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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.

If you are looking for the best eMTBs, then click here

— For Beginners —

Cannondale Habit 4

Winner! Best FS Bike for Descending

Cannondale Habit 4

MSRP $3,000

Related: FULL REVIEW of Cannondale Habit 5

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

Here we have Cannondale Habit 4 which introduces mid-range riders to the dual suspension world with ease. Habit 4 is meant as a stepping stone in the full suspension world, especially for riders who plan to stick around.

It comes equipped with a SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain with a wide-range 11-50T cassette and a 30T crankset.

When it comes to the colors, this Co-op model is available in a beautiful Slate Grey paint job!

Cannondale Habit 4 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, the handling is precise and perfectly suitable for challenging trails and descents, which is what most riders aspire to do.

It has 140mm of front travel provided by a RockShox 35 Gold RL fork. The rear shock is a RockShox Deluxe Select+ from the same quality class with 130mm of travel. A dropper post is included in the package as well.

Habit 4 is equipped with Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes which means 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 that are 2.5″/2.4″ wide, so it’s suitable for short and tall riders.

Get it if you want limited costs but unlimited fun.

Schwinn S29

Best for Budget-Minded Riders

Schwinn S29

Schwinn S29 is one of the most affordable full-suspension bikes you can get. As such, it’s equipped with entry-level components and its suspension is not ideal for serious trail riding.

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.

Still, this is an all-around capable model that does well on singletracks, in parks, and even on downhills thanks to its large 29″ wheels. Just don’t abuse it too much and it will provide you with years of fun.

The front and rear suspension will dampen vibrations when you’re riding off-road, so this bike is best suited for casual riders who have long scenic unpaved roads close to their home.

Schwinn S29 is a fantastic full-suspension bicycle for absolute beginners who want 29″ wheels and the best bang for their buck thanks to an affordable aluminum frame.

Schwinn S29 also comes with a 3×7 drivetrain that puts 21 wide-range gears at your disposal. There’s a granny-gear as well that will never leave you lacking the right cadence for any hill. The stopping power is ensured by mechanical disc brakes with plenty of strength that is not often seen in this price range.

Full overview of Schwinn bikes

All in all, Schwinn S29 is a bargain as it gives you more than enough in terms of performance and style but doesn’t leave you without a dime in your pocket!


— For Trails & Racing —

Scott Gambler 710

Best DH with 27.5 Tires

Scott Gambler 710

MSRP $6,800

The brand-new 2021 Scott Gambler 710 is an attractive and capable DH bike that will make itself visible on the trail in numerous ways. The most important of those are speed, great components, sturdy 27.5″ wheels, and versatile capabilities.

Scott Gambler 710 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 DH rider or you’re planning to become one, the Gambler 710 bike is right for you. It offers 203mm of front and 210mm of rear travel with its Fox 40 Factory fork and the Fox DHX2 Factory Coil rear shock.

If you want to have a bike that’s capable of bombing any descent, you should aim for a bike with the biggest amount of travel you can get, such as Scott Gambler 710.

Related: Best Gravel Mountain Bikes

Scott Gambler 710 has a super-slack 63-degree head tube angle that allows the bike to react the moment it gets input from the rider.

Other positive aspects include powerful SRAM Code RSC hydraulic disc brakes, and a DH-specific SRAM X01 DH Short Cage 7-Speed rear derailleur.

Scott bikes full overview

The only consideration with the Scott Gambler 710 bike is its weight, which is a bit higher than ideal due to the wider aluminum tubing. However, a responsive ride balances the weight out, so you won’t feel it much when riding.

Norco Sight A2

Widest 29″ Tires

Norco Sight A2

MSRP  From $4,399

A top-notch carbon trail bike for around $4,400 can give you a lot in terms of on-trail performance, precision, and fun. Norco is shaking the market with this high-end aluminum trail machine that we can best describe as exciting! Of course, we understand it costs a lot of money, but it’s not that much when you consider the value you receive.

Norco Sight A2 is an outstanding trail bike that features 29er wheels, stiff and responsive handling, and mid-range reliable Shimano SLX components.

When you’re on the trail and hit the downhill part of the track, all you will be worrying about is travel. Luckily for you, the Sight A2 boasts a Fox Float Rhythm 36 fork with 160 mm of adjustable travel and a lockout option for climbing. Therefore, you will have maximum squish when the trail becomes the hardest.

The rear shock is a Fox Performance Float X2, which also has several levels of adjustability to fine-tune your ride.

The head tube angle on Norco Sight is 64 degrees, which is well balanced and helps make this bike ideal for steep climbs and technical descents.

On top of that, this Norco model comes with ultra-strong Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes with massive rotors, as well as Maxxis Assegain/Dissector 2.5″/2.4″ tubeless-ready tires. It’s a combination that translates to confidence on the challenging trails.

Review of Norco bikes

All in all, not many bikes will give you as much as Norco Sight A2 for such an attractive price.

GT Force AL Pro

Best For Gravity Riders

GT Force AL Pro

MSRP  $4,700

GT Force AL Pro is one of the best full-suspension bikes for gravity riders you can get right now. It has super-long travel and super-slack geometry, so there are few downhill courses that will present a challenge for it.

GT Force is built around an aluminum frame with a 64.5-degree head tube angle. This aggressive geometry will help you descend faster and tackle more technical trails.

Component-wise, the SRAM GX Eagle groupset puts 12 gears at your disposal. The SRAM G2 RSC hydraulic brakes will stop you on a dime and help you control your speed easily. That’s possible thanks to massive rotors.

One of the more impressive parts of GT Force AL Pro is its Maxxis Minion 29″ x 2.5″ (f) and 2.4″ (r) tires that grip any kind of surface. Plus, they are wrapped around Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3 aluminum rims that are tubeless-ready.

Bottom line: The GT Force AL Pro is one of the best full suspension mountain bikes on this list for a reason! All in all, if you want some of the best components with a reasonable price tag, the aluminum GT Force AL Pro is the best FS bike for gravity courses.

Get from REI.com

Niner WFO RDO 3-Star

Crème de la Crème of Enduro Riding

Niner WFO RDO 3-Star

MSRP $6,000

Niner WFO RDO is a flagship carbon 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.

This Niner 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.

This bike costs a whopping 6K, but it has some mouth-watering components and offers world-class performance. What impressed us the most and what you’ll like the most is the Fox 38 Float Factory GRIP 2 EVOL fork and Fox Float X2 Factory EVOL rear shock. They provide 180 mm of travel and come with some handy adjustments.

Few things can get in the way of Niner WFO RDO 3-Star and hold their ground against its massive wheels, progressive geometry, and 180 mm of travel.

What also makes Niner WFO RDO special are the Schwalbe Magic Mary EVO and Hans Dampf tires. They’re 2.6″ wide and there’s clearance for even wider rubber in the frame. The SRAM GX Eagle groupset does not need any special introduction. The same can be said for SRAM Code R brakes.

The head tube angle is very slack at 64 degrees, which is just right for more aggressive rides. This slack geometry is excellent for riders who like testing their limits and choosing challenging lines.

In conclusion – if you want to win podiums in world championship races, Niner WFO RDO 3-Star is the bike that will help you do it.

Get From Jenson USA

Santa Cruz 5010

Best Race-Ready Full Suspension Trail Bike


MSRP $7,800

If we had to use just one word to describe Santa Cruz 5010, it had to be FUN. If we could use two, then we’d characterize it as FUN and Capable.

Santa Cruz 5010 is a versatile high-end trail bike that can jump, descend, drop, and set rough and loose trails on fire.

The 5010 plows trails with a pair of Maxxis Minion 27.5″ x 2.4″ wide tires. These are some of the best tires you can find on any trail bike out there IMO.

The SRAM X01 Eagle groupset is a real treat in this price range — it gives you 12 speeds, a wide-range drivetrain, and precise shifting.

Braking is provided by SRAM G2 RSC hydraulic discs, combined with massive rotors that will disperse heat and enlarge the braking surface.

For those who like spending the day outside or even multiple days, Santa Cruz has allocated enough room for a water bottle cage on the frame.

All in all, don’t hesitate to get Santa Cruz 5010 if you want a high-performing and fun trail bike that’s ready for races and all sorts of mountain adventures.

Bottom line is that the 5010 is one of the best full suspension mountain bikes out there for the price.

Get From Competitive Cyclist


— For Maximalists —

Santa Cruz Nomad

Best Value Race-Ready Trail/Enduro Rig

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Nomad C S Complete Mountain Bike 2022

MSRP  $6,999

If you still haven’t considered this modern USA-based manufacturer as your next bike supplier, maybe it’s time to change that. We’ll try to do it by showing you the fantastic new Santa Cruz Nomad. The Nomad is the company’s entry ticket into the trail and enduro bike scene.

Santa Cruz Nomad comes with 27.5″ wheels that make it nimble, fast, and predictable even on the most challenging trails.

This bike comes with a super-stiff carbon frameset with premium VPP suspension. This combination will fill you with confidence and give you utmost control when storming technical descents.

One thing that puts Santa Cruz Nomad in the enduro category is the luscious 170 mm of travel on the Fox 38 Float Performance fork, combined with a RockShox Super Deluxe Select + 170mm rear shock. Thanks to the VPP tuned enduro link, the pedaling and braking forces will not affect the suspension performance.

This bike has a slack head tube angle of 63.7 degrees which makes it ride really well on the descents and roll over obstacles with its huge wheels. On the other hand, the seat tube angle is quite steep, which makes this Santa Cruz bike 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 discs, which have impressive stopping power in all conditions thanks to massive rotors.

In conclusion, you should get Santa Cruz Nomad if you want to win races or fall in love with trail and enduro riding all over again.

Santa Cruz Tallboy

Best Carbon Trail Race Bike

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Tallboy C R Complete Mountain Bike 2022

MSRP  $4,799

Santa Cruz Tallboy is a carbon fiber masterpiece of a trail bike. It has a long list of amazing features and massive 29″ tires to support you on your way to the top of trail riding. That’s why it is one of the best full suspension mountain bikes in the world.

First of all, we should tell you about the Fox Rhythm 34 fork with 130 mm of travel, which is more than enough to get you over any obstacle on a high-paced run down the trails. It also comes with a Fox Float DPS Performance rear shock with 120 mm of smooth travel.

When you get this bike out on the trails and the suspension starts working its magic with the help of the huge 29″ tires, you will realize that Santa Cruz Tallboy’s price is more than justified.

Related: Best Mountain Bikes

This Santa Cruz model also boasts high-quality SRAM NX Eagle components. It comes with a 12-speed drivetrain that will let you pedal where you thought it was impossible to do so before. The brakes are SRAM Guide T hydraulic discs, with 180mm front and rear rotors.

In conclusion, Santa Cruz Tallboy is the perfect carbon trail bike to choose if you have big dreams but you need a tiny push up the steepest climbs.

Get From evo.com

Salsa Blackthorn

Best Aluminum Enduro Bike

Salsa Blackthorn

MSRP $3,299

Salsa Blackthorn is made for fast rides on challenging trails that demand both guts and skills. It comes with 29-inch wheels, which makes it perfect for quick descents. It’s built from aluminum, so it’s affordable but still light and stiff.

The biggest highlight of Salsa Blackthorn is its suspension. Both the front and the rear suspension are capable and adjustable.

The fork is a RockShox 35 Gold RL with 160 mm of travel, whereas the rear shock is RockShox Super Deluxe Select+. You can select the perfect setting for any trail that you ride. All that to help you break boundaries and reach new heights on the trail.

Related: Best Fat Tire Bikes

Salsa Blackthorn has Shimano Deore components, including a 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-51T cassette. The Shimano Deore 4-piston brakes are paired up with 203/180mm rotors, so you’ll be able to stop on a dime anytime.

Salsa Blackthorn is one of the models from Salsa’s aluminum series aimed towards experienced trail riders who want to get as much bang for their buck as possible!

This bike comes with a relatively slack head tube angle, and in combination with the massive 29-inch wheels, so it’s able to conquer any rocks, tree stumps, and other obstacles you put in front of it.

In conclusion, if your ideal trail ride involves a lot of fast-paced trail riding and a lot of challenging downhills that get your heart pumping hard, Salsa Blackthorn will be your best friend.

Get From REI

— For Women —

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Best Unisex 27.5 FS Bike

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

MSRP $2,299

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt is a capable unisex full-suspension mountain bike intended for brave men and women who want to completely immerse themselves in the world of off-road riding.

It’s built around an aluminum frame with a tapered head tube, internal routing, a downtube guard, and exquisite suspension.

The fork is a RockShox Recon Silver RL (150mm) with a motion-control damper, lockout, tapered steerer, and a 37mm offset.

The RockShox Deluxe Select+ rear shock has plenty of adjustability as well. It allows you to customize how the bike behaves depending on the terrain and your riding style.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt also touts a Shimano Deore mid-range 1×11 drivetrain with a huge 11-51T gear range. You can climb a wall with it!

The star of the show is the WTB Trail Boss Comp front and rear tires. They are 2.4″ wide, which means you will not be lacking grip no matter the terrain or surface.

Experienced riders will also know enough to appreciate Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes that will embolden both male and female riders to take new and more challenging lines on their future rides.

Related: Full review of Rocky Mountain bikes

So, if you’re on the lookout for an affordable and capable trail bike with massive tires and dependable components, Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt is the one.

Get From Jenson USA


Juliana Furtado CC X01 Reserve

Best Women’s Full-Suspension Bike

Juliana - Furtado CC X01 Reserve Complete Mountain Bike - Women's 2021

MSRP $8,949

We can wrap up this list with an excellent women’s trail bike that easily proves its worth on the rides. Juliana Furtado CC X01 Reserve is a high-end full-suspension bike with a steep price and several aces up its sleeve.

If you’re a female trail enthusiast looking to have as much fun on the trails as possible and excel in different categories, Juliana Furtado CC X01 Reserve will meet all your needs.

This is a versatile 27.5″ carbon trail bike intended for a little bit of everything on the trail. It has 140 mm of front and 130 mm of rear travel provided by a RockShox Pike Ultimate fork and a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock. This setup will let you go absolutely berserk on the downhills. It’s more than enough to deal with most obstacles on your rides.

Juliana Furtado CC X01 Reserve has a slack head tube angle of 65.7 degrees, which is perfect for downhill trail rides. It ensures a nimble, springy, and responsive ride. You will truly feel the response of the bike to every bit of input you give it.

However, considering that Juliana Furtado has a bulky FS setup, it has a slightly higher weight as well. The SRAM G2 RSC hydraulic disc brakes do a fantastic job of supplying you with more than enough stopping power at demand.

All in all, if you have expectations and you want a well-equipped women’s trail bike that can do a little bit of everything, we believe that this Juliana Furtado model is the one.

Get From evo.com

Didn’t find it? Consider pre-owned Full Suspension bikes on The Pro’s Closet

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 who want to excel on trails on an FS bike should choose Cannondale Habit 4. If you want one of the best unisex models and you plan to ride hard, choose Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt and you will get great value for your money. If you’re looking for a capable beginner model with 29″ wheels, you can’t go wrong with Schwinn S29.

But, if you’re updating to a more capable aluminum DH bike, Scott Gambler 710 is for you. If your ideal type of mountain biking is trail and enduro riding, definitely check out the Santa Cruz Nomad. However, if you’re looking for a top-tier carbon trail bike that you can use for racing and exploring, then Santa Cruz Tallboy is for you. We can’t recommend the GT Force AL Pro anymore if you want a fun and versatile gravity bike that can do it all in the mountains.

If you have money to spare and you want a top-of-the-line carbon 29″ bike, Salsa Blackthorn will make you happy. However, if you want the best spec’d aluminum all-rounder that’s fun and challenging to ride, choose Norco Sight A2. Santa Cruz 5010 is a phenomenal trail bike that you can buy if you want an all-around great performer.

If you want the best suspension setup you can get on this list for the money and 29″ tires, then Niner WFO RDO 3-Star is the right pick for you. If you want the best women’s model and you have the money to spare, choose the Juliana Furtado CC X01 Reserve.

Happy trailing!


  • Hello Jeff:

    Thanks for your super quick response when I wrote on the Bike Size article. The suspension article you directed me was super. Now I have a clear idea of what should be the front and rear travels for all-mountain. Also that my size is an L for sure.

    Having said that, you ask me If I rode on pavement, and I do not only on trials. Based on what I told you about me in the other article that I wrote to you, an been an intermediate rider, what full-suspension bike will you recommend me worth $3000 or under.

    If you can give me 3 choices that will be great if I do not put you on a spot.

    The choices I gave seem only OK and not great so I need to explore other great options. Can you help me, please?

    Thanks so much for all your help.

  • I like the the Ghost FR AMR 6.7 . Due to tire size and coil over rear suspension. Does it come in carbon or just aluminum ?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      All FR AMR models come with aluminum frames. But Ghost has other FS bikes with carbon frames, such as SL AMR 6.9 and 9.9.

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