People love to ride through the mountains but sometimes it just hurts your back and it becomes hard. These peaceful rides can take you away from the busy life of cities letting you find yourself in the adventurous serene path. The best way to fill your body with a happy mind is riding through the mountains with the best full-suspension mountain bike.
These specialized bikes are in a totally different territory than the traditional city bikes you normally see. Maybe your city bike won’t even have a shock absorber but these mountain bikes are equipped with the best suspensions to tackle the rough terrains of the mountain. Coupled with huge tires with good grips and disc brakes, they will surely keep you safe throughout your ride.
Top 3 Full Suspension Mountain Bikes
Mountain riding is one of the best adventure sports you can do with ease. All you need is a good ride and you are good to go. The huge mountain bikes will be a good companion throughout your journey. They will help you reach points that are totally inaccessible for you if you were alone. You will enjoy a whole different level of freedom when you are with them.
This is the age of cutting edge technology and every old equipment and rides are getting modernized with good technology. There are people who might see this with fear because of seeing a totally alien product. But you don’t have to worry, the only thing that technology does is making your life better each day. Mountain bikes are also now in their best shape. Just get the best mountain ride and you will get used to it in a day.
What is Full Suspension Bike?
Mountain bikes are already heavily rugged to accompany you in rough rides. The full-suspension bikes just take it to the next level. The dual suspension mountain bike models have two suspensions at the front and at the back of the bike to make sure every impact from the terrain is taken by the bike. The end result of having the best suspension is getting the most comfortable ride.
The suspension movement of the bike is a good indication of the extent of its capacity. It is known by the term suspension ‘travel’ in the biking world. The better the suspension the better will it be able to take the impact of every bump in the mountain road. It can also contribute to better traction during the ride.
The degree of suspension required on your bike is dependent on the roughness of the terrain because the suspension is keeping the wheels on the ground with proper traction. Generally, you can find suspensions with ‘travel’ of around 80 mm to 200 mm. Select them based on the way you are planning to use your mountain bike.
Like we told the selection of the bike and the suspension depends on your interest in specific mountain rides. One such example is people who like to ride with gravity down the hill. For them, Downhill bikes are the best bet. Since you are planning to do steep, all the impact on the bike will be a lot more than average bike rides. So, in order to stay on the track properly, you will need good traction and good support.
Thus, you will eventually need more suspension. In other rides, this may become a liability. For example, if you are interested in cross country bikes then the specifications you need will be entirely different. What you need is something that is lightweight and which you easily ride. For a bike like that the suspension you need should have around 100 mm of ‘travel’.
There is a disadvantage for having long ‘travel’ suspension on your bike. It will waste quite a good amount of energy used while riding the bike. To avoid these, many manufacturers have put up their suspension systems in a way that the riders can actually lock out the suspension from work. Since the suspensions are locked out, they won’t move at all.
This reduction in the movement will help in saving the energy you exert while riding. Climbing back to the top of the mountain after the downhill ride is the most tiring task and locking suspension down will help you in riding back up the mountain with ease.
Buying Guide for the Full Suspension Mountain Bikes
There are different kinds of mountain bikes available but the full-suspension mountain bikes will provide you with a comfort that is unparalleled in this segment. With more comfort and control on your bike, you will have an enjoyable riding experience which is hardly achievable with a hardtail mountain bike. This riding comfort is made possible by the different combination of suspensions found in this bike.
A suspension fork is used for absorbing the impact from the front wheel of the bike and a shock absorber on the rear side of the bike is used to reduce the impact from the back. With this combination whatever you are riding on whether it is filled with bump or roots or anything pleasant, you won’t feel a thing. This bike can be a useful addition to your garage.
There are a plethora of bikes available in the market right now so it is quite natural for you to get confused. And, this is why we are here to help you. With our detailed best full suspension mountain bikes guide, you will able to make the best buying decision.
1. Springs: Different mechanisms are used for providing suspension on mountain bikes. Each of them has their own advantages so consider the merits and choose the one that best suits you. Air springs are one such commonly used suspension system. They are comparatively lighter than other suspension systems.
A good advantage of this system is that you can easily manipulate the suspension capacity of this type of suspension using an air pump or shock pump. What we could normally find on cheap mountain bikes is the coil spring suspension technology. These are especially found on downhill bikes and gravity bikes. Coil springs are made using high-quality steel or titanium.
Because of this they are highly durable and will last you for a very long period. Coil springs tend to give much responsive cushioning effect to the riders than the air springs because of the lack of tight air seals found in them. The only disadvantage coil spring suspension system has is its weight. Since it is heavy, whenever you need to swap them for changing the suspension level it becomes a difficult task.
2. The Four Bar system: The most popular suspension system found in mountain bikes is the Four Bar system. A chainstay pivot is used for making the suspension system work. A picot is attached to the bottom bracket of the bike and another pivot is present above the seat stay. Then this pivot is connected to a leveraged shock linkage.
There is another suspension system called the Faux Bar system which is a lot similar to the Four bar system but in this system, all the pivots are on the seat stays. Four Bar suspension system also has other variations like the Virtual Pivot Point or shortly called the VPP and the DW-Link that is using twin links for isolating the rear part.
If you are buying a cheap mountain bike, then the suspension quality will also degrade with it. The full-suspension design found on them will only be having a signal pivot system in the suspension. This reduces the cost of manufacturing and thus keeping the overall price low. They are not as efficient as the multi-pivot suspension systems.
The problem is the ‘travel’ made by a single pivot system stays consistent throughout the ‘travel’ until reaching the bottom. This becomes a problem when you are facing deep impacts on your bike as it will get to your back when it reaches the bottom. While in the case of the multi-pivot system, suspension at the bottom part gets hardened giving a much safe riding experience.
3. Stability and Control: The advantage of having a full suspension bike just doesn’t end with having a comfortable ride. It gives more stability and increased control over your bike in rough terrains. With this advantage, there is a whole new world of opportunities that you can unravel. That is, you will get the ability to extend your adventure to terrains that are harder to reach and challenging.
If you have already visited the market, then we know why you are here. There are hundreds of options available to choose from and you don’t know which one to choose. In simple terms, a bike might look a bar on two wheels but things are much more complicated than that. Selecting a full-suspension mountain bike might narrow your selection a bit but still, there are a lot of options available.
And then to make things even more confusing, the manufacturers are adopting different techniques and materials to make their mountain bike superior. So, you will need to have some requirements for your need to find the right bike of your choice. Apart from the wheel size and the design, you must also think about specific features like the type of suspension used in the bike.
There are options like air spring suspensions and coil spring suspension with different levels of suspension travel. It will be hard to pick up the best choice but what you can do is select the suspension with maximum suspension travel and is comfortable for you.
Cross-Country Full Suspension
What are the main specs for a cross-country full suspension MTB?
Cross country mountain bike segment requires completely different features set than the commonly used one.
- First of all, they have to be lightweight since they require enough acceleration speed while riding. To achieve this, cross country suspension bikes are generally made with materials that are lighter. For example, carbon fiber is used for making the frame of the cycle. And they will also have suspension travel of around 100 mm. With this amount of suspension, the cross-country bike will be able to tackle the impact from small bumps and small obstacles.
- The traction at the rear wheel is comparatively higher in the rear wheel and they usually have good riding comfort. All the features and parts are chosen in such a way that the pedaling efficiency becomes the maximum and the weight of the vehicle stays the minimum.
- Unlike the normal mountain bikes, the cross country bikes are designed to be in a way that it is as easy to ride an uphill as it is riding down the hill. To make sure that the efficiency stays the best, you will have to choose a wheel that is either 29 inches in wheel size or the new addition 27.5 inches.
Trail Full Suspension
Full suspension trail bikes vs cross-country bikes
- Cross country bikes are not generally designed to work well in rough conditions. They are more suitable for short rides. However, there are some bikes that make an exception to this. For example, Norco Sight, a trail bike will let you handle much tougher terrains with more comfort and stability. So, if you want to race across tough paths like that then choose bikes that will stay stable in paths like these at higher speeds.
- The normal suspension ‘travel’ found in trail bikes ranges between 120 mm to 140 mm. So, if you are into cross country rides and are also planning to upgrade your adventurous journey in tougher terrains, then you will have to find the best trail full suspension mountain bike.
- What generally happens with the increase in suspension travel is that the weight of your bike will also go on increasing. But, if the manufacturer is good then the suspensions designing will be made in such a manner that the total effort you put into pedaling the bike will get transferred to the rear while without much loss. So, if you are a person looking for the lightest mountain bike then keep this in mind. Changing the suspension travel can drastically change the overall weight of your bike.
- The best trail suspension bikes that we have seen are having wheel sizes at 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. The wheels are made of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Again, if weight is your concern, pay the extra money and buy the lightweight carbon fiber frame. From all the bikes we have reviewed, the best bikes in the trail category are the carbon bikes.
All Mountain/Enduro Full Suspension
What is the best mountain bike for difficult rides?
If you are one of those people who like taking things to the maximum extent in here also you will love to push your rides to the maximum. Being an adventurous guy, you will be choosing the spots that are hard to reach with really tough terrains. For a challenging person like that, a good mountain bike that can endure your interest must be bought.
And the best full suspension bike for you will be the enduro bikes that can handle any kind of terrain with ease. The only problem is that the enduro bikes are comparatively heavier than the normal trail bikes. But that is of course due to the strength that is built into it. It can successfully take on all kinds of abuse you might be subjecting it to and still keep you safe and sound.
As we told earlier, these bikes are built for rugged usage and are heavy. So, in order to maintain the stability of the bike, the design of these bikes is better than the trail bikes and cross country bikes. This doesn’t mean that the bike is harder to control. To improve the control and to steer it with ease, there is a wider handlebar short stem.
All-mountain bikes or the Enduro bikes are available in wheel sizes of 27.5 inch or 29 inches. To cut the unnecessary weight, the enduro bikes are having their frame made with aluminum or carbon fiber.
Downhill Full Suspension
Downhill suspension bikes require features that could improve their overall strength because the impacts on even small obstacles will be higher in his case. The weight also doesn’t matter much in downhill riding bike as unlike the uphill climbing, when the weight will be utilized positively for the ride rather than requiring an effort to ride. The suspension has to be really efficient to absorb the hard hits the bike is going to take and the frame material should be strong enough to protect the bike from damages.
To achieve this, the suspension travel on downhill mountain bikes is comparatively greater and they usually reach about 200 mm to 220 mm so that even the big bumps won’t hurt your bones. And the front suspension has to be much stronger than the rear ones in this case to withstand the impact. It will always be a good idea to attach an extra suspension fork to the front wheel.
This will make the suspension stiffer and stronger. The cheap mountain bikes used for downhill riding usually has only the coil sprung shock absorbers. If you are ready to shell out more cash, then you will be able to get the air sprung suspensions. They are lighter than the coil sprung ones. One among the best downhill bikes we reviewed is the Specialized Demo 8. It has all the features of a good downhill mountain bike.
So, if you need a good suggestion to buy a downhill bike, then this will be a good option for you to go for. It is strong enough to handle the rough edges and keep you in full control over the rides. But since it is a downhill bike, it has a major disadvantage. You can’t even think of making it ride back to the mountain. This specific model has a wheel size of around 27.5 inches.
But you can also get similar models with a wheel size of around 26 inches. Downhill mountain bikes are not the favorite of everyone but for some, it is like addiction to take over the power of gravity and ride down. In a fast pace, you will be facing all the rough edges of the mountain which will hit you with a higher force than all the other kinds of rides.
So, brace yourself to tackle the force with your bike. Only the best bike among them can hold you together and keep you protected. If you are still confused, check out the guide made by us on mountain bikes for separate reasons. There you will be able to find the best mountain bikes or electric mountain bikes or anything that fits your need.
The adventurous guy in you must be in good excitement by now. Experts have paid good attention to framing this full suspension mountain bikes guide to help you in finding the best mountain bike. Even though it is a broad category, there are mountain bikes specifically designed for the kind of riding you are interested in. So, choose your riding style before choosing your bike.
Because the requirements of a particular ride won’t fit in with another one. For example, for a cross country ride what you need is a lightweight mountain bike while for downhill riding what you need is a very strong and stable mountain bike where the weight of the bike is not at all a concern. Don’t think of buying a specialized bike and use it for another kind of ride.
It is risky and you might end up damaging your bike and yourself. So, if you are a general purpose mountain bike rider who doesn’t push the limit too much, then it will be best for you to choose the enduro bikes. They are stable enough to ride in most of the mountain terrains. And we are warning you to never take your country bike for a mountain ride. It will be more than abuse to your bike. So, get the best mountain bike and start your adventure.