Mountain biking is for everyone.
Although some might say you need to buy premium parts to make the most out of the sport. This doesn’t always have to be the case. There are a lot of ways to enjoy mountain biking without breaking your bank.
Just make sure that you don’t go on the extreme side of the sport to ensure safety. You can get a cheap mountain bike for light exercise. Or maybe you need transportation to go from point A to point B.
Whichever the case is, there’s no denying that mountain bikes are what you need.
In this article, we’ll be showing you the best mountain bike under 300. We’ll also show you the factors to consider before getting one, and if a budget bike is an excellent match for you.
Top 4 Best Mountain Bike Under 300
Schwinn Men’s High Timber Wheel
Schwinn is regarded as one of the most reputable bike manufacturers in the industry. And one good example of that is the High Timber Wheel. They design this for leisure biking because of its thin tubes and versatile geometry. You can take it wherever you want as long as the terrain isn’t too gnarly.
This bike features a Shimano 3×8 drivetrain with twist shifters. This makes it very beginner-friendly and convenient. It comes with V-brakes, which makes it very affordable, simple, and requires little maintenance. Its stock coil fork comes with 80 mm of travel while its tires have low profile knobs.
- Alloy frame
- Sleek aesthetics
- Weak brakes
- Small wheels
- Unstable on trails
Mongoose Stasis Comp
Mongoose nailed it this time with their budget full-sus mountain bike called the Stasis Comp. This is a full suspension bike that is meant for mellow trails and light downhills.
It has a four-bar linkage efficient in going down steep sections. It might be hard to pedal uphill. But you can avoid this by just adding a little more PSI on the tires.
It comes in a matte red finish that adds class and elegance to its looks. This bike is also easy to maneuver thanks to its nimble 26-inch wheels. This one’s for you if you’d like to know what riding a full-sus bike feels like.
This bike has a hybrid drivetrain composed of a Shimano rear derailleur and SRAM twist shifters. The front wheel has a quick-release setup. It’s also got aluminum wheels and 140 mm disc brakes for hard braking on steep trails.
- Full-suspension setup
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Aggressive geometry
- Small wheels
- Unrideable on rough trails
- Thin tires
Mongoose is here again with another budget mountain bike, which they call the Impasse. This is a splendid choice if you are looking for your first full-suspension bike. This has an aggressive geometry with slack tube angles.
This makes it ideal for light downhill trails. It’s also similar to the X-wing design of the more premium Specialized Enduro. But what sets the deal for this one is the 29-inch wheels. This lets it easily roll over huge rocks while also making it stable on high-speed trails.
It has a stock 80mm coil fork and coil shocks. They pair these with hydraulic disc brakes with 140 mm rotors. This is enough for light downhill trails. It’s also got a Shimano 3×8 drivetrain connected to an SRAM curve shifter.
- Easy rollover on boulders
- Stable on high speeds
- Aggressive geometry
- Decent braking power
- Messy cable routing
- Flimsy shifting
The Nashbar AT1 is the cheapest mountain bike on this list. But don’t take it lightly because this one’s packed with some serious durability. They make its frame from pure steel, which makes it heavy.
But this also means it can take some serious beating. This also comes in 3 different sizes, which are 17, 19, and 21.
It’s a smart choice if you’re into riding paved roads because of its fast-rolling hardtail mechanism. Just be careful when using it on the trails because it’ll surely be a bumpy ride.
They make the frame from pure steel, have v-brakes, and an all-stock 80 mm coil fork. Its drivetrain is a Shimano 3×7 speed and the wheels are all rim brakes.
- Sleek minimalist design
- Durable constructions
- Thin tubes
- Uncomfortable to ride on trails
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Mountain Bike Under 300
Will you compromise quality and looks for the price?
You get what you pay for. That’s the reality you need to remember if you’re opting for budget bikes. Note that getting an affordable bike means you compromise the quality and looks. Is that alright for you?
Do you think your bike can handle the stress it will take when you ride it in the mountains? Or maybe you think that it will put your life at risk because you’re an aggressive rider? Asking yourself these questions prepares you for what to expect from a $300 mountain bike.
Just don’t expect to get a good-looking and ultra-durable bike! This isn’t a problem, though, if you’re just going to use it to buy groceries from the nearby store. Or if you just want to get some sweat off!
Hardtail or full-sus?
There are 2 main types of mountain bikes. These are the hardtail and full-sus or full-suspension bikes. Hardtail bikes only have a front suspension called the fork. And they don’t have a rear suspension which is called the shock.
This is why they are called hardtails because the bike’s rear end or tail doesn’t bounce. It is instead hard.
Compare that with full-suspension bikes that have suspension on the fork and rear. Hardtail bikes are cheaper than full-sus ones because they don’t have any linkages and extra shock on the back.
They’re also faster on paved roads because their back portion doesn’t bounce. This gives you lots of momentum to speed up.
However, hardtail bikes aren’t as comfortable as full-sus bikes because they don’t have suspension at the back. But this doesn’t really matter that much if you’re getting a $300 bike.
The funny thing is that the rear shock of $300 full-sus bikes doesn’t really move that much!
26er, 27.5er, or 29er mountain bike?
These are the wheel sizes. 26ers are already obsolete and phased out for standard bikes. Except if you’re going for the cheapest bikes that are worth $300. 26ers are bikes that have 26-inch wheels.
They produced the last ones way back in 2015 or 2016. But there are still some budget bike brands that continue to produce them because of the low-cost production. There are also slopestyle and dirt jump bikes that have 26-inch wheels. But that’s a different story.
27.5-inch wheels are the most common type today. This is because they have a balance between maneuverability and rollover. We usually find 29ers in higher-end mountain bikes.
They’re also the preferred choice of professional racers. They are faster and more capable and stable. It’s just recently that budget bike brands started making them. Maybe because of the high demand.
29ers are more difficult to maneuver and have slower acceleration. But they’re quick once you gain momentum. And you can literally roll on any boulder. That’s if you’ve got a good medium to long-travel shocks.
Mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes?
Mechanical brakes or V-brakes are already considered obsolete in the mountain bike world. Except if you’re talking about cheap $300 bikes! They’re not very reliable because they provide little braking power.
V-brakes function by clipping onto your rims once you pull the brake levers. This then slows down your bike. Meanwhile, hydraulic brakes run on a hydraulic braking mechanism which uses brake fluid to engage the brake calipers.
Pulling the brake levers then sends brake fluid to the calipers. This then starts the pistons to clip onto your brake rotors which then slows down your bike. Hydraulic disc brakes are the preferred brake system for bikes today because they’re safe.
All of us want to ride a good-looking bike, right? Well, choose one you prefer. You can consider the color, shape, texture, and overall bike geometry. There are a lot of color schemes to choose from, especially with budget bikes. It’s really all up to you.
Why Get a $300 Affordable Mountain Bike?
It won’t break your bank
One of the best things about getting a $300 mountain bike is that it won’t break your bank. This is a good thing if you’re saving money or you don’t have the budget.
You don’t really need to spend a lot of money just to ride a bike. That’s if riding a bike is just your major concern. Just don’t expect to get the same level of enjoyment if you go for premium ones.
It’s because there’s a good chance that your components will break. You might then not reach your intended destination. But that’s acceptable because you only spent little money on it. In simpler words, getting a $300 mountain bike will save you a lot of money.
Practicality is an important thing to consider these days, especially that we’re in a pandemic. There’s no point in indulging in luxurious things if you prefer logic over fun.
You can still enjoy the outdoors and ride in the mountains with an affordable bike, right? Both a $300 bike and a $5,000 can ride across trails, whether it be uphill or downhill.
The difference just comes in the safety, comfort, and capability of the bike. The rider’s skills also come into play.
A $300 budget mountain bike is alright if you’d just want to lose some sweat. You don’t need an expensive bike just to give you that good ‘ole exercise you need.
This is for you if you’re just planning to ride around your neighborhood every morning. Or maybe you’d just like to breathe fresh air on your nearest trail before sunset.
As a mode of transportation
Bikes are undoubtedly cheap compared to cars. A $300 mountain bike is a smart choice if you’d like to travel from point A to point B fast and light.
This is especially true if you’re living in a congested urban city where traffic jams are everywhere. You can easily overtake idle cars and reach your destination without getting stuck in traffic. Two wheels surely save the day in this case!
Stepping stone to the sport
Another agreeable thing about budget mountain bikes is that it’s a stepping stone into the sport. It gives you a feel of things before you can decide which discipline is for you. And you need not waste a truck-load of money to do this!
Do you like climbs and uphills? If so cross-country bikes are what you need. But if you’re into the more extreme side, then enduro and downhill riding are for you. You can then still have enough money to buy your dream bike.
Riding mountain bikes doesn’t have to be expensive. What’s important is that you’re having fun and exercising healthily.
Practicality is an important lesson we must follow these days. And one good way to do just that is by getting an affordable bike.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you choose the best mountain bike under 300. It’s all about getting a feel of things at the end of the day. Test ride a full-sus and hardtail bike and decide which one you prefer. You can also go for 26ers or 29ers by first riding these budget bikes.
You’ll surely be hooked deeper into the sport when you get a good feel of them with these budget bikes.
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.