When it comes to price range for mountain bikes, $500 represents a mid-tier budget. Whether you are upgrading, or jumping into your first mountain bike purchase, the number of choices available on the market may seem overwhelming. It’s best to think long-term and choose a bike that you can trust for the few years to come as you get into the sport of cycling.
Why Buy A Mountain Bike?
Mountain biking is a thrilling and challenging sport, perfect for both adrenaline junkies and cyclists who enjoy getting off the road and into nature. Although it generally may have slower acceleration than road bikes, it is still a fun bike to take on your commute and on the trails during the weekends.
Mountain bikes are specifically designed to withstand the harsher conditions of trails and tracks, whether you are biking through mountains, woodland, or unpredictable flat terrains. Their disc brakes, strong frame, and thick tires all combine to create a supportive bike which is much more suited to adventurous activities than a regular road bike.
4 Tips When Choosing A Mountain Bike
A lot of cyclists are loyal to a particular brand. Trek, Specialized, and Cannondale are examples of popular bike companies. If you’ve had good experience with a particular brand in the past, and have bicycle parts which are interchangeable between brand models, it’s a good idea to stick with the bike type which suits you best – unless you want to try a new company!
How do you plan to use your mountain bike? Do you regularly hit the mountain trails, or are you just looking for an occasional trip through the mountains? If you are someone who is planning to hit rugged terrain, I would suggest finding a mountain bike with a good suspension system and knobbier, thicker tires for more traction and support. You may not be able to accelerate as quickly as a road bike, which has thinner tires, but trust me, the stability and smooth comfort is worth it.
The Size and Position
Everyone has a different physique, which is why many mountain bikes brands like the ones I listed below make mountain bikes for different heights. Make sure to consult a bike sizing chart or ask a retailer for a test-drive before you commit to a certain model. The size of your bike frame and whether or not your seat can be adjusted to the right comfortable position is essential. My rule of thumb is that the seat should always be adjusted at hip height for comfortable pedaling.
Do you have any particular brakes in mind? Any functionalities for your new mountain bike which are top priorities? From the pedals to the gears to even whether or not it has a kickstand for propping, get familiar with the different parts of the bike.
Now that you know some tips on how to choose a mountain bike, here are 5 top budget-friendly picks for the average beginner mountain biker!
Top Budget-Friendly Mountain Bikes
1. Gravity FSX 1.0
Gravity is a well-known bike brand, and the FSX is among our top entry-level choices. It still features sophisticated disc brakes, adjustable suspension, and a strong aluminium frame. All of these are must-haves for a mountain bike!
This bike is perfect for wood and mountain trails, and is extremely comfortable to handle.
2. Diamondback Overdrive 29
This bike model comes in several sizes, so it definitely feels like a custom fit. Diamondback are well-known for providing great quality entry-level bikes, and the Overdrive has been cropping up everywhere. As well as its super efficient 29” wheels, the bike is built on the same strong, lightweight aluminium frame as some of Diamondback’s higher-end trail bikes.
In terms of activity, this bike is perfect for swoopy singletracks, steep climbs, and mastering new trails. It’s perfect for both beginner and intermediate mountain bikers.
3. Kawasaki Mihara Fat Tire Bike
No mountain bike review is complete without a fat tire bike. Fat tire bikes give incredible traction and grip, and can handle the toughest terrain – so if you are cycling across extremely rocky terrain, this model is the one for you.
The Kawasaki is definitely bulkier than other options, so keep this in mind when leaning towards this kind of mountain bike. However, with its lightweight alloy frame, you can still stay nimble on the trails.
The bike features top quality pieces from Shimano, including derailleur and shifters. If you are looking for a convenient, smooth ride on really rocky terrain, take a look at this model.
4. Mongoose R2780 Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle
If you really have a tight budget, Mongoose offers a durable option at under $300. It’s still a full suspension mountain bike, so this could be the perfect entry-level option for someone who is still exploring their favorite mountain biking activity.
It also comes with Shimano derailleurs and gearing, and disc brakes. The frame is aluminium, and the bike is easy to control and navigate through trails and rougher terrain.
5. Raleigh Tekoa Mountain Bike
Raleigh is a reputable brand, so it’s worth stretching your budget by $30-40 to purchase this model. The bike comes in a variety of sizes. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, take a trip to your local bike store for a bike fitting before you purchase your Raleigh.
The bike features 29” wheels, and are perfect for gliding comfortably over rocks and tree roots. The bike also offers efficient and smooth stopping power with its hydraulic disc brakes, and special wheel and frame dynamics ensure a comfy ride.
Now is your turn to choose!
Aside from these 5, there are plenty of other starter mountain bikes that will fit an entry-level mountain biker’s budget. All it takes is a little bit of Internet research and going out for a test drive to ensure that the beginning of your mountain bike journey is smooth sailing! Happy biking!