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Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Jeff Balton

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

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

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 situation, all mountain bikes under $500 are sold out. That’s why we had to include models that cost a bit more to offer you the next best choice available.

We do our best to keep this review up-to-date with bikes in stock, but it’s not an easy task. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check the links below for places where you can conduct your own research and find more bikes. Consider other reviews in our MTB section or read our article on the current cycling situation.

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

Or see our Best Mountain Bikes list 

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 9 you need to consider!

REVEALED: The 9 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 For Everyone!

Well, these top 9 picks are the best mountain bikes for under $500 dollars. Enjoy!

1. Cannondale Trail 8

Cannondale Trail 8 2021 review

Best MTB Around $500

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.

The value Cannondale Trail 8 offers at $510 is hard to beat, making it the best bang for the buck in the Trail series.

If you want comfort, that’s exactly what the Cannondale Trail 8 bike can offer. This bike has 14 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 WTB Ranger Comp 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

Read the full review

2. Cannondale Trail Tango 3 Women’s

Best Choice with 27.5″ or 29″ wheels

Cannondale Trail Tango 3

I am quite excited to introduce this great deal from Cannondale!

The venerable brand is well known in the cycling industry, which is why we recommend a lot of their bikes.

Cannondale Trail Tango 3secures its place as one of the top affordable women’s mountain bikes. With its unique, low-slung top tube, Cannondale’s SmartForm C3 aluminum frame design does more than just look good – it enhances rider confidence and performance on rough terrain by decreasing the bike’s standover height.

The bike is available in a beautiful emerald green color that should appeal to the majority of people.

Trail Tango 3’s components are suitable for entry-level mountain biking and include an SR Suntour XCM-RL fork with 100 mm of travel and Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes for excellent stopping power. All this is rolling on 27.5″ or 29” wheels (depending on the frame size) with WTB Ranger 2.25″ tires.

I’m compelled to point out the Cannondale handlebar, stem, saddle, and seat post – these components are found even on much more expensive Cannondale bikes and work like a charm!

  • 27″ & 29” wheels
  • WTB Ranger tires for impressive off- and on-road action
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 18 gears


Cannondale Trail Tango 3 is a fantastic women’s bike for everyone’s garage as it comes with 27.5″ or 29″ tires and suits different mountain and recreational biking purposes!

I’ve found several user reviews online, most of which give 4-star and 5-star ratings. The owners 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!

Aesthetically, Cannondale has done a fine job of on the Trail Tango 3. Despite the low price, it doesn’t look like a cheap mountain bike.

This bike is available for just under $800, yet it’s enough bike to bring your trail adventures to the next level. This great value will provide years of performance and riding bliss to the entry-level rider you have in mind.

3. Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus

Best Value Kids’ MTB

Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus

The best aspects about the Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus are:

  • Low weight
  • Wide and stable 2.6″ tires
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 7 gears
  • Really attractive looks!

It’s time to update our list of the best kids’ mountain bike that you can get for around $500. The newest addition is the Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus. It has earned its place on the list because it provides unprecedented value for such a small amount of money.f

The low overall weight is achieved thanks to the SmartForm C3 Aluminum frame with relaxed kids-specific geometry. It puts the rider in a more upright and easygoing position. Therefore, kids will feel more confident and ride more.

Cujo 20 has a rigid fork, wide tires, and 20″ wheels. Therefore, it is pretty easy to operate and it can be ridden over a variety of terrain.

Shimano Components

Even though Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus costs around $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. Your kid will have 7 speeds in total and an 11-34T cassette, which is perfect for some decent off-road riding. Plus, 1x drivetrains are easier to use.

When it comes to braking, 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 Cujo 20 Plus has a pair of Tektro Mechanical discs. These come with Tektro brake levers that are easy to fully engage.

Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus is a simple and versatile kids’ mountain bike that does well on paved and unpaved roads, in the forest, and on moderate trails.

As we said, the wheels are 20″ in diameter and the tires are 2.6″ wide, with some nice and grippy knobs. You’ll also get a pair of platform pedals and a comfy Cannondale Ergo saddle. Therefore, all you need to do is hop on and go explore!

Conclusion: Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus is the right choice if you want to buy your child a cheap mountain bike with Shimano components to have frequent recreational rides on nearby dirt roads.

4. Diamondback Overdrive 29

Best Range of Gears

As you know, Diamondback has been consistent in making some of the best entry-level bikes out there. They also have a good guarantee.
They provide value where it is most needed, such as with components and strong wheels. Also, following high-value standards, almost all bikes have disc brakes which aren’t common on cheap mountain bikes.
When choosing inexpensive bikes, Diamondback stands out for offering good quality.

This Diamondback is the best mountain bike under $500 because it is made of high-quality materials, so it offers good value for the price. It has
29″ wheels and disc brakes which allow you to negotiable obstacles and stop quickly. It has WTB Nine Line tires, 2.25″ wide, which are the most widely used brand on traction bikes and a good deal of mountain bikes.

Assembling might require some technical knowledge. However, the bike might be a little on the heavier side, due to its aluminum frame. Keep in mind that it has Presta valves, so you’ll need an appropriate pump!

Keep in mind that the price of Diamondback Overdrive 29 can now be over $500, but that does not make it less of a bargain.

However, nowadays, almost every MTB has Prestos, which require a Presto-specific pump, such as this good pump. Some time ago, nobody used to have a pump for Prestos, but these valves are now considerably more popular, so it’s not a problem anymore.

Good Components: This hardtail bike has a Shimano Acera rear derailleur. I wouldn’t advise going any cheaper than that, so if you have an extra $50, run to your local bike shop and buy the next level.
It isn’t strictly necessary but if you can you should. For the price, you’ll get a lot more in terms of durability and precision. The components on this bike are going to last until you decide to wrap yourself around a tree, but maybe you shouldn’t do that.

Reviews on Amazon

Double Walled Rims: Many bike manufacturers, especially online, lower the price by using weak rims that can bend easily. However, the rims, like the frame, are very important, especially on budget mountain bikes because some manufacturers want to put very cheap parts on them. The double-walled rims on this Diamondback basically mean that they have two layers for greater strength.

Suntour XCT with 80 mm of travel will make the ride smooth as butter.

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon

Or see the 27.5″ model

Cheapest We Could Find

Merax MTBIt’s fairly cheaply priced. For under $500 – actually below $300 in most cases when I checked. But what about the components? In this price range, you can’t expect anything superb, but there can be a nice balance between the 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. That makes them slightly stronger compared to single-walled 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 2 different color-schemes!

Full Review: Finiss Merax


Merax claims its weight to be around 33 pounds. It’s not light, but decent for the price. It mainly uses Shimano low-level components which are better than some third-party components. Its 24 gears are absolutely enough for different riding situations.

Finiss Merax is a massive bargain as it costs right around $250 but offers components that usually cost at least $500.

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 could be 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.


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 — they tell the same thing, this bike is worth buying at this price range!

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon


6. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1

Full DRT Series reviewcoop cycles drt 1.1

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.

  • Unisex
  • 21 gears
  • Five sizes to accommodate riders from 5’0″ to 6’3” in height
  • Free warranty tune-up from REI.com
  • Powerful hydraulic disc brakes

The DRT 1.1 is designed for cycling enthusiasts who want to take up trail riding and spend some time in nature. You can see the curved top tube, which lowers the standover clearance and makes this bike a good choice for men and women alike.

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 $550.

The DRT 1.1 is the best mountain bike at this price because of the excellent component spec and tailored fit for recreational trail riding. 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 that you’ll need less power to operate these brakes than you would need for non-hydraulic ones.

The bike’s overall weight of 31 lbs. won’t prohibit a rider from carrying it up and down stairs. All MTBs around $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 – 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” to see it through. We hope that more and more beginner riders discover Co-op Cycles because it looks like they might be the new Diamondback – proven to be reliable and a great value!


7. Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

Our Top Pick – Best Fat Bike Under $500!

Mongoose Malus Fat Bike Fat tire 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 over deep snow. It won’t give in in any situation.

Mongoose makes many different types of bicycles, but we like their MTB line the most. 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 Mongoose Malus fat tire bike was the most logical choice.

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 

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. 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. We believe that each best fat tire bike under $500 should have disc 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.

Shimano components

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

Give it a try! 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!

Find your size and purchase safely from Amazon


8. Specialized Women’s Pitch

Best Trail Range for Women

Specialized Pitch as best MTB $500All 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.

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.

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 the majority of vibrations. The fork and the frame allow for 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 Specialized Pitch line of women’s trail bikes offers an excellent selection of models with a range of components and features to fit every pocket.

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.

Currently Out Of Stock

9. Prevelo Alpha Four Kids’ Bike

Alpha FourBest Bike for Kids Under $500

We 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 under $500! We’re talking about the Prevelo Alpha Four which is a versatile choice that does well both on and off-road.

It features 24″ wheels which makes this bike suitable for kids between 7 and 11 years old. However, depending on their height, even older kids can enjoy this beautiful MTB.

Great Components for the Price

The basic Prevelo Alpha Four model costs just $500. However, if you wish to, you add some accessories on it which will ramp up the price. You can equip it with the following:

  • Kickstand
  • Custom color grips
  • Incredibell bicycle bell
  • Rider name lettering
  • USB rechargeable lights
  • Easy-to-use grip shifter

Even if you choose none of these, the stock model is already equipped enough to guarantee a fun and quality ride. Alpha Four has eight speeds that can be shifted with a Shimano Altus derailleur and Shimano Rapidfire Shifters. That’s perfect to teach your kid how multi-gear drivetrains work.

Prevelo Alpha Four is a kids’ mountain bike with an adult approach making it a serious contender on the trails.

Prevelo Alpha Four also has front and rear alloy V-brakes and Kenda’s 24″ x 1.5″ tires, both of which inspire confidence and stability.

The fork is on this bike is rigid, but most kids don’t really need front suspension as they don’t ride too hard. In return, the weight is reduced quite a bit, so Alpha Four weighs just 21.2 lbs / 9.6 kg.

If you want your child to spend more time outside and fall in love with cycling on a fun and quality bike, then Prevelo Alpha Four is a no-brainer.

Get From PreveloBikes.com

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?


Let’s investigate…

If you want a true taste of mountain biking in a fantastic women’s trail bike, then you should look for the Cannondale Trail Tango 3. However, the best trail mountain bike around $500 that we’ve located is the Co-op DRT 1.1.

The Diamondback Overdrive 29 is a great performer for several years already.


But, if some aspect of the bike does not suit your fancy, our next-best alternative would be the Cannondale Trail 8. We’ve got great feedback from our readers on all of these solid options. The best kids’ mountain bike comes in the form of the Cannondale Cujo 20 Plus.

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 let you know if/when we do. 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. However, the best trail-specific mountain bike around $500 that we’ve located is the Co-op DRT 1.1. 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 fulfil its duties if maintained regularly and not abused.

Finally, if you’re looking for a bike to surprise your kid with, then Prevelo Alpha Four is guaranteed to put a smile on their face.

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

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



Overall Ideas

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.

I 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.

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


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This Article Has 74 Comments

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  • 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.

  • 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″.

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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. 🤗

  • 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. 🙂