Starting an amateur career in any sports discipline cannot be cheap these days, and especially not when you have to purchase all the necessary equipment within a short period of time.Buying a bike obviously is the biggest expense in the very beginning of your adventure with mountain biking, and thus a desire to save some money there is completely understandable.
Buying a bike obviously is the biggest expense in the very beginning of your adventure with mountain biking, and thus a desire to save some money there is completely understandable.
In the following article we will go through the most important features to look at while choosing an inexpensive mountain bike and compare best currently available models for under 300$.
Top Mountain Bikes for under 300$?
Even though it might seem impossible to find a good bike at such a low price, the reality surprises in very positive manner in that regard. An increasing competition between most popular bike manufacturers means that they have to reach out to their potential clients to meet their needs best, and the most effective way to succeed is offering a satisfying relation between quality and price.
If you want to spend only 300$ on your new bike, models designed by biggest European and North American manufacturers won't be within your reach, but some vehicles produced by Asian factories will surprise you with high quality of their components.
Most important features to look at
Frame is a heart of every bike, doesn't matter if it was designed for road races or mountain trails. Most important features of a mountain bike like its durability, stiffness, flexibility, weight or design strongly depend on it.
You have to be aware, though, that bike manufacturers often try to attract their potential clients by installing solid - looking massive frames painted with vivid colors in budget models, and that's where you shouldn't get caught.
While we all desire to have a beautiful bike, when it comes to under 300$ mountain bike models's design, usually less is more. You should focus on minimalistic aluminium frames instead of heavy steel constructions.
This is a very important point to discuss, especially if you already have some knowledge concerning mountain biking. In an uneven battle between disc and V-style brakes every single review would point out to the former as sharper and much more reliable, but that issue becomes a little bit more tricky when budget models are taken into consideration.
In fact, low-quality disc brakes installed in inexpensive models are less effective than V-style brakes and usually require a lot of adjustments, so unless you're closely related with someone running a bike shop, we strongly recommend to choose the latter.
- Plastic Components
It's rather impossible to completely avoid plastic components in budget mountain bike models, but some parts should never be made of it. If you find such components like pedals, brake arms, brake pads or brake levers made of plastic, you should quickly turn your attention to another model.
Best mountain bikes under 300$
On the list below, we compared best mountain bikes under 300$ currently available on the market. While they do have some little flaws, all listed models will guarantee you both pleasure and safety during your rides.
- Mongoose Impasse Hardtail
Making it into top 5 of every ranking listing budget mountain bike models, the Mongoose Impasse has some very unique features for this price range: an aluminium alloy frame, long front fork and 29 inch wheels.
Such characteristics make Mongoose Impasse a very capable bike for mountain trails, while SRAM (shifters) and Shimano (derailleurs) components should live up to all expectations as well. The model is assembled with disc brakes, but reviews suggest that they are fairly decent and reliable.
- Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain Bike
While in general it's not recommended to buy under 300$ dual suspension mountain bikes, Schwinn Protocol is an exception from this rule.
It's currently one of the most popular available models, equipped with an aluminium frame and Shimano components (Shimano Altus gearing, Shimano EF-50 trigger shifters). Front and rear shock are working flawlessly together with Pro Max disc brakes, what makes it a perfect choice for riding trails and bumps.
- Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Yet another extremely popular budget mountain bike model manufactured by Schwinn, and just like Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain Bike, living up to all expectations.
Schwinn High Timber is a very durable and comfortable hardtail bike, equipped with SRAM (shifters, 21 speeds) and Shimano (drivetrain) components, Suntour front suspension fork (50mm of travel) and V-style brakes.
A steel frame must be pointed out as a main disadvantage of this model, as it makes it heavier than other mountain bikes compared on our list. On a different note, Schwinn High Timber is an extremely beautiful grey and blue design, definitely worth its price.
- Jeep 29er Comanche Mountain Bike
As a second 29 inch bike on our list, Jeep Comanche Mountain Bike is a perfect choice for riding in a testing terrain, with oversized wheels make pedaling over the biggest obstables easy and pleasant.
Equipped with a light handcrafted aluminium frame, Zoom front suspension fork (65mm of travel) and Shimano Tourney shifters (21 speeds), that bike has all components you should expect in an under 300$ model.
An oversized alloy handlebar is another interesting feature of the Jeep Comanche, together with the large CST Caballero tires and efficient front disc brake making it easy to man over. A copper color scheme is interesting, but might not be to everyone's liking.
- Schwinn Women's High Timber Mountain Bike
The only model dedicated for women on our list, Schwinn High Timber is a nice mountain bike available at a very low price. The low slung steel frame is comfortable but heavy, what must be considered its main disadvantage. An SR Suntour front fork absorbs shock satisfyingly and together with efficient V-style brakes allow a comfortable and safe ride, but the latter may need some additional tuning.
The Schwinn High Timber is equipped with SRAM components (shifters and derailleurs) and its light blue colour scheme should seem appealing to most of women.
As you can see, even though no one should expect to find high-end components in cheaper models of mountain bikes, it's perfectly possible to spend less than 300$ on a bike riding which will be a true satisfaction.
All mountain bikes listed above are worth being recommended, but an overall score presented in the comparison table is a reflection of our final verdict, and thus we consider Mongoose Impasse Hardtail and Jeep 29er Comanche Mountain Bike the best choices in this price range. If you're dreaming of buying a cheap but capable dual suspension mountain bike, the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain Bike should be your first choice, though. The Schwinn Women's High Timber Mountain Bike is a fairly durable and comfortable, but it must be emphasized that budget mountain bike models dedicated for women are unfortunately equipped with slightly less impressive components.