Biking is a fun and exciting activity. Unfortunately, if you want to enjoy the best trails and views, you’ll have to spend a bit of money to get yourself a capable mountain bike.
But while that’s indeed true, what is also another fact is that mountain bikes aren’t as expensive as most people think they are.
In fact, because of the number of competitors on the market, today’s mountain bikes are more affordable and feature-packed than ever before.
In fact, as you’ll find out in our roundup of the best mountain bikes under 300, not all mountain bikes are expensive.
If you’d love to take up biking but don’t necessarily have a lot of money to spend, we get your back.
Below, you’ll find the top mountain bikes under 300, as well as the reasons why we picked them.
|Merax 26" Mountain Bicycle with Suspension Fork 24-Speed Mountain Bike with Disc Brake, Lightweight Aluminum Frame||Prime||Buy Now|
|Vilano 26" Mountain Bike Ridge 2.0 MTB 21 Speed with Disc Brakes||Prime||Buy Now|
|Mongoose Impasse Mens Mountain Bike, 18-inch Frame, 29-inch Wheels with Disc Brakes, Silver||Prime||Buy Now|
|Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Mountain Bike, 26" Wheels||Prime||Buy Now|
|Mantis Orchid Full Suspension Mountain Bike, 26 inch Wheels, 17 inch Frame, Women's Bike, Pearl/Purple||Prime||Buy Now|
|Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike with 27.5" Wheels, 18"/Medium, Red||Prime||Buy Now|
1. Merax Finiss
Affordable isn’t a word that you’d use to describe one of the best products on the market. But that’s a fitting description for the Merax Finiss.
Because, despite its sub-$300 price point, this mountain bike has been labeled by many as the best hardtail mountain bike on the market, which isn’t small praise by any means.
Mind you, this bike isn’t just good for off-road use. It also provides a surprisingly smooth and comfortable ride. This is mostly thanks to its 80mm front suspension fork, big 26-inch wheels, and Kendra tires.
Paired with the aluminum hardtail frame, double-wall aluminum rims and dual mechanical disc brakes, this mountain bike will stop on a dime even if you push the 21-speed Shimano EF51 shifters hard.
Yet at the same time, it’s durable and reliable.
- 21-speed Shimano Derailleurs and Gear Shifters
- Dual mechanical disc brakes for superior stopping power
- 26-inch wheels with double-wall aluminum rims for superior comfort and reliability
- 80mm suspension fork for improved ride comfort
- Aluminum frame for the ideal mix of lightweight and durability
- Big-bodied rides will prefer something with wider or larger seats
- You’ll want to have the bike professionally adjusted the first few times while you learn how to adjust it yourself at home
2. Vilano Ridge 2.0
The Vilano Ridge 2.0 is another hardtail mountain bike that’s worth considering at the sub-$300 price point. This is due to a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is because it uses an aircraft-grade construction material in 6061 aluminum for its frame.
This guarantees a lighter weight without necessarily sacrificing durability and reliability.
The Ridge 2.0 also comes with plenty of features typically found in more expensive bikes. This includes a 26-inch Alloy Suspension Fork with Lockout, as well as 21-speed Shimano EF-51 Easyfire shifters.
In addition to this, the Ridge 2.0 uses a Shimano Tourney TZ50 for its Rear Derailleur, as well as a Shimano TZ30 for its Front Derailleur.
But while you won’t have a hard time pushing the Ridge 2.0 to high speeds, especially with 26-inch wheels on mag alloy rims, the mechanical disc brakes help guarantee that you won’t have any trouble slowing down or even coming to a full stop.
- Mag alloy rims help add durability for rougher and tougher terrains, while also being more aerodynamic for picking up speeds with less effort
- 21-speed derailleur
- Large 26-inch wheels with an alloy suspension fork with lockout
- Mechanical disc brakes for optimum stopping performance
- You’ll need help from a professional assembling the bike right out of the box
- The bike is best suited for more advanced riders
3. Mongoose Impasse
At the sub-$300 price point, one of the biggest compromises that you’ll have to make is that your bike won’t be comfortable to ride on for taller and/or larger people.
This means that larger users will inevitably have to spend more most of the time.
But before you go and do that yourself, you might want to take a good look at the Mongoose Impasse first.
The Impasse comes with 29-inch wheels and 35-inch tires. This makes it one of the few budget-friendly mountain bikes that’s seemingly created specifically for taller people.
In terms of durability, the Impasse is no slouch. The aluminum frame is built to last. Meanwhile, it has front and rear disc brakes that guarantee that it will stop when you need to.
However, it’s not just good at stopping, the 21-speed SRAM shifters also ensures that you can adjust your speed according to the terrain.
Finally, the aluminum 3-piece crankset makes it easy to maintain the Impasse, with a threadless headset helping make the steering light and essentially effortless.
- Comfortable seating, especially for larger and taller people
- Effortless steering thanks to the threadless headset
- 29-inch wheels and 35-inch tires ensure maximum comfort even in the most difficult and bumpiest of terrains
- Element suspension fork for added comfort
- Smooth-shifting thanks to the Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM Twist Shifters
- Quick-wheel release
- Convenient water bottle placement
- Disc brake will need adjustment more often compared to other bikes
4. Schwinn Protocol 1.0
If you’re looking for a less-aggressive affordable mountain bike, the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 might just be for you.
Although the Protocol 1.0 sacrifices stopping power by using only one disc brake on the front — the back has a V-Brake — it does come with a dual suspension system for an extremely comfortable ride, even when taken for a ride on tough and rough terrains.
The Protocol 1.0 also uses an aircraft-grade aluminum for optimal durability. In addition to this, the ride is versatile. This is because of its drivetrain, which is the 24-speed EZ Fire Shimano.
Also, Schwinn made sure to place the shifter on the handlebar. This helps make shifting a lot easier, which can come in handy when you’re tackling varied terrains when you’re out riding.
The 26-inch wheel size is also ideal for most bikers. It’s not exactly for the taller riders nor the heavier ones, but it’s enough for the average user.
All in all, the Protocol 1.0 is a professional-looking mountain bike that belies its affordable price.
- Dual suspension frame for better response and handling
- Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- 24-speed EZ Fire Shimano
- Handlebar shifter
- Professional and modern look
- Needs little to no maintenance
- Definitely not for larger or taller riders
- You’ll want to have the stock tires replaced as soon as you can afford to do it
5. Diamondback Bicycles Laurito
Most of the mountain bikes we’ve recommended so far were built with men in mind. So, without it was time to recommend something that was better suited for our lady riders out there, which the Diamondback Bicycles Laurito definitely is.
From mountain trails to the city roads for your daily commute, the Laurito is a good-looking bike that’s made out of 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminum for optimal reliability.
It also comes with multiple eyelets where you can mount a rack and fenders. Also, because this is still a mountain bike, it comes with 27.5-inch wheels that are big and wide enough for most hard trails.
The wheels are also relatively easy to replace. This is thanks to the quick-release hubs.
It’s also equipped with a 21-speed, 7-speed Shimano rear derailleur with 3 chainrings.
- Easy to assemble, perfect for beginners
- 27-inch wheels guarantee a smooth ride on most surfaces
- Adjustable wide saddle seats
- 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminum frame
- Quick-response linear-pull brake
- Doesn’t come with a kickstand
- The saddle could use a bit of an improvement
6. Mantis Orchid
If full-suspension bikes are more of your thing and you’re looking for something for shorter people, or for women, the Mantis Orchid might just be the perfect mountain bike for you.
This full-suspension mountain bike packs a lot of features for an entry-level mountain bike. This includes a full steel frame that greatly increases its stability, especially on harder terrains.
Not to mention, the full-suspension fork system on both wheels at the front and in the rear helps improve both comfort and stability at the same time.
While V-brakes do sacrifice stopping power for a lower price, they have the added advantage of being less maintenance-intensive. This means that you won’t have to service the brakes as often compared to other bikes.
For the female and shorter riders out there who feel that other mountain bikes are too tough, aggressive, or too uncomfortable of a fit, the Mantis Orchid is for you.
- Full-suspension fork system
- 17-inch full-steel frame
- Comes with a kickstand
- 21-speed Shimano Tourney TZ30 rear derailleur with twift shifters
- 26-inch wheels with aluminum rims
- Plastic pedals
- V-brakes don’t have as much stopping power as disc brakes
How to Choose the Best Mountain Bikes Under $300
There are many factors that go into choosing the most ideal mountain bikes under $300. This includes, among other things, the materials used for the bike.
This is especially important for the frame. It is also important to take a good look at the drivetrain and whether it’s enough to fit your needs.
Brakes, as well as the size of the frame and wheels, are all equally important as well.
Another thing that most people don’t really consider when choosing their first mountain bike is whether to go for a hardtail mountain bike or a full-suspension mountain bike.
Hardtail vs Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes
Hardtail bikes are more common. Thus, you’ll find more of them in the sub-$300 price range. However, as the competition grows, more and more manufacturers are starting to lower the prices of their full-suspension mountain bikes, while some are starting to manufacture more affordable full-suspension bikes.
But which of the two is better, you might ask? Well, that depends.
Hardtail bikes are usually a lot cheaper. Or, if they are the same price of a full-suspension bike, a hardtail bike might have more features that help offset the lack of a rear suspension system (and sometimes, the lack of a front suspension system as well).
On the other hand, full-suspension mountain bikes, just as the name suggests, come with suspension systems on both the front and the rear. They’re great for comfort.
This is especially evident when you’re going downhill. The only problem is that they’re usually more expensive, and need more maintenance to keep the suspension system in tip-top shape.
What is the Best Mountain Bike Wheel Size?
There are four wheel sizes commonly used in mountain bikes. These are: 26 inches, 29 inches, 27.5 inches, and 24 inches. Of the four, 24 inches are relatively rare since it’s mostly used in mountain bikes for children.
26-inch wheels are the most common, but 29-inch wheels are also quite popular, especially among people looking for optimal performance on harder trails.
The rarest of the four is the 27.5-inch wheels. They’re not used as often. This is mostly because they’re relatively new.
But it is said that they combine the benefits of having 26-inch wheels (responsiveness) and 29-inch wheels (speed and less rolling resistance).
What’s More Durable? Steel or Aluminum Frames?
Generally, when it comes to mountain bikes, especially under the $300 price point, you’ll only get to choose between aluminum and steel frames.
The former is a lightweight material that makes them more suitable for those who love speed.
However, it comes at the expense of stability. Meanwhile, steel frames are heavier, but they are more stable and responsive to ride on.
Should I Use Disc Brakes or V-Brakes?
Disc brakes are ideal because of their stopping power. At the same time, they’re maintenance-intensive. They’re also heavier.
In comparison to V brakes which are relatively easy to maintain and replace, in addition to being much lighter, disc brakes are less practical in terms of long-term costs.
In the end, your choice depends on what you value the most: stopping power or practicality.
You will want to put a lot of thought into buying your first mountain bike. After all, despite belonging to the entry-level price range, $300 isn’t just something that most of us can afford to spend so carelessly. As such, we made sure that our recommendations are all worthy of your investment.
Safe, durable, and reliable, the 6 mountain bikes we rounded up above offer some of the best value found within its price range.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pursue a more fun-filled and active hobby by buying your very own mountain bike starting today!