Finding cheap mountain bikes is not as easy as it may sound, there are a lot of crappy ones out there. Here are some of things you may want to know before you purchase cheap mountain bikes.
What You Should be Concerned With When Buying Cheap Mountain Bikes
Size: Buying an improper size will lead to discomfort, so follow the frame size chart below to see what size of bike you require.
4’11″ – 5’3″ = 13 to 15 inches
5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 to 17 inches
5’7″ – 5’11″ = 17 to 19 inches
6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 to 21 inches
6’2″ – 6’4″ = 21 to 23 inches
6’4″ and taller = 23 inches
Weight: Each pound you add to the bike requires a significant amount more effort to get it up that hill. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t help on the downhill either as a heavier bike is more difficult to maneuver.
Durability: Mountain bikes take a serious beating so you want to make sure that what you are purchasing is of good quality. Durable bikes will save on repair costs, but more importantly they are safer.
Price: If you are looking for cheap mountain bikes then price is an obvious consideration. The mountain bikes reviewed below are some of the least expensive on the market.
The hard truth is that unless you are willing to spend $1000 or more on a full suspension mountain bike then you should probably buy a hardtail. The performance of the rear shock at this low of a price point is very inefficient. Expect to pedal 40% more on a full suspension than a hardtail for the $500 marker.
A cheap full suspension mountain bike makes sense if you want to take some of the small bumps out of your ride on a gravel trail and you don’t mind being slow. It also makes sense if you only plan to do downhill riding.
Tire Size: 26″, 27.5″ or 29″
Tire size comes down to personal preference. You may read that one is much faster for a variety of reasons; however, unless a 3% time difference in performance is going to make or break your decision then it really comes down to feel and handling.
The 26″ tires are better for maneuverability so getting around corners or going downhill you may find them easier.
The 29″ tires are going to be better for rolling over things and making a smoother ride, they are also said to “roll” faster as the small obstacles do not slow them down as much.
The 27.5″ tires just maneuver better than a 29″ tire and roll over things better than a 26″ tire.
If you are looking for cheap mountain bikes then you will be choosing between aluminum alloy bikes and steel frame bikes. Carbon mountain bikes are a little more pricey.
Aluminum Alloy: Aluminum bikes are easier to mould into shapes than steel frames making them lighter.
Steel: There is a little more weight to the steel bikes which make them a little more difficult to pedal up those hills; however, if you know how to treat a steel bike right then it will last you a lifetime.
The Best Cheap Mountain Bikes
This bike is a phenomenal hardtail for the price point, it is the most expensive in the list but is a great entry level mountain bike with reliable components and powerful disc brakes for fast stopping. The 29″ wheels allow it to roll over anything and with the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy is durable and light.
Wobbly wheels are very common in cheap mountain bikes but this bike has double walled rims to make them stronger which means this bike can support heavier riders.
The only downside to this bike is the assembly instructions are a bit difficult to follow, so if you know someone that builds bikes you might want to give them a call or perhaps let your local bike shop put it together.
The performance of the Overdrive will outpace the rest of the group, the balance between aggressive and comfort is just right, the question is… are you ready for the Overdrive?
Frame Sizes: 16″/18″/20″/22″
Price: $500 – $700
The Schwinn is a good multi-purpose bike for bike paths and easier trails and comes in a mens and a womens. It has good shimano components with 21 speeds so it will have the right gear for the job. The wheels are 27.5″ so you get a mix of good handling and good rollover.
This is the least expensive bike on the list, there are a few other cheaper bikes like the Nashbar AT1 or the under $100 Granite Peak mountain bike but they are a money pit due to the constant repair costs required.
The Schwinn’s frame is steel so it is pretty heavy which leaves you a little slugish up the hills. It also does not have disc brakes like the Diamondback series so you will not stop as quickly, but it is a sound bike that will get you from A to B.
Frame Sizes: 18″
Price: $200 – $250
This Vilano is like the less expensive version of the diamondback Overdrive. It uses the same light weight 6061-T6 aluminum alloy for its frame to make it light weight and durable. It also has disc brakes, and double walled rims. The geometry is more relaxed for a little more comfort and a little less speed.
This is a great entry level mountain bike especially for the price.
Frame Sizes: 17″/20″
Price: $350 – $450
If you are going to buy a cheap full suspension mountain bike then this is the one to buy. It is very popular bike and if you want to do some relatively serious off-road biking this could be the bike for you.
This bike weighs in at 44 pounds so it is not too light, but if you plan on mostly riding downhill then that should not be a problem, otherwise you just get a little extra workout than everyone else on those uphills. This bike is going to feel nice and plush under you but will bob slightly as you pedal. Another small downside is that there is no place to hold a water bottle, so make sure you bring a camelback.
All in all if you have a small budget and you want to point downhill this is your ride.
Frame Sizes: 18″
Price: $250 – $300
Cheap Mountain Bikes Review
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|Diamondback Overdrive 29er||$500 - $700||16/18/20/22||4.5|
|Schwinn High Timber||$200 - $250||18||4.3|
|Vilano Blackjack 29er||$350 - $450||17/20||4.1|
|Mongoose Impasse||$250 - $300||18||4|
A bad day on the mountain bike always beats a good day in the office so get your cheap mountain bike and go for a rip!