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!
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. Cannondale Trail 8
Best MTB with Size-Specific Wheels
We know that it cost a bit more than $500, but if you can spare $100 more, we recommend you do it because this bang for the buck is hard to match.
Firstly, Cannondale Trail 8 has a lightweight, streamlined, and sleek aluminum frame painted in a dark grey color which has become recognizable for this model. It’s not ultralightweight, but it’s not heavy either. The SR Suntour M3030 coil suspension fork delivers 75mm of travel, which is great for recreational trail, gravel, and dirt riding.
Cannondale Trail 8 is a well-built mountain bike that delivers phenomenal value for the money to the average beginner trail rider.
Moving on to the components, Trail 8 is equipped with a mix of Shimano Altus and Tourney derailleurs paired up with microSHIFT thumb-tap shifters. The setup gives you 14 gears, which is more than enough for entry-level riders. Most mountain bikes in this price range come with an all-Tourney drivetrain, so this is a big plus for Trail 8.
Moreover, this bike comes with Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors to slow down, which is an indispensable feature when riding off-road.
Finding the right fit on Cannondale Trail 8 is easy as the bike has size-specific wheels—XS and S roll on 27.5″ wheels and larger frame sizes come with 29er wheels. The WTB Ranger Comp tires are 2.25″ wide in all sizes.
Cannondale Trail 8 is an entry-level bike so it’s not recommendable for serious trail riding. However, it’s perfectly suitable for entry-level 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.
2. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1
Best with 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.
- 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!
I am quite excited to introduce this budget fat bike made by Mongoose.
This is not a high-end brand, but they have some excellent choices for beginner riders.
Mongoose Dolomite secures its place as one of the top affordable fat bikes thanks to the attractive money to value ratio.
The bike is built around a durable steel frame that combines strength and comfort. There’s plenty of standover clearance for short riders thanks to the low top tube. The frame also has mounts for fenders and a rear rack.
This particular model comes in an elegant navy blue color, but there is a light blue and a red model as well.
Mongoose’s components are suitable for entry-level mountain biking and include a rigid steel fork for easier maintenance and mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping power. With the grip and comfort you get from the massive 26″ x 4″ tires, you don’t really need front suspension.
Mongoose Dolomite boasts a 1×7 Shimano drivetrain, which is enough gearing for beginners. Recently, 1x drivetrains are the standard setup on most mountain bikes as they are light and efficient.
- Burly 26″ wheels and beefy 4″ fat tires
- Mechanical disc brakes
- 1×7 drivetrain
- Suitable for 5’6″–6’0″ tall riders
Mongoose Dolomite is a bargain fat mountain bike for everyday riding as it comes with wide 26″ x 4″ 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 ratings to every aspect of the bike and found it a superlative holiday gift.
Aesthetically, Mongoose has done a fine job on this fat bike. Despite the low price, it doesn’t look like a cheap product. Mongoose Dolomite fat bike will provide years of performance and riding bliss to any entry-level rider.
4. Raleigh Rowdy
Best Value Kids’ MTB
- Low weight
- Different wheel sizes available: 16″, 20″, and 24″
- Kids-specific brake levers, handlebar, and saddle
- 7 gears and single-speed builds
- Available in several fun colors
It’s time to update our list of the best kids’ mountain bike that you can get for under $500. The newest addition is the Raleigh Rowdy. 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 lightweight 6061 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.
Raleigh Rowdy has a rigid fork, wide tires, and comes with 16″, 20″, or 24″ wheels. Therefore, it is suitable for kids of different ages and heights.
Shimano Components and Friendly Geometry
Even though Raleigh Rowdy costs much less than $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 (the 16″ model is a single-speed) which is perfect for some decent off-road riding. Plus, 1x drivetrains are easier to use.
Raleigh Rowdy also features a pair of V-brakes that offer more than enough stopping power for kids. In this case, disc brakes would be overkill and just increase the price unnecessarily.
Raleigh Rowdy 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 16″, 20″, or 24″ in diameter and the tires are knobby or slick, depending on the model. 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!
Conclusion: Raleigh Rowdy is the right choice if you want to buy an affordable mountain bike with Shimano components for your child to have frequent recreational rides on nearby dirt roads.
5. Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike
Most Affordable Full-Suspension Model
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, such as with components and strong wheels. Also, following high-value standards, almost all mountain bikes have disc brakes which aren’t common on cheap mountain bikes.
When choosing inexpensive bikes, Schwinn stands out for offering good quality.
This Schwinn 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 negotiate obstacles and stop quickly. It has 2.1-inch wide knobby mountain tires, which are wide enough for off-road riding but not too wide for road commutes.
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 and rear suspension. This suspension is not trail-ready, but it will significantly improve the overall comfort on off-road rides.
Schwinn S29 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.
SRAM Components: This hardtail bike has a SRAM drivetrain that offers 21 gears. This is a low-tier groupset, so I would advise against too much abuse. However, it’s completely fine for everyday use. 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.
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 Schwinn basically mean that they have two layers for greater strength.
Get it if you want an affordable full-suspension bike with the most comfort for off-road adventures.
6. Merax Finiss
Cheapest We Could Find
It’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.
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!
7. Mongoose Malus Fat Bike
Our Top Pick – Best Fat Bike Under $500!
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
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.
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!
8. Specialized Rockhopper 29
Best 29er Trail Bike
Rockhopper is one of the bikes from Specialized’s family that’s made with tried and tested A1 aluminum frame and 29″ wheels. This makes the bike lightweight and versatile, so it can be ridden on different types of roads and used for different purposes.
Specialized is doing a lot to popularize mountain biking among entry-level riders and both men and women. Specialized Rockhopper 29 is the right tool for this job because it costs little, looks good, and has plenty of beginner-friendly features.
You can see straight away that this is a modern trail bike, because of the attractive paint jobs which are done in several colors, and the progressive trail geometry. 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 90 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 Rockhopper 29 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 Specialized Rockhopper 29 has between 16 gears on a 2×8 drivetrain, 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. These are Radius CX7 mechanical disc brakes, which are excellent for beginner riders.
All in all, we quite like these bikes and think they’re an excellent choice for recreational riders since they have comfortable geometry and quality 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.
Best Kids’ Single-Speed MTB
Cleary Bikes Owl is an affordable bike, perfect for being your kid’s first bicycle for hitting the off-road. It is well-equipped, good-looking, and incredibly easy to maintain.
It has a popular steel frame that improves comfort and achieves a classic look. Durability is this bike’s main trait, but it is also pretty lightweight for this price, as the whole bike weighs around 19 lbs.
Cleary Bikes Owl has an attractive and comfortable saddle that appears to be made of leather. It makes this bike look very attractive.
The value Cleary Bikes Owl offers at $425 is hard to beat, making it the best bang for the buck in the kids’ category.
The only thing that kids usually think about is having fun and that’s exactly what the Cleary Bikes Owl offers. This bike has a simple and easy to use single-speed drivetrain so your child doesn’t need to worry about shifting gears. The bike also has front and rear V-brakes instead of a coaster brake, which is a big plus on kids’ bikes.
The highlight is the wide 20″ tires that improve comfort and stability, which is the most important thing for inexperienced riders.
To sum, if you want an affordable but quality bike that will show your kid all the beauties of riding bikes, don’t hesitate to get the Cleary Bikes Owl.
10. Prevelo Alpha Two Kids’ Bike
Best 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 Two which is a versatile choice that does well both on and off-road.
It features 16” wheels which makes this bike suitable for kids between 4 and 6 years old. However, depending on their height, even younger or older kids can enjoy this beautiful MTB.
Great Components for the Price
The basic Prevelo Alpha Two model costs just $379. However, if you wish to, you can add some accessories to it which will ramp up the price. You can equip it with the following:
- Custom color grips
- Incredibell bicycle bell
- Rider name lettering
- USB rechargeable lights
Even if you choose none of these, the stock model is already equipped enough to guarantee a fun and quality ride. Alpha Two has a simple single-speed drivetrain that’s easy for kids to use and even easier for parents to maintain. It’s a win-win situation.
Prevelo Alpha Two is a kids’ mountain bike with an adult approach making it a serious contender on off-road trips and neighborhood adventures.
Prevelo Alpha Two also has front and rear alloy V-brakes and Kenda’s 16” 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 Two weighs just 14.5 lbs / 6.6 kg, with pedals included.
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 Two is a no-brainer.
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?
If you want a true taste of fat-tire mountain biking, then you should look for the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire MTB. However, the best trail mountain bike around $500 that we’ve located is the Co-op DRT 1.1.
Cannondale Trail 8 costs slightly more than $800, but it’s worth it if you want excellent value for your money and a well-built bike that will last you for years.
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 Schwinn S29. 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 Rockhopper 29. 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 Two 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)
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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