It can be tough shopping around for a decent mountain bike for less than $500. The manufacturers are great at touting premium parts and features and why everyone needs them, but less great at showing where the real value for money options are.
You are looking to buy a mountain bike at the same price the hard core mountain bikes are paying for just their front fork.
Walk into your local bike shop, and you are likely to feel intimidated very quickly. The kid working at the bike shop, who might well be a semi-pro downhill racer, will probably try to sell you a mountain bike for $2500 while all you need is a bike to get you from point A to point B.
Perhaps the occasional off-road riding, but nothing that justifies the astonishing price tags on some of the expensive Trek or Kona models.
With this post, I hope to shed some light on the very reliable options on the market that are available for less than 500 dollars.