Ask cycling enthusiasts, and they would confirm the idea which states: finding the best mountain bikes under 500 is like walking a tightrope.
Think I’m bluffing? Just search for a good mountain bike on your own. Apart from the variety of brands, there are so many types of mountain bikes that narrowing down your choice to a single option won’t be easy. What makes the task more difficult is to search for a bike that fits your size. After that, you have to decide on things like saddle shape, wheel width, frame material and paddle side.
In case you are feeling dizzy, check this article as we are here to help.
Luckily for you, we have tested 50+ mountain bikes over the past few months. As our search began to conclude, so did the list of bikes under our consideration. Consequently, here we are, to present you with a detailed review of the five best mountain bikes under 500.
Let’s take a look to find out which of the five bikes suit your needs the best:
Table of Contents
Boosting disk brakes, a 3*8 drivetrain, an aluminum frame and a spring fork, this bike has everything you may want to see on a mountain bike. That said, features on its own aren’t enough, for what actually matters is the performance.
Consequently, to see how this bike performs on real off-road tracks, scroll down for a detailed review.
Be it mountain or the best road bikes under 500, three frames are used interchangeably: steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Of these three, aluminum is the lightest, stiffest and yet the cheapest. And since this bike isn’t the costliest, it has gone for the aluminum frame.
However, in case you are wondering, being cheap doesn’t mean that aluminum frames are low quality. Rather, since they are lightweight, aluminum frames make a bike easy to maneuver, a must-have feature in bikes which you’ll ride in off-road conditions.
That said, aluminum frame has one shortcoming: it won’t absorb off-road vibrations. To make up for it, Gravity FSX has provided this bike with a spring fork. This fork, by sussing-out off-road vibrations, will allow you to travel for faster and longer periods with minimum fuss.
Another reason why you may want to buy this bike is its drivetrain. If you are riding uphill, you can put the bike into the shortest gear to move ahead with minimum pedaling. Conversely, if you want to enjoy its speed going downhill, you can use the bigger gears to schmooze down.
Despite its low price tag, Gravity FSX hasn’t compromised on the features of this bike: a fact more evident once you see disc brakes next to its wheels. These brakes provide reliable stopping power regardless of the terrain you are cycling on. What’s more, if you think you don’t need the extra braking force, you can change the rotor of the brakes with minimum fuss. Also, if you live up north – where rainy weather is a common fixture, relax as these disc brakes won’t ditch you on a rainy pathway.
- Has reliable disc brakes
- Versatile drivetrain
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Spring fork to absorb off-road vibrations
- Isn’t Easy to Assemble
No product comes without any side effects, and this bike is no different. That said since its shortcoming relates to its assembly – the pre-driving period, you would forget it the moment you start riding on it.
Provided your cycling terrain is extra difficult, one suspension might not be enough to handle road bumps. What you need, therefore, is the dual suspension provided by the Vilano Blackjack Mountain Bike. By absorbing the vibrations, the dual suspension will let you travel long distances with no pains.
Starting from the frame, Vilano has gone for a full suspension, aluminum frame in this bike. Apart from providing maximum weight savings, this lightweight frame has made the bike easy to maneuver.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it would break down taking abuse from rough terrains. As long as you keep the bike on paved roads or slightly rough terrains, the aluminum frame will never let you down.
On towards the most important feature of this bike, and the dual suspension inevitably stands to the occasion. With one end of the suspension supporting the lower frame – and the other hinging on the back wheel, the Floating Beam Suspension, by sussing-out the off-road vibrations with its spring technology, won’t allow them to come near you.
Just like the dual suspension, Vilano has also provided this bike with dual disc brakes. These brakes have extreme stopping power, making them a must-have if you are to travel in adverse conditions.
Also, once you have used the brakes once or twice, you’d be able to gauge exactly how much force is required to generate the required stopping power. It means you won’t have to exert extra force to stop the bike.
If you are a veteran cycling enthusiast, you’d love to find that this bike offers 21-speeds. Depending on the type of terrain you are cycling on, you can use any of the speeds to make your journey a memorable one. As for the novices, you don’t need to worry as the extra number of gears has no bearing on the price of this bike.
Finishing on a low note, one feature of this bike which disappointed me was its pedals. They look cheap and behave no differently. If you ask me, I’d recommend changing them the moment you assemble the bike.
- Has Dual Suspension to fight off-road vibrations
- Beautiful Matte Black/Blue design
- Offers 21-speeds and front and rear disc brakes
- Has a comfortable seat
- Pedals are of low quality
In case you are wondering, changing the pedals won’t weigh heavily on your bank account. What’s more – even if you decide to change the pedals, the initial cost of the bike is such that it won’t exceed the 500mark.
If you want to have a bike that would turn heads even from miles away, you need to invest your money in the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike. Conversely, if you aren’t so enthusiastic about aesthetics, the features of this bike still has something to offer.
Despite the fact that it is an entry level bike, you wouldn’t guess it while looking at its fork. Make no mistake, the fork isn’t out of the world, but it gives a soft recoil when fighting off-road bumps, hence giving you the confidence to cycle on rough terrains.
That is, whether the fork will get a bit spiky once the number of bumps gets bigger, relatively simple rides won’t trouble it, hence allowing you to focus more on the ride at hand. As for the steering, it is confident and allows you to manage high-speed descents without any fuss. That said, when the descent gets a bit tricky, the fork will show you its limits.
Turning our attention towards the wheels – and I’ve to say I have seen better. Yes, they have an in-built puncture resistance layer, but the width of the wheels makes the bike incapable of handling rougher terrains.
Another feature of this bike that failed to impress me was its pseudo-suede saddle. As suggested by the fact that you won’t find it on many bikes, the seat seems as hard as they come. So if you are planning a long ride on your bike, this seat might prove to be a handful.
- Easy to Assemble
- Very lightweight – weights just 31.5lbs
- Has a confident steering/handlebars
- Decent fork
- Seat is way too hard
- Width of the wheels is a concern
If you think your terrain would mainly consist of paved roads or half-built terrains – with an occasional rough ride, but no long distance traveling, this bike may just suit you.
Many people think that men’s bikes are no different from women’s. However, as you’ll see throughout the remainder of this review, differences exist. And by adopting those differences, Murtisol has churned out a quality bike for women.
The biggest difference between men and women’s bikes lies in the top tube. Since women typically have shorter arms and torsos, they need a bike with a shorter top tube – which means less distance between the handlebars and the seat. Unsurprisingly, it is exactly what this bike provides.
Apart from being shorter, the design of the top tube complements a women’s body shape. It allows women to better stand over clearance while standing on the bike. Also, the distance between the handlebars is kept deliberately short to complement the size of a women’s arms. Hence, if you have any doubts regarding the feminism of this road bike, they should erase now.
Turning our attention towards the gearing, and Murtisol has provided this bike with a 24-speed Shimano Drivetrain. Put simply, this many gears means that while you’d get help while traveling uphill, you can also pick up maximum speed while riding on flatter terrain.
As for the wheels, it was good to find out that Murtisol went for 27.5’’ wheels for this bike. For, they are more comfortable than the now commonly used 29’’ wheels yet provide a faster ride and improved traction on difficult terrains.
- Disc brakes provide brilliant stopping power
- Ideal for first time bike owners
- Durable and strong
- Has a sturdy aluminum frame
- No rear suspension forks means you might have to compromise on comfort
If you are a beginner – who is learning the trade of cycling, the Murtisol Mountain Bike 26’’ Hybrid Bike with Front/Full Suspension – as evinced by the abovementioned features, is a must-have.
Before you accuse me of repetition, let me clarify that there are marked differences between this bike and the first mountain bike of this review.
For example, look closely, and you might notice that while the first bike has a slanted frame, this one has a straighter version of it. Also, while the first bike has a 6061-T6 Aluminum frame, this one has gone for its classic, hardtail version.
Now that I’ve clarified myself, let’s take a look at the features of THIS bike:
One thing about the ANCHEER Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike which impressed me the most was the depth of its suspension fork. Since it measures 100mm in depth, the suspension will get you through the fiercest of bumps with minimum fuss. It means whether you are traveling on a paved road – or covering hard terrains, this bike, thanks to its suspension fork, will come handy.
Another reason why you may want to choose this bike lies in its wheels. To impart both traction and ease of movement to the bike, Ancheer has provided it with the classic 27.5’’ wheels. These wheels, in addition to being comfortable than the now commonly used 29’’ wheels also provide a faster ride on smooth terrains.
As for the brakes, Ancheer has further upped the ante by putting its weight behind the Mechanical disc brakes from Tektro. Despite not being fancy, these disc brakes – due to their mechanical action, are known for getting the job done regardless of the conditions. Hence, if you want brakes which perform brilliantly regardless of the weather, these are the ones you need to have.
Lastly, as even a mere glance might testify, the seat of this bike is bordering torture. It means you might not be able to cover long distances with this bike.
- Has dependable disc brakes
- Classic Version of the aluminum hardtail frame gives the bike sturdiness
- 100mm of suspension to block out off-road vibrations
- 5’’ wheels for effortless riding and maximum traction
- Seat is bordering torture
Although it isn’t easy to ignore, this bike hasn’t had any significant shortcomings once you decide to forego the seat. That said, as long as you intend to keep this bike for covering short distances, the seat shouldn’t pose a problem.
As promised at the start of this article, we have delivered you a list of the five best mountain bikes under 500. We have also given you a detailed review of each bike, hence trying to make your search easy. Still, if you believe we missed a good bike – or included a bad one, we welcome your suggestions.
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