10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 Reviewed For 2020

Choosing the right mountain bike for your expeditions isn’t easy. The bikes available on the market aren’t made equal and have varying features.

Furthermore, they cause a considerable dent to your budget. In this guide, we’ll cover the 10 best mountain bikes under $500 that you can rely on to take you through the toughest trails.

Overview For Our Top Choice

After reviewing each option, it is clear that the Diamondback Overdrive is the top choice.

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Do You Choose the Best Mountain Bike?

Bike Style

Downhill mountain bikes are a great option if you’re an experienced rider and have an obsession with speed. They’re extremely durable, with wider tires and frames.

That also means they can take on really rough terrain at high speeds. While they do absorb a lot of shock and vibration from the trail, they can also be tougher to get up steep hills.

Cross country mountain bikes are nice and lightweight. That means you can gain a fair amount of speed for fairly little effort.

You may see them referred to as XC bikes, but they’re still the same. There are race and trail cross country bikes, but they both excel in agility and speed.

Freeride mountain bikes are like the hybrid of cross country and downhill bikes, but they’re lighter and easier to maneuver around. Still, they’re not great to get uphill, but easier than downhill bikes.

The frame is pretty flexible and compact, which allows for any number of stunts you might want to try out. 

Dirt jump bikes are more like bmx mountain bikes that you can take to the trail, or to the streets.

With larger handlebars, front suspension, and a single speed setup, they’re great for doing tricks. If you’re a real daredevil, it’s probably your bike of choice. 

All mountain bikes are true to their name. They’re a great choice for people that like regular trail riding, but may also want to brush up their trick swag. They have sturdy, durable frames and typically come with full suspension too.

Suspension Type

When it comes to mountain bike suspension, you have a few options: full, rigid, or hardtail. 

Full suspension does what it sounds like, and it absorbs shock on both ends. That means you don’t just rely on the rear shocks. The front fork does its fair share of eating up rebound from all those rugged areas on the trail.

Since it’s well balanced in suspension, you can climb fairly well, without noticing too much impact from the trail. 

Rigid suspension mountain bikes are definitely less common. Essentially, they don’t have any suspension to speak of. They’re much more affordable but without the comfort of suspension.

Because of this, most have wider frames and tires to compensate somewhat, and it does help to absorb shock from the trail. Rigid mountain bikes have lower tire pressure which reduces the impact you’ll actually feel. 

Hardtail bikes are easier to maintain than full suspension bikes, but they absorb more shock than rigid bikes do. They’re also typically more affordable than full suspension bikes, because they don’t have rear shocks.

It’s a common design for cross country mountain bikes, and all mountain bikes. That said, you’ll rarely see this on a downhill bike, since the front fork does the job of absorbing nearly all of the impact of the trail.

Wheel Size

First, for kids’ mountain bikes, you’ll usually see wheels that are about 24 inches. This can vary, but it’s not often larger than 24 inches. If kids are really young, they might use 20 inch wheels.

29 inch wheels are great for long rides. You can cover a lot of trail territory on these and they’re a favorite for cross country mountain bikes. The only downside is it can take a little but to get going and get your momentum up.

The good news is that once you have your momentum, they keep it going and easily roll over obstacles. 

26 inch wheels used to be the standard. However, it’s not as common anymore, and 27.5 inch wheels are seen as a reliable, more common option.

These are used for pretty much any type of riding, since you get the best features of each wheel size. Whether you prefer hardtail or full suspension, they’re easy to maneuver and get over tough terrain.

Frame Materials

Steel is a popular frame material, and it’s certainly affordable and durable enough for even the toughest terrain. The only downside is that, for mountain trail riding, it’s somewhat heavy. 

Carbon fiber is another frame material choice, and it’s nearly feather weight compared to steel.

Cross country riders love it because of that; it’s much easier to take a lightweight frame anywhere, and it’s quite strong too. However, it is more expensive than other frame materials. 

Aluminum alloy is certainly one of the top choices in mountain bike frame materials. It’s durable, just like you need in a good mountain bike frame.

While it is strong, it’s also significantly lighter than other frame materials like steel, although not quite as lightweight as carbon fiber. It’s a good medium, and it’s much more affordable than many materials.

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 Reviewed

1. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • Shimano 7-speed rear derailleur
  • Threadless headset
  • Front and rear disc brakes
  • All-terrain tires with alloy rims
  • Beach cruiser pedals

If you’re looking for a mountain bike with fool-proof technical specs and a great reputation, you’ve found the bike for you.

The Mongoose Dolomite mountain bike combines a sturdy steel frame and all-terrain tires with lightweight alloy tire rims to ensure a stable yet lightweight bike. To make struggling up hills a thing of the past, the bike includes a Shimano rear derailleur with seven unique speeds and twist shifters that make changing gears a breeze – even while riding. 

The headset of the bike is threadless and can be adjusted to fit the needs of riders of every height, which makes it not only flexible in terms of use but also incredibly convenient for multi-rider households.

It can adjust to fit anyone with a height of 5’6 – 6’0. The bike’s pedals are beach cruiser pedals, while the brakes used are both front and rear located disc brakes. 

Pros:

  • Pre-greased wheel bearings for easy setup
  • Features a variety of reflectors to keep riders safe
  • Giddyup memory foam seat is comfortable for long rides

Cons:

  • Accidental shifting when reaching for right handle bar due to the small handlebar on that side
  • Sensitive twist shifter 

Last update on 2020-06-18 at 06:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er Mountain Bike MTB

Key features:

  • Shimano 8-speed EF-51 shifter/brake lever
  • Shimano Altus RD-M280 rear derailleur
  • Shimano TX50 front derailleur
  • Double alloy frame
  • Mechanical disc brakes

The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is an updated version of the previous Blackjack, boasting a ton of great new features and improvements.

The bike has a sturdy hydroformed alloy frame that has been carefully hand built by professionals. Its wheels are 29 inches and doubled walled, giving them the ability to roll over obstacles and uneven, rocky terrain.

The EF-51 shifter and brake levers are combined and can switch between 8 speeds, with the brakes themselves being mechanical discs that stop on a dime. 

The bike’s front and back derailleurs are both from Shimano, with the rear boasting 8 speeds.

Sporting a classic black coat with bright red and yellow fixtures and the brand name in large white letters, the mountain bike is as eye catching as it is durable.

Moving into the bells and whistles of the bike, it comes equipped with a water bottle holder and a kickstand. 

Pros:

  • Minimal adjustments needed for brakes
  • Slight handlebar rise for easy maneuvering around corners
  • Included kickstand
  • Designs are laminated to the bike instead of stick-on

Cons:

  • Seat isn’t very comfortable
  • Square bearing crankset with riveted chain rings not ideal for intense trails

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Schwinn Traxion Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • 24-speed Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifters
  • Front and rear mechanical disc brakes
  • Front and rear Shimano derailleurs
  • Aluminum dual suspension frame
  • Schwinn suspension fork

The 29” Schwinn Traxion mountain bike is a full suspension bike that makes quick work of rugged mountain paths and rocky terrain.

It features an aluminum dual suspension frame with a Schwinn suspension fork and highly-reliable mechanical disc brakes that work together to keep rides smooth and stops crisp. 

The Schwinn Traxion uses a 24-speed Shimano EZ Fire shifters and rear derailleur and trusted alloy cranks.

These handy cranks are ideal for ensuring low levels of maintenance and steady, reliable gearing.

When it comes to durability, the Schwinn is top of the line, boasting double-walled alloy rims and knobby tires that are made for mountains. 

Pros:

  • Quick release wheels
  • Easy to find the perfect gear thanks to its various speeds
  • Shocks provide a cushion on rough surfaces
  • Quick, simple assembly with little need for instructions

Cons:

  • Neon designs are prone to fading over time
  • Might be uncomfortable for shorter riders to use

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Merax 26″ Mountain Bicycle with Suspension Fork

Key features:

  • Shimano 24-speed derailleurs
  • Dual disc brakes
  • Kenda 26-inch tires with aluminum rims
  • Threadless headset

The Merax 26” Mountain Bicycle is the definition of “great quality for the money”. Coming in at an extremely affordable price point, it is both accessible to all riders and well-known for its flawless execution on the trails.

Its lightweight aluminum frame has the means to support up to 330 pounds, which makes this bike ideal for riders of all shapes and sizes, while its large, high-quality tires and rims ensure a smooth ride. 

Both the front and rear derailleurs are from Shimano. The shifter is also from Shimano, boasting 24-speeds and smooth shifting that takes riders from one speed to another within seconds.

When it comes time to stop, the dual disc brakes kick in within the blink of an eye, bringing the bike to a quick stop on any terrain. 

Pros:

  • Two modes: street or mountain bike
  • Removable front tire for easy transportation
  • Eye Catching graphics and vibrant colors 
  • Quick response time for gear changes

Cons:

  • Poor instructions for assembly
  • Uncomfortable stock seat that might need replacing

Last update on 2020-06-18 at 06:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Eurobike S7 Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • Disc brake system 
  • Shimano derailleurs and shifters
  • 27.5” wheels with aluminum frames

This Eurobike Mountain Bike is a piece of cake when it comes to assembly, and is also surprisingly affordable despite its high-quality components.

The frame of the bike is made from durable aluminum, with its tire rims being made of the same strong material.

The tires themselves are 27.5-inches in size and boast a plethora of knobs for gripping uneven ground and bouncing over debris. 

The front and rear derailleurs of the bike are from Shimano. The disc brake system used has been trusted by professionals for years, so riders can have peace of mind knowing that they can stop on a dime if necessary.

In addition, the bike is ideal for taller riders and riders who have a larger body mass. 

Pros:

  • No uncomfortable vibrations of movements while riding
  • Comes with tools for easy assembly
  • Multiple color choices to choose from
  • Disc brake system that provides more stopping power than that of traditional V-Brake systems
  • Great beginner bike
  • Smooth gears that are easy to change

Cons:

  • Fragile thread cover screws 
  • Some parts feel like it might bend easily

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Mongoose TYAX Comp Men’s Mountain Bike

Key features: 

  • Shimano M-315 hydraulic disc brakes
  • 160mm rotors for superior stopping power
  • 31.5-pounds in total
  • Double wall tubeless alloy rims
  • Aluminum frame is lightweight

Mongoose brings us a classic mountain bike with that striking black and white appearance.

The aluminum material used to craft the frame of this bike promise that it will be lightweight, yet strong, while you cruise the trails. Hydraulic lockout system controls energy and helps keep you safe.

The bike comes unassembled, but you can always pay a bit more to have it come assembled. A little extra from your budget, if you have it, to get you out on the road faster is always a good deal.

Stainless steel spokes on the wheels are strong and durable, meant to last and withstand getting hit. Mechanical disc brakes have 160mm rotors for the front and the rear.

With stopping power like this, you can take riskier moves and ride in wet weather feeling a little safer.

Pros: 

  • Great price for what you get
  • Frame feels heavy, like it can take hitting the trails hard
  • Smooth riding, great for the average rider

Cons: 

  • Must inspect upon unboxing to ensure parts are assembled correctly
  • Brakes require a lot of strength to go downhill

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Frame made from aluminum to be lightweight and durable
  • 3 gears in the front and 8 in the back
  • 80mm of suspension for rough rides

Diamondback is known for making high-quality bicycles, including this Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike that’s built with an aluminum alloy frame. Don’t let the strength of the frame fool you though, since the bike is still lightweight with 27.5-inch wheels that will help you roll right over rough terrain without a problem.

Since these wheels are so large too, it’s easy to handle this bike even on more challenging surfaces. Just adjust your 3 gears in the front and 8 gears in the back to give you a smooth ride no matter where you go.

With 80mm of suspension, it’s easy to ride this Diamondback bike wherever you need to go, and it helps that it’s durable too. This means that if you do happen to hit a rough patch, you won’t need to worry about your bike being damaged.

Pros

  • You can switch between gear shifts effortlessly
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • The tires and suspension mean less fatigue in rougher terrains
  • Great customer support

Cons

  • If you plan on sitting, the saddle can be uncomfortable
  • The brake cables appear less durable
  • Your hands may hurt from the handgrips on longer rides

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

8. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • Aluminum-alloy frame is tough and long-lasting
  • 21-speeds
  • Linear pull V brakes
  • Padded seat for comfort over rough terrain
  • Schwinn suspension fork
  • Strong tires for all terrain 
  • Lightweight but very strong alloy wheels

Schwinn is another well-known brand for bikes and they offer a whole slew of options. This price for a quality mountain bike is spectacular.

It has a vintage appearance with its all black design with a tan brand logo across the bottom bar on the frame.

Feel the wind in your face as you ride in comfort across the rough mountain trails. Schwinn suspension fork gives you more control and allows you to feel freer as you ride.

Alloy wheels assist by providing stability. Quick gear changes are possible with the 21-speed twist shifters. They are easy to use and the Shimano rear derailleur helps as well.

Pros: 

  • Front shock has the right amount of stiffness, especially for commuter riders
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comfortable seat for long hours of riding
  • Reliable and good quality for the affordable price point
  • Paint job is unique and the finish is shiny
  • Additional mounts for water bottle and rear rack

Cons: 

  • Dérailleurs occasionally shift rough
  • Small, so not great for taller riders
  • Handlebars sit a bit too low for comfort

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

9. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • Aluminum dual suspension frame is sturdy
  • Shimano trigger shifters
  • 24 speeds
  • Front disc brakes with quick stopping action
  • Steel rear triangle

This Schwinn bike is cleverly crafted to be both lightweight and solidly supportive. What we mean by that is the aluminum frame is lightweight and made to be rust resistant.

This frame is supported by a steel rear triangle that allows for heavier users and a more robust ride through rugged territory.

Rims and tires provide excellent traction during all types of weather. This means that you can still get out there if the ground is muddy or wet without worrying about your bike failing under the pressure.

With the 24-speed gearing system, you can accelerate your speed to match the conditions that you are in easily.

Pros: 

  • Spectacular design
  • Smooth and supportive ride
  • Suspension fork makes for comfortable ride
  • Great as a beginner mountain bikes
  • Smooth finger shifters
  • Aluminium frame that’s lightweight yet very sturdy

Cons: 

  • Front brake is not as good as others
  • The seat is hard and not comfortable

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Key features:

  • 26-inch wheels with a 17-inch frame
  • 21-speed
  • Slight rise handlebar
  • Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur
  • Steel frame material

Huffy is another well-known bike brand that is bringing a banger out at an affordable price. This bike is another looker with its colorful steel frame.

However, this bike is heavier than others on this list due to its steel frame. The bike weighs about 42-pounds in total. For some riders, this is beneficial and they enjoy the weight, so it is all about how you like your ride to feel.

Knobby tires keep you on track even over rough terrain. The slight rise handlebar offers a more comfortable ride to reduce shoulder strain.

Pros: 

  • Steel frame is durable
  • Comfortable ride with less body strain
  • Comes with a rear derailleur guard 
  • Good for shorter individuals
  • Easy to assemble; about 15 minutes

Cons: 

  • Bike chain feels a little cheap
  • Difficult to shift gears

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which One is the Best?

All the options on this list were chosen because they offer something worthwhile and are generally a great choice for something under $500. However, after reviewing each option, it is clear that the best is the Diamondback Overdrive.

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 11:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.