Some may tell you that you have to spend a considerable amount to get a good mountain bike.
But the truth is that you can find impressive mountain bike options even under a budget of $500. It is just that you should be ready for extended research and a few compromises here and there.
There is also the question of build quality and durability. Here is the thing: as long as you keep yourself to light or medium trails, under-$500 mountain bikes will serve you well.
As you move forward, you can either replace the parts or get a new bike altogether. Well, how do you find the best mountain bikes under $500?
Rating and ranking
Build quality, construction material, and the number of gears is factors we must keep in mind.
Even then, there could be hundreds of mountain bikes to choose from. We have faced the problem. Therefore, we decided to make things easy for you.
We talked to a few mountain-biking experts and hikers in our network and asked them to recommend the best models they have used.
Based on those insights and other customer reviews, we have chosen the five best mountain bikes you can find under $500.
We have also ensured some level of diversity so that you can find an option suitable for your specific mountain-biking needs.
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 – Reviews & Buying Guide for 2021
Best Overall: Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
- Size: One-Size
- Material: Steel
- Gears: 21 Speeds
We chose the Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike as the best option for two reasons.
First, it has been designed for multiple terrains and biking needs. So, entry-level bikers can use it with zero hassles. Second, the company has not compromised build quality on any part of the bike.
Considering the low price you have to pay, it is an achievement indeed. We also love the comprehensive package that we get with the bike, which is not the case even with some premium mountain bike models.
- Dual Suspension – As you can guess from the name, the Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike offers ultimate comfort for beginners and intermediates alike. The dual-suspension system can spread the weight evenly and provide a smooth biking experience, even on rough terrains. Even if you have zero experience with mountain biking and want to get an assisted start, this bike is an excellent choice.
- 21-Speed Gear System – Even though the bike costs less than $300, it has packed one of the best drivetrain systems. The 21-speed gear system gets the job done, and the Shimano TZ30 rear derailleur is a comfortable way to switch gears. The twist shifters also come in handy when you gather speed. Altogether, this drivetrain system can make it easy for you to catch up with the pros.
- Comprehensive Package – As said earlier, the Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike comes with almost everything you need to get started. Even though it requires assembly, you would not have to hire a professional or anything. The package even comes with a kickstand and the necessary fitting tools. If you have some experience with bikes, you can get going with this bike in a few minutes.
- Excellent Build Quality – You do not have to compromise build quality in a low-budget mountain bike like this. The entire bike is built on a steel frame, and the wheels are made using aluminum. The mountain bike tires on this bike perform well in rugged terrains. In the end, the bike can handle up to 300lbs of weight, which is no simple figure.
- Optimized Design – The Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike has been designed for superior comfort within limits. For instance, we must appreciate the well-designed handlebars and the ergonomic design. Even when you have to pedal so hard, the design comes to your assistance. As always, you can count on custom-height seats and custom-sensitive brakes.
- Subpar Brakes – The Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike comes with a brake system that complements the other parts. However, you do not get a disc brake, which can be a problem for many mountain bikers. It is an area where Apollo has compromised to keep the price down. You can ignore this issue if you can stick to regular terrains, though.
- Not for Pros – This bike is made for beginners despite its superior build quality and compatibility. So, we cannot recommend the Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike if you are looking for long-range comfort and fancy features. After all, it could be one reason that stops you from getting the bike. The lack of disc brakes is one of the many reasons for this conclusion.
The Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike does not offer any extra features.
You should get the Apollo Ghost Dual Suspension Mountain Bike if you need maximum savings on a decent mountain bike.
You can count on its all-steel construction, 21-speed drivetrain system, and dual-suspension system when it comes to entry-level or medium-level biking experience.
Runner-Up: Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike
- Size: 26” x 17”
- Material: Steel
- Gears: 21-speed
We think you must consider the Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike if you need an affordable mountain bike for women.
It is also designed for entry-level mountain biking, but the design is optimized for women. If you are interested in mountain biking, you can use the bike without worrying about potential body damages.
You can also save some more money by going for this product. At the same time, the company wants you to make a few compromises.
- Superior Build Quality – The Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike has also been designed with the optimal build quality. It has used a 17″ steel hardtail frame that is pretty durable. This product also uses aluminum rims and black mountain bike tires like our winner pick. Altogether, the package can offer you impressive comfort during all sorts of mountain biking adventures.
- 21-Speed Drivetrain – Once again, we see the much popular 21-speed drivetrain. Combined with Shimano tourney rear derailleur, the speed-changing process is easier than ever. You can use the twist shifters with relatively higher speeds as well. It is pretty impressive that you can choose between 21 speeds based on the terrain you are currently exploring.
- Tailored Design – As we said, the Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike uses a design that is tailored for women. There are two aspects to this. First, the design can protect your body from potential damages, especially while going downhill. Second, the comfort system of the bike has also been tailored to meet your needs. It is different from what we saw in the first pick.
- Diverse Options – Unlike the winner pick, the Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike is available in two styles and sizes. You can choose between Women and Girls types and size variants of 26″ x 17 and 24″ x 16″. Depending on the age of the person who will be using the mountain bike, you can make the proper selection. We always love to see these choices instead of a one-size-fits-all situation.
- Easy to Get Used To – Last but not least, you do not have to be a mountain bike expert to get used to the Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike. The simple design works so great that you can enjoy maximum comfort. Even though it is not as impressive as the dual-suspension system, the mode G79 suspension fork does an exceptional job of keeping you safe.
- Lacks dual suspension – The Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike does not have a dual suspension system. Therefore, it may not be the best experience to use the mountain bike for an extended period. On the other hand, if your trail does not involve too much uphill or downhill movement, you should have a smooth experience altogether. But the moment you step into a Pro, you will face some problems.
- Limited Controls – Once again, we have to mention the lack of disc brakes and proper control. These are not the most significant issues when you have a regular trail. However, if you want to get the most adventurous experience, these limited controls may let you down. The v-brakes cannot perform beyond a limit, which is a problem for professional mountain bikers.
We could not find any noteworthy extra features in Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike.
We believe you should get the Apollo Highlight Hardtail Mountain Bike if you need the best entry-level bike for women.
The bike does not offer any fancy features, but the 21-speed drivetrain and steel hardtail build are worth-having options, indeed.
Alternative: GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike
- Size: One-Size
- Material: Aluminum
- Gears: 21-speed
You should consider getting the GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike if you do not mind spending as much as you can from the $500 budget.
If you are ready to do so, you will love the advanced features and the ultra-modern design of the mountain bike. It is also one of the few mountain bikes that men and women can use without a problem.
- Lightweight Design – The GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike is relatively lightweight. Even though it comes with a 29-inch rim, the bike does not weigh much. It becomes a valuable feature while handling it.
- Aluminum Construction – Instead of steel, this mountain bike has used high-quality aluminum for construction. You can expect the cycle to last longer without any problem.
- Broad Tires – Compared to other mountain bike models we have seen on the list, the tires on the GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike are broad, giving you better comfort.
- Shimano TZ trigger shifters – Once again, we loved the 21-speed Shimano TZ trigger shifters. These are great when you have to shift between gears quite rapidly.
- Exhausts the Budget – As we said, you have to spend almost your entire budget. If you were planning to add some mountain biking accessories to the list, it could not be easy.
The GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike comes installed and ready to use. So, you can get to mountain biking almost instantly.
We recommend the GYLJJ 29-inch Aluminum Mountain Bike if you need superior comfort and extreme build quality. You must be ready to pay a relatively high amount.
Alternative: Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike
- Size: 26” x 17”
- Material: Steel
- Gears: 21-speed
The Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike is another alternative in the market if you are looking for best-in-class savings. By spending only half of $500, you can get a standard mountain bike.
Unlike other models, the bike in question has been designed for men and boys. You can also choose between two different sizes as per your requirement.
- Superior construction – Despite the low price, the Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike offers one of the best construction qualities, which comes in handy while driving through rough terrains.
- Durable drivetrain – The 21-speed drivetrain system uses a Shimano tourney rear derailleur, and it does an exceptional job on most days. You do not have to worry about durability at all.
- Comprehensive Package – The Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike is also a comprehensive package. You get everything you need to get started with.
- Dependable Suspension Fork – The suspension fork on the front is highly dependable, especially considering the price you have to pay for the bike.
- Not Suitable for Long-Term Uses – We cannot recommend the Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike for long-term uses because it only comes with a single suspension fork.
We could not find any worth-mentioning extra features in this package.
You do not have to think twice before getting the Apollo Raptor Hardtail Mountain Bike for men and boys.
It comes with one of the best designs we have seen and offers moderate comfort. In the end, you can get a lot of accessories to improve your biking experience as well.
Alternative: Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
- Size: One-Size
- Material: Steel
- Speed: 21-speed
Are you looking for a mountain bike for women with dual suspension and superior comfort? In that case, it makes sense to check out what the Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike has to offer.
It packs the essential features anyone would need to start their mountain biking journey. Remarkably, you do not have to spend a considerable amount.
- Dual Suspension Design – The Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike comes with two suspension forks. Both can work together when providing maximum comfort for your needs.
- Effective 21-speed Drivetrain – Like the previous models on the list, it has also used the 21-speed Shimano tourney TZ30 rear derailleur system from the market. It does its job quite reliably, even in harsh conditions.
- Optimized for Comfort – Thanks to the extra comfort, you can take the Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike to many situations without worrying about your health. It is a great feature for beginners as well.
- Accessories Included – Last but not least, the manufacturer has added many accessories in the package, including the kickstand that you can attach instantly.
- Not So Customizable – Customizability is not the best feature of the Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike package. You may have a tough time doing upgrades in the future.
There are not many worth highlighting extra features in Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike.
We can easily recommend the Apollo Orchid Dual Suspension Mountain Bike to entry-level women mountain bikers out there.
Despite having a low price tag, the bike offers ultimate comfort, which you can rely on. It is also great for quickly upgrading to a medium-level biking sector.
Mountain Bikes Under $500 FAQ
Can you get a good mountain bike for under $500?
Yes, you can get a good mountain bike by spending less than $500. There was a time when mountain bikes were quite expensive, but that situation has changed.
In recent years, we have seen the rise of cost-effective mountain bike models and manufacturers with aggressive pricing tactics. Due to this increasing competition in the field, you can now find good mountain bikes in the sub-$500 sector.
The best part is that you can get a few premium options and features even when you spend a low amount, like $500. As you have seen, the models we have covered in the article come equipped with 21-speed drivetrain settings and multiple suspension parts. Altogether, these mountain bikes allow you to customize the settings for maximum comfort.
Therefore, with the proper research on your part, you would not have any trouble finding a good mountain bike for under $500.
Why are mountain bikes so expensive?
If you look at the market, you can see that mountain bikes are generally expensive. Even though you could find some affordable alternatives, the average price of a mountain bike is always on the high side.
It could happen due to several factors, especially when we consider premium mountain bikes in the market. It mostly has to deal with the quality of construction and the number of options that a mountain bike packs.
One thing common in premium mountain bikes is the excellent quality of construction. These bikes pack a design that provides maximum comfort to the rider with minimal impact on the bike’s body.
On top of these, the addition of a dual-suspension system and multi-speed drivetrain options contribute to the price hike. In the end, the complete mountain bike package could be more expensive than you expect.
We do not think this is a big problem, though. In the end, customers now have an option to choose between affordability and maximum comfort. And more often than not, many people go for the latter.
What is a good mountain bike for a beginner?
Choosing a good mountain bike for a beginner is easier said than done. You cannot select a random product from the market and expect it to work smoothly.
Instead, you have to consider a few factors. First of all, the bike must have a design that the beginner can get used to quickly. Similarly, there must be enough features to protect the rider from potential issues.
The mountain bike must have multiple suspension options and a multi-speed drivetrain system to put these into practical terms.
While the first one reduces the impact of downhill movement on the rider’s body, the second feature will provide riders with great control. You also have to make sure that the mountain bike is well-built and optimized for rugged terrains.
The best mountain bike for beginners would be a mixture of all these features. Nowadays, you can get such a bike without spending a considerable amount.
What size mountain bike should I get for my height?
You can use a couple of methods to find the right size mountain bike for your height. Because the building methods of each manufacturer are different, we recommend that you look at the literature provided by the maker itself.
You can easily find these guides online. You can spot a table of rider height and frame size on the online buying page itself in most cases.
At the same time, you should consider your riding preferences into the account. For instance, you have to ensure that the height of the bike does not curtail your freedom of movement.
By simple logic, you get to understand that you may have trouble maneuvering the bike in downhill and rough terrain situations if you cannot position yourself properly on the bike.
You could also ask experts if you cannot find a specific answer by going through the available literature and community help.
You must have noticed that you can choose between so many mountain bikes under the $500 budget.
If you want maximum savings, you can go for a standard mountain bike with fewer fancy features. But, if you can spend $499 out of $500, you can step up the game and choose a bike with advanced features.
However, we always recommend choosing a bike that provides maximum comfort instead of features that you might not use frequently. By following this method, you can improve the entire mountain biking experience and avoid upgrades for a considerable period.
At the same time, because you do not spend too much on these bikes, getting a new bike would not be a tough decision when you step up your mountain biking game.