The Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike For Beginners
A full suspension mountain bike might become your trustworthy riding ally. But do you really need it? In the mountain biking world, riders are divided between hardtail and full suspensions, with many points inclining towards the first. So, what’s the fuss with full suspensions?
This guide will show you why to invest in a full suspension mountain bike and how to choose the right one for you. Don’t feel like reading? Check out our top picks below.
When choosing the right mountain bike, things go well beyond personal preference. Choosing a bike over another is often a matter of riding preferences and an evaluation of personal circumstances. In the end, what matters is the performance and not the design.
So, when is it best to invest in a full suspension mountain bike? And why?
Why Invest In A Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Like its name suggests, a full suspension mountain bike has suspensions on both wheels. In terms of engineering, this type of bike is more complicated than a hardtail. There are more components involved, as the manufacturers have to attach rear pivots, extra tubes and a rear shock.
This usually means two things, the bike is more expensive, needs more maintenance, and is heavier than a hardtail bike. But despite these flaws, this type of mountain bike presents many more advantages.
One of them is the stability on trails and uneven roads. The rear suspension not only absorbs the road shocks delivering a smoother ride, it also pushes the wheel against the ground. By keeping in contact the trail and the tire, full suspension bikes have an improved traction. And if you’re an off-road rider, you know how important this is, especially on slippery surfaces.
Although many riders prefer hardtail bikes when riding on flat terrains, the full suspension might become your only choice if you love downhill riding, for the improved traction we’ve mentioned above.
But that’s not the only advantage of this type of bike. A full suspension mountain bike is also more comfortable to ride at all times. As it absorbs most of the road shocks, it reduces the stress transmitted to your upper body, reducing fatigue. Pedaling is also smoother on a full suspension bike.
Moreover, a full suspension bike is often faster than a hardtail and easier to handle, despite the added weight. And with a wealth of models out there, manufactured to handle all trails and riding styles, investing in a full suspension seems the most logical solution.
How To Choose A Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Full suspension mountain bikes are usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum is often used for long-travel downhill bikes or on the low-end range of machines; however, carbon fiber is expensive. Both materials are strong and rigid, offering a safe platform for you to ride. Yet, if you choose an aluminum bike, expect it to be heavy.
Full suspension mountain bikes come in three styles, short ,medium, or long-travel bikes. The term actually refers to the size of the suspension, which is shorter or longer based on the specific model of the vehicle.
Short-travel suspension bikes have a short suspension travel, usually under 4 inches. These bikes are suitable for cross-country disciplines, but will also deliver great performances to those looking for a smooth Sunday ride on most terrains.
They are the lightest type of full suspension mountain bikes and are so efficient that many hardtail enthusiasts are switching to these bikes instead.
Medium-travel suspension bikes have a suspension travel between 4 and 6 inches; they are also perfect for cross-country and have a decent performance on the downhill. They are designed for riders who don’t limit themselves to just one type of trail but like both uphill and downhill.
Many of these bikes come with adjustable suspension, a feature that allows a temporary limiting of the travel to improve the climbing ability of the unit.
Long-travel suspension bikes have a suspension travel between 7 and 10 inches. They have an unmatched performance in absorbing the shocks of downhill riding and are also perfect for most freestyle disciplines. The feature that defines these bikes is the high-speed stability.
Suspension units are strong, durable, and adjustable, while the frame, brake system, drivetrain, and overall control of the bike is built with reliability in mind.
These bikes have a low performance uphill or on flat trails and are heavy, but they are probably your best bet if you love the downhill.
Last but not least, you should check the bike’s size. Just like with any other model, try the bike and see how it feels. You should be able to sit comfortably in the saddle, reach the pedals with ease and be able to keep a natural position of the upper body.
Full suspension mountain bikes come in a wide range of sizes, suitable for men, women, and kids.
Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike
1. Diamondback Atroz Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
Diamondback Atroz Dual Suspension Mountain Bike is a short-travel model that impresses with its increased performance and an affordable cost. The product boasts an understated single pivot design that uses sealed cartridge bearings. These deliver a smooth and durable performance on almost all terrains.
The 120mm suspension travel can deal with all types of off-road trails, while the frame is made of strong aluminum alloy. To save on weight and make the bike easy to maneuver, the manufacturer also equipped the product with formed and butted tubes.
Available in three sizes, the bike comes with quick and stable 27.5 inches wheels and an SRAM 1x9 drivetrain. At the same time, aggressive Kenda Nevegal tires ensure you’ll be able to have fun on both demanding trails and smooth paved roads.
The bike doesn’t have an impressive performance on the downhill, yet it’s a great beginner’s or crossroad bike to consider.
2. Diamondback Bicycles Recoil 29er Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Recoil 29er by Diamondback might not be a superbike, but it still is a high performing product to consider. The model uses a simple single pivot design which delivers smooth rides on all terrains. The large 29 inches wheels ensure a superior speed, reducing fatigue when riding off-road.
The bike does an excellent job of maintaining traction on muddy or bumpy terrains. The four-inch front and rear suspension travel puts this vehicle in the short-travel category and makes it ideal for a wide range of disciplines, including cross-country and climbing.
The 29-inch wheels add up to the stability and traction of this bike. Designed to take the edge off all, they deliver plush-smooth rides on almost all surfaces.
The frame is made of aluminum but is lighter than most entry-level frames available on the market. Despite its weight, the frame is sturdy and durable, made to withstand all challenges. Last but not least, a Shimano 3x8 speed drivetrain ensures versatility.
3. Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike is another excellent full suspension mountain bike to consider. Boasting a hydro-formed aluminum frame and long-travel front and rear suspensions, this bike is perfect for downhill riding and freestyle disciplines.
Both suspensions are adjustable and it is possible to limit the travel temporarily, to increase riding performance uphill or on flat terrains.
24 speeds add up to the versatility of this product, helping you travel faster.
The wheels are standard 26-inch mountain bike wheels and the product is available in four sizes, fitting people between 5’2’’ and 6’1’’. The wheels feature strong double wall rims and both the front and the rear wheels boast the quick release system.
4. Merax Falcon Full Suspension Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for a low-cost full suspension mountain bike, Merax Falcon could be a great choice. This bike is cheap yet it has a great performance. Boasting an aluminum frame and a dual suspension design, this product delivers smooth rides and great vehicle control on most terrains.
The unit comes with a 21-speed Shimano shifter and Shimano derailleurs which ensure a reliable and easy shifting. Linear pull brakes provide a great stopping power, while the product supports weights up to 330lbs.
The heavy-duty 26-inch wheels have the size preferred by most riders and rugged tires ensure an impressive traction on slippery terrains.
On a downside, the bike is available in only one size, with a frame of 17 inches. This is quite limiting as some riders will find it too small or too large. As for the style, the bike only comes in one color, which is black with blue stripes.
5. Kent KZ2600 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
Kent KZ2600 is another entry-level low-cost full suspension mountain bike ideal for beginners. This bike boasts 26-inch wheels, and aluminum frame, and a 65mm fork suspension travel. It is ideal for cross-country disciplines and recreational riding on trails.
The unit boasts a floating beam suspension design that is matched with a front suspension. The 21-speed Shimano shifters and rear derailleur increase the versatility of the bike, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
We also like the strong aluminum wheel set which features a V-shape rim profile and high-flange alloy hubs. Disc brakes ensure a smooth and quick stopping on trails or muddy terrains, which is great.
Build for the long haul, the bike is ideal for mountain biking, commuting, or leisure riding in parks or urban trails. However, don’t expect to use this beauty for performance off-road cycling. It is heavy and doesn’t come with the necessary features.
Conclusion & Final Pick
In our opinion, the Recoil 29er by Diamondback is the best entry-level full suspension mountain bike on the market. A sturdy frame, reliable wheels, and short-travel suspensions make it perfect for most beginners.
The bike comes in three sizes and several colors, and even though is made of aluminum, it’s lighter than most entry-level bikes on the market. The 3x8 shifter system with front and rear derailleurs ensure a quick change of gears, while the large 29-inch wheels ensure a superior speed reducing fatigue.
Traction is also excellent, while the front and rear suspensions deliver smooth rides on almost all terrains. Undoubtedly, a full suspension mountain bike to consider if you’re approaching this sport for the first time.