Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Have you been struggling with finding a good quality mountain bike that fits perfectly within your $500 budget, while still giving you the best possible performance?
You’re not alone in this my friend.
I’ve looked at everything there is to know about the best budget mountain bikes and studied 34 of the top-rated bikes available to buy under $500.
I know, finding a mountain bike on a budget can be tough, with so many manufacturers cutting corners in order to save the most money, you may find that your mountain bike may not be built with the technical features to withstand the harsh environment on the mountainous trails.
But what if I told you something:
I’ve looked into 24 different mountain bikes factoring in key components like weight, brakes, durability, and performance so you can still achieve your optimum performance without having to spend a cent more out of your budget.
Here’s a tip: Before you click to buy, make sure the mountain bike has a wide gear range that’s ready to tackle the mountains but have a reliable pair of brakes to get you out of trouble on the steep descents.
My first pick below is my favorite budget mountain bike ever.
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500
GT Aggressor Expert 29 Hardtail Bike 2021
Whether you’re riding fast singletrack, trekking up challenging climbs, or tackling treacherous descents, there’s nothing better than spending a full day down the trails– I cannot wait to tell you what the GT Aggressor has in store.
The GT is ready to take on any challenge the mountainous trails may throw at it.
Now, wait let me tell you:
With its triple triangle aluminum frame, SR Suntour suspension, and micro shift drive train plus hydraulic disc brakes, this bike is absolutely unbeatable for the price point.
It provides a versatile performance that is suited for any part of the mountainside, for smooth and precise riding. Plus the derailers and crankset are almost silent.
Whether you’re looking for a beginner bike or just for a good quality bike within a budget then you must give this bike a go– it’s an excellent buy for the price point, you won’t regret it.
Lightweight and comfortable
SR Suntour suspension
Cannot beat the quality for the price
Hydraulic disc brakes for superior stopping power
Nothing has yet been reported negatively
Latest deal: GT Aggressor Hardtail Bike
Cube Aim Pro 27.5 Hardtail Bike
Cube Aim Hardtail Mountain Bike has components according to trails of the mountain and every off-road.
The SR Suntour forks provide unmatched shock absorption as you blast through the trails over debris, rocks, and anything else that may be in your path. This bike is brilliant for those who want a solid hardtail without any excess weight.
Cube is ready for adventure with every pedal stroke, you’ll love the Shimano drivetrain as it provides the best acceleration while giving you a super smooth shifting performance as you weave in and out of the trails.
But you may be asking yourself, what about the brakes?
Well, let me tell you you won’t have to worry about your brakes failing again– this bike is kitted with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes so you have ultimate control no matter the environment or weather.
It will be sure to get you out of trouble on the narrow corners and unexpectedly steep descents.
Cube ZX20 wheels provide the smoothest rolling performance, while the Schwalbe Smart Sam tires give superior grip, speed consistently wherever the trail may take you.
Shimano disc brakes for unmatched control on the hills
Tires that provide ultimate, grip, speed and performance
Smooth and speed gear changes
Shock absorbing Suntour forks for excellent shock absoprtion
None so far
Latest deal: Cube Aim Pro 27.5 Hardtail Bike
TREK Marlin 4
Best trek mountain bikes under $500
If you’re looking for an introductory mountain bike at an unbeatable price, which can also be used as a rugged commuter then you need to check out Marlin 4 by Trek– it is a perfect gateway to mountain biking.
The lightweight aluminum frame was made with internal routing to protect your cables on the unpredictable terrains while adding to the classic sleek look. Plus you have 21 speeds and a wide range of gearing, so you’ll have a gear for any type of terrain.
But wait there’s more:
The Marlin 4 is equipped with mechanical disc brakes and suspension forks to take the edge off the unprecedented terrain, knowing that you can brake (whatever the condition) with confidence.
This bike was built for adventure– its the best of both worlds really, an excellent mountain bike can double as a commuter to work or a quick trip to the store. You need to check this one out.
Gateway between mountain biking and commuting
Mechanical disc brakes
Aluminum lightweight frame
Includes bike mounts for racks and fenders
None so far
Latest deal: Marlin 4
Cannondale Trail 8 Bike
This sexy beast of a unisex mountain bike was built to ignite a passion for the trail and raise your game even further than before. The hardtail Cannondale Trail 8 is ready to take on the action of the trails with its progressive geometry and dirt-ready components.
These 27.5″ wheels are the best of both worlds between the 26″ inch and the 29″ wheelset that you often find in mountain bikes; they offer high levels of speed and agility– but if you prefer the 29″ wheel, then Cannondale offer both!
The durable SmartForm C3 alloy frame is super lightweight, lively, stiff, and snappy. Plus, the SAVE micro-suspension delivers a smoother, more controlled ride. It effectively smooths all the bumps and roots in the trail for ultimate comfort while you shred the trails.
SR Suntour M3030 suspension fork offers 75mm of travel, which is slightly low but still enough to smooth out bumps, absorb shock and improve control down the trails. Plus, the 2×7 speed drivetrain offers a wide range of gears to work through.
But that’s not the only remarkable feature of this bike…
The Cannondale Trail 8 also comes with Tektro mechanical disc brakes which will provide reliable stopping power for all weather conditions and on all terrains– disc brakes are a must on mountain bikes, even if you’re on a tight budget.
The 68º slack head angle creates exceptionally stable handling to charge down the technical terrain and boom down descents with complete confidence. Plus, the shift and dropper cables route internally so for an integrated look and easy maintenance.
For the price and features you get, this one is a no-brainer!
SmartForm C3 alloy frame
Offers both 27.5" and 29" wheels
Front suspension and disc brakes
None so far
Latest deal: Cannondale Trail 8 Bike
Cube Aim Allroad Hardtail Bike
Cube Aim Allroad Hardtail Bike is a comfortable bike that also provides you with control on the road as well as on off-road trails. The frame of this bike is Cube’s Aluminium lite frame with modern geometry.
This bike is strong, lightweight, stable, and you can easily control it on all trails. It has a Shimano 3×8-Speed drivetrain, which provides smooth and reliable gearing.
But here’s the best bit:
You get all-weather braking performance as it has Tektro mechanical disc brakes. There is a built-in lighting system, a CUBE kickstand, and clip-on mudguards to make it ideal for the streets.
Cube is perfect for trail adventures, long-distance rides in the countryside, and also for inner-city errands. This is an all-around brilliant bike for the price point.
Aluminum Lite frame
Internal Cable Routing
Easy Mount Kickstand Ready
More suitable for streets
Latest deal: Cube Aim Allroad Hardtail Bike
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 Bike
This bike was made for off-road adventures, featuring a versatile 3×7 drivetrain and unmatched stopping power with hydraulic disc brakes. Ride the trails in style and with confidence.
The SR Suntour suspension fork gives a super smooth ride while feeling like you’re in complete control. Plus the 3×7 drivetrain provides a wide range of gears to play with.
But wait let me tell you something:
The tektro hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable stopping power for both off-road and on-road braking no matter the weather condition. Plus this bike is super lightweight making it comfortable after long, unpacked days down the trails!
Latest deal: Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 Bike
Max4out Mountain Bike
Best mountain bikes under 300
Whether you’re looking for a quality bike to start your mountain biking journey or just need a new bike and want to save a few bucks then the Max4out mountain bike may be your perfect fit.
The unique spray combination along with 26-inch rims will give you a safer acceleration on the trails. The 21-speeds, disc brakes, and front suspension are ready to tackle a wide range of terrains with confidence.
The solid aluminum frame makes this bike lightweight but super durable– which is brilliant for the mountainous terrain.
But here’s the best bit:
Max4out comes 85% already assembled so instead of spending a full day assembling you can get up and get to the fun part of having a new bike (it can be set up as quickly as 15-20 mins!)
For a bike that is not only under $500 but also under $300, you cannot beat it.
26 inch rims
Super durable on mountainous terrain
21 speeds and dsic brakes
May be only suitable for beginners
Latest deal: Max4out Mountain Bike
Mongoose Switchback Trail Mountain Bike
The Mongoose Switchback Sport 27.5 Women’s Mountain Bike is perfect for females for mountain riding. This bike has everything needed for mountain riding.
It has a Tectonic T1 Aluminum frame, which makes it lightweight and allows you to control the bike easily.
Plus, this bike provides you comfort while climbing and descending as it has a reliable 2×8 speed Shimano drivetrain. The Exposure suspension fork helps you in smooth riding with steady gearing.
There are mechanical disc brakes to provide you easy control on your bike while riding.
Plus Mongoose Switchback also has 21-speed shifts and derailleurs that provide quick and precise gear changes. Plus you can brake with confidence no matter the condition, with the crisp front and rear disc brakes.
Whether you’re cruising and weaving in and out of the trails or discovering a new route to try, you have to give this bike a go.
Speed Shimano Drivetrain
Mechanical disc brakes
A single mountain bike offering too many features
Latest deal: Mongoose Switchback Sport Mountain Bike
Merax 26" Mountain Bicycle
Now, this bike is brilliant for those on a budget, they’re nothing beyond the ordinary but for the price, you are still getting a great quality bike.
It is hugely popular on Amazon thanks to its front suspension forks that’ll smooth bumps while biking, and give you increased control.
The fitted 24-speed derailleurs and shifters provide silky smooth gear shifting while the dual disc brakes give superior stopping power.
This bike is brilliant for an economical entry-level mountain bike and will meet all your needs as a new rider– plus with the sleek color scheme you will have heads turning.
24-speed drivetrain and shifters
Brilliant for an entry-level rider
Dual disc brakes
Quite cheaply made
Latest deal: Merax Mountain Bicycle
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike provides you with a comfortable ride on every kind of trail.
It comes with a steel mountain-style frame and a suspension fork which makes it super durable and responsive. It provides precise gear changes out on the trail as it has 7-speed Shimano twist shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur.
But wait that’s not all:
Schwinn provides precise and superior stopping power with the front and rear alloy- pull brakes. It provides a durable is lightweight because of alloy rims.
Plus Schwinn bikes provide a steady gearing because of the Durable Schwinn alloy crank. This bike is perfect for riders wishing to tackle a wide variety of terrains.
Durable Schwinn alloy crank
Latest deal: Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Best Mountain Bikes Under 500 Buyers Guide
Many things are required to be focused on while buying the best mountain bikes under 500.
This includes how much does the product charge? What type of suspension system it has? And how much positive rating the product have? You should look for all the questions arising in your mind to find the right mountain bike for you.
When one gets the answer to all the questions arising in mind, he goes for the product and buys it. You should look at the different features of the product while buying the product to get the right one matching your requirements.
While buying the best mountain bike, you should look at different features such as suspension systems, frame material, gearing system, cost, and much more. These are the features one should look for before buying and finalizing the product.
The mountain bike should be great and durable so that one can do long-distance rides easily. These bikes should provide comfort so that it can be easy to ride on difficult trials. All the products mentioned above in the article are the best mountain bikes under 500, which provide you all amazing features.
So, you can go for the right one by looking at their pros, cons, and features.
Things to check:
Mountain bikes under 500 should have great features so that the rider can enjoy the riders even on the difficult trails too. But before you click to buy you need to check these features to judge whether this bike is for you.
Type of Bike: When buying a mountain bike there are a few different types to choose from based on what they’re used for. These include trail, downhill, cross countr, fat bikes, and all-mountain bikes.
Fat bikes come with large and wide tires, they absorb vibrations and shocks while offering a good amount of traction. These bikes are ideal for beginners or riders that aren’t quite confident with the mountainous terrain.
You will find trail mountain bikes are very popular for climbs, they’re very casual and perfect for those who love the mountainous terrains without racing. Cross country bikes are built more for speed, their climbing power is unrivalled and ideal for more confident riders.
Downhill bikes are mainly for experienced riders who love the taste of danger, these can tackle even the toughest of terrains, they have more technical features which are built to withstand this environment.
All-mountain bikes are brilliant for extreme off-road terrains, like trecherous climbs and descents, it has a suspension travel of 140-170mm.
If you have quite a bit of experience or quite an aggressive rider then all-mountain bikes will work for you but if you’re new to riding I would recommend sticking to a fat bike or trail bike.
Frame Materials – The mountain bike should have a frame that can make it light and durable. Aluminium alloy is such a frame that makes the bikes durable, tough, inexpensive, corrosion-resistant, and lighter. All the mountain bikes mentioned above in this article have an Aluminum frame.
Suspension Type – The mountain bike can have different types of suspension. There should be such a suspension system that can make the bike absorb the shocks of the trails. All the mountain bikes mentioned above have SR Suntour suspension forks that help the bike provide smooth gearing and absorb the trails.
Brakes: Brakes are not something to be compromised in mountain biking especially, you are dealing with the most dangerous terrain and if your brakes fail you can imagine the panic as you’re picking up momentum on the descent.
If the bike you buy has poor brakes that is the first thing to go and be upgraded, safety cannot be negotiated. However, you will find mountain bikes have disc and rim brakes. Disc brakes give superior stopping power, in all conditions.
Rim brakes offer a solid grip but if you find that your bike comes with these sort of brakes I would change them ASAP so you can ride through the trecherous descents with confidence.
Gears: You will find in mountain bikes that they offer a wide range of gears for you to shift through, if you’re a more experience rider a range of lower gears will help with the trecherous climbs while higher gears are ideal for beginners on smoother trails.
Wheel Size: There are different types of wheel sizes you’ll find in mountain bike: 26, 27.5 and 29 inches. Those with 26-inch wheels will provide more control, making them ideal for newer riders. 27.5-inch wheels allow more versatility on the trails without jeopardising control.
29-inch wheels are for more advanced mountain bikers, they tackle obstacles better than any other but they maintain momentum, it’s ideal if you’re quite an aggressive rider.
Tires: You can choose your tires based on your wheel size and what you’re using your bike for. For trail bikes range between 2.25 amd 2.4 inches, cross country between 1.9 and 2.25, downhill bikes up to 2.5 inches and fat bikes from 2.5 inches to 5 inches.
The tire width usually changes the bikes ability to absorb shock, give control, stability and grip.
Easy Control – The mountain bikes should have such gears and brakes that can provide easy control to the rider. When it comes to control, it is an important feature to consider as the mountain bikes should provide easy control. In the article, all the top choices for the mountain bikes provide the rider easy control so that rider can enjoy rider on difficult trails.
Geometry: When it comes down to geometry you should always look for comfort, you will be riding this bike all day and nothing is worse than an uncomfortable mountain bike (you’ll have to cut your day short– no one wants that).
I would reccomend checking factors like seat angle, wheel base, reach, bottom bracket height etc to make sure it will be comfortable for you personally.
The following are some questions that people often ask for mountain bikes:
How much does a decent mountain bike cost?
The price of a good mountain bike can be between 500 and 1500 USD, but you also need additional gear. You can reduce the cost significantly by properly maintaining and taking care of the bike.
What should I look for while buying a mountain bike?
When you are purchasing a mountain bike for yourself, then you should look at some features such as the suspension system, gearing system, weight, size, and much more. These features will help you to find the best bike for you.
Is buying a used mountain bike worth it?
If you want to buy a used car, it can help you to save money, but there can be much risk of buying it as it can be stolen or can have some unknown damage.
Is it worth buying an expensive mountain bike?
The expensive bike must have superior features and will provide great performance, so buying an expensive mountain is great for long-distance mountain riders.
Are mountain bikes faster than road bikes? Mountain bikes are much more grippy therefore they provide more traction which slows them down. This allows them to have more control on the trails and ensures safety.
What is the difference between a 27.5″ or 29″ bike tire? A 27.5 inch tire offers more versatility while not compromising control whereas 29-inch tires tackle obsticales while maintaining momentum (these are ideal for more advanced riders)
Can you use mountain bikes on paved roads? Yes you can, due to their versitality they can tackle any type of road or terrain, some people even prefer this toughness and extra added comfort for long journeys on the road.
The mountain bike should have a great suspension system to provide smooth gearing and features such as easy control and good frame material. One should consider many factors while buying a mountain bike; otherwise, it can be difficult for the rider on mountain trails to be safe.
You should consider all factors and should look for the best one so that the bike can be good for riding long distances on mountain trails.
While buying a mountain bike, you should look for different mountain bikes and should consider all the factors. You can compare different bikes to get the one that fits your requirements.
The summary, pros, and cons of different mountain bikes are present in this article, which can help you to buy the right mountain bike for you. For further information, one can go to the provided link to remove any query about the product.
You should make a mind about your requirements so that when you’ll be buying the bike, you would have a clear mind about which type of bike you want. Happy riding!
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.