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Think through the checklist of what to look for, what not to give up on, and the best ways to get the most out of them.
The simple but heart-pumping activity of bicycling goes to a whole new level of involvement as one hops on to a mountain bike. A range of muscle groups, mental concentration, and enjoyment of the beauty of Nature come together to make sure you hold dear every hour you spend on your bike. How to get the machine of your dream, then? Check out this list of 7 best women’s mountain bikes under $300. Note what to look for in your purchase.
Mountain bikes are tough and can negotiate almost any kind of terrain, arid climate, moisture, or rocky paths without so much as a scratch. They are durable and badass from the aspect of the looks. Even at the very outset, you would notice the deep-ribbed, thick tires are markedly different from road bikes.
Widely across the world, biking is a sport or activity that involves considerable expense. It means you spend not only on biking gear, the bicycle itself, and accessories. You also spend a considerable amount of time to fix up the bike. If you learn the ropes of tuning and troubleshooting, and you become quite a “hands-on” person who can handle most situations.
However, when so much is at stake, don’t fall to believing that a mountain bike is good only if it’s expensive. There are bikes in the range of USD 200 to 300 too. Choose among the following list of bikes that don’t break the bank as they offer you a worthy biking experience.
7 Best Women’s Mountain Bikes under $300 and how it fits your needs
This is for the balanced spender who does the due diligence. Merax FT323 has the gift of suspension in the front fork, shock absorption at the rear and stunning looks overall.
Oh yes, the looks: Pick either the gray and green or electric blue lettering outfit – both are eye-catching and appealing in every way. The cushy comfort of the front suspension is there for all to see. The rear soft tail frame shows straightaway that it can let you ease into each bounce-free ride. Perfect if you suffer from back or joint issues.
Still, Merax calls this one an entry-level bike equipped with all the needs for a trot on the sloped hillsides. It comes in the one frame size – 26-inch wheel diameter and can carry a rider of up to 330 lbs easily along convoluted mountain paths. For long-lasting performance, however, a rider weight of 220 lbs is easier on this bike.
If you’re thinking of getting learned in the lore of mountain bikes down to the very minutest of specifications, Merax is the way to get started. Instructions for set up easy as pie: for instance, the front wheel can snap into place without the need for any tools. Thread on the pedals likewise – one in each direction.
You have to tighten the cranks all the way. This way the shifters work with precision. Many users note that this bike is on par with the ones for which they paid for over USD 500-600.
- Knobby tires of 1.9 inches thickness grip the track well
- Linear pull brakes grab down sufficiently after adjustment
- Aluminum frame with 1-year warranty
- Entry-level components need to exchanged as you get better
- Brakes need regular tuning
Verdict: Shimano’s 21-speed derailleurs are a standout. They are precise and sharp in their action, making the tricky process of negotiating a mountain path relatively easier. Excellent customized expert-assembly is available for those who need the bike in a usable condition. The boxset comes at 85% assembly. The online Help Center by Merax is fairly helpful and proactive. Go for this one and discover the joys of mountain biking yourself.
Admittedly marked at a modest price, here’s a Mongoose that gives stiff competition to the other listings and wins by a margin. Is it all because of the 2.125-inch tires that roll you down the hill as pleasantly as if you were gliding down in your own hot-air balloon? Find out now!
Yes, the chunky tires add to the overall appeal – so much so that this bike is suitable for both men and women. They are thick and add oodles of comfort at full inflation to the ride quality. But that’s not the only thing to write home about. Choose from among black and red, teal, yellow, or dark silver, and you’ve got yourself a winner that remains light at a frame height of 18 inches and a wheel diameter of 26 inches.
Another factor that makes you feel in great control is the suspension at the back. Granted, it might need some tuning. Tighten it all the way and some users say that it can freeze. Instead, adjust the pre-loader to keep the rear shock in place but not too tight. The V-brakes clamp on without much ado and are smooth in their operation. This lends excellent control during downhill rides.
Several users appreciate the solid construction of the bike but decry the packaging, which leaves a lot to chance. This is definitely an opportunity for Mongoose which provides budget components and design that still works if they do not get damaged in transit. For this reason alone, some might opt for others among the listings.
- Brakes are smooth and well-adjusted
- Excellent customer service for spare parts
- Good ride quality with suspension and derailleurs in place
- Low-quality packaging
- Rear suspension is too tight
Verdict: For the seasoned biker who knows what she wants, this is a unisex bike that yields excellent performance over the years. The manufacturer needs to work on the initial assembly. Overall, a good product marred by questionable packaging.
Who says a mountain bike can’t look great? If your taste for the outdoors meets some bright pastels, then you’ll find the vivid, expressive features of the Mongoose Silva wonderfully chic. The pink frame and powder blue fork would be easy to spy flashing through the mountain laurel.
The wheel rims are as noticeable as the gay body. Made of alloy and coated in matte black, they are a light but tenacious support structure to the nubby tires. There is something incredibly good-looking about this bike’s silhouette although it is, in fact, tough as nails. For this reason, it’ll appeal to all beauty-loving gals who also prize functionality.
The curves of the handlebar give you a perfect, compact fit right into the palms. This design gives you command and control over angular descent and also allows you to enjoy the ride. Most of the comfort comes from the superb suspension in the front fork which gives you precious traction for downhill rides.
Adding to your confidence on the inclined rides are V-brakes that snap on in a jiffy. Shimano offers you a regular 21-speed with which you can become quite selective as you get used to variations in the mountain terrain. But it helps to spend time getting to know the bike – both at the assembly, tuning, and riding phases. This helps you get the most of the derailleur. The nuts and tuning of the handlebar stem needs work several times over for the bike to remain stable.
- Grip on tires is good
- Sharp looks
- Good braking
- Requires repeated tuning
Verdict: This good-looking bike can be a starter’s mountain bike. It has the structure and design in place for mountain biking. But, it is unsuited for advanced riders. The comfort and affordability features are the selling points.
The sweat and excitement that go with mountain biking are welcome on this rugged machine. The handle-grips are as knobby as the tires – no chance of slippage even in the warmest weather. The wheels are 24 inches in diametric measure and set on a 15” frame. For the 26-inch variant, you get a choice of frame sizes ranging from 15 inches to 22 inches.
First off, the looks: The predominant white color with black lettering is in keeping with the mountain theme and jazzy looks that fit in well with the outdoors. The tires are knobby and you can see the tire dig into the loose mountain soil, gripping it firmly as you speed up. You can also look for the aqua blue variant. It’s light for a mountain bike at 38.2 pounds.
This is a regular, oft-purchased 21-speed model that many enjoy once they iron out the niggles of tuning up for the first time. The body is made of aluminum. It stays rust-free even during the wet season and demands very little maintenance. Users point out that it is economical and uses the much sought-after trigger shift powered by Shimano. Flick the drivetrain with the forefinger and thumb. The brake system of linear alloy pull brakes are equally light. Royce Union ensures that the bike stays light by opting for standard-issue components that are as durable as the solid bike frame.
- Light body
- Good grip of tires on dirt paths and mountain trails
- EZ Fire Derailleur helps shift gears smoothly
- Cables can get into a tangle – check installation videos for clarity
Verdict: Cool bike in the economical range with standard parts. The suspension is admirable in the steel suspension for at the front. The handlebars turned slightly upwards give an upright riding experience. Go for this bike if you want all the comfort features of a mountain bike without a steep mark-up.
A trendy but economical mountain bike that delivers on many fronts – that’s Titan’s Pathfinder for you. This is an 18-speed bike in a splash of orange that goes well with the stark black of the wheels and handlebar.
This is a bike for beginner-to-intermediate range mountain biking for females. It carries a load of up to 275 pounds swiftly. The handlebars with the wavy shape adjust well once you have the cables and shifters figured out. The bike comes about 85% pre-assembled. You have to do the rest with the tools provided.
Out of the box, you see that it is a steel frame with steel hubs and forks. The gear systems are easy to reach from the handlebar and move smoothly with each flick. Controlled movement is possible through the V-brakes. There is a front suspension but no rear shock, so treat this as the very entry-level of hardtail bikes that can get you started in the hobby of mountain riding.
For a modest price, it offers you tires, tubes, an adjustable quick-release seat saddle, and 26-inch alloy wheels. It is a complete package if you are ready to put in the hard work of tuning a budget bike and work away patiently at adjusting the brakes, the gears, and the front suspension fork.
Notice any wobbling? That means you have to tune it more finely and with the help of assembly videos, you can get it right.
People who have used the boxset suggest that you use your own Allen wrench and open-end wrench (15 mm) because the multi-use bike tool provided with the Titan Pathfinder is not that great.
- Color and standout looks
- Responsive customer service
- High-tensile steel frame is durable
- Needs repeated adjustment
Verdict: This is a package deal for a mountain bike where you spend less and receive only the basics for the modest pricing. Still, it is a complete package deal in itself. The bright color and tapered handlebar are designed with women riders in mind. A compact look and enviable suspension seal the deal.
Another unobtrusively-priced mountain bike that suits both women and growing men is the Hiland. It has the modern-standard of good looks and functionality within standard-issue components. A choice between wheels of 24” or 26” keeps the riders happy while the classic black and white broken by lettering in blue proclaiming ‘Hiland’ in bold letters keeps the style-conscious rider happy.
Hiland does not cut corners in providing comfort: There are the Schrader valves air up with any store-bought pump. Other features of comfort are also kept in mind while packing this finished product with conveniences. The buyer gets a kickstand, pedals, flat-tire resistant Kenda tires, and dual-disc brakes to keep the roll in control.
Further, Taiwanese component maker, Zoom, provides perky suspension and comfort to a range of heights among riders from 4’7” to 6’. This makes it the ideal mountain bike beginner kit that can be put together by women and girls with even no experience in handling nuts and bolts. Yes, at 85% assembly out of the box, the handlebars, pedals, seat, and front-wheel can be snapped on in a jiffy. There is also an assembly video to demonstrate it and an option to pay for expert assembly if you choose not to bother with the tools.
A regular entry-level Shimano 21-speed drivetrain sets the rider off at a decent clip. The steel body frame and a suspension fork at the front from Zoom do the rest in assuring lightness and smoothness in the ride. At a few points below 40 pounds on the weighing scale, this one is light for a mountain bike. Shimano also tosses up a well-admired 14-28 T cassette into the mix so the steep hills can be negotiated with no great ado.
- Good grip on handle-grips
- Smooth-shifting Shimano gears
- Good for trail riding
- Seat is hard and uncomfortable
- Handlebars are low
Verdict: Fun and functional starter pack for girls and women. The drivetrain, cassette, and brakes are standard-issue and offer no trouble. Other tiny details like the Kenda tires, valves, and handlebars have minor issues. Hiland can smooth out most of these by issuing clear installation instructions.
The market is agog with mountain bikes priced close to the median or even far below. These variants such as the Huffy Hardtail mountain bike have all the trimmings of a fully-equipped one. It helps to know that this one, for instance, comes with the steel frame that offers a durable and thrilling ride on a trail or a dirt path. There is a choice of 6-speed and a 21-speed with the latter in two size variants of 24 inches and 26 inches.
Well, the good things first: the Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur allows you to speed up consistently and retain momentum across the mountain terrain. The tires are a little less than 2 inches thick and make short work of the rushes. Alloy wheel rims are also standard-issue and stand the test of time. Controlling speed is just as easy with linear-pull brakes at both the front and rear. The handle-grips and seat likewise offer comfort and control over the ride.
Given the lithe structure of the frame, this mountain bike is better suited for lighter riders. Some users complain that the owner’s manual is not clear on assembly instructions for each model and variant, and this is something for Huffy to work on. The little details matter. Some, for example, suggest that the seat is quite hard and might need an extra gel cover for comfort.
- Good value for money
- Can be tuned up easily
- Straightforward set-up
- Beginners might struggle with instructions
- Seat is uncomfortable
Verdict: It’s a mixed bag, with many tiny issues that you can tide over if you read up and learn about tuning. Since a bag of tools is included in the boxset, the set up can be completed in less than an hour. This is good training for anyone hoping to ride around on the mountain slopes and forest trails. The basic frame and fork of the Huffy are in good shape.
Mountain Bikes – Things to Know
A mountain bike has nubby, chunky tires. This is for the kind of gripping action that you will need when riding on the ungainly, unpredictable surface of a mountain slope.
It is also extremely light.
But more than that, how technical can it get?
You might have heard of “hardtail” and “soft tail” as you research your mountain bike choices.
A hard tail bike is made from a single piece of metal or choice of bike material. Hardtail bikes are easier on your pocket and maintenance-wise. Of the two types, hardtail ones are better suited for the smoother paths. Scaling up inclines is easier on this lighter bike.
Softail or soft tail bikes are also called full-suspension (FS) bikes. Soft tail bikes have two pieces of the material, with shock absorbers at both the front and back wheel. It is not hard to see that ‘suspension’ is a by-word as far as mountain biking is concerned.
Rear shock is an important feature that not every mountain bike is routinely equipped with. It is placed out of sight in advanced softail bikes and allows you to glide smoothly over gnarly paths. The rear shock absorption (often simply called “shock”) is a great comfort to have while riding on uneven, inclined paths. Make short work of rocks, roots, and uneven growths of foliage with this feature.
The true beauty of a soft-tail bike is when you descend a hill at full speed. The greater weight of the softail gives you more stability and also sustaining power to the speed to you adapt. In truth, all mountain bikers live for the thrill of a downhill ride on a well-designed, solid mountain bike.
It follows that softail bikes or full-suspension bikes are more expensive than hardtail ones. You will also need to put in more time tuning the bike and ensuring that all the screws are in place. Once you set them up, they’re perfect for deeply-rutted paths, sudden drops, and the most uneven surfaces. Pedaling efficiency used to be low on FS bikes at one time. High-end manufacturers now allow the rider to switch to efficient pedaling with a simple switch.
Riding down the hill, it is always best to adopt a lower gear on the derailleur. It helps you keep better control of the speed.
With these factors in mind, look for the best mountain bike for your style of riding. When the hills beckon, you now have an answer!
Go for the Merax which is reasonably priced and offers you a plethora of features for a decent mark-up.
If you don’t care for the features of feisty dirt biking and just looking to start with hill-side inclines, Huffy and Mongoose are more your speed while lying easy on the pocket.
If you can stretch your budget a bit for better choices, here’s our picks under 500.