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Best Mountain Bikes for Under $500: A Buyer’s Guide

If you are looking for some off-road ventures, following single tracks leading into the woods, or riding on countryside dirt trails, then mountain biking is right for you. There are several reasons for buying a mountain bike.

It keeps the stress away, tones your body in a fun way and helps you connect with your surroundings. Here is a guide for you, if you are buying thinking of buying a mountain bike for you.

Do your homework

Buying a mountain bike can be a bit stressful because there are several varieties of mountain bikes available in the market and a number of component combinations that can be confusing. Therefore, you need to do your research on different parts of the mountain bikes. However, it is equally important to understand your own preferences and riding style.

Evaluate your riding style

Different types of mountain bikes are designed for different types of terrains. So, it is important to find your riding style. The first thing to figure out is where and how you are going to ride your mountain bike.

Are you looking for participating in cross-country races? Are you are going to follow dirt trails or all mountain travel? Are you interested in air stunts or you want an all-purpose bike? Finding answers to these questions will help you in deciding which type of mountain bike you require. Your health condition will affect the choice of the suspension.

Know your budget

Being conscience of your budget is an important factor when you are going to buy your mountain bike. The price range for mountain bikes varies to a large extent. The expensive high end bikes are more comfortable and lightweight than cheaper bikes. However, if you are a first timer, you can easily find mountain bikes under $500, with features that matches your needs.

Types of Mountain Bikes

There are different types of mountain bikes for different types of riding styles.

Cross Country Bike

Suitable for cross country racing, uphill climbing and trails with steep slope and severe turns, these bikes are rigid and lightweight.

Trail Bike

All purpose bikes, suitable for dirt trails and designed to support both uphill and downhill riding.

All-Around Mountain Bike

Closely related to trail bikes but with tougher frame and higher suspension travel.

Dirt Jump​ Bike

​Suitable for those interested in remaining airborne while doing stunts, these bikes are designed to endure a lot.

Downhill Bikes​

Ideal for steep descends; these bikes are strong and light. Not suitable for climbing.​


Besides the type of mountain bike, there are various important features in a mountain bike, like suspension, wheel size, brake, frame and gears. There are so many combinations of these features that it is difficult to evaluate a mountain bike while considering all the features. The best option is to select a few of the features that matter most to you and compare different brands of mountain bikes on the basis of those features.

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Diamondback Bicycles 2015 Laurito  Mountain Bike

best mountain bikes under $500

This mountain bike is an affordable and reliable Hardtail option, especially for the first timers.

The 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminum frame is designed for greater strength and lighter weight and unperturbed stability.

The 27.5 inches wheels allows the bike to roll effortlessly over smaller obstacles on rough trails and dirt path equally, while providing the benefits of greater acceleration and light weight. Shimano 7-speed derailleur helps in fast and easy shifting.

Trail XC suspension fork, makes sure that your body does not take the beatings of bumpy paths. Have fun on a weekend, by wandering around the natural landscapes on this affordable yet comfortable mountain bike.

Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Men's Mountain Bike

This affordable bike with full suspensions offers the bike rider a remarkable and smooth ride.

It helps the rider by providing greater control during maneuvering, comfortable ride and a stable base.

The aluminum frame makes sure that the bike is light weight yet strong.

The bike also features Shimano rear derailleur for quick shifting and 21 speeds. The linear pull is reliable braking option which provides greater braking power. The bike also features alloy rims. The suspension forks allow you to have a smooth ride over uneven roads and trails. The twist shifters enhance the ability of changing gears quickly.

Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

This cross country bike is ideal for those who are looking for some recreational riding but do not want to spend a lot of money.

This bike provides both disc brake and dual suspension at a very affordable rate. The hydroformed aluminum frame is strong and durable.

The bike features Shimano EF51 and Shimano front and rear derailleur for quick shifting. Tektro Novela disc brake allows greater control and speed. However, the bike is only useful for cross country biking.

Therefore if you are looking for intense stunts or freeride, this is not the ideal choice for you. Suntour suspension fork enhance the user’s experience by giving the smooth ride on rough terrains.

Nashbar AT1 29er Mountain Bike

If you are looking for a mountain bike which is under your budget of $500 and still provides a great ride, this bike is an ideal choice for you.

This is an affordable bike with 29 inches wheels. The bike features durable steel frame.

The frame is strong and rigid, however, adds considerably to the weight of the bike. The 29 inches wheels allow you to roll over smaller obstacles effortlessly. The Shimano 7-speed drive train provides you with the ability to climb uphill with ease, while giving enough speed on leveled trails. The linear pull brakes provides easy stopping.

Schwinn High Timber Men's 18 Mountain Bike

This is another all purpose mountain bike that comes under the budget of $500.

This affordable steel framed, front suspension bike has a limited lifetime warranty. Schwinn suspension fork helps in greater control.

This nimble mountain bike is designed to ride around easily on various types of trails as effortlessly as possible. The Alloy V linear pull brake gives powerful braking system. The bike features quality components like Shimano twist shifters and Shimano rear derailleur. It also features 21 speeds for easy handling of both ground and hills. The 27.5 inches wheel allows the bike to smoothly roll over trail obstacles.

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