The 12 Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 for Men and Women + [Buying Guide] 2021

Mountain bikes can definitely get expensive, when you look at the premium models. Add on the costs of customization on top of that and you’re looking at a pretty hefty bill. There’s no need to worry though. Here at Usaall, we’ve made a list of the best mountain bikes under $500!

Best Mountain Bikes Under 0

Why go for Mountain Bikes Under $500?

There are several reasons why buying a mountain bike under $500 is a good idea. It’s a budget that’s not too big but gives you a lot of decent options to choose between. Going any lower than $500 would narrow down the choices to a few decent budget mountain bikes. 

On top of giving you more options, getting a mountain bike under $500 means that you can also set aside money for customization. 

Apart from the frameset, you can practically customize every single part of the bicycle. From the brakes to the pedals, it’s a great way to put your signature style on the bike. 

You can also choose between multiple different types of mountain bikes because of the larger budget. Here are the best mountain bikes under $500 for men and women!


Best Mountain Bikes under $500 for men 

Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike

TOP PICK
9.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17-inch
  • Gears: 7-speed

The Mongoose Dolomite features an 17-inch Aluminum frame and works with a 7-speed gearbox. Its design ensures that it’s the ideal mountain bike for all kinds of terrains;

Features

Wheel Size: 26-inch 

Suspension: Rigid

Number of Speeds: 7

Size: 17-inch 

Frame Material: Steel

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview 

Mongoose have made quite a reputation for themselves for making high-quality mountain bikes and one of their best offerings is the Dolomite. It’s easily one of the best mountain bikes under $500!

Thanks to the steel frame of the mountain bike, it’s capable of performing on off-road trails on a high level. It comes with supersized all-terrain knobby tires that help maintain grip regardless of the terrain. 

The extra wide 4-inch tires mean that you can have a lot of fun on all kinds of terrains. It’s a mountain bike that’s capable of handling sand and snow as well. 

A lot of people feel like a mountain bike under $500 is going to offer an uncomfortable ride. However, Mongoose made a point to ensure that the Dolomite is comfortable on every off-road terrain. 

To add to the overall level of comfort, Mongoose are also going with beach cruiser pedals. It makes the overall cycling experience much smoother. 

The mountain bike features a rear derailleur that comes in a seven speed setting. A good gear makes it easier to climb hills and descend as well. Changing gear is also no issue thanks to the smart twist shifters. 

A small issue that comes with a Mongoose Dolomite is that certain stock components of the bike aren’t the highest quality. However, there are plenty of aftermarket parts that you can use to upgrade the bike. 

Pros 

  • Solid steel frame 
  • Super wide tires make it ideal for all kinds of terrain
  • Very comfortable ride 
  • Smart gear system 

Cons

  • Certain parts are made out of cheap plastic

Hiland 26″ Aluminum Mountain Bike 24 Speed

BEST BUDGET
8.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 16.5/18/19.5-inch
  • Gears: 24-speed

The Hiland 26″ Aluminum Mountain Bike features multiple different frame sizes. Its overall performance makes it the best budget option. You can choose which frame size suits you the best;

Features

Wheel Size: 26-inch 

Suspension: Front

Number of Speeds: 24

Size: 16.5/18/19.5-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview 

The very first thing that you’ll notice about the Hiland 26” aluminum mountain bike is the gorgeous paint job and the finish. 

It’s available in four different colors and all of them are equally stunning. For a mountain bike under $500, Hiland offers one of the best looks in the market. 

Instead of going for a steel frame, Hiland went with Aluminum which is a lighter material. As a result, the Hiland is capable of faster performance than the Dolomite, but it isn’t as stable. 

It doesn’t mean that the Hiland feels dangerously unstable, it just can’t offer the same stability as steel frame mountain bikes. Despite the lightweight nature, aluminum is very durable and can easily withstand all the shocks and damage that comes with off-roading. 

The Hiland mountain bike excels when it’s travelling at high speeds. When you’re good at going fast, you need to be good at stopping quickly as well. The 24-speed shimano shifter system will help ensure that you’re always in complete control. 

Luckily, the Hiland comes with a double disc brake system that helps ensure you come to a stable stop every time. However, the brake pads might need changing on some models. 

What lets the bike down is the assembly process. If you’re experienced at assembling bikes then you can manage, but new cyclists will struggle. 

All the shipping also means that even the pre-assembled bits require some level of adjustment to ensure that they work properly. The best idea is to take the bike to a mechanic who can help tighten everything up!

The Hiland mountain bike easily makes the list of best mountain bikes under $500

Pros 

  • Available in four beautiful color schemes 
  • Good at high-speed performance 
  • Smart 24-speed shimano shifter system
  • Decent build quality 

Cons

  • Pre-assembly issues in certain shipments 
  • Not as stable as other top mountain bikes under $500

Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

8.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 15-inch
  • Gears: 24-speed

If you want one of the latest mountain bikes on the market, the Gravity FSX 1.0 is ideal. It offers a super comfortable ride and a very clean design. If you’re new to Mountain bikes, the Gravity FSX 1.0 is a great option;

Features

Wheel Size: 26-inch 

Suspension: Front

Number of Speeds: 24

Size: 15-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview 

The Gravity FSX 1.0 is a stunning cross country mountain bike that’s perfect for casual riders. However, for someone that’s looking to start with some serious off-roading, the FSX 1.0 leaves a lot to be desired. 

It’s made out of a lightweight aluminum frame that’s high quality and features a beautiful finish. The bicycle comes in three different colors. Thanks to the lightweight aluminum design, the Gravity FSX 1.0 is pretty handy on the road. 

Where it starts to perform poorly is on serious off-road trails, the lightweight frame simply isn’t strong enough to absorb the shocks that come with proper off-roading. 

On top of the lightweight frame, Gravity also made the baffling decision to put road bike tires instead of the standard mountain bike tires. The tires make the bike smoother to pedal on streets, but anyone serious about off-roading will replace the tires with wide ones!

After changing the bike tires, the off-roading performance improves significantly. If you buy the Gravity FSX 1.0, you’ll get a decent frame with some good components. However, to get the most out of the bike, you’ll need to change a few parts. 

Pros

  • Great for casual bikers 
  • Beautiful finish
  • Decent frame 
  • Great build quality 

Cons

  • Frustrating design decisions 
  • Off-road stability could improve 

Mongoose Impasse Men’s Mountain Bike

8.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 18-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

The Mongoose Impasse is ready to handle all kinds of terrains thanks to the 21-speed gearbox. Even beginner cyclists are well aware that Mongoose are mountain bikes experts and the Impasse is a solid offering;

Features 

Wheel Size: 29-inch 

Suspension: Front

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 18-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

The Impasse mountain bike is among the most popular mountain bikes under $500. It has this level of popularity as a result of being one of the very best 29-inch mountain bikes on the market. 

While developing the Impasse, Mongoose were aiming to create a mountain bike for entry-level riders. That’s why the Impasse gives off such a welcoming vibe. 

The handling of the bike is exceptional and will feel intuitive from the minute you first get on. Mongoose made a really good call with the threadless headset and it’s paying dividends. 

Despite using a lightweight frame, the Impasse suffers no stability issues because of the massive 29-inch tires. Regardless of what terrain you’re riding on, the Impasse will grip pretty well. 

The inclusion of a 21-speed shifter system also helps when riding different terrains. You can select the best gear for the particular terrain and find it much easier to cycle. Its dual suspension also works effectively to ensure that the ride remains comfortable. 

Even though the Impasse is among the best mountain bikes under $500, there are still some issues that are worth mentioning. 

One common issue is that the frame size feels small. For someone that’s above 6-foot the bicycle isn’t very comfortable. You’ll have to adjust the sit so high, it’ll start making you feel disconnected from the ground while riding. 

However, if you can deal with a few squeaks and clangs, the rest of the issues aren’t much to worry about! Overall the Mongoose Impasse is a great mountain bike under $500 for beginners and intermediate riders,

Pros

  • Very beginner friendly 
  • Great handling 
  • Super comfortable 
  • Smart full suspension 

Cons 

  • Frame size shorter than it should be
  • Unusually high sitting position for tall riders. 

SIRDAR S-700 27-Speed Mountain Bike

7.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 15-inch
  • Gears: 27-speed

A decent option for beginner mountain bikers, the SIRDAR S-700 provides all the performance without any of the additional frills. If you’re looking for a more luxurious ride, then you’re better off selecting one of the other mountain bike;

Features 

Wheel Size: 26-inch 

Suspension: Front

Number of Speeds: 27

Size: 16.5/18/19.5-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

SIRDAR might be a name that’s unfamiliar to both beginner and experienced cyclists. However, the company is quickly becoming more popular because they’re building high quality bicycles. 

Instead of charging ridiculous sums of money, they’re going the other route by providing high quality bicycles at an affordable price point. 

The SIRDAR S-700 is one of their best offerings, and deservedly earned its spot in our best mountain bikes under $500 list. It’s made from a combination of aluminum and high carbon steel. 

By combining the two metals, the SIRDAR S-700 gets the best of the stability steel provides and the lightweight nature of aluminum. Despite housing 27-inch wheels the bicycle is still fairly light.

You get all the comfort too because SIRDAR made the choice to include a full suspension system with the bike. 

An issue that most buyers encounter when purchasing the S-900 is the needlessly ambiguous instruction manual. If it wasn’t for the bike being 90% pre-assembled and helpful instructional online videos, then everyone would struggle with the installation. 

Aside from a few small hitches, the SIRDAR S-700 27-speed is one of the best mountain bikes for the money!

Pros 

  • High quality frame material 
  • Stable and lightweight 
  • Full suspension system 

Cons

  • Quality control issues 
  • Assemble instructions are very confusing 

Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er

BEST ALTERNATE
9.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17-inch
  • Gears: 24-speed

With massive 29-inch wheels, the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is capable of tackling all kinds of terrains. If the Mongoose Dolomite isn’t to your liking, the Blackjack 3.0 is the next best thing ;

Features 

Wheel Size: 24-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 24

Size: 17-inch

Frame Material: 6061 Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

Rounding up our list of the best mountain bikes under $500 for men is the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er. We’ve already talked about one 29-inch wheel mountain bike, but the Blackjack 3.0 is a better option than the Impasse! 

One of the most interesting features about the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is that it’s made out of 6061 alloy aluminum. The alloy form of the metal is much tougher and better suited towards off-roading. 

Not only is the frame material durable, it’s also lightweight which allows the bike to reach much higher speeds. With the greater speed, the inclusion of mechanical disk brakes is very welcome. They’re so effective, even when braking suddenly you won’t lose control. 

On the subject of control, the bike can handle multiple different terrains thanks to the 8 Speed EF-51 integrated shifter. While that’s not close to the number of gears that the Impasse offers, the act of shifting is much more satisfying on the Blackjack.

Where it does lose is when it comes down to suspension. The overall ride of the Impasse feels more comfortable thanks to the dual suspension setup. On the Blackjack, unfortunately you get a front suspension system. 

You can lock out the front suspension but a dual suspension system would help take the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 to the next level!

Regardless, It’s still among the best 29-inch wheel mountain bikes under $500

Pros

  • Attractive black and red color scheme 
  • 8-speed EF-51 Integrated shifter 
  • Front suspension can lock out
  • Supremely comfortable 

Cons 

  • Only features front suspension

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 for Women

For so many years,the cycling industry would make cycles that generally would cater to men. However, in modern times that’s completely different. Nowadays, there are specifically designed bicycles for women. 

Here are the best mountain bikes under $500 for women!


Royce Union RMT Women’s 21 Speed All-Terrain Mountain Bike

9.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 15-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

The first thing that you notice about the Royce Union RMT is the eye-catching design. On top of an interesting design, the Royce Union RMT performs exceptionally well. Instead of just excelling off-road, on-road performance is decent as well ;

Features 

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 15-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

We’ll start our list of the best mountain bikes under $500 for women with the stunning eggplant purple Royce Union RMT. It’s 15-inch frame and 27.5-inch wheels make the mountain bike the ideal size for women between 5’0 and 5’6. 

Taller women can choose to go for the 17-inch frame. The RMT is immensely comfortable and is a great bike to ride. An aluminum hardtail frame ensures that the bike is durable and lightweight at the same time. 

The lightweight nature of the bike means that it may not be the most stable but it’s definitely good at accelerating. Maintaining the speed while you’re off-roading is also no problem thanks to the shimano shifters. 

Its gear levers are very intuitive and make riding the bike a completely seamless experience. Royce Union adds to the comfort by featuring a padded seat that’s easily adjustable. 

The Royce Union RMT comes with tires featuring an all-terrain tread pattern that doesn’t provide the same level of resistance as standard mountain bike tires. 

Thanks to the all-terrain tread pattern, the Royce Union RMT is ideal for riding through the city and on gravel paths. 

For entry-level female cyclists, there’s no better option than the Royce Union RMT. However, there are other mountain bikes that perform better off-road. 

At the end of the day, what matters most to a mountain bike should be the off-road performance. The hybrid focus of the RMT holds it back from being the best mountain bike under $500 for women. 

Pros

  • Great mountain bike for beginners 
  • Works well on paved and gravel paths 
  • Intuitive gear shifting system 

Cons 

  • Off-road performance isn’t as impressive 
  • Doesn’t use the highest quality parts 

Mongoose Switchback Trail Adult Mountain Bike

BEST ALTERNATE
8.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Tectonic T1 Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 15-inch
  • Gears: 8-21-speed

Instead of just designing bikes for men, Mongoose are looking to capitalize on the female market as well. That’s why the Switchback Trail is available in a number of different sizes;

Features 

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 15-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

The very first thing that stands out about the Mongoose Switchback is the beautiful white and pink color scheme. It’s a very eye-catching design but there’s a lot more to the Switchback. 

Mongoose went with an aluminum alloy frame which isn’t as lightweight as you’d normally expect from the material. As a result, the Switchback might be slower than the Royce Union RMT but it’s definitely more stable. 

A suspension fork in the front further adds to the stability. It’s perfectly capable of handling the shocks and vibrations that you’ll experience on a typical mountain bike trail. 

What lets the Switchback down is that it uses some plastic components. While the frame of the bike is incredibly solid and stable, off-roading can damage some components and cause them to fall off. 

All the essential components though are super high quality. The bicycle features a SR Suntour XC-E28 suspension which is high quality and helps ensure stability. 

On top of the SR Suntour suspension, Switchback owners will also get access to 21-speed shifters and a rear derailleur. The presence of these help ensure that every gear change feels quick and precise. 

While the Switchback is a lot closer to mountain bike performance than the Royce Union RMT, Mongoose still made attempts to make the bike more all-purpose. 

The mountain bike features 2.1-inch wide all-terrain tires. These tires aren’t like regular mountain bike tires and make it much easier to ride the bike on the pavements. 

Even though some people might argue that making the bike better suited to all-terrains will get more sales and attract more people, it’s a decision that holds this Mongoose bike back. 

Pros

  • High quality components where it matters
  • Beginner-friendly 
  • Good on paved roads as well

Cons 

  • Sacrifices off-road performance for accessibility 
  • Use of plastic in bodywork 

Mongoose Status 2.2

BEST BUDGET
8.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 15-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

While the Status 2.2 isn’t specifically designed for women, the size fits perfectly. The lightweight nature of the mountain bike makes it much easier to ride and travel on longer commutes;

Features 

Wheel Size: 26-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 16.5/18/19.5-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum

Brake Style: V-brakes

Overview

While we might be cheating a bit here because the Mongoose Status 2.2 is marketed for both men and women, it definitely makes our list of best mountain bikes under $500 for women!

You must already be aware that Mongoose have quite a reputation for making mountain bikes. Almost all of their products do well among cyclists and the Status 2.2 is no different. 

Unlike the KMT and the Switchback, the Status 2.2 comes with a dual suspension system. The dual suspension system helps ensure that the bike can capably deal with any bumps or obstacles while you’re off-roading. 

However, one baffling design decision in the bike is the inclusion of front and rear V-brakes. While V-brakes aren’t a massive deal breaker, in a world of disc brakes, it’s certainly an odd decision. 

Leaving out the little hiccup with the brakes, the Mongoose Status 2.2 is a brilliant mountain bike for women. 

The 21-speed shifter system ensures that any gear changes that you make feel natural and makes pedalling much easier. 

On top of the 21-speed shifter system, Mongoose also includes riser handlebars that feature colored end plugs. The end result is one of the most aesthetically pleasing mountain bikes on the market. 

Pros 

  • Mongoose Reliability 
  • Brilliant Design 
  • Dual-suspension system 

Cons 

  • Makes use of V-brakes instead of disc 

Stone Mountain Women’s Mountain Bike

TOP PICK
9.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

For women the Stone Mountain Women’s Mountain bike is the best option. Not only does it offer a comfortable ride, but the performance is like a proper mountain bike. It can easily handle even the roughest off-road terrains;

Features 

Wheel Size: 26-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 17-inch

Frame Material: Steel

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

When it comes to the best mountain bike for women under $500 the Stone Mountain women’s mountain bike is the top pick. 

It features a 17-inch steel frame that helps ensure that the mountain bike remains as stable as possible. Steel is much heavier than aluminum, which makes it a lot more stable while off-roading.

Even though the bike’s heavier than the other mountain bikes on the list it doesn’t feel sluggish or hard to ride. The presence of Shimano rear derailleur in combination with a micro-shift twister makes changing gears a pleasure. 

You can choose between gears that are ideal for uphill climbing, downhill riding, or riding as fast as possible. It’s also possible to remove the rear derailleur guard that helps maintain consistent gear operation. 

The inclusion of knobby tires makes the mountain bike ideal for dirt bike paths and other kinds of terrain. Additionally, the linear pull brakes are also a welcome inclusion. 

As soon as you pull the brakes, the bike delivers very consistent braking power which is very useful  on off road tracks.To ensure that the cyclist remains as comfortable as possible, Stone Mountain went with padded ATB saddles. 

Unlike other stock saddles, these ones won’t start to fade and will last for a significant time. It’s nice to see that Stone Mountain thought about all these little things while designing this bike. 

It’s full of features that you’d find on more premium mountain bikes. The presence of Kraton grips ensure that the bike’s handlebars always remain comfortable. 

The only slight knock on the bike is the dull color schemes. If the finish of the paint was a little better, then the Stone Mountain would arguably be the perfect mountain bike for women!

Pros 

  • Super comfortable ride 
  • Exceptional off-roading performance 
  • Smooth pedalling 

Cons 

  • Dull color scheme 

Eurobike Bike X1

7.5/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Frame Size: 17-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

When it comes to design, the Eurobike Bike X1 is immediately eye-catching. The 3-spoke alloy wheel design ensures that your bike will stand out no matter where you visit;

Features 

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 16.5/18/19.5-inch

Frame Material: High Carbon Steel  

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

One of the main reasons why mountain bikes are so popular it’s because of the Eurobike Bikes X1. It features 27.5 inch wheels and a 21-speed gear system. 

The X1 is the ideal mountain bike for tall women, Eurobike recommends that people that range from 5’4 to 6’0 in height should go for this bike. 

When it comes to the mechanics of the bike, it features a front fork suspension that helps reduce any bumps and ensure that the cyclist is comfortable. 

On an off-road trail, the suspension works overtime to ensure that the front wheel remains on the ground. Staying on the subject of wheels, the three-spoke rim design is stunning. 

Eurobike went with high carbon steel as their choice for frame material.As a result, the X1 is durable and weighs enough to ensure a stable ride. 

There’s a slight disadvantage to using high carbon steel though. High carbon steel is a brittle metal. Which means that if there’s a crash instead of dents, the frame will start to crack. 

It can potentially shatter which can be a lot of trouble.

Pros 

  • Aluminum 6061 material
  • Purpose built for women
  • Smart suspension system

Cons 

  • Can shatter upon impact

Royce Union RMA Women’s 21-Speed All-Terrain Mountain Bike

9.0/10 Our Score
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Frame Size: 17-inch
  • Gears: 21-speed

Royce Union is one of the best bicycle makers on the market. They manage to include a great aesthetic design and improve the performance as well. The shifters of the bike are ideal for ensuring the bike travels comfortably on all terrains;

Features 

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch

Suspension: Front fork w lockout

Number of Speeds: 21

Size: 17-inch

Frame Material: Aluminum 

Brake Style: Disc 

Overview

Royce Union have been around for a long time and as a result they have a very big catalogue. One of their best bikes for women is the RMA. It features the signature Royce Union style and is immediately recognizable. 

Thanks to the all-terrain tires, the mountain bike is great for trails, gravel paths, and even paved streets. That’s why using a hardtail aluminum frame is such a great option. 

The frame is both lightweight and durable. Their lightweight nature means that the RMA is ideal for acceleration and the handling is better. 

On the front of the bike, there’s a Zoom suspension fork that helps smoothly absorb any potential bumps and shocks. 

There are also other high quality components on the bike that help ensure optimal performance. One of the key inclusions is the Shimano EZ Fire Plus Trigger in combination with the Shimano Altus rear indexed derailleur. 

It’s capable of shifting through the 21 speeds in an ultra smooth manner. You can change gears easily with just your index finger or your thumb, 

The one essential feature that’s missing from the Royce Union RMA is a kickstand. While you can install an external kickstand, it’s definitely an oversight. 

Pros 

  • Combination of great components 
  • All-terrain performance 
  • Lightweight ensures that acceleration is easy 

Cons 

  • Bike requires a lot of different adjustments

These are some of the best bikes under $500 for men and women. The top pick for men is the Mongoose Dolomite. It’s a pure off-roading beast that’s capable of tackling all terrains and all weather conditions. 

The best bike under $500 for women is the Huffy Mountain Stone. It combines accessibility, high quality components, and exceptional off-road performance in one package. 

If the top picks don’t quite float your boat, any of these bicycles above will make a great choice. By knowing what features to look for, you can make the best choice for yourself. Keep reading to learn more about how to pick the best mountain bike under $500 

Best Mountain Bike Under $500 – Buying Guide 

Sunset Mountain Bike Under 0

If you’re an experienced cyclist, then you probably already know how to buy a bicycle that suits your needs the most. Those that are new to mountain bike, struggle to identify what features they need to be assessing. 

By taking a look at these key features, anyone can assess whether or not the mountain bike is worth buying or not!

Frame Material

While you can easily customize most of the components on your bike, it’s close to impossible to change the frame material. That’s why it’s essential to identify which material meets your needs best before making the final decision on a bike. 

When you’re browsing through mountain bikes, you’ll notice that there are two main material choices that are available in the sub $500 mountain bike category. You can pick between either steel or aluminum. 

There are other alloys like high-carbon steel and  6061 aluminum that are also available. However, the main ones that are prevalent on the market are aluminum and steel. 

Aluminum is becoming increasingly popular in mountain bikes that want to perform on all-terrains. The lightweight nature ensures that the bike is easy to pedal and the handling is sharp. However, because of the lightweight you do lose a little bit of stability. 

Steel is the traditional material of choice for mountain bikes and for good reason. It’s rugged, durable, and the extra weight ensures that it’s always incredibly stable. Most hardcore mountain bikes still predominatly use steel as their frame material. 

Deciding between the two material choices is really a matter of personal preference. If you want to enjoy a lightweight mountain bike that you can easily ride on the streets then aluminum is the right choice.

On the other hand, if you want a heavy-duty off-road mountain bike, then you can’t go wrong with steel!

Frame Size 

After you decide on what material you want, the next most important step on the list is picking the correct frame size. Frame sizes can become quite confusing to understand these days. 

Some manufacturers are categorizing their sizes according to inches, while others are using the small, medium, and large classification. 

Wheel Size 

Mountain bikes are available in all kinds of different wheel sizes and that makes it easy to get confused.  Now there are three main mountain bike wheel sizes that you can choose between. 

There are 26-inch, 27.5-inch, and 29-inch wheels. Each of these different sizes bring with them their own properties and behaviors. Here’s what you need to know about the sizes so you can pick the one that suits your needs the most!

26-inch 

Let’s start off with 26-inch wheels. Traditionally, most mountain bikes would come with 26-inch wheels, especially the ones that would use aluminum as their base. The benefit of 26-inch tires is that they’re super lightweight. 

That makes these tires ideal for smashing through off-road trails at high speeds. However, because of their small size they aren’t durable.  

27.5-inch

27.5-inch wheels are starting to become more popular than 26-inch wheels. They’re able to offer similar performance but they’re more durable and better for longer journeys. You’ll find bikes in all kinds of frame materials with 27.5-inch wheels. 

29-inch

29-inch wheels or 29ers are starting to exponentially increase in popularity. The wheel size is so popular because more people are shifting towards making long off-road journeys. 

Aside from being the most durable out of all the wheel sizes, 29-inch wheels also make a mountain bike look incredible. 

These are the three main wheel choices that will be available to you when you go to buy a mountain bike. Assess what type of riding you plan to use your bike for and then pick the wheel size that matches your needs the most. 

Gears 

Mountain bikes are available in multiple different gear configurations. Cyclists can choose between going for single-speed or multi-speed variations. 

The purpose of these gears is to essentially ensure that pedalling remains smooth and efficient regardless of the terrain. If you’re going to be riding on tracks that feature loads of steep hills and climbing is a bit of a challenge, then you’ll want to pick a mountain bike with high gears. 

If you’re an experienced cyclist and are looking to ride on mostly flat terrains then a low-geared variant will do the trick. Low-gear drivetrains are also lighter in comparison and are starting to become more popular!

Suspension 

The suspension plays a major role in how comfortable and stable your mountain bike will ride. There are three main types of mountain bikes on the market; Hardtails, Full Suspension, and Rigid Bikes. 

Hardtails: 

A hardtail mountain bike features the suspension on the front. The front suspension is necessary because it can capably absorb any potential bumps on the trails. Consequently, hardtail mountain bikes have a very smooth and efficient ride. 

Full Suspension Bikes: 

A full suspension mountain bike features a suspension on both the front wheel and the rear wheel. The result is a much smoother ride than hardtail bikes but the overall weight of the bike increases. 

Rigid Bikes:

Rigid bikes are starting to become a thing of the past. These are bikes that feature no suspension at all. Most people just ride these bikes just for fun!

In the current market, cyclists can choose between a hardtail or a full suspension bike.. If you value speed over a smoother ride, than hardtail bikes are more up your alley. 

A full suspension bike is for those cyclists that want enjoy the most comfortable experience possible on a mountain bike!

By looking at these key features, you can make the best possible decision for yourself and choose the mountain bike that suits your needs best. 

Conclusion 

It’s becoming trendy now to create a mountain bike that’s capable of performing on the pavement as well. While this is making cycling more accessible, it’s also adding to the mountain vs hybrid bike dilemma!

Nonetheless, if you want to shred some serious off-road trails, nothing will give you the same level of satisfaction as a mountain bike. Pick whichever one suits your needs the most and get ready to shred!

FAQS

Q1. Can I ride my mountain bike on paved terrains?

Ans. Mountain bikes can function on roads but it definitely won’t be the most enjoyable experience. If you’re going to be using your cycle predominantly on paved roads, a hybrid or a road bike is a better option.

Q2. Can you upgrade a mountain bike?

Ans. Aside from the frame size and the material, you can pretty much upgrade and replace everything on a mountain bike

Q3. Is there a difference between men and women’s mountain bike?

Ans. Yes, as more and more women start to cycle, manufacturers are starting to take advantage by designing bikes that specifically cater to women. These bikes will have features like shorter tubes and narrower handles

Q4. Are mountain bikes faster than road bikes?

Ans. On off-road terrains, mountain bikes easily manage to outperform road bikes. However, on pavements not even the most skilled cyclist will be able to keep up with a road bike while riding a mountain bike.

James Dawson

After learning how to ride a bicycle much later than all the other kids, James Dawson hasn't looked back. The author now actively rides a bicycle as a part of the community cycling group and competes regularly in local competitions. Aside from that, he loves technology and always keeps up to date with the latest cycling tech.