10 Best Mountain Bikes Under $300 in 2019
Buying a bike is never easy. It is especially tricky if you’re on a fairly tight budget. It is hard to know what you need and what you don’t. You also don’t know what brands to trust and which to ignore. To make it easy for you, we have created a rundown of the 10 best mountain bikes under $300 in 2019.
We have carefully picked each model and given you a guide to the top 5 things you need to know when you buy your new mountain bike. We will also look at whether or not you should expand your budget, and what you should really expect from a mountain bike under $300. When all is said and done and you’re riding your new bike, you’ll be glad you followed our mountain bike review.
The Best Mountain Bikes Under $300
1. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
The Schwinn High Timber mountain bike has an interesting feature. A feature that you will hardly ever find on a cheaper bike, but something you will see on some more expensive bikes: the High Timber comes in a choice of wheel sizes.
The 12” frame comes with 24” wheels. The 18” frame comes with 27.5” wheels or 29” wheels. The 24” wheel on the small bike will make the mountain bike easier to handle for smaller and lighter people. The bigger wheels will allow the bike to roll over rocks with ease for people of a taller stature. All the wheels feature a quick release lever, making it easy and fast to fix any punctures.
If I were after a bike to commute to work on and mountain bike for the weekend, I would pick up the High Timber — particularly the one with 29-inch wheels. The bike will be a little bit less nimble, but it will roll faster for less effort. You will also find it easy to scrub that speed off as the whole range comes with linear pull brakes, also known as v-brakes. The bike uses a Shimano rear derailleur for good gear changes, which will cope well with the demands of mountain biking.
- Wheel size choice
- Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
- Linear pull brakes
Colors: Black, blue, grey, matte black, silver, teal
Weight: 44.3 lbs
Dimensions: Not listed
2. Mongoose Impasse Mountain Bike
The Mongoose Impasse is an aluminum full suspension mountain bike that in our opinion, is one of the best mountain bikes under $300 on the market today. Having an aluminum frame allows Mongoose to build you a light dual suspension bike. The front suspension duties are carried out by an Element suspension fork that looks great in its black colorway.
The Impasse comes with a 21-speed groupset that is a mix of two big brands. There are SRAM twist shifters mixed with a Shimano rear derailleur. You then get quality shifters working to function a quality rear derailleur. The mixing shows that Mongoose has been thinking about how to maximize your budget.
Mongoose has outfitted the Impasse with a set of 29” alloy quick release wheels. 29” wheels are great for riding down rocky tracks. They will help to give you a new confidence in your riding skills as they roll over boulders. To help you slow down, Mongoose has fitted mechanical disc brakes to these wheels to give you full braking power, even in the rain.
In the reviews for the Impasse on Amazon, there are a few pictures of damaged cranks. Looking through the photos, it seems like the wrong pedals were fitted, and incorrectly fitting them destroyed the crank threads. Bike pedals are sided, and you need to put a left-hand pedal on the left-hand crank arm and the right-hand pedal on the right-hand crank arm. You should not need to use a wrench to put pedals on.
- Mechanical disc brakes
- Full suspension
- 29” alloy wheels
Weight: 44 lbs
Dimensions: 57 x 9 x 31 in
3. Roadmaster Granite Peak Mountain Bike
The Roadmaster Granite Peak’s name makes you think about road bikes. It is, in fact, a budget hardtail steel frame mountain bike. As a hardtail, the bike comes with a steel crown suspension fork to help smooth out bumps in front of you.
Attached to your steel frame and fork you will find alloy wheels. If you don’t follow cycling, alloy is shorthand for aluminum. It causes issues for people outside of cycling as steel is also an alloy. Aluminum rims help the Roadmaster to drop weight on the Granite Peak.
People who have bought the Roadmaster have often commented that their feet hit the front wheel. The reason for this was that their forks were fitted the wrong way. When your new bike appears, you will find that the fork is the wrong way around. Turn it, and you will find that room for your feet.
To allow you to power these wheels you will find a 21-speed SRAM twist shifter groupset. Once you are up to speed, you will find linear pull brakes to slow you down.
- Hardtail mountain bike
- SRAM twist shift gears
Weight: Not listed
Dimensions: Not listed
4. Kent T-29
The Kent T-29 is a 29” mountain bike. To make the T-29 a little lighter and therefore easier to ride, Kent has designed a 6061 aluminum frame. The frame features an Aheadset. An Aheadset will make it easier for you to upgrade the suspension fork should you want to.
The ease of upgrading makes the Kent T-29 an excellent choice for those who want a great mountain bike but do not have the budget to get there all at once. You can slowly upgrade the Kent as your budget allows and as parts wear out. If you think you’ll be in cycling for the long haul, this is a good starting point.
The Kent comes with 29” x 2.1” tires fitted to alloy rims so that you will be able to roll over more obstacles than you think you can. These tires are a good choice for those who want to start going out and discovering what cross country mountain biking is all about. 29” wheels will easily make up for the lack of rear suspension and save you from having to service a rear shock.
- 6061 aluminum frame
- 29” wheels
Weight: 41 lbs
Dimensions: 58 x 29.5 x 7.5 in
5. Mongoose Cache
The Mongoose Cache looks like a hardcore downhill mountain bike. It is just north of $200, and these looks have one problem: they bring a lot of weight to the Cache. It is the heaviest bike in this mountain bike review.
We should be realistic though, at its price point it is unreasonable to expect a super lightweight dual suspension mountain bike. Like the majority of other mountain bikes in the test, it comes with 21-speed twist shift gearing, with SRAM providing the shifters and Shimano providing the rear derailleur.
The tires are an excellent choice for offroad riding as they are pretty knobby. They will bite into the dirt and help to keep you rubber side down as you hit around corners. The Cache would be a great mountain bike for riding downhill and playing through easier trails in our review.
It will be slightly less fun riding up, but you can just push your bike uphill and enjoy riding down them. Coming with a front mechanical disc brake and rear linear pull brake, you should be able to ride downhill safely and be able to stop even at speed.
- Full suspension
- 21 speed
- Knobby tires
Weight: 51 lbs
Dimensions: Not listed
6. Vilano Ridge 2.0
The Vilano Ridge 2.0 is an interesting cheap hardtail mountain bike. It has features that are great value for money and will make your riding experience better. There is one feature you should consider upgrading. Once you have upgraded this, you will have a great mountain bike for trail riding.
Let us start with the good. The Vilano comes with a 6061 aluminum frame, and like the Kent, this frame is suitable for easy upgrades. Unlike the Kent, the Vilano comes with an internal headset, and this is a more modern version of the Aheadset found on the Kent.
The fork on the Vilano comes with a lockout switch. A lockout switch allows you to turn the suspension off. This makes the Vilano great for climbing and riding on roads as the fork will not bob when you pedal.
Following on from this, we have a Shimano EZ Fire groupset. EZ Fire sits above the twist shift in terms of quality and ease of gear changes. These features all make the Vilano a great choice. The problem is the wheels.
The wheels are mag wheels. They look cool, but you can’t true them or keep them straight. A big knock and you will have to replace them. Replace them though, and you will have a bike that will be an excellent mountain bike for the weekend warrior.
- 6061 aluminum frame
- Front suspension lockout
- Easyfire gears
Weight: 41 lbs
Dimensions: Not listed
7. Royce Union RTT
The Royce Union RTT is an aluminum framed hardtail mountain bike. The Union RTT comes in a vast variety of colors and male and female specific frame design. It is highly unlikely that you won’t find a Royce Union RTT that you like. The frame has a big head tube gusset to help add strength to the bike.
The Royce is one of the few bikes in our bike reviews to feature EZ Fire gearing. EZ Fire is a step above twist shift gearing and is a nice extra feature on the Royce. It is easier to find spares for it, and this will help to make your gearing system last longer than twist shifters. EZ Fire is a very good shifter system for a budget mountain bike.
To help comfort you from rough terrain, the Royce comes with a Zoom suspension fork. Zoom is the biggest manufacturer of budget suspension forks in the world. To add to the comfort provided by the Zoom fork, you will see that the Royce is also outfitted with wide knobby tires.
These tires are fitted to alloy wheels. These wheels will be able to withstand the rigors of entry-level mountain biking. They will also be easy to true and keep running for a long time. The Royce looks like a good choice for you if you want to commute to work as well as ride offroad.
- EZ Fire gearing
- Zoom suspension fork
- Male and female frame specific design
Colors: Matte tangerine, white, sky blue, silver, sport black, eggplant purple, metallic teal, matte black, red
Weight: 41.8 lbs
Dimensions: 57.1 x 9.1 x 29.9 in
8. Mongoose Status 2.2
The Mongoose Status 2.2 is an aluminum full suspension mountain bike. The aluminum frame has been reinforced in the areas most likely to break. The extra material adds a little bit of weight but should add reassurance that the Status 2.2 will not fall apart when you go for a ride.
Like the other bikes in the review, the Status 2.2 comes with 21 gears. The gears are supplied by a mix of SRAM twist shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur. The braking duties are handled by v-brakes which will allow you enough modulation to stop you effectively when out riding.
You will also find knobby 2.125 tires fitted to the alloy 26” wheels. These will bring you a nice measure of comfort when you are riding offroad. Combined with the suspension, you should have a nice smooth ride.
When you check other online reviews, you will find that people have problems setting up the bike. Like all online bike purchases, the Mongoose will require you to build it. You should be comfortable doing this or know someone that can do it for you. If you would like to learn how to put a mountain bike together, there are a lot of YouTube videos with great guidance in this area.
- Full suspension frame
- 21 speed
- Front and rear v-brakes
Weight: 44.4 lbs
Dimensions: Not listed
9. Huffy Tekton
The Huffy Tekton is a simple hardtail mountain bike. Huffy stands behind the quality of their aluminum frame, and they offer a 10-year warranty with the Tekton. The warranty is for a longer period than you will get with many other mountain bikes, including much more expensive mountain bikes.
The Tekton is a 21-speed mountain bike with all of its gearing duties being performed by Shimano. Shifting is handled by Shimano’s Revoshift system, a style of twist shift, and a Tourney rear derailleur.
As well as a Kolos front suspension fork, the Tekton rolls on 27.5” wheels to help you over rocky terrain. To make this even easier, Huffy has fitted oversized knobby tires. These tires will not only give you grip, they will also add extra comfort to your ride.
The Tekton is an excellent bike for those people who are looking for a simple bike that will be long lasting for getting into mountain biking. It is also a bike that is designed to make upgrades easy to find and fit. You can tailor it more towards “serious” mountain biking or more towards commuting to work depending on where your cycling career ends up taking you.
- 27.5” wheels
- Oversized tires
- 10 year frame warranty
Colors: Matte black, satin tropic blue, matte acid green
Weight: 45.3 lbs
Dimensions: 58.7 x 8.7 x 29.5 in
10. Huffy Escalate
The Huffy Escalate is a lightweight aluminum framed hardtail mountain bike. Like the Tekton above, the frame is also backed by a 10-year warranty. The frame is available in male straight top tube version and a female sloping top tube version. The sloping one will also work well for men with hip issues who still want to ride a bike. The Escalate looks like a retro 90s bike, and if you rode a bike as a teen, it may bring back fond memories for you.
The Escalate is one of the cheaper bikes in our bike review feature, but it comes with Shimano EZ Fire gearing. EZ Fire is controlled by your thumbs rather than twisting your hand. It makes changing gears easier and is an excellent feature on a bike at the Escalates price point.
To keep the price low, Huffy have fitted the Escalate with linear pull brakes. These will give you all the stopping power you need and save you from the extra cost of disc brakes. One little additional feature is that the Escalate comes with a kickstand fitted, making it easy for you to park your mountain bike.
- Fitted kickstand
- Shimano EZ Fire gears
- Front and rear Linear pull brakes
Colors: Gloss black, gloss nickel, gloss lavender, metallic mint
Weight: 41.8 lbs
Dimensions: 55.5 x 8.7 x 28.4 in
5 Things to Think About When Buying Your Mountain Bike
- Budget. Your budget should always be your first and foremost thought when thinking about buying a mountain bike. It is easy when you look at all the shiny options on offer to forget about your budget and blow too much money. Don’t do it to yourself.
- What do I want the bike for? If you want to spend time climbing for fitness, you don’t want a full suspension mountain bike. They will bob as you pedal and it will slowly destroy your nerves. If you’re going to go commuting as well as mountain biking, look for a lockout on the suspension fork to stop it diving as you pedal. If you live somewhere muddy and wet, look for knobby tires so you have a better grip.
- Upgradeability. If you get bitten by the cycling bug, will you be able to upgrade the bike easily or will you be looking at buying a whole new bike further down the line? Check above, and you will see that we have pointed out the easily upgradeable bikes.
- Comfort. A comfortable bike is one that you will want to ride, and it will be one that makes riding fun. The simple way to have a comfortable ride is to buy a bike with the widest tires. It is amazing what a little bit of extra air surrounded by rubber can do for your comfort.
- Keep it simple. The fewer gimmicks and paraphernalia on your bike, the more the manufacturers have paid attention to the essential parts. There is also the simple fact that the less there is on your bike, the less there is to go wrong or break. In some cases, a set of linear brakes will be all you need over disc brakes: that nicely takes us back to rule 2.
Top 3 Budget Mountain Bike Brands
- Mongoose. In a garage in California in 1974, Skip Hess created Mongoose bikes. His original invention was the Moto One Mag, a wheel that brought a stronger new design to mag wheels. Initially, Mongoose focused on BMX, but they were one of the first brands to bring out a full suspension mountain bike frame. Every American kid since the ’80s has wanted or ridden a Mongoose.
- Schwinn. Schwinn bikes have a long heritage. They were founded in Chicago in 1895 by German immigrant Ignaz Schwinn. During the 20th century, Schwinn grew to be one of the biggest bicycle companies in the world. Mountain biking also grew out of Schwinn’s balloon-tired cruiser bikes. These bikes became known as “Klunkers”. You’ll now find high-end bike companies building bikes in homage to these early mountain bikes. Schwinn had the best-selling kid’s bike of the 1960s.
- Huffy. We can trace Huffy’s roots back even further than Schwinn. Huffy grew out of a sewing machine company started in Dayton, Ohio in 1887. Huffy, from the outset, was always considered an entry-level brand of bike, even when they tried to manufacture high-end bikes. These long roots at the budget end of cycling have allowed Huffy to build a range inspired by over a century of providing such bikes.
What Sort of Mountain Bike can you Expect to get for less than $300?
Every year budget mountain bikes get better. They get a slow trickle down of better parts and designs. As the bike industry pushes the high-end mountain bikes to new heights, you can be sure these ideas will eventually work there way down. Maybe not straight away but it will happen.
Better materials, better welding techniques, better choice of equipment, it all slowly comes down the range. That does not mean you are getting a bike that will handle the wild trails of Whistler. If you want a bike that you can thrash downhill runs and jump parks you will need to raise your budget.
If you want a bike that will let you dip your toe into mountain biking and help you get the cycling bug, then a sub $300 bike can manage that. You’ll be best served if you try and keep both your wheels on the ground as much as possible.
You’ll find easy blue and green trails can easily be conquered on these bikes. A cheap mountain bike will not feature technology that you can hide behind. It will be a no thrills ride and in the end, you’ll more than likely become a better rider because of it.
They should all be able to double as a work commuter. You should find it easy and safe to get to work on all the bikes in our review. You may even see that they are quicker than taking the car in some metropolitan areas.
Should I be Budgeting to Spend up to $400 Instead?
Is moving your budget and buying one of the many mountain bikes under $400 instead of under $300 a good idea? In some cases it will, but for many it won’t. Sure, it is great to have something a little more expensive but is it worth blowing your budget? I would say no.
The amount of differences you will find in the bikes might not mean that you get much more bicycle for your money. You can likely make the same difference by buying a few upgrades at a time when you can afford it. We have a nice upgrade list for mountain bikes under $200, have a read of that, and the same upgrades will work for your new mountain bike.
Taking a sub $300 bike and following our upgrade list might take your bike closer to $400, but the chances are it is now going to ride like a $500 mountain bike and you won’t have needed to put all the money out at once. With canny purchases, you can make a budget bike much better and more fun than you ever imagined.
If you can go up to $400 and it does not blow a hole in your finances, go for it. You might find a bike that you prefer the look of and that means you will ride it more often. As you have spent more money, you are also more likely to look after it and care for it. Taking care of it is the way to make your cheap mountain bike last that little bit longer. You can also follow our upgrade list for your $400 bike as well.