Coming to a hardtail, I have been receiving a lot of emails from our readers who want to know which the best hardtail mountain bike under $500 is. Not an easy decision to make at all, mind you. But after a lot of deliberation and pondering, I have my answer for you.
It is the Diamondback Overdrive Hard Tail Mountain Bike, which comes as close as it gets to a $2000 authentic professional mountain bike. Everything from the lightweight aluminum alloy frame to the Shimano 8-speed rear derailleur, scream quality and when it comes to the ride, it delivers a thoroughly impressive performance.
A closer look at the best hardtail mountain bike under 500
The Overdrive 27.5 is a beefy looking bike. Hardtails are meant to have a little extra teeth. But this has a very solid appearance that will grab eyeballs. The graphics are minimal, which to me is an indication that they spent more time working on the performance and the components.
While it retains the classic hardtail design with the hand built 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame, it offers the most perfect ergonomic seating position. With a slightly lowered riding position, you are stretched out allowing you to make those nimble turns without breaking a sweat. At just under 30 pounds, the Diamondback Overdrive is a tad heavy though.
The 27.5″ wheels are just the perfect size. A lot of people would bat for the 29 inch wheel. But for the size and the frame, the 27.5 inch wheels give it a little extra responsiveness which I consider more important than the bottom bracket drop anyway.
The Diamondback Overdrive 27.5 features the SR Sun tour XCT 100 mm suspension fork which is decent enough. I would ideally have liked a rigid fork that keeps things simpler. But that’s just the hardcore mountain biker in me speaking. For a beginner as well as an occasional mountain biker, this is just perfect.
Last but not the least, we have the 3×8 speed Shimano drivetrain powered by the SRAM X4 shifters give you precise and fast gearing.
While analyzing the performance, I tried to look at the Diamondback Overdrive like a beginner rather than as an expert rider. And I was most impressed by the extremely comfortable ride that it gives. The cockpit is designed to perfection. The short stem and the low-rise bars clubbed with the perfectly engineered frame will keep you primed for those long rides without any kind of stress.
The trail was pretty difficult. There were quite a few obstacle paths with steep climbs and sharp curves. The Overdrive 27.5 tackled most of it without any problems. The pedaling power was efficient and the articulation was precise. On the technical downhill, it helps you to maintain and adhere to a better line.
Take it to a well paved road and it holds perfect speed and stops at a dime. Hard to find a flaw with it even if you really put your mind to it.
What I liked the most
When someone mentions the best hard trail bike under 500, it makes it sound like there’s a tradeoff. But not with the Diamondback Overdrive 27.5. This is an ingeniously designed mountain bike with a gaggle of impressive features.
- Classic hard tail frame
- Hand built 6061-T6 aluminum alloy
- Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes
- 27.5″ wheels which give traction and responsiveness
- 100 mm suspension SR Sun tour XCT fork
- Shimano 8-speed rear derailleur
- Comfortable cockpit even for long rides
What could have been better
As compared to some of the other components on this bike, which are top quality, the SR Sun tour suspension fork is a minor let down.
Verdict: You’d be hard pressed to find a better hard tail under 500. Hell, I can fairly say that you won’t find a better one under 700 even. The Diamondback overdrive 27.5 is perfect for beginners as well as experienced riders who are shopping on a limited budget. Swap out the fork for something more professional and the wheels after a year or two and you will have a very versatile machine that lasts forever. This is hands down, the best hardtail mountain bike under 500.