Best Mountain Bikes under $500 for Beginners

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Best Mountain Bikes under $500

The Mongoose Impasse is one of the best mountain bikes under $500. As an avid cyclist and someone who meticulously watches my budget, I’m always looking for the best mountain bikes within a reasonable price range. 

Many professional cyclists expect to pay close to $1,000 or more on a quality mountain bike, often realistic. As I’ve become familiar with the quality and features of bicycles, I found some excellent options under $500.

Mongoose Impasse: The Top Mountain Bike for beginners

Mongoose has a solid reputation for manufacturing mountain bikes and bicycles with thick frames as a previous BMX brand. The Mongoose Impasse offers a lightweight aluminum frame, 21-speed bike with dual suspension, which I would generally expect to cost well above $500. This price is especially of great value, considering this Mongoose is a part of the Shimano Tourney group of bikes.

What sets the Mongoose Impasse apart from other top mountain bikes on this list? It’s one of the few bikes offering dual suspension, ideal for adventurous trails with many mixed terrains, where you’ll need greater control to navigate bumps. While the 21-speed rear derailleur shifts gears quickly, the SRAM twist shifters are a bit of a departure from the preferred lever shifters.

The Mongoose Impasse is the best affordable mountain bike for beginners and is suitable for adventurous cyclists of all levels. It’s a comfortable, safe ride that offers excellent performance for all road and off-road travel types.

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Mountain bikes are typically expensive, and you’ll find many specialized features and options that you may not find in standard bikes. Fortunately, some great brands offer affordable, quality mountain bikes with all the comfort and performance features you’ll need for an exceptional experience.

Keep reading to discover excellent mountain bikes that are not only impressive but accommodating for your budget.

Batch the Mountain 29 – Best Overall MTB under 500 : Batch the Mountain 29 (Editors Choice)

If you’re looking for the best mountain bike for overall performance and reliability, with an affordable price tag, Batch the Mountain 29 is a bargain that you’ll want to consider. This mountain bike is ideal for beginners, offering a durable, lightweight aluminum frame and a robust build that can withstand a lot of different terrains.

Notable features include alloy V-brakes that offer powerful, reliable stopping, excellent comfort and grip with 29″ tires, and a 3×7 Shimano drivetrain, which offers a good range of gearing for beginner mountain cyclists. It’s a great commuting bike, which quickly transforms to off-pavement travel and accommodates various terrain conditions.

Mongoose Switchback – Best Hybrid: Mongoose Switchback

IF you’re looking for a versatile mountain bike that fits a wide range of cycling trails and goals, the Mongoose Switchback is an ideal choice. The switchback is available in several versions to accommodate your personal riding preference, whether you cycle for sport, recreation, or competition. It’s a suitable mountain bike for men and women, offering a lightweight aluminum frame and a great selection of bold colors.

What are some of the features of this mountain bike? The Mongoose Switchback offers mechanical disc brakes and a rudimentary coil suspension fork that allows your riding experience to shift quickly from pavement to travel, including gravel and dirt paths. Depending on the specific model you select, the bike includes between 8 and 21 gears, ideal for beginner and intermediate riders.

If you’re an advanced rider, you may want to consider another model. The Mongoose Switchback is ideal for more casual off-road cycling and not recommended for competitive mountain biking. It’s a great first-time purchase for anyone looking to get acquainted with mountain biking.

 Hiland 26 Aluminium MTB – Best for Kids

One of the most exciting gifts I received as a kid was my first mountain bike. It’s essential to choose a decent, affordable ride that equips kids with all safety and performance features they need to get used to the sport. The Hiland 26 Aluminium MTB offers an impressive ride that’s fun for both on and off-road cycling.

This model features 26″ wheels, with a front suspension and light frame, making it easy to carry and transport on family vacations and camping trips. It’s an easy bike to maintain, great for parents and offers a Shimano 24-speed drivetrain that kids will learn to use quickly. The seat is adjustable for young kids and can extend to fit as they grow to just over five feet. It’s a fantastic choice that will last throughout childhood.

Mongoose Dolomite Mountain bike – Best for Trails

If you’re a trail rider, the Mongoose Dolomite Mountain bike is an excellent choice. This affordable bike is a fat tire, 7-speed ride that offers an impressive grip through all types of terrain. The rear derailleur is well equipped to make climbing more manageable, and the alloy rims maintain the bike’s lightweight convenience while offering a robust and durable frame.

It’s one of the best durable bikes that will stand up to various terrain, from rocky surfaces to dirt roads. All the components are resistant to wear and tear, and the bike is adjustable to fit most adult heights. It’s a comfortable ride on the pavement, too, with gears that make it easy to move off-road anytime.

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike – Best for Long-distance Cycling

The Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike is an ideal option for long-distance and stability. This bike provides excellent traction if you plan to try a few challenging trails and build some endurance. This impressive mountain bike features dual suspension, 27.5-inch wheels, a lightweight frame and is excellently built for trail riding. It’s the perfect option for riding urban and off-road trails.

It’s also an uncomplicated bicycle to maintain, offering alloy cranks and smooth shifting between gears. The seat is easy to adjust so that you can accommodate a range of adult heights, including up to just over six feet. The twist-shift gears make it easy to navigate trails so that you can ride longer with consistency and overall good performance.

Schwinn Bonafide Mountain bike – Best for Leisure Riding

This model offers a smooth, enjoyable ride with 28 speeds and large, 32″ wheels for a comfortable glide. The Schwinn Bonafide Mountain bike is an excellent choice for leisure riding, whether you’re on or off-road. This model offers front suspension, a lightweight aluminum frame, and 24 speeds. The bike offers an impressive suspension fork that absorbs bumps along the trail with consistent control.

It’s a durable bike with alloy rims that are light and easy to glide over various types of terrain. The 25-inch tires are sturdy and knobby to further enhance the comfort of your ride, along with crisp, powerful braking. This Schwinn bike is ideal for beginners and anyone who enjoys mountain biking as a leisure exercise.

Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Mountain Bike – Best for Big Riders

If you’re looking for a mountain bike that supports more weight, the Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Mountain Bike is the perfect ride. This bike is ideal for riders who weigh over 300 lbs and need a solid but sturdy frame to support off-road cycling. The steel frame is 18″, and the bike is equipped with fat, rugged tires, giant gears, and durable materials that provide excellent traction.

The bike is also suitable for riders of various heights, so you can easily adjust the headset and seat to accommodate most adults. You’ll find this bike offers exceptional performance and speed while allowing you to effortlessly shift gears smoothly to climb and navigate around different types of terrain.

Buying Guide

What should you look for in a quality mountain bike? There are numerous standard and specialized features that you’ll notice when you shop for a bicycle. However, there are some essential basics to consider so that you’re choosing the right product for your level of cycling ability and where you ride.

What Type of Mountain Bike do you Prefer?

If you’re new to mountain biking, you’ll want to become familiar with the different types of bikes available for your cycling goals and techniques. Each type of mountain bike offers specifications that suit your riding abilities and comfort, whether you’re an avid off-trail rider or prefer a variety of terrain, both on and off-road.

Cross-country Mountain Bikes

If you’re an experienced rider or prefer cycling at high speeds and climbing, you’ll want to invest in a cross-country bike. These bikes are ideal for off-road adventures, and they are built with high durability and a solid frame and parts.

Trail bikes

Trail bikes are perfect for cycling in and around various trails and paths, especially if you’re not planning on going off-road. It’s a great way to cycle alongside friends and family, who may not want to embark on an off-road adventure but may want to explore some park or recreational trails.

Park Bikes

If you’re looking to take on more challenging terrain, including climbs and downhill riding, park bikes are a great option to consider. They are excellent for handling jumps and high speeds when traveling on smooth trails. These bikes quickly move from one terrain to another so that you can navigate easily for maximum comfort.

Downhill Bikes

In some regions, extensive hills and the need for a robust mountain bike means you might want to consider a downhill bike. They are ideal for high speed and weigh more than the average mountain bike. It’s important to note that they do not climb and are best suited for steep hills equipped with chair lifts. 

Fat Tire Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes with fat tires are built especially for tackling off-road terrain and rugged, rocky surfaces that are otherwise difficult to ride with a traditional mountain bike. These tires are fatter and handle more weight and challenging surfaces, extending between under 4″ to 5″. You’ll find these tires are excellent for both on and off-road travel.

All-Mountain Bikes

The most extreme riding challenges are best tackled with all-mountain bikes. These bicycles are equipped to handle the most brutal terrain for cycling, whether you climb a steep hill or ride downhill. It’s the type of bike you’ll want to consider if your cycling style resembles more daring techniques.

Suspension Options

One of the most common terms you’ll read or hear about a lot is suspension. A full-suspension bike offers excellent comfort for mountain bikers while lessening the impact of trails on your body so that you can navigate more challenging terrain with front and rear suspension. Bikes with front suspension offer similar comfort so that you can ride rough trails with a suspension fork.

While some people choose front suspension as a standard option, the entire suspension provides enhanced comfort and more excellent support if you’re planning on hitting some rugged trails and adventurous rides. Hardtail bikes, which offer front suspension, are often the most popular due to their efficiency and simplicity for competitive cycling, including jumps and climbs.

If you’re a leisure mountain biker, and comfort is your goal, you may consider the full suspension option as a good fit.

Choosing Your Wheels

One of the main features of a mountain bike is its sturdy and durable wheels. They are reliable and withstand a lot of weight and off-road conditions. Whether you decide to custom select your wheels or purchase a bike with a type in mind, it’s essential to consider several factors, including the terrain you typically ride, riding techniques, and your physical weight.

Mountain bike wheels are very tough, though you’ll spend more on them if you choose to go lighter. You may also want to consider the tubing material inside, which can help prevent flat tires and minimize damage while you’re on the trail. Off-road tires are ideal if you plan on trekking frequently over rocks, dirt roads, and rugged trails.

Bicycle Seats

The type of seat you choose depends mainly on your comfort level and what works best for your body weight and shape. It’s also important to consider the type of attire you typically wear when you cycle, as this can impact how well your seat works for you. When you try a new seat initially, you may find it’s a great fit, though, over time and distance, you may experience a lack of comfort.

A few signs to look for in choosing a seat include the level of padding to provide support, whether you experience discomfort after a ride, pain, or numbness. If you find a variation in your cycling experience when you change clothing, this might resolve the issue. However, most cyclists who experience discomfort or soreness can attribute these effects to an ill-fitted seat.

The Number of Gears and Drivetrain

Generally, the higher the gears, the smoother the ride. Most mountain bikes offer between 18 to 24 gears, depending on the model and type of bike you choose. A steady climb requires shifting to a lower set of gears, while a higher setting is best for downhill or easy, smooth surfaces. If you’re looking for the maximum level of comfort in shifting between gears, you’ll want to select a 24-speed option.

Choosing Your Tires

Tires are often chosen to fit the frame and function of a specific bike. Manufacturers typically choose the best fit, which varies depending on how and where you ride. If you plan on riding on various surfaces and slippery terrain, tires with a deep tread and a firm grip are best. Semi-slick tires are typically suited for cyclists who want more incredible speed and trail riding.

You can also decide on whether you want a tube or tires without one. Tires without a tube significantly reduce the chances of inevitable punctures, especially where heavy impact or weight is involved during a ride. Low-pressure tires with tubes are also great in providing good traction and greater control over navigation.

Pedals

For most mountain bikers, basic pedals are ideal and may include straps or clips to improve your grip. Pedals without clips are ideal if you prefer more incredible speed and allow you to spin them with greater control and efficiency. If you plan on jumps and cycling in challenging terrain and uneven surfaces, you may want to add clips to support your stunts.

Handlebars

The two main types of handlebars for mountain bikes are riser and flat bars. Riser bars are available in several styles and sit higher on a bike than flat bars. They are more expansive and may be challenging for some cyclists to reach and steer. Once you become accustomed to riser bars, you may find that they give you greater control on trails and let you sit more upright, which may be a preference for some riders.

Flat bars are often best suited for long distances and cross-country mountain biking. They are positioned lower and lighter in weight, making them easier to steer for more extended periods.

Mountain Bike Repairs and Issues

Before you invest in a mountain bike, you may want to get familiar with your local bicycle repair shop or get acquainted with some of the parts on your own, so you can replace parts and make repairs as needed. With a bit of time and an extra investment, consider purchasing a repair kit, so you can easily tend to a damaged tire or simple items that are easy to fix on the road.

We have detailed guide on how to repair and remove rust from your old bike.

Some manufacturers offer warranties and guarantees, which you’ll want to learn about before finalizing your purchase. This feature is especially crucial if you’re buying a mountain bike for the first time and want to ensure you’re getting the right product for your cycling ability. The bikes I recommend often include warranties and reputable companies that offer an exceptional ride, so you won’t have to deal with an inferior product.

Conclusion

Choosing a quality mountain bike for under $500 may require a bit of research, though you’ll find a great variety of bikes for your style of riding. Aside from individual preferences and accommodations for your skill level and cycling goals, it’s essential to select a bike that’s durable and easy to maintain. You’ll especially want to focus on quality if you’re planning on frequent trips or investing in a kids’ bike.

If you are ready to bump your budget little higher we have guide for best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars.

BMX bikes have come a long way over the years, and you’ll typically find a lot of mountain bikes to review, even good options that fit within your budget. Most people, including myself, prefer a rugged, full-suspension that works best for everyday use and greater comfort. Front suspension and all-mountain bikes maybe you’re direction if you’re aiming for a more competitive edge in mountain biking.

Overall, the best mountain bike for a great experience on and off-road is the Mongoose Impasse. Mongoose is a reputable company that features a wide range of excellent quality mountain bikes for all ages and levels of ability. You’ll find the price ranges vary considerably, though the brand offers some great bargains for mountain bikes under $500. Contact your local store or retailer to inquire about the fantastic variety of Mongoose Mountain bikes and related products.