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Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 (Latest Editions of 2020)

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

When buying a mountain bike, either for yourself or your kid, it’s easy to overspend. However, if you’re a casual mountain biker or beginner or want to get your kid introduced to mountain biking, you can surely find some of the best mountain bikes under 500.

What you should look for in your bike is a solid model that comes equipped with quality tires and can smoothly transition from the streets to the more rugged and punishing terrains.

Want to buy a mountain bike that doesn’t break the bank? Here’s our list of the 10 best mountain bikes that cost less than 500 bucks from which you can take your pick.

Best Mountain Bikes That Costs Less Than $500

1.  Marlin 4 ($489.99)

Marlin 4 grey

If you want to get started with mountain biking, Marlin 4 with Bontrager knobby tires from Trek backed by a lifetime warranty would work like a charm.

You can use Marlin 4 even for your daily commutes or can take a ride around the campus.

This entry-level MTB with a slightly curved top tube for the smaller frames (XS and S) has narrower handlebars and short-reach brake levers to give riders with short heights the necessary confidence to navigate rough terrains.

Taller riders with no problems with standover height can opt for the larger frames (M and ML) with a straight top tube.

Marlin 4 rolls on Bontrager XR2 Comp tires (2.20″) and has SR Suntour XCE 28 with 80mm to 100mm of travel and Tektro M280/MD-M281 mechanical disc brakes for excellent stopping power.

Its stylish frame comes with internal shift cable and brake hose routing, which protects your cables from the elements, thus letting them last longer.

Other notable features of this MTB include front suspension that absorbs the shock and bumps of rough terrains, 21 speeds, a wide choice of gearing, and the rack and fender mounts.

Bike Specification

  • Available in 7 frame sizes – XS (27.5″ wheel) to XXL (29″ wheel)
  • Bontrager XR2 Comp (2.20″) tires
  • 21 speeds
  • Color – Matte Anthracite/Magenta

Pros

  • Introductory mountain bike at a great price
  • Suitable even for shorter riders
  • Aesthetic design
  • Superb performance and durability
  • Trek lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Hard seat that’s uncomfortable for most beginners

2.  26” Mongoose Status 2.2 Mountain Bike ($429.99)

If you’re looking for the best mountain bikes under 500 that can be driven by men and women, and come with a strong frame and tough tires, 26” Mongoose Status 2.2 could be just what you need.

Its sleek, lightweight, strong, and durable aluminum full suspension frame with hydroformed tubing comes with a powerful suspension fork and rear shock to absorb the humps and bumps.

Thus, you can enjoy optimal control of the bike and a comfortable ride on rough and punishing terrains. For smooth rolling, the bike has knobby mountain tires (2.125”).

As is the standard among mountain bikes of this category, you’ll get 21-speed levels with the Mongoose Status 2.2.

For speed control and smooth gear change, you’ll have a Shimano rear derailleur and SRAM twist shifters. The front and rear v-brakes deliver adequate stopping power for the Mongoose Status 2.2.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 44.5 pounds
  • Aluminum MTB frame with hydroformed tubing
  • 26×2.125″ tires
  • 21-speed levels
  • Front and rear v-brakes
  • Color – Matte Anthracite/Magenta

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Shimano rear derailleur and SRAM twist shifters
  • 21-speed levels
  • Stable Knobby mountain tires
  • Adjustable seat

Cons

  • Weighs over 40 pounds
  • Assembly could be difficult, especially for beginners

3.  Raleigh Talus 1 ($430.00)

 Raleigh Talus 1

Are you a recreational rider looking for the mountain bikes under 500? If yes, the Raleigh Talus 1 with a sturdy built that you can use on basic terrain would fit the bill just right.

This durable, moderately priced mountain bike is available with progressive wheel sizing (27.5″ or 29″ tires), which gives every rider a good option to match the wheel size to his/her height.

This flexibility lets you enjoy easy handling and good balance. Designed for light dirt trail and pavement riding, the bike comes with a 100mm travel fork and 2.25″ knobby tires to help you have a comfortable ride on gravel, dirt, and pavement.

Whether you need to comfortably ride uphill, descend downhill, or find a suitable pedaling pace, the bike’s 21 gear combinations will let you do them all.

With its Tektro V-brakes, you can keep your speed under control. However, you need to remember that the Talus 1 isn’t built to endure abuse on rough terrain.

Since this bike features inbuilt eyelets to mount a rear rack and fenders, you can even use your MTB as a city/commuter bike. You’ll need to get the bike assembled, either on your own or by a professional dealer. 

Bike Specification

  • Custom formed AL-6061 heat-treated aluminum frame
  • Progressive wheel sizing (27.5″ – XS,S) (29″ – M,L,XL)
  • Vee Rubber Rail Escape Tire – 27.5×2.25″ or 29×2.25″
  • 21 speeds
  • Color – Blue/Black

Pros

  • Moderate price
  • Progressive wheel sizing
  • 5-year frame warranty
  • 30-day return

Cons

  • Takes time to assemble
  • Not designed for rough terrain

Suggested Read: Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000

4. Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike ($479.99)

 Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike

When looking for mountain bikes, it’s difficult not to mention Schwinn that has been in the bicycle industry since 1895.

The Schwinn Traxion full dual-suspension mountain bike comes with several features – right from its frame to its components, which are comparable to several similar higher-end products.

This model packs a long-lasting aluminum dual-suspension frame, which would let you enjoy years of comfortable rides.

If you want your MTB to be versatile across varying terrains and riding conditions, and have smooth gear changes, you’d appreciate the knobby mountain tires (2.25”), 24 available speeds with the Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters, and the rear and front Shimano derailleurs.

The responsive rear and front mechanical disc brakes of this Schwinn MTB are effortless to engage and impress with their stopping power.

The double-wall alloy rims add to the bike’s durability while Schwinn alloy cranks needing minimal maintenance facilitate steady gearing.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 49 pounds
  • Schwinn aluminum dual suspension frame
  • Schwinn suspension fork soak
  • 29” wheels
  • 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Rear and front mechanical disc brakes
  • Strong and light double-wall alloy rims
  • 2.25″ wide knobby mountain tires
  • Durable Schwinn alloy cranks
  • Color – neon

Pros

  • Durable aluminum frame
  • 24 speeds
  • Perfect for all terrains
  • Reasonably priced
  • Easy to assemble
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Quite heavy and may need extra effort to move it
  • Seat could seem a bit hard for some users

5. Merax FT323 Mountain Bike – Falcon ($429.99)

Merax FT323 Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for the mountain bikes from a reputed brand that give you full control, even on rough terrains, you can take a look at the Merax FT323 mountain bike.

This bike features a durable 17” frame made of heat-treated alloy and comes equipped with CPSC standard tires and wheels (26″x1.95) to roll smoothly even on punishing terrains.

With 21 rapid-fire Shimano shifter and derailleurs, you can comfortably climb up or descend down the hills and even glide on flat surfaces.

For lesser bounce when riding on rough terrain and to enjoy optimal riding efficiency, you’ll get dual (rear and front) suspensions that absorb road shock.

Merax FT323 is fitted with linear-pull V-brakes to deliver enhanced stopping power.

If riding a mountain bike had been equivalent to body aches until now, you can take a break as Merax FT323 has high-grade rubber gripped handlebars and the rider’s seat is designed to match the human body’s natural contours.

Bike Specification

  • 17″ frame (6061 heat-treated alloy)
  • 26″x1.95 wheels, certificated CPSC approved
  • Full suspension fork, certificated CPSC approved
  • Shimano ASLRS35LNBC & Shimano ASLRS35R7ET shifters
  • Shimano ARDTZ50GSBT derailleur
  • VB-968SK Linear pull brakes
  • TCSH2-MK(G4XV) crank
  • FP-806 9/16″ pedals
  • 21 speeds
  • Color – Gray and Green

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Stylish design
  • Comes 85% assembled
  • Durable heat-treated alloy frame
  • 21 speeds
  • Linear pull V-brakes with enhanced stopping power

Cons

  • The seat could start hurting some after a few miles

6.  Roscoe 24 ($499.99)

Roscoe 2

Finding the best mountain bikes under 500 for kids isn’t an easy task. Trek’s Roscoe 24 is the company’s 24″ mid-fat mountain bike that features a quality build and is made available at an affordable price.

Unlike other small adult bikes, Roscoe 24 is inspired by the adult Roscoe but built from the ground up for kids. This bike features Trek’s high-performance, durable, and rustproof aluminum frame with a sloping top tube for easier hop-on/off.

Fit for 130–150 cm tall riders, this bike has 24˝ wheels with mid-fat 2.8˝ tires for extra stability, control, and traction.

When teaching a kid how to ride a real mountain bike and help build confidence, the use of simple shifting is the ideal solution.

This train of thought explains why Roscoe 24 has a 1×8 Shimano drive train with a wide-range cassette.

Other features include Tektro mechanical disc brakes, Boost141 to deliver wider dropouts and stiffer wheels, and rear brake caliper (tucked-in) plus a closed front dropout to ensure the components don’t get damaged when the bike gets dropped.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 25.75 lbs
  • 24″ Alpha Aluminum frame
  • Chen-Shin, 24×2.80″ tires
  • Roscoe 24″ alloy fork
  • 8-speed Shimano Altus M310 and Shimano Altus M315 shifters
  • Shimano Tourney TX80 rear derailleur
  • Alloy crank, 28 T chain ring w/guard, 152 mm length
  • SunRun cassette, 11-34, 8-speed
  • Tektro MD-M280 mechanical disc brake, 160 mm rotor
  • Color – Quicksilver/Royal, Quicksilver/Purple Lotus, Roarange, and Flamingo Pink

Pros

  • Designed from the ground up for kids
  • kid-specific frame geometry
  • 1×8 drivetrain for simplicity
  • Tucked-in rear brake caliper to prevent bike damage when it’s laid down
  • Race-ready, quality components

Cons

  • Weight is slightly on the hefty side

7. Wahoo 26 ($479.99)

Wahoo 26

Wahoo 26 is a lightweight kids’ hybrid bike that will help your little one have fun riding on a variety of surfaces. Though not specifically built as a mountain bike, this Trek product is on this list because it has everything to help your kid get started with mountain biking.

Designed for 58-63˝ tall riders, Wahoo 26 features a lightweight, durable, and strong Alpha Aluminum frame that kids can easily maneuver.

To help your kid shift perfectly in all conditions and facilitate easy gear shits, Wahoo 26 comes with Shimano Acera M360 Rapidfire SL shifters with 8 speeds and Shimano Altus M310 rear derailleur.

For kid-friendly simple shifting, it has a 1×8 drivetrain. To deliver traction on different surfaces, this bike uses multi-surface tires (26×1.95″).

Thanks to closed dropouts with the company’s proprietary ThruSkew, this bike’s wheels will never drop out accidentally. Wahoo 26 has linear-pull brakes to deliver good stopping power and speed control.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 22.09 lbs
  • 26″ Alpha Silver Aluminum frame
  • Wahoo 26″ alloy fork with ThruSkew
  • 26×1.95″ tires
  • Shimano Acera M360 Rapidfire SL shifters, 8 speed
  • Shimano Altus M310 rear derailleur
  • Shimano HG31 cassette, 11-34, 8 speed
  • Bontrager alloy handlebar, 31.8mm, 15mm rise, 580mm width
  • Alloy linear-pull brakes
  • Color – Trek Black/Volt, Waterloo Blue/Quicksilver, Quicksilver/Roarange

Pros

  • Good entry-level bike for kids
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Frame geometry suitable even for smaller riders
  • 1×8 drivetrain for simplified shifting
  • Comes 85% assembled
  • ThruSkew – a safety feature to prevent accidental dropping out of wheels

Cons

  • Back tire slams down hard when going off curbs, stairs, and huge bumps

8.  Cannondale Trail 8 Bike – 2020 ($485.00)

Cannondale Trail 8 Bike

If you’re trying to find a unisex, entry-level trail bike, your search ends at Cannondale Trail 8.

Featuring a lightweight aluminum frame and dirt-ready progressive geometry, this bike delivers composure and speed to take your riding to the next level.

Its front is fitted with SR Suntour suspension fork that offers 75mm of travel. Though this fork is somewhat on the heavy side because of a coil spring, you won’t complain, especially when the terrain under your tires become less than ideal.

Cannondale Trail 8 has introductory Shimano shifters and derailleurs (front and rear) to facilitate smooth shits on basic trails and flat surfaces for this 21-speed unit.

Thanks to Tektro mechanical disc brakes paired with 160mm rotors, you’ll have adequate stopping power on demand.

Other bike features include short chainstays for traction and agility, wide bar and a short stem to deliver complete control, and a slack head angle for solid stability.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 32 lbs
  • SmartForm C3 alloy aluminum frame
  • SR Suntour M3030 fork, 75 mm travel
  • 2 wheel sizes (27.5″ and 29″)
  • 2.25″ (F)/2.0″ (R) tire width
  • WTB SX19 rims, 32h
  • Shimano Easy Fire EF41 shifters, 3×7
  • Shimano TY300 front derailleur, 34.9 clamp
  • Shimano TX800 rear derailleur  
  • 21 gears
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes, 160/160mm rotors
  • Color – Graphite

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Good ride comfort across terrains
  • Durable quality tires
  • Disk brakes with adequate stopping power on demand
  • Free tune-up within 20 hours of use or 6 months from purchase, whichever is earlier

Cons

  • Has some entry-level components, not fit for tough and punishing trails
  • Heavy and sluggish wheels

9.  Co-op Cycles REV DRT Kids’ Bike ($459.00)

Co-op Cycles REV DRT Kids' Bike

Need a bike suitable for young riders planning to improve their off-road riding game? If yes, this Co-op Cycles REV DRT model featuring in our list is what you should bring home.

Though this isn’t a professional mountain bike and comes with some entry-level components, it’s quite capable of letting your kid ride away from paved roads.

This bike’s lightweight 6061 aluminum frame has a heavy suspension fork with 80mm of travel to absorb road bumps and deliver enhanced control.

With extra-wide, 2.6-inch all-terrain tires that soften slight bumps, your kid can enjoy a stable and comfortable ride.

This 8-speed unit has 1x gearing for simplified shifting and offers plenty of choices for acceleration and climbing.

With Tektro hydraulic disc brakes that deliver responsive braking power in all conditions, your kid can enjoy off-road riding confidently.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 31 pounds
  • 6061 aluminum multi-speed frame
  • 24″ wheels
  • 2.6″ tires
  • SR Suntour XCT JR24 suspension fork, 80mm travel
  • Shimano Tourney Revo 8-speed shifters
  • Shimano Tourney front and rear derailleur
  • 8 gears
  • Tektro hydraulic disc brake
  • Color – Olive Green

Pros

  • Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame
  • 2.6-inch all-terrain tires
  • Shimano 8-speed shifters and front/rear derailleurs
  • Hydraulic disc brakes for responsive braking power
  • Free tune-up within 20 hours of use or 6 months from purchase, whichever is earlier

Cons

  • Has some entry-level components, which make it unfit for punishing and tougher trails

10.  Early Rider Limited Seeker 16 Kids’ Bike ($439.00)

Early Rider Limited Seeker 16 Kids' Bike

Finding the right bike to let young riders (between 3.5 and 6 years old) discover the delight of off-pavement adventure isn’t easy.

To make your choice a bit easier, this is yet another option that we feature on our list.

Featuring a lightweight and beautifully finished aluminum frame that weighs just 13 pounds, this bike easier to turn, pedal, slow down, and even pick up when it falls over.

The radially spoked wheels run on low maintenance, sealed cartridge bearings, and come wrapped in Vee Crown Gem 2.25-inch balloon mud tires.

This, together with widely-spaced knobs and a big air volume deliver excellent grip for off-road adventures and the necessary suspension to ride over jumps and bumps.

The Seeker 16’s single-speed drivetrain uses a belt drive that’s smooth, safe, and quiet.

With a light touch, the Tektro brake levers that are placed within easy reach of small hands would deliver the required power to stop or slow down.

Bike Specification

  • Weight – 13 pounds
  • Lightweight and beautifully finished aluminum frame
  • 16″ wheels
  • Vee Crown Gem 16 x 2.25” WB 27TPI tires
  • 6061 aluminum fork
  • Tektro 837AL 102mm arms brake
  • 1 gear
  • Color – Brushed aluminum

Pros

  • Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame
  • 2.25-inch balloon mud tires
  • Ritchey Logic controls
  • Tektro brake levers
  • Free tune-up within 20 hours of use or 6 months from purchase, whichever is earlier

Cons

  • Minimalist aesthetic
  • Slightly steep pricing compared to other bikes in the same category

Final Thought

When looking for the best mountain bikes under 500, either for yourself or your kid,you need to find a model that blends functionality with affordability and comfort. For some, aesthetics matter as well. Whatever be your criteria, you’ll surely find a suitable bike in the list above.

Here’s wishing you (and your kid) happy mountain biking!  

best mountain bikes under $1000

Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000 of 2020 (Latest Editions)