As always, the budget friendly realm can be a tricky one. There are indeed products that offer amazing performance at a very affordable price, but there are also quite a few items that are poor quality or just plain average.

So buckle up as this one’s going to be quite a ride and a journey to discover the best mountain bike under $500.

Reviewed – the best mountain bikes under $500

5. Thruster T-29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike

Thruster T-29 29er Men's Mountain Bike - review

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The Thruster T-29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike is not only one of the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars, but also features heat treated aluminum to create a lightweight, yet durable, frame. This gives the bike a strong foundation that holds up against even the most muscular riders and the most significant impacts encountered on the trail. The Shimano brand gearing system is one of the best on the markets and, coupled with the TZ31 derailleurs, ensures a swift, efficient gear shift experience. Even better, you can roll out on the Thruster’s 29″ wheels at a surprisingly low price!

The Thruster T-29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike features knobby-textured wheels. They’re great on any surface, whether it’s rough and rocky landscapes or smooth, slick pavement. This particular mountain bike also features a one hundred and seventy millimeter crank set, complete with 28/38/48 tooth rings! They are made from steel, a metal known for its tenacity under pressure. This steel ensures that they’re extremely durable and strong. The Thruster T-29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike is certain to hold up against impact, but more than that, it’s also known for its faithfulness when holding up under normal wear and tear over the years. This bike is shipped to the rider already mostly assembled (85%), saving the rider time and effort that they could be spending out on the road or on the trails. You will only need to install handlebars, pedals, and the front wheel. Of course, you will also need to pump air into the tires, as well.

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 Performance

The Thruster T-29 29er is more of a city bike than one meant for rocky, hilly trails and off-road terrain. As long as the cyclist remains on light or medium terrain, the shocker system does an excellent job of protecting the cyclist from impacts on the road and absorbs the less intense bumps the rider may encounter. The rider gets all of this, plus decent potential for speed (it’s a 21 speed mountain bike) at a comparable price for its peers in this market.
The Thruster boasts of excellent traction. All cyclists, new or experienced, understand how important traction is on the road. This increased traction ensures that the rider is afforded a smooth, even ride around corners without fear of the tires losing grip and resulting in a wipe out. Riders around the height of five foot, six inches to six foot, three inches can comfortably maneuver this bike. Most reviews about this model say that it can also hold weight upwards of two hundred and fifty pounds, so even those who are riding to lose weight or those who are heavily muscle bound can enjoy a smooth ride with the Thruster T-29 29er Men’s Mountain Bike.

4. Genesis 26″ Men’s V2100 Dual-Suspension

Genesis 26 Men's V2100 Dual-Suspension Bicycle - Review

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The Genesis 26″ Men’s V2100 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike is also on the list as one of the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars, considering its quality versus price. The shock absorbers on the Genesis are built to withstand some of the most intense obstacles the cyclist will run into on the pavement or the bike trails. The dual suspension system is comprised of a fourbar suspension frame with a suspension fork, absorbing impact so that the cyclist enjoys a smooth, crisp ride. Not to mention, you can take these 26″ wheels for a spin for less than half of the $500 price tag that caps this list!

The Genesis 26″ Men’s V2100 comes with full Shimano gearing, which is considered one of the best brands on the market for gear systems (and we all know how important a decent gear system is to the smoothness and speed of our ride). This bike also comes with a front disc brake, which gives the cyclist a trusted, smooth stop when they need it most. We’ve all experienced a treacherous front brake system and it isn’t fun when you wind up over the handlebars and back flat against the pavement. It’s also got a V brake on the back of the bike, which is a necessary aspect for control and maneuverability. This rear V brake will keep the cyclist moving at safe, steady, and manageable speed when traveling downhill. The cyclist won’t ever have to worry about the bike getting out of control on them during critical moments on the road or trail.

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 Performance

The Genesis 26″ Men’s V2100 is one of those bikes you could label “all purpose,” which is a great find considering the price tag. The rear suspension clears all obstacles, letting the bike take most of the impact for the rider – as it should be. The brakes are superb, reliable at any speed to ensure that the cyclist is always safe. The frame of the mountain bike is built to last, but is still fairly light in order to grant the cyclist optimal speed and ease of transport when loading the bicycle into a bike rack or other transportation means. The shifting system is designed to be quick and efficient, giving the cyclist the power to switch gears at a moment’s notice when faced with new terrain. Best of all, this bike performs equally as well on paved roads or rocky, rough trails.

The reviews for the Genesis 26″ Men’s V2100 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike say that the V brake releases smoothly and evenly. This is extremely important for those looking to reach optimal speeds in racing or just to get a clean, fun workout on a sunny trail. The suspension, according to users, absorbs most of the larger bumps, ensuring that the user doesn’t have to put unnecessary pressure on their bodies that may result in injury. However, a lot of people agree that the seat isn’t exactly top of the line. Most reviewers suggest swapping out the seat for a new, more comfortable one as soon as they purchase the bike.

3. Vilano Blackjack 2.0 Mountain Bike

Vilano Blackjack 2.0 29er Mountain Bike MTB with 29-Inch - Review

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The Vilano Blackjack 2.0 Mountain Bike is a brilliant bike and definitely deserves to be on our list as one of the best mountain bikes for under 500 dollars. The Vilano Blackjack rides on 29″ wheels that affords the cyclist a smoother, faster ride, since it affords more distance for the cyclist’s push. This mountain bike also boasts of a hand built, butted, 6061 aluminum alloy hard tail frame for added durability! Of course, the aluminum alloy ensures that the bike also maintains a lightweight design for easy transport and optimal speeds while in use. The mechanical disc brakes on this model are strong, granting the cyclist full stopping power when faced with an emergency need.

The 80 millimeter travel suspension fork affords the user a smooth, even ride that makes their journey a comfortable adventure rather than a challenge for their body to overcome. The rims of the Vilano are not only made of the same durable and lightweight alloy, but are also double walled for added strength and durability (no matter what path the cyclist leads their bike down). All of this is included without skimping on speed, since the Vilano also comes equipped with the top-notch Shimano EF-51 shifter. This excellent brand name system grants the cyclist a range of eight speeds for their needs while traversing any terrain and, with the included Shimano brake lever, you can rest easy knowing that your stopping commands are heard instantly when you’re in a pinch!

The Vilano Blackjack 2.0 Mountain Bike comes with a Shimano Altus RD-M280 eight speed rear derailleur and a Shimano TX50 front derailleur, granting the cyclist one of the best derailleur systems on the market. It also features an alloy crank – a triple, at 42/34/2 – along with an MTB black saddle that nobody seems to be complaining about, either. The seat post is adjustable and the specs for the post is 30.9 by 300 millimeters. In addition to these features, it also comes with 31.8 by 680 millimeter handlebars, a KMC z72 chain, and MTB alloy 9/16″ pedals.

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 Performance

Despite the massive size of this bike, or perhaps because of it, the braking system is one of the most reliable on the market. The Vilano is certain to stop exactly when you tell it to do so, granting the cyclist much needed peace of mind no matter if they’re traveling down a city block or over mountainous terrain. The shock absorbers neutralize even some of the most challenging obstacles and surprises the cyclist may encounter, affording them a smoother, more worry-free ride. However, this bike is considered more of a city bike than a wild, off road beast. Not to say, of course, that it wouldn’t be up for more rough terrain. It’s an extremely comfortable bike and performs well above the price for which it is usually sold to the cyclist.

The Vilano Blackjack 2.0 Mountain bike switches gears fast, while still affording the rider a smooth ride. No matter what terrain the cyclist may be riding over (whether it’s dirt roads, a hiking trail, smooth pavement, or a rocky path) this bike is sure to get them over any obstacle as comfortably as possible. And no matter the weather conditions, the cyclist can feel safe with this impressive braking system surrounding them. The Vilano Blackjack provides the rider complete authority over when and where they need to stop (be it rain, snow, sleet, or shine).

2. Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 700C Hybrid Bicycle

Schwinn Men's Network 3.0 700C Hybrid Bicycle - Review

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The Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 700C Hybrid Bicycle is one of the most worthy on our list of best mountain bikes under 500 dollars. This hybrid mountain bike from Schwinn is an artful combination of many different types of bikes, providing the cyclist with the best of both worlds. This ingenious engineering has created a versatile product capable of taking on any terrain. Again, this mountain bike is made of an aluminum alloy that makes the frame both durable and lightweight, great for speed and transporting purposes while maintaining its original “just bought” luster.

The Schwinn suspension fork affords the cyclist a smooth ride without concern for the obstacles in their path, which is just quality upon which no serious biker is willing to compromise. The applauded Shimano products again make an appearance in the Schwinn Men’s Network Hybrid Bicycle, providing the cyclist with a 21 speed rear derailleur to reach top speeds in any conditions and EZ fire shifters for smooth transitioning between gears! The rims of the hybrid bike are made of the same aluminum, lightweight alloy promised to remain strong under pressure.

The Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 700C Hybrid Bicycle features a padded seat designed for the rider’s comfort. It is perched atop a strong, adjustable suspension seat post for the convenience of the rider. This bike also comes with the curved back handlebars, a style integrated with the upright rider’s comfort in mind.

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 Performance

This particular Schwinn model is considered one of the most comfortable rides on the market today and displays incredible performance in all aspects of its design. Its specs and features well exceed the price for which it is being offered. The Schwinn Men’s Network Hybrid bike is great for everyday riding, built to last and built for reliability.

It is commended for preventing the rider from experiencing an aching back while riding this bike, the handlebars encouraging the rider to sit upright as they roll through their commute. This is a bike built to handle all sorts of obstacles, but also to allow the rider to enjoy daily cycling to work or to the convenience store. It combines speed with strength, so that the rider doesn’t have to choose between the two.

We greatly respect the manufacturer for creating such a unique and inspired bicycle that can cover all terrain types without compromising on price, speed, or durability.

1. Diamondback Response

Diamondback Response Mountain Bike with 29-Inch Wheels Revieew

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Finally, the No. 1 best mountain bike for under $500, the almighty Diamonback Response. Although it does get us extremely close to the price limit for our list, it’s worth every cent (in our opinion). The almighty Diamondback is designed with a lightweight, durable, aluminum alloy frame (6061 T6). Its sleek, classic style is deceiving, considering that this bike is tough against impact. It’s designed for durability and reliability, its 100 millimeter suspension fork absorbing the force of even the largest obstacles a cyclist must bear on the mountain bike trails (or off road). The 29 inch wheels afford the cyclist more distance for their effort, but also come equipped with equally powerful brakes to stop the beast when it gets rolling too fast to control. The seven speed drive train of the Diamondback Response grants the user speed and increased fluidity of their ride.

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 Performance

Most cyclists agree that the Diamondback Response is the very best non-professional mountain bike under five-hundred dollars on the market today. Most cyclists feel that this particular bicycle is worth not just double, but sometimes even quadruple what the manufacturer is asking for it. Testers say that the Diamondback Response is one of the smoothest rides they’ve ever experienced, overcoming bumps in the road without the Diamondback even breaking a sweat. The brakes are reliable, the comfort is unparalleled, and it’s manufactured to be strong and resilient under a variety of circumstances. Add the incredibly low price in comparison to all of these benefits and this might just be one of the best deals on the market.

The Diamondback Response comes from a company that prides itself on being a franchise model. They boast of this particular model being built to last, steadfastly overcoming obstacles, easily absorbing repeated impact, and taking terrain punishment without so much as flinching no matter how hard the rider is on the bike. They are also pleased to keep their pricing for this particular bike as low as possible, despite the many benefits of the bicycle, which includes its ability to appeal to new and experienced cyclists alike.

Conclusion

So if you’re in pursuit of the best affordable mountain bike that money can buy, one of these five boys is what you need. Each of them delivers top-notch performance for the price, and most importantly, they’re all products that won’t disappoint you.

As noted, it is very important when choosing an affordable mountain bike to know how to filter out the bad ones, and that’s just what we did for you kind folks here. None of these will disappoint and they will all give you a stellar bang for the buck. Many well-earned thumbs up from here.

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