For all of you healthy, nature-loving mountain aficionados who like to cover as much ground as possible in one go – may we recommend some of the arguably cheap, but really ‘worth the buck’ mountain bikes. For the rest of you, don’t let the name confuse you!
They are called mountain bikes, but, really, you can ride them anywhere. And if you are not ready to pay thousands of dollars out of your wallet/credit card (yes, some mountain bikes cost $1000, and several times fold), then pay attention now, for you will find useful information about the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars.
So treat yourself, and enjoy the ride.
Best Mountain Bike Under $500 Comparison
With the current rapid improvements in their aesthetic design and quality, mountain bikes are becoming ever so popular. You can find lists of beautiful mountain bikes that cost thousands of dollars, and you will probably feel skeptical when you see the prices of our recommendations.
But don’t be fooled, these are top-rated mountain bikes under 500! You will even find a mtb for $300– now that’s a bargain! Without further ado, let’s check out the list of best mountain bikes for under 500.
1. Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike
On top of our list you will find (quite deservedly, may we add) perhaps the best men’s mountain bike under 500 – Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike. Its popularity in the United States never fades, on the contrary, there’s a higher demand for this bike every month. And the reasons are quite obvious.
This aluminum alloy beauty has an efficient hardtail frame, moderately large in size, but very light in weight. The complete bike weight is roughly 32 pounds. Still, a certain amount of stiffness is present for precise maneuvering through rocky terrain.
Be that as it may, bear in mind that pushing it over the limits in extreme conditions is still not advisable. Even though it wasn’t made for steep downhills, riding through trails, dirt, rocks, and similar mountain terrain-like conditions is quite enjoyable and easy.
A big hardtail frame is supported by 27.5-inch wheels that can be wrapped around with knobby tires, adequate for rocky terrain. Maybe changing the seat should cross your mind, since the standard one may feel a bit stiff. Handlebars are perfectly aligned with the seat, hence providing a comfortable body position.
The suspension works perfectly with the frame, as SR Suntour XCT 27 coil-spring fork has 80mm travel and will allow you to ride more aggressively. But not too aggressive, we hope. No versions with air suspension are present but some variants possess hydraulic lockdown.
This combination will make you feel as if you were flying all over the place, increasing your confidence and thrill to maximize the enjoyment level as you explore. The speed comes from Shimano. It has a 3×8 speed (24 in total) Shimano drivetrain with SuntourXCT sturdy cranks, followed by pleasant-to-the-thumbs gear shifters.
They are very responsive and quite quick, giving you additional confidence at high speed. Since it can go very fast, a good braking system is a must. And boy, isn’t that the case here. Tektro Aries disc brakes are very powerful – powerful enough to stop the bike immediately without launching you over the handle. Whether in a high-speed mountain ride or chaotic street commute, these brakes are life-saving!
All in all, whether you are a mountain-ride aficionado who cannot afford the best bike in the world (or simply doesn’t want to spend big), or a fellow beginner – Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike is a great first choice, in both cases. Not only it is probably the best mountain bike under 500, but also its price is even more affordable, ranging between 370 and 415 dollars.
2. Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike (Black)
Our number one on the list has a big brother, and it’s Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail. From the name, you can figure out what the main difference is – the wheels. This bike is, of course, larger and heavier, and for taller riders, it may be a dream come true.
But with bigger size comes a bigger price, since 29 Hardtail is approximately $100 more expensive than his smaller-in-size sibling. Nevertheless, it is still cheap, considering its performance. Similar to Diamondback Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail, ‘the big brother’ has an aluminum alloy hardtail frame as well.
Its bigger size and standard black color make it look quite badass, to be honest. But be wary – bigger bikes are more difficult to maneuver. Unless you are a giant, then this beauty will come as a toy for you. Regardless of the size, it is very easy to assemble, and once you do that, get hyped, for your pleasure level will soon spike.
In the case of wheels, the bike’s spokes are stainless steel, and they weigh just about 15 grams. Bigger tires mean better ‘attack angle’ on sturdy ground. It may be heavy to control this monster (well, heavier than 27.5 for example), but at least you will feel safer since rocks on the mountains or potholes in the streets are less likely to cause you any harm.
The 80mm SR Suntour suspension fork on a 29er provides similar aggressiveness and high-speed enjoyment opportunities as it does on the 27.5. Additionally, the combination of Shimano and SR Suntour parts, in regards to the drivetrain, suspension fork, and derailleur is pretty good.
The Shimano Acera rear derailleur, in addition to XCT SR Suntour cranks and 3×8 drivetrain (24 gears in total) once again really come in handy. Especially since bigger bikes are sometimes in need of more gear shifting. More experienced riders may find trigger shifters to be a little bit harder, whereas beginners won’t have the slightest complaint.
The braking system is great and there is no need to change anything about it for a long time. What’s recommended changing, similarly to 27.5, is the seat. Once again, its small and hard surface will feel unpleasant to your rear after 30 minutes of light riding; not to mention long, fast and trembling mountain rides.
However, the current setup gives a good bang for the buck. To summarize, Diamondback Overdrive mountain bikes are always a great choice for either beginners or experienced riders who don’t want to or cannot spend big. The 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike really looks impressive, especially in black. If you favor big, good and cheap – spending $490 on it is a no-brainer. Definitely one of the best mountain bikes under 500.
3. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
Another bang for the buck deal! The Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike comes at the price of approximately 400 U.S. dollars, which is great for good mountain bikes. However, in comparison to the previous two models (Diamondback Overdrive 27.5 and 29 Hardtail), this one seems more ‘basic’ in numerous ways. Nevertheless, Schwinn is still a reputable brand for various reasons. In the name, you will notice ‘Dual-Suspension’.
This means that Schwinn Protocol 1.0 has both a suspension fork and a full-suspension frame. The latter comes on a sturdy, but light aluminum frame, favorable for mountain trails and rocky terrain. The former, on the other hand, has 85mm travel, which is, once again, NOT suitable for extreme riding, something similar to going down Mount Everest.
Okay, this example may be an exaggeration, since no one would go down the steep mountain on a 400-dollars-worth bike. Be that as it may, this bike is still great for normal trails and city ride. Choose your tires carefully. Since the suspension is not high-end, good tires are a necessity here.
Stay away from cheap and bulky tires if you really want to take this bike for a spin around the mountain. Bulky tires are not recommended for another reason – this bike is a 26er. For the purpose of mountain riding, you might want to take some slimmer, knobby and better fitting tires to your wheels.
Once you combine these two, the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 will be flying around like a lightning. Talking about the speed – Shimano is once again an undisputed choice with 24 gears, amazing EZ-Fire shifters, and rear derailleur. Shifting is very smooth with Shimano shifters and there is absolutely no need to change this.
A great option for both mountain and city ride. Notwithstanding this fact, try not to fly around like a maniac, for these brakes are unconvincing. The bike has a disc brake at the front, which could not be said for rear V-brake. Therefore, moderate mountain-riding speed is advisable.
To sum up, spending 400 dollars on a bike like this is a good deal. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bikes are good-looking, having good or great parts, and with moderate and reasonable riding, you will be satisfied for a long time. Worth every penny!
4. Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
For a cheap price of approximately $290, you can get a pretty nice mountain bike, and Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike is definitely that. Bear in mind that this mtb costs 100-200 dollars less than our previous picks, therefore you shouldn’t expect the same results.
Still, money-quality ratio? Pretty good. The dual suspension system is often an interesting and quality pick, but the performance levels of these two suspensions are, at best, solid (in comparison with some more costly suspensions). The Element suspension front fork is neither pneumatic nor hydraulic, just a basic spring tube.
The rear spring is essentially used to adjust the stiffness level of your ride. Not recommended for a rough ride, but good in a moderate setting, like going over potholes and tree roots. Frame size is medium, that is, an 18-inch aluminum frame.
The combination with 29-inch sized wheels gives an interesting appearance, though some might find this somewhat grotesque. Wheels are not of superb quality, but if you avoid crashes and damage, they will serve you well. On a very positive side, this bike has great brakes!
Both rear and front are equipped with alloy disc brakes, and maintaining them by replacing pads from time to time for cheap will make you feel incredibly safe. Shimano’s nice Tourney TX rear derailleur with 21 speed is also a great addition in this price range. Now, twist shifters, as fun as they possibly are, are no match for thumb-shifters.
Nevertheless, shifting is very smooth, and if adjusted right – almost soundless. With small investments in maintenance, you can ride it for a long, long time. Also, possibilities for improvement are enormous, since you can gradually put new, better, more expensive parts every so often; with 200-300 dollar investment in new parts, this bike will be as good as most $1000 mountain bikes. But for the price of $290, it is a very decent bike.
5. Royce Union Performance
Last but not least! For our final pick of best mtb under 500, we chose Royce Union Performance Mountain Bikes. They come in all sorts of models and sizes, but we will write about men’s RTT model, 27.5 inches, 21 speed. Arguably the best looking and most reliable one.
First thing first – all Shimano drivetrain! From EZ Fire thumb triggers to Altus rear derailleur, RTT has a complete Shimano set. Its fast transition and adaptation can induce thrilling excitement when accelerating. Smooth and reliable 21-speed shifting – for this price, it is a great bargain. Hooray!
Now, 27.5-inch wheels come with knobby tires suitable for all sorts of hard surfaces. But other parts (like suspension) might not be that suitable for rough terrain. Definitely not for steep ones, since those require jumping, and this bike is considerably fragile.
You can get a bit adventurous if you get a heavy one, with a 22-inch frame, which is much heavier than the rest. Consequently, it will require better suspension than this originally offered. Smaller frames are quite lightweight and are pretty easy and enjoyable to handle on paths and light trails. As already stated, for the starting price of $230, you cannot expect a high-end bike.
It has a solid aluminum frame, solid brakes, solid wheels, but a great drivetrain, and that’s probably the main reason why Royce Union RTT is on this list. Great for beginners and people who don’t want to splash the cash. Adequate and nice-looking for city ride.
How To Pick Top Rated Mountain Bikes Under $500
Depending on your needs and attention to detail, picking mountain bike can either be an easy task, or a very difficult one. If you are willing to part ways with your money, then you better do some research first. Quality bikes will give both good value-for-money deals and safety and enjoyment to your ride. Here are some tips on how to make a good choice:
On the one hand, if the sole purpose of your ride is to get you from point A to point B, then splashing the cash is absolutely unnecessary. In this case, you can opt to buy any kind of two-wheeled transporting machine.
On the other hand, if you seek thrill, speed, adventure, comfort, safety, etc., then a good configuration is a must.
Certainly the most important topic. Extreme mountain riding can be very dangerous, hence, the overall quality of your bike can be a matter of life and death! Literally! You wouldn’t want your brakes and/or suspension to fail, wheels to fly away independently, nor frame to collapse. There are numerous mountain bikes for under 500 dollars that can satisfy your needs in terms of safety and wonderful adventure.
Pay special attention to:
A strong frame is highly recommended for people with few extra pounds and newbies, since occasional falls may occur. Also, taller and bigger riders would want frames that come in larger sizes. Using that logic, kids and shorter people would benefit from smaller bikes more. Frames come in small, medium and large sizes.
You can choose between Full Suspension and Hardtail. Former has suspension both front and rear, and the latter has only the front one. Hardtails are more frequent in this price range, but FS may be available as well. Whether you are buying the first or the second type, chose the one that you can maintain well and that will keep up with your needs.
The importance of brakes can never be overemphasized enough. All breaking systems have their perks, but Disc brakes are highly recommended. If disc brakes are too expensive or not on a model that you are looking for – V-brakes will do the trick. Other common types are cantilevers and caliper brakes.
Good quality is always more important than the looks, but never buy a bike that you don’t feel comfortable riding. If you feel embarrassed by how your ride looks, or simply distaste the bike for the same reason, then the satisfaction of a good ride is incomplete. There are myriads of models in all colors, shapes, sizes – something will certainly catch your eye and you will feel proud riding it.
When all three before-mentioned topics combine, you get the standard issue of money. It was stated that you have to spend big on a good bike, but not that big if your needs don’t require such a beast. If you are willing to pay approximately $500, you can buy great mountain bikes, like those 5 models that were reviewed earlier. Rest assured that you won’t regret one penny invested.
Last Few Words
Nevertheless, spending big on your first bike is seldom a good idea. Start with something small and cheap, then, as time progresses, and you feel in need of a change, you can always buy a new, better one. Or simply upgrade your ride, after conducting thorough research on behalf of your new needs and desires. And you will.
You can find cheap mountain bikes for 200, or you can go as far as $500, as you wish. The five models recommended in our list of The Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Dollars: Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike, Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike, Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike, Mongoose Impasse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike and Royce Union Performance RTT model are all great picks, perfect for your adventures. Choose wisely and fly over the mountains with one of these beauties!
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