Best Bike Bargains Under £500
If you’re looking to buy a new bike for under £500 there are plenty of bargains to be had. It’s also the time of year when brands such as Specialized and GT start to reduce this year’s models as they release details of their new ranges for 2017. Specialized for instance are offering 25% off selected models, some of which feature here.
What you should expect from a £500 bike
If you’re looking for the best bike you can buy for £500 there are a couple of things you should consider spec wise. Firstly for that kind of money you should expect it to have a good quality, durable aluminium or frame. The Specialized Rockhopper Sport for example has an A1 Premium Aluminium frame. This means is going to be fairly light and able to handle a few knocks and bumps.
At the £500 mark, you should also be expecting disc brakes as opposed to conventional V-Brakes. V-brakes still feature on cheaper bikes around the £250 mark so aren’t completely extinct. Disc Brakes however perform so much better, especially in poor weather conditions when it’s rainy and muddy. They also stop you faster and give you more control over your braking so it’s no surprise manufacturers are using these more and more.
Most mountain bikes these days come with suspension forks at the front of the bike to provide a bit of cushioning on bumpier sections of road or trail. It’s important to remember that not all suspension forks are equal. They range from basic to high performance. At the £500 mark, you would expect a functional suspension fork with around 75 – 100mm of travel and if you’re lucky a lock-out mode. Travel refers to how much the forks move up and down to absorb the shock of the bumps in the road. A lock-out feature gives the rider the ability to turn the suspension off. Turning off the suspension is particularly useful on steep climbs and flat sections of a smooth road.
The Specialized Crosstrail Disc has been a popular hybrid bike choice for years. Currently on sale at £337, this bike usually retails for £449 which means you’re getting a super versatile bike for a bargain price. This bike is suitable for leisure riders, commuters and those looking to try cycling for the first time. Made by Specialized you can be assured of it’s quality and the large 700c diameter roll easily over tarmac and forest gravel tracks.
The Crosstrail Sport is the next step up in the Crosstrail range. For an extra £75 what you get is hydraulic disc brakes rather than the mechanical cable operated brakes. You also get 27 gears and a higher grade of components. Both Crosstrails are brilliant bikes for the money but If you want slighter better brakes and more gears then go for the Sport.
The Hardrock Disc is an entry level mountain bike perfect for those just starting out. 650b tyres are slightly bigger in diameter when compared to the traditional 26” tyre that you might have been used to seeing on a mountain bike. The wide tyres on 650b rims provide plenty of traction and grip for riders looking to explore more than just gravel tracks. Specification wise the Hardrock is equipped with mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano Tourney drivetrain that offers a range of 21 gears. At £299 this bike is an absolute steal and looks cool in the orange too.
OK so we have to admit this mountain bike isn’t under £500…but it’s only £524 and at the price we think it’s a deal not to be missed. The Rockhopper Comp is loads of fun to ride and have a decent level of spec. It’s been put on a diet and has a lighter frame than the Hardrock and also have larger 29” wheels which roll effortless over bumpy trails. The custom SR Suntour forks offer the rider 100mm of confidence inspiring travel and bike comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. Something you might not have seen before is the 2 x 9 drivetrain setup. That means you get 2 chainrings at the front and 9 at the back giving the rider 18 years. You might think more gears is better but this isn’t always the case. Having a smaller chainring at the front can give you more clearance for hopping over obstacles. The gears at the back are tweaked slightly to give you a wider range of gears so don’t worry you’ll have enough gears to climb those steep hills!
Whilst we ponder why Specialized needed to name this mountain bike ‘warm charcoal’ this is another great value mountain bike you should be looking at this Summer. It’s a functional, good quality and durable mountain bike. Not quite as highly spec’d as the Rockhopper Comp but you still get the larger 29” wheels and hydraulic disc brakes.
I really like the look of this women’s bike. It’s classy and not too in-your-face. The Specialized Ariel Disc is £524 so slightly over the budget..but it’s worth it. The bike looks and rides really well. It’s classed as a hybrid bike so is designed for gravel tracks, country lanes and riding about town. It comes with front suspension to soak up small bumps in the road and larger 700c diameter wheels which are easy to get moving. The bike also gives you a good range of 30 gears that will easily cope with most up’s and down’s. The saddle is also designed specifically for women to maximise comfort.
Last but not least is the Specialized Sirrus. This is a gents Hybrid bike and at £299 it’s very much an entry level hybrid. It doesn’t have any fancy bells and whistles but if you’re looking for sturdy and reliable bike for town riding, gentle gravel tracks and rolling hills this is the bike for you. It also makes a really good bike for commuting too as the position is very relaxed and somewhat ‘sat up’. This is a rigid bike so doesn’t have any suspension, but the wide 700 x 32mm Specialized Nimbus tyres with puncture protection do provide a bit of bounce and comfort.