The Best Mountain Bike Under $500

Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike

Our Top Pick for 2016: Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for -*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Mountain biking can be a truly fun and invigorating activity to take part in. Spontaneously riding up and down dirt roads and wild terrain allows you to get away from the boring and mundane of everyday life, bringing you the joy and excitement you so desperately crave. But, in order to take part in this rugged activity, you need a quality mountain bike that can get the job done. There are a great many mountain bikes for sale at all different prices, with each bike providing you something different in the way of quality. Some expensive bikes are not worth the money, while some cheap bikes offer you more than you pay for. You really shouldn’t have to spend over $500.00 to find a high quality mountain bike that suits your needs.

Table of contents

amazon-available
amazon-available
amazon-available
Heat Treated Aluminum 6061 Mountain Frame
Hand Built 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy Hardtail Frame
24-speed Shimano Shifting
Lightweight Magnesium Alloy Wheels
Custom Formed And Butted Tubing
Rear Coil-over Cartridge
Aluminum Mechanical Lock Out Suspension Fork
Wheels Roll Well Over Obstacles And Offer Quick Handling
Advanced Suntour Fork With Adjustable Preload
Shimano 21-speed Derailleurs And Shifters
SR Suntour XCT Fork Delivers 100mm Of Suspension Travel
Tektro Novella Front And Rear Disc Brakes
Mechanical Disc Brakes
Solid Starter Mountain Bike
Maddux Dx221 6061-t6 Aluminum Double-Wall Rims

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike

Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for -*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerDiamondback has been making great, high quality bikes for almost four decades now. Created as a BMX bike manufacturer, the company has evolved into a manufacturer of all types of bikes, from leisure bikes, to road bikes, to sport bikes, to mountain bikes. Their premier mountain bike at the moment is the Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike. It combines very light weight with excellent gear shifting capabilities to create a bike that can climb any hill or terrain with comfort and ease.

Let’s start by talking about the bike’s frame. Available in four different sizes, including 16 inches, 18 inches, 20 inches, and 22 inches, it is made of aluminum alloy, making it light, and giving it a very smooth ride. All in all, the bike weighs around 30 pounds, which is very reasonable for a mountain bike. This light weight will reduce the effect of bumps, absorbing the shock and keeping the overall ride fairly smooth. The front fork of the frame is created by SR SunTour XCT and offers 100 mm of suspension, providing the bike with a great deal of give and riding comfort. The bike’s handle bars are straight and narrow, allowing you to keep your arms in close, and helping you to avoid objects that you come into contact with. Attached to the middle of the frame are two mounts, each of them allowing for an attachment such as a water bottle holder or basket. Overall, this frame provides the bike with a great deal of smoothness, durability, and stability.

With 24 speeds available, this bike provides you with great climbing capabilities, making it excellent for beginner bikers and others who have trouble making it up hills on their own devices. The rear derailleur of the bike is made by Shimano; a company with a glowing reputation in the bicycle world. It offers 8 speeds to three different chain rings. With gear shifters on the handlebars close to the rider’s hands, shifting gears is simple, and can be done seamlessly while riding.

The bike makes use of Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes which offer you excellent breaking consistency in any type of weather. Whether you’re out on a dry, hot day, or a cold, wet night, you will be able to turn corners with precision and ease, enhancing your riding experience by making it more comfortable and safe.

Online reviewers laud this bike for how easy it is to set up, stating that the instructions were clear and helpful, allowing them to set it up on their own rather quickly. Reviewers also give credit to the bike’s gear shifters, saying that they are precise and consistent, reliably coming through whenever they need them to.

A complaint made about the bike by online reviewers is that its pedals were not up to their standards. They said that they had to purchase new ones because the stock pedals just didn’t cut it. Another complaint made was that it didn’t come with the greatest tires installed. It might be necessary to purchase new tires if you’re looking for something with a little more durability.

Overall, the Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike is a great mountain bike for beginner and intermediate bikers. It combines great gear shifting capabilities with a comfortable, smooth ride to create a mountain bike that is easy to use and fun to ride. If you’re looking for an excellent mountain bike under $500.00, the Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Overdrive Hard Tail Complete Mountain Bike is the bike for you. It can be found for around $475.00 on most online retailers.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike

View it on Amazon for $599.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Merax Finiss 26″” Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike is another highly functional and reasonably priced mountain bike on the market. With excellent gear shifting capabilities and a very lightweight, it provides comfort and ease to any ride you may wish to take.

Available in just one size, this bike best fits people between 5’9” and 6’3” in height. Its frame is made of heat treated aluminum which is very light, and that provides an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride. In total, the bike weighs around 33 pounds, which is reasonably light for a mountain bike. You will have no problem lugging it around, whether on wheels or in your arms. The front fork of the frame is made of advanced aluminum which provides a great deal suspension and makes the bike very easy to maneuver. Bumpy roads and rocky terrain will be no problem for this bike. The bike also minimizes wind resistance with very narrow handlebars, allowing you to keep your arms in close and turn corners without coming into contact with any foreign objects. A water bottle holder is also attached to the middle of the frame, allowing you to easily bring along water or a sports drink, and keeping you hydrated all throughout your ride.

As far as the gear and shifting system goes, the bike provides 21 speeds; 7 speeds from the cassette working in tandem with 3 chain rings. This is more than enough speeds to assist beginner bikers in climbing hills and gliding on flat ground. With gear shifters on the handlebars in close proximity to the biker’s hands, this bike is very simple to shift, doing so with smoothness and consistency whenever need be. Both the shifters as well as the bike’s derailleurs are made by Shimano, meaning they are of the highest quality available on the market.

The bike’s brakes levers are also made by Shimano. It makes use of a disc brake system, giving the bike the most consistent braking capabilities available. The bike will brake well whether its being ridden in the dry heat or the wet cold; with consistency, reliability, and precision.

Online reviewers laud the bike for for how well it shifts gears, stating that they can be shifted with smoothness and consistency in the middle of riding. Reviewers also give the bike credit for how well its brakes work, with one reviewer saying he’s able to skid the bike when using the back brake.

A complaint made by online reviewers is that the bike’s suspension system began to wear out after around three months of use. They state that is still absorbs small bumps fairly well, but that large bumps can still cause quite a shake through the bike and the rider’s body.

All in all, the Merax Finiss 26″ Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike is a mountain bike with excellent shifting and braking capabilities, providing you with reliable and consistent use whenever you need it. Apart from some durability issues, this bike is as about as good of a mountain bike as you’re going to find for under $500.00. If you’re a beginner or intermediate mountain biker, the Merax Finiss 26″ Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike is definitely a bike you should check out. It can be purchased for around $350.00 on most online retail sites.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Gravity 2016 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Gravity 2016 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

View it on Amazon for $329.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardAvailable in four different sizes, including 15 inches, 17 inches, 19 inches, and 21 inches, the Gravity 2016 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike is a great mountain bike for people of all sizes. It’s a mountain bike that offers you excellent durability and gear-shifting capabilities, making for a reliable, consistent, and long-lasting ride.

The bike’s frame is made of hydro-formed aluminum which is lightweight and shaped to pierce through wind, reducing wind resistance, and creating a more comfortable ride overall. All in all, the bike weighs around 38 pounds. This weight is about average for a mountain bike, so no problems will arise from it. The bike’s handlebars are parallel to the ground and narrow enough so that you can keep your arms close, reducing wind resistance, and ultimately creating a faster, more controlled ride. Because of the shock absorbing spring in the middle of the bike’s frame, it does not provide a lot of room to attach a water bottle holder or basket.

Equipped with 24 speeds, the bike makes use of a triple crank set and an 8 prong cassette. This provide you with a lot of climbing ability as well as the ability to glide over long, flat stretches of land. The crank set is created by Suntour, while the bike’s derailleur is made by Shimano, meaning the gear system is comprised of the best products currently available on the market. You will have no problem shifting on command with consistency and reliability.

The bike makes use of a disc brake system, with brakes made by Tektro. This gives the bike excellent consistency whether in dry or wet weather. Whether you need to glide to a a stop, or stop on a dime, these brakes will accommodate you.

Online reviewers give the bike credit for its gear system, stating that it’s smooth, reliable, consistent, and very capable of shifting at any speed. They also praise the bike for its frame, noting that it’s lightweight and sturdy.

Some online reviewers criticize the bike for the poor quality of its shocks, stating that they have a little too much give despite how much they’re tightened. They also say that the bike has no room for a kickstand or water bottle holder.

On the whole, the Gravity 2016 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike is a great bike for riding on relatively smooth surfaces. Its sub-par shock system makes it more uncomfortable for riding on bumpy roads, but with excellent gear-shifting and brake capabilities, it is more than sufficient for rides on trails. If you’re looking for a mountain bike to ride on relatively flat surfaces, the Gravity 2016 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike is a bike to check out. It can be purchased for around $330.00 on most online retail sites.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle

View it on Amazon for $189.35*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickMost decent mountain bikes are going to cost you at least $350.00, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great one for under that price. The Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle is a very high quality and affordable mountain bike, coming in at around $230.00 on most online retail sites.

The bike’s frame is made of steel, but its total weight is still just 44 pounds, making it fairly light for a mountain bike with a steel frame. This gives the bike a smooth ride to go with a great deal of durability. The front fork of the bike’s frame is made of aluminum, and provides the bike with excellent front end shock absorption. Narrow and slightly curved handle bars allow you to keep you arms in close, reducing wind resistance and allowing you to get through narrow passage ways. A mount for attaching a water bottle holder is also present on the bike.

With 21 speeds provided by a triple crank set and 7 prong cassette, the bike provides excellent climbing capability, and fantastic flat trail gliding. It is equipped with a Shimano derailleur and SRAM gear shifters, ensuring the bike is made with the top quality present on today’s market.

It makes use of a linear pull brake system, which brakes powerfully, though not as consistently as a disc brake system. It might have a little more trouble in wet weather, but is still very reliable in dry climates.

Online reviewers love the bike for how well it shifts gears, stating that it does so with consistency and reliability at any speed. Other reviewers remarked on the smoothness of the ride offered by the bike, noting its light weight and durable frame.

A few online reviewers complained that the bike was advertised as having an aluminum frame, when it, in fact, has a steel frame. Another complaint made by reviewers was that there is not enough clearance between the rider’s foot and the front tire when making turns as the rider’s toes sometimes come into contact with the tire.

If you’re looking for a quality mountain bike with a smooth ride at an affordable price, the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle is definitely a bike you should consider. It may be a little heavier than other mountain bikes on the list, but it still provides excellent shock absorption to go with great gear-shifting capabilities. If you’re looking to get into mountain biking, the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle offers you everything you need at a price that won’t break the bank.


Pre-purchase considerations

Brakes

A very important aspect of mountain biking is the ability to brake. Unlike with road biking, you won’t be riding long stretches in which you won’t have to stop. While mountain biking, you will have to brake frequently to avoid bumps and turn tight corners. In general, mountain bikes come with two different types of brakes.

One of these types of brakes is disc brakes. With the exception of entry-level mountain bikes, disc brakes have become the standard on most mountain bikes. These brakes make use of a brake pad that clasps to a brake rotor on the wheel’s hub. Disc brakes are generally more consistent than rim brakes, and typically wear out less frequently, ensuring that you won’t have to replace them as often.

Rim brakes make use of break pads that clamp directly onto a wheel’s rim. They are not as consistent or durable as disc brakes, however, they are much easier to inspect and replace. If you’re looking for a mountain bike with the highest quality brakes, you should definitely look for one with disc brakes. Disc brakes are better at handling all types of weather, ensuring that you will stop without trouble exactly when you intend to. However, if you don’t plan to use your bike for bumpy-terrain biking, rim brakes will work just fine.

What you’ll be using the bike for

In general, mountain bikes are used for three different types of biking. These types of biking include cross country, all trail and mountain, and downhill biking. There are different types of mountain bikes with different characteristics that are suitable for each one of these mountain biking types.

Ideally, you would purchase the a cross country bike for cross country riding, a trail bike for trail riding, or a downhill bike for downhill riding. However, a great many riders participate in more than one type of riding. You don’t want to buy a downhill bike if you spend the majority of your riding time on a trail. It’s important to survey your riding habits and pick a bike that suits what you do most. You can always rent another type of bike if you desperately need it. Though, it can also be noted that people were riding trails and mountains long before bikes were equipped with suspensions and other appropriate gear.

Gears and chains

When purchasing a mountain bike, depending on what type of biking you participate in, you must pay attention to the amount of gears the bike has. Mountain bikes can be found with anywhere from 1 gear to 30, with each gear making the bike easier to pedal on certain terrains and hills. If you’re a biker who encounters a decent amount of hills when you ride, you’ll probably want to find a bike that has a lot of gears.

Gears allow you to make it up hills with ease, allowing the bike do most of the work, and sparing your legs in the process. Of course, if you’re an experienced mountain biker, you might like riding with a small amount of gears as it will give you more of a challenge. If you ride on relatively flat land, the amount of gears is not nearly as important as your pedaling will be consistent throughout your ride. When looking at how meany gears a bike has, you need to check out the bike’s cassette and number of chain rings. The cassette will have certain amount of sprockets on it; usually between 7 and 10. Multiply this number by how many chain rings the bike has, and you will see how many different speeds the bike can be set at.

Frame material

Perhaps the most important aspect of any type of bike is its frame. The frame holds the rest of the bike in place; a bike is only as strong as its frame, which affects the bike’s weight, strength, durability, and smoothness. And, of course, its price.

In general, mountain bike frames are made of four different materials. These materials include aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium. Most mountain bikes have aluminum alloy frames which are both lightweight and inexpensive. They offer a smooth ride that is decently resistant to shock, making them great for taking on bumpy hills and trails. Steel is used on lower end mountain bikes. It creates a smooth ride and is very durable, but it is also very heavy, which is not ideal. Titanium is mostly used on high end mountain bikes, as it is very expensive. It is a very strong and lightweight material that gives the bike a very smooth ride. Carbon fiber is also most commonly used on high end mountain bikes. It’s rather expensive to assemble, but provides the bike a strong and lightweight frame that offers a smooth and powerful ride.

If you’re a novice biker, you should save the money at stick with an aluminum-framed mountain bike. It will perform just fine for anything you would like to do at your skill level.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Mountain bikes can be a great way to travel bumpy and steep terrain, whether for recreational purposes or just to get to where you’re going. A great mountain bike will be able to absorb large amounts of shock while also being able to climb hills with relative ease and comfort. Of course, not all mountain bikes are created equally. In fact, there are a number of specialty mountain bikes made simply to suit bikers who like trail riding, or downhill riding, or cross country riding. It’s important to remember this when searching for the best mountain bike under $500. As soon as you find a mountain bike that suits your needs and riding style, you can get out there and start exploring the trails.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Kate Halse, Top 10 Best Affordable Mountain Bikes, Heavy, October 19, 2015
  2. Diamondback Bike Reviews 2016 – Mountain & Road Bikes, RovoBikeReviews.com, April 17, 2016
  3. Merax Finiss Mountain Bike Reviews, Mountain Bike Reviewed, March 18, 2016
  4. Merax Finiss 26 Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike, YouTube, May 26, 2016
  5. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike Review, Together We Bike, June 7, 2015

Pin It on Pinterest