The 6 Best Mountain Bike Under $500 in 2021
If adventure runs through your veins, mountain bikes are the perfect choice for you. In fact, mountain biking is not merely a sport for many people – it’s a way of life. From escaping the hustle bustle of the city and finding comfort in the tranquility of nature to having a thrilling biking experience on technical terrain, these off-road bikes offer everything you can ask for. But when the budget is a major concern, picking the right mountain bike can be quite troublesome. So how exactly can you pick the right bike for yourself? Read on to find out the top mountain bikes under $500 and learn about the factors you should consider when on the lookout for a new all-terrain beast.
The Gravity FSX 1.0 is one of those high-quality bikes under a price tag of $500 that can handle the challenges of trail riding. From the frame and tires, every single component of the bike ensures that you get the same performance as you would in high-end, expansive mountain bikes. This full-suspension bike has a durable hydroformed aluminum frame that is welded in all the right points for extra strength in the areas that undergo stress while you're riding. Gravity FSX 1.0 has Suntour front and rear shocks to offer travel that is suitable for trail and all-mountain riding. The suspensions are also adjustable, allowing you to tailor the travel according to the surface you’re riding on. Thanks to the soft saddle that sits on an aluminum alloy frame, riding is made even more enjoyable and comfortable.
FSX 1.0 doesn't disappoint in the gearing department as well. The gear system is composed of ultra-light Shimano EFT shifters and Suntour crank and cassette, all of which are perfectly integrated together to offer efficient control of 24 gearing speeds. Moreover, this bike by Gravity has quality Tektro disc brakes to give you all the control you need while riding. Overall, Gravity’s FSX 1.0 gives you everything you want in a quality mountain bike which is why we recommend you buy it.
- Lightweight full suspension frame
- Good travel
- Improved pedal efficiency
- 24 gearing speeds
- Reliable disc brakes
- The tire tread could have been made better
Contenders For The Top Mountain Bikes Under $500 in 2020
- Gravity FSX 1.0
- Diamondback Overdrive 29
- Raleigh Talus 2
- Diamondback Overdrive ST
- Mongoose TYAX Comp
- Mongoose Impasse
The world of 29" mountain bikes revolves all-around having better control over obstacles as well as achieving higher top speeds and the Diamondback Overdrive 29 allows you to do that without spending a lot of fortune. Overdrive 29 has a strong, reinforced aluminum alloy frame, handcrafted to get maximum strength at all the major stress points while keeping the overall weight down. Moreover, the aggressive geometry of the bike places the rider in an ideal position and makes riding more comfortable and smoother.
The durable frame is supported by SR Suntour suspensions which give a suitable range of travel to absorb shocks and bumps for smoother biking experience. A good thing about Diamondback's Overdrive 29 is that you get optimal pedal power which is rare in most 29ers. Moreover, Shimano drivetrain is incorporated in the bike design to offer you 24 different maneuverable speeds. The Schwalbe tires are extremely durable and have an aggressive tread to give you maximum traction and grip. Overall, this bike by Diamondback is a good choice if you’re looking for a 29er – who knows it might soon become your favorite bike altogether!
- Excellent frame geometry
- Made of durable aluminum alloy
- Suspensions offer a good amount of travel
- Precise wheel tread for maximum traction
- Quality components
- The saddle is a bit hard
It’s hard to overlook Raleigh Talus 2 if you're looking for quality mountain bikes under $500. The frame is built to last and serve a long time, thanks to the premium quality aluminum alloy used as the construction material. Talus 2 comes with Promax Alloy V brakes which offer excellent performance with maximum stopping power – analogous to that offered by high-quality disc brakes.
With Shimano EZ Fire shifters and rear and front derailleurs, you get an amazing gearing system that allows you to maneuver at different speeds with great control. Suntour suspension forks give travel of 75mm, minimizing impact while riding on rough terrains. Another great feature of Raleigh Talus 2 is its super comfortable seat which is hard to find in most mountain bikes under $500. Certainly, Talus 2 performs like a beast no matter what surface conditions you ride it on and the exceptional built quality effortlessly takes whatever challenges you put it through. Overall, This bike by Raleigh is a perfect choice if you want an excellent MTB without burning a hole in your pocket.
- Durable aluminum frame
- Reliable V brakes
- Efficient gearing system
- A comfortable and plush saddle
- No kickstand included
The Override series is one of the best and most popular lines of hardtail mountain bikes by Diamondback. Overdrive ST is a classic example of an affordable, premium quality bike from this series which is specially targeted towards people who want to experience the thrills of mountain biking under a budget. Diamondback Overdrive has a hardtail aluminum frame with a steep geometry which puts the rider in an upright position and gives them a greater degree of control over the bike. Moreover, 27.5 inches big, knobby tires grip every surface strongly as you explore different terrains.
With 24 speeds, SR Suntour XCT coil spring suspension forks offer a travel of 80mm to absorb impact and make your riding experience more comfortable. Powerful disc brakes are also incorporated in the bike design, allowing you to stop in the blink of an eye. Shimano 3x8-speed drivetrain is paired with Suntour XC cranks to offer a wide gear range to keep you cranking up the hills and have amazing riding experience. Overall, Diamondback's Overdrive mountain bike is an incredible bike that offers you everything you need in an MTB without spending a fortune.
- Premium quality bike
- A hand-built aluminum alloy hardtail frame
- 80mm suspensions
- Shimano drivetrain for gearing and speed control
- Comes 95% assembled
- Doesn’t have hydraulic brakes
If you’ve been into mountain biking for at least a while, you must have heard about Mongoose. The company has established itself as a premium MTB manufacturer for over 40 years and so, we recommend investing in Mongoose TYAX Comp mountain bike. Mongoose Tyax has an XC aluminum frame that is supplemented with Hydroformed tubing to enhance its durability. The SR Suntour XCT suspensions on the bike offer a travel of 100mm, giving you confidence as you ride on rough terrains. Also, Tyax features Tektro Novella mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors on the front and back to give you maximum braking power under all conditions.
As far as the drivetrain is concerned, Mongoose Tyax Comp certainly won’t disappoint you. Shimano 27 speed drive train along with Shimano Acera rear derailleur, XCR front derailleur, Shimano Acera trigger shifters await you for amazing biking experience. Moreover, the wheels are also well built and the Kendra 2 in 1 small block eight tired offer a good amount of grip and traction under all surface conditions. All in all, Mongoose Tyax Comp is a great option no matter if you're a professional or a beginner wanting to step in the world of biking.
- Durable bike frame
- Excellent shock absorption with 100mm travel
- Reliable and powerful brakes
- Design is too simple
Another great bike that has made it to our list of best mountain bikes under $300 is Impasse dual-suspension mountain bike by Mongoose, a reliable name in the market. The 18-inch aluminum frame is quite durable yet lightweight, making it more manageable for newbies and beginners. Mongoose Impasse is equipped with dual suspensions, making the ride as comfortable as possible. Moreover, the front and rear alloy disc brakes providing excellent braking power to ensure your safety while you ride.
Mongoose Impasses has 21 different speeds that can be swiftly controlled with SRAM twist shifters and Shimano rear derailleurs while the 29” alloy wheels offer a wide contact area for maximum grip and traction. Also, there's a quick-release front function which makes it easier to carry, transport and store the bike. On the whole, Mongoose Impasse Dual Suspension MTB is a great bike that you should consider buying.
- Durable aluminum frame
- Maximum braking power
- Quality suspensions
- Quick-release function
- No water bottle holder
The different types of mountain bikes vary with respect to the intended riding style on specific terrains and a slight modification in the features can make a significant difference in terms of performance. This makes picking the right mountain bike for yourself quite complicated, particularly when you need to have a keen knowledge of the features and terminology surrounding the world of bikes.
In this beginners guide, we will walk you through the features specific to the best mountain bikes under $500 for use on different terrains. This information will help you find the right mountain bikes which serves best the intended purpose while giving a value of your money. Getting acquainted with these features will also narrow down the choice for you, enabling fast and better decisions. So let’s get started…
The frame is the foundation of the mountain bike so should have the strength, endurance, and durability to last for years. Like road bikes, most bike manufacturers use either carbon, aluminum, steel or a combination of these materials for the frame of your mountain bike. Remember that each material has a different set of characteristics, and a slight variation in the frame material might change the entire feel of the bike.
Aluminum frame is most commonly used for the body of the bike since it's easier to work with and doesn't weight down the bike. Aluminum frame is a more affordable option than the other materials, promising utmost performance on a budget. Carbon fibers were traditionally used in high-end bikes due to their high cost, but they are now being incorporated in mountain bikes as well.
They can be molded easily and offer the best stiffness to weight ratio. However, carbon fibers can crack under stress such as in a crash so they need more maintenance. Steel is also a common material used for bike frame since it's inexpensive and strong. Nevertheless, it adds more weight to the bike.
The suspensions of a mountain bike mainly minimize the impact of uneven surfaces, making the ride more comfortable. The distance of suspension movement is referred to as the “travel”. Travel in mountain bikes ranges between 80mm to 200mm, but greater travel offers more shock absorption for a smoother ride.
In terms of suspensions, mountain bikes can be classified into three categories. Rigid bikes are not equipped with a sophisticated suspension system and thus, are some of the cheapest ones in the market. Since rigid bikes don’t offer a decent impact absorption, they are not recommended for hardcore biking.
Hardtail mountain bikes, on the other hand, have front fork suspensions in the front for impact absorption on the front wheel. They offer better power transfer between the pedal stroke and the rear tire and hence, are better for rough terrain. Full suspension bikes have both front and rear shocks (dual suspension) and are considered the best for rugged terrains. They highly priced than the other types, but the comfortability they have to offer is worth the money.
Wheels for an off-road bike come in three different sizes, but the ideal wheel size for you depends on the terrain you will be riding your bike on. The 26” tire size is one of the oldest one around and is still widely popular amongst beginners. Similarly, the 29er is the biggest tire size available for mountain bikes.
Not only does it deliver maximum momentum but also glides over rougher surfaces easily. The 29" wheel, however, is heavier and less maneuverable which makes it less desirable for beginners. Nonetheless, the 27.5" (630 lb.) wheel is the perfect mix of 26" and 29" size. Enjoying the best of both worlds, it is more controllable than the 29" wheel yet rolls better on steep mountainous surfaces than the 26" wheel.
A top of the line braking system is essential for a safe biking experience. Mountain bikes normally have a rim or disc brakes, the latter of which is increasingly replacing the former in modern bikes.
Rim brakes work by brushing the braking pad against the inner rims of the wheel, which eventually brings the bike to a halt. They are lightweight and inexpensive but does not offer a solid grip in wet weather. On the contrary, mechanical disc brakes give a more consistent stopping power under a variety of conditions.
They are further classified into cable-activated disc brakes or hydraulic brake. Cable-activated mechanical disc brakes have a similar working as rim brake but in hydraulic brake, the pressure applied to a hydraulic fluid is responsible for the stopping action. Moreover, hydraulic brake are more powerful and require less maintenance so they are common in a bike with a price range of $500 instead of mechanical disc brakes.
If you’re on the lookout for a memorable and adventurous experience, you need to buy a mountain bike right away. And if you want to remain light on the pocket, you can find a mountain bike that has similar features as those of high-end bikes. With the right guidance, finding the perfect bike yourself is not too hard. You need to keep the intended use of the mountain bike in your mind and look out for the features accordingly to make the right decision.