Mountain biking is not only a fun activity, but it’s also a great way to get fit and explore the great outdoors. A high-quality mountain bike can be expensive, and you can easily spend six figures for a model with all the bells and whistles. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to make a huge investment, there are still some options that fit a budget under $$$ that will let you ride on a variety of terrain. In this guide, we’ve rounded up five of the best mountain bikes for under 100 USD for men, women, and kids.  We’ll tell you about their specs, dive into user reviews, and round it out with a buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.

Let’s dive into our top picks.

Best Mountain Bikes For Under 100: Comparison Table

Best Mountain Bikes For Under 100: How We Chose Our Ratings

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When it comes to mountain bikes, there are seemingly endless options to choose from.  With dozens of manufacturers making models in a variety of materials and with different features, it might seem impossible to narrow it down.

Our top five list includes only options that cost ​100 USD or less, and that have high user ratings and reviews.  We paid attention to models with features that make them more comfortable, easier to handle, and durable. We also gave extra points to bikes that are easy to assemble and that people love to ride.

Top 5 Best Mountain Bikes

Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your spouse, or your child, you’ll find an option on our list.  Here are our picks for the best mountain bikes for under $.

This mountain bike comes with a 26-inch frame, which is suitable for most men and taller women.  It’s equipped with a Kolo 1200 front suspension fork which absorbs shock and impact and makes your ride feel smooth, even when you’re off-roading or pedaling over uneven terrain.

 

There are 21 different gear combinations which give you a wide variety of speeds to make it easy to climb steep hills and pick up speed on your descents.  The shifter is a twist-style which is easy to use and clicks seamlessly into place.

 

There are both front and rear brakes that use alloy wheel rim technology to give you excellent stopping power.

 

For comfort, this bike has a handlebar with a slight rise to keep your arms and wrists in an ergonomically friendly position.  It’s also equipped with a fully stitched and padded saddle and Krayton grips to keep you in control of the steering, even when conditions are wet or muddy.

 

The steel frame makes it incredibly durable, and not only does it come with an attractive blue and white stripe paint job, but it also carries a lifetime warranty.

 

This bike will stand up to riders who weigh up to 250 pounds and can go on a variety of journeys including those on:

  • Trails
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Pavement

The bike weighs in at 35 pounds, which is about average for inexpensive mountain bikes.  However, some riders might find that the extra weight makes climbing steep heels challenging.

 

It’s easy to assemble and usually comes with free shipping from your local store.

Pacific Women's Stratus Mountain Bike, Blue, 26-Inch
  • Steel low stand over mountain frame geometry for easy control
  • 15-speed Torgue drive thumb shifters and rear derailleur provide easy shifting
  • Steel calliper brakes stop securely
  • 1-piece mountain crank offers wide gear range

There are two main differences between men’s and women’s mountain bikes: their size and the paint colors.  The ​Pacific Women's Stratus Mountain Bike comes with a 26-inch frame, which could be suitable for women between five and six feet tall.

 

It features a pretty teal and white paint job, which makes it look slightly feminine but no less rugged and capable of going on an adventure.

 

It’s built with a front Vitesse suspension which has excellent shock absorption and makes it easy to ride long distances without feeling every bump in your path.  The Kent Terra also uses a 21-speed brand-name Shimano drive train which is a high-quality option also used on more expensive models.

 

You change gears by using the twist shifters, and the brakes are easy to pull to bring you to a smooth stop.  The wheels are made of an alloy which makes them tough enough to stand up to dirt, gravel, and rocks, and the seat post is easy to adjust to get you in the perfect position.

 

The frame itself is made of steel, which while heavy at 42 pounds, is extremely durable and nearly impossible to bend, warp, or damage.  Riders who weight up to 250 pounds can safely take this bike out for a spin.

 

Assembly is required, but the ​Pacific Women's Stratus Mountain Bike has a unique option that it’s competitors do not.  If you purchase it from Target, their experts will assemble the bike for free and allow you to pick it up in-store.  This can save you time and money on shipping, but you’ll need to be able to fit it in your car or ride it home.

Hyper Shocker 26" 18-Speed Men's Bike, Model OPP-152601
  • Shimano equipped. 18-speed twist grip shifting. Suspension steel frame with suspension...
  • Front and rear linear pull brakes. Alloy quick release seat clamp. Assembled dimensions:...
  • Brakes: linear pull front and rear brakes. Seat: deluxe padded Frame: steel
  • Wheel type: 26" spoked wheel Tires: 26" x 2.25" knobby tires
  • Weight: 32 lbs Pedals: resin platform pedals

The all black, stealth looking Hyper Dual Suspension Mountain Bike is a user favorite.  It’s crafted from a steel frame with a suspension fork that delivers a comfortable ride no matter what surface you’re exploring.

 

It comes with wider wheels than many of its competitors, which gives you more traction when you’re pedaling through soft surfaces like dirt and sand.  

 

Another feature that’s different than others on this list is that it offers you 18 different speed and gearing options.  If you plan to ride particularly steep inclines, you might want to search for a model that has the full 21, but this combination will work for the majority of beginner riders.

 

It features front and rear brakes that you squeeze a linear pull to engage.  The quick-release seat clamp makes it easy to adjust the seat height for comfort while you’re riding.

 

The bike does require assembly, but even the most inexperienced users say it took less than 30 minutes and they felt like the bike was both stable and durable once all of the parts were secured in place.

Biking is a pastime that’s fun for the whole family, and the Huffy Highland youth model lets your kids join the fun.  It’s important to note, this bike is made for kids who are comfortable riding on a variety of surfaces without training wheels, and the manufacturer says it’s intended for children ages 13 and up.

 

Younger kids who have good riding skills or who are taller could also use this model, but be sure they wear a helmet and other appropriate equipment to stay safe when they’re riding.

 

Much like the adult version of the Huffy bike, the youth model comes with a Kolo 1200 front suspension fork that smooths out the ride and absorbs the impact from uneven surfaces.  

 

It has 21 speeds and uses the name-brand Shimano rear derailleur and a twist shifter to switch between your gears.

 

The front and rear brakes engage with a simple linear squeeze, and when they hit the alloy rims on your wheels, the bike stops smoothly and quickly making it easy to ride and handle.

 

It’s made with a steel frame that comes with a slick red paint job which will make your child not only highly visible while they’re out riding, but they’ll also look good doing it.  The frame also boasts a limited lifetime warranty and can carry youth riders who weigh up to 130 pounds.

 

The bike weighs in at 35 pounds, which might be heavy for some smaller riders on any uphill terrain.

 

It comes unassembled but it simple to put together.  The instructions are easy to follow, and everything that you’ll need is included in the packaging.

This women’s model from Roadmaster is another user favorite among new riders who want a comfortable bike to take on and off the beaten path.

 

It’s made with a steel frame and front suspension fork that will absorb impact and take the edge off of a bumpy ride.  The durable material will hold up well in near any conditions, and you don’t have to worry about cracks or warping with regular use.

 

The 24-inch frame is the perfect size for more petite women, but will also be comfortable for someone up to five feet, eight inches tall.  The more compact design than the other women’s styles in this guide makes it a good choice for shorter women, or even tall youth who are not yet ready for a full-sized frame.

 

The Roadmaster gives you 18 different speed options, and you shift your gears using their twist shifters which are easy to maneuver and click into place.  The front and rear linear breaks make it easy to stop as slowly or quickly as needed.

 

The brand itself is newer and lesser known than big names like Huffy.  However, Roadmaster has produced entry-level recreational bikes for several decades, and is well-loved and trusted by those who ride them.

 

Thanks in part to their slightly lower level of brand recognition, this model is also a bit less expensive than its competitors.

Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best mountain bikes for under $$$ for you or your family isn’t just about picking one with a paint color you like- although that is important.  You’ll also want to consider a variety of factors like the style, suspension type, and materials to ensure you’re selecting the best model for you.

In this buyers guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most important mountain bike components, and ask questions to help you determine what will fit your needs best.  The answers will narrow down this list so that you feel confident with your decision.

Why Are You Buying a Mountain Bike?

The first question you’ll want to answer is how you plan to use your new mountain bike.  Are you purchasing it for fitness? Will you be riding around your neighborhood on mostly streets and sidewalks?  Or are you looking for an option to take off road on steep, and uneven terrain?

If you’re a new rider, an entry-level model will likely have more than enough features and capabilities to get you started.  However, if you’re hoping to take your mountain bike on a rugged trail with a lot of steep descents, you may want to look at an upgraded model that will give you an even smoother ride.

The bikes in this review are best suited for new riders who want to get comfortable on a mountain bike and use it leisurely around their home.

Mountain Bike Styles

There are several different styles of frames and tires that can be combined and will still fall in the mountain bike category.  

The most common are:

  • Trail Bikes
  • Cross Country Bikes
  • Fat Bikes

All of the ones listed in our guide are considered trail bikes.  That means they are an all-around model that’s perfect for traditional trail use.

Trail bikes have components that offer moderate suspension and can absorb most of the movement and impact of riding on pavement, dirt, sand, or gravel.  These are best for someone who is looking to ride for pleasure, and not as a race bike.

Cross-country bikes are a lightweight alternative to a traditional trail bike.  They are made of materials like aluminum or carbon fiber which make them easier to manage and allow you climb steep terrain easier.  

Cross-country bikes generally also have better handling capabilities, which means you can turn (or corner) more accurately and quickly.  These are the bike of choice for people who want to race, or, as the name implies, travel long distances.

Finally, fat bikes are a term that’s used to describe a mountain bike with oversized tires.  These are fun to ride, and loved by beginners for the additional shock absorption. Users also say they are easier to ride and balance on thanks to the wider surface.

Fat bikes are popular for use in the snow or sand because the tread gives you better traction.  If you want to upgrade your mountain bike for winter use, you may be able to change out the stock tires for ones that measure up to five inches wide to mimic the feel of riding a fat bike.

Mountain Bike Suspensions

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Another factor that differentiates one mountain bike type from another is their suspension.  There are three main types: rigid, hardtail (or front suspension), and full-suspension bikes.  On our list, you’ll find both rigid and hardtail options.

Here is what you need to know about the differences between them.

Rigid suspension bikes offer the least amount of suspension, which is the ability to absorb the shock of traveling over uneven terrain.  These are the most inexpensive and are best suited for riding on paved roads, sidewalks, and trails.

If you plan to head off-road, you’ll want to look for a hardtail or full-suspension bike so that you don’t feel every dip, groove, and rock in your hands and seat.

Hardtail bikes are the most common model, and you can find options that fit every budget.  This style offers a suspension system that sits over the front wheel that takes the brunt of the impact when you hit any uneven patches on your ride.

Users like this style because it isn’t as jarring to their upper body and makes it easier to grip the handlebars.  The rear wheel stays rigid, which means you’ll feel impacts on your backside when you hit them.

Another pro of a hardtail model is that it doesn’t require as much maintenance as a full-suspension model.  That makes it more budget-friendly.

Hardtail bikes are perfect for on and off-road riding as long as you’re not trying to conquer any extreme terrain.

Finally, full-suspension bikes are traditionally your high-end models.  They offer a suspension fork over both the front and rear wheels to give you the smoothest possible ride over any type of terrain.

You’ll pay for that comfort though, and they require more maintenance than the other models.

Full-suspension bikes are a perfect choice if you want to do any extreme off-road mountain biking or racing.

Wheel Size

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All of the mountain bikes on our list come with standard 26-inch wheels.  They are all knobby, which means they’ll give you good traction on a variety of surfaces.  Since they are the most common size, it’s also easy to find replacement tires or tubes if you get a puncture.

You can also find bikes with 27.5-inch and 29-inch wheels.  These are more expensive, but there are some benefits to the larger size.  The bigger your tire, the more distance you can cover with each pedal stroke.  

If you plan on riding places with a lot of hills, the larger wheels can make it easier to get to the top.

However, the larger the wheel, the less maneuverability you’ll have with your bike.  You sacrifice a bit of control the higher you go, so keep that in mind if you’re a new rider considering an upgrade.

​Frame Materials

Mountain bikes can be made from a variety of materials, ranging from steel which is the most durable, cheapest, and heaviest, to an aluminum alloy which is lightweight but expensive.

All of the bikes on our list are made of steel, and most models at the under $$$ will be as well.  Because this is the most affordable material, it’s also the most common to use in entry-level models.

Higher end bikes may use aluminum alloys, titanium, or carbon fiber to make them extremely lightweight but also durable enough to handle rugged trails.

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