Main Purchasing Points
As a rider, you need to know what your riding style is first before anything else. By knowing the style, you will be able to eliminate a lot of the bikes in this price range.
- Trail: These are general purposes bikes meant for a little of everything from dirt roads to other trails.
- All Mountain: These bikes are meant for heavier usage, such as traversing rougher terrain and even taking small jumps.
- Cross Country: Meant for competitive racing. These bikes are lighter in weight and are not made for rough terrain or slight jumps. If speed is what you like, this is the style of bike to choose.
- Freeride: This style is meant for the downhill Due to the design of the bike, you will be able to absorb rocks, jumps and bumps with ease.
- Dirt Jump: This is meant for the younger rider that likes to BMX, but prefers a mountain bike.
There are two suspension types you will come across when looking for the perfect mountain bike. These suspensions include:
- Hardtail: This is front wheel suspension. This is ideal for the hobbyist or occasional trail rider.
- Full: The rider that chooses to ride on rough terrain often and wants the utmost in comfort will want to choose full suspension. This features hardtail suspension in the front and full suspension for the back wheel as well.
The following specifications must also be considered, but they are not as important as style and suspension for the average rider.
- Wheel size. Typically 26 – 29 inches, with the latter being preferred.
- Frame material: Aluminum alloy is the most common, but steel, titanium and even carbon fiber are seen in higher-end options.
Our Top 3 Picks for Bikes Under 1000
Within the $500 – $1000 range, you will find mostly hardtail suspension bikes. If you have a smaller budget check out the best mountain bikes under 500. Closer to the $1000 mark, you will find quality bikes meant for a variety of terrain types. Let’s take a look at the top 3 bikes offered in this price range:
Corratec X Vert Limited Edition Bike 2013
The X Vert 2013 is an exceptional choice. This bike comes with the following features:
- 26-inch wheels
- Cross country style
- Hardtail suspension
- Avid Elixir 3 brakes
The X Vert 2013 is the bike we chose as best under $1000 in the cross country category. While we prefer 29-inch wheels, everything else on this bike is perfect from the hardtail suspension to the braking power the Elixir 3 brakes offer.
Ghost SE 2000 Hardtail Bike 2014
The SE 2000 brings an immense riding experience that allows the rider to climb steep mountains or simply enjoy a ride on the trail. This bike features the following:
- Hardtail suspension
- Alloy frame
- 27 speed Shimano gears
- 26-inch wheels
- Sizes 34cm – 56cm
While not meant for cross country, this is our bike of choice for those that want to ride up mountains or ride on rougher terrain.
Ghost SE 2950 Hardtail Bike 2013
Another option from Ghost. The SE 2950 is the perfect in-between bike that is not as durable as the SE 2000, but it is more versatile than the Corratec X Vert. This bike features:
- 29-inch wheels
- Shimano shift levers, chain set and derailleur
- Tektro HDC 300 disc brakes
The SE 2950 concludes our top 3 picks for the best mountain bikes under 1,000 dollars. This is a great option for the all-terrain rider who wants a very sleek bike that comes with the utmost in braking and shifting power, but can withstand climbing mountains or riding through rough trails.
Best Mountain Under 500 Dollars
The 500 dollar and under price range will yield you with few options for mountain bikes, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few bikes in this price range worth buying. While not in the professional range, the best mountain bikes under $500 can still provide you with an amazing riding experience that will allow for fun, adventure and a versatile range of ideal terrain types.
If you don’t currently have a $500 budget you can always find more affordable tricycles with push handles for your child.
What to Expect in the $500 Range
There are some features you will not find in this range, such as full suspension, that you would at a higher price. Most bikes in this range will fall under the following:
- Hardtail suspension. This is basic front wheel suspension.
- 26 – 29-inch wheels.
- Bikes meant for occasional use.
- Bikes meant for moderate terrain use.
At this price range, you will not find race-ready options or bikes meant for a variety of terrain. You will also not find bikes that come with a full suspension. If you like to go on trails that do not require many jumps, or do not have many rocks and other rough terrain in the way, a bike in this price range will be perfect. If you have a bigger budget take a look at the best mountain bikes under 1000.
Our Top 3 Picks
We have chosen the top 3 bikes for under $500 that are perfect for the beginner to intermediate rider that is not expecting to enter a race or traverse a mountain just yet.
Ghost SE 1300 Hardtail Bike 2013
The SE 1300 comes with two great color options, 26-inch wheels and three frame size options. This bike is made more for everyday use or trail riding, but is not as durable as the Nucleus 260 which will be seen next. The SE 1300 includes:
- A wheel size of 26 inches.
- Hard tail suspension.
- Tektro V-brake systems.
- Shimano front and rear hubs.
- Oversized headtube to allow for the frame to absorb energy optimally.
This bike provides a great option for faster riding circumstances. While not able to be used at a bike park or on rough terrain, this bike is able to provide years of regular riding at an amazing price.
Vitus Bikes Nucleus 260 Hardtail Bike 2014
The Nucleus 260 may just be the best bike on our list. This bike not only looks sharp, but it is ideal for moderate off road riding. Let’s see what the 260 has to offer:
- Mechanical formed aluminum frame.
- Shimano shifts and derailleur.
- Mechanical disc brakes for great stopping performance.
- A wheel size of 26 inches.
This bike, like all others mentioned, features a hardtail suspension. If you want the utmost in performance and expect to ride on moderately rough terrain often, this is the bike of choice on our list.
DMR Wrath Jump Bike 2013
The DMR Wrath comes priced between $360 and $400. This bike is the perfect option for a teen or casual rider that would not really need a bike priced $500+. For every day riding around town or on easy trails, this bike is the perfect choice.
The Wrath features the following:
- Dirt jump style. Meant for BMX riding, tricks and dirt jumps.
- Wheel size from 24 to 26 inches.
- Solid, anodized hubs for solid wheel frame.
- Hardtail suspension.
This is the ideal choice for youngsters and more rugged use. While it doesn’t have the ideal 29” wheel size for traversing through rocks, it is perfect for stunts and jumps.