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Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 – Review & How to Choose

Summer is a tempting season for bike enthusiasts since it’s the best time of the year for mountain biking. But are you a novice rider looking for your very first mountain bike within a price under 500 dollar? You might not need a fancy expensive model if you get out only every so often. You can get a lot of quality options out there in the market without costing a fortune- so much so that you may get confused which one to buy!

From my personal experience, I’ll suggest you simply get a model with quality tires and sturdy frame with lightweight. My current MTB cost only around $450 and I enjoy my hilly rides to the fullest simply because the tires provide enough traction and the frame is sturdy enough to survive all the abuse along the way. Brakes are also very important to avoid accidents.

Check out our comprehensive reviews on the top 10 market-leading models and choose the best mountain bikes under 500 dollar that will satisfy your requirements. We also included a free buying guide so that you can make an informed buying decision.

Top Rated Mountain Bikes Under 500 : Comparison Chart

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Best Mountain Bike for Men Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike Check Price
Best Mountain Bike for Women Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike Check Price
Best Hardtail Bike Under 500 Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike Check Price
Best Full Suspension Bike Under 500 Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike Check Price
The Most Rigid Bike Under 500 Raleigh Bikes Talus 3 Raleigh Bikes Talus 3 Check Price
6th Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Men’s Mountain Bike Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Men’s Mountain Bike Check Price
7th Mongoose Status 2.2 Mountain Bike for Men and Women Mongoose Status 2.2 Mountain Bike for Men and Women Check Price
8th Merax Finiss 26″ 24-Speed Mountain Bike Merax Finiss 26″ 24-Speed Mountain Bike Check Price
9th Outroad 21 Speed 26 in Folding Mountain Bike Outroad 21 Speed 26 in Folding Mountain Bike Check Price
10th Merax FT323 Mountain Bike Merax FT323 Mountain Bike Check Price

Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Reviews

1 Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike ( Editor’s Choice For Men )

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for a fat tire bike for riding on snow, sand or any other obstacles, the Mongoose Dolomite can be the ultimate choice for you. It’s one of the most frequently reviewed mountain bikes on Amazon. Not only that it got positive ratings from the users, but we also loved the unique features of this amazing bike.

This bike is specially designed for male bikers. The best feature of this model is its robust 26 x 4″ fat tires. They provide you incredible stability on literally every surface! So you can have full control over this bike.

The high-tensile steel frame of this bike is aesthetically appealing and ensures superior performance as well. However, due to the steel material, this bike weighs around 48 pounds, which makes it heavier than most other mountain bikes within this price range.

The Dolomite offers you highly responsive seven gears. Though less than the Mongoose Impasse and Status 2.2 models, the Shimano shifters work incredibly well to go up and downhill and change the gears at any time. In fact, it went beyond our expectation- we were as satisfied with its performance as we were with the 24-speed models.

Furthermore, we loved the stopping power of its powerful dual mechanical disk brakes. During our test drive, we tried to stop the bike at the highest speed and it just stopped immediately without any bounce. So, you know you can rely on its braking system.

This is the only bike on our list that has no suspension. Having no suspension also means the maximum comfort. Moreover, you can easily assemble this bike by yourself by spending just an hour or two.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: High-tensile Steel
  • Weight: 48 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Tires: 26 x 4″ knobby
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 7
  • Suspension: None
  • Brake Type: Dual mechanical disc
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Good fat tires
  • Great stopping power
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Free kickstand
  • Durable frame
  • Excellent geometry
  • Easy to upgrade

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Uncomfortable tire smell

Final Verdict

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll love the incredible performance of the Mongoose Dolomite, especially on trails. The fat tires are definitely a show-stopper for us- it offers you aesthetic as well as functional benefit. Since this bike is a bit heavy, we’ll recommend this one for heavy male users.

2 Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike (Editor’s Choice For Women)

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

The Schwinn High Timber is specifically designed for women riders. This mountain bike is undoubtedly one of the best options in the market for the off-road biking enthusiasts with different wheel size options that allows you to ride over any type of terrain with an ease.

This bike comes with an extremely durable steel alloy frame. It’s also not much heavy compared to other steel mountain bikes. In fact, it’s pretty easy to handle. What’s more, the frame is supported by a front suspension fork that efficiently absorbs shock and reduces the road vibrations.

With a mountain bike, you definitely want to hit high speeds. This model ensures you a high and adjustable 21 speeds with Shimano rear derailleur. The drivetrain of this bike offers you even quicker gear change than the Mongoose models. Additionally, you’ll experience a seamless shifting with the high-quality SRAM shifters.

Its robust wheels come with four different sizes. For the perfect trail riding experience, we suggest that you choose 27.5 to 29 inches wheels.

We found this bike resilient and flexible when we took it out on the trails. We were particularly impressed with the superior braking power of its linear pull brakes. It’s highly reliable and ensures utmost safety-which is a huge concern for mountain biking.

The High Timber offers you a great comfort, starting from the riser handlebar to a quick-release saddle. You can have an athletic riding position, which we think is the most comfortable position for biking on trails. However, we weren’t impressed with the pedal quality. You may change them with some extra cost.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: Steel alloy
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 24/26/27.5/29-inches
  • Tires: 4″ knobby
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Front
  • Brake Type: Linear pull brakes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Easy maneuverability
  • Comfortable ride
  • Reduced road vibrations
  • Easy to assemble
  • Pre-drilled mounts
  • Easy height adjustment
  • Smooth gear shifting

Cons

  • Plastic pedals

Final Verdict

If you’re going to hit the trail for the very first time, the Schwinn High Timber is the safest choice for you. You’ll get an uncompromised performance without investing in a highly expensive model. With this Schwinn model, you’re promised to get stability, responsive handling, and smooth riding. You can also upgrade it whenever you wish!

3 Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike (Hardtail Bike Under 500)

Huffy Summit Ridge Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Huffy Summit Ridge has a classic look with an ergonomic design. Like other hardtail models, it’s more suitable for trails with more inclines and fewer bumps. It still works fantastic for off-roads compared to most other hardtail models in this price range.

One of the best selling points of this bike is its six available color options with great contrasts. You won’t get such a range of colors in the similar models. There are also a variety of sizes to find the best fit for you.

Your thirst for adventure can be satisfied with its wide 26″ x 1. 95″ knobby tires that provide the optimum traction and perfect stability. With the top-notch suspension fork, you feel comfortable even on rough and bumpy roads. It accelerates even quicker on smooth surfaces.

Additionally, the index shifting along with Shimano rear-derailleur provide a consistent performance at all times. We must say the 21-speed gear options worked incredibly well on different terrains. You can adjust the speed without any hassle, thanks to the removable derailleur guard.

Like all other Huffy models, the Summit Ridge comes with a sturdy steel frame. Besides, the ATB padded saddle with stitched sides is long-lasting. You can also adjust the seat height for your best comfort.

Moreover, the assembly of this bike is pretty easy. You can have it done by any professional bike mechanic, but we would suggest you watch the assembly tutorial video on Amazon to do it by yourself and save some extra cost.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 42.7 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Tires: 26 x 1. 95″ knobby
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Front
  • Brake Type: Linear pull brakes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Stylish outlook
  • Multiple color options
  • Easy assembly
  • Sturdy construction
  • Upright handlebar
  • Low price
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty on frame

Cons

  • Bike chain often comes off

Final Verdict

If you want a rough mountain bike that has both style and substance, the Huffy Summit Ridge is a brilliant choice for you. You also get a lifetime warranty on the frame. What’s more, it’s one of the cheapest options in the industry. Hence, it’s a great deal for you!

4 Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Northwoods Aluminum full suspension mountain bike is the cheapest model on our list, but it has some quality components that are surprisingly better than the models in the similar category. It’s a great choice for both men and women bikers.

It’s quite rare to find an expensive aluminum frame on a cheap model. Despite the low price, this bike comes with an aluminum frame. Moreover, it weighs only 36 pounds, which is lighter than the most market-leading high-end mountain bikes. You’ll find it very easy to maneuver due to the lightweight.

As the title itself suggests, this model comes with a full front and rear suspension system. It excellently absorbs the shocks on the roads and offers you a greater control on all terrains. We found the 50mm steel crown fork quite useful for balancing the performance.

Additionally, the steel triple crank makes the bike a rock solid animal. This model comes with alloy rims which help handling impacts and bumps better compared to steel rims.

Furthermore, these alloy rims ensure superb durability. With the twist shifters, you get 21 speed options to select the required speed for your terrain. Shifting and adjusting gears are also pretty smooth, thanks to our all-time favorite Shimano derailleurs.

From our own experience, we always found dual linear pull brakes super efficient in stopping smoothly at any speed and this bike was no exception. However, you should pay more attention when biking in muddy areas or during rainfall.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Full
  • Brake Type: Dual linear pull
  • Crank: Steel triple
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent brakes
  • Unisex design
  • 21-speed gears
  • Full suspension
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Not recommended for trick riding

Final Verdict

If you’re particularly looking for a full suspension bike, you can stop your search here. The Northwoods Aluminum bike helps you get the best bang out of your buck. It’s perfect for mountainous or rocky terrains. The unisex design is a plus!

5 Raleigh Bikes Talus 3

Raleigh Bikes Talus 3

The Talus 3 is one of the most popular bikes in Raleigh’s product line. It’s also one of the highest rated cost-effective mountain bikes on Amazon.

This bike comes with a solid 6061 aluminum frame that is extremely durable. It’s a bit heavy in weight but it also means that the bike can survive plenty of abuse. Besides, this is another bike with a great classy look after the Huffy Summit Ridge.

It features an upright geometry, which ensures max comfort during any ride. This geometry ensures smoother operation too. The seat angle ensures a comfy pedaling position. Moreover, with the alloy post, you can swap out the stock saddle quite easily.

The gearing is, we would say, beginners-friendly with 7-speed cassette pairing with 3-chainring crankset. The 21-speed works pretty fine on most terrains. In fact, you can use this versatile bike as a commuter and adventure touring bike too.

We were satisfied with its Suntour front suspension that reduced bouncing greatly on bumpy roads. Additionally, the hydraulic disk brakes also ensure your safety with a great stopping power.

The 27.5″ wheels work better than the common MTB with 26″ wheels. It was easier for us to ride on trails, thanks to the large wheels and tires. With the Kenda tires, you can rest assured to get superb traction and performance on any surface.

We would suggest you get professional assembly for this model since we found the assembly of this bike quite a complex and time-consuming job.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 27.5-inch
  • Tires: 27.5×2.25″
  • Rims: Double-wall alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Front
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Great stopping power
  • Easy to control
  • Comfortable saddle
  • Limited lifetime warranty on frame

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Difficult assembly

Final Verdict

If you are a biker having a height between 5′3″ to 6′ and looking for an extremely durable mountain bike without breaking the bank, the Raleigh Talus 3 is an excellent choice for you. This can be a great option especially for novice riders, given the comfort and versatility it offers. Overall, this model will meet your long-term needs while ensuring a great performance throughout.

6 Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Men’s Mountain Bike

Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Men's Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for a 29-inch entry-level mountain bike, the Mongoose Impasse is probably the best you can find in today’s market at an affordable price range. It offers some remarkable features that you can find in more expensive models.

Frame is the most important part of a mountain bike for its overall durability. This bike features an aluminum frame with a robust construction, so you don’t need to worry about its durability. Besides, you can handle this bike quite comfortably. It’s even lighter than the Mongoose Dolomite.

The best feature of this bike is its full suspension, which definitely provides you more comfort than single suspension. It comes handy especially when you ride downhill and go off so many jumps. You can take this bike out on paved roads as well as rough trails. We found its performance extremely satisfying on both even and even surfaces.

In addition, there is an adjustable rear-shock suspension with the frame that allows you to modify your ride according to the terrain.

Moreover, the 21-speed Shimano derailleur ensures easy gear-shifting. This derailleur provides you with more power, accuracy, and speed. Besides, the SRAM twist shifters give you a hassle-free gear changing experience.

If you’re more concerned about safety for mountain biking, you’ll be happy to know that this model features both front and rear disk brakes that enhance the stopping power to a great extent. These brakes let you have a full control over the bike and prevent bumping on any objects on the way. So, you can ride with confidence and enjoy every moment with the Impasse.

This model doesn’t feature any cage for carrying water bottles, which disappointed us a bit. However, you can upgrade it according to your preference.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 29-inch
  • Tires: 29 x 2. 35″
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Full
  • Brake Type: Alloy disc brakes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Sturdy Construction
  • Good stopping power
  • High-quality Shimano drivetrain
  • Free kickstand
  • Smooth shifting
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent shock absorbing power

Cons

  • No water bottle cage

7 Mongoose Status 2.2 Mountain Bike for Men and Women

Mongoose Status 2.2 Mountain Bike for Men and Women

This stylish Mongoose model is designed for both men and women. You can count on this bike for years since it comes with warranty on every part including wearable ones.

The Status 2.2 also has an aluminum frame like our previous Mongoose model. But it’s lighter than most other Mongoose mountain bikes. The frame makes it strong and durable enough to survive any terrain.

Additionally, it comes with a powerful suspension fork that smooth outs the bumps on the roads. The rear-shock mechanism also absorbs any vibrations on a harsh terrain or a rocky trail. Hence, you get to experience a smooth riding experience.

This model is also equipped with 21-speed levels like the other two Mongoose models on our list. We found the shifting totally similar like the other two, which was satisfying for us.

This bike has a strong and reliable braking system. With the V-brakes, you can safely stop the bike even during a high-speed ride. We found these brakes more efficient for downhill rides.

The Status 2.2 features a free wheel-hub that enables you to pedal backwards. The wheel is 26-inch, which is standard for riders of average height. The alloy wheel rim is also durable. Moreover, the 2.125-inch knobby tires provide you a great traction even in mud and dirt conditions.

We found very few drawbacks on this model. We thought the seat could be a bit softer to ensure more comfort. Also, there should have been mounts for water bottles. However, you have the option for upgrading the bike.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 41.4 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Tires: 26 x 2.125″
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Full
  • Brake Type: V-brakes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Adjustable height
  • Max comfort with full suspension
  • Stable wheels and knobby tires
  • Precise shifting
  • Wide speed range
  • Durable alloy rims
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • No water bottle mount
  • Seat feels a bit hard

Final Verdict

If you’re searching for an entry-level mountain bike from a popular brand with an affordable price tag, the Status 2.2 is something to seriously consider. You can use this bike for your everyday commuting purpose or any fun adventurous trip. So, you’re definitely getting some extra with this bike while keeping your pocket intact.

8 Merax Finiss 26″ 24-Speed Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss 26" 24-Speed Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss is one of the best mountain bikes in the industry, but the price tag makes it hard to believe. Though it comes at an affordable price, it’s equipped with a few high-end components.

This model has a heat-treat finish. Sturdy aluminum frame makes it lighter in weight, allowing you to handle the bike better. You don’t need to put extra effort to ride through hilly areas.

This bike doesn’t compromise with safety at all. There is a front suspension fork that absorbs road vibrations and makes your rides smooth even on bumpy roads. Moreover, the dual disk brakes work exceptionally well with ample stopping power. Thus, you get full control over the bike.

Your rides become even more effortless with its awesome gearing system. It gives you 24 speed options, which is the most among all our bikes on this list. You can easily adjust the speed according to the terrain and your riding needs.

In addition, the Shimano derailleurs along with the high-quality shifters make shifting smooth and easy. You can rely on these gears without any doubt.

We loved the knobby tires of this bike that not only provide great traction, but also ensures that you don’t require to change the tires often. What’s more, the alloy wheel rims of this model are made with high-grade magnesium to ensure durability.

This model is again one that requires professional assembly. Trying to assemble it by yourself can damage some parts, so it’s suggested that you only get it done by professionals.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Tires: 26 x 1.95″
  • Total Speeds: 24
  • Suspension: Front
  • Brake Type: Dual disk brakes
  • Weight capacity: 330 pounds
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Wide gear range
  • Smooth shifting
  • Superior stopping power
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Good weight capacity

Cons

  • Requires professional assembly
  • Plastic pedals

Final Verdict

The Merax Finiss doesn’t only perform well on off-roads, it gives you a comfortable and smooth ride on paved city streets as well. The classy color and the gearing system make it stand out among other bikes in this category. It’s a great choice for your weekend recreational biking.

This pocket-friendly product also comes with a solid warranty. Though it’s durable with a robust construction, you can relax knowing that it’s backed by warranty in case anything wrong happens!

9 Outroad 21 Speed 26 in Folding Mountain Bike

Outroad 21 Speed 26 in Folding Mountain Bike

The Outroad mountain bike proves that you don’t need to cost a fortune to get the best. Apart from its quality components and high performance, the folding design and portability make it unique among the rest.

The high carbon steel frame makes this bike extremely durable. Steel frames usually make bikes heavy but this bike is relatively light in weight. It also saves a lot of space. You can easily fit it in your car or any small space in your apartment.

Moreover, this model looks stylish with a great finish. The 26-inch wheels with six spokes makes it even more fashionable. Besides, this design has a positive impact on the safety and speed of the bike.

It offers you a decent 21-speed option that is great for the price. You can also change the gears with ease. The shifters provide versatility to use it on different road conditions.

Like most other mountain bikes, the Outroad also features quick-release seat clamps. Hence, you can have a comfortable riding position simply by adjusting the saddle’s height. However, this bike comes with only one size, which can be a bit uncomfortable for taller riders.

The thick-cushioned seat also provides you comfort during any extended ride. The anti-slip pedals is another great feature of this model. We found the overall geometry of the bike comfortable enough to cruise through rough trails.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: High Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Rims: 6-spoke
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Full
  • Brake Type: Dual disk brakes
  • Weight Capacity: 200 pounds
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Anti-slip pedals
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable seat
  • 21-speed gears
  • Good stopping power
  • Full suspension

Cons

  • Requires professional assembly
  • Comes in one size only

Final Verdict

If you live in a tiny apartment or if you need to travel frequently, the Outroad is a great space-saving and portable bike option for you. Moreover, it’s a great value for money with the performance it offers. And surely the outlook of this bike is eye-catching!

10 Merax FT323 Mountain Bike

Merax FT323 Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for a lightweight and comfortable mountain bike for outdoor adventures, the Merax FT323 can be a good option for you. You might fall in love instantly with the gorgeous outlook of this bike.

It weighs only 30 pounds, which is way less than the Merax Finiss model. If you need to carry this bike, you can easily do that. Moreover, it has a 6061 heat-treated alloy frame that makes it sturdy. You can easily handle rugged terrains without damaging the frame.

This bike offers you a firm and reliable braking system. Even when you ride on extremely challenging terrain in an adverse weather condition, this bike will stop immediately and safely as you brake it.

The FT323 is one of those efficient bikes that comes with a full dual suspension system. So, you can have full control over the bike even on rough and bumpy roads. Additionally, riders of all body sizes can enjoy riding on this bike since it has a weight capacity of 330 pounds.

We loved this bike’s saddle, which is ergonomically designed and well-cushioned. Impressively, this saddle is adjustable- you can raise or lower it according to your comfort. Also, we were satisfied with its 21-speed options. We had a seamless and smooth riding experience at different speeds on various terrains.

Furthermore, this bike comes 85% assembled. You just need to attach the pedals, handlebar, front wheel, and fill up the tires. The assembly is quite easy and should take only an hour.

Specifications

  • Frame Material: 6061 Heat-Treated Alloy
  • Weight: 30 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 26-inch
  • Tires: 26 x 1.95″
  • Total Speeds: 21
  • Suspension: Full
  • Brake Type: Linear pull brakes
  • Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
  • Drivetrain: Shimano

Pros

  • Stylish outlook
  • Lightweight
  • Great control with full suspension
  • Durable
  • Shimano gear components
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Could have a better seat

Final Verdict

The Merax FT323 can be a great choice for the beginners to meet all their riding needs. This bike will give you a safe, comfortable, and smooth ride on trails. From muddy trails to loose gravel, you can easily handle this lightweight and well-built model. All in all, this mid-ranged versatile bike can be a great partner for your camping and bike excursions.

Best Mountain Bikes Under 500: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

1. MTB Type

  • Cross-country bikes

These are also known as XC bikes. They are the most common types in this field and best for racing or crossing rough trails.

  • Fat bikes

These bikes with fat tires are most suitable for beginners. You can safely and comfortably run on rough terrains with such bikes.

  • Enduro bikes

This is an all-purpose mountain bike. It’s lightweight, which makes it easy to pedal through uphill and cross steep-climbs.

  • Downhill bikes

These are mostly used for racing and competition. You need to wear a full face helmet and full pads when you ride this bike.

  • Trail Bikes

If you need a mountain bike for local trails only, then these bikes are there to serve the purpose.

  • Dirt Jump Bikes

These mountain bikes are designed for dirt-jumps, skate parks, or pump-tracks. They are extremely tough and the only type that comes with 26-inch wheels.

  • Mountain E-Bikes

Mountain e-bikes have exploded in popularity in recent times. They come with both a motor and pedals, allowing you to switch between modes as per your convenience.

2. Suspension type

  • Front suspension

Mountain bikes with front suspensions are called hardtails. Due to having only front suspensions, they tend to be light in weight. You can easily pedal them but they aren’t as comfortable as a bike with full suspension.

  • Full suspension

Full suspension means your bike will have both front and rear suspension. They offer you extra comfort even on bumpy rides.

  • Rigid

Rigid means there is no suspension on front or back. You can rarely find these types. They are particularly designed for unpaved roads.

3. Build quality

Make sure your mountain bike has good quality suspension forks. With high-quality suspension forks, you might expect a higher price. But the suspension forks are extremely important for the reliability of your bike.

4. Bike Size

You’ll get various sizes of mountain bikes for various heights. You should choose the size according to your height, but also keep your comfort and weight in mind. Test ride should be the best solution for finding the perfect size.

5. Wheel Size

The available wheel sizes for mountain bikes are- 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. All mountain bikes in the past used to come with 26 inches wheels. Most common bikes use 27.5 inches wheels while 29 inches are the most modern ones. The former fits with fatter tires and the latter with narrower tires.

6. Brakes

The brakes are extremely important to cope with the speed. Hydraulic brakes work the best. It’s more powerful than a cable one. So we’ll recommend you choose a mountain bike with hydraulic brakes.

7. Tire Size & Rim Width

2.35-inch tires used to be considered standard before, but now it’s often 2.4-2.6 inches. Wider tires offer you more traction on the road. You can even get some plus-sized tires ranging from 2.8-4 inches.

A rim less than 25mm width is actually narrow for a rough terrain. Consider getting it within a range between 26-30mm. Remember, the rim should be wide enough to accommodate the tire.

8. Gears

Number of gears varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. You have options from single gear to 30 gears. Shimano is currently the best in the industry for designing brake levers and gears. It’s better to have more gears for steep surfaces.

9. Frame

You have to choose between an aluminum and carbon frame. Aluminum frames are cheaper but slightly heavier than carbon frames. Carbon frames also last longer. Choose the one which is good for your budget.

10. Fork & Rear Shock

It’s important to get quality suspension components. A higher-end rear shock and fork will adjust to your riding style and weight better.

11. Drivetrain

Drivetrains can have either one or two chainrings. Two chainrings means there will be shifters on both sides of the handlebars. One chairing is simpler and easier to shift. Most recent mountain bikes have drivetrains with one chainring.

12. Wheelset

Carefully choose your rim since it can alter the effectiveness of your tires. Wide rim along with wide tire result in plenty of traction.

13. Seatpost

We would recommend you to get a dropper seatpost. It’s a game changer. If your bike doesn’t offer one, you can get a dropper seatpost separately.

14. Adjustability

With better suspension, the adjustment will be wide ranging and simple. You’ll find some forks with a lock out option. You can turn off the suspension and close down the damper with this option.

15. Damping

Damping is the rate of your shock compression and return to the full length. If you have high-quality suspension forks, the damping won’t be too bouncy or harsh.

16. Budget

Since we are talking about mountain bikes that come at a price under 500 dollar, your budget can be between $200-$500. There are many quality mountain bikes at this range, so don’t think you’ve to compromise with the quality in this specific price range.

What Is a Mountain Bike Used For?

A mountain bike features beefy frame and knobby tires for strength and increased traction on off-road terrains. Mountain bikes are specifically designed for riding on trails, fire roads, unpaved roads or dirt-tracks. If you’re going to be doing plenty of off-road riding, you must get a mountain bike.

A mountain bike is too heavy for road-cycling or commuting. If you want a bike to perform on every terrain, you should look at the hybrid bikes. But if you want the most efficient performance from a bike on trails or mountainous terrain, you must opt for a mountain bike. Mountain bikes also offer you an upright riding position. So you’ll feel comfortable even when crossing a big bump.

Mountain Biking Safety Tips

Mountain biking is one of the most exciting sports for bike enthusiasts, but it can be quite dangerous too. You must take some safety precautions in order to save yourself from the risk of serious injuries. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here our expert team has prepared a list of safety tips for novice mountain bikers.

  • Always wear your helmet. It’s an absolutely no-brainer, but some bikers often ignore it. Make sure the helmet fits you well.
  • Get some gloves, the right shoes, and protective glasses. These are extremely important safety gears in case you hit the ground. Also, if the terrain is too rough, get some knee pads and padded shorts.
  • Just get off the bike and walk when you see challenging sections. Attempting such sections may lead to a disaster.
  • Keep a first aid kit.
  • Check the brakes and tires before every ride to make sure they function properly.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Make sure you have enough water with you, especially in summer.

Care & Maintenance

  • Clean every part of your mountain bike regularly. Use any basic cleaner such as a towel, a sponge, and a toothbrush. Don’t use strong jets, just use a mist or rain-like spray. After cleaning your seatpost, use some grease before you reinstall it.
  • It’s extremely important to make sure your brakes work fine. Make sure you inspect them before each ride. Use a flashlight to check the brake pads and replace them if there is too much wear.
  • Check if your wheels are properly tuned. Spin the wheels by elevating the bike. If you notice a wobbly rim, adjust it with a spoke-wrench. Replace the wheels if they are excessively damaged.
  • Inspect your drivetrain which includes the chain, pedals, derailleur, and the rear-wheel cassette. Check all these parts and replace any if necessary.
  • Check the tire pressure. It’s better to keep it between 30-45psi. Check your tire pressure by a digital gauge or floor pump. Also, check for any damage or wear.
  • Inspect the cables for rust, cracks, dirt, and looseness. Replace the cables every 2-5 years from a bike shop.
  • Most importantly, lubricate your bike chain evenly. Wipe off the excess oil with a dry rag. It makes sure your shifting is smooth.

It’s Time to Wrap Up

When choosing your mountain bike, it’s important to consider the frame material, wheel size, brake type and the geometry. All the products on this guide are selected considering these parameters to give you the most correct and useful information. As we only talked about the best mountain bikes under 500 dollar, we tried to make sure to include the top available options in the market within this budget.

If you’re searching for an entry-level MTB, we recommend you either the Mongoose Dolomite or Huffy Summit ridge. For women riders, we suggest the Schwinn High Timber and Mongoose Status 2.2 since they offer upright riding position and comfortable padded seat.

We advise you to avoid plastic components as they will easily get ruptured. Also, try to avoid too heavy frames that will make it difficult for you to handle the bike.

We hope you’ve got a clear idea now about mountain bikes and your specific needs. So, choose your dream mountain bike and get ready for an adventurous mountain ride!

FAQ

1. Why are there different wheel sizes available?

Ans: There are basically two wheel sizes available for mountain bikes- 27.5 and 29 inches. However, there is also a 26-inches wheel, which is rare to find in modern mountain bikes. 27.5-inches is the standard size while 29-inches is more efficient to roll over huge bumps. If the tire is fat, it’ll use a 27.5-inches wheel and if it’s narrow, it’ll use a 29-inches wheel.

2. How often should I service my mountain bike?

Ans: If you use your mountain bike regularly, we’ll suggest you service your bike after every six months. Otherwise, you can service your bike once a year.

3. Do I have to clean my mountain bike after every ride?

Ans: It’s always recommended that you clean your mountain bike after every ride, especially if you ride in the rain. Mud is the biggest enemy for your bike. Remember, if you don’t clean your bike regularly, it’ll get damaged quickly and you’ll not get the most out of your ride.

4. What are the risks of mountain biking?

Ans: Mountain biking can be quite a dangerous sport since there are huge risks of severe injuries. Remember your skill level and ride in control. Keep an eye on the trail and most importantly, avoid collision with other riders

5. What is the difference between a mountain bike and a regular bike?

Ans: A regular bike uses narrower tires without any lugs. Such tires provide enough control and grip on the pavement. On the other hand, mountain bikes are particularly designed for off-road terrains such as snow, mud, dirt, and gravel. They are strongly built with strong wheels and thick tires.

6. Is it bad to ride a mountain bike on the road?

Ans: It’s not bad, but a mountain bike might not go too fast on the road. As these bikes use knobby tires, there will be too much rolling-resistance on the pavement. It might slow you down, but it’s definitely not dangerous.

7. Do you burn more calories on a mountain bike or road bike?

Ans: Road biking is mostly a workout for your legs whereas your entire body is required for mountain biking. Also, a mountain bike has more rolling resistance. The weight of a mountain bike is heavier, so you tend to spend more energy to move it. So, it can be generally said that a mountain bike helps you burn more calories than a road bike.

About the author

Joshua Fernand

I’m a 38-year-old father of two and an avid adventurer with a history of road bike racing in the mountains. I’m also a member of the Mountain Top Cycling Club, Colorado. I took part in several cross country rides across the states with my cruiser bike.

Tell you what, each tour was over a thousand miles long and it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t studied bike mechanics. Most of the fixes required during my travel had to be fixed by myself. Cruiser became my favorite category since then.

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