Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes For Beginners

This article contains affiliate links. I may get a commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking a link.

Full suspension bikes aren’t often recommended to beginners simply because they tend to be more expensive. The truth is, they’re probably better bikes for beginners than hard tails, which can be more uncomfortable and difficult to get started mountain biking on. In this article we’ll look at 5 of the best full suspension mountain bikes for beginners to show you what’s available to buy online, right now.

These full suspension bikes offer a degree of comfort that isn’t usually associated with mountain bikes. That can actually make them ideal bikes for beginners, since it can make your rides easier, and even more enjoyable.

Ok, let’s have a look at these bikes.

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes for Beginners

Most of the bikes on this list are all a good blend of quality and affordability. While it’s true that you get what you pay for with mountain bikes, it’s also true that you can find plenty of superb bikes at affordable prices. A couple of bikes on the below list have beginner-friendly prices without sacrificing quality. However if you’re ok with the cost, I’ve put a couple of bikes from the premium price on here as well.

Top 3 Picks

Best Overall

Polygon Siskiu D5

Buy On BikesOnline

Salsa Blackthorn Carbon

Buy On REI

Value Choice

Schwinn Protocol 

Buy On Amazon

1. Schwinn Protocol 2.7 Mens and Womens Mountain Bike

Budget pick

Schwinn Protocol 2.7 Mens and Womens Mountain Bike, 27.5-Inch Wheels, 21-Speed Drivetrain, Lightweight Aluminum Frame, Full Suspension, Matte Blue

Features

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 21 speed drive train
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Double wall rims
  • EZ-fire trigger shifters
  • Aluminum frame
  • Front and rear brakes
  • 2.25-inch wide tires

You really can’t go wrong with Schwinn. This bike may lack some of the features of more expensive models, but it’s made by one of the most trusted manufacturers in the world, and the quality is top-notch. The full suspension system provides a smooth ride, and it’s especially popular with beginners because it’s affordable but it still gets the job done.

More experienced cyclists tend to find a few flaws in the design, and at 40lbs it’s fairly heavy, but these are issues that beginners really don’t notice. Instead, they’re usually thrilled to have a quality bike that handles rough terrain well and that they didn’t pay too much for.

Buy on Amazon


2. 2021 Polygon Siskiu D5

Best overall for beginners

Features

  • Aluminum frame
  • Cross-country geometry
  • 120mm of travel on both front and rear suspension
  • RapidFire Plus shift lever
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • Entity Spiderbait tires
  • 5 year warranty on frame
  • 18-speed drive train

The geometry of this bike is designed for the modern cross-country rider, with the ability to handle both uphill and downhill riding with ease. With 120mm of travel in the suspension both in the front and the rear, this bike offers an unbelievably smooth ride on any terrain.

The RapidFire Plus lever can downshift up to three gears at once, and the Spiderbait tires are perfect for providing traction on the trail. The aluminum frame will last a lifetime, but just in case there are problems with it there’s a 5 year warranty included. This bike is great for beginners but loved by experienced cyclists alike.

Probably one of the best full suspension mountain bikes for beginners on the market today.

Buy at BikesOnline.com


3. 2021 Polygon Siskiu D7

Features

  • Aluminum frame
  • Cross country geometry
  • Rockshox Recon fork
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • Schwalbe nobby nic tires
  • 11 speed drive train
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select rear shocks
  • Cross country geometry with all-mountain capability

The D7 is essentially an upgraded D5. The design is largely the same, but you’re getting more premium parts with this model. The shocks, tires, drive train, and more are all upgraded. The ride will be a bit smoother and the parts will likely last a bit longer.

The D7 is an excellent choice for beginners and experts alike. The price isn’t so high that beginners should avoid it, but it performs like a much more expensive model. Still, you do make some sacrifices to keep the price down, and while Polygon’s customer service is excellent, there are some reports of issues with the shifters and the axles. As with other bikes on this list, beginners aren’t likely to notice or care all that much about many of the issues that customers have reported.

Buy at BikesOnline.com


4. Salsa Blackthorn Carbon SLX Bike

Premium choice

Features

  • Wheel size- 29 inches
  • Fork travel- 160mm
  • 12 gears
  • Carbon fiber frame
  • Split pivot suspension system
  • Shimano SLX drive train
  • 4 piston brakes
  • Internal cable guides

You certainly get your money’s worth in this top of the line bicycle. It’s designed for maximum performance without sacrificing your comfort as the rider. The split pivot suspension isolates the braking and pedaling forces from each other, providing remarkable precision and control.

The drive train shifts smoothly and the seat is easily adjustable, and everything is built with premium materials to keep the weight light without giving up durability. This is a superb all-mountain bike that can handle anything you throw at it, all without sacrificing comfort.

This is definitely the most feature-packed bike on this list. If you want the very best, this is it. A beginner may not appreciate everything this bike has to offer at first, but as you ride more and more that will change.

Buy on REI.com


5. Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bike

Schwinn S29 Mens Mountain Bike, 29-Inch Wheels, 18-Inch/Medium Aluminum Frame, Dual-Suspension, Mechanical Disc Brakes, Matte Black

Features

  • 29-inch wheels
  • 18-inch frame
  • Aluminum construction
  • 21-speed drive train
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Trigger shifters
  • Double wall rims

With a 21-speed drive train controlled by simple-to-use trigger shifters, the Schwinn S29 is a great choice for beginners. It provides a lot of flexibility without making it hard for a new cyclist to adjust their gearing for the terrain. The remaining features are fairly standard.

The durability of this bike is outstanding, with customers reporting over 3,000 miles of use before needing to replace the tires. Beginners love that the price is affordable, and while this model is heavier and stiffer than some of the more expensive options, plenty of more experienced cyclists never bother to upgrade from it.

Buy on Amazon


What to consider when choosing your first mountain bike

For beginners shopping for their first mountain bike, the different features and parts can quickly get overwhelming. That’s especially true if you haven’t learned all of the technical terms yet, and you may begin to feel totally lost as sales people describe the various models to you. To help you in your search, here’s what you need to look for:

Dual/Full Suspension

These terms are interchangeable, and they simply that the bike has both front and rear shocks. These will be more expensive, but they’re worth the extra cost. The bike will be significantly more comfortable to ride as you cross rough terrain.

Bike Size

One of the most important factors in choosing a bike is making sure to get a bike that’s the right size. A bike that’s too large or too small for you is going to be very uncomfortable to ride, no matter how good the suspension is. Worse, it can actually lead to serious injuries.

Buying bikes online usually gets you a better price and more options, but to find the right size you really need to go to a local bike store. The staff there can help you find a bike that fits you properly. Be sure to find your fit in several different brands, since each brands sizing can be slightly different.

Weight

Mountain bikes aren’t ever going to be as light as road bikes. If they were they’d never be able to handle off-road conditions. Still, lighter bikes are easier to ride. It’s not just that they’re faster, they’re easier to pedal. Experts recommend that your bike weigh between 24 and 28 pounds.

You’ll notice that we listed bikes heavier than that. More affordable models are going to weigh more, because they’re made from cheaper materials like aluminum. Most customers don’t report any issues caused by the extra weight, so it’s not likely anything to worry about.

Wheel Size

Mountain bike wheels can be 29 inches or 27.5 inches. The larger tires give you more momentum and can handle uneven terrain better. Smaller wheels are a bit tougher and tend to be more responsive, making the bike more agile.

The trend now is increasingly toward the larger wheels, and most beginners will probably appreciate the greater speed and ease of peddling.

Try the Bike Out in the Store

For your first bike, trying it out in the store is vital. It’s just about getting the size right, although that’s important. This is also you’re only chance to test out the seat, grips and handlebars to see if they’re comfortable for you.

Some stores may even let you take the bike out for a short test ride to see how it handles. This is ideal; you’re about to spend several hundred dollars, at a minimum, on the bike, so getting to actually ride it first is a good idea.

Don’t Forget Accessories

You’re going to want a good helmet, proper footwear, and hand protection too. You’ll probably want a place to clip a water bottle onto the bike, and maybe some reflectors or lights. As you’re budgeting and pricing bikes, don’t forget that the bike isn’t going to be your only expense.

Check for Replacement Compatibility

After you’ve ridden your bike a few times, you may decide you want a different seat, new grips, different brake handles, etc. It’s always good to buy bikes that are compatible with a wide range of replacement parts. When you spend this much on a bike, you’re going to end up customizing it to your preferences over time.

Wrap Up

Full suspension bikes, while usually more expensive, are a great option for beginners because they’re so comfortable and enjoyable to use. Full-suspension mountain bikes are a great choice whether you just want a smoother and gentler ride on the trail, or you have lower back pain.

If you’re on a budget, the Schwinn Protocol 2.7 is the best choice for you. If you can wait a little longer and save up a little more, the Polygon Siskiu D5 really is a massive upgrade, though. It’s lighter, the shocks are better, and it’s a more comfortable ride. For those who just have to have the best of the best, no matter what, you’ll want the ultra-premium Salsa Blackthorn.

I'm Jesse, I run this place. I spend as much time outside enjoying nature as I can. When I'm not camping, hiking, canoeing, or biking, I'm trying a new outdoor activity or working on this website.

Previous

Top 5 Best Mountain Bikes For Lower Back Pain

Best Mountain Bikes For 12 Year Old Boys (Top 5)

Next