The Best Mountain Bike Under $500

Buying a mountain bike on a $500 budget can be difficult. There's plenty of choice, sure, but how do you know if you're getting the most bang for your buck? We're on hand to help.

Best MTB Under $500

Mountain bikes that fall within a five hundred dollar budget are surprisingly good these days. With big brand names looking to cater to the needs of amateur mountain bikers, there’s been a big increase in quality in this range.

Whether you’re buying your first mountain bike or looking for an upgrade from an ever cheaper bike, there’s something here that’s bound to catch your eye. Our personal recommendation for the best mountain bike under $500 has to be the Diamondback Recoil 29er Full Suspension for it’s incredible balance and value for money.

There’s a nice bit of variety above. Our picks include hardtail mountain bikes and full suspension mountain bikes under $500. Tire sizes range from 26″ all the way up to 29″ on the Diamondback models.

Each of the bikes are under 500 dollars at the time of writing. None were subject to any ongoing sale. If this changes, get in touch with us and we’ll update our picks as quickly as we can to remain accurate.

The Best Mountain Bike Under $500

Best $500 Mountain Bikes

Having a budget of 500 dollars opens up a surprising amount of variety in the mountain bike world. So much so, we honestly struggled to narrow it down to just five. With all things considered, we’re now happy that our choices provide the best value for money and variety.

Here we go, then. Hopefully we can find you a nice little mountain bike that suits your budget. Below are the best mountain bikes for under $500, each guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Diamondback Recoil 29er Full Suspension

The Diamondback brand speaks for itself in terms of quality.

This full suspension mountain bike is truly as good as it gets under $500. There’s no better bike out there and at this range, no better brand.

Its Sun tour XCT 100Mm suspension fork is plenty good enough for beginner to intermediate riders. A Shimano 3×8 speed drivetrain powers the shifting which, as you’d expect, is super smooth.

The box comes with instructions, which you should read before you go any further with unboxing.

They’ll direct you to some youtube videos that explain how you can use the box to prop the bike up during assembly. It makes everything a lot easier.

For those just getting started, or upgrading from a mountain bike under $300, this is the perfect buy. You’ll never go far wrong with Diamondback bicycles.

Raleigh Bikes Ziva Women’s

Something for the women mountain bikers out there. Raleigh Bikes’ Ziva model women’s mountain bike is a steal under 500 dollars.

It has the same Sun tour XCT suspension fork as the Diamondback mountain bike, and the hydraulic disk brakes are very responsive.

An aluminum frame makes this light and easy to handle. For most women, this is a big factor in a comfortable ride.

You can assemble this bike in 30 minutes if you know your way around a mountain bike. If you don’t you’re looking at around an hour tops.

All in all, this is a fantastic women’s mountain bike under $500. Hydraulic disk brakes are something you can’t take for granted at this price range.

Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension

This bike looks amazing and we’re happy to say that we were very pleasantly surprised by it’s performance.

Since the brand doesn’t quite come with the same guarantee of quality as the Diamondback and Raleigh mountain bikes on this list, we weren’t sure what to expect.

This handy little mountain surprised us. The front and rear disc brakes are some of the best we’ve tried on mountain bikes under $500.

Shimano shifters mean each of the 24 speeds shift between each other effortlessly. A hydroformed aluminum frame keeps it light and it feels pretty durable.

Many have questioned this bike’s ability to cut it on the hard and rough trails. We saw no reason why it wouldn’t, but to be on the safe side maybe look elsewhere if you plan on giving it a punishing time.

Assembly was effortless. The shifters needed a little tuning but nothing a quick trip to the bicycle store won’t sort if you aren’t familiar with doing it yourself.

Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail

Another Diamondback mountain bike under $500. The Overdrive model is a well loved hardtail mountain bike that remains affordable for beginner bikers.

Having 29 inch wheels makes the ride incredibly smooth even on fairly uneven ground. The Suntour Suspension fork takes most of the impact from rocks and bumps while we wheels power through.

A Shimano TX50 front derailleur brings smooth shifting to an already milky smooth ride. It’s the rolls-royce of mountain bikes that are less than 500 dollars.

It’s advertised as coming 95% assembled, but you’ll still need a good 30 minutes or so to get up and running.

This bike has a lot of low-end power due to the high quality 24 speed gears. Beginner to intermediate riders are sure to get more than their money’s worth here.

Raleigh Bikes Talus 2

Last but not least, the Raleigh Bikes Talus 2. It’s a versatile, lightweight mountain bike with an alloy frame that’s super easy to maneuver.

It’s no hardcore mountain bike, but it’s fantastic for those who want to switch between mountain biking and some light road biking.

You get a great vantage point on this bike. It offers some of the best visibility of all the bikes on our list.

This is one of the only budget mountain bikes we’ve found to have a comfy seat out of the box. Unlike with most bikes, you won’t need to replace this in a hurry

The Talus 2 looks amazing, rides smoothly and doesn’t try too hard to be something it isn’t. It won’t survive a punishing mountain trail, but the trade-off is that you get an enjoyable experience in more than one terrain.

How To Buy A Mountain Bike For Less Than 500 Dollars

If you are an adventurous rider who wants to go beyond the usual smooth roads bicycle riding, mountain bikes are what will quench that thirst of yours. They are sturdily built for off-road cycling and for the peak performance on whatever terrain you may want to go on.

Mountain bikes can help you achieve that health and fitness you hope for. Whatever purpose you choose to use a mountain bike for, selecting an excellent one goes a long way in determining if your target will be successful or not.

Usually, mountain bikes are known for sturdiness and durability. However, you can’t trust all products you see on the market. Let us look at helping you identify the best mountain bike under 500 dollars amidst so many available options.

Choosing The Best Value Bike

Let’s look at some aspects you should keep in mind while shopping for a mountain bike on a budget. Having a $500 maximum doesn’t really give you the widest choice, but you certainly have an awful lot more to pick from that those with a slightly smaller budget.

The difference between the mountain bikes featured here and mountain bikes that cost less than $300 is staggering. Many of the same considerations still apply though, let’s look at some.

Budget

Since this buying guide is tailored to help those who have 500 dollars or less in selecting the right mountain bike, it is only wise that budget will be the first factor to consider.

Manage your expectations according to your budget. You may find a bike that has excellent shifters and derailleurs, but you’re likely going to be compromising elsewhere on the bike.

If mountain bikes with all the best components were available for under $500, no one would ever spend any more than that on mountain bikes. Yet some go up into the thousands of dollars.

Suspension

A Good Cheap Mountain Bike

There are three different types of mountain bikes; hardtail bikes with fork suspension in front, rigid bikes without any suspension and the full suspension with front and rear fork suspensions.

Hardtail bikes are the most common at low end price ranges. Its frontal suspension gives the front wheel impact absorption but the rear with none.

Mountain bikes with rigid suspension are the cheapest and require far less upkeep. But, because they lack impact absorption, it is not advisable for mountainous terrain.

Hardtail bikes are a little better for mountainous terrain because they have a suspension system at the front. You will get shock absorption for the front wheel but nothing on the back.

Full suspension bikes are usually touted as the best for mountainous terrain, having suspensions in the front and rear. However, they are often more highly priced and can require extensive maintenance.

That’s not to say you won’t find a full suspension moutnain bike for less than $500 though. We’ve listed three above!

Frame materials

Aluminum alloy it is! Bikes made from this material are lightweight and durable. Although, mountain bikes are also framed with other materials like steel, carbon fiber, and titanium. Still, I choose to believe aluminum alloy is the best for your mountain bicycle.

Even though steel is not expensive and very durable, it is heavy. Titanium and carbon fiber are lightweight but are costly.

Ruling those out, we’re left with one choice. Aluminum frames are ideal for the balance it of weight and price they offer.

Wheel Size

Ask yourself what terrain you will be riding your bike on; hills or mountains? Your answer will determine what wheel size is ideal for you. Mountain bikes often come with 26, 27.5 and 29 inches wheel sizes.

26-inch wheels are good enough for a beginner so that they can have full control of their bicycle. However, the larger the wheel, the more comfortable it will be for you to tackle obstacles when riding.

Gears

You might be wondering what gears have to do in selecting a mountain bike since they don’t require constant gear changing. But you never can tell what a seven speed gear system will do for you.

For the expert riders, the lower gears would come in handy for going up and down, while the higher gears are likely to be more suited for beginners on smoother trails.

Brakes

Brakes are essential to a safe mountain biking. We have disc brakes and rim brakes on offer. The former is powerful and suitable for all kinds of situations. While the latter offer solid grips but not all the time.

Wrapping Up

Mountain bikes are there for you if you want to experience more ruggedness and more adventurous riding experience. Getting a mountain bike that doesn’t suit your needs could put you off before you even get started. With these tips at the back of your mind, you can get yourself a nice little mountain bike that’s light in weight and light in price.

The bikes on this list prove that even with a low budget, you can get a high performing bike that will serve the purpose it is meant to serve.