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Best Budget Mountain Bikes – Under $600

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - January 10, 2024
man and woman riding mountain bikes under $500

Mountain biking doesn’t have to break the bank. | Image: Schwinnbikes.com

Most people are willing to spend $500 for a mountain bike. With, or without any mountain-biking background, it should be the time to expect a decent-quality bike out of that amount, right?

Well, considering the fact that a mountain bike has to perform well on such demanding terrains – some large and top bike brands have the luxury to bring the prices as low by producing a large amount of entry-level, therefore cheap mountain bikes.

Is $500 enough for a new mountain bike?

For serious riders looking to get into mountain biking, we wouldn’t recommend anything under $1,000 really. But then again, in recent years we’ve seen a bunch of cheap mountain bikes made by large bike brands that stand the test of time for recreational mountain bikers.

mountain bike prices

If you are planning to buy a cheap mountain bike for everyday commuting or on light trails – just make sure to know that $500 for a mountain bike is the lowest limit to go, and regular maintenance or even swapping out some components is quite likely in the long run.

Table of Contents

What to Expect in a Good Yet Cheap Mountain Bike?

cannondale trail 8 mtb

  • 27.5″ / 29″ wheels: 26″ wheels are found on smaller frame sizes or older bikes.
  • Aluminum / Steel frame: 6061 alloy to be the most common.
  • Mechanical disc brakes: Instead of rim or V-brakes.
  • 2-3x front chainrings: A cheaper alternative to 1x drivetrains.
  • Air-sprung coil suspension or a rigid fork with 80 to 100mm travel

Best Men’s Mountain Bikes Under $500/$600

1. Schwinn Bonafide

Best hardtail mountain bike under $500

scwhinn bonafide mountain bike

This 29er aluminum mountain bike features mechanical disc brakes, 24-speed gearing, basically all the basics you could expect from under $500.

Although Schwinn is an old name in the game – getting a mountain bike for that amount of money should only be used by beginner cyclists on light trails.

Also, when you are going to order a cheap mountain bike online, make sure to get the fitting properly right. Re-tuning the bike after a few hours of riding is mandatory!

Buy on Amazon

2. Mongoose Impasse

Mongoose Impasse

MSRP: Check on Amazon

 Mongoose Impasse is a great trail bike for beginners, or should we say ‘cautious’ riders who are not planning to go competing in downhill races anytime soon. You’ll see simple 3×7 derailleurs and shifters with mechanical disc brakes that will safely get you down some moderate descents. 

  • 21-speeds
  • 29″ wheels
  • Front suspension fork
  • Aluminum frame
  • Mechanical disc brakes

As this is an entry-level trail bike, it is equipped with internal cable routing and it is also front and rear fender ready. If you haven’t ridden a modern mountain bike in a while – you’ll be positively surprised by the 29″ wheels which are one of the greatest upgrades in the mountain biking world in the past decade. Bigger wheels simply roll better over obstacles with much less effort!

To sum up, get Mongoose Impasse if you’re starting your mountain biking journey and you don’t want to break the bank, but still wish to get some modern features such as the 29er wheels and mechanical disc brakes.

Buy on Amazon.com

3. Marin Wildcat 2022

marin wildcat mtb

MSRP: $599

Here’s a perfect example that you can get a decent-spec mountain bike at a very low cost. Yes, it is not under $500, but we wouldn’t really recommend anything below the following specs:

  • Series 1 6061 Aluminum frame
  • 27.5×2.25″ tires
  • Power 7 Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Shimano Tourney 3×7-speed drivetrain
  • SR Suntour XCE 100mm travel fork

Frames from XS to L fit riders:
4’10” to 5’11”

Buy from GovVelo.com

4. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1

Best value mountain bike with a unisex frame –

🏆 Score 4.5/5 out of 180+ ratings

co-op cycles drt 1.1 bikes

The Co-op Cycles’ DRT 1.1 is designed with both men and women in mind, from start to finish!

MSRP: $599

If you didn’t know, Co-op Cycles is REI’s factory brand, which is well-known for affordable bikes with great characteristics. This model is available in two attractive colors — aqua blue and pirate black. Under that paint is a lightweight Co-op Cycles’ aluminum frame, so you’ll be able to easily lift the bike up and carry it over obstacles if needed.

  • Comfortable trail geometry
  • Aluminum frame
  • 100 mm of travel
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 21 gears
  • Shimano components
  • 2.1″ wide tires
  • 27.5″ wheels
  • Co-op Cycles DRT series overview

To begin with, the SR Suntour XCM air-sprung fork is known to be lightweight, and with 100mm of travel, it’s more than enough for a smooth ride even if you push its limits.

Next, you get 21 gears with this model and a great combination of Shimano components. The groupset fitted on this bike is Shimano Tourney, which is not fancy, to say the least, but if you are a beginner and ride recreationally, you don’t need anything better than that for a start.

Another great thing about the bike is the good-quality hydraulic disc brakes which is usually unseen at this price range.

Buy on REI.com

5. GT Aggressor Expert

gt aggressor expert mountain bike

MSRP: $570 (Sale Price)

GT is well known for making high-quality BMX and off-road bikes in all price categories. They do a great job when it comes to making entry-level trail bikes. The Aggressor Expert is a great choice for beginner riders out there. But, has GT made any big compromises to make this cheap bike possible? Not at all. The Aggressor Expert model is built around an aluminum triple-triangle frame.

  • Aluminum frame
  • 24-speed
  • 80mm fork
  • 27.5″
  • 2.25″ tires
  • Weight: 31lb

Even though this is a trail bike that costs slightly over $500, it does not come with no-brand components. Instead, you can shift up and down the 24 speeds with Shimano’s Tourney. This will not do a fantastic job when cycling and changing gears up some steep hills, but they work just fine on the flats and more moderate ascents.

A similar thing can be said for the SR Suntour fork with 80mm of travel. It’s not ideal for aggressive trail rides, jumps, and high drops, but you will be quite happy with it as long as you stay on moderate trails and control yourself. But, don’t worry about stability and comfort, as the 2.25″ wide tires will provide you with plenty of both. Finally, this bike also has Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 160/160mm rotors on the front and the rear wheel, so you can safely go faster on the downhills and always stop in time. All in all, this is a great bike to satisfy your need for the trails and the outdoors and give you something fun and healthy to do on the weekends.

Available sizes from XS, S, and M

Buy on REI.com

6. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0

Best beginner’s mountain bike

co-op cycles DRT 1.0 mountain bike

MSRP: $599

It’s one of the best budget mountain bikes that you can get right now with an aluminum frame and a set of decent components for beginners. If you like the bike enough, you can always swap some components and upgrade them. However, I think that is not necessary, as the bike is perfect as is. You can abuse it and use it for what it is made without worrying too much.

  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano Tourney
  • 3×7 speeds
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 26″ wheels for XXS

The Co-op DRT 1.0 has a very high rating (4.5/5), as most comments are positive. It seems as if Co-op has really hit a bullseye with this model. Those who have made the good decision to buy this best mountain bike under $600 say they love how it handles and how unstoppable it feels on any terrain. When I rode it, the strong frame and decent tires gave me a feeling of stability, and I felt a surge of confidence to try new lines.

The DRT 1.0 comes with a lightweight aluminum frame and weighs around 31 lbs, but it does not feel sluggish.

The components on the bike are quite decent as well at this price range, especially the hydraulic disc brakes.

The rear derailleur is a Shimano Tourney, as well as the front derailleur, and there are 21 speeds in total. For beginners, this number of speeds and this setup will be more than enough. So, if you want to have loads of fun riding through mud and inaccessible terrain on a mountain bike, don’t hesitate to buy the Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0. I guarantee you’ll have a blast on it!

Frames Available – XXS
4’9″ to 5′

Buy on REI.com

7. Giant ATX

Detail Image of color Black Onyx Mattegiant atx hardtail mtbMSRP: $530
Mike’s Bikes

Have you finally decided to buy a decent mountain bike and start pedaling and exploring the area around your home? If that’s the case and you need a starter model, this Giant ATX is the real deal.

The ATX is a hardtail mountain bike with a durable and lightweight aluminum frame and 27.5″ wheels with 2.1″ tires. This bike is suitable for light off-roading and urban riding. Unfortunately, it only has rim brakes, so stopping in wet weather is compromised. However, these brakes are sufficient for day-to-day use around the city.

As a beginner’s bike, the geometry is upright, allowing you to ride comfortably for hours on pavement or dirt. Don’t miss out on this Giant hardtail if you want a fun and reliable mountain bike.

  • Aluminum frame
  • 27.5″ wheels
  • Shimano components
  • 2.1″ tires
  • 80mm suspension fork

Frames from S to XL fit riders

Buy on Mikesbikes.com

8. Schwinn High Timber

Schwinn High Timber

MSRP: Check on Amazon

Schwinn High Timber is a simple yet good-looking entry-level mountain bike that will make any MTB first-timer feel satisfied. The High Timber falls well under the $600 mark, which is not much to pay for this sturdy and good-looking hardtail bike.

  • Front suspension fork
  • Modern 29″ wheels
  • Rim brakes
  • 21 gears

Most cheap mountain bikes come with only 27.5″ wheels. But that’s not the case with this Schwinn model. It features modern 29″ wheels that offer higher speeds and roll over obstacles much more easily than smaller wheels.

 A front suspension fork means that you can get more out of it on the trails, though the rim brakes are not great but get the job done. It’s also a very comfortable bike to ride on bumpy tracks because of its wide knobby tires and steel frame with upright geometry. 

Finally, Schwinn High Timber also offers 21 gears, which is an outdated gear range, but it’s great for beginners who want to ride different types of terrains with ease. 

Buy on Amazon

9. Mongoose Malus

Best men’s mountain bike under $500

mongoose malus fat tire bike

You are looking at the best under $500 fat tire bike for adults.

The Malus by Mongoose has great reviews on Amazon. The bike features a 7-speed derailleur, the standard 26″ fat bike wheels, and a steel frame. The build of the bike is simple and obviously best suited for beginner/recreational cyclists looking for, so it is most likely worth checking out!

Related – Best Cheap Fat Bikes

The 26″inch wheel and rigid fork combination is among the most classical set-up one could find in the world of fat tire bikes, so there’s no hesitation. Anyway, this mongoose is a good beginner mountain bike at the lowest possible budget.

Buy on Amazon

Best Mountain Bikes Under $600 for Women

If you are looking for something female-specific – down below is a list of the best mountain bikes under $600 for women. These models have different saddles and a slightly shorter reach (stem and top tube length compared to unisex models).

10. Liv Bliss

Best women’s mountain bike under $600

liv bliss cheap mountain bike


MSRP: $530
Mike’s Bikes

The Liv Bliss is a cheap hardtail mountain bike specifically tailored to fit women’s needs.

  • Women-specific geometry and parts
  • 80mm travel
  • Linear-pull rim brakes
  • 26″ or 27.5″ wheels

First of all, when talking about women’s bicycles, it’s important to mention the frame and its geometry.

Liv makes female-specific bikes only. These bikes usually have shorter top tubes and lower standover heights. The frame is completed with an SR Suntour XCE 28 coil spring with 80mm of travel. It’s just the right amount of travel for your needs as a beginner on the trail. You will start with some smoother gravel roads and moderate singletrack, which is what this fork is made for.

Unfortunately, the Liv Bliss has basic rim brakes, which are not ideal for wet-weather riding. However, they are cheaper and easier to maintain.

All of this makes Liv’s Bliss an excellent choice if you’re interested in trying mountain biking for the first time. You will be happy with this model as your first MTB.

Buy on Mikesbikes.com

11. Huffy Stone Women’s Mountain Bike

Huffy Stone Women's Mountain Bike

MSRP: Check on Amazon

Huffy Stone is an entry-level mountain bike made for female riders on a tight budget, but still wanting to explore some light trails. The level of components is basic, to say the least, but if you are thinking of getting a bike to get you from A to B through thick and thin, there’s enough to go around.

The best thing about the bike is the set of 26″ wheels on size small frame which is great to navigate technical areas more easily for shorter riders. Then there is also the suspension fork that adds weight to the bike but also greatly improves comfort.

The basic 3×7 drivetrain offers 21 speeds, which will be enough for all types of climbs you might encounter in your area. On top of that, the steel frame is comfortable and durable, but a major downside is the V-brakes, which is an outdated piece of equipment on modern mountain bikes. But then again, for less than $300, this is still a solid everyday beater.

Get the Huffy Stone female mountain bike if you’re a beginner rider looking to have fun riding on gravel roads, light trails, and bike paths.

Buy on Amazon.com Huffy Bikes Brand Review

12. Liv Tempt 29 4

liv tempt 29 4 mountain bike

MSRP: $600
Mike’s Bikes

This is Liv’s entry-level hardtail mountain bike. The ALUXX aluminum frame is lightweight and durable, and the mechanical disc brakes are also suitable for this price category as well. The drivetrain is a 2×7 microSHIFT setup with a 14-28t cassette.

This is a bike for recreational/beginner mountain bikers only, and it has female-specific geometry and components and progressive-size wheels. When purchasing the Tempt 4, remember the fact that all new bikes need a tune-up after about 10 miles of riding.

  • SR Suntour XCE 29 100mm or 80mm
  • 27.5″ or 29″ wheels
  • 2.2″ tires
  • microSHIFT 2×7-speed

Frame sizes available: S and M

Buy on Mikesbikes.com

Best Under $500 Mountain Bikes For Kids

13. Priority Bicycles Start 20″

priority bicycles 200

MSRP: $379
Priority Bicycles

The Priority Start 20 is a kids’ bike, made by a brand that is well-known for its belt-drivetrains.

The bike has 3 gears that are internal, fits kids aged 6-11 years old. The bike comes with a kickstand that holds up this nice-looking aluminum-frame bike. If you are looking for a bike that requires less maintenance than the regular chain&derailleur system, the Priority bikes are silent, clean, and pretty much maintenance-free!

Get it from PriorityBicycles.com

14. Cannondale Quick 24

Product image for acid red

MSRP: $500

The Quick 24 is an ideal mountain bike for kids aged 46″ – 57″. It is made by a giant bike brand, Cannondale. The bike features a 7-speed derailleur, front and rear V-brakes, a side stand, chainring protection, and a rigid fork in the front. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum.

The Quick series bikes are generally of the hybrid bikes category, but this is still an ideal bike for kids to use on and off the trails. If you have to choose between a cheap supermarket bike versus a bike made by a known brand, don’t hesitate to trust the better value as brand bikes hold their value and quality way better in the long term once you are thinking of selling the bike!


What Do You Need to Know Before Buying?

As you can see, when it comes to cheap mountain bikes, cheap does not equal bad.

There are some amazing bikes in this price range, which will serve you well for years if you take good care of them. If you thought otherwise, I hope I changed your mind. Therefore, in case you’re looking for an entry-level bicycle to get fit, stay fit, commute, workout, or just escape into nature, why not choose one of the best mountain bikes under $500? They’re perfect for beginners and occasional riders, and I promise they are loads of fun!

What size mountain bike do I need?

It is crucial to get the right size frame in order to get the best comfort and performance out of a bike ride. There are some generalizations for bike size charts, but today, each bicycle manufacturer has their own size chart recommendations for each bicycle discpiline, whether it will be mountain, road or hybrid bike.

Where to buy under $500 mountain bikes online?

Many online retailers nowadays offer mountain bikes under or around the $500 mark. Some of the websites we recommend include:

However, keep in mind that the prices of bikes are going up, so a bike that used to cost $500 before will be around $600 today.

How to buy a mountain bike?

When buying a mountain bike, make sure you consider the following questions:

  1. Field Of Use – are you going to use it for recreational cycling, or are you thinking of progressing?
  2. Budget – 500/1,000/1,500 have very different quality of components
  3. Size – Make sure to check out each bike brand’s size recommendations to find you the most suitable model.

What is the best mountain bike brand?

Trek, Specialized, Scott, and Cannondale are one of the few bike brands that offer bicycles from $400 to $10,000 so even their lowest-end bikes can be trusted! However, most other brands you come across on popular online retailers will get the job done as well.

About the Author

Sam Millers

Sam Millers is the guy behind Bikexchange.com. From the early days of three wheels to conquering challenging mountain trails, Sam's love for cycling knows no bounds. With a background in web development, Sam seamlessly combined two of his greatest passions – cycling and technology. As the creative force behind Bikexchange.com, he shares insightful stories, expert tips, and engaging content for fellow cycling enthusiasts. When he's not exploring new biking routes or tweaking website codes, Alex enjoys sipping on a post-ride espresso and planning his next cycling adventure. 

12 thoughts on “Best Budget Mountain Bikes – Under $600

  1. Makmudul hassan says:

    Very Helpful. I need an XLARGE because I’m 6ft1. Does it affect the prices that you mentioned for men’s bikes?

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Not at all!

  2. Very suprising not to see the schwinn axum dp on here a 1× with a cassette
    a dropper ,sized frames, tapered head tube, I’m sure I’m missing other features the fork isn’t the best at all but that goes for most bikes at this price point. Definitely should’ve been in the bonafide’s spot

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Phillip. Axum DP is a good choice as well that we’ll be looking to include in future reviews.
      Unfortunately, it costs ~$800 on Amazon, which is significantly higher than most other bikes here. Though one could get it from Walmart for around $500, it’s not always in stock due to shortages.

  3. Patrick says:

    My son is going away to college in the University of Oregon and he wants a mountain bike(not my old school beach cruiser). We are in no hurry but what do you recommend for an older mountain bike that he can ride to campus or on a serious ride with new friends/riders and not be embarrassed. Trek or Cannondale 2005+/-? $300 – $500 craigslist?

    1. Sam Millers says:

      I’d look up State Bicycles bike. You’ll get a pretty sweet deal at under $500! They do not have a mountain bike, but you’ll be needing serious luck to score a decent MTB for trails at under $500

  4. Makmudul Hassan says:

    Ty. Very Helpful. I need an XLARGE because I’m 6ft1. Does it affect the prices that you mentioned for men’s bike

  5. Makmudul Hassan says:

    Hello. I use to ride,now getting back into it. . Could you recommend a bike With an XL frame. In 6ft 6in. 220lb. Healthy. Budget about 500-1000 i could go less or more. Thanks.

  6. Jayson says:

    Hello. I use to ride,now getting back into it. Enjoyed reading the column. Could you recommend a bike With an XL frame. In 6ft 6in. 220lb. Healthy. Budget about 500-1000 i could go less or more. Thanks.

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Hi Jayson

      If you’d like to order online – We’d recommend getting anything from the Cannondale Trail series as their XL frame is indeed extra-large. Besides, the bikes hold great value in terms of components and durability. Co-op Cycles bikes have also proved to offer superb value for the money!

  7. eric says:

    Ty. Very Helpful. I need an XLARGE because In 6ft1. Does it affect the prices that you mentioned for mens bike

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Hi Eric

      Generally, bike prices are the same for each model. Although the price might differ for varying wheel sizes, the number of gears, etc.

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About the Author

Sam Millers

Sam Millers is the guy behind Bikexchange.com. From the early days of three wheels to conquering challenging mountain trails, Sam's love for cycling knows no bounds. With a background in web development, Sam seamlessly combined two of his greatest passions – cycling and technology. As the creative force behind Bikexchange.com, he shares insightful stories, expert tips, and engaging content for fellow cycling enthusiasts. When he's not exploring new biking routes or tweaking website codes, Alex enjoys sipping on a post-ride espresso and planning his next cycling adventure.