There are pros and cons of buying a cheap mountain bike. For one, you may get cheap components and mediocre manufacturing quality especially from brands that are not so well known in the mountain biking realm. Another thing is you may not enjoy the ride when you’re out there on the trails. Believe us, you’ll feel the difference.
With that caveat aside, you don’t need to fret. You can still experience a decent mountain biking experience. But you’ll have to choose from our selection of the best cheap mountain bikes. We’ve identified these specific models because, even though they’re cheap in price, they pack a lot of value and offer decent quality components and features. You won’t regret choosing any of these bikes. They’re cheap. But they pack a lot of punch. And are better than a lot of the lower end bikes out there.
The Best Cheap Mountain Bikes
It’s night and day compared to the GT Verb Comp (see below), but it certainly qualifies for ‘cheap’ especially considering it’s a full suspension bike. An aluminium lightweight frame provides both a comfortable ride with discerning performance. An Element suspension fork up front smooths out the rocky and bumpy paths you’ll be traversing. A 21 speed Shimano drivetrain with SRAM twist shifters gives you the gear selection you need when you need it most.
It’s well rounded with alloy wheels and alloy front and rear disc brakes. This Mongoose is affordable if you’re looking for the best cheap mountain bike. And it’s certainly more than enough to give you the enjoyment you’re seeking when you go out to your favorite trails.
It’s cheap, and a great beginner bike. But does it have what it takes to earn a spot on our best cheap mountain bike list? Let’s look at what it has to offer so we can find out. A geometric steel frame, a bit heaver than aluminum, but good enough for a cheap bike. A suspension fork up front gives you dominance over bumpy terrain. SRAM Drive twist shifters offer smooth gear changes and efficient shifts. A Shimano drivetrain gives you reliability and piece of mind.
For a cheap mountain bike, you’ll expect it to have linear pull breaks. And with 18 speeds, you have enough gear selection to guide you through straight travel, uphills and downhills. Overall, it’s one of the best cheap bikes that will give you bang for your buck.
Nashbar’s AT1 29er made our list of best cheap mountain bikes. The price tag is affordable, well under $500, but this 29er has so much to offer. Its frame is made of steel which provides durability and good handling. The 29” wheels gives you the confidence to ride through challenging trails and single track without thinking twice about it. The front fork is a Zoom with 75mm travel. Shimano Tourney Revo Shift 21 speed shifters control a Shimano drivetrain. Alloy v-brakes give you stopping power.
For a cheap bike, the AT1 29er is fun to ride and durable enough to take on challenging mountain bike trails. If you’re just getting into mountain biking, or if you’re looking for a good city bike that you can take off-road on the weekends, this one is worth considering.
You can buy the Sorrento for under $500, but will this cheap mountain bike give you the exhilarating experience you’re looking for? With its 6061-T6 heat treated aluminum frame, SR Suntour M3030 75mm travel front fork, Shimano drivetrain, and easy fire shifting with 21 speeds, it’s certainly one of the contenders and our pick for the best cheap mountain bikes.
You might want to take it out for casual bike path riding, and maybe you’ll steer into some single track you see along the way. The front suspension, strong yet lightweight frame, and reliable drivetrain will give you a fun overall ride.
5. GT Verb Comp
The GT Verb Comp is proof that cheap mountain bikes don’t have to be… well… cheap. Sure, it’s priced around $1000. “Affordable” might be a better word than “cheap.” So why would we include it in our best cheap mountain bike? If your’e looking for ultimate performance in a full suspension bike, this one is considered cheap in this category. A full suspension bike of this magnitude can easily reach three to four times the price.
What makes it worthwhile to buy this bike? The 6061-T6 lightweight aluminum frame. Shimano Alivio and Deore drivetrain. ProMax hydraulic disc brakes. All Terra CH-595 front suspension with 120mm travel, and All Terra AO-42 AR rear shock with rebound adjust. Rapid fire shifters make for easy gear changes. And let’s face it, it looks really good compared to other cheaper bikes.
What lesson did we learn today? You don’t really need to spend a lot of money to buy a mountain bike. But you’ve got to be smart. Choosing one of the best cheap mountain bikes we’ve featured here will give you a thrilling experience without burning through your hard earned cash. Who knows — it may be the first step to buying a more expensive bike. But believe us when we say any of these bikes might put some of the more pricier ones to shame once you’re out there trekking through the rough off-road terrain.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com