Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000
If you enjoy mountain biking, you know full well how expensive the hobby can be. If you’re thinking about starting, the idea of spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a bicycle can seem a bit daunting to say the least. However, when it comes to mountain bikes, expensive doesn’t always mean the best. In fact, there are quite a few gems that are well under $1000 on the market today. So we’ve taken a good long look at them and found a few of our favorites that are worth sharing.
- Schwinn Protocol 1.0
- Merax Finiss 26 Aluminum
- Easy to assemble
- Cyrusher FR100
- Foldable design
- Disc brakes
10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $1000
Schwinn Protocol 1.0
This bike can be considered a downhill mountain bike that is suitable for downhill and easy to moderate trails. The double suspension frame makes for a fairly comfortable ride in regards to impact and shock absorption, but it’s clearly meant for the occasional rider, not for the enthusiastic mountain cyclist.
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheel rims are 26 inches in diameter, and feature tires that are approximately two inches in width. Overall the alloy rims are strong and durable, but the tires themselves will probably be replaced rather quickly with a moderate amount of riding.
The frame materials consist of aluminum material that is relatively lightweight and very durable. However, because of the double suspension, this mountain bike is heavier than some of the other options available. At an overall weight of 43 pounds, the mountain bike weight can become a hindrance, especially on trails with more moderate to severe inclines.
The Schwinn Protocol Mountain Bike features a twenty-four speed Shimano Altus drivetrain with an EF-50 shifting system. Most riders found the shifting to be a breeze to operate overall, and the mechanism was very smooth, even in the higher or the transitional gears.
Overall Fit and Comfort
There is no denying that this is one comfortable ride. On gentle slopes or easy trails, this bike is one that can certainly hold its own in regards to comfort and stability. However, on more moderate trails, or steeper inclines, this mountain bike begins to show the tell-tale signs of potential wear points and areas of weakness, especially in the back fork area, and the brakes. The brakes themselves consist of a front disc system with a mechanical linear pull on the back wheel. This can sometimes lead to uneven wear and tear, so the brakes should be checked with greater frequency then normal.
Overall this bike provides a good, comfortable ride down the mountain, and on more forgiving trails. The frame is extremely strong and sturdy, but still is relatively lightweight. The only complaint that we had was that the bike begins to break down more rapidly with us on more moderate to advance rides.
- Very comfortable to ride
- Easy to assemble
- Gearing system is top notch
- Bike may be a bit heavy for some
- Not suitable for advanced trails or riders
Merax Finiss 26 Aluminum
This bike can be considered an all mountain bike, with a hardtail design. It is perfectly suited for both trail and downhill use, and is meant for riders of the beginner or intermediate levels of expertise.
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheel rim diameter measures approximately 26 inches and features an aluminum double wall construction for added strength and durability. The tires measure 2.1 inches in thickness, and provide fairly good stability and traction while on the trail. It should be noted however, that quite a few customers experience issues with the inner tube either being a wrong size overall or having faulty workmanship.
The frame is made from a lightweight aluminum material that has been heat treated for added strength and durability.
This bike features a Shimano 21 speed derailleurs and shifters. Most found the actual gearing mechanism to be relatively smooth in operation, but the placement of the gear shifts to be a bit problematic, especially if you have shorter hands.
Overall Fit and Comfort
For the most part, people who rode this particular mountain bike found it to be adequate in the sense of shock absorption and overall handling and control. However, there were quite a few that found that the front tire fork and the back tire square offered a bit too much play for their liking when it came to the tires.
If you’re looking for an affordable mountain bike that is a great choice for those trails or downhill runs that are a little more difficult, the Merax Finiss 21 Speed Mountain Bike is a good overall choice. The only real problems we found was that the gear shift location was a bit cumbersome for some, and the front fork and back square allowed for slightly more play than desired.
- Fairly easy to put together
- Relatively strong and lightweight
- Smooth shifting operation
- Gear shift position is somewhat awkward
- Front fork and back square may provide too much give or play for some riders
This is a general purpose mountain bike with a folding design for easy storage and carrying around.
The 26' tires are thick and extra grippy, so this along with the disc brakes means the bike will easily stop on a dime.
The frame is made of aluminum, with an eye-catching design that will have people asking you where it's from. It's also durable to boot, and able to withstand ascending and descending rough terrain. Despite the build, however, it is heavier than the average folding bike.
Fitted with a Shimano M310 ATLUS drivetrain, this bike offers 24 different speeds so it will function well both on- and off-road. This also allows it to ascend and descend rough terrain quickly and easily.
The 17" frame is built to accommodate most riders up to 6' tall. The aluminum body along with the XCM lockout suspension reduce vibrations for a smooth ride. A pro-level saddle allows for ideal comfort, even on longer rides.
Summary: The Cyrusher FR100 offers the convenience of a folding bike, with enough durability and features to tackle off-road terrain.
Durable aluminum design
Heavy in the context of folding bikes
Gravity Bullseye Monster
The tires and braking system definitely make this a mountain bike, though with its lightweight design this could easily be used on roads as well.
The 26" x 4" tires are incredibly thick. As such you can roll over almost anything without having to worry about punctures or damage. The thick design also allows for extra traction on wet or snowy ground, making it perfect for riding during the winter months.
This bike is made of aluminum, allowing it to be as durable as it is lightweight.
This bike is equipped with a 16 speed Shimano Alivio and SRAM drivetrain with SRAM shifters. The 16 speeds allow you to pedal at the rate best for you in all situations and all terrain. Shifting is smooth and precise and you don't run the risk of crossing gears by accident.
The Gravity Bullseye Monster is offered in a myriad of sizes, ranging from 14" to 20", fitting riders anywhere from 5'4" all the way up to 6'3". This makes the bike comfortable for riders of almost any height, and you'll be sure to find an option that best suits your height and your needs. The aluminum frame is designed to handle shocks and bumps with minimal jarring or vibration.
While the fat tires may be off-putting at first to some, the Gravity Bullseye Monster is exactly that, a monster. Those tires are made to take a beating in any kind of terrain, while the Tektro Novela disc brakes mean you'll be able to easily stop at a moment's notice.
Wide range of sizes
Durable aluminum frame
Brakes may not perform well on very steep grades
Diamond Bicycles El Oso De Acero
This is a downhill style mountain bike that features extra wide tires. It’s perfect for rougher terrain and having to navigate both trails and areas where even the goats fear to tread.
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheel diameters of these tires are pretty standard overall – just about 26 inches. However, the widths of the tires are much wider than is normally seen – they’re about four inches compared to the usual one to two inch width. While it may look strange, the wider tires not only offer more surface area for better traction, they also offer better shock absorption as well.
The frame is made from a heat treated steel material that is very durable and strong. It doesn’t allow for much play in the fork area of the bike, and that can cause some mild fatigue over the long haul, but it’s nothing that most people need to worry about.
This mountain bike features Shimano Alivio 9 speed group set. The shifting mechanism is known to be fairly smooth and easy to operate overall.
Overall Fit and Comfort
Once the bike is properly fitted to the rider, this particular brand is known to be quite comfortable. The trick, of course is finding that sweet spot when it comes to the proper sizing and adjustment. Most people find that it is usually best to have a professional help them tweak their ride as necessary.
Based on their overall comfort, durability and the ability to simply roll over practically anything, mountain bikes for under a $1000 that feature fat tires are becoming more and more popular. While this is a great example of such a bike, it’s important to remember that expert fine tuning is essential for a more comfortable ride.
- Works in a wide range of terrain and riding situations
- Durable steel frame
- Comfortable once adjusted properly
- Can be difficult to adjust
- Steel frame and forks don’t offer a lot of give while riding
The tires and drivetrain make this bike work very well off-road, while the lightweight frame and comfortable saddle allow it to easily transition to on-road use.
The wheels are 29" which allows it to handle rough terrain with relative ease. The 2.25" Clement FRJ tires are grippy even on rocky ground or in wet conditions such as rain and snow.
Featuring an SRAM NX 11-speed derailleur, the Raleigh Tekoa is capable of shifting gears effortlessly and without crossing. The 14g stainless steel spokes are fitted with brass nipples for added durability.
This bike is available in three sizes, comfortably accommodating riders from 5'3" to 6'4". It comes in two color options: black and blue. As stated above, the aluminum frame is set in such a way that pedaling is easier and more comfortable. This along with the Raleigh Mountain saddle make it great for longer rides.
While it may not contain all of the bells and whistles some other mountain bikes come with, the Raleigh Tekoa offers a solid lightweight frame, a sturdy and responsive drivetrain, and grippy wheels, all for an accessible price and in a good range of size options to fit any rider.
Multiple size options
Suspension may be underwhelming in rocky terrain
Vilano Ridge 1.0
This mountain bike can be considered an entry-level trail mountain bike. It’s a great choice for those novice mountain bike riders who are eager to hit the more challenging trails
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheel rims are 26 inches in diameter, and feature tires that are approximately 2.1 inches in width.
The frame is constructed out of a 6061 Aluminum material that is relatively strong, and lightweight. It can easily handle the weight of most people, but is still light enough to carry easily over rougher terrain if needed.
This bike features a 21 speed Shimano EF-51 Easy Fire shifter, and both front and back derailleurs. Most people found the shifting to be relatively smooth. It is suggested though, by the manufacturer that fine tuning be done by a trained professional.
Overall Fit and Comfort
Overall this bike is a great choice for easier trails with few areas where jumps or tricks are necessary. It offers a great overall fit for most people, and once adjustments are made the seat and handlebars allow for a fairly comfortable riding posture.
This bike offers a fantastic choice for a beginner mountain biker who is just starting out on riding easier trails. While it’s not really suited for more advanced users, the easy to use shifter, lightweight frame and suspension front fork make it a great introduction to the sport of trail riding.
- Lightweight and strong
- Easy and dependable shifting
- Great for novice mountain bikers
- Professional assembly is strongly recommended.
Beiou Toray T700
A super lightweight frame makes this bike great for downhill riding and road cycling, while the tires and hydraulic suspension allow it to tackle off-road paths and technical terrain with ease.
The 26" Ruituo M200 wheels are light and durable. The Chaoyang tires provide the right amount of grip and traction for any terrain and any conditions, as well as being durable enough to resist puncturing.
Beiou opted for a carbon frame, rather than the aluminum used in most mountain bikes in this price range. A feature typically found in high-end bikes, the carbon frame is even lighter than aluminum and almost indestructible. The handlebars and seatpost are also carbon fiber, for a seamless and sleek design that'll turn heads.
Equipped with a 27-speed Shimano ATLUS drivetrain, the Beiou Toray T700 is well suited for a multitude of speeds on any sort of terrain.
Sizes range from 15" to 19", so finding the proper size for you will be easy. A GTMRK 300 hydraulic fork suspension absorbs shock and vibrations very well, so you can focus more on pedaling and less on getting jostled about. It's both responsive and rigid, allowing you to keep optimal control over the bike in rough terrain.
If carbon fiber is your thing, but expensive bikes aren't, the Beiou Toray T700 the way to go. That carbon frame is wonderfully light, as are the wheels, for improved aerodynamics and handling. It also comes in a wide range of color options, so it looks as good as it rides.
Carbon fiber frame
Hydraulic fork suspension
Wide range of colors
Only one wheel size despite multiple frame sizes
Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail
The Overdrive 29 hardtail is considered a general purpose mountain bike that can be used both on trial and off.
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheels on this particular mountain bike are larger in diameter than most; they are 29 inches compared to the 26 standard. While it doesn’t sound like much, those extra three inches do provide somewhat better handling and more versatility when it comes to rougher terrain.
The frame is constructed of a 6061-T6 aluminum material that is fairly strong and relatively lightweight. The design is simple enough, and holds together nicely while riding. One complaint that we saw, however was that the frame was sometimes a bit too fancy for mountain biking.
This mountain bike features a 24 speed Shimano drivetrain that allows for relatively smooth operation and quick changes when needed.
Overall Fit and Comfort
The great thing overall about this particular bike is the versatility that it offers on the trail. While the larger tires do make for a somewhat larger straddling height that must be accounted for, most riders found this bike to be a comfortable choice overall in a wide range of trail types and riding situations.
While certainly not for everyone, or even every novice rider, the Overdrive 29 with the larger wheel base does offer great versatility and dependability when on the trail.
- Larger diameter wheelbase offers better control and traction
- Versatile bike for a wide range of situations
- Lightweight aluminum construction
- .Height difference with 29 inch diameter tires need to be taken into account
- Overall frame may be a bit too fancy for some tastes
This is a trail mountain bike with a hardtail style construction. It’s fairly versatile in nature, and can easily handle a wide range of trail types including paved roads and muddy trails.
Wheel & Tire Size
The wheels are 26 inches in diameter and are approximately one inch in width overall. For the most part they offer adequate traction and shock absorption when needed.
This bike features a strong and a surprisingly heavy aluminum frame that some may find a bit cumbersome especially on the longer trails with more inclines or changes in terrain.
This mountain bike features an eight-speed Shimano transmission that is fairly easy to use and offers a quick change between gears when needed on the trail.
Overall Fit and Comfort
Despite its overall weight, this bike is a nice balance between ease of use, comfort, and responsiveness while on the trail. The one drawback besides its weight that we saw was that the front end fork could be of a higher quality. It was often seen to wobble slightly when going through rougher terrains and trails.
The Mongoose Switchback Mountain Bike is a great, affordable option for those who have just recently been bitten by the mountain biking bug. While we were disappointed in the overall weight and front fork issues, if you’re looking for a fairly comfortable trail bike, this one is hard to beat.
- Fairly comfortable design
- Responsive gearing and brakes
- Great choice for a novice rider
- Features a fairly heavy frame
- Front end fork could use better quality control.
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Generally speaking, there are five different types or styles of mountain bikes. Each, of course, can be used in a wide range of situations and different environments, but they are each best suited for a specific type of riding style. For example, cross country, or “XC” mountain bikes are designed to be lightweight and built for overall speed and maneuverability. They are also sometimes referred to as “general use”. Those mountain bikes that are referred to as “All Mountain” or “endure” mountain bikes can probably be considered the workhorses of the mountain biking world, and feature partial or full suspensions, a slightly heavier frame, and is best suited for going up the mountains and back down again with or without the use of trails. Downhill mountain bikes, as the name implies are designed to do one thing, and do it very, very well: travel downhill. They’re designed to handle steep descents at a rapid pace, and feature gears that allow for rapid pedaling and tires and a frame that holds up to the increased pressure of moving at such a rapid pace. Freeride mountain bikes are somewhat similar to the downhill racers mentioned before, but with one strong difference. Where the downhill mountain bikes are built for speed, the freeride mountain bikes feature increased maneuverability and dexterity. Essentially their focus is not only getting down the hill but doing it in style. And finally, if you want a bike that allows you to do tricks and jumps with relative ease while traveling through the mountainous terrain, you’ll want to consider getting a dirt jump mountain bike due to their specialized frame and single gearing.
Wheel & Tire Size
Generally speaking, there are three sizes when it comes to the diameter of the mountain bike wheel. The standard twenty-six-inch diameter is still the most common and provides for a great generalized level of control and shock absorption. Recently though, tires with a larger diameter, such as 27.5 and 29 inch have started to become more popular due to their ability to more easily absorb the impacts from larger stones or trail debris. While a large diameter tire often means better shock absorption and efficiency, it also means a decrease in overall maneuverability.
When it comes to mountain bikes, there are a few different materials that are used. The first, and most common, of course, is aluminum. Aluminum frames are often fairly lightweight and strong and have the ability to be easily treated to either add strength or durability. Most cross-country mountain bikes have aluminum frames. Steel frames are more common in downhill or endure mountain bikes. They are often slightly heavier than aluminum frame bikes and do offer a bit more durability and strength at the cost of the added weight. And finally, some of the more specialized mountain bikes feature frames made of things such as carbon fiber or titanium, each of which has their own special advantages and disadvantages such as a lighter overall weight and a slight reduction in strength.
Depending on the style of mountain bikes under $1000 that you plan on buying, the gearing system which includes such things as the drivetrain, shifters, cassettes and derailleur gears can vary quite a bit. For the most part, though, mountain bikes under $1000 dollars often feature gear systems that have between 21 and 27 speeds and feature both a front and rear derailleurs. The shifting mechanisms are often smooth overall, and the best examples allow for easy shifting without much concentration.
Overall Fit and Comfort
The overall fit and comfort of a mountain bike is perhaps one of the most important, and yet elusive things to consider when it comes to making a purchase. How the bike handles while on the trail, what level of shock or impact it absorbs, and how comfortable it is to ride overall can play a huge role in how frequently the bike is used, and whether or not the rides are an enjoyable experience.
More to think about when choosing your next mountain bike under $1000
Full Suspension versus Hardtail versus Ridged
In addition to the different styles of mountain bikes listed above, the frames of those bikes can vary widely based on the needs and desires of the rider. For the most part, however, there are three basic frame styles. The first is often referred to as full suspension, and as the name implies features suspension brackets on both the front and rear tires. Full suspension mountain bikes are often seen on downhill and all-mountain styles and are designed to increase to overall comfort of the rider and help with stability and control. Hardtail, or sometimes called front suspension only mountain bikes don’t have suspension mechanisms on the rear tire and a suspension fork on the front tire, and potentially additional suspension devices as well. A hardtail design is often seen on cross-country or trail mountain bikes and is better suited for acceleration and control while maneuvering on the incline. Rigid frame mountain bikes are those that offer no suspension at all. It’s just you, the frame, gears and the tires.
What type of mountain biking do you enjoy?
For every mountain biker, there is a different way of riding. However, depending on what type of riding you enjoy, the type of mountain bike that you will purchase for under $1000 can change quite a bit. For example, if you enjoy trail riding and dealing with a wide range of different terrains, a cross-country style mountain bike is probably more your speed. If however, you feel the need to race downhill at insane speeds, a weightier downhill mountain bike may be what you need.
Q: Which size wheel or tire should I use?
There are a few criteria that you need to consider when choosing the size of the wheel rim and tire width when it comes to mountain biking. The first, of course, is the style of mountain biking you prefer. Each style has different needs when it comes to things such as maneuverability, control, suspension, and stability. Then there is your own personal preference – what feels best to you overall?
As a general rule, wheel rims with a larger diameter offer more stability and more cushioning from an impact. They simply roll over the obstacle in most cases. Add to that a thicker tire, and you come very close to having a wonderfully smooth and comfortable ride. However, you do give up a measure of maneuverability and control with larger tires.
Smaller diameter tires, however, often don’t provide a lot of support or cushioning, but excel in areas of finite control and maneuverability. Essentially, the feel of the ground beneath your bike is transferred more easily into your body, which allows you to make small changes in the way you ride.
Q: What’s the best frame material?
Most mountain bikes use an aluminum frame, as it’s light enough to not hinder maneuverability and handling while being durable enough to handle shock and rough terrain. Some high-end bikes will opt for a carbon fiber frame instead since carbon fiber is typically lighter and more durable than aluminum. That isn’t to say that you can’t find a carbon bike on a budget; the Beiou Toray T700 has a sleek carbon frame for an accessible price.
Q: How do I know what size is best for me?
Most mountain bikes come in multiple sizes, which is important for a number of reasons. If the bike is too small, you’ll feel very uncomfortable riding it, and if it is too large you may even have trouble keeping your feet stable on the pedals. Either way, the wrong size bike will significantly hinder maneuverability. The most common way to determine the best size for you is by your height. Most product listings online will have a size guide to help you determine what will work best for you. Of course the only way to know for sure is by actually sitting on the bike, so it’s a good idea to go to a local bike shop for guidance as well.
Q: Is there a better bike style for a beginner?
The answer to this question depends greatly on what the beginner wants to do. In many cases, a cross-country or trail mountain bike will offer the best versatility to try new riding style and terrains. In most cases, these styles are the ones that beginners enjoy more often. However, if you as a beginner want to try your hand at downhill or all-mountain styles of riding, there is nothing that says you can’t, and there are mountain bikes in those categories for beginners as well. The trick is to do your research and determine which mountain bike for under $1000 meets your needs the best.
When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, there really is nothing like exploring the various terrains you may encounter with your mountain bike. The fresh air, the sights, and sounds, and the friendships that can develop when racing along the trails are priceless indeed. Thankfully, your mountain bike doesn’t have to be an expensive piece of equipment. We consider all these options the best mountain bikes under $1000 in the market today.