Best Mountain Bikes Under £500 2017
Not everyone wants to spend thousands on a set of wheels. From carbon fibre frames, electric gear changing and, well…more carbon fibre, it’s easy to get seduced by the super models of the bike world. That’s why we’ve carefully selected some of the best mountain bikes under £500; stylish and affordable entry level mountain bikes so you can get out and ride this summer, without worrying about your bank account.
MTBs Under £500: What Should I Look For?
Finding a mountain bike under £500 will be no problem. In fact, you will likely be spoilt for choice, which is exactly why you need to know what to look for first in order to cut through the noise to find the perfect one for you.
The first element you need to consider is the frame; go for aluminium or a strong alloy frame which will be lightweight and durable enough to be comfortable and easy to handle at the same time.
The next crucial point is the gearing, and to make the best decision on what you need from your bike, you need to know what you intend to do with it. Are you going to be scaling steep gradients or is the terrain fairly tame? As a general rule, the more gears you have, the better you will be able to tackle inclines and declines while riding. Most mountain bikes under £500 will have 8 or 9 gears on the back, with 3 on the front chainwheel - look for this and you're good to go. Try and also look for a high-quality pairing of Shimano derailleurs and levers to match.
What Should I Not Look For?
At this price level it is more or less impossible to land a quality full-suspension mountain bike. The quality of the suspension will not be good, and to get any rear suspension in the model, often other areas are sacrificed in the process. Ultimately, it will just be added weight to your bike.
Also, try not to over think the smaller features like tyres or grips as these can be changed after purchase to ones that better suit your requirements.
The Diamondback Sync 1.0 mountain bike is definitely a favourite of ours; it’s lightweight, comfortable, beautifully designed and won’t break the bank, making it a perfect beginner mountain bike. A robust alloy frame coupled with strong, double-walled aluminium rims makes for a great balance between agility and durability, allowing you to tear through woodlands with ease. The Suntour M3030 forks comfortably absorb the bumps and dips that trails throw at you, while the Shimano 21-speed EZ fire gear changing allows for smooth, quick transitions for tackling the hills. Supplemented by 27.5 inch wheels, these provide improved rollover capabilities so you lose less momentum on those tricky trails, but Tektro disc brakes ensure sufficient braking power when you actually want to stop.
Stylish, affordable and ready to tackle trails, the Python Rock men’s mountain bike is undoubtedly fantastic value for money and a good starter mountain bike. Similar to the Sync, a lightweight 6061 alloy frame pairs up with 100mm travel, lock out front suspension to provide a comfortable ride. Adjustable alloy V-brakes provide the stopping power on the wheels, which can be easily removed thanks to the quick-release axles (always handy for fixing punctures or putting the bike in the back of the car).
Short commutes to work, canal paths or off-road riding, the Raleigh Helion 2.0 takes everything in its stride. 21 gears and 60mm front forks make tricky trails and challenging hills a breeze, especially with the lightweight 6061 aluminium frame. The Helion’s 27.5 inch wheels roll nicely over awkward dips and bumps, plus chunky wide tyres that provide handling and grip normally expected from more expensive models.
Dawes are well-known for producing high-quality, professional bikes to suit every rider, and the XC21 hardtail MTB is no exception. 21 speed Shimano EZ fire shifters make for smooth changing and ensure hills are no problem. A well-crafted and lightweight alloy frame is complimented by 75mm travel front suspension; a joy to ride even on tough terrain. For a mountain bike under £300, value for money is an understatement for this stylish beginner mountain bike.
Boasting all the features as the gent’s version, we had to include the women’s model too just to brag about how great these bikes are. The Sync 1.0 ladies is specifically designed with a geometry that provides more comfort for women, and looks fantastic in the stylish light blue frame. Fitted with quick-release axles and seat post clamp, it can easily be put in the boot and save all the fuss. With its stylish design and great features, the Sync 1.0 is our top mountain bike under £500 for ladies.
Without a doubt one of Raleigh’s best entry level mountain bikes to date, the Neve 1.0 is perfect for those commutes or weekend trail rides with the family. A hydro-formed aluminium frame is strong but lightweight, and combines with slim block tyres for a smooth and comfortable ride. The 18 speed Shimano gearing allows you to tackle even the steepest of hills with ease. All of this wrapped in a stunning aqua and pink design and at an affordable price, it’s clear to see why these bikes are such a popular choice.
New to our range of mountain bikes is the smartly-designed Forme Sterndale 5000. With a lightweight 6061 alloy frame, the 5000 weighs in at just 13.82kg, which is quite impressive for a bike in the under 500 price range. 21 speed Shimano EZ fire shifters offer ample gear variations, meaning the hills are no problem. Couple that with the weight, and the bike handles like a dream.
Another lightweight addition is the Merida Matts 15-MD, with the 6061 aluminium frame helping it weigh in at 13.64kg. However with 24 gears to select from, it offers more when combating the hills. Plus, mechanical disc brakes on 160mm rotors provides superior braking the v-brakes equipped on the Forme Sterndale 5000. A great all-rounder mountain bike that rides superbly and deserves a spot on this list.
Lightweight, beautifully-designed and great braking power, the Aspect 760 is new for 2018 and one of the top mountain bikes under £500. Hydraulic disc brakes on 160mm rotors provide superb braking, while it also boasts 21 gears and 100mm travel front suspension. Although one of the more comfortable bikes to ride and with excellent handling, the 760 weighs in slightly higher than some others at 14.5kg. Despite this, it is one of our favourites and deserves a lot of credit. Also available in green/yellow.
Like our selection? Check out our full range of mountain bikes.