You want a quality mountain bike, but you don’t have $2,000 for the newest model?
Buying a mountain bike can be a tricky business, especially when you are on a budget. There are a lot of different factors that you need to look at, not least of all the price, and this isn’t a cheap hobby. Here are our top 10 best mountain bikes under $500 to give you a head-start on your new purchase.
Product Comparison (Top 10)
Ready? Here are our picks of the best cheap mountain bikes in 2023:
1. Best Overall Mountain Bike Under $500: Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er
What is a 29er?
29ers are also known as 29″ wheels mountain bikes. They come with 700c or 622 mm ISO (inside rim diameter) wheels, which are the same size as a regular road bike wheel but slightly bigger than most traditional 26-inch mountain bikes.
You may feel more stable on a 29er than your average 26 or 27.5 bikes because of the longer wheelbase and back end to accommodate bigger wheels, as well as having your bottom bracket further away from the axles that spin those larger wheels.
The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er is a great starter mountain bike for anyone looking to get into the sport of mountain biking. The hardtail frame has a hand-built butted 6061 alloy construction, making it lightweight and durable. It comes with mechanical disc brakes and a suspension fork with lockout, so you can stop on a dime and control your ride.
What really makes the difference on these trails are the 29-inch wheels; you just roll over everything once you give them a try. With its 17-inch frame size, it’s suitable for riders up to 6 feet. This bike is built to last!
2. Best Budget Mountain Bike: Huffy Hardtail Stone Mountain
Huffy’s Stone Mountain is a hardtail mountain bike that features an alloy quick release for easy height adjustment and 24-inch wheels to conquer the trails with speed. The Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur delivers 21 speeds on-demand, while the micro-shift twist shifter makes it easy to change gears without taking your hands off the handlebars.
A glossy red frame and fork give this Huffy its unique look, while a limited lifetime warranty ensures lasting durability. At less than $200, this is an immense value for beginners to ride around your neighborhood.
3. Best Foldable Mountain Bike: Eurobike G4 Folding Mountain Bike
Eurobike G4 folding mountain bike is a great choice for those who want to ride in the park, on the trail, or even through the city. What makes this MTB unique is the folding mechanism that makes it easy to carry and store away when not in use. This mountain bike features a 21-speed shifting system, which provides an efficient and effective way of moving in different terrains.
With its double disc brake system, it improves rider safety and braking efficiency. The frame is made of aluminum alloy, which gives riders a lightweight yet durable feel. Its 26″ wheel size provides a smooth and comfortable riding experience for riders between 5’5″ and 5’9″. And with three colors to choose from, it is easy to match your style and personality!
4. Best Mountain Bike for Women: Sirdar S-700
The Sirdar S-700 is a great fit for any girl who wants to stay active but doesn’t want her trail bike appearing too gendered. With three rear derailleurs and nine rear derailleurs on a finger-type shifter, this bike is much easier to pedal faster. It also provides more rolling momentum with its aluminum-alloy body containing high carbon steel parts that are rust-proof.
The light 37.47lb weight makes it possible to carry with 1 hand in order to transport over hills or across trails while riding its 26″ anti-explosion tires which can handle all types of terrain including hilly places as well as urban roadways without fear of skidding out.
Assembly is extremely easy. A single person could assemble it but it’s ideal to have two people, just for safety and convenience. Front and rear double disc brakes provide protection along with better control throughout your ride, making these bikes perfect mountain vehicles but effective too if you’re interested in traveling around town.
5. Best Mountain Bike for Tall Riders: Eurobike 29er
Eurobike 29er is the ideal bike for tall riders up to 6’4″ and 330lbs due to the lightweight and strong aluminum alloy 19-inch frame. Being a 29er means its 29-inch wheels have been designed to provide more traction and stability, allowing you to ride at high speeds down sloppy terrains without having to worry about falling off too much.
The front and rear disc brakes are very reliable when it comes to stopping in uneven outdoor terrains. Shimano 3*7 shifter makes the speed change smoother, creating an enjoyable ride every time you get on your Eurobike 29er bicycle.
If you want to stand out, the unique magnesium alloy wheels complement its perfect color matching, making this bicycle more beautiful than others on the market, while durable after-sales service makes it worth your money.
6. Best Mountain Bike for Short Riders: Schwinn Mesa 2
The Schwinn Mesa 2 MTB 27.5″ is ready to take you wherever the trail may lead, be it unpaved roads or single track. If you’re under 5’6″, this bike is perfect for your small body type as it has a small mountain-tuned aluminum frame. This enables you to maneuver through any terrain, while its relaxed geometry offers confidence on rough trails.
Another great feature is the Zoom HL565 suspension fork that soaks up bumps in your path. Riders will appreciate how precise each shift feels thanks to Shimano Tourney 21 speed drivetrain partnered with EZ Fire shifters. They also have no trouble stopping even when conditions are less than ideal due to disc brakes provide on-demand stopping power every time they’re needed.
7. Best Mountain Bike for Jumps: Schwinn Bonafide
This hardtail mountain bike from Schwinn is built for the trail with 29″ tires and alloy rims. The lightweight aluminum frame combined with a powerful front suspension fork makes it easy to glide through trails or jumps, while the color-matching rims give this 29er an aesthetically pleasing look.
With 24 speeds available on its trigger shifters and derailleurs as well as mechanical disc brakes that provide crisp stopping power in all conditions, you’ll never be left behind when riding among friends or out solo because of your equipment limitations.
8. Best Trail Mountain Bike: Royce Union RMT All-Terrain MTB
Have you heard of Royce Union? Royce Union has been making precision-engineered bicycles for over 100 years. Their products are renowned for their performance, quality, and dependability in all types of riding conditions.
This Royce Union RMT All-Terrain Mountain Bike is a great choice for all levels of riders. Its hardtail frame is designed to be lightweight, durable, and reliable thanks to being made with 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. The Shimano 21 speed drivetrain gives you smooth, comfortable gear changes. The Zoom suspension fork keeps you in control on the trail and gives your bike durability for years of enjoyment.
At 27.5″ wheel size, it also allows riders to cover more ground faster, which is a great benefit when biking through terrain that requires tricky maneuvering.
If all these features are not convincing enough to make you buy one, how about the limited 10-year frame warranty that it comes with! This ensures that each purchase will last long enough to make back all its costs while giving bikers peace of mind knowing they can rely on their bikes during tough rides. No more fear of it breaking under them unexpectedly or prematurely wearing out over time due to normal wear and tear issues typically associated with mountain biking equipment.
9. Best Fat Bike: Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Mountain Bike
What is a Fat Bike?
Fat bikes are designed to be able to travel over diverse terrains, including snow, sand, mud, ice, etc., better than standard bikes. They use wider tires, which provide you with extra traction and traction and allow you to pedal over terrain that would otherwise cause your regular bike to sink.
At first glance, the tires of this bike appear huge. As you watch it navigate through sandy and snowy roads with ease and bounce over embankments or boings off rocks, you will be impressed! Mongoose’s Malus Fat Tire Bike is the ideal bike for riders who just want to get out and explore!
This fat tire bike features a steel mountain-style frame and suspension fork, 26-inch wheels with 4-inch fat tires, 7-speed twist shifters, front and rear mechanical disc brakes and is available in multiple colors. A fun-to-ride mountain bike that will have you grinning from ear to ear, the Malus is an excellent addition to your stable collection of bikes.
10. Best Kids’ Mountain Bike: Royce Union Kids RTX
As we have mentioned above, Royce Union manufactures highly reliable bikes, which is crucial if your kids are using them due to safety reasons. They have MTBs for boys in neon green/black and girls in pink/ice blue. The Royce Union Kids RTX mountain bikes are perfect for children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. They’re designed to train young kids in riding skills while still being comfortable enough for them to ride on any terrain or path they choose.
With dual front and rear suspension, kids can stay in control no matter how bumpy the trail gets. Plus, linear pull brakes are a great braking choice because they require little maintenance and give enough stopping power. If your child is looking to take on rippling hills with ease, the Shimano six-speed is ideal for learning how gearing works and providing a reliable and smooth ride.
How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Under 500 Dollars: Frequently Asked Questions
Is $500 Enough to Buy a Mountain Bike?
If you are serious about mountain biking and want to invest in a durable, quality bike that can stand the test of time on trails or roads, we wouldn’t recommend anything under $1,000 as most cheap bikes won’t last for long under harsh terrain conditions.
However, if it’s just an occasional hobby or recreational activity, then there are some good options which we review above – but be sure to know your limitations! Bear this budget constraint (even though it’s still not exactly ‘cheap’) definitely will need regular maintenance & eventually parts replacement with wear-and-tear over years of use.
What Should I Look for in a Good yet Cheap Mountain Bike?
Wheels: 26’’/27.5’’/29″ (20″ for kids)
In general, 6 to 8 years old kids would ride an 18″ wheel size bike while 9-12 years old kids would ride a 20″ wheel size bike. This varies depending on the kid’s height and weight.
Across all the adult sizes available, small wheels have the advantage of being lightest and stiffest at the lowest cost. These are the most popular as they are perfect for people with a height range of 5 feet to 6 feet – the average height.
650b is a mid-size wheel that lives in between the 26 inches and 29 inches wheels. It offers an excellent compromise between the two in weight, handling, and speed.
A 700c wheel is currently the largest wheel option for a mountain bike, but the larger rim and longer spokes make it heavier, so it takes more effort to accelerate to top speed. Combining the larger contact area and the larger circumference of the rim, the 29er wheel is more adept at rolling over bumpy ground and creating a smooth ride over small obstacles.
Frame: Steel or aluminum
Aluminum is known for its corrosion resistance, lightweight (lighter than steel), and high strength-to-weight ratio. It has a lower price tag, making it a popular choice for racers and cyclists on a budget.
A steel-framed bike is much more resilient and durable than an aluminum frame and can take more punishment without being damaged. The downside is that it is much heavier and more prone to rust if it is not treated with anti-corrosion properties. Check the specifications of the bike features to make sure the frame has high-quality finishes.
In an air spring, compression occurs gradually, meaning it is more flexible during the first part of its travel, then stiffens as it undergoes more compression. An air-sprung fork’s biggest advantage is its lighter weight, which makes pedaling easier, especially uphill.
For riders who travel long distances frequently and bikepacking, rigid forks are the ideal choice. They are simpler and lighter than suspension forks and don’t need to be maintained as frequently as suspension forks do.
Mechanical disc brakes
When you pull the brake lever, a steel cable is activated, creating friction between the brake pad and the rotor that eventually stops your bike.
What Is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?
Mountain bikes without rear suspension are referred to as hardtails. Hardtails are great for playing around, doing jumps, taking part in street trials, and just cruising your typical trails. Hardtails have a rougher surface, but that adds to the feeling of speed, even if you’re not that fast.
Can Mountain Bikes Be Used on Paved Roads?
Definitely, and because of its versatility and durability, most riders prefer MTBs over other types of bikes.
Is Mountain Biking Effective for Burning Belly Fat?
Despite the difficulty of losing belly fat, cycling with a mountain bike effectively burns fat overall. One study found that cycling can facilitate overall fat loss and assist in promoting a healthy weight. But how much waist size you can reduce down will still depend on your diet.
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Price last updated on 2023-06-03. Links & images are from Amazon Product Advertising API. Our editors independently research, test and recommend the best products and services. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article at no additional cost to you.