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Why Its A Bad Idea To Buy A Mountain Bike For Under $300
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Why Its A Bad Idea to Buy A Mountain Bike for Under $300

If you are in the market for a good mountain bike selling for under $300, I've got some bad news for you: its very rare to find one that is suitable at this price range for more than light trail riding. You might be wondering why this is. The truth of the matter is that most new mountain bikes selling for less than $300 are simply glorified hybrids with knobby tires, and can't stand up to the pounding they take in most off road riding conditions.

If you are looking for a mountain bike for under $300, and you intend to use it for off road use, your best bet is to find a used mountain bike. Now, you might be thinking that you don't want to buy used, and would rather have a new shinny bike. While this mindset is certainly understandable, it simply isn't practical at that price point. Once you have a better understanding of the components that come on bikes priced below $300, you will see why.

First of all, most bikes selling for less than $300 don't have very good rear derailleurs, which means shifting won't be as crisp as you would like. The forks that these bikes come equipped with don't have very much travel to roll over obstacles, and they behave kind of like pogo sticks. If you are riding through a rock garden, for instance, you don't want a fork that is bouncing you all over the place. Its never fun when your headset gets loose and rattles all over the place, which can lead to injury if the bolt holding the forks to the handlebars breaks.

Compare that with a used bike selling for $300. Chances are, that bike retailed for $600 new, as it is very common for people to sell bikes for half as much as they paid for them. Also consider that a used bike that retailed at $600 has, at the minimum, a Rockshox Dart 1 or a decent entry level Suntour XCT fork, which are now selling on bikes costing as much as $700 or more. Its not too uncommon for a used mountain bike to have Deore shifting, which is much better than a sub Shimano Tourney level derailleur a cheap new bike will have. Simply put, you are going to get much more bang for your buck on a quality used bike than a new one.

If you must purchase a new bike and are on a budget, please consider saving an extra month or two for a good quality new bike. Most decent entry level mountain bikes start out at about $400, and are worth the extra $100 investment. If you do a lot of street riding, and very little off road riding, you can get a good quality cheap hybrid bike for about $300.


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