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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.

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
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
best mountain bikes under 500 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Solid value
  • Quick-release seat post
  • 29-inch all-terrain tires
Price: $389.99 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
mens mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for smaller riders
  • Made for single track and gravel trails
  • Mountain-tuned aluminum frame
Price: $211.71 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: $299.00 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: $239.99 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: $680.47 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: $489.25 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cheap mountain bike Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dual-suspension frame
  • Budget-friendly
  • Alloy wheels
Price: $566.32 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cheap mountain bikes Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Zoom suspension fork
  • Shimano components
  • All-around mountain bike
Price: $487.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Vilano Blackjack 3.0 (29″)

    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. RUNNER UP: 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.

  3. 3. Schwinn High Timber 

    Pros:
    • Triple chain ring helps conquer steep inclines
    • Solid steel mountain bike frame
    • Knobby tires provide extra grip
    Cons:
    • Assembly can be tricky
    • Several mention the seat is uncomfortable
    • Not the lightest frame

    The Schwinn Men’s High Timber offers a combination of quality and comfort, making it a practical option if you’re looking for the best starter mountain bike within your budget. Highlights include a Schwinn suspension fork and frame, which is made from steel. Combined with large 29-inch tires, you can expect a controlled and secure ride, even when the terrain gets rough.

    Shimano twist shifters pair with 21 gears to help you conquer your favorite trails. The bike’s triple chainring can also help you feel more confident when climbing up those particularly steep inclines. The High Timber comes with knobby all-terrain tires so that you don’t have to waste any time hitting the trails after it’s assembled.

    Is the Schwinn High Timber right for me? The High Timber has a heavier steel frame and knobby 29-inch tires, which makes it particularly well suited for controlled riding on rougher terrain. However, it only comes in one size. The lack of disc brakes can also be a turnoff for some riders.

  4. 4. 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.

  5. 5. Best 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. 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.

  8. 8. Best 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 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.

  10. 10. Schwinn S29 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

    Pros:
    • Mechanical disc brakes in front and rear
    • 21-speed Shimano drivetrain
    • Front and rear shocks
    Cons:
    • Only comes in one size
    • Some find the stock seat uncomfortable
    • Not ideal for more intense trail rides

    If you’re looking for an affordable 29er, consider the Schwinn S29 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike. This budget-friendly mountain bike features a full dual-suspension frame. You’ll also get a SRAM rear derailleur.

    With 21 gears in total, you won’t be left hunting for the right gear on your off-road adventures. Disc brakes in the front and back provide stopping power when you need it. The 18-inch frame fits riders from 5’4″ to 6’1″.

    Is the Schwinn S29 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike right for me? With SRAM components and a dual-suspension frame, this Schwinn mountain bike is a solid starter option.

  11. 11. Royce Union RMA All-Terrain Mountain Bike

    Pros:
    • Limited 10-year warranty on the frame
    • Available in several sizes
    • Comes with a 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur
    Cons:
    • Doesn't have mechanical disc brakes
    • Not designed for aggressive trail riding
    • Some find the stock seat uncomfortable

    The RMA is a multi-tasking mountain bike that can handle your favorite paved surfaces as well as off-road gravel and dirt paths and trails. While some bikes are only available in one size, the RMA comes in sizes ranging from 17 to 22-inch frames.

    Each frame has the same set of dependable 27.5-inch wheels for extra traction when you need it. If you’re looking to pick up the pace, the tires won’t hold you back as they have less rolling resistance than your average mountain bike tire.

    A Zoom suspension fork absorbs bumps and jolts for a smoother ride. A 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur gives you plenty of gearing options, whether you’re heading for the hills or powering along a flat surface. Alloy linear pull brakes bring the bike to a smooth stop.

    A limited 10-year warranty on the frame gives you extra peace of mind.

    Is the Royce Union RMA All-Terrain Mountain Bike right for me? As its name suggests, this all-terrain mountain bike can handle everything from gravel paths to pavement to trails, making it a versatile bike for your outdoor adventures. However, it’s not the most robust choice for more aggressive trail riding.

How Did We Pick the Best Budget Mountain Bikes?

Everyone's budget is different. For example, a $1,500 bike might not seem affordable until you discover it has a carbon fiber frame and higher-quality components for better performance and longevity.

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

We have something for every buyer. Whether you're a beginner or a regular rider who doesn't want to spend an entire paycheck, we have affordable options.

You'll find 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, you can find an affordable mountain bike.

Some of our favorites include the Vilano Blackjack 3.0, which absorbs bumps with its 29-inch wheels, and the Gravity FSX 1.0 full-suspension bike for confident riding on technical trails.

But the best bike for you might look and feel drastically different.

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?

Mechanically speaking, hardtails are simpler than full-suspension mountain bikes since they don't have pivots or rear shocks.

Hardtails also generally don't wear out as fast as full-suspension bikes and are typically cheaper as there aren't as many parts. Their lighter frames make hardtail mountain bikes especially fun on the trails.

What Is a Full-suspension Mountain Bike?

If you love challenging trails packed with obstacles, consider a full-suspension mountain bike. It has a front fork and rear shocks to dampen vibrations for a more pleasant ride. 

They're more stable over bumpy terrain and sharp turns to give you more control and confidence. It's generally more capable and versatile than a hardtail bike.

Full-suspension bikes are a fine for beginners, but they're a favorite among experienced riders who love technical trails. 

Does Wheel Size Matter When It Comes to Mountain Biking?

Do you like your wheels to feel playful and precise, or fully capable of rolling over technical obstacles? How important is it to feel confident and secure making sharp turns? Your answers will help you decide which wheel size is best.

The most common mountain bike wheel sizes are 26, 27.5 and 29 inches. A few inches might not seem like much if you're just starting out, but each wheel size serves a specific purpose. Even the cheapest mountain bikes have a wide range of tire sizes for your off-road excursions.

The 29-inch tire is becoming increasingly recognized for its improved stability and control, especially on rougher terrain. It also rolls most smoothly over obstacles. However, it isn't as nimble around corners as the smaller tires.

A good compromise is the 27.5-inch wheel. It rolls over obstacles nicely and doesn't compromise maneuverability.

The smallest 26-inch wheels are becoming less mainstream. However, they're a great choice for beginners. A 26-inch wheel picks up speed faster and feels secure around sharp turns, which is why it can be especially appealing for beginners.

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.

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

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