What are the Best Mountain Bikes under $500 in 2019?

A top quality mountain bike can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but to help you find the most outstanding mountain bike without breaking the bank, we’ve assembled a list of the best mountain bikes of 2019 for under $500.

It may seem counterintuitive, but when it comes to mountain bikes, lower price doesn’t necessarily equate to lower quality. It’s fairly common for bike manufacturers to make cheaper bikes with features that are quite similar to expensive models. If you happen to be a beginning-level rider who isn’t yet ready to jump into mountain biking with both feet, and you’re not comfortable shelling out a huge sum of money on a mountain bike, investigating the best mountain bike under 500 is a good start..

Finding a first-rate mountain bike for under $500 is no simple task and requires a considerable amount of research. To assist you in this endeavor and make sure you find a bike that not only respects your wallet, but is comfortable, safe, lightweight, reliable, and just all-around cool, we’ve composed this helpful guide to nudge you in the right direction.

After all, what could be better than a bike that is cheap, but doesn’t feel cheap?

Table of Content

How to Buy a Mountain Bike – Buyer’s Guide

Which Type of Mountain Bike Should I Buy?

This, is a key question but to know which mountain bike you should buy, you need to know exactly what you plan to use the bicycle for and how you intend to ride it. There are four main classifications of of mountain biking and for each type, different suspension and wheel size work best but before we get into that, let’s look at the four types of mountain biking:

cross-country riding: Here, it’s usually best to go with a hardtail suspension, while there are some good full suspension models also. Front travel typically ranges from 100-140mm and rear travel ranges from 115-130mm. 29-inch wheels are also best for cross-country riding, though 27.5-inch wheels are also acceptable.




trail riding: Full suspension is heavily recommended here, with front travel and rear travel ranges at 13-145mm and 115-130mm, respectively.





enduro/all-mountain riding: Since all-mountain riding tends to be faster and more aggressive, a full suspension is highly recommended. Front travel tends to range from 130-160mm and rear travel from 13-165mm to handle the rougher terrain. 27.5-inch wheels are the most commonly used..





freeride/downhill: Using anything but a full suspension would not be a good idea, considering the impact that bikes must endure during freeriding. Front travel is best around 200mm and rear travel



Which Type of Frame Material Should I Choose?

Another important thing to know about concerning how to choose a mountain bike is the frame. Mountain bikes are usually made of either carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, steel, or some combination of these. Each material has its own special characteristics, so we will discuss them in turn.

frame materials of hybrid bike

  • Steel: You can usually find steel frames on mountain bikes for beginners. Steel is heavy, but what it loses in terms of weight, it makes up for with its great strength.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum mountain bikes are most common. They are lightweight, sturdy have comparable strength to carbon fiber, despite being much cheaper. This provides you with durability and great power transfer, but at a much more affordable price than carbon fiber.
  • Titanium: Titanium is incredibly resistant to damage and very lightweight, but it is very expensive and difficult to mold and is therefore used sparingly in mountain bikes.
  • Carbon Fiber: At one time, carbon fiber’s prohibitively high cost made it that it could be found only in professional-grade bikes. Though the price of this material has come down substantially, it is still somewhat expensive. For the price, it provides bikes with an excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio. However, carbon fiber is known to crack under excessive pressure, at which point it becomes dangerous to use and should be replaced.

Which Type of Suspension Should I Choose?

There are three types of suspension on mountain bikes:

  • Full Suspension: This type of suspension contains a front fork and rear suspension. It can absorb a great amount of shock and abuse, making it suitable for difficult terrain. When climbing uphill, you can also lock out the suspension to save energy. A full suspension, however, makes your bicycle heavier.
  • Hardtail: This contains front fork, but no rear suspension. As such, it is lighter than full suspension, easier to maintain, and especially useful for climbing. Therefore, it’s the perfect suspension for cross-country riding. However, rougher terrain will force you to have a very uncomfortable ride.
  • Rigid: This term refers simply to there is no suspension at all. Maintenance of rigid suspension bikes is very simple, but without a suspension system, it is impossible for the bike to absorb bumps and shocks.

How Many Gears and Speeds Should I Have on My Mountain Bike?

Mountain bikes can run the gamut from a simple single-speed bike to one with more than 30 gears. To simplify all complexity, you only need to hold two things in mind: your personal fitness level and the character of the terrain over which you plan to go riding. Rougher, steeper, and more hilly terrain will require more gears to help you power through obstacles. If you are a strong mountain biker, however, or if you’ll be riding on flat terrain, you won’t need as many gears to help push yourself up a hill.

You should also remember it is quite easy to modify the gearing on a bike, so any decision you make here isn’t set in stone.

What Type of Brakes Do Mountain Bikes Have?

The brakes on a mountain bike divide into two distinct types: disc brakes and rim brakes. Further, disc brakes can also be subdivided into two types: hydraulic brakes and cable-activated brakes.

Disc Brakes: Disc Brakes can now be found on all but some entry-level mountain bikes. They feature brake pads that grip onto a brake rotor and so offer more consistent braking than rim brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes offer stronger braking overall and require less effort to apply. Cable-activated disc brakes need to be adjusted manually because the pads tend to wear.

Rim brakes: Rim brakes have pads that grab onto the rims of your bike’s wheels. They are cheap to maintain and easy to replace, but they have less stopping power than disc brakes and also tend to wear out the wheel rim.

Which Wheel Size Should I Have On My Mountain Bike?

  • 26-inch wheels: These wheels are lightweight, strong, and effective for quickly moving around corners. On the other hand, they don’t roll very smoothly over rocky or difficult terrain. Before other wheel sizes were introduced, this size was the only option.
  • 29-inch wheels: This wheel size gives you increased traction and a greater ability overcome or power through obstacles, making it well-suited for rough terrain. If you’re short, however, 29-inch wheels can make the bicycle seem quite high. Also, these wheels are heavy and can be difficult to maneuver.
  • 27.5-inch wheels: This wheel size tries to balance out the respective strengths and weaknesses of 26 and 29-inch wheels. They give you great agility around corners like 26-inch wheels, and are responsive like 29-inch wheels. They don’t have quite the traction or raw ability to power through obstacles of 29-inch wheels, though.


What Size Mountain Bike Do I Need?

Choosing a mountain bike that’s the right size for you is crucial. If the bike isn’t suited to your body proportion, it can lead to discomfort at best and potential injury at worst.

Finding the right frame size is all-important. A mountain bikes measurement typically refers to the distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube, Each bike manufacturer will have different sizes and descriptions for each bicycle, and in some cases, the same manufacturer may issues the same or similar size descriptions for different bikes, so to absolutely confident that you’re getting the frame size you need, it’s highly recommended that you check with the manufacturer.


A good way to avoid confusion amid different manufacturers, types of bikes and frame descriptions, however, is to get a measurement of a bikes stack and its reach. The stack refers to the height of the bike measured vertically from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube. The reach refer to the length of the bike measured horizontally from the bottom bracket to the head tube. These measurements are universally valid and can be used to compare various manufacturers and models.


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Best Cheap Mountain Bikes under $500

PicturesBike NameKey FeaturesCheck Price
Gravity FSX 1.0 Yellow 21 inchGears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Diamondback Bicycles Lux 27.5Gears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Gravity FSX 1.0 BlackGears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Gravity FSX 2.0Gears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Gravity FSX 1.0 Yellow 19 inchGears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Mongoose XR-PRO 29”Gears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Schwinn Bonafied 29”Gears: 24
Frame: Aluminum
Mongoose Stasis Comp 26-InchGears: 21
Frame: Aluminum
Mongoose Men’s Switchback Sport 27.5″Gears: 21
Frame: Aluminum
Schwinn 29” Men’s high TimberGears: 21
Frame: Steel

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1. Gravity FSX 1.0 Yellow – Best Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes under $500

This Gravity mountain bike proves it’s entirely possible to get excellent performance out of a mountain bike without having to pay an enormous amount. With its full dual suspension and aluminum frame, it is especially well-suited for trail riding. Those looking for a fairly lightweight and durable bike when going out on the trail are particularly advised to put this model on their radar.

The gear system consists of 24 gears and is made entirely of Shimano parts, which are noted for being particularly lightweight. This all comes together to produce a strikingly efficient gear system.

High quality disc brakes are difficult to find among lower-priced mountain bikes, but the FSX 1.0 manages to provide this astonishingly well, giving the rider just the right amount of stopping power.

While the tires are not bad, they do not provide as much traction as many other models do, and frequently need to be changed. Still, for a bicycle in this price range, the FSX 1.0 offers excellent overall quality.

  • excellent, high-quality suspension system
  • very lightweight for a full suspension bike
  • efficient gear system
  • durable aluminum frame

  • tires tend to wear out quickly and the wheel quality could be better


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2. Diamondback Lux – Best Full Suspension Women’s Mountain Bike under $500

Diamondback has long provided exquisite-quality bikes of all types, and this mountain bike proudly carries on that tradition. With its hardtail suspension, it’s particularly well-tailored for cross-country riding, uphill climbing, and trail riding. It is designed for women and has a smaller 15-inch frame.

Despite its small size, its aluminum construction makes it outstandingly sturdy, allowing it to balance maneuverability and durability. In addition, its 8-speed, 24-gear Shimano gear system make it ideal for riding uphill.

The 27.5-inch wheels give you the best of both worlds in terms of traction, obstacle-crushing power, and handling. The bike’s disc brakes also round it out and provide ideal stopping power.

Despite all of these excellent features, this bicycle is rather small and does not have a full suspension, meaning it’s probably best to keep it away from especially rough terrain.

  • ideal for uphill riding, cross country and trail riding
  • balances maneuverability and sturdiness
  • powerful braking system
  • lightweight

  • too small to withstand a pounding from very difficult terrain

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3. Gravity FSX 1.0 Black – Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike under $500 in 2019

This is the same FSX model from Gravity we discussed earlier, only this one is black. It has all of the same extraordinary features of the other model – a full dual aluminum suspension, powerful disc brakes, 26-inch wheels, and an impressively efficient 24-gear gear system which truly makes you wonder how so many outstanding features can be packed into such a cheap bike.

Also like the model we had discussed, the tires are not the greatest quality, but considering the panoply of impressive features on this bicycle, this is entirely forgivable.

The FSX 1.0 is an excellent choice for those who are just starting to get into mountain biking.

  • great bike for beginners
  • excellent suspension system
  • durable aluminum frame
  • efficient gear system
  • lightweight for a full suspension bike

  • wheel quality could use improvement

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4. Gravity FSX 2.0 – Best Aluminum Mountain Bike with Full Suspension

The Gravity FSX 2.0 mountain bike is an outstanding entry-level bike that brings together reliability and an attractive price tag. In many ways, it’s an improvement over Gravity’s FSX 1.0 model, with its exquisitely crafted aluminum full suspension system providing maximum shock absorption and promises a comfortable ride. Because of its durable craftsmanship, the bike is also used for just about any kind of terrain, although it really shines during trail riding or when racing down mountainous terrain.

Further, its 24-speed gear system gives you a very fine degree of control over your bike as you speed down the trail. The bike’s powerful disc brakes give you complete control over the bicycle, whether you’re riding uphill or downhill and its 26-inch wheels are lightweight and easy to maneuver.

Overall, this is an excellent bike that cannot come more highly recommended for beginners.

  • durable suspension
  • powerful brakes
  • lightweight
  • easy to maneuver
  • great for beginners

  • the tires tend to get worn out fairly easily and may need frequent replacement

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5. Gravity FSX 1.0 Yellow – Aluminum Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

This is the same model as the yellow Gravity FSX 1.0 that we discussed above, although instead of a 21-inch frame, this model is smaller and has a 19-inch frame. It therefore, has the same durable aluminum frame, 24-speed gear system, 26-inch wheels and effective disc brakes as the other model, but because this model has a slightly smaller frame, it is more suitable for women or for shorter men.

  • durable suspension
  • powerful brakes
  • lightweight
  • easy to maneuver
  • great for beginners

  • the tires tend to get worn out fairly easily and may need frequent replacement

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6. Mongoose XR-PRO 29” – Best Men’s Mountain Bike under $500 in 2019

The Mongoose XR-PRO is a fantastic, all-purpose mountain bike that is up to the challenge of facing virtually any terrain. With its 29-inch wheels giving maximum traction, a resilient aluminum frame, strong disc brakes, and full aluminum suspension, this bike can be relied upon to deliver great performance and a comfortable ride under almost any condition. The 24-speed gear system only provides more icing on the cake and ensures a smooth ride.

Because of its large wheels, this is a bicycle primarily intended for men.

Some riders have complained about inadequate pedals and tires that wear out too quickly, but you must remember that for a mountain bike under $500, its collection of features still make for an impressive piece of work.

  • is effective on almost any terrain
  • strong aluminum frame and disc brakes
  • wheels give excellent traction

  • tires may wear out somewhat quickly

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7. Schwinn Bonafied 29” – Best 24-Speed Aluminum Mountain Bike in 2019

Schwinn is a company with a long pedigree and a well-established reputation for excellence that goes back over 100 years. With this bicycle, Schwinn perpetuates that reputation – a feat made all the more impressive when you consider how cheap the bike is.

With its 29-inch wheels, this is undoubtedly a big bicycle. However, that appearance is in some respects deceptive. The bike is surprisingly lightweight. Combine this with a reliable aluminum frame, brakes with top-notch stopping power, and a superb 24-speed gear system and the result is a bike that cannot help but impress.

  • surprisingly lightweight for its size
  • high quality overall combination of features, especially its gear system
  • suitable for any terrain

  • difficult to store because of its size
  • some have reported problems with the bike chain

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8. Mongoose Stasis Comp – 26-inch Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike under $500 in 2019

Considering the amazing low price this bike fetches on the market, and it has such a respectable combination of features, is nothing short of astonishing. First, it has a tough aluminum frame that manages to balance strength with the need for a bicycle to be lightweight. Next, it has a set of disc brakes that can swiftly bring the bicycle to a stop when needed. The gear system, with its 3 gears and 21 speeds also makes for smooth and efficient speed shifting.

A number of riders have complained the seat is somewhat uncomfortable, though.

  • excellent combination of features for the price
  • sturdy
  • easy to control

  • uncomfortable seat

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9. Mongoose Men’s Switchback Sport – Best Budget Mountain Bike with 27.5-inch Wheels

This bike’s aluminum frame is strong and can take repeated beatings without issues, so it is ideal for riding on rough terrain, free riding, enduro, or trail riding. The 27.5-inch wheels and a phenomenal 21-speed gear system makes shifting smooth as silk and greatly eases up your ride on a rough course. The brakes are absolutely fantastic and bring you to a quick stop, although the tires have been known to encounter a few issues when dealing with lots of mud. Also, the pedals and crank have received a few complaints, so if you get this bicycle, it might be better to replace them outright.


  • phenomenal brakes
  • a fantastic bike for rough terrain
  • smooth and efficient gear system

  • tires may not handle mud well
  • poor pedals and crank

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10. Schwinn 29” Men’s High Timber – Best Full Suspension Steel Mountain Bike

This is another excellent and affordable mountain bike for men, this time from Schwinn. The 21-speed gear system functions like a dream and the well-designed full suspension system can handle just about any kind of bump imaginable. Furthermore, the brakes are extremely powerful and the bike’s tough steel frame allows it to retain a manageable weight. As we are dealing with steel, we should keep in mind that this bicycle is still somewhat heavier than aluminum frame bikes.

This bicycle has 29-inch wheels, making it rather large. As such, it is best recommended for taller riders.

  • easy to maneuver
  • can handle any terrain
  • fairly light, despite being made of steel
  • smooth gear shifting system

  • bulky
  • not suitable for shorter riders


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What to Know about Mountain Bikes?

How Do I Clean a Mountain Bike?

It’s important to properly clean your mountain bike, especially after an intense ride in a muddy or dirty area. If dirt is allowed to cake on to the bike, particularly in critical areas like the bike chain, this can prevent your bike from working properly. To prevent this, it’s usually enough to spray your bike with water after a ride and then do deeper cleaning with soap, water and a cloth where needed. Be sure to keep your chain well oiled after cleaning your bicycle or riding through dirt to prevent corrosion and maintain smooth gear shifting.

This helpful guide can give you some additional cleaning tips

How Do I Ride a Mountain Bike?

When riding a mountain bike, a few things are important to keep in mind. First, you should make sure you’re sitting comfortably and your bicycle is adjusted to your height and body size. In general, you should try to stay loose and shift your weight accordingly as you turn. It’s also important to resist the temptation to slam on the brakes when you need to slow down for a turn as mountain bike brakes are powerful.

How Do I Fit a Mountain Bike?

The proper technique to fit a mountain bike to your body size can be summarized as follows: take your inseam length (the distance from the top of your thigh to your ankle), multiply that by 0.67 and then subtract 4 inches. The result will be the proper mountain bike frame size for you.

How Fast Can You Go On a Mountain Bike?

The answer to this question will depend on your fitness level and on the kind of terrain you’re riding on. A physically fit person riding on flat terrain can easily manage 20mph and at times exceed 30 mph on a mountain bike A less fit person or someone riding on rougher terrain will obviously end up with slower speed.

How High Should a Mountain Bike Seat Be?

The answer to this question depends on how tall you are. Taller riders will need to put their seats up higher and shorter riders can put them lower. The general rule of thumb is your seat is high enough when you can sit on it and just touch the lower pedal of your bike with your heel while your leg is fully stretched out.

How long does it take to recharge the battery?

 Typically, this will depend on the capacity of your bike’s battery. Nonetheless, most e-bikes are equipped with a lithium-ion battery that gives you 4-6 hours before a recharge.

How Much Does a Mountain Bike Weigh?

On average, mountain bikes can weigh anywhere between 30 to 45 libs. Some bikes, especially those made of carbon fiber, weigh less. However, rider weight is ultimately more important than bike weight. A heavier rider should choose a heavier bike capable of supporting him or her.




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What is the Best Mountain Bike to Buy?

Now that we’ve discussed some of the best mountain bikes of 2019 for under $500, only one question remains: What is the best bike to buy?

Each of the bikes we’ve discussed provide riders with extraordinary quality in their own ways, but in a pinch, we’d recommend the Gravity FSX 1.0 Yellow. It’s simply a phenomenal bike for beginners. The brakes are exquisite and ensure a safe ride. The suspension is well-designed and offers tremendous comfort. The gear system is smooth and simple to use and the bike handles marvelously well. What’s not to like?

But there are many other other mountain bikes available and this guide is only meant to start you off on your journey in exploring all the options available. Each bike listed here would be a great choice for anyone. Before hitting the trails anywhere, you owe it to yourself to check them all out.

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