Mountain biking is one of the best sports out there. Not only does this bring you to different places healthily. But this also ensures that you don’t exhaust yourself up. As compared to more aggressive sports like basketball, boxing, or football, which highly depends on athleticism.
Riding your bike across the mountains relaxes your senses, while also making sure you stay fit and active.
Feel compelled to dive into this wonderful sport? If so you surely need a bike. But what is the best mountain bike under 600? And is that enough to have a good bike?
That’s what this article is about. Here, we’ll be showing you what is the best mountain bike under 600. We’ll also discuss the benefits of mountain biking. And the things to consider when buying a mountain bike.
Top Benefits of Buying a Mountain Bike
Improve cardio health
One of the best things about mountain biking is that it improves your cardio health. Every pedaling stroke you make keeps your blood circulating smoothly and properly. This also exercises the beating of your heart because of the rhythmic breathing you experience.
Combine all these and you’ve got a good working heart and overall cardiovascular health. Mountain biking also doesn’t stress up your heart compared to other high-contact sports. This makes it a safe exercise for those who have heart conditions.
Strengthen joints and muscles
Another nice thing about mountain biking is that it strengthens your joints and muscles. Every pedal stroke you make builds up muscles on your abdomen and hamstrings, to name a few.
Your biceps and chest muscles also expand because of the pumping motion you make. Not to mention that your body coordinates with one another to maintain balance. Mountain biking makes your body work together and become in sync with each other.
Just like other outdoor activities, mountain biking starts your body’s release of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. These are happy hormones that make you feel happy and stress-free.
Nothing beats the feeling you get when you breathe Mother Nature’s fresh air. Or maybe set your sights on the lush vegetation of the rural mountains.
It might sound poetic, but that’s the reality of mountain biking. It’s indulging in the beauty of the great outdoors. Well, that’s just another way of saying that it can help you get rid of stress.
Us, humans, are social beings. And we need to make friends and connect with our people for us to feel alive. It isn’t also just about our human nature. But it’s also important for us to build a network, so we can grab better opportunities for our career, education, or personal life.
The mountain biking community has many professionals from different fields. And spending time with these guys on the mountains surely creates a productive bond.
Things to Consider When Buying a Mountain Bike
Type of Mountain Bike
The first thing to consider is the type of bike you’re getting. There are 4 main types of mountain bikes:
Cross-country or XC bikes are mountain bikes for uphills and covering long distances. This makes them lightweight and features thin tubes and progressive geometries.
Trail bikes are made for more aggressive riding on off-road terrains. They can go uphill and downhill fairly easily.
Meanwhile, enduro bikes are aggressive bikes that can shred downhill trails fast. But they can also go uphill fairly well. This is also the reason they are called all-mountain bikes.
On the other end of the spectrum are the downhill bikes. They are the heaviest kind of bike because they are built to take a lot of beating. They can deal with huge jumps and drops. They can also go through very rocky downhill trails quickly.
There are 4 main material types that mountain bike frames are made of:
- Aluminum alloy
Steel is the cheapest material. They’re not anymore that popular today because they are very heavy and can easily rust. Aluminum alloy frames are the most popular type today because they are affordable and durable at the same time. They’re also lighter than steel frames.
Carbon bikes are premium. The average price of a carbon frame is around $3,000. And that’s for the frame alone! They are very light and are more durable than aluminum frames.
Professional racers are the usual ones who use carbon bikes. But a growing number of mountain bike enthusiasts are also using these.
Then comes the titanium ones. They’re not very popular because it’s very expensive to make one. They are also heavier than carbon bikes. But there’s a good chance this will make it to the mainstream eventually if the prices drop.
We don’t go mountain biking just to ride bikes. We also want to look cool and nice, right? Well, that’s where the design factor comes in. Choose one that has the color, shape, and overall look that you want.
Some bikes have striking colors like neon, orange, or electric blue. While others have more low-profile and minimalistic aesthetics. Examples of these are stealth colorways and matte black, gray, or flesh.
Some might say that you need not be particular about the brand because it’s just marketing. There might be some truth to that. But that’s not right all the time especially when talking about bikes.
Established bike brands like Nukeproof, Santa Cruz, Trek, Diamondback, and GT, create quality bikes. Don’t go for lesser-known brands because they have little experience in ensuring quality.
It’s best if you go for popular brands. They aren’t just popular because they have the money for marketing. But also because of their reputation for creating durable and good-looking bikes.
Weight isn’t much of an issue with mountain bikes compared to road bikes. Roadies are very particular with weight because it has an enormous factor in their riding.
Although weight still plays a role in how you ride your mountain bike. The effects aren’t that huge. But it’s still wise to consider the weight.
XC bikes have a weight of around 10 to 12 kgs., while trail and enduro bikes are around 13 kgs. to 15 kgs. Downhill bikes are the heaviest weight at around 15 kg. to 17 kgs.
5 Best Mountain Bikes Under $600
The Diamondback Overdrive is one of the best mountain bikes under $600. This has a lot to do with the brand because Diamondback is an established bike manufacturer in the US. It is an all-around bike that can go on uphill trails fairly well. Although this isn’t designed for downhill trails. It can still deal with mellow ones as long as the surface isn’t too wet. The geometry is also decent thanks to its progressive shape.
Features and Components
This bike runs on a Shimano 3×8 Tourney drivetrain paired with SR Suntour XCT coil forks. These are a bit heavy, but the short 80 mm travel lets it climb uphills. It has 27.5-inch tires from Kenda that come with 160 mm front and rear brake rotors.
- Established brand
- Unavailable lockout function
- Outdated geometry
Trek Marlin 5
Trek is a huge bike brand known all over the globe. They create different bikes, including budget-friendly and premium race models. In this case, Marlin 5 is inclined towards the affordable side. It has a very aggressive geometry that makes this capable of shredding light downhill trails. But they can also climb well because of the lightweight alloy frame. There’s also no doubt that this looks sleek and attractive.
Features and Components
The Trek Marlin 5 runs on a Shimano 3×8 hybrid drivetrain, which includes Altus and Tourney models. The brakes are also Shimano non-series ones. This is coupled with Bontrager wheels and cockpit which is Trek’s sister company.
- Aggressive geometry
- Aesthetic design
- Established brand
- Flimsy shifting
GT Aggressor Comp Bike
GT is another well-known brand that manufactures quality mountain bikes. This is made well with the GT Aggressor comp. This is one of the sleekest-looking bikes in this list because of its versatile geometry and striking design. The tubes’ angles are also designed to take a minimal drag and improve maneuverability on tight trails.
Features and Components
This comes with a Suntour XCT coil fork with 100 mm of travel. This is enough for climbing and going through slightly rocky trails. It runs on a Shimano 3×8 Tourney drivetrain with Tektro mechanical disc brakes. The rims and tires are also from WTB, a renowned tire brand.
- Versatile geometry
- Tires lack grip and traction
- unreliable crankset
Ghost is a German bike brand that has been manufacturing various bike types. And the Ghost Kato is one of the best affordable options on the list.
This has an updated geometry, sleek design, and an appealing emblem that adds style. The frame is also made from aluminum alloy. This makes it light, durable, and affordable. It’s for you if you’re looking to ride through varying terrains.
Features and Components
This mountain bikes come with an SR Suntour fork suspension. It runs on a Shimano Acera 3×8 drivetrain coupled with its own non-series brakes. The wheels are Rodi Excalibur rims, while the tires are Mitas Ocelot. The wheel set doesn’t sound that nice because they are new brands. So, we’d recommend you upgrade them later.
- Aggressive geometry and thick tubes
- Huge roll-over capabilities
- thin tires
- unreliable wheelset
Cube Access WS (Women’s Hardtail Bike)
The Cube Access WS is for you if you are a lady biker. This mountain bike is specially made for women because of its short wheelbase, lightweight frame, and maneuverable geometry. The design also looks neat and sleek. This makes it a splendid choice for those who want a low-profile and minimalist design. The fork color even pairs up with the frame. You’ll also find the internal routing convenient because you don’t have to deal with loose cables.
Features and Components
This has an SR Suntour XCE fork up front and runs on Shimano’s 8×3 RD drivetrain. The Tektro brake set is also enough to stop you from your tracks on descents. The rims are stock Cube wheels partnered with Schwalbe Smart Sam tires. The cockpit and saddle are also stock Cubes.
- Versatile use
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- Unstable on rocky terrain
- Imprecise shifting
Mountain biking is an expensive sport. But you don’t really need to spend a truckload’s worth of cash to enjoy the sport. There are some budget models out there that can give you the same level of experience as the premium full-suspension ones. You just have to compromise things a bit.
That’s not a deal-breaker, though, because the bikes we’ve mentioned are durable, safe, and downright cool!
So, what is the best mountain bike under 600?
Well, just choose any of the ones above! It all depends on your preference. Consider important factors such as type, material, and design. Couple that with the benefits you’ve learned, and you’ll get the best one for you.
Just remember to enjoy your ride and go beyond your comfort zone a bit. When you do, then you’ll enjoy mountain biking even more.
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A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends.
After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings.
Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.