Top 10 Best Mountain Bikes under $300

 

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Posted July 1, 2016 by

So you’re on a tight budget but you’re still looking for the best mountain bike for your money. Well, we’ve taken a hard look at a set of mountain bikes that all retail for under $300, and have compiled this list of the top 10 best mountain bikes under $300. We’ve compiled the list that features both men’s and women’s mountain bikes, and reviewed bikes from a number of manufacturers. Schwinn, Mongoose and even the Diamondback brands feature strongly in the list but we even have a contender from Kawasaki rounding out the top 10 list of best mountain bikes under $300.

So you may be thinking …  $300 will not get me much, but you would be surprised at just how many mountain bikes are priced under this price-point. In fact, there are quite a few name brand mountain bikes that are miles better than the budget price tag would indicate.

But before you rush into any new mountain bike purchase, we’ll provide you with some top tips on what to look out for, and more importantly, what to avoid. At this price point you really have 3 basic options:

  • Option 1 – Buying from a department store
  • Option 2 – Buying a used bike
  • Option 3 – Buying a bike online

So first off, let’s rule out option 2, as although you may be getting so-called better components and a better bike, you don’t quite know exactly the history of that bike, and what may have happened to it out on the track. Furthermore, there’s no after sales support and no warranty with a second hand bike and basically you assume all the risk when purchasing somebody else’s bike. Servicing options could also be an issue with second hand bikes. New is always better, and you don’t need to spend a lot of cash to get something good. And for a first mountain bike, spending less than $300 allows you to upgrade later down the track and still be able to use your under $300 bike as a spare run-about.

Department store bikes tend to be targeted to the mass market, and although there is nothing wrong with getting a bike from your local department store, buying a mountain bike online will just provide you much better value for your money and you can usually get bikes with much better components.

 

So let’s compare the best mountain bike options under 300 dollars.

Top 10 Mountain Bikes under $300

  Mountain Bike Name Type Style  
Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual Suspension Bike Review Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike Men Dual-Suspension Click me
Mongoose Impasse HD Review Mongoose Impasse HD Full Suspension Mountain Bike Men Full Suspension Click me
Schwinn High Timber Review Schwinn High Timber Men’s Mountain Bike Men Full Suspension Click me
Schwinn S29 Review Schwinn S29 Men’s 29″ Full Suspension Mountain Bike Men Full Suspension Click me
Mongoose Statis Review Mongoose Stasis Comp 26” Full Suspension Mountain Bike Men Full Suspension Click me
Schwinn Womens High Timber Review Schwinn Women’s High Timber Mountain Bike Women Full Suspension Click me
Diamondback Laurito Review Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Laurito Hardtail Complete Mountain Bike Women Hardtail Click me
Polaris 600RR MTB Review Polaris 600RR L.1 Mountain Bike Women Full Suspension Click me
Mongoose Status Womens Review Mongoose Women’s Status 2.2 Mountain Bike Women Full Suspension Click me
Kawasaki K26G MTB Review Kawasaki K26G Hardtail Mountain Bike Women Hardtail Click me

 

Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Most people will recognize the Schwinn brand, which is one of the oldest and possibly even the most trusted bike manufacturer in the U.S.A. Schwinn has created a lightweight and robust mountain bike with the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 men’s dual suspension bike. The aluminum dual suspension frame, coupled with the 26″ wheels and double walled alloy rims provides for a lightweight and smooth ride over any bumps or obstacles. Components are well specced for this budget mountain bike price level.

The Schwinn Protocol 1.0 features Shimano EZ-fire shifters and comes specced as a Shimano Altus 24-speed mountain bike. As an entry level mountain bike, you can’t really fault the components and the specification levels on the bike. At this price point and with competitors like the Mongoose Status and the Diamondback, the Schwinn Protocol shines with its dual suspension and Suntour fork.

A smooth ride for a great price
Easy assembly and great components

Nice bike for the price

If you are looking for a nicely specced bike to get into the sport, you shouldn’t look any further than a Schwinn Protocol
PROS
  • Dual suspension
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Double walled alloy rims
CONS
  • No place for a water bottle

 

 

Mongoose Impasse HD Full Suspension Mountain Bike

There is not much choice for a 29er at this price level but the Mongoose Impasse HD mountain bike easily makes the list of best value for money mountain bikes under $300. Great specifications include an aluminum frame and large 29″ tires allowing for a lightweight yet responsive ride. The Impasse HD comes equipped with dual disc brakes, an Element front suspension fork, SRAM MRX twist shifters, a Shimano TX-35 rear derailleur and of course the massive 29″ wheels and alloy rims.

So the biggest draw card for the Mongoose Impasse HD are those massive 29″ wheels and the element suspension fork. For tough terrain riding, the big tires and the lightweight frame make you feel like you are literally rolling over the bumps. Some riders may not like the SRAM MRX twist shifters, but we found them to be practical on all terrain types.

Fantastic price for a 29er
Rolls over tough terrain with ease

You should also be aware that Mongoose produce a number of great mountain bikes including a Dual-Suspension version of the Impasse (which often gets mixed up with this Mongoose Impasse HD Full Suspension bike), as well as the Mongoose Ledge 3.1 mountain bike – but for an all-rounder mountain bike under $300, the Mongoose Impasse HD makes the list.

A 29er at a fantastic price!

With its massive 29″ tires and lightweight frame – the Mongoose Impasse HD is a top choice for a mountain bike with great components that will provide a pleasant ride.
PROS
  • Massive 29″ wheels for tough terrain riding
  • Great value for a 29er
  • Some great components at this price point
CONS
  • Some riders may not like the SRAM MRX twist shifters

 

Schwinn High Timber 29” Mountain Bike – Best Mountain Bike Brand under $300

Another Schwinn mountain bike makes the list of most affordable mountain bikes under $300, and rightly so, as Schwinn have a number of contenders in this category and Schwinn should really be considered as the best mountain bike brand under $300. The Schwinn High Timber 29” bike really is quite impressive for it’s price. Weighing in at 32 pounds, it’s not the lightest of mountain bikes, partly due to it’s steel frame and huge 29” tires and alloy rims.

However, for this budget bike you get a 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur, large alloy wheels and SRAM twist shifters. Available in a choice of either Grey or Matte Black colors, the Schwinn High Timber is one of those resilient yet agile mountain bikes that can be ridden on nearly all terrains. Alloy linear pull brakes ensure stopping the bike is effortless, whilst the Schwinn MTB saddle ensures a comfortable ride.

Nice riding position for taller riders
Comes in 27.5” or 29” tires

Comfortable riding position

The MTB Riser handlebar provides for a comfortable yet athletic riding position.
PROS
  • Great entry level bike
  • Quick assembly – arrives mostly pre-assembled
CONS
  • May be too heavy for some riders
  • Linear pull brakes may put off some riders

Schwinn S29 29” – Best men’s mountain bike under $300

Surprise … surprise … Yet another Schwinn mountain bike makes the list of best bikes under $300. The reason we selected the Schwinn S29 is due to its great component set and reasonable price level. It may be slightly more expensive than the other Schwinn models detailed here, but with an aluminum 29R full suspension frame, SR Suntour suspension forks, SRAM 3.0 rear derailleur and 21 speed trigger shifters, the bike is seriously well specced for its price.

The 29” tires and the full suspension frame ensure an effortless ride, whilst front and rear disc brakes provide rapid stopping power. What sets this bike apart though is the Trigger Shifters, effortlessly allowing you to change through all 21 gears without much fuss.

Designed to tackle rough terrain with ease
A pleasure to ride

Fast adjustment with quick release seat post

The Schwinn S-29 29” suits taller mountain bike riders, but can also easily accommodate shorter riders with its quick release seat post allowing for fast adjustment if necessary.
PROS
  • Minimal assembly required
  • Great bike for taller riders
CONS
  • At the higher end of this budget price bracket

 

Mongoose Stasis Comp 26” – Best entry level mountain bike under $300

Not to be confused with it’s more expensive sibling, the Mongoose Stasis Expert, the Stasis Comp 26” mountain bike really packs a punch for this price point. A 21 speed mountain bike that features an aluminium frame and alloy wheels, and weighing in at just 51 pounds this 26” full suspension mountain bike from Mongoose just sneaks in under the $300 budget mountain bike price point.

The Stasis Comp has a 3 piece alloy crank, 26” tires and alloy rims that all contribute to a durable yet lightweight mountain bike. What we quite liked about the Mongoose Stasis Comp is the quick release tires, great for when you are transporting the bike around.

Smooth yet enjoyable ride
Quick and easy assembly

Superior entry level mountain bike

The Mongoose Stasis Comp design is quite appealing with its dashing red coloring and the aluminum frame and mid-range components make this a superior entry level mountain bike.
PROS
  • Lightweight at just 51 pounds
  • Dashing coloring and styling
CONS
  • None that we can see

 

Schwinn Women’s High Timber – Best mountain bike for teenage girls

You don’t often find many reviews on the best mountain bikes for women under $300, but we’ve picked our top list of favorites. And one of the better mountain bikes for women under $300 has to be the Schwinn Women’s High Timber mountain bike. Schwinn’s mountain bikes are designed to tackle anything, and the Women’s High Timber can easily be ridden on the trails, around the neighborhood and down to the shops.

The bike comes with a Schwinn suspension fork and Schwinn frame, 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur and linear pull type brakes. With its 26” tires, the bike is suited to ladies taller than 60 inches. What’s nice about this bike is the quick release saddle, allowing for easy height adjustments if required.

This is one of those mountain bikes that IS actually sold in department stores, but we highly recommend it based on its good aesthetic appeal (with its stunning blue coloring), good components and great value for money.

What a stunning bike for Ages 14 and over – a bike that is definitely suitable for teenage girls

Stunning design

The bike really stands out as a stunning women’s mountain bike, and the striking light blue color is even better in person
PROS
  • Strong and lightweight allow rims
  • From Ages 14 and above
CONS
  • Some assembly required

 

Diamondback 2016 Laurito Women’s Hardtail mountain bike

Diamondback’s answer to the best mountain bike for women under $300 has to be the Diamondback 2016 Laurito women’s mountain bike. The 2016 Model has some improvements over the Diamondback 2015 Laurito model, but both models are fantastically well designed for the price. The 2016 Laurito, with its heat-treated aluminum frame, Shimano 7-speed derailleur and shifters, and multi-surface double walled Chaoyang Hornet 27.5” tires, is a bike you can take anywhere.

Designed for women who just want to ride around the neighborhood, as well as take the bike offroad and for getting onto those trails, the Diamondback 2016 Laurito is definitely a strong contender in this price bracket. Design is pleasing with its light blue coloring, but what really sets the bike apart is that it comes ready-to-ride.

Ready to ride – so quick to assemble out the box that you can spend less time messing with assembly and more time actually riding

Ready to ride – minimal assembly required

No need for long and tedious assembly, this bike is literally ready to go out the box.
PROS
  • Minimal assembly required
  • Heat treated DB 6061-T6 aluminum frame
  • XC260 doublewalled 27.5” rims
CONS
  • Not suitable for taller ladies – only comes in Small and Medium sizing

 

Polaris 600RR L.1 – Best value for money women’s mountain bike under $300

Squarely in the value for money mountain bike price bracket is the Polaris 600RR L.1 ladies mountain bike. But do not be deceived by the price point, as this budget friendly mountain bike packs a real punch when it comes to features. The Polaris 600RR L.1 might be a mouthful, but its hydroformed steel frame and Force SCR2 suspension fork allow this mountain bike to sail over rough terrain. The Polaris comes with 26” tires and 21 speed Shimano Revo Twist shifters, as well as a well specced Shimano TX35 rear derailleur.

Braking is handled by front and back alloy v-brakes, but what we really liked on the Polaris was the Promax gear levers, which just seemed easier on the hands for the ladies. If you are looking for a value for money bike, with exceptional ride handling, then the Polaris 600 series mountain bike features a full Shimano drivetrain, and coupled with the steel frame and aluminum rims, you have a bike that is exceptional quality and value for money.

26” tires and 18.5” frame – Polaris has designed this mountain bike with women in mind!

What we also liked about the Polaris 600RR is its quick release front wheel (for easier transporting) and its quick release seat post clamp (for quick height adjustments). Sharing the bike between family members is easier than ever, but at this price, you probably would just want to buy 2!
With its aesthetically pleasing design, and available in a light blue color (seems most ladies mountain bikes are solely produced in light blue colors these days!), the Polaris 600RR L.1 Women’s mountain bike easily makes the top 10 list of best budget mountain bikes under $300.

Polaris Mountain Bikes – great quality and design

Polaris is devoted to making great products in both design and performance. The Polaris line of mountain bikes is no exception. Quality meets comfort to make for great products that live up to the Polaris name.
PROS
  • Kickstand included – not normally a feature on many mountain bikes at this price point
  • Quick release post saddle and quick release front wheel – easy adjustments
CONS
  • Steel frame makes the bike a tad bit heavier than its aluminum counterparts
  • Some assembly required – but tools are provided

Mongoose Women’s Status 2.2 Mountain Bike – Best mountain bike for shorter ladies

Mongoose have once again produced an exceptional ladies mountain bike, specifically suited to shorter ladies. The Status 2.2 comes with a full suspension aluminum frame, SRAM MRX twist shifters, an Element suspension fork, Shimano TZ-30 rear derailleur and 26” tires couples with alloy rims. What we really liked about the bike was the Shimano rear derailleur coupled with the twist shifters, as it just seems to allow for quick and easy gear changing.

What wasn’t as great was the saddle, it just didn’t seem comfortable on the longer rides. But changing the saddle is a quick fix, and overall we were impressed with this ladies mountain bike, specifically at this price point. As per most other bikes, the bike does come unassembled and some assembly is required, but once you are up and running then the Mongoose Status 2.2 really is a pleasant ride. The bike is probably more suited to shorter ladies, or even teenage kids, and we would not recommend this bike for anyone over 6 feet tall.

The bike is suitable for teenage girls as well
Suitable for shorter ladies

Take a ticket to the outdoors

No more waiting to get outdoors with the Mongoose Status 2.2 women’s mountain bike. Tough climbs are no match for the 21 speed gears so get out on the single track and start breaking up that dirt.
PROS
  • Suitable for shorter ladies

 

CONS
  • Doesn’t have quick release front tires – so not easily transportable like the Polaris 600RR
  • Some assembly required

Kawasaki 26G – best hardtail mountain bike under $300

What the …. ? A mountain bike made by Kawasaki ? Yip, Kawasaki has branched out from motorbikes and now produces some seriously wicked mountain bikes as well. The Kawasaki 26G ladies mountain bike makes our list as the best hardtail mountain bike under $300, so it’s definitely for a slightly different market as most ladies mountain bikes are full suspension bikes. The K26G comes loaded with front suspension, Shimano index twist shifters and linear pull brakes. It’s an 18 speeder, with Shimano gears and 26” tires, perfect for a starter rider or for the quick commute to school or work.

From a design point of view, it’s one of a few ladies mountain bikes that doesn’t come in light blue! In fact, the mostly white 18” frame with pink detailing is actually quite stunning, and the only negative we had was the weight, mostly due to its steel frame.

This is a great bike for day to day riding
18” frame

KX26 Hardtail – for the enthusiast

Some riders don’t need or even want a full suspension female mountain bike, and those looking for a cheap ladies mountain bike choose the Kawasaki KX26G hardtail!
PROS
  • Elegant styling and design with mostly white frame and pink detailing

 

CONS
  • Heavy steel frame
  • Some assembly required

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