Every mountain bike component has a well-defined purpose. When it comes to suspension systems, in particular, a minor shift in travel distance between the front and rear can be the difference between being able to land a high drop and being able to just pedal on flat urban streets.
So, what makes a bike the best full suspension mountain bike? It’s not that simple. It depends on where you want to ride it and what your riding experience is. Even picking an all-around bike in this regard can make you scratch your head. Also, check out the best mountain bikes for beginners.
Check out these five top picks and get our top recommendation for the average mountain biker blessed with a fearless attitude and plenty of free time.
#1. Merax Falcon 21-Speed Mountain Bike
You’re probably new to mountain biking if you haven’t noticed at least one Merax mountain bike so far. The Falcon is one of the best full-suspension models to come from Merax for its excellent price/performance ratio.
The Merax Falcon comes with a super-strong frame and a massive weight capacity of 330 lbs. It’s fitted with a dual-suspension that can absorb shocks from going over the largest of obstacles. Learn more about what you need to know about electric mountain bikes.
But riding comfort is not the only idea behind the Falcon mountain bike. The design is also geared toward maximum safety and excellent control on flat ground, slopes, gravel, mud, and all.
The linear-pull brakes let you exercise a great deal of control while also providing enough stopping power when needed. The Shimano 21-speed derailleurs and shifters are essential for smooth chain transitions, quick shifting, and speed control.
The frame size is 17” which is suitable for people of average height or shorter. The 6061 aluminum alloy frame is long-lasting and provides decent vibration absorption too. However, if you want to ride more technical trails, wheel upgrades might be necessary.
The Falcon features 26” wheels and rather thin tires. They’re great at picking up speed but may not handle drops and rolling over tall objects too well. Not as good as a pair of 29ers anyway.
Construction and components aside, what’s most impressive about the Falcon is perhaps the price tag. The bike has everything it needs to be used on intermediate trails and yet it won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
- Durable lightweight frame
- Responsive linear pull breaks
- Full suspension
- Very budget-friendly
- Small wheels
- Not suitable for riders over 6 ft. tall
#2. Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Mountain Bike
Just because most mountain bikes are big and designed for men, it doesn’t mean that the fairer sex can’t enjoy the same level of quality, comfort, and functionality. Learn more about how to clean a bike chain without removing it.
The R3577 features a full suspension aluminum frame. The shorter design only helps to enhance the durability of the frame while the full suspension helps maximize the level of comfort whether you’re riding on the street or entry-level trails.
The bike is also equipped with a 21-speed Shimano derailleur and responsive twist shifters that allow quick gear changes while riding. The brake system features linear-pull brakes. They have good stopping power but also facilitate more control and maneuverability on uneven terrain.
Although the frame features a slanted shape, much like that of a hardtail bike, the overall bike design is not suited for jumps and high drops. But, due to how easy it is to mount and dismount, and because of the small frame, the bike can be used by women and kids just as comfortably.
The wheels are equipped with rather thick tires relative to the wheel diameter of just 24”. Of course, this only serves as an extra layer of comfort and protection against impact forces on the bike. The small wheel size also makes it easy for the rider to pick up speed from a standstill.
- Durable frame
- Quality Shimano derailleur
- Responsive brakes
- Full suspension
- Thick tires
- Slightly heavy for the size
- Might be too small
#3. Murtisol Folding Mountain Bike
Although folding mountain bikes are not known for their amazing durability compared to downhill or all-mountain models, they’re worth considering if you’re low on storage space or if you travel a lot to reach your favorite trails.
This mountain bike is flashy and practical. It can be bought in three color patterns and it’s super easy to store thanks to the folding frame design.
The bike is equipped with 26” wheels and standard tires. Combined with the full suspension design, the 26” diameter wheels perform really well on urban roads and even on some entry-level trails.
A linear-pull brake system is used to add another layer of control when the rider’s reaction time is truly tested. Shifting gears is relatively smooth although it may report strong feedback if attempting to skip gears while climbing.
The bike is quite sturdy and lightweight. But the folding frame design compromises the bike’s ability to handle jumps, drops, and even high-speed downhill trails.
Of course, the functionality is more than enough for some. For anyone looking for some extra perks, the low price point should also be attractive. The bike is suitable for riders of 5’1” to 5’9” tall and under 220 lbs. Raising the seat to its maximum may not be a good idea for this folding bike.
- Full suspension
- Responsive brakes
- Very affordable
- Foldable frame
- Easy to store and transport
- Suitable for riders of below-average height
- Not ideal for drops
#4. Diamondback Bicycles Mission 2 Mountain Bike
The Mission 2 is an all-mountain full-suspension bike. It’s as rugged as they come, fine-tuned to endure technical trails, high drops, and hours of riding at a time.
The Mission 2 features a curved 6061-T6 aluminum frame which allows for superior vibration and shock absorption. The Knuckle Box suspension and the FOX 36 Float (front and rear suspension) are there to assume the heavy load when rolling over big rocks or taking in potholes.
Gearing and braking are handled by Shimano. The derailleur is an 11-speed Shimano SLX M7000. As far as braking is concerned, the Mission 2 features hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rear and front rotors and cooling fin pads.
The bike strikes a good balance between high-end and heavy-duty. The suspension is rated at 180 mm travel out of the box. The wheels are Easton Arc 650Bs and the tires are engineered for maximum traction even on slippery ground.
While the Mission 2 may be somewhat pricey and perhaps overkill for the average urban rider, the comfort and security provided are almost unparalleled.
- High-quality front and rear suspension
- Shimano drivetrain and brakes
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Heavy-duty frame
- 5” wheels
#5. ZOYO Folding Mountain Bike
The final entry offers another alternative for anyone interested in folding mountain bikes. This model is easy to set up, offers a great deal of comfort, and is geared more towards speed riding than anything else.
One of the biggest advantages of this mountain bike is that it comes almost completely assembled. It’s around 40 lbs. which is a lot for a 17” bike.
The maximum weight capacity of 200 lbs. may not be a low number considering that the bike is designed for average height males.
The hybrid suspension system provides comfort and control when riding on rough trails. The 26” wheels are not great for downhill trails or advanced technical mountain trails but they are steady for everything else.
The bike is a 7-speed. You can exercise the ultimate speed and turn control by using the steel linear-pull V-brakes. It’s not the instant stopping power of a disc brake but the upside is that you can make quick smaller adjustments.
This ultimately makes the bike more maneuverable. Of course, for some users, the folding frame is not ideal. It takes away from the frame’s ability to handle multiple high drops and jumps. But, keep in mind that as a full-suspension bike and not a hardtail, jumps shouldn’t be on your list anyway.
Last but not least, both the seat and handlebar are adjustable. However, the grips are not foldable which means that you can’t exactly fold the bike to a quarter size concerning all sides.
- Responsive brakes
- Easy to store
- Decent suspension travel
- Narrow tires for extra speed
- No grip adjustment
- Average weight capacity
What’s the benefit of a full-suspension mountain bike?
Super light hardtails are fast. They’re great for technical climbs and sprints. Full suspension bikes suck up impact and make sure your rear stays connected for better traction and cornering speed when going over rough surfaces. Hardtails are great for sprinting because they let you go full gas without worrying about impacting your backside.
How much suspension travel is best?
100mm is definitely the default number of real wheels for race bikes. It makes a noticeable difference in control when riding off drops and through rock garden sections. There’s no sag in the middle stroke section for suspension aficionados to worry about. It synchronizes well with the lightest suspensions forks. You can get this much travel from flexible stays instead of pivots and linkages. Chainstays and rear shock length can all be kept to a minimum.
There are some 120mm bikes such as KTM’s RC8R, but there are also shorter travel bikes like BMC’s Team Elite Softail and Trek’s recently released Supercaliber, with its pump-action shotgun-style shock.
What’s the best frame geometry?
Race bikes are designed for racing. Trail bikes are designed for trails.
What are the best components?
More and more people are fitting trail-style components onto road bikes. Trail bikes are gaining popularity because they allow you to ride longer distances without getting sore legs. Some companies are even making bikes with internal routing for dropper posts!
How much should the best full-suspension mountain bikes weigh?
Full suspension bikes tend to be used by males, but not females. Female racers use hardtail bikes because they’re lighter.
Full suspension bikes aren’t just for racing. They’re also great for commuting or touring. You’ll get better handling and smoother riding over rough roads.
How much should you spend?
Hardtails are great for beginners because they’re easy to handle. Full suspensions are more expensive, but they offer better handling. A sub-£1000 hardtail is an affordable choice.
What size bike should you get?
People who ride bikes bigger than themselves are often mistaken as being clumsy or uncoordinated. However, this isn’t true. Bigger bikes are more stable and easier to handle. You should always choose a bike that fits your body type. Buying a bike that’s too big for you could make you feel awkward or unstable. Choosing a bike that’s too expensive could leave you feeling disappointed.
Don’t buy a too-big bike. Even if that is what all your mates have been doing. Even if that is the bike shop staffer saying. They’re wrong. The best way to do it is to consult with what the bike manufacturers’ height advice says. You also need to check out our guide to selecting your mountain bike frame size, as well as our tips on how to choose your mountain bike frame size correctly. Once you’ve found out what size the manufacturer and we recommend, have a nosey around the next size up. Look at the seat tube length, and stand over. If you’d still feel comfortable on the larger size, then you should try both the suggested size and the next size bigger when you go to try it for size. Long top tube frames can be improved (in fact!) by fitting a smaller stem and moving the saddle further back on its rails.
The Merax Falcon is the best full suspension mountain bike for the average city rider. Apart from the very durable and reliable construction and judicious gearing choices, the bike performs just as well on the streets as on entry-level to intermediate technical trails.
It’s also hard to beat from a pricing standpoint, even if you were to nitpick every little detail. However, the bike has probably one flaw. The Falcon is a relatively big mountain bike which means that most women and kids might have a hard time using it.
If you’re interested in something just as durable but in smaller frames and wheels, then the Mongoose R3577 Girl’s mountain bike might be a more suitable option. It has dual suspension and will accommodate small riders of both genders.