In our previous article we went through the cheapest mountain bike models, proving that it's perfectly possible to buy an inexpensive bike without making to big compromises in regards to its quality.
This time we will show you that it's enough to add just 200$ to your budget in order to find a mountain bike suitable not only for entry level riders, but also slightly more advanced competitors.
Most important features to look at
When purchasing a mountain bike, it is incredibly important to take into account factors such as performance and safety. Here is a guide outlining the most prominent features to look out for when purchasing a mountain bike to ensure your standards are met.
There are two types of breaks to choose from when choosing your breaks. These are referred to as either "disc" and "V-style" breaks. The disc breaks are recommended for those in need of more reliable and sharper breaking systems. The V-style breaks are also advantageous, being recommended for those with less experience in mechanics.
When purchasing a mountain bike, one has to opt for either full suspension or a hardtail bike. A hardtail is highly advantageous, especially in regards to price and weight. A hardtail is recommended for more advanced riders due to its advantages in performance and light weight.
The other option is full suspension. This differers from a hardtail bike as a hardtail only has one shock at the front, the suspension has 2. The suspension is recommended for individuals with back problems and beginners due to the increased comfort and higher response to control.
Best mountain bikes under 500$
On the list below we present the best currently available models of mountain bikes which cost less than 500$. They combine their affordability with durability and satisfying quality of components.
- Diamondback Overdrive 29er Mountain Bike
- Diamondback Response Mountain Bike
- Diamondback Lux Women's Mountain Bike
- Schwinn Firewire 5 Mountain Bike
- SE-Bikes Big Mountain 24-Speed D Bicycle
The Diamondback Overdrive is an absolute number one in every ranking comparing best mountain bikes under 500$, and for a good reason. Its components are not high-end, but devinitely above average comparing with what most inexpensive bike models are equipped: Shimano Altus derailleurs (8 speeds), SR Suntour suspension fork (100mm of travel) and SL-7 Diamondback Double Wall Rims.
A high quality handcrafted aluminium frame amazes with is durability and stiffness, and combined with Tektro IO Plus Mechanical Disc Brakes with 6 rotors it guarantees a smooth and safe ride. The Diamondback Overdrive is a hardtail with oversized 29 inch wheels, which means it's a little bit harder to manouver but allows to negotiate biggest obstacles easily.
This model is currently available in three attractive colour schemes: while, red and black. Offering much more than what should be expected from an inexpensive mountain bike, the Diamondback Overdrive is an absolute number one in our ranking.
Yet another 29 inch model from Diamondback in our ranking, what confirms that this manufacturer is an absolute leader when it comes to producing inexpensive mountain bikes combining low price with an excellent quality. With its sleak minimalistic looks and superlight aluminium frame, the Diamondback Response was one of the most popular mountain bike model in this price range, good for entry level as well as more experienced riders.
Even though its components are slightly less impressive than these the Diamondback Overdrive is equipped with, they're still far from disappointing: very light and reliable Response 6061-T6 aluminium frame, good front suspension fork (100mm of travel) and oversized 29 inch wheels (WTB Wolverine) guarantee smooth and comfortable rides in all types of terrain, including very testing trails.
Mechanical disc brakes and 7-speed drive train are another worth noticing feature of that bike, but clients' reviews suggest that the former is quite difficult to assemble and thus the bike needs a professional tuning in a bike shop before you get started. A slightly uncomfortable saddle might be another disadvantage of the Diamondback Response, but nonetheless it's a fantastic bike, definitely worth our recommendation.
Its a common miss-assumption that the mountain bikes on the market available to women are not that high concerning quality. This is true to an extent, however if one is willing to pay a little more the Diamondback Lux Women's Mountain bike is available. This bike is characterised by its physically flash look combined with its unique top quality components.
The bike provides comfort to the rider in any terrain as a result of its 27.5 inch wheels and "shock absorbing SR Suntour front suspension fork". Additionally, the bike also features powerful disk breaks and Shimano 8-speed drivetrain. The bike is also available in a range of different sizes, in order to be compatible with different riders. It is a great bike that any female rider should consider.
Known for their good balance between quality and price, Schwinn bicycles led in our under 300$ mountain bikes ranking and have their fair share in the under 500$ segment as well. The Schwinn Firewire 5 is a fantastic dual suspension mountain bike fit for even most demanding mountain trails, what makes it a perfect choice for entry level as well as more advanced riders.
Components that bike it equipped with are beyond impressive for inexpensive models, including a precise 24-speed Shimano Acera rear derailleur, 3-piece Shimano alloy cranks or Tektro front and rear disc brakes. An aluminium frame and good SR XCM front shock are other interesting features of that bike, making it relatively light for a dual suspension model, and very comfortable at the same time.
The greatest highlight make its 29 inch Black Wilderness trail wheels and Wilderness trail tires, providing you with a great pleasure of riding through the most testing terrain.
Another very popular bike model in our ranking, combining very competitive price with components of a surprisingly high quality. 24-speed Shimano EZ-Fire shifters and an 8-speed crankset make for the best drivetrain you can get in budget models and definitely are the best feature of that hardtail. Its aluminium frame is light enough and an HL 595SAMS 29 fork with 100mm of travel absorbs shock efficiently.
As other models compared in our ranking, the SE-Bikes Big Mountain 24-Speed D Bicycle is equipped with reliable disc front and rear disc brakes, which guarantee a safe ride in all kinds of terrain. It's design is not the most impressive, but high quality components of this model make it worth its price.
Under 500 MTB Comparison Table
As you can see, it's perfectly possible to spend less than 500$ on a good mountain bike which will meet all needs of beginners and more advanced trail riders. All mountain bikes listed above are worth being recommended, but an overall score presented in the comparison table is a reflection of our final verdict, and thus we consider Diamondback Overdrive 29er Mountain Bike and Diamondback Lux Women's Mountain Bike the best hardtails in this price range, while Schwinn Firewire 5 Mountain Bike is a stand out dual suspension model.