Can You Get a Good Mountain Bike for Under 500?

Yes, you can get a good mountain bike for under $500. In fact, you get a pretty great one with that pricing range.

Mountain biking shouldn’t have to be expensive. There’s something for every budget, and you just have to look hard enough for it. You should get an MTB that fits your usage, body, and biking style.

There are mountain bikes available way under the $500 price tag. But a good one might come with a hefty price tag, but it will last a long time.

This post is made for you if you’re looking for a mountain bike but have a tight budget.

What Should You Look for in a Good Mountain Bike?

You need to look for a few things in a good mountain bike or any MTB in general. Here’s what we think you should look out for:

Wheel Size

Wheel size is important as it plays a significant role in your bike life. A fat bike’s wheel will not function like a regular mountain bike’s wheel.

We recommend going for wheels that are 27.5 to 29 inches in size. 

Frame

Go for steel frames or complete aluminum frames. Recently, hybrid structures have been introduced to the market. We prefer the traditional ones, and they’re firm and smooth. 

6061 alloy frames are the most traditional and convenient.

Brakes

Brakes are important as if you’re riding on rough trails, you will need to stop suddenly. Therefore, having a solid brake is a must. Get a bike with mechanical brakes than disc brakes, as disc brakes take some time before stopping completely.

Front chainrings

Look for 2-3x chain rings instead of 1x rings. What can we say, the more the better.

Suspension

Get air coil suspension with an 80-90mm travel rate. 100mm is okay, too, and we prefer air suspension is a better choice than the coil. Then again, it’s totally up to you.

The mechanical things you should look for in a mountain bike are straightforward, and we hope this clears your doubts.

Is $500 Enough for a Mountain Bike?

$500 is enough for a mountain bike. But will you get the best mountain bike for five hundred dollars? No. 

We recommend a $500 mountain bike for someone new to mountain biking. Or wants a fun joyride without anything being too serious. However, if you want to get into a competitive mountain bike scene, we suggest you up your budget.

Know that within $500, you’ll probably get an old model, which might be difficult to find parts for later on.

What Should You Avoid While Buying a Budget Bike?

You most likely won’t find a full suspension or a modern MTB within the $500 budget, and if you do, you might have second-hand options. 

The main problem with non-suspension MTB is that it’s heavy, which won’t be an advantage. Mountain bikes should be light and able to move quickly. Besides, a heavy bike means the rider will have less control over their bike.

If you ride hard, mainly off-road or mountains often, you might go for a lightweight mountain bike as it’s challenging for heavy bikes to ride on elevated surfaces.

Nevertheless, if you don’t go off-road that much, a heavy bike shouldn’t affect you much. 

Should You Buy a Used Mountain Bike?

Buying things used is always a gamble. It could either be a steal or a total waste of money. So we don’t recommend used options. However, if you don’t have any other choice, you might want to pay attention.

The biggest plus for a used bike is that you get to pay less for so much. If you’re on a budget yet want an expensive mountain bike, you might want to look at the used options for the expensive bike you want. 

For example, a Cannondale Trail 5 retails for $960, but used options for the MTB go for as low as $500. 

While the price is an advantage, sometimes the bikes are not authentic or have replaced parts from the original. That’s why, if you’re picking a second-hand MTB, always check and verify the bike parts and ensure it’s authentic.

The Best Mountain Bikes for under $500

Now that you have an idea on what to look for and what to avoid while buying a bike, here is our list for the best mountain bikes for under $500:

Bike NamePriceWeight
Calibre Rake$53232 lbs
Mongoose Impasse $48435.3 lbs
Merax 26”$23433 lbs
Schwinn Mesa$44231 lbs
Mongoose Malus Fat Bike$42442.9 lbs
Royce Union RMA 27.5”$49843 lbs

Calibre Rake

This is Calibre’s take on a budget MTB, and it has a big 29-inch wheel size and aluminum frame. The only downside being is being heavy.

Pros:

  • 29” wheel size
  • Has Rockshox fork
  • Aluminum frame

Cons:

  • Heavy

Mongoose Impasse 

A great budget mountain bike with 29-inch wheels and a wide drivetrain. The bike has excellent gear shifts, considering the price tag.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide wheels
  • Big drivetrain
  • Aluminum frame
  • Mechanical disc brakes

Cons:

  • Brakes and gears need adjustment
  • Assembly can be difficult

Merax 26”

This mountain bike is perfect for regular use. It has a sleek design, and the wheel size is smaller. It’s compact, and the front fork makes it better.

Pros:

  • 26” wheels, good for transportation or everyday use
  • Has mechanical disc brakes
  • Rim is double-walled
  • Frame is firm

Cons:

  • Lengthy assembly time
  • Heavy
  • Adjustments need for brakes

Schwinn Mesa

Schwinn Mesa has been here for a long time, specializing in mountain biking. They’re known for making their MTBs strong with big wheels that give an excellent riding experience. This particular Schwinn Mesa is great for those with a short height.

Pros:

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Mechanical disc brakes on both front and rear
  • Height can be varied according to wheel size, starting from 5’0”- 6’5”.

Cons:

  • Hefty assembly 
  • No advanced suspension

Mongoose Malus Fat Bike

We’ve made this list considering everyone. You don’t like a big MTB? We got you. You want a fat bike without breaking the bank? We hear you. 

Mongoose has multiple mountain bike options, from traditional to fat bikes. The Malus fat bike has wide 4” knobby tires, a 1×7 drivetrain, and a Shimano derailleur. 

Pros:

  • Wide tires
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Good drivetrain
  • Steel frame
  • 26-inch wheel size

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Slow speed as fat bikes don’t run as fast as regular MTBs

Royce Union RMA 27.5”

Royce Union is great for entry-level mountain bikes. They have bicycles available under $300! The one we’re talking about isn’t that expensive either.

It has multiple gear options with 27.5” wheels. The bike has excellent geometry, and the front fork allows up to 100mm travel. Overall, the bike is fantastic for beginners. It’s minimal looking but does so much.

Pros:

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Aluminum frame
  • Good geometry
  • Has twenty-one gears
  • 3×7 drivetrain

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not good for advanced bikers

You can get a mountain bike on any budget. What matters is whether it’s good or not and whether it checks the boxes of your priorities. 

Wrapping Up

Mountain Bikes don’t have to be expensive. Even with a budget of $500, you can get a decent entry-level bike. You should look for proper wheel size, brakes, front chainrings or drivetrains, and suspension. Although you might not get a full suspension within this price range, it’s okay.

You should avoid heavy bikes if you’re going off-road, as rough trails require lightweight bikes. With that being said, we hope this post helps you pick out your next budget-friendly bike!

Leave a Comment