The first mistake a lot of beginners make when they start mountain biking is dropping a ton of money on a bike they do not know how to ride. Either that or they spend way too little and get a piece of junk that dissuades them from ever biking again. The key is to find the happy medium in between. You want a bike that you can learn on, and then eventually move on to a more advanced model.
The good news is that there are plenty of great brands you can choose from out there. But how do you decide which one is right for you? Luckily, we have got you covered. In this list, we rate these brands to find the best mountain bike under 500 dollars. But first, let us take a closer look at exactly how we measure the bikes on this list.
How Do We Rate the Mountain Bikes on this List?
We rate the mountain bikes on this list by looking at three distinct areas. Specifically, we look at the mountain bike brand’s performance, durability and overall price. For each of these areas, we ask a series of question that helps us determine where the product excels and where it needs improvement. We then rank the bikes on the list by assigning them a score out of five stars. Here are some of the questions we ask when rating the mountain bikes:
How Do We Rate the Mountain Bikes on this List?
Here are the eight mountain bikes we chose for this list, ranked from best to worst. Because of the price limitation, most of these bikes are cross country bikes, which can handle rough terrain, but should remain off some of the more difficult slopes.
Cannondale Catalyst 4 27.5 Bike
The Cannondale Catalyst 4 27.5 is an aluminum alloy framed mountain bike with a cross country style. The wheels are 27.5 inches large, with the front wheel suspended. The bike has a two hundred fifty pound weight limit, so larger individuals should look for a different bike. It comes with twenty-one gears and weighs thirty-one pounds. We like this bike so much because the disc brakes give beginners a lot of control when they need it.
One complaint about the product is the derailleur will lose the chain sometimes. However, this is likely due to taking it on rough courses. We should be clear that this bike works best for beginners or people who are satisfied with smoother paths. This bike is ideal for smaller trails, and once you get your sea legs, you can keep the bike as a cross country option. As such we think it is the best mountain bike under 500 dollars.
Diamondback Bicycles Lux 27.5 St Women's Mountain Bike Small
If you are a woman and find the unisex bike sizes too large, then this Diamondback mountain bike is an excellent choice for you. They make the frame of the bike out of aluminum alloy, and it weighs around forty-one pounds. The 27.5-inch wheels provide stability whether you are taking the bike on a morning commute or a ride down the mountain. The motorcycle also includes an eight-speed shifter and derailleur and a fork suspension for improved impact control.
The bicycle costs around three hundred and seventy-five dollars. While you might not be able to win any speed races, you will be able to navigate trails with an adept piece of hardware. You might need to change the chain after a while, but considering the low cost, you should expect this maintenance. For the price offered, Diamondback presents one of the best values on this list. Unfortunately, men will not get to take advantage of this offer.
Mongoose Men's Malus Fat Tire Bicycle
The fat, four-inch tires of the Mongoose bicycle are almost instantly recognizable. The stylishly different design of the bike usually draws a lot of compliments. However, these wheels are not just for looking; they also help the product cross all types of terrain — from the sand of beaches to the small rocks on trails.
The Mongoose features a seven gear speeds and three-piece crank set. The seat, brake system, and tires on the bike are fantastic — you could not ask for better product. And considering the bike only costs three hundred and twenty dollars, the bike remains an excellent value for beginners. However, the bike is not perfect. The gear often shifts randomly when in use and the frame does not include any shock absorbers, so you are in for a bumpy ride with the bike.
Merax Finiss 26" Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike
The Merax company presents another affordable classic with the Finiss mountain bike. The twenty-speed, aluminum frame vehicle offers a right amount of control and maneuverability of steep slopes. The wheels are twenty-six inches big and come with both front and rear brake kits. A suspension fork takes impact away from the front tire a distribute it to the rest of the bike.
However, you probably should not expect the suspension fork — or any other part of the bike — to last all that long. Since this bike is a cheap option on this list, costing only two hundred sixty dollars, it stands to reason that Merax would cut corners regarding product quality. Many customers reported parts of the bike breaking at random intervals. However, if you do not mind taking the bike into your local repair shop, the staff there should be willing to help you. Considering the money you saved purchasing it, you should be able to allocate some fund into repairing it.
Murtisol Mountain Bike 27.5’’ Hybrid Bicycle 21 Speed
The Murtisol twenty-one-speed mountain bike, coming in at an incredibly low price one hundred and thirty-five dollars, remains the most affordable option on this list. While this bike is by no means the best at anything, it does provide the potentially skeptical buyer a great way to dip their feet into the water. Most everything at least ticks off a ‘good enough’ checklist, but the quality of the material is so bad that there is a good chance something will break during shipping.
This fragile quality gives you a good indication of how mass produced a lot of the products are. Brakes come misaligned, handlebars dented — minor things, but annoyances nonetheless. However, if you do mind putting in a little tender love and care and money, then you can fix the Murtisol up into a smooth riding comfort bike.
Giant ATX 2 Mountain Bike
The Giant ATX 2 is one of the new reiterations of the Giant cross country bicycle. The product features flat handlebars as well as a one hundred meter suspension rig. Though the bike does cost more than a lot of the bikes on this list — around four hundred and seventy-five dollars — it comes with a dramatic improvement in quality. The company ATX has always produced fairly reliable bikes that can handle tough courses even in bad weather like rain or snow.
While this bike is a good bang for its buck, you might find that it is a little too complicated to maintain. There are a lot of moving parts on the bicycle that will require an ever vigilant watch. As such we do not recommend it for beginners who have never been mountain biking before, or bikers who have no interest in personal maintenance of their possessions. Other users reported that the lack of adjustable handlebars was an issue. If you only want to get one bicycle, instead of upgrading later on, then we think the ATX 2 would probably be the best choice for you.
Mongoose R2780 Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch)
Though the Mongoose R2780 does not share the same fat tire feature as the other Mongoose product on this list, it does come with a bit a price reduction. One book only costs two hundred and fifty dollars instead of three hundred and twenty dollars. Large, twenty-nine-inch tires connect to an SRAM twist shift gear.
However, keep in mind that this bike suites individuals who are between the heights of five foot nine and five foot eleven. Anyone who is not this height might have trouble getting comfortable on the bike. People also complain that the pedal on the bicycle rests at an awkward position that whacks against the side of your leg. With that said there did not appear to be any complaints with the material itself that they used — merely the design.
Schwinn Bonafied Mountain Bike, 29-Inch Wheels, Matte Black
A suspension fork supports the slender aluminum frame of the Schwinn Bonafied mountain bike. The simple click shift system makes it easy to change from one of the twenty-four speeds to another. The brake system also works very well. The large twenty-nine-inch wheels do a great job at absorbing any shocks or blows that occur on the bike when it is going downhill. All together the Schwinn Bonafied mountain bike usually costs around three hundred and sixty-five dollars.
Unfortunately, everyone recommends purchasing the bike assembled which costs an extra ninety dollars. If you do not, then you should expect some pieces to go missing during delivery. This circumstance happened to numerous customers, so you will probably have to drive around town searching for a seller. As such, the Schwinn Bonafied ranks relatively low on our list, since we believe you should at the very least get everything you paid for when shopping.
Mountain Bike Beginner’s Guide
If you are looking for a mountain bike that is under five hundred dollars, then odds are you are just getting started with the hobby. Hopefully one of the bikes on this list appeals to you. But now that you know what bike you want to let us take a look at some helpful tips for anyone going mountain biking for the first time. Mountain biking is not like regular biking — mainly if you ride on more old trails. As such, it is pertinent to know a thing or two in advance. That way you can avoid as many sharp falls as possible.
On Steep, Inclines Look as Far Down the Trail as You Can
When you find yourself gaining speed as you go down a mountain, try to keep your eyes peeled ahead where you want to go, instead of directly in front of you. When you look right in front of you, you might get distracted by a root, rock or obstacle of some sort. This maneuver might cause you to brake and the next thing you know you crashed the bike. By look ahead, you can keep your peripheral vision open which will allow you to see objects both in front and behind you.
Lay Off the Brakes
One of the biggest temptations for newcomers is slamming on the brings when you can too much speed. But in mountain biking speed is the name of the game. AS such you should only adjust your gear when you come around corners. After that, lean into it and gain speed. If you do need to use your brake quickly, then use the right one over the left one. The left brake will cause your bike to topple over, while the right one will only make your skin — if you are lucky.
Know How to Repair Your Bike in Case of Emergency
You do not want to be stuck clueless next to a broken bike in the middle of nowhere. Knowing basic repair skills like changing a tire or replacing a broken change can mean the difference between a minor set back and a ruined biking day. Luckily, there are plenty of good Youtube tutorials you can watch to learn these repair skills. Or, visit your local biking shop — if the employees are friendly they should not mind teaching you a thing or two.
Use All of the Gears on Your Mountain Bike When You Go Down Hills
While it might seem hard anticipating when the perfect time to change gears is — especially when you are flying down a hill — learning to do so will significantly improve the performance of your bike. Instead of keeping your equipment set on number during uphills and another during downhills, change it while you ascend or descend. Doing so will preserve your natural momentum and allow you to travel faster.
Carry Cash and Other Essentials
You never know what can happen on mountain trails. As such you should prefer for the worst. Whether it is something inconvenient, like forgetting lunch, or major like mechanic repairs, you will want to keep some extra cash on you just in case. Lots of mom and pop shops along the way may very well not accept credit card transactions. You should also bring along a spare tire, a pump, and a primary multi-tool device. Crashes can occur anytime while mountain biking, which means you never know when your bike is going to take a beating as well.
As you can probably tell, mountain biking is an exhilarating and thrill-seeking hobby. It is also a dangerous one. As such we recommend you get all the safety gear you can: helmets knee and elbow pad at the very least. Even experienced riders can make mistakes and collapse over their bikes. As such, it never hurt being a little cautious. Just make sure that you remain safe when driving your bike.
We hope this article helped you find the best mountain bike under 500 dollars. Choosing the best selection for yourself is no easy choice. Luckily, there are lots of good options on here — you honestly cannot go wrong. Some bikes are better values than others, but they all remain pretty dependable beginner bikes. Make sure you stay safe when biking and have fun!