Buy _VERIFIED_ Full Suspension Mountain Bike
While you can ride and enjoy any bike you want, some riders may find one suits them better than the other. It all comes down to your budget, what you want to do with your mountain bike and a bit of personal preference.
buy full suspension mountain bike
To put it simply though, you might want to buy a full-suspension bike if you're more interested in riding off-road trails and more technical terrain and want to add speed, confidence and comfort as you push your limits. If you're riding downhill tracks, bike parks and trails with challenging features, full suspension is likely the best choice.Go hardtail if you're less interested in making the trails feel less challenging, you're riding mellower trails or a mix of surfaces or you simply like the challenge of riding without rear suspension!Your safest option is probably to try a few out (check out your local Marin dealer, or wait for one of our Demo Tours to come to your local trails). And, of course, if you're budget stretches you could always buy one of each!
Choosing the best mountain bike for your riding is vital if you want to get maximum enjoyment out on the trails \u2013 but finding the right machine in a crowded market can be a minefield.\nFear not, because our ultimate guide to buying a mountain bike will run you through everything you need to know, from choosing the best machine for your budget, to matching a bike to your riding style.\nWe\u2019ll also highlight the most important spec features you should look out for on a mountain bike and then point you to our full buyer\u2019s guides of the best buys at each price point.\nHow to choose the best mountain bike in 2023\n\nChoosing a new mountain bike to buy can be daunting. The sheer variety of mountain bike types, not to mention the bewildering array of technology and terminology, can be overwhelming.\nTechnology evolves every year, new mountain bike standards emerge and old ones swiftly become outdated. An ever-growing dictionary of jargon means the mountain bike market can be a confusing place, even for seasoned riders.\nHighly specialised bikes sit side-by-side with machines that claim to excel at everything. And they\u2019re all spread over such a vast price range that it can be hard to know where to start.\nThis guide sets out all the factors you should consider when looking for a new ride, from wheel size and the amount of suspension travel, to bike category and how to choose the right size.\nYou can use the links below to skip to the relevant section \u2013 or read on for every last detail to help you find the perfect mountain bike.\nHardtail or full-suspension?\nHow much suspension travel do I need?\nWhat wheel size should I choose?\nWhich frame material is best?\nHow to choose a mountain bike by price\nDifferent types of mountain bike explained\nWhat size mountain bike do I need?\nWhat else do I need to get started?\nWhat to consider when buying a mountain bike\nWhat type of riding do you do?\nIt\u2019s important to establish early on what sort of trails you intend to ride and on what terrain you want your bike to excel.\nThis will help you decide what category of bike you need, from short-travel, lightweight cross-country rigs to robust, chunky downhill race bikes.\nWe\u2019ll cover each of these in detail later \u2013 you can skip ahead to our section on the different types of mountain bike \u2013 otherwise, let\u2019s start at the very beginning.\nHardtail or full-suspension?\n\n \n \n \n \n \n\n \n A hardtail mountain bike is equipped with a suspension fork at the front but is rigid at the rear.\n \n Andy Lloyd \/ Immediate Media\n \n\n\n \n \n \n\n \n A full-suspension mountain bike has suspension at both ends.\n \n Russell Burton \/ Immediate Media\n \n\n\n \n \n\n\n\nHumble hardtail or full-suspension mountain bike \u2013 which is best for you?\nA hardtail mountain bike has a suspension fork at the front, while a full-suspension bike pairs a suspension fork with rear suspension.\nThere are certainly pros and cons to both. For a fixed budget, you\u2019ll certainly get a better-specced hardtail for your money, although an entry-level full-suspension bike might still be more capable on rougher trails.\nAgain, it comes back to what kind of riding you enjoy. In a game of hardtail vs full-suspension, a hardtail tends to win for climbing, with a direct connection from crank to axle giving a more efficient response to pedalling, as well as being a little lighter.\nHardtails are easier to maintain too, needing less intensive servicing, as well as tending to be more budget-friendly.\n\n Full-suspension mountain bikes are more capable on technical terrain. Ian Linton \/ Immediate Media\nSome people recommend the best hardtail mountain bikes for beginner riders, as they\u2019ll teach you about the importance of line choice.\nAffordable beginner bikes will often have quite conservative geometry and basic kit, while more specialised \u2018hardcore hardtail\u2019 options will have longer and slacker geometry, along with burlier parts to help them handle better at speed and in the rough.\nFull-suspension mountain bikes really excel when things get rougher, so if you think you\u2019ll be wanting to tackle more technical trails and features, then you might want to consider one.\nYou can read up on mountain bike rear-suspension systems before you buy to check out the different options and how they work.\nHowever, the good news is that, these days, the vast majority of rear suspension designs work pretty well. Shortlisting bikes based on their linkage doesn\u2019t make sense unless you\u2019re after a specific ride characteristic.\n\nHow much suspension travel do I need?\n\n Is more travel better? It\u2019s not quite that simple\u2026 Ian Linton \/ Immediate Media\nIt\u2019s a frequently asked question: how much suspension travel do I need?\nLess suspension travel usually means a lighter, faster bike uphill. More travel equals better downhill capability. If you\u2019re new to the sport and want to try a bit of everything, then a mid-travel trail bike is the best all-rounder.\nGenerally speaking, the amount of suspension travel is a good indicator of what category a bike falls into.\n60-110mm: Cross-country race bike\nTrail types: Fast-flowing, smooth\nExcels: Climbing and acceleration\nRoughly speaking, with 60-110mm of travel, you\u2019ll get a cross-country race bike, which excels at climbing and rapid acceleration on fast-flowing and smooth trails.\n110-130mm: Cross-country\/trail bike\nTrail types: Manmade loops and less rocky natural routes\nExcels: Covering distance fast\nMoving up to 110-130mm of travel, you can cover distance fast on a cross-country, downcountry or short-travel trail bike, taking in both man-made loops and less technical natural trails.\n\n What type of riding do you intend to do on your bike? Our Media\n130-160mm: Trail bike\nTrail types: More technical tracks with some bigger features\nExcels: Equally capable up and downhill\nA trail bike with between 130-160mm travel will be able to take on more technical tracks, including some larger features, and will be equally capable up and downhill.\n160-180mm: Enduro bike\nTrail types: Steep, gnarly off-piste; rocky tech; bike park tracks\nExcels: Rapid on the descents, but can still be pedalled back to the top\nWhen you move up to the 160-180mm bracket with enduro bikes, you sacrifice some of the pedalling efficiency to be able to excel on steep, gnarly off-piste trails, rocky tech and bike park tracks.\n180-200mm: Downhill race bike\nTrail types: The fastest, roughest descents known to man!\nExcels: Descending; there\u2019s no way you\u2019re pedalling one uphill.\nForget pedalling back up to the trailhead when it comes to downhill race bikes. With around 180-200mm of travel, these are designed purely for going downhill, taking in the fastest and roughest descents.\nWhat wheel size should I choose?\n\n 29in, 27.5in and 26in mountain bike wheel sizes. BikeRadar\nFor a long time, 26in mountain bike wheels were the standard, but with the exception of dirt-jump and slopestyle bikes, they\u2019ve been phased out in favour of larger, faster-rolling hoops.\nAny new adult bike will likely come with either 27.5in (also known as 650b) or 29in-diameter wheels. If our local trails are anything to go by, the market is now split roughly 50\/50.\n29er wheels have the advantages of carrying momentum better, rolling over obstacles more easily and providing more traction (due to the longer contact patch of their tyres).\nThe disadvantages are that the bigger wheels accelerate slower, take more effort to slow down and are harder to initiate a turn with. This isn\u2019t a problem in most scenarios, but if you have quite a dynamic riding style or like to ride trails that are tight, twisting and steep, then 650b can be preferable.\nEarly 29ers had some handling quirks, but modern geometry means they now ride as well as smaller-wheeled bikes.\nThe extra height of 29in wheels is a factor to consider though, especially if you\u2019re not very tall. Summed up in one line, we\u2019d say 650b is fun, 29in is fast \u2013 which, of course, can also be fun\u2026\nFinally, mullet bikes use different sized wheels at either end of the bike, most commonly a 29in front wheel for speed and rolling over obstacles, and a 27.5in back wheel for sharp handling at the rear.\nWhich frame material is best?\n\n Aluminium is often favoured thanks to its strength and affordability. Ian Linton \/ Immediate Media\nYou have four main options when it comes to frame material for bikes: aluminium, steel, titanium and carbon fibre.\nAluminium is the most commonly-used frame material for mountain bikes because it offers a good balance of strength, weight and cost.\nSteel is a popular choice with smaller boutique brands, not only because it\u2019s widely available and easy to work with, but also because the same strength can be achieved with thinner-walled and smaller-diameter tubes, resulting in a desirable amount of bump-absorbing \u2018compliance\u2019 (flex). This is particularly applicable to hardtails.\nTitanium does the same with less of a weight penalty but expect to pay upwards of \u00a31,000 for a Ti frame.\nCarbon has long been one of the buzz words used to \u2018upsell\u2019 to bike buyers. To some extent, this is justified, because carbon fibre gives designers near-limitless control over frame shapes and ride characteristics, as well as the potential to build an incredibly light and strong chassis \u2013 important if choosing a featherweight XC race bike.\nCheaper carbon frames aren\u2019t necessarily laid up with the same care and attention to detail, though. Also, be aware that at lower price points, brands will often spec cheaper build kits to prevent the complete bike looking too expensive compared to the next (aluminium) model down.\nA better-specced aluminium bike will almost always ride better than a carbon frame decked out with cheap kit.\n\n \nA quick word about geometry\nThe geometry of a mountain bike is largely dictated by what discipline it\u2019s made for, whether that\u2019s a fast and responsive cross-country bike, a slack downhill race rig for gnarly trails or anything in between.\nFor the sake of simplicity, we won\u2019t go into the specifics of geometry here \u2013 it\u2019s another complex area of mountain bike tech.\nHowever, you can check out our ultimate guide to mountain bike geometry if you want to learn more.\n\n\n \n How to choose a mountain bike by price\nComplete bikes can be roughly divided into seven price brackets, from under \u00a3500 to more than \u00a35,000, although it\u2019s possible to spend a lot more.\nYour budget will dictate what bikes are available to you, whether that\u2019s hardtail or full-suspension, different frame materials, drivetrain options and braking systems.\nHere\u2019s what you can expect to find in each of these price brackets.\nMountain bikes under \u00a3500\n\n Voodoo\u2019s Aizan is a great budget 29er. Andy Lloyd \/ Immediate Media\nConsider the \u00a3500 mark the rough starting point for a \u2018proper\u2019 mountain bike. At this sort of money, you should steer well, well clear of any full-suspension bikes.\nSpend much less and you\u2019re likely to find that compromises have been made with key components (fork, gearing, tyres, brakes) in order to keep the cost down, making for a fairly unpleasant ride on anything more than a gentle gravel track.\nWhatever you do, look for a frame that\u2019s made from lightweight aluminium rather than heavy steel. You should also look for a bike that comes fitted with disc brakes rather than rim brakes, because they\u2019ll keep working in the wet and provide more consistent power.\nAs you spend more, you\u2019ll get a bike with a lighter frame and more refined equipment.\n\n The Saracen Mantra is another option in this price range. Russell Burton\nAt this price, you\u2019ll often encounter double and triple chainsets, although it\u2019s not uncommon to find 1x drivetrains \u2013 which offer reduced maintenance, complexity and, in many circumstances, improved performance over multi-chainring setups.\nThe tyres fitted should have a pronounced tread profile that\u2019s designed for proper off-road use and should be made from a softer rubber compound than basic tyres, giving better grip in the wet.\nA suspension fork with a smooth and controlled action should also be fitted. To test this, give the fork a good bounce and it should compress easily and return smoothly. If it makes nasty noises or returns rapidly \u2013 like a pogo stick \u2013 give it a wide berth.\nCheck out our guide to the best mountain bikes under \u00a3500 to browse your options at this budget level.\nMountain bikes under \u00a3750\n\n The Vitus Nucleus just feels \u2018right\u2019 when you get it out on the trail. Russell Burton\nIt\u2019s at this price that bikes start to become more specialised to suit different kinds of riding. We\u2019ll cover the different kinds of bike later, but you\u2019re guaranteed a hardtail that\u2019ll be able to put up with almost anything you can throw at it.\nThe frame is likely to still be aluminium, but it\u2019ll use more advanced construction and forming techniques to make it both lighter and more comfortable for big days in the saddle.\nA suspension fork and hydraulic disc brakes are both musts, and a wide mountain bike handlebar and short (35-50mm) stem will significantly improve the bike\u2019s handling.\nThe best mountain bikes under \u00a3750 \/ \u20ac850 \/$975 will have a decent-quality suspension fork. This should ideally be air-sprung, which is lighter than using a coil spring and allows you to more easily adjust the fork to suit your weight.\nThe very best-equipped models at this price will also have a thru-axle fork and wheel rather than a quick-release or QR system. This uses a large-diameter axle, which creates a stiffer connection between the wheel and fork, massively improving steering accuracy.\n\n The Marin Bobcat Trail performs well at this price point. Russell Burton\nYou should also look out for a fork and frame that use a tapered head tube with a larger-diameter lower bearing and matching fork crown. These offer improved stiffness and mean you can choose from a wider selection of forks when you upgrade in the future.\nA single chainring up front, paired with a wide-range cassette at the rear (known as a \u20181x\u2019 drivetrain) will give you the same gearing as a double crankset, but will be simpler to use, lighter and less noisy.\nLook out for a rear derailleur that\u2019s equipped with a clutch, such as Shimano\u2019s ShadowPlus or SRAM\u2019s Type 2 designs. These help prevent the chain from falling off on rough terrain.\n\n The Nucleus 29 is trail-ready straight out of the box and wants for nothing. Russell Burton\nMany manufacturers will now start fitting tyres and wheels that can be used without an inner tube. These tubeless systems can reduce punctures and save weight. Look out for the words \u2018tubeless ready\u2019 or \u2018tubeless compatible\u2019 on the tyre sidewall.\nAt the risk of sounding like a broken record, full-suspension bikes at this price are still likely to be badly compromised and we wouldn\u2019t recommend them.\nMountain bikes under \u00a31,000\n\n We dubbed Boardman\u2019s MHT 8.9 an instant classic. Russell Burton\nThis is the magic amount of money where full-suspension bikes with reasonably lightweight frames and well-controlled, adjustable shocks start to become available.\nYou\u2019re still likely to pay a slight weight or equipment penalty over a comparably priced hardtail for the privilege, but they do offer extra speed, capability and comfort on rough descents.\nAt this sort of money, all bikes should have well-controlled and adjustable air-sprung forks, preferably with a stiffer thru-axle design instead of quick-release skewers and a tapered steerer.\nYou\u2019re likely to see adjustable rebound damping to fine-tune how fast the shock extends after a bump and some forks will have a lockout lever that prevents the suspension moving for greater efficiency on smooth climbs.\n\n While not revolutionary, the geometry of the Calibre Bossnut is on the money for an easy-riding trail bike. Laurence Crossman-Emms\nThe best mountain bikes under \u00a31,000 may even feature a thru-axle at the rear wheel for improved stiffness.\nWe\u2019d definitely expect to see a modern 10-speed drivetrain with a clutch-equipped derailleur, with higher-specification equipment that\u2019ll be lighter, last longer and work well.\nAt this price point, it\u2019s a good idea to look for options that use the Boost mountain bike axle standard, which will give you many more upgrade options if you decide to choose new lighter, stronger wheels later on.\nMountain bikes under \u00a32,000\n\n Calibre\u2019s Bossnut has been the boss of the entry-level full-sus market for several years now, seen here with the Triple B. Mick Kirkman\nAt this price, there are still some compromises on full-suspension bikes, but they\u2019re starting to disappear.\nYou\u2019ll also start to see some hardtail bikes that use lightweight carbon fibre for their frames, while aluminium-framed hardtail models will come with excellent components fitted as standard.\nShort-travel cross-country bikes designed for long-distance riding will be light enough to ride all day, while longer-travel trail bikes will be able to tackle seriously rugged descents and get you back up to the top without any issues.\n\n The Canyon Stoic 4 hardtail features a quality build at a price point where full-suspension bikes are also found. Andy Lloyd \/ Immediate Media\nSuspension units will be of a higher quality, with much more damping adjustment on offer. We would definitely expect to see 1x mountain bike groupsets at this price point.\nThe best mountain bikes under \u00a32,000 come with dropper posts that allow the saddle to be lowered without having to stop. These are great for riding technical terrain and a definite plus for most riders.\nFor the basics on getting the most out of all the bells and whistles of your suspension, be sure to check out our beginner\u2019s guide to suspension setup.\nWe\u2019ve also got a guide to adjusting the rebound and compression settings on your mountain bike.\nMountain bikes under \u00a33,000\n\n The Merida Big Nine XT is best suited for XC and trail riding. Russell Burton \/ Immediate Media\nAt this sort of money, you\u2019ll likely see a split between a quality carbon frame fitted with slightly lower-end components, or an aluminium frame fitted with high-end gear.\nThe choice will be yours of whether you want to opt