A mountain bike is one of the best ways to get outside and explore the outdoors. However, they can be a little expensive if you don’t know what to look for.
Fortunately, the mountain bikes under $300 can offer the opportunity to get started outdoors without breaking the bank. It is an affordable way to break away a little bit. Since I love traveling on a mountain bike, I have had plenty of opportunities to test and see various bikes. Ranging from top brands like Schwinn to some of the more affordable options on the market today.
In this article, we explore some of the best mountain bikes you can find at a budget price while giving you insight into the key features.
Top Picks: Best Mountain Bikes under $300 of 2023
The features are plentiful and bikes can be chosen without hassle once you have a better grasp of these special features. However, we are focusing on some the bikes to get you started and ensure that you don’t need to study these features like I had to. Here are the top 6 mountain bikes you can find at a budget price in 2023.
|PRODUCT||TYPE||RATING||See at Amazon|
|Vilano Blackjack 3.0|
|Merax 26” Mountain Bike|
|Schwinn Protocol 1.0|
(Best Full Suspension)
|Schwinn High Timber|
|Xspec Folding Bike||Full Suspension||4.2|
|Akonza Cobra 26"||Full Suspension||4.0|
Editor’s Choice: Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bike
The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is one of the first mountain bikes you can choose from. It has been carefully constructed from durable aluminum offering you a lighter weight to steel, but keeping the durability at a high level as well. The 6061 aluminum used for the construction is also considered aircraft grade.
The bike comes with a front suspension that will reduce some of the shocks you take when you are heading downhill while offering a 24-speed derailleur that can help to navigate some of the toughest terrains you encounter. Alloy wheels hold up on those tough terrains and the mags included make them more aerodynamic.
The bike has 29-inch wheels and holds a decent human being without sagging. I have tried this bike a couple of times on tough terrains and the suspension system makes it much easier on the saddle. Having mechanical disc brakes will ensure that you have maximum stopping power and they don’t wear out as fast either.
While it just makes the cut for our list, it has been designed with numerous accessories you can add if you like to. The bike looks stylish but is not really for the avid beginner to start with. You need to have some assembly skills as well when you receive it. It is recommended for intermediate cyclists that love mountain biking.
- 21-speed drivetrain
- Made from aircraft grade aluminum
- Mechanical disc brakes offer maximum stopping power
- Lightweight design for the average rider
Best Overall: Merax 26” Mountain Bike with Suspension Fork
One of the well-known brands in the arena of mountain bikes is Merax. Their 26” mountain bicycle with suspension is one of the best mountain bikes. It comes in two colors, blue and black (it may vary).
Strength and durability are crucial, especially when you are going to use your bike regularly. You want your bike to last you quite some time. Aluminum is known for its strength. But this bike goes beyond just having aluminum; it is heat-treated, which makes the bike sturdy and durable. Additionally, the wheels are made of magnesium alloy, which makes it stronger yet lighter.
Shimano derailleurs are the most trusted in the market. This bike allows you to change gears as it has 24 speeds. That’s flexibility at its best, and you will conquer a variety of terrains easily and comfortably.
Safety is paramount, especially when you like going off the smooth city roads. The suspension system of this bike ensures your safety even as you take on rough terrains and unpredictable obstacles. It minimizes the risk of accidents.
Best Full Suspension: Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Mountain Bike
The Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike is one of the less aggressive bikes on this list and it features a rear and front suspension system. It has been constructed from the same durable aircraft grade aluminum as the previous one, but having 2 suspensions will make it a lot more comfortable in the saddle.
A 24-speed EZ Fire Shimano drivetrain adds a lot of versatility to the unit, giving the rider the option of numerous speeds to take on tough terrains. The shifter is placed on the handlebar in close proximity to your hands to make life a lot easier. Additionally, you have a front disc brake that will keep the bike from tipping, with an additional V-Brake at the back for stopping in an instance.
At 26-inches, the bike is ideal for riders of all sizes. It might not hold a 300-pound rider, but your average mountain biker will be able to use it. Having durable wheels is ideal for resisting punctures and it also gives you some more traction. I have seen that the bike can improve times on racing courses, especially in the downhill sections.
The bike itself is a little expensive, but you have to keep in mind that most of the cranks are designed to reduce the maintenance on your end. Once you have the bike saddled, it should flow efficiently and give you durability.
If you need something that looks professional at a really affordable price, the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike is the way to go.
Best Entry-Level: Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bikes
Schwinn has been in the game for a long time and they have released a series of bikes that will work for almost any mountain biker. The Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bikes are all designed with a steel frame, but you can have this upgraded to aluminum if you need something lighter, with the same durability.
Since the bike is available in all sorts of sizes, it can accommodate almost any rider. Once again, Shimano has provided the 21-speed drivetrain for versatility, while the stock Schwinn tires work perfectly well for dry conditions.
Also it features a hardtail design, the bike is predominantly made for climbers to have less stress when climbing uphill.
I have seen this bike on numerous occasions and in various colors to choose from. It offers a lot of durability with the steel frame, and the different sizes mean that larger riders can choose it as well. However, the steel frame is a little heavy, with professional riders feeling some of the extra weight when they use it.
One of the best features is probably the versatility of the entire series and the fact that you can even find one for female riders.
The bike is designed to endure tough terrains, but much like the previous option, your tires will lose some grip in wet conditions. I would recommend it mostly to beginners starting their mountain biking journey.
Akonza Cobra 26″ Mountain Bicycle
If you need a bike that will do all the basics without forcing you into bankruptcy, the Akonza Cobra 26″ Mountain Bicycle is a decent full suspension option to make this possible.
It is also constructed from steel, but the bike has 2 suspension systems that enable you to reduce the pain from tough terrains in the saddle.
Additionally, we find the 21-speed drivetrain to be smooth, with a 7-speed shifter that will easily allow you to navigate the different terrains. Hardened nylon has been used for the pedals, making them more durable when you need to stand and pedal, while the 26-inch size is perfect for almost any rider of normal stature.
The biggest complaint we have is the weight. Once again, the bike can be a little heavy for riders and you will eventually need to choose something made from aluminum. The tires are really functional and will provide a lot of traction on all surfaces. I also found them comfortable in wet conditions or in the mud.
Since the bike is rather basic, most of the features are also quite basic. Aside from the disc brakes that have been used, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy this bike. It has also been marketed as one of the top budget picks. I would recommend it to children or to beginners just starting out with mountain biking.
Xspec 26″ 21-Speed Folding Mountain Foldable Bike
In the urban jungle where most of us live nowadays, you find that using public or your own transport can be expensive. However, the Xspec 26″ 21-Speed Folding Mountain Trail Bicycle Commuter Foldable Bike aims to give users a durable steel bike that can be folded and even carried on the train for commuting.
It has 21-speeds that include 2 shifters in easy reach of the rider, with a large 26-inch wheelbase for the average rider to enjoy. Additionally, mechanical disc brakes have been added to the front and the back, allowing you to stop when needed. It also stops really efficiently in the wet conditions we see in the city during the summers.
The main feature is the fact that once you have used the bike, it can be folded and carried with you. It won’t be in your way either and only takes up a little space.
According to the manufacturer, it can hold up to 220-pounds, with a maximum user height in the range of 6-feet. This is perfect for the average commuter to save some money.
You might think that all of these features will make it more expensive. However, this is not the case and the bike is one of the most affordable. The steel frame is not my favorite, but you can definitely work with it for a while. It is recommended for commuters that need something to travel with around town or in the backcountry.
Things to Consider When Getting a Mountain Bike
While these were some of the cheaper mountain bikes, we have drawn up a small guide that will help you find any type of mountain bike you need. We have used many of these features in selecting the above-mentioned options as well. Here are the most important features to consider when looking for a mountain bike.
Mountain bikes are not all made from the same materials. Many of them feature aluminum for the construction as the best way to keep the bike lightweight while adding durability. However, steel is another basic option. It might be a little heavier than aluminum, but still, ensure you have a lot of durability when you fall.
Aluminum and steel might keep the costs down, but when you want the ultimate mountain bike, you might need to consider carbon fiber. It is much lighter than any of the other materials but has the same durability. However, it is also one of the most expensive materials on the market today and mostly used by professionals.
Almost every mountain bike will have derailleurs at the front and the back. These are commonly used to hold the chains which form the drivetrain. The drivetrain will propel you forward, but you can have this done at different levels of pressure. These are commonly referred to as the gears of the bike or the different speeds.
The most common option is the 21-speed drivetrain. They might vary by brand, but Shimano has been one of the most consistent brands one the market today. They have affordable drivetrains that offer you various speed selections.
Every bike needs to break at some point or another and the brakes are some of the biggest focal points. The most common brake is the cantilever brake, but it lacks a little stopping power in wet weather conditions. The bikes we have selected have been mostly fitter with the patented V-brake or mechanical disc brakes. However, those who are looking for a much better brake performance might consider the hydraulic disc brake at a more expensive price.
Lastly, we need to look at the size of the bike. The size is commonly measured by using the size of the wheels. Different wheel sizes will be more comfortable for different riders to work with. The 26-inch wheel size is the most common and can hold a 220-pound individual. It also works well when you are around 6-feet tall.
Hardtail Vs Full-Suspension Bikes: Which one is right for you?
Once you select your bike, you also need to consider whether you want a hardtail or full suspension bike. Both of these are effective for different purposes. The hardtail bikes are more abundant, but more people are moving towards the full suspension bikes. Here is a small breakdown of each you need to know before buying.
The hardtail bike does not have a rear suspension system but might have a front suspension. These bikes are commonly cheaper and with a reduced level of comfort, you have a more rigid bike. These bikes are the best for climbing, but they can burn you in the saddle you have a rugged downhill terrain to take on.
As we have mentioned, the full suspension bikes are becoming more popular. They might be a little more expensive, but they reduce the punishment a rider takes in the saddle. These bikes will help take some pressure off when you go downhill as well, but they need some more maintenance to keep the suspension system in the best working condition.
Whether you are looking for a bike that will be used for fun or one that can be used in competitions, The 6 Best Mountain Bikes Under $300 can help you to save a lot of money and still have some fun.
We would recommend all of these bikes and they will ensure you get some value for your money. Let us know in the comment section which of them you prefer as the best.