Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 | Reviews

If you’ve been looking for a mountain bike that will serve you well for a long time but won’t empty your pockets, this guide can help you find a reliable bike in the best mountain bikes under $500 of the market. 

Deciding how much to spend on a mountain bike can be tricky. You don’t want to be too thrifty with something you will use frequently to ride around town or have fun off the paved roads, but it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice everything else just to get to best mountain bike on the market. For most buyers, there is a reasonable limit they wouldn’t like to exceed even if the product they could obtain if they paid more is clearly superior. Those buyers would probably be best served with one of the midrange mountain bikes that are capable for a broad spectrum of duties, but still don’t come close to the price of professional equipment.

U.S. $500 should be enough to get a very decent mountain bike produced by a premium brand. At this price, you are shopping well above the budget category and some of these products actually can stand in as worthy replacements for racing bicycles for beginners. However, you should never make a decision based on brand image alone and you should carefully study the technical specifications of the bike you want to buy. If you are not an expert in these matters, this guideline will present you with the basic facts about this bike category, so that you can make a smart, well-informed investment.

5 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 to Consider

 

1

Merax Finiss 26’’

Merax Finiss 26 Aluminum 21 Speed Mg Alloy Wheel Mountain Bike

Constructed from heat-treated aluminum, this mountain bike manages to combine very light weight with an affordable price, making is a solid choice for those looking to get a durable vehicle that can be carried around with ease. Don’t get fooled by its elegance – the frame is capable of enduring heavy riders with ease, as its recommended workload is at 220 lb (maximum 330 lb). The shifting gear is made by Shimano and features 21 speeds, and the bike is noted for one of the smoothest transition mechanisms in the market. The bike comes with standard-sized 26’’ wheels and 80 mm suspension fork that jointly account for excellent shock absorption capacities of Merax Finiss. This model also does very well in the aesthetic department, as it arrives in three different color combos: black & green, red & white, and black & red.

 

2

2016 Gravity FSX 1.0

Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

A frequent choice for mountain bikers seeking for the best price-to-performance ratio, this full suspension model won’t mind if you put to a little endurance test. With 24 speeds and 26’’ inch wheels, it meets the standards for its class, but it stands out because its suspension system and brakes on both wheels make it far more effective on true mountain biking trails. The frame is made of aluminum, while handlebars and wheel rims are crafted of stainless steel, contributing to overall sturdy construction. This is the reason why 2016 Gravity FSX 1.0 can be fully expected to last longer than most competitors, even if it’s regularly used for off-road racing. It is colored silver, making it just as attractive to casual riders as to aspiring pros.

 

3

GMC Topkick Dual Suspension

GMC Topkick Dual Suspension Mountain Bike

This is another intriguing entry-level option for those who want a full suspension bike capable of mimicking professional models (up to a degree). It features a very strong aluminum frame designed to spread the weight around, as well as a floating beam suspension design and disc brakes on both wheels. The 21-speed shifter and rear derailleur are made by Shimano, while suspension forks are signed by Zoom, and both parts are very solid for this price range. Another distinct feature of GMC Topkick is the high-quality of its wheelsets, with high flange alloy hubs and V-shaped profile. Overall, the bike is very easy to control and can be stopped promptly on almost any surface, making it a very safe vehicle.

 

4

Dynacraft Woman’s 26’’ 21 Speed Air Blast

Dynacraft Women's 26- 21 Speed Air Blast Bike

As a standard-sized mountain bike with 26’’ wheels, this model is capable of heavy utilization, even if its exteriors won’t necessarily evoke that impression. Sure, it’s pink-colored and its shape is more curvaceous than a typical mountain bike, but this is a full-suspension model with a tough frame made of steel and a21-speed Shimano shifter. It is made to appeal to the ladies who live life in the fast lane, as it can easily switch from paved to muddy roads without causing much discomfort for the rider – while weighing just over 43 lbs. The longevity of this model is best illustrated by the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and forks.

 

5

GMC Yukon Fatbike 26″

GMC Yukon Fat BikeFrom its rugged exteriors to advanced gearing and braking technology, everything on this bike screams ‘outdoor action ’ very loudly. It boasts 26’’wheels with aluminum rims and broad, 4’’ tires, allowing the bike’s owner to move with confidence across virtually any kind of terrain. GMC Yukon Fatbike has a Shimano Revo 7-speed shifter paired with Tourney derailleur, resulting in a pleasant experience for the rider even when the road conditions are a bit on the rough side. It is primarily intended for riders not taller than 6 feet, and can be used by both genders.

 

Hardtail vs. Full suspension – which is better?
Mountain bikes fall into two distinct groups based on the suspension system they use, each of them coming with a separate set of advantages. Hardtail bikes have only a single suspension fork on the front wheel, while full suspension models feature two forks – one on each wheel. The difference between the two blueprints may not seem huge on the surface, but only until you understand that each calls for a completely different style of use. That’s why it’s impossible to say which construction scheme is better – they are not meant to perform the same kind of duties.

Typically, you’d want to use a full suspension mountain bike if you intend to ride extensively or primarily on dirt trails, since it grants you better maneuverability and increased shock resistance. Conversely, hardtails behave best on flat, paved roads where they are unlikely to encounter too many bumps. There is also a matter of price – high-end dual suspension models tend to be more expensive, while even the best hardtail mountain bikes remain within the financial range of the average buyer. That’s why less demanding users could be better served with the simpler design and better technical quality of a good hardtail, even if they might leave some flexibility on the table.

Why fat bike is a good choice for mountain biking?

Mountain bike riding in winter-Fat Bikes

Off-road biking is far more challenging than normal cycling, both for the rider and for the bike. A nice solution to neutralize the additional stress is to use specialized equipment designed to reduce the degree of difficulty and preserve your investment. So called ‘fat bikes’ feature wider tires (usually around 3.8’’), giving them the ability to adjust to rough terrain – including mud or snow. Since a wider tire results in lower ground pressure, fat bikes are more stable and represent a great choice for anyone who likes to exercise during the winter months.

However, these models are not limited to rough-surface riding and can be used in urban conditions as well, which means they provide very good value due to versatility. Getting a fat bike like Mongoose Dolomite as a second set of wheels to be taken out after the snow season starts is a great idea for those who can afford it, while in colder climates these bikes are strong candidates for the all-rounder role.

Why Dynacraft Woman’s 26’’ is the best bike under $500 for ladies?

Dynacraft Women's 24-21 Speed Rip Curl Bike-white

Women are built differently than men, and they consequently need bikes with different specifications in order to perform up to the maximum of their physical abilities. Few manufacturers are producing mountain bike models specifically for ladies, limiting the offer to smaller general-purpose bikes. That’s where Dynacraft Woman’s 26’’ really shines – it is super-light and elegantly designed, while packing a lot of power at the same time. With suspension on both wheels, it grants the rider a lot of freedom on the asphalt and off of it, while at the same time decreasing the level of energy that needs to be applied to steer it. In short, Dynacraft finally made a budget bike for the ladies that scores well in every major category, from solid technical quality to great user experience.

Final considerations

It is impossible to recommend a single model that would be perfect for every type of use, as each construction type fits certain conditions better than others. Before you settle for a model, it is recommended that you think about planned usage of your new toy. You should aim for the bike with strengths that actually mean something for you, not the one that looks best on paper. Be honest with yourself – if you don’t have a serious intention to get out of the city, there is absolutely no need to pay up for a bike specialized for dirt and mud!


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