Best Mountain Bikes Under $300 | Reviews

(A complete review and guideline for the best mountain bikes under $300)

Midrange category of mountain bikes is extremely competitive, with several models that can easily compare with more expensive products when it comes to core features.

Getting the best ratio between price and performance should be the primary concern when you are looking to buy a new mountain bike. It makes no sense to invest a large sum of money into advanced features unless your skill level is elite and you intend to compete professionally. Most users are well-served by a bike that can be obtained for less than US$ 300, especially if they are still learning the basics. Of course, it would be naïve to believe that all affordable bikes are equally good, as there are significant differences depending on type of construction, materials used, technical quality of mechanical parts and a number of other factors.

In fact, even models produced by the same manufacturer can behave quite differently on the track. That’s why you need to pay attention to the details and meticulously compare the most desirable models head-to-head before making a final decision, looking for features that will have practical value in day-to-day use. Fortunately, this guide can give you a crash course and point out a few intriguing possibilities that you can pursue even with a limited budget.

Top 5 Mountain Bikes for Beginners Available for Less Than $300

We have researched approximately 15 hours to find out the 5 best mountain bikes under $300 for beginners. Here we reviewed them with their absolute features.

 

1

Diamondback Bicycles 2015 Lustre Complete Hard Tail

Diamondback Bicycles 2015 Lustre Complete Hard Tail

This 7-speed bike may not look all that impressive at first sight, but it can match much more glamorous models in every relevant aspect. It features a sturdy aluminum body with hard-tail suspension, with a front-wheel fork used to absorb shock and control movements of the bike. Stopping power is provided by linear pull brakes that are very easy and intuitive to operate, while the drivetrain and high-quality shifter are produced by Shimano. Low-rise handlebar allows the rider to assume a natural position atop of the bicycle, while adjustable seat can be moved according to rider’s height.

Somewhat smaller than the average mountain bike with 24’’ wheels, this model is suitable for owners of both genders and all ages. Diamondback generally does well in the economy class, and Lustre model has a very modest price (less than $200 at some online stores) that makes up for a few shortcomings. When used as a training tool for inexperienced bikers or a recreational vehicle for occasional rides in the nature, those weaknesses won’t be noticeable, but serious downhill racing is pretty much out of the question for this little daredevil.

 

2

Mongoose Men’s Malus Fat Tire Bike

Mongoose Men’s Malus Fat Tire Bike

The most obvious characteristic of this model are the massive wheels (26 x 4 inches) with knobby tires that add extra stability on any surface. This is one of the most popular fat bikes in the market right now, since it combines extreme versatility with a reasonable price. No matter what type of surface is under its tires, this bike will remain stable and simple to steer, as robust wheels can simply run over smaller obstacles without causing any discomfort to the rider. Users can switch between 7 different speeds, while the front fork has sufficient amount of clearance to provide total control over the vehicle even on steep or rough terrain.

Cruiser-shaped body of this bike is highly recognizable, so you might turn a few heads when you zoom across the city on this unique machine. Better still, you can take it to the beach and it will display amazing traction on sand, while it will be just as useful in heavy snow. This is a bike you can utilize around the year, without worrying about the weather or your planned destination, as it is perfectly well suited for communing to work through urban areas and off-road adventures.

 

3

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bicycle

Stylish and elegant, This 29-inch Schwinn High Timber Bike is a great choice for city transportation or recreation, even if it’s perfectly capable of enduring a muddy trail without losing any of its grace. The aluminum body has a classic shape, while 29-inch alloy wheels are ready for off-road duty. It has a 21-speed Shimano gearing system that allows a broad range of functions and simple adjustments to any surface or ground inclination, with simple and practical SRAM shifters positioned on the handlebar used to trigger the transmission.

Linear pull brakes on front and back wheels allow the user to stop the bike safely even when moving at high speeds over slippery surfaces. The sport-style seat is comfortable, while the pedals are standard-sized and durable. Schwinn High Timber is a popular choice as a first bike for younger biking enthusiasts, while many adults pick it because of its reliability and good overall features. It looks just as good as a typical high-priced bicycle and its performance is quite solid when road conditions are at least tolerable. It can be used for recreational mountain biking and leisure-time fun, while it can also serve as a durable training bike for more ambitious users without the funds to get a top-tier bike.

 

4

Merax Finiss 26’’ Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain Bike

Merax Finiss 26 Aluminum 21 Speed Mountain BikeAnother example of a medium-priced mountain bike that could easily be confused for a superior model, Merax Finiss packs a lot of technical excellence on top of a visually attractive frame. Made from lightweight heat-treated aluminum, the bike is average-sized and thus suitable for bikers of any height and weight. Its 26-inch wheels are flexible and responsive, featuring double-walled aluminum rims and high quality tires. Thanks to top-notch derailleur and shifters, the bike can effortlessly switch between 21 speeds and transmit pedaling power at the most adequate rate in every situation.

Braking can be executed independently on either wheel by activating mechanical disc brakes. This feature goes hand in hand with an excellent suspension system, based on a front-wheel fork with 80 mm of travel – more than enough for amortizing any bumps you are likely to encounter. This bike still can’t compare with dual suspension machines made for professional use, although it will give you a close approximation of their off-road capacities. It is absolutely safe to take Finiss on a trip over a rugged patch, even if the ground is wet and the rider is less than an expert.

 

5

Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle

Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle

Typically, it is difficult to find a good full suspension bike in this price range, but Mongoose is known for challenging the stereotypes and its Impasse mountain bike brings you the best of both worlds. It comes with suspension forks on both wheels, which puts it in the same class with bikes that can be used competitively, even if its retail price remains modest. Equipped with Shimano rear derailleur with 21 speeds, this bicycle won’t betray you if you take it off the concrete and put it to a little stress test.

More importantly, this bike behaves very well even if the user is not in perfect command, which might save beginners a few bruises. The suspension forks (signed by Element) have plenty of travel, so the bike is forgiving of mistakes and capable of neutralizing moderate amounts of shock impact. Another advantage comes in the form of large wheels with 29-inch diameter, which can simply roll over small objects on the trail without disrupting the rider’s rhythm very much. The bike is well-known for stability and longevity, and can be expected to stay perfectly operable even if used every day.

 

WHY ARE THESE MODELS GREAT FOR BEGINNERS?
Giving an expensive bike to an absolute beginner wouldn’t accelerate his learning curve, since main advantages would only become apparent on very difficult trails that inexperienced bikers would be well-advised to avoid anyway. Additional speeds or better brakes won’t mean much unless you know how to maintain balance and shift your weight around, so entry-level models can be used for early stages of training without any limitations. Furthermore, beginners are likely to have a few crashes until they learn how to jump and slide, and that could inflict some heavy damage on the pricy bike.

The traits you want in a beginner bike are strength and durability, rather than top performance. All of the models included on this list have solid construction and good wheels, which means they won’t break down (or bring the rider down) if they encounter a few bumps. A high-quality transmission system is always a big deal, so you might notice that all models recommended here come with Shimano gearing equipment. Finally, details such as seat or pedals can have bigger impact on the overall usability of the bike than you might think, so it makes sense to consider them as well.

 

Editor’s choice for best overall value – Mongoose Men’s Malus

Each of the bikes described here have their advantages, but none can match the diverse capacities of the Malus Fat Bike. As a true all-terrain grinder, it can withstand a broad range of duties and serve you loyally for many years without any special maintenance. Since it’s equally well adjusted to cold weather and to summertime excursions, its owner won’t need any alternative means of transportation. This kind of universal utility is hard to find among high-end bicycles, let alone affordable models under $300.

Riding on a Mongoose Malus is a powerful feeling – you don’t have to maneuver to avoid smaller rocks or tree roots when you are rolling on those supersized tires. Fat bikes are made to let you run around freely, and this one brings the best features of its category to the table without forcing you to make a major financial commitment. That allows many biking enthusiasts to save up for a better model to use on the race trails, while relying on a Malus whenever they go out for a casual ride.


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