Getting a really good mountain bike and that too on a fixed budget can be very tricky at times, but there is nothing to worry about as in my guide, I will be discussing the best mountain bikes that you can get for under $500. You want a bike that will last for a considerable amount of time, you want bikes that will perform in the most challenging mountains.
Let’s get started with the guide, you are sure to find some amazing bikes!
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 in 2023
These are the best mountain bikes that I will be reviewing!
- Best-Sized Wheels: Cannondale Trail 8 The Cannondale Trail 8 comes fitted with a lightweight aluminum frame and the best wheels that you can find.
- Best Fat-Bike: Mongoose Malus Fat Bike Mongoose may be making a variety of bikes but this is their top one yet!
- Best-Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 ” Whee It is specifically designed for cycling enthusiasts so you won’t be disappointed by its performance.
- Best- Valued Kids Bike: Raleigh Rowdy Raleigh Rowdy proves itself to be the best value mountain bike for kids because of its amazing performance and components.
- Best Full-Suspension Bike: Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike This bike has some amazing high-value standards which make it the best suspension model out there in the market.
- Best-Inexpensive Bike: Merax Finis It is not just the cheapest bike we could find but also the one with the most value.
- Best Fat-Tire Bike: Mongoose Dolomite Fat-Tire 26 The Mongoose Dolomite secures its position as the best fat-tire bike you can find in the market and at an amazing price.
- Best Trail Bike: Specialized Rockhopper 29 It comes fitted with the A1 Aluminum frame and 29” Wheels, this bike does not disappoint!
- Best Kids Speed Bike: Cleary Bikes Owl The Cleary Owl is an affordable and speedy bike that is perfect for your kid as a starting point!
- Best Kids Bike Under $500: Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike Prevelo’s components and performance make it the best starting bike for your kid!
- Best Flexible Bike: Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike A wide range of colors and sizes makes it one of the best flexible adult mountain bikes out there!
- Best Construction: Mongoose Blackcomb Mountain Bike The Mongoose Blackcomb has an amazing design which makes it aesthetically pleasing!
- Best Toddler Bike: RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Bike This bike proves to be the safest and comfortable starting bike for your toddler!
- Best Performance: Schwinn Bonafide Men’s Mountain Bike This is one of the best bikes from Schwinn!
- Best Handling: Kent Hawkeye Mountain Bike The Kent Hawkeye offers the best handling you will find in mountain bikes!
- Trek- Marlin 4
- Diamondback- Overdrive 29er
- Raleigh- Talus 1
Let’s get started with the guide!
1. Cannondale Trail 8
The Cannondale Trail 8 currently tops our list when it comes to the best mountain bikes under $500, although costs slightly more than that, if you are willing to spend an additional 100 bucks then this beauty can be yours. You would have to be fast though, the bike just came back in stock after a long time of unavailability! Don’t worry, the Cannondale has a value for money that is unmatched.
The most noticeable aspect about this bike is its lightweight and aluminum frame, the exclusive dark grey color is like the cherry on top. The weight of the bike is in the middle, it isn’t that heavy nor is it too light. The construction of this bike is beautiful as you get 75mm of travel thanks to the SR Suntour M3030 coil suspension fork. You would find that this bike is the perfect fit for dirt riding, gravel, and recreational purposes.
Let’s talk about the components of the bike now! The Cannondale Trail 8 has a combination of Shimano Altus and Tourney derailleurs that are further fitted with microSHIFT thumb-tap shifters. What you get out of this construction are 14 gears, which is perfect for entry-level riders. You get more than enough out of this package.
The Cannondale Trail 8 also has Tektro mechanical disc brakes which means that you get 160mm rotors to slow down your bike. The bike also has amazing wheels, the smaller versions of the bike like the S and XS have 27.5” Wheels while the large sizes have 29” Wheels.
In conclusion, the Cannondale Trail 8 is an amazing bike.. for starters! If you want something for professional races then there are other options in the market.
2. Mongoose Malus Fat Bike
Fat Bikes are known for their impeccable ability to handle any kind of terrain you throw at them, the Mongoose Malus Fat Bike is one of those amazing bikes that you can find for your money. They have huge wide tires that can shred anything on their path, may it be snow or mud, they can handle anything flawlessly.
Mongoose has many categories but my personal favorite is their Mountain Bike range which is just amazing. If I had to choose a bike from their mountain bike range then I would definitely go with the Mongoose Malus Fat Bike. You want a good entry-level bike, go for fat bikes, their no-brainer construction and performance make them extremely worth it.
The bike has 26” Wheels that come fitted with knobby 4” inches wide tires, making them a perfect match for all kinds of terrain. You can go anywhere with this bike and I mean that the mechanical disc brakes give the bike some amazing stopping power.
Surprisingly, the Mongoose Malus Fat Bike has components from Shimano. You get a 1*7 drivetrain with a Shimano rear derailleur. You should know that fat bikes don’t actually come with gears because they are best suited for extreme terrains where you don’t need to speed much. Still, you would be quite pleased with their speed though!
Fat Bikes are quite fun and the Mongoose Malus is one of the best ones out there, do give it a try!
Related: 15 Best Fat Tire Bikes.
3. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1
Next up we have the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1, it may sound like a new addition in the market but it is not. This brand has been around for quite some time now, it is owned by REI.com. They are the makers of amazing mountain bikes that are under $500, do check them out.
The DRT 1.1 bike is best suited for professional cycling enthusiasts, you can take it up for some serious trail riding or races, it is completely your choice. You will notice that the bike has a curved top tube, making it an amazing choice for men and women, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Once you use the bike for yourself you will notice that it has amazing features, so it provides more than enough value for its $550 price tag. The bike has a lightweight 6061 aluminum alloy frame, it will surely make all the trail surfaces that you ride on smoother. The DRT 1.1 boosts the performance and confidence of riders in a big way!
One of the exclusive features of the DRT 1.1 is the hydraulic brakes, basically, you will need less power to operate them, which is a relief!
The bike is lightweight (31 lbs) you won’t have any problem with carrying it around. Another plus point of the bike is that it requires minimal assembly knowledge, just follow the guidelines on the manual. We tested this bike out thoroughly, so did other users, we came to the conclusion that this bike is easy and very comfortable to use! I don’t think that you can get a better deal than this one so check it out!
4. Raleigh Rowdy
The Raleigh Rowdy is an amazing kid’s bike, its value is clearly unmatched! This is one of the best bikes that you can get for under $500. It is extremely lightweight and has a 6061 aluminum frame combined with a kids-friendly geometry. It isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, the kids will be in an upright and comfortable position. The Raleigh Rowdy makes sure that your child enjoys the best out of the bike and is also completely safe during the ride.
As you will see, the bike has a very rigid fork and wide tires. You have many options with the bike as it comes in 16”, 20”, or 24” wheels. This makes the Raleigh Rowdy an amazing choice for kids of different heights and ages. The cost of the Raleigh Rowdy maybe $500 but that does not mean that it doesn’t use high-end components, in fact, most of the parts are provided by Shimano which is great. The entry-level bike is amazing and your kid will be getting 7-speed levels which is great.
The bike also has V-brakes so that your kids will have extra stopping power. With all of this, the Raleigh Rowdy comes with a comfy ergonomic saddle. All you need to do is get on the bike and enjoy!
Do you want an amazing bike for your kids? Raleigh Rowdy is the one to go for!
5. Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike
Schwinn is a company that has been around us for some time now and it makes amazing bikes in different categories, one of those amazing categories that they excel in is Mountain Bikes. The value that they provide is unmatched, you can’t beat them when it comes to strong components and wheels.
When you check out different mountain bikes, especially cheap ones, you will see that some of their components are of cheap quality, like the brakes. This is not the case with Schwinn as they still use high-quality parts with their bikes, especially the brakes. This particular bike comes in 29” Wheels and strong disc brakes give it the edge it needs. You can climb over obstacles easily with the bike and it won’t slow down when it comes to performance. The bike also has 2.1-inch knobby mountain tires which are wide enough for good performance.
One of the downsides to this bike is that to assemble it you would need a considerate amount of technical knowledge. Another thing to notice with the bike is its weight, it isn’t actually light. The suspension of the bike isn’t made for trails or anything but it can actually increase your comfort on off-roads.
The components of the bike are really impressive, it has an SRAM drivetrain and you get 21 gears with it. The Schwinn S29 also has double-walled rims so it means that you get double the strength.
Trust me, this is one of the best full-suspension bikes that you can get on the market.
6. Merax Finiss
The Merax Finiss is an amazing mountain bike, we tried it out and it did not disappoint! You can find this beauty is less than $300 if you are lucky enough. When people opt for mountain bikes that would cost them $500 or less, they won’t get anything spectacular but they can definitely get a good balance. The Merax Finiss is a great example of that good balance!
The Finiss has double-walled 26” Wheels, this gives the bike a strong edge but this also makes the bike heavier. It has an aluminum frame which apparently has been heat-treated. You can find this bike in two different color schemes which are unique as most bikes are available in only one color scheme. The 24 gears option makes the Finiss an amazing choice for almost all kinds of cycling.
The front shock of the bike provides about 80mm of travel, mostly bikes of $500 price tag offer 100mm but this is a bike which is cheaper than $500.
The bike assembly is easy enough if you have done it before a couple of times, you would just have to attach the pedals, wheels, handlebars. Although if you haven’t done anything like this before then it is recommended that you bring the bike to a professional.
7. Mongoose Dolomite Fat-Tire 26
Mongoose might not be a high-tier brand but they make some of the best entry-level bikes! They have attractive fat bikes for sale that offer unmatched value.
The construction of the Dolomite 26 is amazing as it is built around a steel frame that enhances performance and comfort. Even the short riders out there can fully enjoy the bike because of the low-top tube. The bike also comes in amazing colors, the standard comes in navy blue but you can also find it in light blue and red.
The Mongoose Dolomite proves to be a really good entry-level bike thanks to its construction. The mechanical disc brakes provide the necessary stopping power needed. The bike doesn’t have a front suspension, and honestly, you don’t even need it. This is because the comfort and grip that the 26” Wheels give you are more than enough! The bike also employs a 1*7 Shimano drivetrain which is just amazing. Trust me, this is a very effective and lightweight bike that you won’t be able to replace!
The bike is also aesthetically pleasing, the design is very top-notch! Some of the best features of this bike are:
- It is a Unisex Bike
- Has 21 gears
- You get a free warranty with the bike
- It has amazing hydraulic brakes that offer exceptional stopping power
- 1*7 Drivetrain
8. Specialized Rockhopper 29
Specialized makes some amazing bikes and the Rockhopper 29 is no exception, actually, it excels in all the performance checks! It comes fitted with an aluminum frame and amazing 29” Wheels that maximize performance and quality. You will find that the Rockhopper is extremely lightweight and you can use it on any kind of road and purpose.
It is a unisex bike so both men and women can enjoy the bike to their fullest. The performance is good, it costs less and would be an amazing boost for beginners. The moment you lay your eyes on it you will see that this is an amazing entry-level bike that is also aesthetically pleasing. The geometry is amazing and it also comes in different color schemes. You get this bike and it would become instant eye candy!
The Rockhopper 29 also has amazing suspension, the kind of travel you get from your bike will depend on the size you get although 100mm is the average. The grip of the bike is amazing and it has 2.3” wider tires, making them the best choice for everything. There are a total of 16 gears on this bike with a 2*8 drivetrain, I don’t think you would need more than that.
The Rockhopper employs the Radius CX7 mechanical disc brakes which are just amazing for beginners.
In conclusion, I would say that this bike is best suited for entry-level riders that will keep it for recreational purposes!
9. Cleary Bikes Owl
The Cleary Bikes Owl is one of the best kids’ bikes that you can find for under $500. It performs great, looks great, and has the perfect components to hit those off-road trails you have been planning with your kids. The bike has a really cool steel frame that not just makes the whole bike durable but also very comfortable to ride on. I would say that durability is the main selling point of this bike, it is also extremely lightweight (Only 19 lbs).
The Cleary Bikes Owl also comes equipped with an attractive leather saddle, with all of these components the bike looks very aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to kid’s bikes, the main aspect that matters is that they should have lots of fun, and this is what the Cleary Bikes Owl promises. Your kid won’t have to worry about shifting gears or anything else when it comes to this bike as it has a single-speed drivetrain. The Cleary Bikes Owl also comes equipped with front and rear V-brakes which is another great addition for kids.
You can thank the wide 20” tires that not just improve the performance of the bike but also the stability and comfort. If you want your kid to experience all the adventures then get them the Cleary Bikes Owl Now!
10. Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike
Kids should start riding bikes from a young age, not will it be just fun but it will help boost their performance capabilities. One of the best bikes that you can get for your kid is the Prevelop Alpha Two! It offers a great performance balance between off-road and on-road fun. The bike is best for kids between the age of 4 and 6, the 16” wheels are perfect for them. Trust me, younger and older kids would be able to enjoy the best out of this amazing mountain bike!
The bike comes fitted with front and rear alloy V-brakes, and the 16” wheels should make the kids feel safe and confident. The bike is also lightweight as it only weighs 14.5 lbs, making it a good fit for kids. The Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike can be fitted with the following amazing components:
- USB Rechargeable Lights
- Rider’s Name (Lettering)
- Color Grips
- Amazing Bell
Get your hands on the Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike ASAP!
11. Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike
The Legendary Bike Manufacturers have launched their amazing Mesa Mountain Bike Series to quench all of your bike needs! Professionals know that mountain biking is one of the extreme sports out there, in order to things go smoothly and comfortable you need an amazing bike on your side, this is what you can expect from the Mesa Series from Schwinn.
The bike comes fitted with an all-aluminum frame which is just amazing. It makes the bike perfect for off-road trails and gravel, the frame of the bike is also important when it comes to supporting and stability. The frame comes in four different sizes (Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large) to support riders of different heights. Due to the frame, you will get a comfortable ergonomic position that fills the gap to absolute comfort.
We know that the wheelbase plays a very important part when it comes to the quality of the ride, that’s why the 27.5” wheelbase is going to be perfect. The bike also comes fitted with mechanical disc brakes to give the necessary stopping power.
12. Mongoose Blackcomb Mountain Bike
The Mongoose Blackcomb is one of the best mountain bikes that you can get for under $500. Although when it arrives, you have to do the assembly yourself, which isn’t a problem if you have done it a couple of times. The 26” wheel size makes it a good fit for adults.
The bike also comes fitted with a Shimano Atlas Rear Derailleur which just fully enhances the performance.
13. RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Kids Bike
The RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Kids Bike is another great bike that you can get for under $500. It is best suited for kids between the age of 3 and 9. The 2.4 inch wide tires make for an amazing ride and your kid will have the best of comfort and enjoyment. You can get the bike in a variety of colors and it also comes equipped with a kickstand.
14. Schwinn Bonafide Men’s Mountain Bike
The Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike is one of the best hardtail bikes out there, the overall construction of the bike makes it an amazing choice for off-road and on-road adventures. The durability of this bike is something Schwinn is really proud of.
The bike has an amazing suspension fork that protects you against every kind of bump on the road. You are going to get 24-speeds from this bike, overall it will be a smooth and enjoyable ride. The bike also comes fitted with a Shimano shifter, which as it sounds makes shifting very easy. The rims of the bike are also double-walled which naturally makes them stronger and efficient. You get a five-year warranty when you purchase this bike.
15. Kent Hawkeye Mountain Bike
We featured the Kent Hawkeye Mountain Bike in our review for its amazing handling and performance, it goes beyond that!
The Kent Hawkeye comes fitted with a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame and suspension fork, all of this results in amazing handling. I personally think that the bike’s 18” frame size is perfect for the majority of riders that will be using it. The bike has 29” wheels which should provide fast and comfortable rides across all kinds of terrain. The suspension system of the bike protects itself from all kinds of punishments you throw at it.
The bike also has Shimano components installed like the EF-41 Rapid Fire Shifter, this makes gear changing a lot smoother and easy. The bike also has mechanical disc brakes that provide absolute stopping power. Get this bike if you want great adventures!
This is one of the amazing bikes that you can get for under $500, but you will have to be quick as stocks don’t last forever.
16. Trek- Marlin 4
The Trek Marlin 4 is yet another great budget mountain bike that you can get for under $500. It has great components, especially for beginners, and is constructed with an aluminum frame which makes it quite sturdy. The bike is pretty standard though, but if you like to go ham with your bikes you would be pleased to know that it can be fully customized without any kind of problems.
Trek has done a great job with this bike as it is a hot favorite among customers, constructed with Shimano components and mechanical disc brakes, this bike feels unstoppable on all fronts.
17. Diamondback Overdrive 29er
The Diamondback Overdrive 29er is one of the best starter mountain bikes that you can get your hands on. It is fast, sleek, and offers amazing performance. The Overdrive 29er is a really good hardtail XC mountain bike, it is built with an aluminum frame which makes it quite durable. This may be an entry-level bike but don’t mistake it in terms of specs and performance.
For a very low price, you get amazing Shimano components like the rear and front derailleurs. The bike has thumb shifters so it becomes very easy to change gears. Don’t worry about going over hilly areas as the Suntour XCT fork can handle any kind of abuse you throw at it. Do try out this bike if you are looking for a bike for casual and professional purposes.
18. Raleigh Talus 1
The Raleigh Talus 1 is another exceptional bike that you should get your hands on. With this bike in your hands, you are getting exceptional performance without breaking the bank. The bike has an aluminum frame which boosts up the durability. The tires of this bike are also amazing, smaller sizes get the 27.5” wheels whereas the bigger sizes of the bike come packed with 29” wheels. The Talus 1 also has a 100mm suspension fork, which means more amazing performance on off-road trails.
The bike has all the best components from Shimano as well.
My Personal Recommendation: Cannondale Trail 8
The Cannondale Trail 8 currently tops our list when it comes to the best mountain bikes under $500, although costs slightly more than that, if you are willing to spend an additional 100 bucks then this beauty can be yours. You would have to be fast though, the bike just came back in stock after a long time of unavailability! Don’t worry, the Cannondale has a value for money that is unmatched. You can buy it here.
You know, when it comes to mountain bikes, we want to get the best value out of our money, which makes us a bit hesitant to get cheap bikes. By cheap I mean less than or equal to $500, I had the same mentality once but after trying out a really good mountain bike for that price, my perception changed.
You would be surprised to know that most of these bikes may be priced cheap but the components they have and the kind of performance they offer is close to the high-tier bikes out there. All of the bikes that I have listed in my guide are equipped with lightweight and highest-quality frames. This means that you are bound to get amazing performance from these bikes whenever you want. Some of these bikes are also hybrid that makes them a perfect fit for off-road and on-road adventures!
Some of these bikes may need assembly upon arrival but it’s nothing too hard that you can’t handle! You can always bring them to a professional. Choose the best bike for yourself according to your taste and preference!
Remember, you make the best decision yourself!