11 Best Budget Mountain Bikes: Compare & Save

best budget mountain bike

123rf.com (Maksym Protsenko)

The beauty of mountain biking is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a solid ride. Whether you’re shopping for your first mountain bike or a less expensive alternative to some of the high-end mountain bikes, we’ve reviewed and compared the best budget mountain bikes to help you save.

If you have some extra cash to spare and are looking for an even bolder ride, check out our best electric mountain bikes.

Shopping for the holidays? Check out our favorite gifts for mountain bikers.

What Are the Best Budget Mountain Bikes Available Right Now?

vilano blackjack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Large 29-inch wheels
  • Superior attack angles
  • Easily rolls over obstacles
Price: $469.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
diamondback overdrive mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Brand-name components
  • 24 gears
  • Shimano drivetrain
Price: $501.81 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
trek marlin 5
  • Front suspension fork
  • Rack and kickstand mounts
  • Great overall value
Price: $599.99 Shop now at Trek Shop now Read our review
gravity mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable welded frame
  • Designed for taller riders
  • Adjustable front and rear suspension
Price: $499.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mens mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for smaller riders
  • Made for single track and gravel trails
  • Mountain-tuned aluminum frame
Price: $719.52 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cheap mountain bikes for sale Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Stylish
  • Comes in two colors
  • Suspension fork dampens bumps
Price: $308.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mountain bikes for sale Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight carbon fiber frame
  • High-quality Shimano Deore M6000 Series groupset
  • Ideal entry-level to professional riders
Price: $1,469.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
full suspension mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Made for taller riders
  • Full-suspension frame absorbs jarring bumps
  • Wide mountain tires
Price: $1,199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cheap mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Strong hydroformed tubing
  • Fits most riders between 5'3" and 6'1"
  • Riser handlebars offer better control on descents
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cheap mountain bikes for sale Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Recommended for beginners
  • Portable folding frame
  • Dual-suspension frame
Price: $209.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch), dual suspension bike, mongoose, mongoose mountain bike, mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Element suspension fork
Price: $479.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best Budget Mountain Bike Overall: Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er

    Pros:
    • Reliable hand-built 6061 aluminum frame
    • Front suspension fork with 80mm travel
    • Shimano front and rear derailleurs
    Cons:
    • Doesn't have hydraulic brakes
    • Lacks tubeless ready wheels
    • Limited sizes

    Our favorite budget-friendly mountain bike is the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 with 29-inch wheels. While 29ers don’t accelerate as quickly or maneuver as well as 27.5-inch wheels, they offer superior traction and attack angles. These larger wheels are more efficient than smaller wheels, as they require less effort once you’re cruising. They’re also better suited for rolling over obstacles and can be easily placed on a tailgate bike pad to transport your bike to your favorite trails.

    The Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike is another nicely equipped bike with smaller 27.5-inch wheels. If you’re more interested in quick acceleration, we recommend this bike.

    Stability matters when you head off-road, and this 29er features a hand-built hydroformed alloy frame for confident riding. A front suspension fork with 80mm travel and lockout absorbs bumps for smoother trail rides.

    Built with 24 speeds, an eight-speed Shimano Altus rear derailleur and a Shimano TX50 front derailleur, the Vilano Blackjack is ready for nearly anything. An alloy triple 42/34/24 crank is capable on and off road and doesn’t add much extra weight.

    No matter how rough the trail gets, the mountain bike saddle keeps you in control. This bike also has a 30.9mm alloy seat post for increased stiffness.

    Front and rear mechanical disc brakes quickly stop the bike when necessary. Although the Vilano Blackjack comes with a 17-inch frame, its larger tires make it a suitable choice for taller riders.

    Is the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er right for me? With its 29-inch tires and double-wall alloy wheels, the Blackjack 3.0 29er is ideal for trails and off-road adventures.

  2. 2. Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike

    Pros:
    • Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes
    • SR Suntour XCT 27 front fork with 80mm travel
    • Knobby 27.5-inch tires
    Cons:
    • Seat isn't the most comfortable
    • Not designed for aggressive trail riding
    • Some stock components are cheap

    If you’re looking for an all-purpose bike that won’t break the bank, consider the Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike. It’s quicker to accelerate than our top pick, the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er. This hardtail mountain bike is also easier to maneuver, even though it’s slightly heavier. This bike weighs 32 pounds and the Blackjack 3.0 29er weighs 30 pounds.

    Equipped with 27.5-inch wheels and 24 speeds, this entry-level mountain bike is a sensible choice for enjoyable off-road adventures. Opt for the 29-inch model for improved momentum and traction on rugged terrain.

    The Overdrive isn’t the cheapest mountain bike out there, but it’s well-appointed with several brand-name components. Some examples include a Shimano 3 x 8 speed drivetrain and Suntour XCT cranks. You’ll also find an SR Suntour XCT 27 front fork with 80mm travel.

    This bike’s knobby tires confidently grip rugged surfaces to keep you in control. Dependable Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes quickly and safely bring the bike to a stop when necessary. 

    Is the Diamondback Overdrive mountain bike right for me? The Overdrive is a mid-range starter bike with many quality components for beginners.

  3. 3. Best Value Budget Mountain Bike: Trek Marlin 5

    Price: $599.99
    Pros:
    • Quality Shimano components for the price
    • Internal cable routing gives the bike a cleaner look and protects the cables
    • Gear can be clipped onto the stem
    Cons:
    • Not the best fork for aggressive trail rides
    • Chain noise isn't uncommon
    • Some riders wish the seat had more padding

    The affordably priced Trek Marlin 5 bridges the gap between entry-level and premium bikes. With its reliable brand-name components and classic plenty of room to build your confidence and improve your skills without needing to worry about upgrading to a more expensive bike, or even an electric mountain bike.

    This Trek mountain bike is just as comfortable getting dirty on the trails as it is on daily commutes and urban riding. Quality components such as Shimano Tourney TY300 front and rear derailleurs and a Shimano Altus M315 shifter bring out the best of this bike’s abilities on rugged terrain and steeper climbs.

    An SR Suntour XCE front fork dampens rough rides and has a coil spring with a preload adjuster to make rides on various surfaces more comfortable. The extra-small and small forks have a 42mm offset for 27.5-inch wheels, while the medium through XXL sizes come with a 46mm offset for 29-inch wheels. The small through XXL forks have 100mm of travel, while the extra-small has 80mm travel.

    All bikes are outfitted with dependable Bontrager XR2 Comp tires. The extra-small and small bikes run 27.5 x 2.20-inch tires, while the medium through XXL bikes can accommodate 29 x 2.00 or 29 x 2.20-inch tires for your favorite off-road rides.

    Details matter when you’re investing in a new mountain bike. Trek caters to a wide customer base with this versatile bike, which includes rear bike rack mounts, chainstay mounts for installing a rear kickstand, and innovative stem technology that allows you to clip your gear directly onto the stem. Internal cable routing gives the bike a clean look and protects the cables over time.

    To ensure the Marlin 5 is accessible to nearly any adult rider, Trek offers its bike in sizes ranging from extra-small to XXL. The extra-small and small versions fit riders between 4’5.9″ and 5’5.6″ and have hydraulic disc brakes with a short reach lever. You’ll also find narrower handlebars for enhanced comfort and control on various surfaces. Plus, the two smaller frames have curved top tubes and lower standover heights for easier mounting and dismounting. 

    Cyclists from 5’3.4″ to 6’7.9″ should fit on the medium through XXL frames. These bikes are outfitted with hydraulic disc brakes and standard levers.

    Trek backs the Marlin 5 with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

    A separate women’s version is also available. Check out the Trek Women’s Marlin 5 or browse our best mountain bikes for women for more great options.

    Is the Trek Marlin 5 right for me? This popular Trek mountain bike bridges the gap between the most basic entry-level bikes and more expensive models, which makes it one of our favorite budget mountain bikes for beginners through intermediate riders looking for a great deal.

  4. 4. Gravity FSX 1.0 Full-Suspension Mountain Bike

    Pros:
    • Long travel fork is ideal for downhill riding
    • Shimano M190 rear derailleur offers accurate gear changes
    • Triple crankset makes climbing hills easier
    Cons:
    • Can't lock out the shocks
    • Wheels can't be swapped for a larger size
    • Doesn't come with a dropper post

    You get a lot of bang for your buck with the Gravity FSX 1.0 Full-Suspension Mountain Bike. There’s lots to like about this bike, starting with its strong welded aluminum frame. The suspension is fully adjustable, which is especially important to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ride on a full-suspension mountain bike.

    Before you take your FSX 1.0 out for a spin, you’ll want to properly adjust the rear coil and preload to maximize your riding experience. A Suntour long travel 80mm fork makes this Gravity mountain bike particularly well suited for downhills. 

    The Shimano M190 rear derailleur is a dependable choice for low-friction shifting. Use the 24-speed Shimano EF51 shifters to get ahead or find the appropriate gears for steeper climbs. If you live in a very hilly area or prefer to have more gears to climb hills, the Suntour triple aluminum crankset makes this bike even more appealing.

    This bike’s 26 x 2.1-inch tires are smaller than those found on many other inexpensive mountain bikes. Smaller tires often mean faster acceleration and quicker turns, but they can also be harder to control on tricky terrain. 

    With frame sizes ranging from 17 to 21 inches, the Gravity FSX 1.0 caters to taller riders. According to the manufacturer, the 17-inch frame fits cyclists up to 5’8″ and the 21-inch frame accommodates riders over 6’1″. This bike weighs 35 pounds.

    Is the Gravity FSX 1.0 right for me? With its long travel fork and smaller 26-inch tires, this full-suspension mountain bike is a great choice for downhill riding.

  5. 5. Best Budget Mountain Bike for Short Riders: Schwinn Mesa 3

    Pros:
    • Shimano Tourney drivetrain with 21 speeds
    • Zoom aluminum suspension fork for extra stability
    • Shimano EZ-FIRE shifters offer easy gear changes
    Cons:
    • Small frame only fits shorter riders
    • Doesn't have disc brakes
    • Not for aggressive trail use

    The Schwinn Mesa 3 is a well-built budget bike that can handle single track and gravel trails. Its mountain-tuned 6061 aluminum frame makes the Mesa 3 a dependable choice for rugged terrain.

    The Mesa 3 fits a wide range of rider heights. Opt for the small frame if you’re between 5’4″ and 5’8″. The medium frame is best for riders between 5’7″ and 5’10”. It’s more compact than some competitors, but the bike’s robust 27.5-inch wheels easily roll over trails and are quick to accelerate.

    Shimano EZ-FIRE shifters easily click through the gears as you’re climbing hills or powering along flats. Plus, they’re conveniently located at your fingertips. A Shimano Tourney drivetrain with 21 speeds gives you a wide range of options for various terrain.

    A Zoom aluminum suspension fork with 80mm travel provides extra stability as you navigate your favorite off-road trails and paths. Aluminum linear pull brakes bring the bike to a safe stop when necessary. 

    Is the Schwinn Mesa 3 right for me? If you fall within the limited height range, the Mesa 3 offers several quality components for the price.

  6. 6. Eurobike TSMX1

    Pros:
    • Smooth-riding 27.5-inch aluminum rims
    • Comes with 21 gears
    • A Shimano shifter puts the appropriate gears at your fingertips
    Cons:
    • Only comes in one size
    • Seat can be uncomfortable
    • Has some lower quality stock components

    If you’re looking for a cheap mountain bike that looks pricier than it actually is, the Eurobike TSMX1 stands out for its distinctive styling. This budget-friendly mountain bike is available in two colors. The bike has 21 gears, so you won’t find yourself struggling to find the right one on hills and flats.

    Shimano shifters put the appropriate gears at your fingertips for smooth gear changes on the road and trails. Large 27.5-inch wheels with aluminum rims deliver a sturdy and comfortable riding experience. A suspension fork dampens bumps for a smoother ride.

    This dual-suspension mountain bike comes in one size and fits riders from 5’4″ to 6’0″. The weight limit is 220 pounds. 

    As with most inexpensive mountain bikes, this one requires some assembly upon arrival. You’ll need to install the front wheel, pedals, seat and other components. This process should take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on your skill level. 

    Is the Eurobike TSMX1 right for me? This stylish entry-level bike isn’t the best for heavy riding, but it’s easy on the wallet and works well for light use.

  7. 7. Best Budget Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike: SAVADECK DECK300

    Pros:
    • Toray T800 frame is strong under heavy load
    • SR Suntour fork with 100mm travel
    • Internal cable routing offers a clean look
    Cons:
    • Doesn't have an air suspension fork
    • Components only have a six-month warranty
    • Not equipped with hydraulic disc brakes

    The SAVADECK DECK300 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike is much more expensive than most other bikes on our list, thanks to its carbon frame. Instead of the typical aluminum frame found on most bikes in this category, the SAVADECK DECK300 sports a strong yet lightweight Toray T800 carbon fiber frame for even the most demanding off-road adventures.

    The bike’s components are also a step up from the less expensive bikes on our list. One example is the Shimano Deore M6000 Series groupset, which offers a wider range for steep climbs and demanding trails. Shimano MT200 mechanical disc brakes provide increased stopping power in all weather conditions.

    An SR Suntour fork with 100mm travel keeps you in control while cushioning the ride. Continental mountain bike tires provide a steady and secure grip on uneven terrain.

    Several frame and tire sizes are available, from 26- to 29-inch tires and 15- through 19-inch frames. This carbon fiber mountain bike is equally suitable for beginners and more experienced riders.

    Is the SAVADECK DECK300 right for me? If you don’t mind the steeper price tag, this mountain bike stands out for its lightweight yet durable carbon fiber frame. 

  8. 8. Best Budget Mountain Bike for Tall Riders: Schwinn Traxion

    Pros:
    • Aluminum dual-suspension frame
    • Knobby 2.25-inch tires expertly handle tricky terrain
    • Has 24-speed Shimano shifters
    Cons:
    • Won't fit shorter riders
    • Uncomfortable stock seat
    • Front shocks aren't the best

    In our opinion, the Traxion is one of the more understated entry-level mountain bikes in this crowded segment. In addition to massive 29-inch tires that effortlessly overcome most obstacles, this full-suspension Schwinn Traxion mountain bike eagerly absorbs harsh bumps for a more enjoyable ride. You’ll stay more relaxed than you might on a stiff hardtail bike, which ultimately reduces stress on your body.

    You’re in luck if you’re a taller rider looking for an affordable bike that actually fits. This 29er naturally stands a bit taller than mountain bikes with smaller wheels. Its 18-inch frame is best suited for cyclists who are at least 5’9″.

    An aluminum dual-suspension frame keeps you feeling comfortable and confident on rugged terrain. Schwinn also included its own dependable alloy crank arms to minimize maintenance.

    The Traxion also comes with a wide range of 24 gears, which is plenty for most riders. Trigger shifters make switching gears a breeze, which comes in handy when you’re getting ready for some serious climbing.

    When you’re ready to ride, the knobby 2.25-inch tires expertly cruise over trickier terrain. They’re not quite as bulky as the best fat bike tires, but you’ll definitely feel comfortable and confident on rocks, roots and other obstacles. Front and rear mechanical disc brakes stop quickly and safely, even when going downhill.

    Is the Schwinn Traxion right for me? Although it only comes in one size, the Traxion is a great budget 29er for exploring your favorite trails.

  9. 9. Mongoose Status 2.2

    Pros:
    • Knobby 26-inch tires provide stability on uneven surfaces
    • Shimano 21-speed rear derailleur
    • Front suspension fork dampens bumps
    Cons:
    • Quite heavy
    • Doesn't have disc brakes
    • Only comes in one size

    A sturdy aluminum frame makes the Mongoose Status 2.2 feel stable, even on unpaved surfaces. The cheap mountain bike also comes with hydroformed tubing. As this American Hydroformers article explains, hydroforming combines fluid and high pressure to create a tube that’s stronger and less prone to movement under pressure. It’s also quicker to accelerate.

    This Mongoose bike features a front suspension fork and a rear shock to give you a smoother ride. SRAM twist shifters allow you to quickly change gears as needed.

    A 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur for conquering hills, flats and your favorite trails. Knobby 26-inch tires provide the stability you need for your outdoor adventures. They’re also lighter than 27.5-inch wheels for a livelier ride. However, they’re not as stable as the larger tires, especially on rugged trails.

    This bike fits most riders between 64 and 74 inches tall, or roughly 5’3″ to 6’1″. If you need to stop quickly, the front and rear V-brakes will bring your bike to a halt as fast as possible.

    One potential drawback is the fact that the bike weighs over 44 pounds, which is quite heavy. The linear brakes do a decent job of stopping the bike, but it’s worth noting that Mongoose doesn’t recommend swapping out the brakes or gears.

    Is the Mongoose Status 2.2 right for me? Its sturdy aluminum frame makes the Mongoose Status 2.2 a practical entry-level pick for light trail use and rides on unpaved surfaces.

  10. 10. Outroad Mountain Bike

    Pros:
    • Anti-slip pedals for extra confidence
    • Comes with 21 gears to handle most terrain
    • Has front and rear disc brakes
    Cons:
    • Relatively heavy for its size
    • Handlebar height isn't adjustable
    • 26-inch tires can be tougher to control on rugged terrain

    The Outroad mountain bike stands out for its sporty stature and a convenient folding frame. It’s reasonably priced for beginners and anyone who wants to ease back into the sport. When you’re ready to ride, the dual-suspension frame keeps you stable and dampens vibrations.

    You’ll find front and rear disc brakes along with quick-release wheels. Anti-slip pedals keep your feet firmly planted during your favorite adventures.

    A total of 21 speeds means you won’t be left wondering which gear you should choose next. The frame size is suitable for riders who are 5’3″ to 5’10”. This bike weighs 39 pounds, which is on the heavier side given its slightly smaller stature compared to many other bikes on our list. The suggested weight limit is 220 pounds.

    Conventional 26-inch wheels offer quick acceleration, especially on trails with rapid turns. The saddle and handlebars are also naturally closer together than they are on a larger 27.5-inch bike. While this positioning can make the bike more responsive, many riders find it tougher to stay balanced on rough terrain.

    Is the Outroad right for me? Its conventional 26-inch setup is a bit dated, but this Outroad bike is an affordable option for beginners.

  11. 11. Mongoose Impasse 

    Pros:
    • Comes with front and rear disc brakes
    • Quick-release front wheel
    • SRAM twist shifters for easy gear changes
    Cons:
    • Lacks space for a water bottle holder
    • Shocks could be better
    • Uncomfortable seat

    The Mongoose Impasse is a full suspension mountain bike with a sturdy aluminum frame and 29-inch tires. While the frame isn’t the lightest out there, it’s durable enough to make your ride feel more controlled. If you’re really craving speed and power, consider improving the bike’s performance with a conversion kit.

    SRAM twist shifters make it easy to choose between the 21 available gears, especially when you’re heading up and down hills. Front and rear disc brakes provide fast stopping power when necessary.

    Is the Mongoose Impasse right for me? Many Impasse fans think the bike is a steal given its solid components and a sturdy build at an affordable price, especially with 29-inch tires. However, it only comes in one size, and doesn’t have much space for a water bottle holder.

How Did We Pick the Best Budget Mountain Bikes?

Everyone's budget is different. For example, a mountain bike with a price tag of $1,500 might not seem affordable until you realize that it's equipped with a carbon fiber frame and higher-quality components.

On the other hand, you might be looking for the lowest-priced entry-level bike that won't set you back too much.

Our list includes options for every buyer, from bikes with lightweight carbon frames to full-suspension mountain bikes designed for rugged terrain.

Which Are the Best Mountain Bikes for the Money?

Whether your budget is under $2,000 or less than $300, it's possible to find an affordable mountain bike. The best budget mountain bike is the one that suits your budget, lifestyle and riding demands.

Some budget bikes have more durable frames and components for off-road riding, while others are ideal for paved surfaces and light trail use.

As you search for the best budget mountain bike, it's helpful to know whether you're better off investing in a hardtail or full suspension bike for your outdoor adventures.

What Is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

Unlike full-suspension mountain bikes, hardtails are mechanically simpler as they don't have pivots or rear shocks.

Hardtails generally don't wear out as fast as full-suspension bikes, and they are typically cheaper as there aren't as many parts. Hardtail mountain bikes tend to be lighter and fun to ride on the trails.

What Is a Full-suspension Mountain Bike?

Full suspension mountain bikes have many positive features, including better handling thanks to their rear suspension, and enhanced absorption on trails.

While full suspension bikes are a fine choice for beginners, their overall capability and versatility make them especially popular among more experienced riders.

If you're looking for more stability over bumpy terrain and during descents, consider a full-suspension mountain bike.

Does Wheel Size Matter When It Comes to Mountain Biking?

In addition to finding the best mountain bike for the price, you want to make sure that the bike can handle everything that you want it to do. Wheel size can impact everything from the ride quality to how the bike handles and more.  Even the cheapest mountain bikes have a wide range of tire sizes for your off-road excursions.

Some of the most popular mountain bikes for sale have wheels between 26 and 29 inches, although you may also see bikes with 27.5-inch wheels. The 26-inch tires have long been the most popular on mountain bikes due to their overall stability and agility. It's also easier to find replacements when you need them.

The 29-inch tire is becoming increasingly recognized for its improved stability and control, especially on rougher terrain, along with sustained momentum once the bike is moving.

However, because this tire is a bit larger, some riders find it tougher to maneuver the bike in tighter spaces or when it's time to make a sharp turn.

If you're looking for a tire that can roll over obstacles as effortlessly as the 29-inch but don't want to compromise maneuverability, consider a bike with 27.5-inch wheels. You can also check out our best fat tire bikes and the best electric fat tire bikes if you're looking for a bike that can ride through just about anything.

What Else Should I Know about Mountain Biking?

If you're new to cycling, you might not yet be aware of the potential benefits. For example, cycling is easy on the joints and provides a serious aerobic workout, according to Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Bicycling.com says studies have shown that those who are active every day are 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure.

Factors such as riding style, the type of terrain you typically ride, personal preference, and budget can also help determine the best affordable mountain bike for you. 

Amazon's bike buying guide can help you locate the cheapest mountain bikes within your size range and budget. Keep in mind that mountain bikes for sale on Amazon require at least some assembly before riding. If you're not comfortable with this part, it's worth asking for help from an experienced mechanic before hitting the trails.

Many mountain bikes come with stock platform pedals. While these pedals are cost-effective and don't require you to actually clip in, they generally don't provide the same security and power transfer as an SPD pedal. The two-bolt SPD pedal secures your feet while allowing you to easily clip out and in, making it an especially popular choice amount mountain bike riders.

You can also save money and avoid getting rid of an old bike that's still in great shape by converting it using one of our best e-bike conversion kits.

See Also:

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