Updated on

There is no doubt you can spend bundles of cash buying the sweetest looking mountain bike available… but do you need to spend your life savings just to get a bike that can ride trials and make you holler from joy? No way!

There are plenty of quality mountain bikes out there that are just a fraction of the price, you just have to know where to look. But don’t worry, we have done the hard work for you and found 10 – yes 10! Mountain bikes under $500 that are worth your hard earned cash. 

The Adventure Junkies MTB experts looked for bikes that would stand up to some proper mountain biking built with quality componentry. All of the bikes on the list below are outfitted with decent tires and are manufactured by reputable brands. Just like you, we love to ride, so we selected bikes we would be happy to throw a leg over and hit the trails on.

For more of our top mountain biking gear recommendations, check out Best Mountain Bikes for Beginners.

LOOKING​​​​ FOR A GIFT FOR A

FELLOW BIKER?

Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your biking friends.
From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

  1. Mongoose Malus
  2. Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1W
  3. Raleigh Talus 2
  4. Cannondale Trail 8
  5. Schwinn Bonafide
  6. Diamondback Overdrive 27.5
  7. Cannondale Tango 6 Womens
  8. Orbea MX60 29”

 

 

Comparison Table - Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

PictureNameFrame MaterialWheel SizeSuspensionPurposePriceRating
Mongoose MalusSteel26”RigidEasy Trails, Snow And Sand Riding$4.0
Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1WCo-Op Cycles DRT 1.1WAluminum27.5”HardtailCross Country$$$4.8
Raleigh Talus 2Aluminum29”HardtailCross Country$$4.1
Cannondale Trail 8Cannondale Trail 8Aluminum27.5” And 29”HardtailCross Country$4.8
Schwinn BonafideAluminum29”HardtailCross Country$3.8
Orbea MX 60Orbea MX 60Aluminum27.5”HardtailCross Country$$$4.7
Diamondback Overdrive 27.5Aluminum27.5”HardtailCross Country$$$4.1
Cannondale Tango 6 WomensAluminum27.5” And 29”HardtailCross Country$$$4.6
Orbea MX60 29Orbea MX60 29”Aluminum29”HardtailCross Country$$$4.7
PictureNameFrame MaterialWheel SizeSuspensionPurposePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Mongoose Malus

Specs
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Wheel Size: 26”
  • Suspension: Rigid
  • Drivetrain: 1 x 7
  • Purpose: Easy Trails, Snow And Sand Riding
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Fat Tires For Added Traction
  • Simple Gearing For Easier Maintenance
  • Disc Brakes For Powerful Stopping

BEST FOR: SAND AND SNOW RIDING

The Mongoose Fat Tire Bike earns its name from its extra wide tires. These tires offer additional grip and traction which makes it the perfect bike for riding on loose surfaces like sand and snow. But don’t be fooled – this bike is still plenty of fun for getting dusty and dirty on some easy mountain bike trails too. This inexpensive bike is fitted with disc brakes for excellent stopping power and a simple 7 speed gear system that makes it low maintenance. This is a rigid designed bike, meaning it has no suspension. However, those fat tires also help soak up the bumps on the trails so you’ll still have a smooth ride.

Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1W

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 8
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Features
  • Women’s Specific Design
  • Shimano Drivetrain For Smooth Shifting
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes For Superior Stopping Ability
Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1W

BEST FOR: BEGINNER WOMEN MOUNTAIN BIKERS

The Co-Op Cycles DRT 1.1W is an excellent women’s specific bike and perfect for starting out on the trails. Designed to fit a woman’s body including narrower handlebars, women’s specific saddle, and a more compact frame design, it’s a well thought out mountain bike. Kitted out with everything you need in a bike including a sturdy aluminium frame, high quality components such as hydraulic disc brakes for strong stopping power and a good selection of gears to make climbing hills easier. Yet this bike has nothing over the top to make it too extravagant for a first-time mountain biker. You’ll love hitting the trails on this affordable women’s bike!

Raleigh Talus 2

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 7
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • 100mm Front Suspension To Smooth The Ride Feel
  • Trail Geometry For Technical Riding
  • Good Selection Of Gears For Easier Climbing

BEST FOR: ENTRY LEVEL HARDTAIL FOR TECHNICAL TRAILS

Just because you are buying a mountain bike under $500 doesn’t mean you can’t get a bike that is suited to riding proper mountain biking trails. The Raleigh Talus 2 has front suspension with 100mm of travel to help smooth the ride feel and a sturdy aluminium frame that has been designed with a trail geometry to make it feel agile and fun on technical trails. It has a good selection of gearing for riding up hills and disc brakes for excellent stopping power when riding down hills. Fitted with strong wide wheels and grippy tires, it will inspire confidence on your next trail ride.

Cannondale Trail 8

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5” And 29”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3x7
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Wheel Size Specific To Frame Size
  • Stiff Yet Responsive Aluminum Frame
  • Wide Handlebars For Better Control
Cannondale Trail 8

BEST FOR: BLING ON A BUDGET

If you like nice things but your budget just isn’t stretching to afford a high end bike, then you need to check out the new Cannondale Trail 8. This all black mountain bike looks super slick and looks like it is worth a lot more than the price tag. Plus the features don’t hold back so you’ll have everything you need for all your on-trail and off-road adventures!

This bike is beautifully designed with a strong aluminium frame, wide handlebars for better control, a slack fork angle for on-trail responsiveness, and high quality components. Cannondale has also tailored the wheel size to the frame size for best fit, no matter whether you ride a small or a large bike. This bike has all the features you could possibly want from an entry level mountain bike.

Schwinn Bonafide

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 8
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Features
  • Durable Drivetrain For Lower Maintenance
  • Front Suspension To Smooth The Ride Feel
  • Large Wheel Size For Better Traction

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS ON A BUDGET 

This entry level mountain bike is perfect for those looking to hit the dirt for the first time without handing over bundles of cash. With this bike, you’re going to get a feel for riding and understanding of mountain bikes. Plus, you’ll be able to work out what you do and don’t like about a bike before perhaps upgrading. 

The Schwinn Bonafide Mountain bike is manufactured from a strong aluminium and built with durable components. It even has disc brakes for quick and safe stopping. It will be able to take a bit of a beating out on the trails as you learn the limits of riding mountain bikes. You’ll have plenty of fun learning the ropes on this bike!

Orbea MX 60

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 7
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Features
  • Disc Brakes For Superior Stopping Power
  • Sleek And Lightweight Design
  • Ultra Wide Range Of Gears For Climbing Hills
Orbea MX 60

BEST FOR: GOOD VALUE TRAIL READY HARDTAIL

The Orbea MX60 is loaded with features that will have you hitting the trails with a smile on your face. The 3×7 Shimano drivetrain has an ultra wide selection of gearing that will help you tackle varying terrain, plus high quality disc brakes for safe stopping on steep descents. The 100mm front suspension is ample for soaking up bumps paired with strong wheels and quality tires that provide plenty of traction that will inspire confidence out on the trails. The frame is designed to be super strong where you need it while maintaining a light weight. The MX60 is a quality build with an aesthetic to match – you’ll look sharp shredding trails on this rig.

Diamondback Overdrive 27.5

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 8
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Large Range Of Gears For Easy Climbing
  • Budget Friendly Cross Country Bike
  • Wide Bars For On-Trail Control

BEST FOR: BASIC CROSS COUNTRY RIDING

Using their lightweight aluminium Overdrive frame, Diamondback paired this lightweight framed bike with budget friendly components to make a trail bike that won’t break the bank. It comes equipped with powerful disc brakes for maximum stopping power, a plush 100mm of front suspension for smoothing out rough trails, and plenty of gears to help you tackle steep terrain. Fitted with wide knobby tires to grip rocks and roots and extra wide handlebars, it will inspire confidence and keep you in control as you explore the trail. This is a really solid starter mountain bike and one that won’t disappoint.

Cannondale Tango 6 Womens

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5” And 29”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 2 x 9
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Women’s Specific Geometry
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes For Superior Stopping Ability
  • Durable Aluminium Frame

BEST FOR: WOMEN WHO SHRED

When you can buy a women’s specific bike like this for under $500, you know you’ve found a winner. The Cannondale Tango 6 is perfect for first time riders through to those ready for maximum adventure. This is the kind of bike that you won’t outskill too quickly.

This cross country hardtail bike is designed with women’s specific and trail specific geometry. It has wide handlebars and short chainstays that help to deliver an agile yet stable platform that will have you ripping trails with confidence. Kitted out with a high quality drivetrain that has plenty of gears and 100mm of front suspension for smoothing out bumps, you would be hard pressed to be disappointed with this bike.

Orbea MX60 29”

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Suspension: Hardtail
  • Drivetrain: 3 x 7
  • Purpose: Cross Country
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Features
  • Wide Bars For On-Trail Control
  • Shimano Drivetrain For Smooth Shifting
  • Stiff Yet Responsive Aluminum Frame
Orbea MX60 29

BEST FOR: CROSS COUNTRY RIDING

The Orbea MX60 29” is the big brother of the Orbea MX60 27.5” that was reviewed above – the same excellent bike, with the same excellent range of features. So what makes it different? The larger wheel size – this bike features 29” wheels.

This cross country hardtail is perfect for those riders who tend to ride softer trails faster as these wheels hold speed and help you move faster through the challenging terrain. It’s also suited to taller riders as the overall geometry of the bike is taller and slightly longer.

Orbea built a quality set of bikes with the 27.5” and the 29” wheels sizes. These two are both worth checking out, especially considering their very affordable price tags!

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A MOUNTAIN BIKE UNDER $500

WHERE AND HOW YOU RIDE

Choosing a mountain bike that is suitable for where and how you plan on riding is essential to ensure you enjoy riding every time you go out. Most entry level mountain bikes are suited to trail riding and cross country mountain biking, as described below. The manufacturing methods, build quality, componentry and suspension is specific to this style of riding. If you plan on riding big jumps, drop offs, or gnarly downhill then it is best to select a bike that suits these conditions and will most likely involve a higher price tag.

 

RIDE STYLE

Trail Riding is a less technical style of riding. It can include gravel roads and wide open trails. The climbs and descents are generally easier and not so steep. A hardtail (front suspension only) or rigid (no suspension) mountain bike is appropriate for this style of riding.

Cross Country Mountain Biking is a more technical and challenging style of riding. It typically involves steeper climbs and descents, and narrow trails – also known as singletrack. The terrain can be more technical and include rocks, roots and lots of corners. A hardtail (front suspension only) or rigid (no suspension) mountain bike is appropriate for this style of riding.

 

FRAME MATERIALS

Aluminum is the most common frame material. It is low cost and easy to use in manufacturing, meaning a lot of entry level and lower cost bikes are made from this material. It is lightweight yet strong.

Steel is less commonly used as it is more expensive to use in manufacturing. It is very strong and has excellent flexible properties.

 

SUSPENSION

Most mountain bikes use mechanical shock absorbers in the front of the bike. Higher end bikes and those suited for more rough terrain will also have suspension in the rear of the bike. Suspension smooths out the ride and allows greater comfort and control on rough terrain. 

Rigid bikes have no suspension.

Hardtail bikes have suspension on the front only.

Full Suspension bikes have suspension at the front and rear. None of the bikes listed here are full suspension as these typically have a higher cost.

 

WHEEL SIZE

Deciding which mountain bike wheel size is right for you is important for ensuring that your mountain bike suits all your riding needs. Read on to learn about which wheel size is appropriate for which type of riding:

29” Wheels are excellent for holding speed and rolling over obstacles. Cross-country bikes are most commonly designed with this wheel size. Taller riders also suit this wheel size best.

27.5” Wheels are more nimble and suited to tight, technical terrain that requires fast maneuvering. Trail bikes are most commonly designed with this wheel size. Shorter riders also tend to prefer this wheel size.

26” Wheels are not as common, but they reduce the overall height and length of a bike, making it easier to control. These bikes are typically suited to very short riders.

Fat Tires are most commonly found on 27.5” wheels. Fat tires are larger than normal tires and can be run at lower pressures. They absorb shock and grip the trail, but are heavier than a standard tire.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

TRAVEL

“Travel” refers to how far the suspension will travel while you ride; if a mountain bike has 100mm of travel, then the suspension will compress 100mm. The more travel suspension, the plusher the ride will feel and the more suited the bike is for rough terrain. Read more about how much travel you need for your style of riding here.

 

DRIVETRAIN

Refers to the mechanisms which aid in the bike moving forward. This includes: the crankset (the thing the pedals are attached to); the chain that transfers the power between the crankset and the rear wheel; and the cassette (a set of cogs), which is also simply known as the gears that are attached to the rear wheel.

 

DISC BRAKES

These are a style of mountain bike brake. Most modern mountain bikes are equipped with disc brakes as they offer quick and even stopping power.  The caliper – which works like a clamp – grips the metal rotor on the wheel to bring the bike to a quick stop. 

Mechanical disc brakes use a cable that is connected between the brake lever and the disc brake. When the brake lever is pulled, it tightens the cable which forces the caliper to close on the rotor.

Hydraulic disc brakes use fluid to actuate the braking mechanism. Hydraulic brakes are the gold standard in brakes.

READ MORE

For more of our top mountain biking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

0 Shares
Tweet
Pin
Share
Email
Flip