best cheap mountain bike under 200

Best Cheap Mountain Bike Under 200

by Joseph Wells - Last Updated: February 19, 2019

What makes a good mountain bike? Is a cheap mountain bike under $200 worthwhile? We will explore the world of inexpensive mountain bikes here in this article.

There are actually some cool bike choices below $200.  If you don’t expect to race the bike, and it is just reasonable transportation check out the Murtisol Mountain Bike.

The Murtisol features some cast metal wheels that are different, but also has disc brakes. This will help the bike last longer since the wheels can take abuse and not be dependent on the rims for braking.  Bent wheels on low priced bikes are always an issue, and this bike alleviates the problem by using disc brakes front and rear.

Many people get fooled into believing that more gears is better.  In some ways, it doesn’t actually help. You don’t get an easier or harder gear when adding, just more steps in between.  On the Murtisol, you get 21 speeds, 3 up front and 7 in the rear.  More than enough for just about any proper riding on this bike.

Oh, don’t forget the suspension fork! It may be basic, but with bumpy roads, it will take some of the vibration and shock away from hitting bumps. Overall, the Murtisol is a great bike for less than $200.

Best Alternative Wheel Size MTB

In the infancy of mountain biking, the defacto wheel size was always 26″. It is still a great wheel size and has both advantages and disadvantages.  Larger wheels roll over obstacles easier, cover more ground and are easier for riding. However, they also accelerate poorly, take more effort to steer, and almost always require disc brakes.

Small wheels accelerate easier but don’t roll over rocks or bumps with ease. A great alternative to an inexpensive MTB is the Murtisol Mountain Bike 27.5. While Murtisol isn’t exactly a worldwide brand name, they are selling bikes with great features at excellent prices.

This particular Murtisol model features a modern frame design made from steel. Part of which is hydroformed. Hydroforming reshapes metal tubing into non-round shapes which can make structures stronger.

It features an average 21 speed drive train and mechanical type disc brakes on the front and the rear. Amazingly on this price point, it uses a threadless fork system which is usually seen on better bikes. Oh yes, this bike does have a suspension fork.

Lowest Priced Pick

For right around $100 you can get a Roadmaster Granite Peak.  This particular bike is popular on college campuses due to its low cost. For basic commuting around in a neighborhood, to school or something like that, this is a great choice.

Be careful when buying a bike at this price level.  Quality assembly is important, and secondly, to check all the nuts and bolts after riding it a few days.  I have seen the cranks fall off these bikes pretty easily, as well as pedals fail.  Unfortunately, with a low priced bike, you don’t get high-quality parts everywhere.

Everything about the bike is basic.  The drivetrain is ample, it shifts with the clicks, and goes into all the gears so they can be used without it making a ton of noise.  The brakes are ok, but if you bend a wheel, you will have rubbing rims in no time.

The frame size is pretty small overall. If you are taller, you might look to another bike that is bigger and can be more comfortable.  Riders that are shorter can easily ride this bike.

Women’s Pick

The only difference between a Mens bike and a Ladies bike should be the frame design.  If you are comparing bikes at the same price point, but the Ladies bike has inferior parts, look elsewhere as it doesn’t cost anything different to manufacture a Ladies frame.

A Ladies bike can either have a smaller overall frame size, or a step-through type frame.  Step through means the top tube of the bike is slanted down significantly to give more clearance.

Take a look at the DynaCraft Speed Alpine.  It compares quite favorably to other bikes that are just over $100 in cost.

Again, this a basic bike. A 21 speed drivetrain is standard. It also uses rim brakes, so if a wheel gets damaged, it will end up rubbing and being annoying.

The frame is designed well and gets the handlebars up at a reasonably comfortable level.  The saddle is basic, it might be comfortable for a few riders.

This bike also has a suspension fork.  It will work a little, but isn’t really meant for true off-road riding.

Full Suspension Pick

The Kent KZ2600 full suspension is a reasonable choice at this price point.  It is a very inexpensive model, and the suspension won’t do much for true mountain biking, but it could be cool transportation.

To offer full suspension, they cut a few corners on the bike.  The first one is that it has a rim brake on the rear, and disc on the front.  Normally, you bend the rear wheel hitting things like curbs or bike rocks, so having a rim brake there is not great in the long run.

The frame is made from Aluminum, so it will ride a bit nicer than the steel bikes in comparison.  It also runs a threadless headset style which will work better over time and have fewer issues.

The Shimano 21 speed drivetrain is pretty standard at this pricing.  Nothing crazy, or extra durable, just stuff that is basic and works ok.

One of the big problems on suspension bikes is shocks that are under designed.  Just having a spring can be an improvement over no suspension for a few, but in general, the suspension only adds weight and doesn’t really ride any better.  Better shocks will have adjustability for rider weight, and dampening built in.  Imagine only having springs in your car and no shocks to control them. Boing! like a pogo stick.

Commuting Special

One of the biggest problems with commuting on a bike is locking it up so that parts or the whole bike is not stolen.  There is nothing worse than walking outside to go somewhere and see your bike is gone or stuff is missing off of it.

With that, check out the Ferty 2017 Folding Mountain Bike. While this bike may not have super nice brakes or a 21 speed drive train, it offers some security features that make it a great choice for the commuter.

First off the bike is foldable. What this can allow for is several things.  If you can bring the bike inside, it takes up less room so it can be put in a closet, or some other place where it is more secure.

If you have to lock it outside, you can lock up the wheels and frame all together to something strong.  Many bikes are stolen because they are improperly locked, usually only through the front wheel.

The Ferty is a good choice for both Men and Women. The frame design has a low standover height, so Women will be able to use the bike with few problems.

Conclusion

Surprisingly, there are many reasonable choices for best cheap mountain bikes under $200.  Part of the equation is understanding how to best use them.

While a $200 bike isn’t going to be super rugged or race worthy, they are great transportation to school, or for someone looking at a low cost way to get around.  It would be nice if we could ride expensive bikes without worry of having them stolen.

While the bikes from Murtisol were not named brand, there is quite a bit of value there for the buyer.  Whether you are looking for bigger wheels or tough cast metal wheels, Murtisol has several wise choices.

Finally, if you need something easier to secure, or to carry up to your apartment, look at the Ferty folding bike.  It is a great alternative, and easier to manage for locking it up and making it look less inviting to steal.

As you can see, there are quite a few great choices available.  With current colors, modern frame design, and even disc brakes, you can find great features at reasonable pricing.

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