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Best Mountain Bikes Under 500

We all want that powerful mountain bike that will let us blaze through trails and glide past rugged terrains like a pro.  However, us mere mortals must deal with this thing called budget, which often gets in the way. No worries though as we have here the best mountain bikes under 500.


Don’t let the price tag fool you. Just because they’re sold for less than 500 bucks doesn’t mean they’re no good. These are high quality mountain bikes are versatile and let you do all the cool stuff that riders do. If this is your first time to buy one of these, you may want to check out our buying guide.

MODEL
          FEATURES
Our Rating
Raleigh Bikes Talus 2 Mountain Bike



• SR Suntour Coil provides great absorption

• Wide wheels

• Shimano EZ shift shifters with 21 different gauges




4.5 out of 5

MINGDI Mountain Bike



• Front dual suspension

• 2 high-quality derailleurs (27-speed shifting)

• Carbon Steel Alloy Frame

• Free warranty




4.5 out of 5

New 2015 Diamondback Overdrive Complete Mountain Bike



• SR Suntour Fork

• Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes

• Aluminum Frame

• Shimano 8-speed drivetrain




4.2 out of 5

2018 Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike



• Front and rear disc brakes

• Very lightweight rims

• Easy to use shifters for beginners

• Comfortable saddle




4.0 out of 5

OPATER MTB Mountain Bike 26''



• Shimano Front and Rear Derailleurs

• High carbon steel frame

• Double disc brakes

• 24-speed shifting




4.0 out of 5

Diamondback Bicycles Sorrento Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike



• Aluminum frame

• Shimano EF Shifters

• SR Suntour Fork




4.0 out of 5

Buying Guide

Before you start to look for the best mountain bike under $500, here are the factors you should consider.


Mountain Bike Types

- Trail Bikes: this is the most widely used and good for a wide range of trails. For beginner and general mountain biking, this is an ideal choice.

- Cross Country: choose this bike if you will spend most of your time climbing.


- All Mountain Bikes: these bikes are for advanced riders and if you frequent steep and complex trails.


- Fat Bikes: this is a broad term used for any mountain bike that has large, wide wheels.  These are often used on rugged terrain.


Suspension Type

- Rigid: a rigid mountain bike does not have any suspension. These bikes are more affordable but it’s not very comfortable. These are more suited for advanced riders.


- Hardtail: these bikes only have suspension up front, none at the back. Hard tail suspension bikes are the preferred choice of cross country riders.


- Full Suspension: this is the most suitable for beginners and the most comfortable. If you’re new to mountain biking, a full suspension bike is preferable.


Wheels

-26 inches: this is the most common wheel size, and all major bike brands provide support for it.


- 27.5: this size is becoming more popular as it is somewhere between the regular 26 inches and the 29-inch wheels. These wheels are easier to maneuver than 29-inch wheels and roll over rough better than 26-inch tires.


-29 inches: these are the largest and take more time to accelerate. However, it is the most effective in rolling over rough terrain. These are also more suited for long bike rides on rough terrain.


Frame

The most common material is aluminum alloy as it combines durability and portability. Aluminum alloy is not the only option though, as lighter aluminum is now available for high end mountain bikes.


Other mountain bike frames are made of carbon fiber, titanium or steel. Steel is low cost and keeps your ride smooth, but it is heavy. Carbon fiber and titanium are also good, but they are not as common as aluminum alloy.


Disc Brakes

- Hydraulic: hydraulic disc brakes are powerful, easy to adjust and responsive.


- Mechanical: mechanical brakes are required manual adjusting.


Size

Mountain bikes come in different sizes, usually S, M, L and XL. Sizes are based on your height, and manufacturers often have charts to help you find the right one. Keep in mind that even if two mountain bikes are the same size, there may be a slight variation due to their design.


Always test the mountain bike first to determine how comfortable you will be. Whether you’re buying online or a brick and mortar store, there will be a refund that you can use if the bike does not fit.  



Now that you know what to look for, here’s a guide on how to ride a mountain bike.


Mountain Bikes Under 500 Reviews


 

The Talus 2 is an excellent mountain bike under 500, one that’s suited for rugged terrain as well as cross country. Available in different sizes, the Talus 2 is 85% assembled so you don’t need to start from scratch when putting it together.


The Talus 2 is also suitable for entry level cross country, and it is comfortable to ride even on dirty and bumpy terrain. The bike is also versatile, ideal for gravel, trails and for daily commuting as well. The bike doesn’t need a lot of adjustments, but it can be tweaked if necessary.


It has a 2.75” suspension fork, enabling it to absorb bumps and shocks even if the terrain is rugged. Apart from the suspension the seat also helps keep you steady. Of course, tires play a huge role in any bike, and the Talus 2 doesn’t disappoint. 2 inches wide and 27.5” inches in diameter, they allow the tire to roll over bumps and rocks.


The best MTB bikes under 500 should come with multiple gears and the Talus 2 does. It is equipped with Shimano EZ shift shifters for over 20 gear options. The handlebars are comfortable, and you have full control over the bike when you navigate. The Talus 2 doesn’t resist so you won’t trouble riding it on trails.


Since the bike is mostly assembled it shouldn’t take long to put the bike together. If you’ve got experience with bikes, you’ll have it assembled in 30 minutes or less. Fitting should not be a problem since the Talus 2 is available in various sizes. Fully assembled the bike weighs 30 lbs. so it’s easy to manage.


The bike is one of the most durable in its class. It is built primarily for light to medium terrain and beginners will love the handling. Even long-time riders will appreciate the design compared to other bikes.


The Talus 2 is a well-made mountain bike, comfortable and easy to assemble. You don’t need any special tools to put the bike together by the way as ordinary household tools will suffice. The tires are durable and take a lot of abuse. Changing gears is quick and the brakes are spot on.

Pros

  • Easy to adjust
  • Comes mostly assembled
  • Excellent suspension
  • Comfrotable seat

Cons

  • Convoluted return process
  • Front derailleur needs some adjustment

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Rating 4.5 Stars


If you’re searching for the best mountain bike under 500, thee MINGDI should be on your watchlist. This 24-speed bike is built with versatility in mind, as good for mountain biking as it is for commuting, cross country and leisure riding.


The bike comes mostly assembled so it should only take a few minutes to put everything together. Even if you have little experience the instructions are clear and easy to follow.  The seat is comfortable even if you like to ride for long stretches on rugged terrain.


The MINGDI tires are durable and handles different kinds of terrain without a problem. The mechanical disc brakes are responsive so no need to wrestle with the bike. Both rear and front brakes are durable, adding to the bike’s safety and reliability.


The MINGDI bike is equipped with a high-quality suspension fork, allowing the bike to ride smoothly over rough areas. The suspension reduces the bumps significantly and ensures you’re in control no matter what terrain you’re on.


The bike has 24 speed derailleurs shifters for better shifting. The combination of shifts, brakes and gears give you full control over the bike even if you’re inexperienced. The handlebars also provide you with additional control during navigation.


Mountain bikes are very much about the wheels and tires, so it’s good to see MINGDI took care of that here. These are 26-inch double rim wheels, and the aluminum construction makes it appropriate for bump roads and trails. The tires also have anti-skid properties built in for the driver’s safety.


With these wheels you’ll have more confidence riding the bike, and the lightweight aluminum frame is another advantage. The frame has been heat treated for durability, so it can withstand long term use.


There are other features on the bike worth noting, such as its well-made middle crank that keeps the ride smooth. Also, the derailleurs we mentioned earlier are flexible so it’s easier to change gears.


The MTB saddle is easy to adjust, and it is also breathable. What this means is the rider feels comfortable while on the bike. This is further enhanced by the heavy-duty aluminum frame so it’s more durable.

Pros

  • Lightweight frame
  • Good safety features
  • Very responsive brakes
  • Comfortable seat

Cons

  • Handlebar height isn’t adjustable
  • Gear shifting could be smoother

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Rating 4.5 Stars

 


The Gravity FSX 1.0 is one of the best mountain bike under 500, offering various style options for riders. The bike requires assembly, but it is minimal and should not take too long if you’re knowledgeable about bikes.


The FSX 1.0 is also equipped with durable double wall rims, but they’re still light so it won’t compromise the bike’s weight. The wheels also have a quick release mechanism, so it comes off rapidly.


Any good mountain bike should have an adjustable suspension, and the FSX does. The bike has front and rear suspension, and they do a good job of keeping your ride smooth. If you ride on bumpy terrain, you’ll find the high-quality suspension handy.


Its Shimano Shifters are easy to use and simplifies gear changing. In addition, the aluminum frame is durable but light enough to carry. The brakes for the front and rear are both well-made and very responsive. Overall the safety features are impressive and suits riders of varying skills.


The bike is available in different sizes and the frame has been enhanced from the previous version. Its rear derailleur also complements the rest of the bike’s design and improves performance.


The saddle is very comfortable, and the handlebar is as good as we’ve seen on Gravity bikes. Just like the other bikes here the Gravity FSX has 24 speed and triple alloy crankset for better handling on rough terrain.


The bike is made for 26-inch wheels, so you should have no problems with compatibility. The thumb and finger shifters work great and complements the rest of the components. The comfortable handlebars should make this appealing to beginners.


The FSX 1.0 may be suitable for new riders, but it’s good enough for technical trails. It is also good enough for rugged trails and holds up fine. It helps a lot the bike handles well, with the responsive gears helping you navigate.


The FSX 1.0 does not come with a lot of instructions, but it’s not a big deal as assembly is easy. For an enjoyable trek, the FSX 1.0 will do just fine.

Pros

  • Available in different styles
  • The bike is shipped mostly assembled
  • Suspension is easy to adjust
  • Heavy duty aluminum frame

Cons

  • The chain sometimes gets tangled up
  • SHocks have limited adjustment

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Rating 4 Stars


The Opater mountain bike is equipped with a heavy-duty frame. Made of carbon steel, the Opater frame is built to withstand heavy use while still being light. The bike also has powerful mechanical disc brakes on the back and front, so you have complete control over your bike.


As one of the best under 500 mountain bikes, you’d expect it to be durable. That’s exactly what you get with the Opater. The bike is not only durable but also comfortable owing to its micro suspension.


The suspension is on the seat post, and it works very well in reducing road buzz. This also keeps the seat tube and fork stable. Compared to other carbon mountain bikes the Opater is more comfortable.


Its industry grade carbon steel frame can be folded so you can save storage space. This also means the Opater is more portable. Once you’re done, just fold the bike and store until you need it again.


Performance wise the Opater delivers. The tires are durable and work well with the suspension in giving you a smooth ride. The saddle provides a good amount of cushion, so you’ll remain comfortable on it.


Shifting gears is easy thanks to its rear derailleurs, and the bike is very stable. The handlebars are comfortable to hold and makes it easy to move the Opater around. Since the bike is lightweight you’ll find it more convenient to use.


The bike has a maximum weight capacity of 210 pounds, sufficient for the average sized individual. Since most of the bike is already assembled you’ll be up and ready in no time. The Opater is also durable enough to handle different types of terrain.


The bike works fine as is, but what makes it even better is the number of accessories included. Chief among these is the repair tool kit that you can hook up to the Opater.  In the event something happens, just pull the kit out and fix it.


A front tube double bag is included as well as a bicycle pump, you may not need to use all the accessories now, but it’s good to know they’re there. At just 35 pounds the Opater is light too.

Pros

  • Durable carbon steel frame
  • Comfortable
  • Brakes are very responsive
  • Excellent suspension

Cons

  • Packaging could be better
  • Instructions could be more detailed

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Rating 4 Stars


The Diamondback Sorrento is available in several sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large.    Built for rugged trails, this is one of the best mountain bikes under 500 and is suitable for various riders.


Packaging is good. It is partially assembled so you’ll be able to put the whole thing together without a hitch. Instructions are provided so if you’re new to bikes you’ll still know what to do.


The bike is comfortable, and it’s easy enough to adjust. On the bike you’ll feel comfortable as the saddle isn’t too hard or soft. Shifting gears is easy and the brakes are responsive.


Its Shimano shifters are excellent and among the most reliable that Diamondback Bicycles has made. Going back to the brakes, it works very well because they’re of the linear pull variety so it’s more responsive.


Multiple gear combos are standard in quality mountain bikes and this is no exception. The Diamondback is equipped with Shimano 3 speed front derailleur and 7 speed rear derailleurs, giving you up to 21 unique combinations.  This allows you to set up the gears, so the bike works the proper way.


The Diamondback also gets points for its durable frame. Made of aluminum alloy, the 6061-T6 has been heat treated for extra durability. It also has a derailleur hanger which you can replace if necessary.


The Diamondback sports 27.5-inch wheels, providing superior traction and smooth rolling.  Compared to other hard till bikes, the Sorrento is more comfortable and ensures you’re in control.


The Sorrento is suitable for different trails, and the durable tires can handle surfaces that other bikes cannot. If you’re on a rugged trail, the brakes will come in handy as they’re very responsive.


Going back to the installation process, the Sorrento is one of the simplest. You just need to join the handlebar on the bike. Add the brake cable, pedals and seats. Put the tires on and \the bike is ready to go.


It’s not every day that you come across a mountain bike with the features of the Sorrento. It is very easy to get used to and has the means to handle the surface you’re on.

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Durable frame
  • Smooth tires
  • Great for various trails

Cons

  • No tools included
  • No kickstand provider

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Rating 4 Stars


The Diamondback Overdrive is a very capable mountain bike that’s suitable for different users. The instructions are somewhat limited but it’s not a big deal since it is easy to build and ride.


As one of the best mountain bike under $500, the Overdrive possesses many of the features necessary for rugged trails.  Once you’ve attached the handlebar, tires and the other parts, your bike is ready to roll.


A closer look at the bike shows that it is built with quality components. Sit on the bike and you’ll notice how comfortable it is. The handlebars provide a good grip, essential if you’re on a rugged trail.


The Overdrive is equipped with Tektro mechanical disk brakes.  These are not your average brakes and are more powerful, so the Overdrive stops instantly. If you’re cycling at great speed or going downhill, responsive brakes are a must.


In addition, the Overdrive also has a Shimano 8 speed drivetrain which has been thoroughly tested. This drivetrain is superior to the ones found on ordinary mountain bikes, so it is more reliable.


For a smoother ride, the Overdrive comes with a high-quality tune suspension fork. A lot of the attention has focused on the suspension and rightfully so as it is this component that keeps your riding experience comfortable even if on rough roads and trails.


One of the more common problems with mountain bikes is they have a difficult time balancing power and flexibility. That is what the Overdrive does so you have control while on it.


The Overdrive also has butted tubing and custom designed for greater balance and strength. The bike’s frame is also well built, combining strength and power while still being lightweight. As any rider will tell you, a light frame is essential for portability reasons.


The frame itself is made of 6061-t6 aluminum alloy. The frame is hard tail and handmade for greater durability. The same level of quality can also be seen in the handlebars, disc brakes and other parts.


Of course, all these features won’t matter much if the bike does not perform well. Fortunately, the Overdrive does not disappoint. It is comfortable to ride, easy to adjust and suited for technical trails.

Pros

  • Durable tires
  • Very responsive brakes
  • Smooth suspension
  • Well-made drivetrain

Cons

  • The hangar looks a bit flimsy
  • Instructions are limited

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Rating 4.2 Stars

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