So following on in our series of best value mountain bikes (see our other posts on best value mountain bikes under $300 and best mountain bikes under $1000), this in-depth review takes a look at a set of mountain bikes that can be had for under $500. Obviously everybody is looking for the best bang for buck and finding a good bike within this budget range can be overwhelming with all the choices about. In fact, the market for mountain bikes under 500 bucks is hotly contested by a number of the usual mountain bike brands – Diamondback, Mongoose and even a mountain bike from Raleigh make the list, so our team have diligently taken a look at most of these mountain bike brands to bring you our roundup of the top mountain bikes for under $500.
Best Mountain Bikes under $500
||Mountain Bike Name
||Raleigh Talus 2 Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
||Diamondback Sorrento Hardtail Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
||Mongoose Switchback Sport 27.5” Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
||Gravity FSX 2.0 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
||Nashbar AT29 Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
||Mongoose XR-PRO 29 Mountain Bike
|| Check Price
Raleigh Talus 2
Raleigh has entered the entry-level mountain bike market with a strong contender in the Raleigh Talus 2. This is a bike that is equally at home on paved streets and paths as it is on the dirt and gravel, and if you are one of those mountain bikers that loves to explore the path less travelled, then the Raleigh Talus 2 is the bike for you.
The Raleigh Talus 2 is manufactured with a lightweight aluminum frame and can easily deal with any track bumps with its large Kenda 27.5” wheels and 2” wide tires. A 21 speed bike, coupled to Shimano EZ Fire shifters allows seamless gear changes and the reliable Promax Alloy V-brakes make this bike one of the easiest to handle mountain bikes, and that’s for both cranking up a steep trail or cruising down the road. Fitted with the Raleigh Plush Saddle, this is a mountain bike you will enjoy riding
One of the easiest to handle mountain bikes
Equally at home on paved streets as it is in the rough
Explore the path less travelled
Recommended for: Mountain bikers who want to explore the path less travelled and are not afraid to explore outside of the singletrack.
- Equally at home on paved streets
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Reliable Promax Alloy V-brakes
Diamondback Sorrento Hardtail Mountain Bike
We’ve done an in-depth review of the Diamondback Sorrento Hardtail mountain bike, and it definitely deserves to be on this list of value for money mountain bikes under 500 dollars. Diamondback have produced an inexpensive everyday mountain bike which is perfect for new riders looking for an entry level mountain bike at a great price point. Considered a lifestyle MTB, in other words a mountain bike that is designed to combine the everyday functionality of a road bike with the off-road capabilities of a mountain bike, the Diamondback Sorrento performs admirably as an ‘around the town’ bike but can still be taken onto some rugged trails.
Specced with mostly Shimano entry level components like it’s Shimano Altus 7-speed derailleurs and Shimano EZ-Fire shifters, the Diamondback Sorrento is a well built and sturdy bike that is pitched at riders looking for a truly all round bike.
Performs admirably as an ‘around the town’ bike
Inexpensive everyday lifestyle mountain bike
Inexpensive lifestyle mountain bike
Recommended for: New riders looking for a great everyday mountain bike from a reputable brand (Diamondback) and at a truly great price point
- Inexpensive everyday bike
- Well built and sturdy MTB
- Lifestyle MTB
- Entry level Shimano components
Mongoose Switchback Sport 27.5” Mountain Bike
Mongoose’s Switchback range (including the Switchback Expert, Switchback Comp and the Switchback Sport) are solid and sturdy hardtail mountain bikes that are just as capable off road as they are as urban utility commuter bikes. All of the Mongoose Switchback range are great little mountain bikes, but for the price and value obtained, the Mongoose Switchback Sport is our top pick within this range.
With its SR Suntour suspension fork with lockout (offering 63mm of travel) and the rigid aluminum frame, the Switchback Sport handles most rough terrain with ease. Shimano EF51 shifters coupled with 21 speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain allow for quick and seamless gear changes, and for this price point, the Mongoose Switchback Sport is a fantastic mountain bike for casual and serious riders alike.
Solid hardtail mountain bike
Handles most rough terrain with ease
Top Hardtail Mountain Bike for under $500
Recommended for: Casual and serious mountain bike riders looking for an affordable Mongoose branded hardtail mountain bike
- SR Suntour suspension forks
- Shimano EF51 shifters for seamless gear changes
- Shimano Tourney drivetrain can be problematic if not setup correctly
Gravity FSX 2.0 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
The Gravity FSX 2.0 Dual Suspension mountain bike, is as you would expect, an upgraded version of the Gravity FSX 1.0 mountain bike, and with its advanced aluminum frame featuring CantiBeam SinglePivot Technology, it really is a strong contender in this budget category, especially if you are after a Dual Suspension bike. What we really liked about the Gravity FSX 2.0 is the sturdy aluminum frame with its Hydroformed tubes – the bike looks and feels sturdy on the trail and it comes pretty well equipped for its price.
Featuring powerful Tektro disc brakes and a wide range Shimano 24 speed drivetrain, Suntour suspension fork and a Lockout Suspension form round out a well-specced mountain bike. Shimano components abound on this bike, with Shimano Acera rear derailleur and Shimano front derailleur, for the price you are getting some pretty nifty gear.
You get some pretty nifty components for the price
Sturdy aluminum frame and hydroformed tubes look great
Dual Suspension Mountain Bike at a great price
Recommended for: A great little dual suspension mountain bike that is perfect for the weekend warrior or the casual mountain biker. At this price point, do not expect top-line components but it certainly is value for money and includes some mid-level Shimano componentry.
- Mid-level componentry on a value for money bike
- Dual suspension – smooths out all the bumps
- Tektro disc brakes could do with some stiffening
Nashbar AT29 Mountain Bike
We had to have a few 29er mountain bikes on our list of the top mountain bikes under $500, and the Nashbar AT29 29er is a worthy contender for the editor’s choice award. The Nashbar AT29 is a fun-filled 29er, with its machine engineered 6061 aluminum frame and Suntour XCT suspension fork with lockout level, the bike is really made for fun-filled trail riding. The 100mm travel allows for plain “sailing” over even the roughest of bumps whilst the hydraulic lockout lever allows the rider to turn the fork rigid when just riding around less tricky terrain and the suspension is not really needed.
The Nashbar AT29 is also well specced in terms of components with both Shimano front and rear derailleurs as well as Shimano Altus Rapid Fire trigger shifters coupled to a 24 speed drivetrain. What we really liked about the Nashbar AT29 is the crankset (SR Suntour XCR SIX) and its wide range 11-32t cassette. Enough of a selection there to allow you to power up the steepest of hills and provide enough juice and gear selection for a speedy descent.
Massive 29inch Kenda Klaw XT tires make riding the Nashbar AT29 truly fun
Affordable yet well specced 29er
Recommended for: Riders looking for an affordable yet well specced 29er.
- Great suspension fork with 100mm travel
- Lockout lever allows rider to set rigid frame
- Tektro Novella mechanical disc brakes really need some force to ensure stopping at speed
Mongoose XR-PRO 29 Mountain Bike
Looking for an entry level mountain bike under $500 with top components and that can be taken off road without much worry? Well then why not take a look at the Mongoose XR Pro 29 mountain bike. A true 29er full suspension mountain bike that is mostly sold by your local big box store (Walmart has a version of the Mongoose XR PRO) but can be obtained even cheaper if shopping online. A great looking bike that also has some good components, especially at this price point.
With SRAM X4 trigger shifters, the large 29inch tires and a very responsive dual suspension make this MTB great for riding even the roughest trails. Front and rear disc brakes provide acceptable stopping power but nothing that matches bikes fitted with hydraulic brakes. What we really liked about the 29” Mongoose XR PRO was how it was ready to go out of the box (minimal assembly required). Also, there is not much that you need to upgrade on this bike, except maybe the saddle and the seat tube (especially for taller riders).
Great looking bike especially at this price point
Large 29” tires and responsive dual suspension make for a great ride
Great 29er mountain bike for taller riders
Recommended for: With its large 29” wheels and awesome dual suspension, the 29inch Mongoose XR PRO is great value with some top-level components and would be suited to taller riders (with some adjustments)
- Quick assembly and ready to ride without much adjustments
- Great looking 29er
- Seat post could need replacing
- No kickstand