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Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Jeff Balton

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

In this review, I will reveal the ten different best mountain bikes under $500 you can buy online in 2022!

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 the best mountain bikes under $500 right here. Before buying a good mountain bike under $500, here are the best 10 you need to consider!

Please note! Due to bike shortage, some of the bikes are over $500.


REVEALED: The 10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 For Everyone!

Well, these top 10 picks are the best mountain bikes for under $500 dollars. Enjoy!


1. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1

Slightly Over $500. Clear Winner With Discs And All Sizes

Co-op DRT 1.1Co-op Cycles may sound like a new brand to your ear, but we’ve been fans of it for several years now. It’s owned by REI, the maker of a few pretty slick mountain bikes priced at under or around the $500 range.

Key features:

  • Suitable for men and women
  • Best for short riders (4’9″ and up)
  • 21 gears

FULL DRT Series overview

The DRT 1.1 is designed for cycling enthusiasts who want to take up trail riding and spend some time in nature.

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 has a number of stand-out features that put it on par with more expensive trail bikes, even though it costs only around $599.

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 1.1 is that it has not only disc brakes but hydraulic disc brakes. This means you need to apply less power to stop the bike. The bike requires minimal mechanical prowess to assemble – the provided comprehensive instructions and tools make it easy!

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

Finally, DRT 1.1 is a great choice for riders who are making their initial foray into mountain biking and seeking a reliable “companion”. The DRT 1.1 is truly one of the best beginner mountain bikes.


2. Marin Eldrige Grade Base 27.5

Runner up

Marin Eldrige Grade Base 27.5We are excited to introduce this budget mountain bike. This is not a high-end bike, but it is an excellent choice for beginners.

Marin Eldrige secures its place as one of the top affordable hardtail bikes thanks to the attractive money-to-value ratio.

Key takeaway points:

  • 27.5″ wheels
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • 2×8 Drivetrain
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes


The bike is built around a durable aluminum frame that combines strength and comfort. There’s plenty of standover clearance for short riders thanks to the slanted top tube. The frame has mounts for fenders and a rear rack.

The Eldrige is a bargain hardtail mountain bike for everyday riding as it comes with wide 27.5er wheels and tires and suits different mountain and recreational biking purposes!

This particular model comes in modern and attractive blue and red colors which make it look more expensive.

The Eldrige’s components are suitable for entry-level mountain biking and include an SR Suntour XCM30 fork with 120 mm of travel and hydraulic disc brakes for reliable stopping power. With the grip and comfort you get from the tires, you will feel confident to ride and explore dirt roads and trails.

This bike also boasts a 2×8 Shimano drivetrain, which is enough gearing for beginners.

Marin has done a good job on the Eldrige. The bike will provide years of performance and riding bliss to any entry-level rider.



3. Mongoose Switchback – Men’s and Women’s

Best Affordable Hardtail MTB

Mongoose SwitchbackMongoose Switchback is a versatile hybrid mountain bike that’s suitable for male and female riders. Plus, it comes in several versions, such as Expert, Comp, Sport, and Trail.

It has a lightweight, streamlined, and sleek aluminum frame painted in various attractive colors, which is always a big plus. It’s not ultralightweight, but it’s not heavy either. The coil suspension fork is basic but it’s a great feature for recreational trail, gravel, and dirt riding.

Key takeaways:

  • Suitable for men and women
  • Aluminum frame
  • Mechanical disc brakes


Moving on to the components, the Switchback is equipped with anywhere between 8 and 21 gears, depending on the model. This is more than enough for entry-level riders. The groupsets vary as well, so you’ll get Shimano Tourney or Altus, depending on the model.

Moreover, this bike comes with mechanical disc brakes to slow you down or stop you on a dime, which is an indispensable feature when riding off-road.

Mongoose Switchback is a well-built mountain bike that delivers phenomenal value for the money to the average beginner trail rider.

Finding the right fit on Mongoose Switchback is easy as the bike is available in Small, Medium, and Large sizes. All models also get 27.5 x 2.1″ knobby tires that will ensure plenty of grip in most conditions.

Mongoose Switchback is an entry-level bike so it’s not recommendable for serious trail riding. However, it’s perfectly suitable for casual off-road rides and explorations off the beaten path. It’s a comfy, upright MTB that will do a great job of introducing you to the nuances of the sport.


4. Huffy Tekton

Best Granny Gears for Climbing

Huffy TektonIt’s time to update our list of the best mountain bikes that you can get for under $500. The newest addition is the Huffy Tekton. It has earned its place on the list because it provides unprecedented value for such a small amount of money.

Related: Review of Huffy Bikes

The low overall weight is achieved thanks to the lightweight 6061 aluminum frame with a relaxed trail-specific geometry. It puts the rider in a more upright and easygoing position. Therefore, you will feel more confident and ride more.

The best aspects about the Tekton mountain bike are:

  • High-quality aluminum frame
  • 21 speeds
  • Oversized tires


Huffy Tekton has an adjustable suspension fork, oversized tires, and comes with 26″ wheels. Therefore, it is suitable for different terrains and types of off-road riding.

Even though the Tekton costs much less than $500, it uses decent components. These are entry-level choices, but they work really well even at this level. You will have 21 speeds in total which is perfect for some decent off-road riding and climbing.

The Tekton is a simple and versatile trail mountain bike that does well on paved and unpaved roads, in the forest, and on moderate trails.

The 26″ tires are knobby and wide, so you won’t be lacking grip. You’ll also get a pair of platform pedals and a comfy ergonomic saddle. Therefore, all you need to do is hop on and go explore!

The Tekton 26″ mountain bike is the right choice if you want to buy an affordable mountain bike with decent components that you can ride on and off-road, to enjoy the outdoors, lose weight, or get fit.


5. Schwinn Mesa

Best for Short Riders

Schwinn Mesa

As you know, Schwinn has been around for a long time, making quality bikes in different categories. One of those categories is mountain biking. They provide value where it is needed the most, for example with components and strong wheels.

Key takeaways:

  • Suitable for riders  5’2″ to 5’6″ in height
  • Disc brakes
  • 27.5″ wheels


Schwinn Mesa is one of the best mountain bikes under $500 because it is made of high-quality materials, so it offers good value for the price.

It has 27.5″ wheels and disc brakes which allows you to negotiate obstacles and stop quickly. Wide knobby mountain tires are wide enough for off-road riding but not too wide for road commutes.

See more: Schwinn Mountain Bikes

Assembling might require some technical knowledge, though the bike ships mostly assembled already. The bike might be a little on the heavier side, considering it has entry-level front suspension.

This suspension is not intended for serious trail riding, but it will significantly improve the overall comfort on off-road rides.

Schwinn Mesa is an entry-level bike intended for beginners and recreational riders. You can’t really find too many faults with it considering the low price.

This hardtail bike has a Shimano Tourney drivetrain that offers 21 gears. This is a low-tier groupset, so it can’t handle too much abuse, but it’s still reliable and ready for everyday use. The components on this bike are going to last until you decide to wrap yourself around a tree, though we advise against it if you have a choice.

Get it if you want an affordable hardtail bike with the most comfort for off-road adventures.


6. Huffy Torreya

One Of The Best MTB’s Under $500

Huffy Torreya Mountain BikeYou can get the Huffy Torreya for less than $500. In this price range, you can’t expect anything superb, but there can be a nice balance between the price and quality.

Key takeaways:

  • 27.5 wheels
  • Aluminum frame
  • Front and rear disc brakes


Huffy Torreya rolls on 27.5“ wheels, which are double-walled. It is only available in one size (18“), so some very short or very tall riders might not be able to ride it. The aluminum frame is stiff and lightweight. This bike comes in one color only, but it’s a modern and attractive black, with beautiful gold details.

It mainly uses low-level components which are better than some third-party components. Torreya’s 8 gears are more than enough for different riding situations with a decent cassette on the rear.

Huffy Torreya is a massive bargain as it costs under $500 but offers components that usually cost much more.

You will need some tools to assemble it. 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.

This is a good pick for those who are looking for the best mountain bikes under $500.


7. Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

Our Top Pick – Best Fat Bike Under $500!

Mongoose MalusMongoose makes many different types of bicycles, but we like their MTB line the most. This list would not have been complete without a fat bike, as they are more popular than ever. With that in mind, when choosing mountain bikes under $500, the Mongoose Malus fat tire bike was the most logical choice

Main Features:

  • Knobby 4″ wide tires
  • Mechanical disc brakes


Fat bikes are usually more robust and less complicated than other types of bikes, which makes them the perfect candidate for entry-level riders.

All fat bikes usually come with disc brakes, since they need more stopping power because of their heavier weight. Mongoose Malus 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.

Mongoose Malus comes with a steel frame that puts an emphasis on comfort and strength but does not sacrifice speed and weight too much.

At this price, you cannot expect high-end components, that’s for sure. However, Mongoose Malus doesn’t give you the cheapest components either. It comes with a 1×7 drivetrain operated with a Shimano rear derailleur.

Fat bikes usually do not come with a lot of gears since they are intended for extreme terrains and conditions where you do not need to go very fast. Therefore, the seven speeds on Malus will certainly suffice.

Related: Best Fat Bikes

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


8. Royce Union

Best 27.5″ Trail Bike

Royce UnionRoyce is not a very well-known brand but it is doing a lot to popularize mountain biking among entry-level riders, for both men and women. Royce Union is the right tool for this job because it costs little, looks good, and has plenty of beginner-friendly features.

Main features:

  • Aluminum Frame
  • 27.5″ wheels
  • 21 gears


You can see straight away that this is a modern trail bike, because of the progressive trail geometry. The bike looks really nice on the streets and rides even better, even though it is quite affordable.

The Zoom front fork has 100 mm of travel which is a good amount of travel for fun rides on bumpy roads or recreational rides on moderate trails.

It makes the ride smooth and eliminates the majority of vibrations. The fork and the frame allow for wide knobby tires, which you’ll love when the surface beneath you gets sketchy. You’ll get plenty of grip even if you ride in wet conditions.

The Royce Union trail bike offers phenomenal entry-level performance with a range of components and features to fit every pocket.

The number of gears is sometimes a problem with cheap bikes, but the Royce Union has 21 gears and a 3×7 drivetrain, which is plenty. You won’t need more than that. The bike comes with Shimano Altus components, which is an excellent mid-tier groupset.

All in all, Royce Union is a good choice for recreational riders. 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.



9. Schwinn High Timber

Best MTB with 29″ Wheels

Schwinn High TimberSchwinn High Timber is an affordable mountain bike, perfect for being your first bicycle for hitting the off-road. It is well-equipped, good-looking, and easy to maintain.

Some specs:

  • Aluminum Frame
  • 29″ tires
  • 21 speeds


It has a lightweight and durable aluminum frame that improves comfort and achieves a modern look. Great looks are this bike’s main trait, but it is also pretty well-equipped for this price.

High Timber has a comfortable saddle that will support you well on longer rides and comes with platform pedals.

The value Schwinn High Timber offers at a very low price is hard to beat, making it the best bang for the buck in this category.

This bike has a 21-speed drivetrain so you don’t need to worry whether or not you’ll have the right gear for a steep climb. The bike also has front and rear mechanical disc brakes instead of V-brakes, which is a big plus on cheap mountain bikes.

The highlight is the wide 29″ tires that improve comfort and stability, which is the most important thing for beginner riders.

To sum up, if you want an affordable but quality bike that will show you all the beauties of riding bikes, don’t hesitate to get the Schwinn High Timber mountain bike.


10. Hiland 26 Aluminum MTB

Best Bike for Kids Under $500

Hiland Aluminum Mountain BikeWe believe that kids should start riding bikes at an early age. It’s fun and it’s good for their health! That’s why we’re wrapping up this list with the best kids’ bike for under $500! We’re talking about Hiland 26 which is a versatile choice that does well both on and off-road.

Key features:

  • 26″ wheels
  • Front suspension
  • Aluminum frame


It features 26” wheels which make this bike suitable for teenagers and young adults. However, depending on their height, even younger kids can enjoy this beautiful MTB. It’s suitable for riders over 5’1″ in height.

Related: Best Kids Bikes

This Hiland model costs well under $500. That’s a bargain, which makes this the perfect first mountain bike for you or your child.

The stock model is equipped enough to guarantee a fun and quality ride. Hiland 26 has a beginner-friendly Shimano 21-speed drivetrain that’s easy for kids to use and even easier for parents to maintain.

Hiland also has front and rear mechanical disc brakes that inspire confidence and stability.

The fork offers ample amounts of travel even though it’s heavy, but most kids don’t really need loads of travel as they don’t ride too hard.

If you want you or your child to spend more time outside and fall in love with cycling on a fun and quality bike, then the Hiland 26″ mountain bike is a no-brainer.



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


Let’s investigate…

If you are an entry-level cyclist and want a true taste of real mountain biking, then you should get the affordable Marin Eldridge Base. However, the best trail mountain bike for around $500 that we’ve located is the Co-op DRT 1.1. This bike has hydraulic discs and all sizes available.

Mongoose Switchback costs slightly more than $500, but it’s worth it if you want excellent value for your money and a well-built bike that will last you for years.


The best trail mountain bike comes in the form of the Huffy Torreya. If you need a 29″ MTB, you should consider Schwinn High Timber, which is an excellent hardtail option.

Short riders sometimes have a hard time finding the right bike. However, we’ve managed to find Schwinn Mesa which will fit you like a glove if you’re under 6 ft. tall. For all-terrain fat bikers, we found the Mongoose Malus to be the best pick.

Fact time: Women can always use men’s bikes, and many do. For example, you should consider the Royce Union. A great bike for the price!

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 Huffy Tekton, which will fulfill its duties if maintained regularly and not abused.

Finally, if you’re looking for a bike to treat yourself or your kid with, then Hiland is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.


Not Sure how to Assemble a Bike? Click Here To Order Proper Bike Assembly At Amazon.com!


If you didn’t find what you were looking for, here’s a quick tip for you. Find your bike on REI, JensonUSA, or evo mountain bike categories (sorted by price)



Overall Ideas

It can be difficult to find good mountain bikes under $500, especially now that all prices are rising and there are not enough bikes available.

Plus, one may be hesitant to purchase a cheap mountain bike online, but there are some strong contenders.

When it comes to branded bikes, you 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 a 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.

At that rate, finding a good beginner mountain bike can become a pain in the backside.

We suggest you buy only the best hardtail mountain bikes because full-suspension bikes need more money and you can’t afford them in this price range.

Learn more: Mountain Bike Suspension Explained

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.

I hope you found the best mountain bikes under $500!

Consider buying pre-owner bikes from The Pro’s Closet


Related MTB Reviews


Other articles


  • Tony M says:

    These bikes are all $500 plus and more, so not a very reliable review for bikes under $500

    • Editor says:

      Hi Tony,
      Good point, seems like we’ve removed the disclaimer “that due bike shortage, bike prices have risen” and that’s why most of the bikes are over $500 here.

  • Mark says:

    I’m 5ft 9inch with a 30.9inch Insteam. My ape index is the same as my hight which leaves me in between two bikes sizes. I have looked on trek and they recommend a medium. I have tried both sizes the medium and m/l. The medium feel slightly cramped but fun and the m/l a slight stretch, which do you recommend. The bike I was looking at was the trek marlin 7.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Mark,
      This is a common issue. I suggest taking a look at stem length and then the saddle fore and aft. Take a bike that is a size lower and not higher. Then get a bike fit from there with those I mentioned. Cheers!

  • Lonnie McCoy says:

    Hi Jeff,
    looking to get into a new bike for myself and wife, we are really beginners but looking for something street to trails not radical trails at this time really for exercise, that I can hail on my bike rack on the car, I’m 5’7 and the wife is 5’4 been years since my last bike and recommendations would be great.
    price range $300-$500 per bike

    Thank you

    • Editor says:

      Hi Lonnie,
      Glad to know you are both getting into the wonderful world of cycling. I think you both need a hybrid bike. For your bike charts:
      5’7: 16” Medium.
      5’4: 15” Small
      Check out our entry level hybrid bikes.

    • guratimud says:

      ’m 5’7 and the wife is 5’4 been years since my last bike and recommendations would be great.
      price range $300-$500 per bike

    • Editor says:

      Hi Guratimud,

      The same size recommendations apply to you:5’7: 16” Medium.
      5’4: 15” Small. Check out Schwinn and Mongoose. May I ask what sort of riding do you both enjoy? For casual off-road riding then these bikes will do.

  • Jeff says:

    Hi Jeff. I’d like to purchase a bike on the cheap. Primary use would be street/gravel daily exercise, but also something I could venture into light trails/downhill on occasion. Sorting through online sales and the local used market I’ve narrowed it down to a high end used bike in excellent condition (but 20 years old) and a low-mid tier modern mtb. Both are dual suspension, but the modern bike has several advantages including disc brakes and fork lockout.

    I can get either in the range of $250-$400.

    Option A: 1999 Schwinn S-10
    Option B: 2021 Gravity FSX 2.0
    Option C: You blow my mind


    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jeff,
      These are all good brands, although the Schwinn is a classic brand. But you can also check out our entry level hardtail bikes. Maybe you’ll find something there too 😉

  • Brayden says:

    Hello I’m looking for a dual suspension mountain bike for jumps and I’m 5’ 0”

  • Randy says:

    Hi Jeff. I am 6’4” and about 280lbs. I’m looking to ride for exercise and would like to know what entry level cycles you suggest for heavier riders? Thanks

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Randy,
      First, let’s address the bike size for you. You need something that’s 21+ inches for XXL riders. Now, I assume that you are not really into hardcore riding and would be using this bike for fitness and just going around town right? Hybrid bikes would be a perfect compromise between road riding and occasional gravel experience. So do check out the list and see if you can find something that strikes your fancy.

  • Michael Tripp says:

    Hi Jeff. I am looking for a mountain bike for mainly cardio reasons and occasional trail riding. I am 5″9 197lbs. I am looking to spend between 3-$400. My ortho recommended getting a bike as I have had a few knee surgeries and he advised to stop running so much.

  • Serge says:

    Hi Jeff, my daughter is 5’ 6” , 103 lb, 13 years old. The local bike shop has only one bike available with $500 price range is Trek Marlin 4 or we can buy from Dick’s store their GT laguna bike for pretty the same price. What would you recommend to buy? Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Serge,
      Both a good brands. Each price range is similar specs. Get your favorite that fits your daughter. Get her a 16” / 17″ under the Medium size.

  • saoirse says:

    hi i am trying to find the best mountain bike under 400 that has very springy springs and can hit those jump. I am a 13 year old kid who is very small so should i use a size 26 or 24? what is the bike that has the best springs? And also i would like a hardtail because the bikes with the back shocks too are very pricy

    hope this message finds you well with the best intentions
    thank you …

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Saoirse,
      You’ve come to the right place! You can use 26″ for a more comfortable and stable ride. You are right, full suspension is pricey. Here’s the link to affordable mountain bikes available.

  • Francisco soto says:

    My son is 5’5 135 and I wanted to know what’s the best MTB under 300 $

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Francisco,

      So far the cheapest mountain bike we can recommend is . Let’s face it, mountain bikes cheaper than that is not good. Or, you can also look for second hand as the last option if you want to get something good but not too expensive. By the way, make sure you you get him a medium-size mtb. Something with a frame size around 16” / 17″.

  • Hal R Kaelin says:

    I am looking at a Motobecane full suspension bike and am trying to figure out the best size to buy. My current bike is a hybrid Schwinn Searcher and is a 17.5″ frame with 700c 28 inch wheels. But the Motobecane comes in 16.5″ or 18.5″ frame size with 27.5″ wheels. I am 5’8″ with a 29″ leg inseam and 67″ total arms length. So which size would be best for me 16.5 or 18.5. I like to ride hard and fast and sometimes long distances, longest so far lately is 44 miles.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Hal,
      16.6″ is your sweet spot. Getting an MTB with the ride size will give you more fun without lower back pain and other discomforts.

  • Eiman says:

    Hi Jeff, my height 168cm and leg inseam 28″.
    What size of bicycle mtb that I need.. Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Eiman,

      Give her a road bike that’s between 16” / 17″. These are categorized under Medium.

  • Graham says:

    Not sure how the Diamondback Overdrive 29 made the list, it’s $1400 at the Amazon link provided.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Graham,
      It really depends where you buy the bikes. This review was written before the pandemic and we all know that the bike market is like hotcakes these days. Thanks for the feedback. There is also a store that sells this brand that is still within the range if not below.

  • Tiffany Dawn Dunlap says:

    hi im looking for a 26” kids mountain bike around 200 and 300 dollars do you have any recommendations thanks

  • oliver says:

    Hello, Jeff, I was wondering if you could help me find a 26” mtb that is good?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Oliver,
      I might have a solution for that. Check out this link , then scroll all the way down to Cannondale Trail 5 and the bikes below that. These are good affordable MTBs.

  • Simon says:

    Hey, I love these bikes and the whole article but I am located in Poland and finding any of these is really hard. We have a wide variety of Kellys and Giant bikes. Would you suggest any up to 500$? I was thinking about the Cliff 30 or Roam 4 2017. (I was about to buy the Cliff 70 but it sold out, I can still but it second hand)

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Simon,
      The Cliff 30 and Roam 4 2017 bikes that you’re talking about are good brands. The advantage of second hand bikes is that they are already tuned up and ready to ride. The previous owner knows what it’s like to ride a good bike so they really take good care of it before putting it in the market.

  • Thamirys says:

    Hi Jeff**,

    I’m looking to getting a mountain bike under $400. I’m 5’5 and the finiss merax is for riders from 5’10 to 6’2’’. Which one would you recommend?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Thamirys,
      Have you checked the Trek website recently? They have an offer for that price range.

  • Nel De Leon says:

    Hello Jeff,
    Is there a Giant MTB I can get for my budget of $500-600? This will be my very first bike purchase. I will use the bike for easy cruising and mainly for cardio. Which one do you recommend? I also like a bike that I can upgrade. Thank you for your time! More power!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Nel,
      Great to hear. I always love stories about falling inlove with cycling for the first time. It’s going to change your life for the better and open doors. You can get an ATX and a Talon for that price range. Check out the Giant website.

  • Justin Viescas says:

    This list needs to be updated. Literally all but one, are $500+ now.

  • Daniel Anthony says:

    Where are u located?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Daniel,
      Bicycle Guider is predominantly an online community. We are global.

  • John Ferreira says:

    Hey Jeff! I’m a beginner, I am 5’9 190lbs looking for a mountain bike that is 500 or less to get the feel for biking. What should I look at? How do I know which size to order?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi John,
      Get a frame size between 17″ / 18″, under the Large category. For your first MTB, there are things that you need to consider:
      -The frame size that’s right for you will prevent discomfort.
      -27.5 wheels are the common option these days, while some go for 29.
      -Decide is you want a hardtail or full suspension. The latter is heavier due to more components. If you are using the bike for easy cruising and mild offroad adventure, then go for the hardtail.
      -Choose a design that will still look good in the future.

  • Gaylene says:

    Hi Mike, I am looking at getting a bike for my son. The problem is he is 14 and 6’5 and still growing. He’s built like a linebacker too. Can you recommend a bike size that he could “grow into” that hopefully will last more than a season and/or an online store as our local shops don’t seem to stock bikes in his size.

  • Kyle says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Would you consider buying a mountain bike from a third party seller like CanadianTire reliable? My dad and I found a Raleigh on sale for $449.99 (reg $599.99). Also, is Raleigh well known for their mountain bikes?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Kyle,
      I haven’t tried that personally but you can check online bike forums like Reddit to get good opinions. As for the brand it isn’t the best hardtail money can but but it is the best in terms of its price range.

  • Dean says:

    Hi Jeff. Thanks for all the great info and suggestions. What would be your top 2-3 hybrid bikes would you recommend under $500 if any? Thanks Dean

  • elian says:

    hi i’m 5’10 150 lbs and debating what would be best for me between;
    trek marlin
    marin bolinas
    co op 1.1
    or any similar to those above , below $600
    what would you recommend?
    i will also be using it for road riding
    i own a pure fix original 50″ and its kinda uncomfortable

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Elian,
      These are all super bikes and it is up to you which one to choose. They are all winners because they made a place in this review.
      Before going ahead and getting your new bike, you might want to see my post about Road Bikes and also Mountain Bikes so you can see other options.

  • Mike says:

    I was thinking about buying the trek 820 it’s available for only 400$ is this a bike that you would recommend? And the guy at the bike shop keeps telling me about this bike called batch everyday life cycle ,but i really wanted something that is reliable and a decent bike but I just can’t afford to much more money at this point and it’s mainly for me to ride the state parks with my 8yo son,but also would like to do some real mountain biking as well ,do think that this is a good buy or would you recommend something different? I really would appreciate any help or possibly other recommendations

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Mike, if $400 is all you can spend, go for it. Any bike is better than no bike. You will be able to ride with your son and explore the state parks, as well as ride along some mountain roads. 🙂 However, I don’t recommend hitting the trails or anything technical or more demanding with this bike.

  • Noah says:

    Hi Jeff Balton I am 5’4 110 pounds and I am looking for a mountain bike with full suspension and I was wondering if you could help me find a bike under 500.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Noah, there are no full-suspension bikes under $500 that I can recommend. The prices of new FS bikes start around $1,000 for entry-level models. For that money, you might be able to find an older used FS bike in good condition.

  • Drew says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m new to mountain biking. I’ve done a good amount of research on mtb. And I am stuck between a Marlin 5, Cannondale Overdrive (if I can find it), Rockhopper or Atx 2. Looking for a good fit and comfortable ride cause I’m 6’3. Can you point me in the right direction and any suggestions for upgrades would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Drew, I recommend going for Marlin 5. It’s a decent bike for the money, has quality components, and comes in seven sizes, so it should be easy to find the right fit. The first thing I’d change would be the tires, they’d make the biggest difference.

  • edgar says:

    Jeff tank u for all you effort and help you are a good person. 🤗

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Thank you for the kind words and the support, Edgar. I’m happy I can help. 🙂

  • Mason says:

    i am a beginner rider 5’1″ 130 mountain biking and a bike under 1000 dollars.

  • Colt Reynolds says:


    I am looking for a bike that would. Best fit my height. I am 6’1 and a large build, I want a nice bike that will be a good fit. I’m planning on doing moderate trail riding but mostly road and dirt road exploring.

  • Alejandro Soto says:

    Hellow jeff. I have a question for you. I’m looking for an entry e level specialized mountain bike around $600 to $700. I hope you can halpe me. Thank you.

  • Blair says:

    Looking to get a gift for my girlfriend, she’s quite petite at 5’2 and about 125 lbs. Beginner mountain biker but would be used for cruising around the city as well in California! Which bike do you recommend under $500 if not $400! Nothing too fancy but will hold up!

    Do you also have suggestions how to store a bike in a small 1 bed 1 bath apartment? I don’t want to leave it on the balcony, it is on the ground level and feel like it could easily be stolen.

    Do you have a good bike lock you also recommend?

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Blair. We’ve already written several articles about cheap bikes, many of which cost under $500 and some even under $400 — you can check them out here and here. Perhaps a cruiser/city bike would be a good choice since she’ll be riding in the city? As for the size, a 15″ frame would be a good choice.

      When it comes to storage, we recently wrote an in-depth overview of different types of storage solutions, so take a look to get some ideas. 🙂

  • Bellah says:

    I currently own a co-op bike at my dad’s house but am looking to get an affordable bike at my mom’s as well. Do you think a Cannondale trail 7/8 or a co-OP bike would hold up better on the trails?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Bellah, it depends on which Co-op Cycles bike we’re talking about. But Cannondale Trail models offer a pretty good bang for the buck, in my opinion. 🙂

  • Jason says:

    I am new to the Market and Have been looking for a Bike that’s in my Budget. As a Father of Three Boys that Like to go Riding all the time I’m afraid I can only afford so much like around $250.00 area or at most under $500.00. What would you suggest for a person like me. 6′-1″ thanks in advance for your response.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jason, I’m not sure what type of riding you’re doing, but Finiss Merax seems to fit your budget and it offers good value for the money. 🙂

  • nick says:

    I’d love to find a Diamondback Recoil 29 somewhere. Any suggestions? I prefer full suspension due to some back issues. I feel like a softer ride would let me get back on a bike.

  • Bill Yeager says:

    I was wondering what you think of a giant atx 3 for around $430

    • Jeff Balton says:

      It seems like a good purchase for that much money. If you can spare a bit more money to get the disc brake version, that’s even better 🙂

  • Brau says:

    Hi Jeff my have $600 what’s the best I can get… I been looking for specialize Cannondale giant diamondback trek and more… What’s the best for that price I been looking too much that am overwhelmed for all this research… I think I need another great opinion like your from other perspective

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Brau, for that money, I think you can’t go wrong with a Cannondale Trail 6. 🙂

  • Barry Rossetto says:

    Are you familiar with the Jamis Trail X a2. It’s a bike i’v been considering and seems to be comparable to the bikes on your list. Any insight on it would be appreciated.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Barry, that’s a decent deal for the money. It is comparable to the bikes on our list. If you plan to ride occasionally on tame singletracks and fire roads, it’s an acceptable choice. 🙂

  • Jason Razon says:

    I’ve been on the fence about the cannondale trail 8, it’s in my cart on rei.com. I am intrigued by the trail 7 now though which is $565. It has hydraulic brakes vs cable brakes. It’s the only difference I can see. Is it worth the extra? Or should I just stick with the 8? Also I’m 5’10 1/2” tall, should I go with a large or medium? I can’t get to a store to test since everything’s closed. I want to get out there ASAP with my son.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jason, compared to Trail 8, Cannondale Trail 7 has a better fork with more travel (100 mm vs. 75 mm), better Shimano groupset with more gears (24 vs. 21), and the hydraulic brakes that you mention. So, all in all, I’d say it’s worth the extra money.

      That’s not to say Trail 8 is not a good bike, it could be a great pick for you as well, it all depends on how much you plan to ride. As far as height goes, I’d choose a Large. Have fun! 🙂

  • Ben Bean says:

    I am a decently experienced mountain biker and was wondering if I could get a bike for under $500. I like to ride fast and aggressive and was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. The trails that I ride vary from hard trails to smooth downhill ones. Thanks!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Ben, if you’re planning to ride very aggressively, a $500 bike might not cut it for you. The components and the suspension could give you trouble after some time. However, if you decide to go through with the purchase, I’d suggest some Co-op Cycles or Marin models that fit your price range.

  • Amber McGee says:

    Looking for a bike. Women 5′ 9″ tall 280lbs.
    Best for city trails and streets
    Under $500

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Amber, you should consider cruisers such as sixthreezero or Electra. We’ve written about these earlier. They meet all of your requirements. 🙂

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