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The 8 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500
Mountain biking is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do. Being able to speed down mountain trails can be exhilarating, or maybe you simply want to glide along and take in the landscape. However you’re riding, you want to be on a bike that can make your ride as comfortable and easy as possible.
For some people, this is an issue as they don’t have thousands of dollars to spend. If you’re on a budget, then you’re in luck. We’ve found a range of brilliant mountain bikes (or MTB) for under $500.
While they may not have the range of features you’ll see on premium bikes, a mountain bike under $500 can still give you a brilliant riding experience. Of course, there are some budget bikes out there that simply aren’t good enough. That’s why we’ve worked hard to only show you those that represent excellent value for money.
All you need to do now is read on and choose your favorite. Let’s find the best mountain bike for you!
1. Schwinn Standpoint
This was our favorite of all the bikes we’ve reviewed. There are many reasons for that as there is simply nothing to dislike about it. It looks good, rides very well, and importantly, the quality of construction is also very high.
As with most high-quality bikes, this model has an aluminum frame. That allows the bike to remain lightweight and nimble for excellent control up or down a mountain. The aluminum used here also has excellent strength to cope with any impact.
What really makes the difference with this bike is the suspension fork. It’s able to easily absorb any nasty impacts to keep your wrists and arms pain-free. It also allows for greater control. It has a level of technology and quality that you’d expect from a much more expensive MTB.
That’s not all this bike has to offer. The 21-speed shifters here are going to provide you with rapid gear changes. That speed can easily be controlled by the effective braking system.
It’s perfect for all types of terrain and when you’re not using it on mountains, it can simply be used for leisure riding. It’s a perfect bike for the price.
2. 2021 Polygon Cascade 4
If you’re happy to spend a little bit more, then the perfect option for you would be the 2021 Polygon Cascade 4. It has all the features you’d want from a mountain bike while also having exceptional build quality.
The frame is made from aluminum and will give you the perfect combination of high durability while still being lightweight. It’s also going to give you impressive stability over any terrain while being resistant to rust.
One thing you immediately notice when riding the bike is just how smooth the 3×8 drivetrain is. You’ll also appreciate how quickly it can shift, allowing you to downshift three gears in just one stroke.
The front Suntour XCE fork makes riding very comfortable, but perhaps the most impressive feature on this bike is the hydraulic disc brakes. They deliver exceptional stopping power and allow you to ride fast with a huge amount of confidence.
Overall, this mountain bike ticks all of the right boxes in terms of what makes a brilliant mountain bike. It feels more expensive than it is and will deliver an excellent ride.
3. Nishiki Pueblo 26
Do you think $500 maybe a little too expensive for you? If so, then your best option could be the Nishiki Pueblo. It’s available at a much cheaper price than many of its rivals while still giving you everything you need.
One of the reasons it’s a little cheaper is that it has a steel frame. This does make it a little heavier but it’s hard to notice any difference. With this heat-treated steel, you do get the advantage of impressive strength.
Despite being a budget bike it still features a travel fork that has 60 mm of give. That’s good enough to cope with most trails and will take plenty of shock out of any bump.
An impressive aspect of this bike is the level of stability. While it may not have an aluminum frame, it does have aluminum rims. They are 26” in diameter which can navigate many different types of surfaces with ease.
This is the perfect option for anyone that can only afford a few hundred dollars.
4. GT Men’s Aggressor Pro
The GT Aggressor Pro is another bike you’re able to pick up quite cheaply while still getting plenty of benefits. The geometry of the frame is very comfortable and it allows for a nice ride over long periods.
One of the most appealing aspects of this bike is that it’s very easy to upgrade. This means that you can gradually spend a little extra money on the bike to end up with something that feels top end.
With the classic aluminum frame, it gives a great base for improvements whether that is with the tires and handlebars or perhaps the forks and breaks. Meanwhile, you’ll have a great basic bike to enjoy.
The bike looks great and it handles very well. It makes it the perfect MTB for anyone in the beginner to intermediate range. As you get more into mountain biking and perhaps have a little more money, you have plenty of options to improve it.
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5. Giant ATX 3 Disc
Another brilliant option to satisfy your MTB needs is the Giant ATX 3 Disc. It has a range of features that make it ideal for a wide range of terrain. It’s a bike you’ll happily use time and time again.
It has the look of a classic mountain bike with a flat handlebar while it also has the ability to navigate over any bumps in the road. The suspension fork is going to give you up to 100mm of shock absorption.
The aluminum frame gives you that mix of low weight and durability while the construction quality of the bike is also high. It feels like a bike that’ll take a lot of punishment before it ever needs to be repaired.
If you’re looking for a bike that can do it all, then this may also be a perfect choice for you. You can use it on those mountain trails but it’s equally going to be comfortable on your way to work or out for a nice afternoon ride on the roads.
With any type of bike, you want to have a ride that is going to be both smooth and comfortable. That’s what you get here and you’ll soon find that it’s money well spent. It’s a brilliant bike and one you’ll love riding.
6. Decathlon Rockrider
Here we look at Decathlon’s very own Rockrider. It’s available in four different sizes which makes it very easy for you to get the right fit. The bike looks great too, with its dark colors and a splash of red and white.
An underappreciated aspect of buying a new bike is how easy it is to assemble. You don’t need to be an expert here and you’ll be able to start riding in no time at all. As you fix it together, you’ll notice how well it’s built.
The low weight is impressive which makes it easy to carry but also gives you precise control on the trail. Handling is very responsive and you’ll feel very comfortable with the excellent braking system.
It’s excellent value for money and a mountain bike that is going to last for a long time.
7. Gravity 2021 FSX 1.0
If you want to stand out when enjoying your mountain biking then getting a yellow Gravity 2021 FSX would certainly do that! If that’s a little too bright for you then it is available in black, gray, and white.
There is a 24-speed Shimano gear system here which is very smooth and allows you to have full control without worrying about slipping or not finding the right gear. All that is attached to an aluminum frame that gives you plenty of support.
The suspension is epic and will take harsh bumps very well with the minimum of shock throughout your body. It may be an entry level bike but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re riding on it. There are other great features here such as the front and rear disc brakes which help to make this another excellent MTB.
8. Mongoose Impasse HD
This is a wonderful bike from Mongoose that is able to cope with all types of terrain. The shock absorption is excellent and you’ll easily be able to navigate bumps on the trail. With this, you won’t have to worry about what obstacles are in your way.
Another reason it can cope with that terrain is durability. That comes from the strong aluminum frame that has internal cable routing. Drops and crashes also won’t be an issue with this Mongoose model.
Along with the mountain, it can be used anywhere. There are 21-speeds available and this allows you to get into the perfect comfort zone. You can adapt to any surroundings and enjoy the confidence you get from its sharp steering and high stability.
Another feature that will give you immense confidence is the disc brakes on the front and rear of the bike. They allow you to immediately diffuse any dangerous situations. It adds up to a MTB you’ll be very comfortable on.
Maintenance is going to be minimal on this bike and all the parts are going to last for a long time. At this price point, you can’t go wrong and it’s another brilliant option.
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Mountain Bike FAQs
There are many different types of bikes and a mountain bike is a fairly broad term. It can generally apply to any bike that has been specifically designed to be used off-road and over bumpy terrain. It has a range of features to cope with this terrain that you won’t see on a road bike.
A road bike, for example, is designed for speed over smooth surfaces. If you were to ride one over bumpy terrain, it would feel horrible. To cope with this harsher environment, mountain bikes are made to be more durable, have a more comfortable ride, and be able to cope with repeated shocks.
There are also significant design differences as mountain bikes having a more upright seating position, flat handlebars, and much thicker tires.
As with any bike, the first thing you’ll want to check is that the sizing is right. After that, you’ll want to check what type of suspension it has, the quality of the materials, brake design, and the type of gearing system. With budget bikes, the range of features is going to be fairly limited but you can be confident that all the bikes we’ve looked at here perform to a very high standard.