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Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes For Trails

Jeff Balton

Best Full Suspension Bikes

Looking to bring your rides to a whole new level with full suspension mountain bikes for trails? Well, read on.

We’ve gathered some of the best full suspension mountain bikes you can actually buy. Consider these if you want to take your rides up a notch. Here, you can find bikes from under $1,000 to much higher price points, with top-notch quality components.

These are versatile workhorses that you can use to discover the best trails hidden all around the place.


— For Beginners —


Best Mid-Price Full Suspension Bike

GT Sensor Aluminum 29"

MSRP $2,000

Part Of Our Best MTBs Under $2,000

The GT Sensor is the result of an intelligent redesign GT did to come up with a bike that will suit the demands of their team better.

Even though the ideal number of bikes in your garage is n+1, this GT model is adamant about changing that, as it is an all-around capable model that does well on singletracks, in parks, and even on downhills thanks to its large wheels. You can also confirm that if you consider the RockShox Recon RL fork with 140 mm of travel which is more than many other bikes in the same price range.

This is just the right amount of travel for this bike to act well when tackling roots, rocks, and bumpy descents. The $2,000 price is quite competitive and does not stop giving.

GT Sensor is a fantastic full-suspension bicycle for trail enthusiasts who want 29″ wheels and the best bang for their buck thanks to an affordable aluminum frame.

The head tube angle on the GT Sensor is a very steep 65.5 degrees, and the seat tube angle is 76 degrees, which will put you in a nice, upright position and give you the most control.

GT Sensor also comes with an 11-50T SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, with a granny-gear that will never leave you lacking the right cadence for any hill. The stopping power is ensured by Tektro hydraulic brakes with plenty of strength.

GT Sensor 29″ is an excellent bang for your buck, as it gives you more than enough in terms of performance and style to meet and exceed your high expectations!

 

Winner! Best FS Bike for Descending

Marin - Alpine Trail 7 full suspension

MSRP $2,400

What is the best affordable full-suspension mountain bike? Do you know? We do.

Please keep in mind that building a full-suspension frame raises the costs of the bike, even at the entry level. So, when it comes to expensive bikes, you have to cut the costs somewhere to offer them at a more affordable price.

Here we have the Marin Alpine Trail 7 which introduces mid-range riders to the dual suspension world with ease. Alpine Trail 7 is meant as a starting point in the full suspension world, especially for riders who plan to stick around.

It comes equipped with a Shimano SLX GS Shadow Plus 1×11 drivetrain with a wide-range 9-46T cassette and a 30T crankset.

When it comes to colors, this Marin model is available in a beautiful gray/black color with blue details!

Marin Alpine Trail 7 is by far the best full-suspension mountain bike for trail enthusiasts who are interested in learning the ropes of riding front and rear squish.

Thanks to an aggressive head tube angle of 65 degrees, the handling is precise and perfectly suitable for challenging trails and descents, which is what most riders aspire to do.

It has 160mm of front travel provided by RockShox Yari RC. The rear shock is a X-Fusion O2 PRO RCX from the same quality class with 150 mm of travel.

Marin Alpine Trail 7 is equipped with Tektro Orion hydraulic disc brakes which mean a lot on the trails when you’re attacking sketchy descents and need precision and power.

This bike is available in four sizes and rolls on 29″ tires, so it’s suitable for short and tall riders. The Vee Tire Flow Snap are 2.6″ wide, which looks massive and ride even better.


— For Trails & Racing —


Best with 29er Tires

Cannondale Habit 5 AL 29" Bike - 2020 Model

MSRP $2,700

The brand-new 2020 Cannondale Habit 5 AL is a stealth-looking FS bike that will make itself visible on the trail in numerous other ways. The most important of those are elegance, great components, sturdy 29″ wheels, and versatile capabilities. The Habit 5 model is a member of the Cannondale Habit series, which includes six men’s and three women’s models.

Cannondale Habit 5 AL is a full aluminum bike that offers outstanding value for its price which is reflected in the carefully picked parts. Moreover, it has tons of travel, which makes it a serious contender on the trails.

If you’re an experienced trail rider or you’re planning to become one, the Habit 5 bike is for you. It offers 130 mm of travel with its RockShox 35 Gold RL fork and the same amount of rear travel thanks to a Fox Float Performance DPS EVOL rear shock. If you want to have a bike that’s versatile and capable of riding different styles, it’s good to know that Habit 5’s rear suspension is adjustable in three positions that can completely transform the character of this bike.

It’s able to perform well both on technical trails and on bombing descents!

Related: Best Gravel Mountain Bikes

Cannondale Habit 5 is known as an “XC bike on steroids” thanks to the perfect 66-degree head tube angle that allows the bike to react the moment it gets input from the rider. Other positive aspects include a dropper post, powerful Shimano hydraulic brakes, and a wide range 12-speed drivetrain managed by a SRAM SX Eagle shifting system.

The only consideration with the Habit 5 bike is its weight, which is a bit higher than ideal due to the massive 29″ wheels and wider tubing. However, responsive ride balances the weight out, so you won’t feel it much when riding.

Highest Spec’d on the List

Trek Fuel EX 8

MSRP  $3,500

A top-notch aluminum trail bike for around $3,500 can give you a lot in terms of on-trail performance, precision, and fun. Trek is shaking the market with this affordable yet high-end Trail machine that we can best describe as FUN! Of course, we understand $3,500 is a lot of money, money it’s not that much when you consider the value you receive.

The Trek Fuel EX 8 is an outstanding Trail bike that features 27.5 inch or 29er wheels, stiff and responsive handling, and high-end race-category SRAM GX Eagle components.

Depending on the frame size you get, this bike will come with either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels, as well as with 180 mm or 203 mm brake rotors.

When you’re on the trail and hitting the downhill part of the track, all you will be worrying about is travel. Luckily for you, the Fuel EX 8 boasts a Fox Rhythm 34 fork with 140 mm of travel and a GRIP damper. Therefore, you will have maximum squish when the trail becomes the hardest.

However, you might find the rear travel to be lacking, as it provides just 130 mm. At first, this might hold you back from going as fast as on an enduro bike with much more travel, as there is no replacement for this problem. However, this is one part of what makes Trek Fuel so fun to ride.

The head tube angle on the Fuel EX 8 is 66 to 66.5 degrees, which is a bit steep, but makes this bike an excellent climber and a perfect all-rounder.

On top of that, this Trek model comes with ultra-strong Shimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm to 203 mm rotors, as well as Bontrager Line Comp 30, tubeless-ready aluminum rims. It’s a combination that translates to confidence on the challenging trails.

Not many bikes will give you this much for such an attractive price.

Slackest Geometry Available

Ibis Ripmo

MSRP  $2,999

Ibis Ripmo is one of the best downhill/trail bikes you can get on this list. As its name tells you, it was made to rip mo(re) and that’s what it will allow you to do.

Ripmo is built around an aluminum frame with a 64.9-degree head tube angle, so it is as slack as bikes get. This aggressive geometry will help you descend faster and tackle more technical trails.

In terms of suspension, Ibis Ripmo has 160mm of front travel with a DVO Diamond D1 fork, and 147mm of rear travel with a DVO Topaz T3 Air rear shock. This is a great combo for maximum on-trail performance.

Component-wise, the SRAM NX Eagle groupset puts 12 gears at your disposal and the SRAM Guide T 4-piston hydraulic brakes will stop you on a dime and help you control your speed easily.

One of the more impressive parts of Ibis Ripmo is its Maxxis Assegai Wide Trail EXO+ 29 x 2.5″ tires that grip any kind of surface. However, they are wrapped around Ibis’s basic S35 aluminum rims.

All in all, if you want some of the best components with a reasonable price tag, Ibis Ripmo is the full-suspension bike you’re looking for.

Get from CompetitiveCyclist.com

Strong Performer

Giant Reign 29 2

MSRP $3,000

Giant Reign 29 2 is an aluminum bike with a versatile nature that will allow you to use it for different types of riding. This bike is an improved version of the previous model, with 29″ wheels that put it in a completely different dimension when you’re out on the trails.

Reign 29 2 has a very high bottom bracket which means that you can finally start going more “over” obstacles than trying to find a way “around” them. It’s a great choice to tackle rockier terrain thanks to the higher ground clearance.

For $3,000, this trail bike is a bargain considering what you get in terms of components and performance. What impressed us the most and what you’ll like the most is the RockShox Yari RC fork and RockShox Deluxe Select+ rear shock. They provide 160 mm of travel up front and 146 mm in the back, and come with some handy adjustments such as Air Spring Pressure / Low Speed Compression Adjust to Lockout / External Rebound Adjust

Few things can get in the way of Giant Reign 29 2 and hold their ground against its massive wheels, progressive geometry, and 160 mm of travel.

What makes Reign 2 special are the Maxxis Minion tires. They’re 2.5″/2.4″ wide and there’s clearance for even wider rubber.

The head tube angle is 65 degrees, which is just right for Enduro and downhill rides. This slack geometry is excellent for aggressive riders.

One thing is out of the question; you’re bound to fail if you try to find more value at this price point in another bike.

Get From evo.com

Most Suspension Adjustments

Santa Cruz Hightower A R

MSRP $3,499

If we had to use just one word to describe Santa Cruz Hightower A R, it had to be FUN. If we could use two, then we’d characterize it as FUN and AGREEABLE.

Santa Cruz Hightower A R is a versatile aluminum high-end full-suspension bike that can jump, descend, drop, and set flat hard-packed trails on fire.

It features a RockShox Yari RC fork with 150 mm of travel and a Fox Float Performance DPS rear shock with 140 mm of travel as well. Both pack a lot of performance and come with numerous possibilities for adjustments.

Santa Cruz Hightower A R ploughs trails with a pair of Maxxis Minion 2.4″ wide tires. However, there’s enough clearance in the fork and rear triangle for wider tires as well, that would completely transform this trail beast.

The SRAM NX Eagle is a common sight on bikes in this price range — it brings the price down while giving you 12 speeds, a wide-range drivetrain, and precise shifting.

Braking is provided by SRAM Guide R hydraulic discs, packed into a lightweight package and combined with Avid Centerline Rotors that are 180 mm wide.

For those who like spending the day on the trails, Santa Cruz has allocated enough room for a water bottle cage inside the front triangle.

Don’t hesitate to get Santa Cruz HIghtower if you want an affordable and fun FS bike that’s ready for races and all sorts of mountain adventures.

Get from evo.com


— For Maximalists —


Best Value Race-Ready

Ghost FR AMR 6.7 Bike - 2020 Model

MSRP  $4,200

If you still haven’t considered this modern European manufacturer as your next bike’s supplier, maybe it’s time to change that. We’ll try to do it by showing you the fantastic new 2020 Ghost FR AMR 6.7 which is this company’s entry ticket into the Free Ride bike scene.

The FR AMR 6.7 rides on par with the most expensive trail bikes, but comes at a lower and more affordable price compared to the same class of bikes made by the competition.

This bike comes with an aluminum frame which is quite stiff and does not increase the weight too much.

One thing that puts Ghost FR AMR 6.7 in the Free Ride category is the luscious 170 mm of travel on the FOX 36 Float fork, combined with 160 mm of travel on the FOX DHX2 rear shock. This is a coil shock, so it might cause you problems if you need a different-weight coil.

Check out, what are the best bicycle chain lubes & waxes.

This bike has a slack head tube angle of 64.5 degrees which makes it ride really well on the descents and roll over obstacles with its 27.5″ wheels. On the other hand, the seat tube angle is quite steep, which makes this Ghost a great climber as well, as you will need to get yourself up those hills before you can go down.

Let’s also not forget the SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed derailleur operating on a 10-50T cassette, with a rich gear ratio for any hill profile. The brakes are SRAM Code R hydraulic disc brakes, which have an impressive stopping power in all conditions thanks to massive 200/180 mm rotors.

Best for Nailing Jumps

Niner RIP 9 RDO 2-Star 2020

MSRP  $4,400

Niner is one of the companies in the industry that stood behind the benefits of 29er bikes and put a lot of effort into popularizing them and bringing them closer to riders. The Niner RIP 9 RDO 2-Star (2020) is one of their carbon masterpieces with lots of amazing features to support you on your way to the top of trail riding.

First of all, you should learn about the For 36 Float Rhythm Grip Evol Air fork with 150 mm of travel, which is more than enough to get you over any obstacle on a high-paced run down the trail. It also comes with a FOX Float DPX2 Performance rear shock with 150 mm of smooth travel.

When you get it out on the trail and the suspension starts working its magic with the help of the intimidating 29″ wheels, you will realize that Niner RIP 9 RDO’s price is more than justified.

Related: Best Mountain Bikes

The steep head tube angle od 65 degrees puts you in a more upright position and in more control of the action. The handling is very responsive, so any experienced rider will be able to create magic in the corners on this XC machine.

This Niner model also boasts high-end SRAM components, including SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes, which come as one of the best options on the market, and a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain that will let you pedal where you thought it was impossible to do so.

It’s the perfect way to go if you have big dreams and big capabilities and you need a quality XC bike that can keep up with your pace!

Get From JensonUSA

Most Expensive Model

Orbea Oiz 29 M10

MSRP $5,299

The Oiz 29″ M10 2020 is made for fast rides on challenging enduro trails that demand both guts and skills. It comes with 29-inch wheels, which makes it perfect for quick descents. However, there is no 27.5″ version, which makes it less customizable, and it’s something that a lot of riders will not like.

The biggest highlight on Orbea Oiz 29 M10 is its suspension, as both the front and the rear suspension is capable and adjustable. The fork is a Fox 34 Float SC Factory with 120 mm of travel, whereas the rear shock is a Fox i-Line DPS Factory 190×45 mm. You can select the perfect setting for any trail that you ride, which will help you break boundaries and reach new heights on the trail.

Related: Best Fat Tire Bikes

The Oiz 19 M10 has Shimano XTR components, including a 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-51T cassette. The rest of the drivetrain is Shimano XT.

Orbea Oiz 29 M10 is one of the models from Orbea’s carbon series aimed towards experienced Trail riders who want to get as much bang for their buck as possible!

The Orbea Oiz 29 M10 comes with a relatively slack 68-degree head tube angle, and in combination with the massive 29-inch wheels, it’s able to conquer any rocks, tree stumps, and other obstacles you put in front of it.

If your ideal trail ride involves a lot of enduro riding and a lot of challenging downhills that get your heart pumping hard, Orbea Oiz 29 M10 will be your best friend.

Get From JensonUSA

— For Women —


Best Women’s 27.5 FS Bike

Liv - Intrigue 2 FS

 

MSRP $2,900

Liv Intrigue 2 is a capable women’s full-suspension mountain bike intended for brave women who want to completely immerse themselves in the world of off-road riding.

Intrigue 2 is built around an aluminum frame with Giant’s ALUXX SL construction which is well-known in the MTB circles for its lightness, durability, and pliability.

The fork is a Fox 34 Rhythm (150mm)with a 3-Position GRIP Damper (Open, Medium, Firm), External Rebound, Air Spring Pressure.

The Fox Float DPS Performance rear shock offers 140 mm of travel. It will show you exactly what an FS bike can do when put to work.

Liv Intrigue 2 also touts a SRAM NX Eagle mid-range 1×12 drivetrain with a huge 11-50T gear range. You can climb a wall with it!

The star of the show are Maxxis highroller front and rear tires. They’re 2.5″/2.4″ wide and 27.5″ in diameter, so they’re nimble, dynamic, and extremely grippy.

Experienced riders will also know enough to appreciate Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes that will embolden female riders to take new and more challenging lines on their future rides.

So, if you’re on the lookout for an affordable and capable women’s trail bike with massive tires and dependable components, Liv Intrigue 2 is the one.

Get Directly from evo.com

 

Best Women’s Full-Suspension Bike

Ghost Lanao FS 2.7 - 2020 Model

MSRP $1,799

We can wrap up this list with another excellent women’s trail bike that easily proves its worth on the rides. Ghost Lanao FS 2.7 is a mid-range full suspension bike with a very reasonable price and several aces up its sleeve.

If you’re a female XC enthusiast looking to have as much fun on the trails as possible but not spend too much, Ghost Lanao FS 2.7 meets your needs.

This is a versatile 27.5″ aluminum XC bike intended for a little bit of everything on the trail. It has 130 mm of both front and rear travel provided by an SR Suntour XCR 34 coil fork and an SR Suntour air rear shock. This won’t let you go absolutely berserk on the downhills, but it’s more than enough to deal with most obstacles on moderate rides.

Ghost Lanao has a steep head tube angle of 69 degrees, which is perfect for XC rides. It ensures a nimble, springy, and responsive ride, and you will truly feel the response of the bike to every bit of input you give it.

However, considering that Lanao FS 2.7 has a very affordable price, it has a slightly higher weight as well. The hydraulic disc brakes are provided by Tektro and not Shimano, but they do a fantastic job at supplying you with more than enough stopping power at demand.

All in all, if your expectations are realistic and you want an affordable women’s XC bike that can do a little bit of everything, we believe that this Ghost Lanao model is the one.

Get From REI

But, which one should you choose?

suggestedWe’ve analyzed thousands of bikes so far which has taught us a lot of details about them, so we can help you out to make the right choice.

Riders wanting to excel on trails on an FS bike should choose Marin Alpine Trail 7. If you want one of the best women’s models and you plan to ride hard, choose the Liv Intrigue 2 if you wish to get great value for your money. If you’re looking for a capable entry mid-range model with 29″ wheels, you can go with the GT Sensor 29″.

But, if you’re updating to a more capable aluminum bike, the Cannondale Habit 5 is for you. If your ideal type of mountain biking is free-riding or riding in parks, definitely check out the Ghost FR AMR 6.7. However, if you’re looking for a more versatile bike that you can use for different types of rides, then the Niner RIP 9 RDO 2-Star is for you. We can’t recommend the Santa Cruz Hightower any more if you want a fun and versatile bike that can do it all in the mountains.

If you have money to spare and you want a top-of-the-line carbon 29er, the Orbea Oiz 29 M10 will make you happy. On the other hand, if you want the best spec’d aluminum all-rounder that’s fun and challenging to ride, choose the Trek Fuel EX 8. Ibis Ripmo is a great full-suspension bike that you can buy if you want a slack FS descending machine.

If you want the best suspension setup you can get on this list for the money and 29″ tires, then the Giant Reign 29 2 is the right pick for you. If you want the best women’s model and you have the money to spare, choose the Ghost Lanao FS 2.7 if you wish to get great value for your money.

Happy trailing!

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