Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike

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    • #257776

      Hi all,

      I’m in the market for a new full suspension mountain bike. I live on the east side of South Dakota so most of my terrain is rolling hills to flat, but I wan’t something that I can take out to Moab, UT and Crested Butte, CO and have fun on. Maybe even hit up a downhill park once in a blue moon. I’ve been doing some research, but I can’t quite figure out what my options are. I’m pretty set on test riding the bike before I buy it which means I’m stuck with the brands that my LBS carries. (Giant, Trek, Salsa, Specialized, Santa Cruz, Pivot) What model should I get!? My budget is around $3,500-$4,000.

      With that said, there are only a few things I know I want:
      29″ wheels
      130-150mm travel
      Dropper post (not essential, just ideal)

      What do you think? What models in those brands do you think would fit me?


    • #257789

      Specialized Stumpjumper, Giant Trance, and Trek Fuel should all just about do the trick.

    • #257790

      Not really any best bike, it is what what fits you best. Cannondale Habit 4, Santa Cruz Hightower LT, Salsa Deadwood, Pivot Switchblade, are all good. There are just tons of good bikes.

      My favorite in that price range is the Trance 29, But a good dealership or better price would make any of them worth the money.

    • #257791

      You’re going to find a great bike in that price range, and the “best” bike is the one that gets you riding. I’ve ridden Stumpy, Trance, Fuel, and Hightower – all excellent. Get some test rides in, make your choice, and never look back – eyes on the trail in front of you (literally and figuratively).

      But one thing I will suggest. If you’ve got the budget for up to $4K, I strongly recommend getting a dropper. Its safer, and once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without it. Maybe not so much for your East So-Dak trails (I’m in MN myself), but necessary for the places you mention and any bike park.

      I’d wish you good luck, but you don’t need it in that price range – you’re going to buy a killer rig.

    • #257802

      Another possible option, if you do your own work on your bike and have a decent shop available to you, build what you want. There an many types of excellent frames available both new and almost new to build up. I suspect with your budget and a few days of selection  and work, you can make your perfect ride.

      That is what I did. Plus, you are probably going to do some early upgrades anyway to refine your fit to the bike.

    • #257803

      So many options in this price range.  Demoing is always a good idea.  But of you are willing to buy without demo, check out buy direct companies, like YT.  You can usually get more bike for your money.  YT Jeffsy may be a good fit.  Dropper should be very attainable.  Don’t get a bike without.

    • #257806

      I like bikes that have clearance for at least 29×2.6 wide tires and 29×2.8 might be better. So here’s my list at your price range. Specialized Stumpjumper, Scott Genius, Ibis Ripmo, Trek Full Stache. All of these bikes also come with Eagle drivetrains which I favor. I ride the Full Stache and I really like it. I think 29×2.6-2.8 tires on i30-35 rims is the Trailbike sweet spot.

      • #257929

        Let me add the new Salsa Horsetheif to the above list. It just came out today.

    • #257809

      Of the choices you’ve mentioned I’d take the SC Hightower or Hightower LT ($4000 base for either). Personally I liked the Hightower better as it was just more agile, but either way I’d over fork them which is a pretty easy and inexpensive to do. If you want more of a crusher and want to save a few dollars the I’d go with a Specialized Stumpjumper EVO.

    • #257971

      Cannondale Jekyll 29 3

    • #257983

      Hi Patrick!

      I think the best choice is
      Merida Crossway 20-MD
      Giant ATX 2 (2017)
      Silverback Stride 15 (2016)
      Stinger Element D 26 (2017)
      Stels Navigator 650 MD 27.5 V020 (2017)
      My choice fell on Merida Crossway 20-MD. It’s more convenient and practical. It is also very reliable. I ride more than six months and have no complaints. But this is just my opinion
      Before buying, I want to advice to visit more information sites with a similar subject. It really helps with the choice. For example this site   Once he also helped me with the choice of a mountain bike. I can also advise Giant ATX 2, this is my previous bike, is also a good fit for you.

    • #257993

      I suggest you not to make your decision too hurry. Take some time. Research the available options on the market, make your shortlist. Go one by one, read reviews online as well as try demo riding if possible. These will help you a lot to choose the best fit for you. Best of luck.

    • #258022

      If there’s one thing I learned most (but admittedly haven’t always practiced) from riding since the dawn of mountain biking, is fit is at the top of the list of bike selection.  By fit, I’m referring to the “physical” fit, not necessarily the “need” fit.  It goes way beyond small, medium, and large.  Seat angle, head angle, top tube, chain stay, etc.  So you ask the right question… “What models in those brands do you think would fit me?”  But only you can answer that.  Different brands just fit and feel differently.  Especially these days with the near unlimited manipulation of geometry.  Pick the style (XC, enduro, downhill, trail, etc.), then try them on for size.  Demo, rent, ride!  Don’t worry about component specs.  Pick the right feeling bike, then select the model with the components you want.  Anyway, nothing new here, no revelations.

    • #258117

      Hi there,

      If you want a TRUE all rounder take it from a guy who used to own 7 bikes. Now just the one (and a pub bike)

      Have a look here at the G16 (yeah it works great with 29″ wheels) or the new G1 and take it from there. Getting one changed my riding life at 60+ years old. It’s SO much fun now.

      If you can’t stretch to one of those, I suggest you try look for something a similar shape. Supporting your local shop is great, I totally approve of that but you have to get the right “shape” bike – a bike that fits you right and you’ll not look back.

      If you’re 5′ 10″ or more, you’ll really benefit from a bike with a decent reach and longish chain-stays as it helps you balance the bike. Most many=ufacturers are making bikes that are just far too short (and don’t get me started on the obsession with short chainstays [which stop you weighting the front tyre])

      Geometron have got the balance perfect.

      As long as the seat tube is steep, pedalling the long bike will be no problem and you’ll love the downward trails. I ride mine in local tight woods as well as the uplift when I can get away to Enduro and DH tracks.

      I’ve not felt the need to get back on an XC bike (I had a Pivot 429) since I bought my first Geoemetron G16 (I am 6’2″: longest, 520 reach, setup 27.5 rear/29 front 160mm Lyric and rear 175mm Fox X2).

      Enjoy your new machine, I hope it serves you well


    • #437614


      Your local shop carries great brands, so you should not have any trouble finding an awesome bike.  My only recommendations are:

      • Get the bike you like best on your local trails.  The current group of 29″ trail bikes are so good that you shouldn’t have any trouble on trips to Moab and Crested Butte.
      • Don’t overlook the shorter travel 29″ trail bikes, they are really good.
        • I live on the Front Range of Colorado and ride a wide variety of intermediate and advanced trails.  I have also been fortunate to ride throughout the state and around the country on quite a few different bikes.  If I was looking for a new bike from the brands your local shop carries, I would start with a Pivot Trail 429.



    • #450234

      I’d agree with you need to sit on the bike and ride it. I myself plan on getting a full squisher at some point but right now im in the middle of upgrading my trek hardtail. When I sat on the bike the first time  I knew It was a whole new game changer. Main brands are very good bikes so between fit and feel and price of course you’ll know its the bike. Look for better grade components also, at that price range there are a lot of nicely equipped bikes.

    • #458247

      Folks, while your advice is sound you should know that this question was posed almost a year and a half ago.  I suspect the OP has long since make a decision (and may even be looking to upgrade now. Lol)

    • #458650

      Lol, looks like I did that.  I am curious how it showed up in the recent threads.

    • #459716

      Thats funny! I was just dreaming of a full suspension bike and tapped in

    • #471237

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    • #481872

      Buying a full-suspension mountain bike can be a tricky job. You may look here for more.

    • #481924

      Love my RSD Wildcat. 150f, 140r travel magic carpet ride, indeed.

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