Nothing compares to feeling adrenaline rushing through your veins as you do a majestic drop with stirring airtime or a speedy climb up the rockiest hills.
That said, it’s time to hit the trails and enjoy a remarkable speed and feel of mountain biking.
When the terrain is jagged and craggy, no other than a sturdy mountain bike can pick up speed and carry you places in an unbelievable time.
But finding a strong, reliable, and low-maintenance mountain bike on a budget is no joke.
Don’t you worry! We have the best mountain bikes under 500 which will be perfect for cross country riding, downhill racing with time trials, or simply all-terrain biking on a nice sunny day. Keep on reading!
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 Comparison 2020
Last update on 2020-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Top 10 Mountain Bikes Under $500 Reviews
We are reviewing 10 of the top mountain bikes that you can buy on a budget right below. Let’s see what they have to offer.
Huffy 26″ Hardtail Bike
This hardtail mountain bike is best for you if you are on a tight budget but want to ride those bumpy trails with speed and comfort!
The best thing about hardtail bikes is that they are low-maintenance and more affordable than a full-suspension bike.
And nothing beats a Huffy hardtail when it comes to uphill and downhill riding. If you’re looking for a lightweight ride, this is one of the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars.
Since it’s a 21-speed bike, you have better control of your ride on varying terrains. The suspension fork absorbs the shocks when you’re speeding on rocky terrains.
Its hi-ten steel frame helps deliver solid performance while the easy rotating resin pedals provide superior acceleration.
Expect good traction on dirt, mud, gravel, and even pavements. Its 26″ alloy wheels have a 1.95-inch tire trail which is a perfect size for all riders.
The handlebars are slightly raised so you don’t have to bend uncomfortably while riding.
It’s front and rear linear-pull brakes or V-brakes have remarkable stopping power and they are the easiest to fix!
The quick-release saddle features easy height adjustment to suit all riders above 5 feet.
It is also padded with stitched sides for more comfort. Moreover, the removable rear derailleur guard prevents the gears from getting damaged.
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Royce Union 27.5″ Women’s’ All-Terrain Bike
An all-terrain bike is exactly what you need when you don’t have a specific biking scenario in mind. This women’s’ mountain bike is an excellent choice under 500.
As the name suggests, this cheapest mountain bike will be comfortable for riding uphill, downhill, and rocky terrains in between.
These bikes are made of a rust-resistant aluminum frame which is more lightweight than steel. That said, it is easy to accelerate this entry-level bike and gain unbelievable speed.
What we love about these bikes is their super easy gear shifting capacity on rough terrain.
The 21 speed Shimano Revoshift and Shimano Tourney indexed derailleur come together to make its responsive gears fast and simple. You can control your speed better according to the change of landscape.
The 27.5″ wheels have no reason to disappoint the petite mountain bikers. Royce Union used high-quality 27.5″ wheels in their mountain line and changed the aluminum frame size to fit riders of all heights. You get to choose from five sizes starting from a 15″ frame to 22″ frame.
This bikes tread pattern is designed for an all-around biking performance. The wheels have less rolling resistance for a smooth and fast ride on rough terrain.
This sturdy frame, 21-speed mountain bike also suits paved streets and gravel paths.
Its alloy wheel rims ensure a greater brake pad contact enabling the alloy linear-pull brakes to function consistently.
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Mongoose Impasse 29″ Men’s Mountain Bike
Coming at less than 500 dollars, this trail mountain bike is a good option to try something other than regular road biking.
If you’re someone willing to try out mountain bikes for the first time, this one by Mongoose does the trick.
For starters, this bike favors all-around cycling. It’s a cheap mountain bike with a good aluminum frame you can ride for daily commuting as well as going off-road for some speedy fun.
Rolling over bumps and cracks is not an issue but the front shock absorber could use some help.
That said, steep downhill riding on the trails or super bumpy terrains won’t feel the most comfortable on this bike.
The brake levers are made of plastic and aluminum which is pretty common in this price range.
Their mechanical disc brakes have ups and downs. The fact that mechanical disc brakes work better on wet terrains and they don’t wear down the rims like linear-pull brakes makes them dependable in all weather conditions.
The geometry of this bike is slightly sharp towards the front giving the frame better leverage on uphill climbing.
It’s 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM shifters allow you to keep your hands on the bars while changing gears. This is definitely an update from downtube shifting systems.
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Mongoose Malus 26″ Fat Tire Mountain Bike
If you want to have a taste of the beach cruising and mountain biking, this fat tire ride will do both!
The best thing about fat-tire bikes is that the tires have twice the width than regular tires.
Air volume and air pressure in these large tires give you a feeling of floating on bumpy grounds.
This tire also works as suspension and therefore, although a good suspension fork is a staple in regular mountain bikes, this fat tire bike with 4-¼” tire trails keep you comfortable without one.
You can ride this entry-level cycle all year-round and being an entry-level 7-speed ride, this one won’t give you a hard time in maintenance.
Fat tires of this bike roll exceptionally well on sand and snow. It has good traction alongside shock absorption on rocky paths as well as hard bumps here and there, giving you a nice ride on uneven hilly roads.
The pedals are easy to roll, keeping sand and rocks in mind. So, this is a bike you’ll enjoy riding everywhere. It also has a great stopping power for a mountain bike under 500.
Mongoose Status 26″ Mountain Bike
With a durable aluminum frame, lightweight alloy rims, and 2.125″ tire trails, Mongoose has the best mountain bikes under 500 right here.
For starters, it has a well-made suspension fork beside the rear shock that neutralizes all types of bumps and cracks on the trails – helping you keep up the speed and accelerate higher.
Getting a 21-speed cycle means you have lots of controls to play with and set a gear that’s suitable for your speed and terrain type.
A full-suspension bike is the best type of ride when your terrains are rough. The Shimano rear derailleur coupled with SRAM twist shifters works really well in shifting gears comfortably. Shimano allows smooth gear changes along your journey.
Mongoose put V brakes instead of disc brakes on this affordable bike under $500.
The benefits of V brakes on the cheapest mountain bikes is that they are easy to replace.
They are less likely to malfunction and require little to no maintenance. On top of that, the brake shoes and other components are widely available and they come at a cheap price.
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Schwinn Traxion 29″ Full-Suspension Mountain Bike
Its 29″ wheels with a rugged tire tread make this Schwinn mountain bike the best budget-friendly cycle with extreme performance.
The 2.25″ tires are of the perfect size for having good traction on all types of terrains.
We like this entry-level ride for its dual suspension frame. If you’re someone who has had plenty of bumpy rides and biking miseries, you can never go wrong with this cycle.
Not only is it designed for a great speed but also durable on the bumpiest terrains.
Its 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters and Schwinn’s reliable alloy cranks come together to make gearing the easiest thing.
Changing gears is a piece of cake and you can maneuver the ride in a way that suits your speed and terrain quality.
The mechanical disc brakes make stopping and slowing down more efficient than ever.
Most of us will agree that stopping on wet and muddy grounds is done best with disc brakes. That said, biking with your friends in all weathers is now possible.
Schwinn Bonafide 29″ Mountain Bike
Enjoy cross country racing at its best with this super affordable 24-speed bike by Schwinn. Packed with a good lot of features, this one has an extremely sporty look that you can flaunt on the trails!
Its aluminum frame is strong, sturdy, and looks cool. The powerful suspension at the front tackles the bumpy and rocky terrains in your way and helps you speed up faster than ever. Not to mention, it also makes riding a comfortable one.
The 29″ mighty wheels have high-quality double-wall alloy rims and the 2.25″ tire trail is best for keeping balance on rugged surfaces. You can do downhill drops and jumps with better safety and accuracy.
Tread on the knobby tires is perfect for a solid grip on the road. Muddy trails are also not a problem because the traction is really good.
Shimano derailleurs and 24-speed Shimano EZ Fire Trigger shifters enable you to change gears with ease.
Upshifting and downshifting have never been so comfortable. You also don’t have to worry about the chain falling off the gear while you’re on the go. The very durable alloy cranks help rotate the chain.
Pick up speed and get ready for some great jumps down the trails. Straight handlebars and frame give this ride a sporty look resembling a top-notch BMX bike.
The grip of this bike is comfortable and the saddle supports an upright position.
Pedals roll smoothly and their anti-slip design makes it easy to maneuver the ride without getting distracted.
VANELL 7-Speed Tricycle
With a big rear rack, a top-notch front suspension, and three high-quality MTB tires, this is the best adult mountain tricycle under 500 dollars!
The front suspension on this bike smoothes the bumps on the road and helps you stay comfortable on the saddle.
Its 7-speed Shimano derailleur lets you shift the gears while maintaining better stability with 3 wheels.
The tire trails and tread work well for the low price range in keeping traction and speed while cornering hilly roads.
The spacious fold-down rear basket is very sturdy and has a massive 60lbs weight capacity.
Carrying picnic essentials, groceries, food, and deliveries can now be done with better safety and perfection. A trike is obviously heavier than a bike but pedaling is no different.
Front disc brake of this bike is responsive and it restrains the trike’s speed effectively the moment you pull the clutch.
Riding uphill and downhill fast is not a problem here. In fact, this 7-speed tricycle gives you the most comfort in changing gears and adapting to all terrains.It also has great speed for cheap mountain bikes.
The installation of this bike is also easy. You can set it up quickly by following its neat instruction manual.
Totem 27-Speed 26″ Hardtail Mountain Bike
This 27-speed hardtail bike with its exclusive features have made its way to our top-rated cheap mountain bikes under 500 and here’s why:
To begin with, its 26″ wheels are of the regular size and this is a size most riders prefer.
The tire trail being 1.95″ might be a bit narrow for some but you’ll get the hang of it.
27-speed feature of this bike is good news for those who like to ride aggressive trails packed with a lot of jumps.
You’ll get the feel of a high-performance all-mountain bike on this one. But the fact that it’s not a full-suss bike might be a bummer to intermediate or pro mountain bikers.That said, this is a hardtail bike under 500.
And since hardtail bikes come with front suspension, you’re likely to experience some moderate jolts while speeding across rocky terrains or dropping downhill fast.
This bike is not designed for competitive racing but we didn’t see how it couldn’t be.
It’s a very well-made ride and the mechanical disc brakes support you in all weathers and terrains.
Dry, wet, or muddy- you name it and the bike will stop with great precision every time.
It has the potential to be a cross-country (XC) bike for recreational and competitive biking.
This bike has an average frame geometry and expecting it to be fast on the way up will let you down.
But when it comes to overall performance, this Totem bike will work its wonders.
Merax 21-Speed 26″ Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for the best mountain bikes for 500 dollars, this one by Merax, with its sturdy aluminum MTB frame and dual-suspension is a cool option.
Even if you’re a beginner, this bike is a wonderful choice to begin your biking journey.
With a maximum weight capacity of 330lbs and 26″ wheels, the MTB bike will be comfortable for a big group of riders.
Linear pull brake systems are not very common in these bikes but the fact that it is easier to fix and change makes all the difference.
Not to mention, the dual-suspension feature was much needed to tackle those annoying bumps on the trails.
21-speed dual-suspension mountain bikes under 500 are difficult to come by, but this one exceeded our expectations with its brilliant performance.
We also tried dirt jumping with this mountain bike; thanks to the incredible suspension, the jolting we faced was minimum, and in this price range, both the speed and comfort were a rarity. It’s Shimano derailleur will provide smooth gear changing as usual.
The 1.95″ wheels with their MTB tires sport a rugged tread- delivering awesome traction while you zoom across the trails, skateparks, and dirt roads.
What To Look For Before Buying Mountain Bike
Buying the best mountain bike on a budget can be really tough. Since there’s plenty of dangers involved and you want to leave speed, hydraulic disc, comfort, and gearing uncompromised. And you have to read the specs from top to bottom and compare.
Below we are listing down what to expect while buying a mountain bike online.
Linear Pull Brakes vs Disc Brakes
Disc brakes are the most common type of brakes on mountain bikes for a variety of benefits.
For starters, disc brakes are more powerful and deliver an all-terrain performance, whereas linear-pull brakes struggle in muddy to wet grounds.
Linear pull brakes are easy to install and maintain; but when you’re doing dirt jumping, climbing up the hills on your bike or steep downhill racing with your friends, the stopping power of brakes matters the most.
Disc brakes also have a longer life than V brakes, drum brakes, and rim brakes.
Since they have a better heat dissipation and easy-access calipers, maintenance is a child’s play with disc brakes.
They do not wear down the rim of the wheels like caliper brakes and linear-pull brakes.
Although linear-pull brake parts are available everywhere, the weighty yet powerful disc brakes topple them without a doubt.
Full-Suspension vs Hardtail Bikes
A hardtail bike has a front suspension fork but misses out on a rear shock; that’s why you see a lot of hardtail mountain bikes under 500 and only a few full-suspension ones.
Front and rear suspension make a mountain bike very comfortable to ride when technical trails are your choice.
The full-suspension bikes are best for dirt jumping, steep climbing, and descending and you can rely on them while riding aggressive terrains at the highest speed.
Hardtail bikes can tackle moderate bumps and they are designed for relatively smoother trails.
You can ride off-road, dirt paths, light hilly tracks with ease on a hardtail bike.
Hardtail bikes are also lightweight and they require low maintenance compared to full-suspension mountain bikes.
The tire tread on a mountain bike is of the most aggressive type. They don’t wear down easily and help maintain superior traction while you’re riding at high speeds or cornering wavy roads.
While climbing up and down the hills or cross-country racing, the terrains tend to go from rocky to muddy to super rocky.
That said, you would want to have a good look at the tires, trail, rim quality, cranksets, etc. before buying bikes online.
Mountain bikes are labeled 7-speed, 21-speed, 24-speed, and 27-speed depending on their gear numbers. The more the gear, the better your biking experience will be.
As we have mentioned before, you’ll come across varying terrains while setting out on the trails with your bike.
Shifting the gears help you maneuver the bike at a suitable speed. It also helps you maintain the speed by pedaling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mountain bike geometry?
Mountain bike geometry is the angular measurement of the frame that says a lot about its purpose.
A slack bike geometry means that the front wheel is more in the front; showcasing a low head angle found on the downhill (DH) mountain bikes.
Progressive mountain bike geometry is basically a steeper head angle that puts the front wheel directly under or very close to the saddle position. It puts your center of gravity forward and helps uphill climbing.
What head angle is best for mountain bikes?
The head angle or head tube angle is simply the angle between the bike’s fork and horizontal.
62° is a slack angle and it’s suitable for MTB trails. 66° to 68° is considered a neutral head angle and enduro mountain bikes will have this.
Freeride and downhill mountain bikes will have a slacker head angle which is less than 65°. Steeper head angles are best for uphill climbing.
How many gears do I need on a mountain bike?
Choose a 7-speed mountain bike if you are going to ride smooth trails and light roads on the hills. 21-speed or 24-speed bikes are best suited for riding on aggressive trails, jumping, climbing, and competitive racing.
If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid of choosing a 21-speed mountain bike as your first. Shifting the gears is pretty easy.
How are fat tire mountain bikes?
Fat tire mountain bikes will have wide tire trails on the wheels such as 4-½” and they usually come with no suspension fork.
This type of tires soak up the bumps and provide the service of a suspension fork and rear shocks. Fat tire mountain bikes roll faster on the sand, snow as well as rocky trails.
What is the difference between cross country bikes and enduro bikes?
XC or cross country mountain bikes are made for racing and climbing.
These lightweight bikes are easier to pedal and gather speed. Enduro bikes have an aggressive geometry and they are designed for time trials on downhill racing and dirt jumping.
Mountain biking is a thrilling sport and once you have a suitable bike to ride, you can explore a lot of biking styles and impressive stunts.
We hope that our list of the best mountain bikes under 500 was of help to you!