Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Dollars (Cheap But Worthy Choice)

Is there a feeling more exhilarating than jumping on a mountain bike and leaving the world behind? Not according to fans of the heart-racing, brain-challenging sport that screams "adventure" - adventure that can only be appreciated when one owns a bike engineered for thrills and fun. In this article, we are going some best mountain bikes under 500 so that you can still enjoy the adventure without spending too much. Let's start with some exciting mountain biking history.

Mountain bikes have been around longer than you think. Sports historians say they were invented by Buffalo Soldiers for off-road use in 1896, but lots of people knew nothing of them until they competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

These days, mountain biking has become even more exciting. Thanks to the rise of specialized competitions, some of which are hair-raising experiences. Consider the 400km "Yak Attack" challenge in the Himalayas or Norway's mind and body numbing 95km Birkebeinerrittet.

Happily, there are thrills to be had that don't involve dramatic destinations or high-profile competitions and you needn't sell the farm to afford a mountain bike any more. Start your search for the model of your dreams by perusing best mountain bikes under 500 we've gathered for your consideration.

What to expect from best mountain bikes under 500 dollars

Once upon a time, inexpensive mountain bikes were stripped down to bare bones to keep manufacturing costs low--until makers began to realize that a market for affordable cycles existed that hadn't been tapped over the years. 

Your search for a mountain bike that fits your budget isn't mission impossible these days. While you may not find yourself in a position to buy a ride that's loaded with extras and features a carbon-fiber frame, that doesn't mean you can't get quality construction and performance. 

Bike Features available

Today's grades of aluminum have become so formidable--while maintaining the lightness every mountain biker craves--buying an all-aluminum bike no longer means you're settling for less quality.

Look for a wheel that's around 27.5 inches, as many shifting speeds as price allows, both front and rear braking systems, shock absorbing suspension systems and component brand names known throughout the industry (e.g., Shimano; Suntour; Tektro Novela). 

Finally, reputation matters. Companies known to put their inexpensive cycles through quality control processes that are as thorough as vetting done on high-priced models are ones you can count on for years of enjoyment.

Reviews of 5 Best Mountain Bikes that Cost Under $500

Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

 Quick Details

Frame: Aluminum

Speed: 24 (3X8)

Suspension: Fork (80mm Travel)

Wheel Size: 27.5"

Brake: Mechanical Disc

Quick Overview

Kermit the Frog was wrong. It's easy being green if you put your money on this affordable Overdrive ST Hardtail mountain bike. Sleek, sporty and sized to fit athletes ranging in size from 5-feet to 6-feet; 4-inches, this bike features a butted aluminum frame, Shimano drivetrain components, 27.5-inch wheels and SR Suntour XCT coil spring 80mm travel fork. 

Tear up trails employing 24 speeds, stopping on a dime when necessary thanks to awesome disc brakes and that coveted 3-inch Suntour suspension fork. 

Ultimate Control

Designed and engineered with speed and agility in mind, you can count on knobby tires to overcome almost every obstacle in your path, experiencing the ultimate in control as you become the master of your journey. 

85% Assembled

Like most of today's mountain bikes, the Diamondback Hardtail arrives just 85-percent assembled because it's a classic Ready Ride model: You take the 4 final steps that make this bike your own when you install the front wheel, seat and pedals. 

Amazing Customer Support

If the price hasn't already impressed you, Diamondback's fixation on quality and craftsmanship will. This company stands behind its quality of craftsmanship promise and you won't find cranky people if you have questions. Online video live chat, media aides and staffers who mountain bike stand ready to give you true customer service. 

 Pros

  • Comes with 85% Assembled
  • Great customer support
  • Great disc brakes with 160 mm rotor on both wheels
  • plus-circle
    Best bike for the money

 Cons

  • Need to replace some component for best performance
  • Seat and saddle are not very good
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

 Quick Details

Frame: Aluminum

Speed: 24 (3X8)

Suspension: Full Suspension

Wheel Size: 27.5"

Brake: Mechanical Disc and pull

Quick Overview

Weighing in at 43-pounds, this bright red Schwinn Protocol is a company standard-bearer, fabricated of aluminum and featuring a full suspension frame with front suspension fork. Light yet strong, this Schwinn frame sits above beefy mountain tires that are ultra-responsive to front disc and rear alloy V-brakes made by Promax. 

The 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters and rear derailleur support even the most adventurous gear shifters, so when Schwinn urges you find your wild side, it is a good idea to take the company up on its' invitation.

Affordable & Quality Bike 

What will the Schwinn Protocol do for your spirit? Take it higher than ever since the price of this bike won't require you to liquidate your bank account and even novices are assured of an easy-to-build experience since the bike is 7/8th assembled when it arrives on your doorstep.

Schwinn says that this mountain bike does not take its name for granted, so if your goal is checking out every mountain in your vicinity, you can do that with the confidence of knowing that three-piece cranks and those hefty tires with double-walled alloy rims will get you home safely. 

Slightly smaller than the 27.5-inch Diamondback profiled above, you can't order this by size, but with a brand name that has been around long enough to be called iconic, you can count on the Schwinn warranty to have your back during your first year of ownership. 

 Pros

  • Dual suspension gives more comfort
  • Comes with fantastic trigger shifters
  • Great choice for entry level mountain biker
  • plus-circle
    Comes with easy to follow instruction manual for assembling

 Cons

  • The brakes are little inconsistent
  • Seat and saddle are not very good
  • minus-circle
    It's a heavy bike compare to other MTBs
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

 Quick Details

Frame: Aluminum

Speed: 24 (3X8)

Suspension: Dual/Full

Wheel Size: 26"

Brake: Mechanical Disc

Quick Overview

The Gravity FSX 1.0 is all about choices. It comes in 5 color choices, one of which is likely to suit your personality, and 4 choices of bike sizes that range between 15- and 21-inches. 

This mountain bike checks all the right boxes. It comes with Shimano shifters and adjustable front and rear suspension. The aluminum frame is as tough as the front and rear disc brakes that come standard with this ride. 

The Gravity FSX not only has quick-release wheels on the bike's front and rear but they are bolstered by double-wall rims. Use the thumb and finger shifters to control the action and expect the ride of your life.

Made With Quality Parts

Do brand names give you confidence? Prepare to be impressed. This bike features Tektro Novela disc brakes; Shimano front and rear derailleurs; Suntour triple crankset and adjustable shocks that result in a safe, comfortable ride.

Even the instructions to put this bike together are easy thanks to YouTube videos known to turn guys who cannot differentiate between wrenches into bike builders extraordinaire. As a matter of fact, this is the bike you buy for your kid if he or she is ready to join you on your adventures.

And remember, you do not have to be a lemming when it comes to color. The Gravity FSX 1.0 comes in black, grey, red, white and yellow. Choose that cool yellow and we can promise that you won't see yourself coming and going next time you hit the trail.

 Pros

  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • Suspension systems are smooth
  • Comes with quick release wheels
  • plus-circle
    Excellent choice for entry level mountain biker

 Cons

  • Assembling instruction is a bit. You might need expert's help
  • Tires are not very good compared to other parts
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

 Quick Details

Frame: Aluminum

Speed: 24 (3X8)

Suspension: Fork (75mm Travel)

Wheel Size: 27.5"

Brake: Mechanical Disc

Women Specific Design

Girls just want to have fun and these days, they want that fun to include the ruts, obstacles and terrain changes that await adventurers on mountains and trails. Your physiology determines fit: Order it in one of five sizes, from XS to L, to suit women between 5- and 6-feet tall. 

What is there about this particular mountain bike that women love best? The engineering. Women's anatomy is unique, the reason the first designers created two different bike silhouettes. These days, designers have taken the mission of creating gear for women seriously. This is no longer only your father's sport. 

Go To Mountain Biking Features

At 30.9 pounds and crafted of all-aluminum, the Eva 3 is a favorite of women intrigued by the idea of mountain biking, but who are smart enough to know that they could suffer buyers regret if they spend too much. That won't happen to women thanks to the Eva's affordable price tag and the ease with which it's put together.

Nothing has been spared in Raleigh's quest to engineer a mountain bike every enthusiast will be delighted to own. From the removable/replaceable rear derailleur hanger, quick-release skewers to rapid-fire shifters, quality is packed into every feature, yet affordability sells this product every time. 

Eminently up-gradable, women can dress this bike up and down to customize her ride. Look out, dudes. The women are coming. And they'll be riding the Raleigh Eva 3 when they do. 

 Pros

  • Light Bike with fast riding features
  • Great customer support
  • Comes 85% assembled
  • plus-circle
    Best bike for the money

 Cons

  • Comes with no kickstand
  • Seat is  a bit hard
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

 Quick Details

Frame: Aluminum

Speed: 7

Suspension: No

Wheel Size: 26"

Brake: Mechanical Disc

Quick Overview

Will you spot many women riding a GMC Yukon Fat Bike in light of the fact that "fat" is not a work taken lightly by the fairer sex? The answer is a resounding yes. 

Designed as the quintessential unisex bike and featuring those signature tires, this recreational workhorse features an 18-inch aluminum frame, 7-speed Shimano Rear Derailleur and Shifter, 26x4 inch tires and a decided attitude. 

At 43.9 pounds, this mountain bike holds its own against competitors, but since the style is unique, it's not going to be loved by everyone. 

Trendy Bike With Quality Parts

That stated, fat mountain bikes have become so trendy in certain parts of the U.S., they sell like crazy. Picture this: the folks in Homer, Alaska have named March "Fat Bike Beach Month," inviting owners to a "kick-ass fat-bike party." Buy this bike and consider yourself invited.

Of course, the most prominent feature of this GMC Yukon are those chubby tires measuring 26-x 4-inches and mounted on 4-inch-wide aluminum rims. Plunder the most extreme circumstances on the seat of this tough bike which never met steep, dirt-covered territory it couldn't conquer or deep snow that gives riders license to shift their brains out. 

Here's the best reason of all to get your fat bike fix via this GMC Yukon: You can buy this mountain bike and still have enough cash left in your jeans to buy gas to get you to Homer where you'll be treated like family. 

 Pros

  • Comes with lightweight aluminum frame
  • Special bike for biking on snow and dirt
  • plus-circle
    Best bike for the money

 Cons

  • Assembling instructions are too generic and hard to follow
  • Gears might need adjustments

Our #1 Recommendation

​Finally, we have completed our listed 5 reviews. By considering all reviewing categories, our #1 recommendation goes to Diamondback Overdrive ST Hardtail Mountain Bike. You can buy it here.

Reviewed Bike's Brand Comparison

The Eva is obviously for women. Since it's the only mountain bike in the bunch to be craft just for females, it stands on its own for obvious reasons. The GMC Yukon may be sold as a unisex bike, but it appeals to the distinct fat bike crowd, which puts it into a class of its own. Fat bikes are trendy. That makes this affordable one sweeter.

And while brand preference may win over Raleigh and Schwinn fans, their features and benefits make them twin sons of different mothers. In fact, you couldn't make a bad decision if you pick one over the other.

On the badness scale, the Diamondback has earned a reputation among fearless mountain bikers, so if it's your desire to put fear into the hearts of others, try this one on for size before making your final decision.

Wrapping Up

When reviewing mountain bike recommendations under 500, it's almost impossible to avoid similarities because manufacturers follow trends. In the case of these five brands, all of them are crafted of aluminum and share similar systems, so we took the challenge to find each bike's unique profile beyond a shared price limit.

About the Author James Pearson

Thanks for visiting RiseBiker.com. I am James D. Pearson, the man behind this website. I love to share my biking experience with you all with the bike and its accessories reviews, buying guides and awesome biking resources.