There are many types of mountain bikes and with a wide range in prices, it’s difficult to determine which model would best suit your needs. For beginner riders, you don’t need an expensive bike to enjoy the trails. The best mountain bike under 500 dollars is an affordable way to start mountain biking.

Beginner mountain bikers don’t need to purchase an expensive model with advanced features to get active in the sport. A good mountain bike under 500 dollars will have a solid construction and reliable tires to help you navigate over rugged terrain. 

To help you sort through all the different models on the market, we have made a list of six high quality and affordable mountain bikes. With our list and comprehensive buying guide, all you have to do is make your pick and head out to the trail.

How To Choose A Mountain Bike Under $500 – Buying Guide


Wheel Size

For all mountain bike riders, it is important to consider what wheel size you need to ride comfortably. The best mountain bikes under 500 dollars will have various wheel sizes available to suit different riders. 

Most adult mountain bike riders will use a wheel that has a diameter of 26 or 29 inches. There is also an option in the middle of those diameters that is 27.5 inches. A 26-inch wheel is the standard size that is unisex for all riders. The smaller size gives riders better control over their bike, but picks up more speed.  

However, riders who are taller or prefer more efficient pedaling, you will need to use 29-inch tires. The increase in diameter still provides a good amount of control over your bike, but it allows you to gain more momentum and makes pedaling more efficient, which saves energy. Most riders who use 29-inch tires have more experience on the trail and are comfortable riding on more aggressive terrain. 

For younger cyclists, you will probably find that the best mountain bikes for the money will use a 24-inch tire. This is one of the smallest tire sizes available for mountain bikes, which is suited for riders who weigh less than 120 pounds. The smaller tire size of kid’s mountain bikes also reduces the frame to ensure that younger riders can comfortably mount and dismount from their bike. 


While tire size is connected to the wheel size, it is important for riders to look at the tire that is included with their purchase. Mountain bike tires need to have an aggressive tread to help you navigate uneven and soft terrain. The best cheap mountain bikes will include tires that have deep grooves and large knobs on the tire which improves your grip. 

The best mountain bike under 500 dollars with bumpy tires, will help riders confidently navigate over slick rocks, fallen logs, and pedal through sand, snow, or mud. An improved grip also gives riders better balance and control over the terrain. This ensures that you stay upright on the trail. 

Mountain bike under 500 reviews can be a great resource to determine the tread of the tires. Reviews can also help you determine if you have found quality tires that will keep you safe on the trail. If you read any poor reviews that mention tires slipping, you should look for another model that includes a model with aggressive tread. 

Rim Width

The rim width of top rated cheap mountain bikes should be wide enough that you stay stable on the trail, but not as wide as fat bikes. A wider rim width means that your tires will be more balanced and stable, but it can also make you slower. 

The wider your rim is, the slower you will go. For some riders, a wider rim gives them more confidence to navigate on uneven terrain because it keeps them stable. But if you’re a rider who likes to go fast and feels confident on their bike with standard rims, a wider rim may hinder your performance on the trail. 

While most rims are a standard size, you may find some rim sizes increased to about 3 inches. The wider rim is usually included on kid’s mountain bikes for under 500 to keep them stable. Adult riders will most likely be comfortable on a standard rim. 

No matter which rim size you choose, it is important to match your tires to the rim size. A wider rim means a wider tire. A standard tire will not fit a wider rim. Men’s and women’s mountain bikes under 500 should always include the rim width as a part of the product specifications.   


When you’re looking for the best value mountain bike, you want to find a design with a good quality frame. A less expensive mountain bike doesn’t mean that your frame has to have a poor-quality frame. There are many top rated cheap mountain bikes that use high quality materials in the bike’s frame design.  

The most common material used in affordable mountain bikes is aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight but strong, which makes it a great choice for mountain bike riding. Steel is another material that is featured in some mountain bike frames, but the downsides is that it is heavier and more expensive than aluminum. 

Good mountain bikes under 500 dollars will usually feature an aluminum frame because the material is affordable and lightweight. If you are looking for an extra-lightweight bike, you would need to purchase a carbon fiber or titanium frame. No bikes that feature carbon fiber or titanium frames can be purchased for less than $500 dollars, which makes them best for experienced or advanced mountain bike riders. 

Front and Rear Shock

Suspension is another important feature of the best cheap mountain bikes, which helps smooth out your ride to make it more comfortable to sit in your saddle. Most suspension systems rely on front or rear shocks. The three types of suspension are rigid, hardtail, and full. 

Rigid suspension bikes use a solid frame and do not have any front or rear shocks. This means that the bike is not very good with absorbing shock or vibrations, which can make for a bumpy ride. However, rigid suspension is the most affordable option, and it requires little upkeep. 

A hardtail mountain bike under $500 dollars would use a front shock in its suspensions system to help absorb some shock and vibration from the trail. The rear tire is left with a rigid suspension. While more expensive than rigid suspension, having a front shock helps make your ride smoother. If you want some suspension, a hardtail mountain bike is still an affordable option. 

If you are willing to spend a little more, the best mountain bikes for the money will use a full suspension system. Full suspension means that there is a front and rear shock included in the frame to absorb shocks and vibrations. With more cushioning in the shocks, a full suspension mountain bike under 500 dollars will very comfortable to ride and is an excellent choice for rugged trails. You will need to perform maintenance on your shocks to keep them in good working order, which is why it is important to invest in a shock pump with your full suspension bike.



Q: How Much Should I Spend On A Decent Mountain Bike?


The best cheap mountain bikes do not have to cost thousands of dollars, and there are plenty of models that you can purchase for less than $500 dollars. For beginner riders, good mountain bikes under 500 dollars will provide them with all the features they need to safely and confidently navigate the trail. The bike should also be durable enough to last you multiple seasons or until you feel confident in your skills to invest in an advanced mountain bike.

Q: Is It Cheaper To Build Your Own Mountain Bike?


No, custom bikes will always be more expensive than purchasing a pre-built mountain bike. For beginner riders, you can get everything you need in a pre-built design. Custom mountain bikes are used by experienced and advanced riders because it allows them to pick the elements they want to incorporate into their bike. While that may sound like a great benefit, the price of custom bikes is high because you can buy so many expensive parts. 

If you are not familiar with how to build your own custom bike, you will then have to spend more money to pay someone to construct and assemble your bike. This only adds to the cost of a custom bike, and you would likely have to pay thousands of dollars for your parts and design. It is better for beginners to find the best mountain bike under 500 dollars instead of choosing a custom design.

Q: Do You Really Need An Expensive Mountain Bike?


No, the best budget mountain bike will provide you with a durable bike that you can use on all types of terrain. You should not have to spend thousands of dollars on a mountain bike to ride on the trail. For beginner mountain bike riders, it is recommended that you start with a beginner mountain bike under $500 dollars to get a feel for the sport. Most expensive mountain bikes are only used by advanced or experienced riders.

Globo Surf Overview

With the best mountain bike under 500 dollars, you can test your skills on the trail and fall in love with the sport of mountain biking. For beginner riders, expensive features are unnecessary, and a $500 mountain bike will suit your needs. To help you find the best value mountain bike, our article walks you through a list of quality products and highlights what features to consider before making your purchase. With our help, you’ll find exactly what you need, so you can explore new mountain paths.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!