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Best Cheap Mountain Bikes You Can Buy in 2022

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - April 28, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Mountain Bikes
best cheap mountain bikes

Trek’s affordable yet spectacular Marlin 7! |  Image source: Trek Bikes

High-quality mountain bikes are notorious for being extremely expensive. The good news is that you can get a glimpse of mountain biking on the cheap!

Many well-known bicycle brands such as Cannondale, Trek, and Specialized have introduced a line of super-cheap mountain bikes to the masses. The bikes are not only good-looking but also outperform the rather low price tag as well.

Although we don’t really recommend going full-on down the hill with a cheap mountain bike, these bikes can still be a perfect solution for everyday commuting through the urban and off-road tracks. All of those bikes are ideal for XC/Marathon-type riding – Light gravel roads, single trails, etc.


Best Cheap Mountain Bikes of 2022 🏆

1. Schwinn – GTX 2 700c
2. Co-op Cycles – DRT $550
3. Batch – The Mountain – $430
4. Cannondale – Trail 8 $625
5. Specialized – Rockhopper Sport 29 $700
6. Diamondback – Hatch 1 $600
7. Mongoose – Dolomite
8. Diamondback – Atroz 2
9. Salsa – Rangefinder $1,099
10. Marin – Wildcat Trail WFG $599
11. BMC – Blast $799


1. Schwinn – GTX 2 700c

Affordable comfort bike with an impressive blend of comfort and functionality

Schwinn GTX comfort bike with front suspension

A 700c mountain bike

MSRP: $500
Schwinn-bikes

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Rigid front suspension
  • 700c / 28-inch wheels
  • Disc brakes

Schwinn’s GTX hybrid is an impressive blend of speed, comfort, and functionality, a great, affordable comfort bike option.

The GTX is not the traditional comfort bike look, but it feels like one to use. Front fork suspension, a cushioned saddle, and upright yet sporty geometry make this bicycle a pleasure to ride. Aluminum frame, fork, and rims help users maneuver the GTX with ease.

Schwinn’s hybrid can handle any style of biking using its 21-speed gearing. Multi-use tires and double rim walls provide protection and durability on rougher trails. Finally, Schwinn offers a limited lifetime warranty on the GTX to back up their confidence in its durable design.

Fits riders: 5’7″ – 6’2″

Buy from Schwinn


2. Co-op Cycles – DRT 1.1

The best cheap unisex trail bike

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1

MSRP: $599
REI.com

  • 31 lbs
  • 21-speed
  • 27’5″ wheels
  • 100mm suspension
  • Shimano components
  • Hydraulic disc brakes

Co-op Cycles is known to produce one of the best value bikes on the market, and the DRT 1.1 is a perfect example to prove it. If you are looking to get the best bang out for your buck, this is by far the best 500-dollar bike you can get, hands down. The unisex frame is another key factor the whole Co-op bikes range has gotten so popular from the very beginning. Although most components on this bike are cheap, to say the least, it can hold up quite well on light trails and during the ‘Sunday strolls’.

Buy on REI.com


3. Batch – The Mountain

batch the mountain mtb

MSRP: $470
Jenson USA

6061 alloy frame    |    Suntour XCE28 fork    |    3x7sp Shimano Tourney    |    29×2.1″

Best for cross-country riding, this super basic cheap 29er mountain bike has all the essentials one would need to get acquainted with mountain biking – 100mm suspension fork and XC geometry. The set-up is rather old-school and basic, but it’ll do the trick for those who don’t expect it to perform like a $1,000 MTB.

As a downside, there are the most basic components on the bike which might limit some serious trail riding.

Size Recommendations

Youth (24″ wheels) – 4’11 – 5’6″
S (27.5 wheels) – 27.5″ – 5’0″ – 5’6″
M (29″ wheels) – 5’5″ – 5’10”
L (29″ wheels) – 5’9″ – 6’3″

Buy on JensonUSA.com


4. Cannondale – Trail 8 (2021)

Best first 29er! Score: 4.1 / 5 out of 31+ ratings

cannondale trail 7 2021 bike

MSRP: $625
REI.com

Cannondale Trail 8 is an affordable mountain bike that has the potential to become your best friend from the moment you ride it for the first time. That’s if you don’t fall in love with it even before that, the moment you see the sleek dark paint job.

Trail 8 is the ideal beginner’s mountain bike for several good reasons – it’s got a maintenance-free 75mm SR Suntour M3030 coil fork, and a 2 x 7 drivetrain. On the 2021 model, there are now two front chainrings instead of the previous three.

All of these features come to you on a lightweight and durable aluminum frame built from SmartForm C3 alloy. It’s used on many Cannondale bikes because of its reliability, and good geometry. The bike is rolling on two different wheel sizes, 29″ wheels for M, L, and XL, and 27.5″ for XS, and S sizes.

  • SmartForm C3 aluminum frame
  • 75 mm suspension fork
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 27.5″ / 29″
  • 14 gears

The Tektro mechanical disc brakes are suitable for the fully entry-level bike, still better than the old-school rim brakes. For all of these reasons, whether you’re buying your first mountain bike or replacing an old one, the Cannondale Trail 8 is definitely a considerable choice when thinking of getting the best bang for your buck!

As a downside, the bike is quite heavy at 33lbs, but you’ll be going to have a hard time finding a better bike at this price range. Also note, that Cannondale is known for its long top tube, so make sure to check out their size chart to find out the right size.

Buy on REI.com


5. Specialized – Rockhopper Sport 29

specialized rockhopper mtb

MSRP: $700
Mike’s Bikes

  • 2×8 speed Shimano & microSHIFT
  • 29″ wheels
  • A1 aluminum frame
  • SR Suntour XCE
  • Radius CX-7 Disc Brakes

An awesome cheap MTB by a known and large bike brand – Specialized, the Rockhopper series has been around for quite a while and proved to be an awesome choice by many. With a coil fork and mechanical disc brakes, it is best suited for the recreational cyclist who wants to feel the ease of riding on 29″ wheels.

The 2×8 speed drivetrain is a great improvement from previous models which makes choosing the gears easy, and the geometry of the bike allows cyclists to get into light trail riding with ease. If you are looking for a bike to get out and about, this might be an ideal bike to get started with mountain biking.

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


6. Diamondback – Hatch 1

Detail Image of color Black Onyx Matte

MSRP: $600
REI.com

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Brakes V-brakes
  • Tires 27.5/29″ x 2.25″ Rubber Rail Escape
  • Fork: Suntour XCE 100mm
  • Drivetrain: Shimano 3×7-speed

The Diamondback Hatch 1 hardtail is an affordable MTB that would be the perfect cross-country companion for any entry-level mountain biker.

With this versatile bike, you will take on dirt, gravel, and asphalt with ease. The frame used here is a lightweight custom-formed 6061 aluminum that comes with either 27.5″ (XS/S) or 29″ (M-XL) wheels depending on the size.

A 100mm Suntour XCE fork and knobby 2.25″ Vee Tire Co. Rubber Rail Escape tires give this bike a good level of comfort and control on or off-road.

Lastly, this bike also has a wide 3×7-speed Shimano drivetrain, so you can always find the perfect gear on steep mountain climbs or descents.

Buy on REI.com


7. Mongoose – Dolomite

Mongoose Dolomite Fat Bike

  • High-tensile steel frame and fork
  • 26″ fat wide tires
  • 7-speed
  • Mechanical disc brakes

Fat bikes have been quite popular recently. For a good reason, too, since they not only look great but are also highly functional.

Mongoose Dolomite is the cheapest and the best entry-level fat bike that we have found so far. It’s perfect for beginner cyclists who want to ride in the snow, on sandy terrain, through mud, and anywhere else where a standard MTB would feel lost.

Kawasaki Mihara lends its functionality from the traditional mountain bikes thanks to its 26″ wheels, which is the most practical size. But it then takes that functionality to another level with knobby and fat tires, specially made for fat bikes, that can stomp over anything in their way.

This fat tire bike is built around a sturdy high-tensile steel frame and features a steel fork which improves strength and comfort, but packs a lot of weight.

Shimano Tourney rear derailleur to change 7 basic gears and since fat bikes are intended for slow riding on rough terrain, you won’t need more than that! Other notable features you will like to include are the 160 mm mechanical disc brakes, and a good-looking blue paint job with red rims.

If you’re looking for a bike that can handle extreme conditions and allow you to extend your cycling season, Mongoose Dolomite is the best and the cheapest option.

Buy on Amazon


8. Diamondback – Atroz 2

Cheapest Full Suspension We’d Recommend

diamondback atroz 2

MSRP $1,375
Jenson USA

  • Full suspension
  • 6061 T-6 Aluminum frame
  • Shimano Acera components
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 2.35-inch wide tires

Who says that full suspension bikes are always brutally expensive? Sure, cheap FS bikes are more expensive than cheap hardtail models, but not significantly. If you have a limited budget but you still want to get the benefits that front and rear suspension give, you can do it with Diamondback Atroz 2.

This bike costs just $1,375, which isn’t extremely cheap but it’s well worth it, considering what you get.

Front and rear suspension for improved performance. Diamondback Atroz 2 is built on a 6061 T-6 aluminum frame which we can see on many Diamondback bikes in this price range. Its different parts are tied together by a 120mm Suntour fork and 100mm rear shock.

Having suspension on the rear means you will be able to go faster over rough terrain and do more with your bike.

Apart from that, Atroz 2 comes with a Shimano Acera drivetrain with nine gears. To make sure you’re confident on the trails, Diamondback installed Shimano hydraulic disc brakes that do a pretty good job.

If you always wanted to ride an FS bike but didn’t have thousands of dollars to spare, Diamondback Atroz 2 is your chance to fulfill your dreams.

Buy on Jenson USA


9. Salsa – Rangefinder

salsa rangefinder mountain bike

MSRP $1,099
REI.com
29″ | 27.5″

Aluminum frame    |    1×10-speed drivetrain    |    120mm travel

  • Salsa Guide dropper post
  • Shimano MT201 hydraulic disc brakes w/160mm rotors
  • FSA Alpha Drive 30t crankset
  • WTB Volt saddle
  • 29″ or 27.5″ wheels

Whether you are a beginner mountain biker or a seasoned trailhead who has been away from the sport for a while, this is the bike to get you back on the saddle smoothly. Salsa is a well-known name in the off-road cycling field, and the Rangefinder is their entry-level solution with all the necessities.

The set-up is well suited for demanding trails, especially for those who don’t push the bikes and their own limits to the max. Although every bike can be upgraded to some degree, the Rangefinder microSHIFT Advent X M9605 is an awesome build-out of the box! Is it a cheap mountain bike? No, but the unbeatable value would describe this deal the most!

Buy 29Buy 27.5


10. Marin – Wildcat Trail WFG
marin wildcat trail wfg

MSRP $599
Jenson USA | Evo

Marlin’s Wildcat Trail WFG is a cheap mountain bike that many other MTBs can be envious of. It has some surprising features considering its low price. First of all, it gives you the best fork suspension you will get for under $600.

The SR Suntour XCE fork travels 100 mm up and down when you ride over bumps, rocks, curbs, and any other obstacles that might get in your way. The entire drivetrain is built using parts from a Shimano Tourney groupset.

Sure, the groupset it is not the best, but all of the parts complement each other. The 21 speeds it gives you should meet your needs if you’re riding recreationally.

  • Shimano Tourney components
  • Aluminum frame
  • 100mm suspension fork
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 2.25″ tires
  • 27.5″ wheels

As we go down the list of specifications, we can also see that Wildcat Trail offers both 27.5″  wheels with 2.25″ tires. These tires are wide enough to offer plenty of grip and puncture protection.

Let’s also not forget about the Promax mechanical disc brakes which should brake well in most conditions. If you plan to ride on very rough terrain and you want to get as much suspension travel as possible, Marin’s Wildcat Trail is your choice.

Buy on Jenson USABuy on Evo.com


11. BMC – Blast 27

Lightweight and off-road friendly

bmc blast 27

MSRP $799
Mike’s Bikes

  • Al-13 double-butted, smooth-welded aluminum frame
  • 27.5″
  • Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5×2.20
  • Shimano BR-MT200 Disc Brakes
  • Suntour XCM-LO-DS, 100mm fork

You’ll have a hard time finding a better MTB with such capability and price tag as the Blast. BMC has well proved its way to the world of hardtail mountain bikes, and their high-end frame designs and proprietary components.

The bottom line is that it’s really a cheap MTB for light trail riding, which means it’s a perfect all-rounder city bike with decent off-road capabilities.

The Suntour XCM-LO-DS 100mm travel forks satisfy the needs of the occasional cyclist. FInally, Maxxis Ardent Race 2.2″tires are ideal for anything from the city streets to the rugged dirt tracks. 

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


What Can You Expect from Cheap Mountain Bikes?

mountain bikesMany people avoid buying cheap bikes because they do not know what to expect from them. Moreover, there are a lot of people who shy away from $500 bicycles because they expect them to only be good enough for scrap metal. That’s a bad way of thinking.

Of course, it’s also wrong to think that you can win Tour de France or a local Gran Fondo on a bike that costs that little. But there are many good things that you can expect from them as well.

All of the bikes that we have included in this overview are built with quality parts and by companies that have been in the business for years.

Any one of these bikes would be an excellent choice for beginners and cyclists who only ride recreationally. If your reason for owning a bicycle is to ride it occasionally and for fun, use it to spend quality time with your family and friends, or stay more outdoors, then you’ll be happy with the choice.

These mountain bicycles are also great for moderate daily commutes on paths less traveled, getting in better physical shape, and becoming healthier overall.

Cheap bikes with cheap components require more maintenance, more adjustments, and generally break down more often. But if you don’t abuse them too much, ride them in a relaxed way, and service them properly, they will last you for years to come.

Is Suspension Good on Cheap Bikes?

about bike suspension

Front suspension forks can nowadays be seen on bikes that cost much less than $500. Therefore, for half a grand, you don’t really get stuff from the bottom of the bucket.

The majority of affordable mountain bikes come with SR Suntour suspension forks that offer 75 to 100 mm of travel. That’s not good enough to allow you to enter downhill or enduro events, but it’s more than enough to protect your wrists from vibrations and give you a more comfortable riding experience.

The suspension on these bikes also often comes with a lockout function and preload adjustment, which can help more experienced riders be more efficient on the trails.

On the other hand, we don’t recommend buying very cheap full suspension bikes. Ever! To make a full-suspension bike and sell it at a very low price point, a company would have to make lots of compromises elsewhere. Therefore, you’d end up with bad components, poor brakes, or lousy wheels and tires.

That’s the reason why the Diamondback Atroz 2 is more expensive than the other bikes in this test.

What’s Worth Paying Extra For?

Money

As you can see, the majority of the models in our overview of cheap mountain bikes cost around $500 or a bit less. However, there are a couple of models that cost more than that.

The reason is that a little bit more money can go a long way in this price range. If you are willing to spend $100 to $200 extra, you can get a better suspension, better derailleurs, hydraulic disc brakes instead of mechanic discs, as well as lighter wheels and more durable tires.

For some riders, these differences might not make a big change in their experience on the roads and on the trails. However, for others, these might be crucial and cause them to be happier with their choice.

Therefore, if you have more money to spare, we definitely advise you not to skimp and to consider spending it on better specs and more reliable parts.

How did we choose?

We compared these bikes by filtering the offer from different retailers by price. The main goal at the beginning was to analyze the components. It gave us a clear picture of what to expect. Later, when we compared the components with the price, we shortlisted the models with the best value. And to fit into this overview, we chose only the best-of-the-best.

As a result, we got all of these affordable bikes that are the best picks at the moment and will roll with you for years to come.

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