12 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 For Adults And Kids!

Good quality budget mountain bikes are not hard to find, especially with this detailed guide!

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Mountain Biking has been around since the late 1960s. It originated in Marin County, California and since then has been the favorite hobby of many cyclists, like me. But mountain bikes can be really expensive because of the features they have. They also have a strong built, which just adds to the price. So, for someone looking to buy a mountain bike on a budget, well, it can be a difficult task. 

Here’s the good part: Given the number of years spent on cycling, I have come across a handful of models that are competitive and affordable. I have even test-rode some of these bikes myself and if I just wanted to take up mountain cycling as a hobby instead of a profession, I would have considered buying them. 

If you are just looking to get a taste of mountain bike riding, I have got these recommendations in store that you can check out. These bikes are good enough to do the job at an affordable price. Do you want to know what mountain bikes you can get for under $500? Let’s get reading then!

These are the mountain bikes that I will be reviewing!

Category Bike Model Features/Highlights
Best-Sized Wheels Cannondale Trail 8 Lightweight aluminum frame, best-sized wheels.
Best Fat-Bike Mongoose Malus Fat Bike Top-notch fat bike from Mongoose.
Best Hydraulic Disc Brakes Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 ” Wheel Specifically designed for cycling enthusiasts, equipped with hydraulic disc brakes.
Best Full-Suspension Bike Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike High-value standards for a full-suspension model, excellent in the market.
Best-Inexpensive Bike Merax Finis Cheapest bike with high value.
Best Fat-Tire Bike Mongoose Dolomite Fat-Tire 26 Secures its position as the best fat-tire bike at an amazing price.
Best Flexible Bike Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike Wide range of colors and sizes, one of the best flexible adult mountain bikes.
Best Performance Schwinn Bonafide Men’s Mountain Bike One of the best bikes from Schwinn with excellent performance.
Best-Valued Kids Bike Raleigh Rowdy Best value mountain bike for kids with amazing performance and components.
Best Kids Bike Under $500 Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike Components and performance make it the best starting bike for kids under $500.
Best Toddler Bike RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Bike Safest and comfortable starting bike for toddlers.
Best Kids Speed Bike Cleary Bikes Owl Affordable and speedy bike perfect for kids as a starting point.

Note: Mentioned prices are subject to changes

8 Best Adult Mountain Bikes 

1. Cannondale Trail 8- Editor’s Choice 

Price: MSRP $535-$645

 

 

Cannondale Trail 8 Bike
Cannondale Trail 8 Bike

Features

  • Frame: SmartForm C3 Alloy
  • Fork: SR Suntour M3030, 75mm, coil, 42mm offset (27.5″) 46mm offset (29″)
  • Shifters: microSHIFT, 7-speed
  • Gears: 14- speed
  • Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc, 160/160mm rotors
  • Rims: WTB SX19, 32h
  • Tire Size: 2.25
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Saddle: Cannondale Stage 3
  • Derailleur: Shimano Altus and Tourney
  • Available Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL

If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks, the Cannondale Trail 8 can be an option to consider. The most noticeable aspect of this bike is its lightweight and aluminum frame. The exclusive dark grey color is liked by users. While riding it, I felt the weight of the bike to be moderate. When I cross-checked it, I was right. It is neither that heavy nor is it too light.

I think this bike is capable of dirt riding, gravel, and recreational purposes. The wheel ratio is suitable to support this kind of riding. It’s a good option to look at for starters. 

Why I Recommend It:

  • The handling of the bike felt responsive on light trails. 
  • I felt that the saddle was comfortable. So it is easier to use this bicycle for casual rides too. 
  • The bicycle is affordable. Still, they have used quality components.
  • I recommend the bike because of its ability to cover versatile terrains. Even if you want to give up mountain riding, you can still use it for other kinds of riding. 

Looking for a mountain bike that can handle the rugged terrain of hunting? Check out our top picks for the best mountain bikes for hunting

2. Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

Price: MSRP $412.99

Mongoose Malus Adult Fat Tire Mountain Bike
Mongoose Malus Adult Fat Tire Mountain Bike

Features

  • Frame: Alloy steel 
  • Fork: Mongoose steel suspension fork
  • Shifters: Shimano twist shifters
  • Gears:  7-speed
  • Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes
  • Rims: Mongoose alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 26″ x 4″
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Saddle: Mongoose padded mountain saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 15″, 17″, 19″

Fat Bikes are capable of handling different kinds of terrain. That’s what makes the Mongoose Malus Fat Bike my second recommendation. It has huge wide tires so you can ride them in snow or mud.  

Surprisingly, the Mongoose Malus Fat Bike has components from Shimano. 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.

If you are interested in fat tire bikes, check out our detailed guide on the best fat tire bikes!

Why I Recommend It

  • The performance of this bike is up to par. It offers value for money.
  • The traction provided by the wide tires makes riding difficult terrains thrilling. 
  • It has a suspension system which makes the rides comfortable. 

3. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1

Price: MSRP $599

Co Op Cycles Drt 1.1 Bike
Co Op Cycles Drt 1.1 Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCT suspension fork with 100mm of travel 
  • Shifters: Shimano Tourney 3×7-speed shifters
  • Gears: 21 speeds
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • Rims: WTB STi27
  • Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.25″
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Saddle: Co-op Cycles 
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large

 The DRT 1.1 bike is suited for professional cycling enthusiasts because you can take it up for some serious trail riding or races. You will notice that the bike has a curved top tube, making it suitable for men and women.

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 carrying it around. Another plus point of the bike is that it requires minimal assembly knowledge. You will get a manual to follow with guidelines. 

You may have to go over your $500 mark for this one but you can find better deals at your local bike shops!

Why I Recommend This Bike:

  • It is an all-rounder bicycle. 
  • Many users found this bicycle to be durable.
  • This bicycle is easy to control.

4. Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike

Price: MSRP $422.78

Schwinn S29 Mens Mountain Bike
Schwinn S29 Mens Mountain Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum 
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCT suspension fork with 100mm of travel
  • Shifters: Shimano Altus rapidfire shifters
  • Gears: 27-speed Shimano drivetrain
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 29″ x 2.125″ Kenda Kwick tires
  • Wheel Size: 29-inch
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Altus rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 17″, 19″, and 21″

Schwinn is famous for providing value that they provide especially when it comes to strong components and wheels. The statement is true in the case of the Schwinn S29 Mountain Bike. The company has used high-quality parts with their bikes, especially the brakes.

Many users reviewed that they felt it was easy to climb over obstacles because of the 2.1-inch knobby mountain tires. One of the downsides to this bike is that it requires technical knowledge for assembly. Another thing that I noticed was that it isn’t lightweight. But if you want a full-suspension bike, the Schwinn S29 is a good option to consider.

Give my guide on the comparison of hardtail vs full suspension mountain bikes to find out the right option for you!

Why I Recommend It

  • I like the performance of the hydraulic disc brakes. It was the most positively reviewed feature of this bicycle. 
  • The wide range of available gears helps ride on tricky trails. 

5. Merax Finiss

Price: MSRP $224.98

Merax Finiss Road Bike
Merax Finiss Road Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: Suspension fork with 80mm travel
  • Shifters: Shimano 21-speed derailleurs
  • Gears: 21-speed drivetrain
  • Brakes: Front and rear mechanical disc brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall aluminum rims
  • Tire Size: 26-inch Kenda tires
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch wheels
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 19″

The Merax Finiss is not a spectacular bike but it offers a balance. The double-walled 26” Wheels give the bike a strong edge but this also makes the bike heavier. It has an aluminum frame which has been heat-treated.  Many users liked the easy assembly of the bike. It requires attaching the pedals, wheels, and handlebars. However, if you haven’t assembled a bicycle before, I recommend getting help from a professional. 

New to mountain biking? Check out our top picks for the best mountain bikes for beginners

Why I Recommend It

  • The suspension fork smooths the bumps effectively. 
  • It is a good option for people with a budget

6.  Mongoose Dolomite Fat-Tire 26

Price: MSRP $494.01

Mongoose Dolomite Mens Fat Tire Mountain Bike
Mongoose Dolomite Mens Fat Tire Mountain Bike

Features

  • Frame: Alloy frame
  • Fork: Rigid 4130 chromoly steel fork with 100mm of trail 
  • Shifters: Shimano Altus 7-speed trigger shifters
  • Gears: Shimano Tourney 7-speed drivetrain
  • Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 26″ x 4.0″ Kenda tires
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Saddle: WTB comfortable saddle 
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 17″ and 19″

Mongoose might not be a high-tier brand but they also make entry-level bikes! Even the short riders out there can 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 bike doesn’t have a front suspension but you might not need it because of the 26″ wheels. They provide the needed grip and comfort.  The bike is also aesthetically pleasing, the design is very top-notch! 

Why I Recommend It

  • This is a unisex bicycle. Men and Women can both comfortably enjoy it. 
  • You can use it for a variety of riding
  • Many users reviewed that it is basic to assemble. You can assemble it without the help of a professional.

Need a mountain bike that’s easy to store and transport? Check out our top picks for the best folding mountain bikes

7. Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike

Price: MSRP $488.03-$799.99

Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike
Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: Rigid
  • Shifters: Shimano EF41 EZ-FIRE shifters
  • Gears: 21-speed Shimano Tourney
  • Brakes: Tektro alloy linear-pull brakes
  • Rims: Alex DC26 double-wall alloy 
  • Tire Size: 26″x 2.125″
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Saddle: Schwinn comfort saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano FD-TY500 front derailleur and Shimano RD-TZ30 rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 15″, 17″, and 19″ 

As a professional with over 15 years of experience in mountain biking, I can say that mountain biking is one of the extreme sports. And for things to go smoothly and comfortably, it’s important to have a reliable mountain bike.  

The Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike comes fitted with an all-aluminum frame which makes it capable of riding off-road trails and gravel. It also accommodates riders of different heights. 

Why I Recommend It 

  • Many users reviewed that this bicycle is easy to assemble. 
  • It is a good option for beginners because it is capable of handling both short as well as long tours

Looking for a budget-friendly mountain bike? Check out our top picks for mountain bikes under $300

8. Schwinn Bonafide Men’s Mountain Bike

Price: MSRP $369.67

Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike
Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: Rigid
  • Shifters: Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters
  • Gears: 24-speed Shimano drivetrain
  • Brakes: Front and rear mechanical disc brakes
  • Rims: High-profile double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 29″x 2.125″
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Saddle: Schwinn comfort saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney front and rear derailleurs
  • Available Sizes: 17″, 19″, 21″ 

The overall construction of the bike makes it a good choice for off-road and on-road adventures. This bicycle comes with a suspension fork that protects you against every kind of bump on the road. The Shimano shifter makes shifting easy. The rims of the bike are also double-walled which makes them stronger and efficient. It is liked by many users because it is backed by a 5-year warranty!

Wait! Don’t settle for a men’s bike. Read my guide on the best mountain bikes for women and get a bike to take on any challenge.

Why I Recommend It

  • The bicycle has a strong grip on the road 

A good mountain bike is the one that fits you! Follow my tips in this mountain bike size chart guide to find your perfect fit!

4 Best Kids Mountain Bikes Under $500

1. Raleigh Rowdy- Editor’s Choice For Kids Mountain Bikes

Price: MSRP $221.48

Raleigh Bikes Rowdy
Raleigh Bikes Rowdy

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Fork: Rigid Aluminum fork
  • Shifters: Revoshift twist shifters
  • Gears: 6 or 7-speed
  • Brakes: Tektro alloy v-brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 16″ x 2.125″ or 20″ x 2.125″ Kenda Kwick tires 
  • Wheel Size: 16-inch or 20-inch
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
  • Available Sizes: 16″, 20″

The Raleigh Rowdy is a kid’s bike. It is lightweight 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.

The bike has a very rigid fork and wide tires. What makes the Raleigh Rowdy a good choice for kids of different heights and ages? I am glad you asked.  It comes in 16”, 20”, or 24” wheels. With all of this, the Raleigh Rowdy comes with a comfy ergonomic saddle.  So it is accommodating as well as comfortable. 

Looking for the perfect mountain bike for your kid? Read our guide on the best kids’ mountain bikes to find the top 10 options that you have.

Why I Recommend It

  • The bicycle is lightweight so the kids feel confident while handling it. 
  • It has a comfortable fit for kids aged 5-9 years. 
  • Many kids love the vibrant colors of the Raleigh Rowdy.

2. Prevelo Alpha Two Kid’s Bike

Price: MSRP $399.00

Prevelo Alpha Two Kids Bike
Prevelo Alpha Two Kids Bike

Features

  • Frame: Aluminum 
  • Fork: Rigid
  • Shifters: Shimano Revoshift twist shifters
  • Gears: Single-speed or 8-speed options 
  • Brakes: Tektro alloy v-brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 16″ x 1.95″ or 20″ x 2.125″ Kenda Kwick tires 
  • Wheel Size: 16″ and 20″
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur 
  • Available Sizes: 14″ and 16″

Prevelop Alpha Two offers a reliable performance balance between off-road and on-road fun. The bike is suitable for kids between the ages of 4 and 6. For this age, I think that the 16″ wheel size is more reliable. 

The bike is also lightweight as it only weighs 14.5 lbs, making it a good fit for kids. It is customizable and you can fit it with the following accessories: 

  • USB Rechargeable Lights
  • Rider’s Name (Lettering)
  • Color Grips
  • Kickstand
  • A Bell

Check out our guide on the best bikes for 4-year-olds to find the most suitable options for your little ones!

Why I Recommend It 

  • The low standover height of the bicycle makes it easier for the kids to mount and dismount the bicycle. 
  • Many users reviewed that the bicycle withstood the rough use of their kids. It is durable.
  • It is available in many fun colors

3. RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Kids Bike

Price: MSRP $121.99

Royalbaby Boys Girls Kids Bike
Royalbaby Boys Girls Kids Bike

Features

  • Frame: Alloy steel frame 
  • Fork: Rigid steel fork
  • Shifters: Shimano Revoshift twist shifters
  • Gears: Single-speed option
  • Brakes: Front caliper brake and rear coaster brake
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 16-inch Kenda Kwick
  • Wheel Size: 16″
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Available Sizes: 12″ and 14″

The RoyalBaby Honey Buttons Kids Bike is another option available for under $500. It is suited for kids between the ages of 3 and 9. The 2.4-inch wide tires make for a comfortable ride for fun times. You can get the bike in a variety of colors and it also comes equipped with a kickstand. 

If you are looking for a bike for your kids aged 7-12 years old, check out our detailed guide on the best 24-inch bikes for your kids.

Why I Recommend It 

  • The full chain guard protects the chain and reduces wear and tear. 
  • The handlebar is also padded along with the saddle. This makes the bicycle comfortable for kids to ride for a long time. 

4. Cleary Bikes Owl

Price: MSRP $322.00 -$340.00

Cleary Bikes Owl
Cleary Bikes Owl

Features

  • Frame: Steel frame
  • Fork: Rigid aluminum fork
  • Shifters: Shimano Revoshift twist shifters
  • Gears: Single-speed or 3-speed
  • Brakes: Tektro alloy v-brakes
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy rims
  • Tire Size: 20″ x 2.125″
  • Wheel Size: 20″
  • Saddle: Comfortable padded saddle
  • Derailleur: Shimano Tourney rear derailleur (Only in 3-speed option)
  • Available Sizes: 19″

The Cleary Bikes Owl is another kids’ mountain bike that you can find for under $500. The steel frame makes the bike durable. The bike is also extremely lightweight (Only 19 lbs). The leather saddle is comfortable and makes the bike aesthetically pleasing.  With the single-speed drivetrain, your kid won’t have to worry about shifting gears. 

If you are worried about whether the bike will fit your child or not, give our kid’s bike size chart a read. It will help you understand how to find the perfect fit bicycle for your growing child!

Why I Recommend It

  • The steel frame is durable
  • Kids get accustomed to the concept of braking easily with dual-hand brakes
  • The geometry is designed to provide a comfortable riding position for kids.

Not sure which type of mountain bike is right for you? Check out our guide to the 5 types of mountain bikes you need to know to find the one you are looking for!

Budget Mountain Bikes Buying Guide 

Even when you are buying a budget mountain bike, there are some things that you shouldn’t compromise on. Here are the specs that I make sure never to skip when I used to buy budget mountain bikes. Even today, when I help a friend buy a bicycle, I try to get as many specs as possible. Here is what you should look for: 

1. The Type Of Air Fork

Don’t go below  SR Suntour XCR Air fork. Anything below them is usually cheap quality. Your air fork shouldn’t be damped or offer limited adjustability. You can always upgrade the fork because forks are one of the most expensive components of a mountain bicycle. 

Confused about what an air fork is? Don’t worry, read this detailed guide explaining bike parts for beginners to understand bicycle anatomy.

2. Hydraulic Brakes Are Better

Though hydraulic brakes are difficult to find when you are working on a budget, they provide better stopping power. This is because you see in hydraulic brakes, there is fluid that moves the pistons. his squeezes down on your rotor to stop the bike. On the other hand, the mechanical brakes use a cable to perform the same function. That is not as effective.  SRAM, Shimano, and Tetkro are my favorite go-to brands for entry-level brakes. 

Read my detailed guide on 7 reasons to buy mountain bike disc brakes to know why they are better than v-brakes!

3. Tubeless Compatible Wheels Are A Plus Point

If your bicycle doesn’t already have tubeless tires, going tubeless is not going to cost you a lot but it will make a big difference to your ride feel. Your bike will shed weight, be less prone to punctures, and even be able to run on lower pressures. Isn’t that a worthy update? Just make sure that the bicycle is tubeless compatible. 

Still confused about upgrading to tubeless tires? Read my expert intake in this guide on whether tubeless tires are worth the change to have a clear idea. 

4. Buy Budget Friendly Accessories

Don’t go overboard with the accessories. Buy a helmet, a pump (make sure your pump is compatible with the valve type), a bottle for hydration, and a cage to carry it. You can get affordable bicycle cleaning supplies too. Cleaning supplies are important because a clean bicycle will last you longer! And if you ask me, your bicycle is going to get dirty with all the off-roading! Some things that I would recommend you to buy for the first time, other than these are:

  • Tire Kit
  • Work Stand 
  • Torque Wrench 
  • A quick Link

Read this guide on 20 cool bike accessories to find accessories that will make other cyclists envious!

5. The Material Of The Frame 

I prefer to have an Aluminum frame mountain bike. This is because they are lightweight, more responsive, and offer the same stiffness the other material frames would. This makes the transfer of power from your pedaling to the wheels more effective. The best part is that the aluminum frames do not corrode like steel frames. With off-road riding, you may be hitting the puddles a lot so this is a really good feature to have. 

Looking for a bicycle frame? Read this guide on how to find your best mountain bike frame size to find the right frame the first time!

FAQs

Which cycle brand is best for MTB?

Yeti Cycles is the most top-rated brand for mountain bikes. 

What is the full form of MTB?

Mountain Bikes is the full form of MTB. 

Is a cheap bike okay?

Yes, if you are a beginner, a cheap bike will suit you more than an expensive one. Once you have polished your skills you can upgrade with an expensive bicycle. 

Why are MTB so expensive?

Mountain bikes are expensive because they have advanced features. 

What is the difference between a cheap and expensive mountain bike?

The difference between a cheap and an expensive mountain bike is in the quality of the components used to build the bicycle. Expensive mountain bikes are more durable and perform better as compared to cheap mountain bikes. 

Recap

When it comes to mountain bikes under $500, there will always be a feature that you will have to compromise on. Good quality mountain bikes start from around $1000, but they are more suited for those who have their mind set on mountain biking.

If you are just testing the waters, a mountain bike under $500 will be good enough to do the job. However, be mindful that you won’t be able to do aggressive riding with these bikes. They are not designed for it.  All of the bikes that I have listed compromise the least on the quality of the components. This means that they deliver satisfying performances.

Remember, it’s best to choose the best bike for yourself according to your taste and preference! Did you find what you are looking for? Let me know in the comment section below!

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This article was crafted by Ryan Ross, a seasoned expert, bringing years of experience and knowledge about all types of bikes. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, reliable, and valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and enhance your biking experience.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Ryan Ross by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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