Updated on March 14, 2023
Post covid increase in bike prices has made it a little hard to find a quality bike under $500. From quality to design, speed, and riding performance in different terrain types you need to consider multiple features while buying a new bike. Getting everything perfect under a tight budget can be tricky.
But the good news is that many reliable brands like Schawinn and Swagtron have many reliable commuter and road bikes in this price range. To help you make a safe and well-informed decision here is a review of the 7 best bikes under $500. After testing various options independently, I’ve filtered out these options that combine comfort, reliability, and stability.
Related Article: How Much Does Bmx Bikes Cost
7 Best Bikes Under $500
1. Schwinn GTX Comfort Adult Hybrid Bike
I’m not new to cycling but it was quite a long time when I was on two wheels. A few months back before going to Mackinac Island, I purchased this bike. I, am 5’6” tall and this was a perfect fit for me. The bike was a perfect option for various riding styles as it combines the comfort of a cruiser bike with the potential of a mountain bike and the speed of a road bike. Even after not being on the bike for many years I loved the stability and comfort that this bike offers right out of the box.
The assembly can be a little confusing especially when you are doing things after a while. An instructional manual came with it but unfortunately, it wasn’t clear enough for a trouble-free assembly. I put everything together with the help of a friend. With a slight seat adjustment, I was able to make it a perfect fit for my legs. The lightweight yet rugged aluminum frame makes it a perfect commuter bike for anyone. The bike is equally suitable for beginners and pro riders. The gear shifting and braking system are more than impressive.
Related Article: Lightest Electric Scooters Review
It features 21-speed shifters with a rear derailleur for smooth and trouble-free gear shifting in all terrain types. Speed is good but it’s not as fast as a pro or badass riders may expect. It uses Alloy V-brakes which are highly responsive and never let you down even the short distance stopping.
It uses super grippy multi-sue tires that offer smooth rolling performance on all terrain without limiting safety and comfort. It was overall a good deal for me under $500 but the thing that bothered me was the uncomfortable seat. It’s a common issue for bikes in this price range, but it was more than what I expected. So if you invest in the bike, make up your mind to invest in a new seat.
- Perfect for multiple terrain types
- Lightweight and sturdy aluminum frame
- Ultra smooth gear shifting
- A great option for beginners
- Cumbersome seats and saddle
It’s been nine months since I bought this bike. After Using it for recreational riding for around a week I’ve been using it as a commuter and my experience with this bike is phenomenal. With class-leading hybrid performance and rugged build quality, it stands among the best bikes under $500.
2. Hiland Aluminum Road Bike
If the Schwinn GTX bike doesn’t fit your height consider a Hiland Aluminum road bike. This bike is available in three size categories small, medium, and large. It covers a wide range of riders from 5’3” to 6’4”. Choosing a specific size as per your height reduces the adjustment requirements. However, you need to read the size guide carefully to get your perfect match.
It is not as versatile as the Schwinn GTX hybrid bike but is designed with reliability and comfort in mind. It combines an ultralight aluminum frame with double wall aluminum rims, making it one of the most rugged road bikes. The double-walled aluminum rims offer superior tensile force and help you adapt to various conditions while riding on different terrains.
21-speed drivetrain further enhances the versatility and improves your riding experience as you go from paved paths to biking trails and beaches. Another thing that I loved about this bike is it’s precision and control. From crankshaft to rear caliper brakes everything comes perfectly tuned giving you a smooth and trouble-free experience right out of the box.
Its stopping power is impressive and beginners love the safety and stability it offers. The bike comes partially assembled and needs some assembly. Here I have to say that the brand doesn’t ensure safe packaging and shipping. It was delivered with some broken and missing parts that add extra cost to the package.Also, the tools that come with the bike are cheaply built.
- Comes in a wide range of sizes
- Smooth gear shifting and brakes
- Solid build quality
- Delivered with missing and broken parts
Hiland aluminum bike is a simple yet reliable road bike that combines comfort, style, and speed. From smooth gear shifting to responsive brakes and decent build quality, it has everything that you look for in the best bikes under $500.
3. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
Finding a commuter bike under $500 can be a little challenging since there are plenty of options available. However not all these options are worth the money and most of them are nothing more than a quality scams. Vilano R2 commuter aluminum bike is one of the very few bikes under $500 that combine the quality and comfort for everyday commute and quick short-distance rides.
The best part of this bike is that it has got some speed. It features a sleek road bike design that ensures comfort and stability without limiting the speed. Its double-walled aluminum frame is lightweight and sturdy and the bike doesn’t look like a cheap bicycle anyway.
A 21-speed drivetrain helps you adapt to various riding conditions. Moreover it uses Alloy Caliper brakes. Alloy Caliper brakes are the best in their class and are known for their responsiveness and immense stopping power on multiple terrains. What sets it apart from all other options on the list is the CNC machined wheelset with premium-grade alloy rims. These features maintain a smooth riding experience in the long run.
Shimano A050 thumb shifters coupled with a 21-speed drivetrain let you stay ahead of any situation on the road. Quality control is the biggest issue that I observed. You need to spare a few hundred bucks to upgrade the cheap plastic paddle saddle. The crankshaft is okay but requires tuning for a trouble-free performance.
- Class-leading frame quality
- Shimano Crankshaft
- Premium grade alloy rims
- Cheaply built paddle and saddles
Vilano R2 commuter bike is one of the best commuter bikes that you can buy if you have a tight budget. It may not be very attractive to pro riders but with a little upgrade in design, this bike can be your best commuting partner.
4. Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike
Schwinn loop adult folding bike with ultra-powerful street tires and 20-inch alloy wheels is one of the best bikes under $500. A bike is a perfect option for everyday commutes or recreational rides on the paved and smooth pathways. The best part of this bike is its smooth seat height adjustment. The bike fits riders between 4’6” to 6’1”.
It features a step-through aluminum frame. The foldable design of the frame offers ease of transport and storage. This feature makes it a perfect option for recreational rides. You can transport it easily to various bike riding trails for more fun. It features a 20-inch alloy wheel and a 7-speed rear drivetrain.
These gears offer plenty of space in between and help you get maximum riding efficiency with a little effort. Gearing is smooth and I loved the quick stopping power offered by linear-pull brakes. The bike is slightly heavier than other folding bikes in this class but its weight-holding capacity is very impressive. It easily carries up to 280 lbs making it equally suitable for slim and obese people.
It is a full-size commuter bike which is a very rare case in the folding bike category. The biggest downside of this bike is that it comes with nonfunctional latches. Both frame and handlebar latch don’t work right out of the box. Also, expert assembly is required to get everything intact and perfectly tuned.
- Folding step-through frame
- Fits a wide range of riders
- Impressive commuting performance
- Built to last
- Easy to store and transport
- Slightly heavier
- Latch fitting issues
Schwinn Loop adult Foldable bike with handy design, 7-speed drivetrains, and storage area is equally suitable for everyday commute and recreational rides. It combines rugged construction with solid performance making it one of the best bikes under $500.
Related Article: How to Wash and Maintain Your Bike Rack
5. Sixthreezero Around The Block Women’s Beach Cruiser Bike
The next option on the list of best bikes under $500 is the Sixthreezero Women’s cruiser bike. The bike is made with the needs of long leisure rides in mind and promises comfort and stability. The bike is designed for women and fits riders between 5 to 6 feet. It comes with a classic upright riding style that is probably the healthiest way to enjoy long recreational rides.
This riding style allows you to keep your back and shoulders in the healthiest biomechanical posture and enhances your comfort. It comes with a sturdy steel frame that adds a little more weight but offers unmatched stability and durability. This cruiser bike comes equipped with waffle-tread tires offering excellent grip on paved roads , streets, and bike trails.
With pedal-back responsive brakes the bike ensures safe stopping. The wide tire base coupled with a responsive braking system makes it the safest option. Since it is made for leisure riding it features a single-speed function. For leisure riding, it’s a great option to have but for everyday commute, you may need more gear. The good news is that it is also available in 2 and 7-gear options.
- Smooth leisure riding
- Available in various gear options
- Supports upright riding style
- Hefty steel frame
Sixthreezero Around the Block bike is an affordable yet well-built bike that is equally suitable for leisure rides around the beach and everyday commutes around the town. The bike combines a classic retro bike design with a modern touch of your upright handlebars letting you hit the street with style.
6. Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike
Vilano Shadow 3.0 road bike with classic aero profile has qualified for the list of best bikes under $500 for many good reasons. What sets it apart from all other options on the list is the Shimano A070 groupset that has been installed on the bike. It is a 14-speed drivetrain that takes its riding potential and versatility to a whole new level.
The wide range of gears lets you adapt to various terrain and riding conditions without limiting stability and comfort. Another thing that I loved about this bike is the Aero design. The aero design is not functional enough to combat wind currents but significantly reduces the road vibrations and offers a fatigue-free riding experience. The bike features integrated shifters and a braking system. Getting all these features on a single platform makes the riding smoother and easier than ever.
The biggest con of a Vilano road bike is that it comes with cheap wheels. Within the first month of paved road riding the rear tire started to wobble. The package also comes with paddles but unfortunately, these paddles aren’t very dependable. You need to pair it up with reliable high-quality paddles to get a trouble-free experience.
- Class-leading 14-speed drivetrain
- Aero profile reduces the vibration
- The integrated shifter for effortless gear shifting
- Mediocre wheels build quality
Vilano Shadow 3.0 road bike with an ultra-smooth gear shifting and lightweight aluminum frame is a sweet spot between the price and performance. It is one of the most powerful commuters under $500 and can handle light trails as well.
7. Mongoose Status Mountain Bike
The final option in the list of best bikes under $500 is the Mongoose status mountain bike. It is the only mountain bike added to the list. This fat tire bike is not as powerful as expensive mountain bikes but can handle tough trail riding and light-duty off-roading. The bike fits riders between 5’3” to 6’1” and its weight holding capacity is 300 lbs.
This mountain bike by Mnagoose features Unisex design and is equally suitable for men and women. The bike is crafted with premium grade material to help it combat tough riding conditions. Its solid aluminum frame combined with high-strength alloy rims helps it stand among the most powerful bikes.
With a 21-speed shifter and smooth V-brakes this bike lets you hit the challenging terrains with maximum confidence. The gear shifting is smooth making your trail riding experience safe and fun. The brakes are also very responsive and ensure the short distance stamping with maximum efficiency.
The seat is adjustable in terms of height allowing you to get the perfect fit for your legs. It is one of the very few affordable bikes that come with quality saddles. The bike is good for light-duty off-roading and everyday commute. However, I don’t like the tires since rolling resistance is a little higher on smooth paved roads. The speed offered by this bi is not as impressive as that offered by some road bikes in this price range.
- Perfect for trail riding
- 21-speed shifters
- Rugged construction
- Limited speed on paved roads
If you are looking for an affordable mountain bike for your regular trail riding adventures this is the best option you can have. Mongoose status mountain bike comes with fat super grippy tires that are made with the needs of off-roading in mind. You can swap these tires with thin road tires to make it a perfect commuter bike.
What is the best hybrid bike for under $500?
Schwinn GTX Comfort Adult Hybrid Bike is the best hybrid bike for under $500. With a lightweight aluminum frame, ultra-smooth gear shifting, and sturdy rims, this bike combines the power of a mountain bike with the comfort of a cruiser and the speed of a commuter.
What is the best mountain bike for under $500?
Mongoose Status fat tire bike is the best mountain bike that you can buy for under $500. The bike features high-strength alloy rims, a solid aluminum frame, and 21-speed shifters making it equally suitable for trail riding and everyday commutes.
Choosing a bike under $500 can be tricky since low-budget options either compromise quality or performance. To help you make a safe decision I’ve put loads of effort into reviewing the seven best products. All the options reviewed above is tested for quality and performance but my top three picks from the list are:
- Schwinn GTX Comfort Adult Hybrid Bike for its hybrid performance, ultra-smooth gear shifting, and rugged build quality.
- Hiland Aluminum Road Bike for its availability in a wide range of sizes, dependable gear shifting and braking mechanism, and rugged construction.
- Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike for its portable design, full-size profile, and reliable construction.
While buying a bike for under $500 you must admit the fact that you are not going to get everything perfect. Be ready to pay an upgrade cost. Upgradation costs depend upon which part of the bike you want to upgrade. Try to get a size that you can make without too many adjustments.
Austin Jacobs is a passionate cycling enthusiast who has over five years of experience in bike repair and maintenance. He is an avid mountain biker and loves tinkering with bikes for hours on end to make sure they are running at their optimum performance level. Leland’s blog, which focuses on bike repairs and tips to keep them in good running order, was created out of a desire to share his knowledge and help fellow cyclists stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. He covers topics such as preventive maintenance, troubleshooting common issues, basic tools and supplies needed for repairs, and more.