty happy with the 24 gears you have at your disposal, so you’ll be able to be fast on the flats and ride up most of the hills.

Give it a try! All in all, fat bikes are really fun machines, but they are much more than a toy. If you haven’t ridden one so far, we recommend Kawasaki Mihara as it’s great value for the price – fat bike for under $500 – give it a try!

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon

 

6. Specialized Women’s Pitch (Entire Line)

"Cannondale

Specialized is doing a lot to popularize mountain biking among entry-level riders and women. The entire Specialized Women’s Pitch line is the right tool for this job because the bikes cost little, look good, and have plenty of beginner-friendly features. You can see straight away that these are proper ladylike bikes, because of the feminine paint jobs which are done in several colors. The bikes look really nice on the streets and ride even better, even though they are quite affordable.

All of the bikes from the Women’s Pitch family are made using the Specialized’s tried and tested A1 aluminum frame and 27.5″ wheels. This makes the bike lightweight and versatile, so it can be ridden on different types of roads and for different purposes.

The suspension is great as well. Depending on the size of the bike you get, the front fork will have either 80 or 100 mm of travel. Either of the two is a good amount of travel for fun rides on bumpy fire roads or recreational rides on moderate trails.

It makes the ride smooth and eliminates a great deal of vibrations. The fork and the frame allow for a 2.3″ wide tires, which is a lot. You’ll get plenty of grip from the knobby tires even if you ride in wet conditions.

The number of gears is sometimes a problem with cheap bikes, but the Specialized Women’s Pitch line has between 24 and 27 gears, which is plenty. You won’t need more than that. It also has a variety of entry-level Shimano groupsets, including derailleurs and shifters.

What we like the most are the disc brakes, which really make a big difference in ride quality compared to a set of V-brakes. Cheaper models have mechanical discs, whereas the more expensive models have hydraulic ones.

All in all, we quite like these bikes and think they’re an excellent choice for women beginner riders since they have female geometry and women-specific parts. Feel free to buy one of them if you want to start off-road cycling as a complete beginner and learn the beauties of the sport.

NOW AVAILABLE: Specialized.com

7. Finiss Merax

Under $250!

It’s fairly cheaply priced. For under $500 – actually below $300 in most cases when I checked. However, what about the components? In this price scale, you can’t expect anything superb, but there can be a nice balance between the good price and quality.This Finiss Merax is hugely popular on Amazon with over 100+ reviews. Let’s look closer, and see what the reason for all of the attention is.

It rolls on 26“ wheels, which are double walled. It makes them a little-bit stronger compared to single-wall rims but heavier too.  It is only available in one size (19“) for riders from 5’10“ to 6’2“. The frame material is aluminum, which Merax claims has been heat treated. Typically bikes have 1 color-scheme and different frame sizes, this Merax has 1 size and 3 different color schemes!

Full Review: Finiss Merax

Components

Merax claims its weight to be around 33 pounds. It’s not light, but decent for the price. It uses mainly Shimano low-level components which are better than some third party components.  21 gears are absolutely enough for different riding situations.

It has a front shock with 80 mm of travel. Typically, the best mountain bikes under $500 have 100 mm which is better, but this bike is much cheaper too. It can perform, but if you’re above 200 pounds, then it’s too much for the shock. You can always upgrade the front shock if you feel the need.

It has both front and rear disc brakes.

Assembly

You will need some tools to assemble it. Just make sure to attach the pedals, wheels, handlebars, and to pump up the tires. The assembly instructions are good, but if you’re not familiar with bike assembly, then you might want to bring the bike to a local bike shop and have them do it for a fairly inexpensive price.

Bottom line

This is a good pick for those who are looking at the best mountain bikes for under $500. Check the best sellers and feedback on Amazon, it tells the same thing, this bike is worth buying at this price range!

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon

 

8. Marin Bolinas Ridge 1

Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 2019

Beautiful light green paint job!

The best aspects about the Bolinas Ridge 1 are: low weight, 27.5” wheels, front suspension, 21 gears (more than enough for any style of riding), and really attractive looks!It’s time to update our list of the best mountain bikes that you can get for less than $500. The newest addition is the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1. It has earned its place on the list because it provides unprecedented value for such a small amount of money.

The low overall weight is achieved thanks to the Series 1 6061 Aluminum frame with relaxed geometry. It puts the rider in a more upright and easygoing position. Therefore, neck pain and back pain will be a thing of the past for you.

Apart from these essential features, Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 also has an SR Suntour XCT-DS coil-powered front suspension. It has 100 mm of travel which is not enough to do extreme trail racing, but it’s more than enough to have a nice ride on a bumpy forest road. You can also ride that moderate single track that has been tempting you for a long time.

Shimano Components

Even though Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 costs well under $500, it does not use any no-name components. Instead, most of the components are provided by Shimano. They’re entry-level choices, but Shimano parts work really well even at this level. You will have 21 speeds in total and an 11-34T cassette, which is perfect for some decent off-road riding.

When it comes to breaking, It is always a surprise to see disc brakes on a cheap mountain bike. It tells me that the company is not cutting corners, but trying to deliver a useful product to the customer. Disc brakes make all the difference on the trails. Thus, it’s good to know that Bolinas Ridge 1 has a pair of Tektro Mechanical discs.

As we said, the tires are 27.5” in diameter, and they are 2.1” wide, with nice and gripping knobs. You’ll also get a pair of platform pedals and a comfy Marin MTB saddle. Therefore, all you need to do is hop on and go explore!

Conclusion: Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 is the right choice if you want a cheap mountain bike with Shimano components to have frequent recreational rides on nearby gravel roads.

Get From evo

And…Which one to choose?

We tested eight bikes and found them all to be great values and competent machines. But which one would be the best for you?

suggested

Let’s investigate…

If you want a true taste of mountain biking, it’s hard to beat the Cannondale Trail 8. Nearly, second, is the Diamondback Overdrive 29.

Seriously!

But, if some aspect of the bike does not suit fancy, our next-best alternative would be the Fuji Nevada 1.9. We’ve got great feedback from our readers on both of these solid options.

Full-suspension bikes are exciting to ride, as many dirt cyclists will attest. However, the only full-suspension bike we’ve found in this price range was the Diamondback Recoil 29, which is out of stock now. We have yet to identify another suitably-similar model, but we’ll be sure to make it known if/when we do. For all-terrain fat bikers, we found the Kawasaki Mihara to be the best pick.

Fact is, women can always use men’s bikes, and many do. However, the best women-specific mountain bike under $500 that we’ve located is the Co-op DRT 1.1W. You should also consider the Specialized Women’s Pitch. Great bikes in this line!

For the most part, you get what you pay for. If low price is your priority and you are satisfied with weaker components, then we’ll suggest the Finiss Merax, which will fulfill its duties if maintained regularly and not abused.

 


Not Sure, How to Assemble a Bike? Click Here To Order Proper Bike Assembly From Amazon!


OVERALL

Overall Ideas

One may be hesitant to purchase a cheap mountain bike from online, but be sure, it is a strong contender. For brand bikes, you usually pay at least 30% for the name alone, while lesser known best budget mountain bike manufacturers work hard to make quality bikes that could rival “Scotts” or “Treks“. You can read about them here on Bikeradar. All of the bikes have firm lightweight and high-quality frames and the only way to go up is to buy a carbon fiber frame, which is considerably pricier than the cheap mountain bikes discussed here.

I suggest you buy only the best hard-tail mountain bike because full-suspension bikes need more money and you can’t afford them under this price range.

While they might require some basic assembling, i.e handlebar or rims installed, we would advise any one of these bikes as top notch entry level options and you shouldn’t worry about the less than perfect quality – they are great for training and exploring new roads.

Hope you found the best mountain bikes under $500 for 2019!

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