Here’s a question we get a lot. What is the best full suspension mountain bike under 3000? Simple enough question right? Yeah- too bad there isn’t a simple answer to it. Don’t worry though. We know you come here to get the answers to difficult questions. And we certainly don’t intend on letting you down – at least not today!
Quick tip: You don’t have to read the entire article to find our top pick. Simply check out my favorite full suspension mountain bike; the Diamondback Release 3. It’s as beastly as it looks, but rides as gracefully as any other bike you’ll find for the money.
- 1 Best Overall: Diamondback Bicycles Release 3
- 2 Best Carbon Fiber Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000: XHCP 26″ MTB
- 3 Favorite Newcomer: Steppenwolf Tycoon LTD Pro
- 4 Not all Mountain Bikes are Equal
- 5 What to Consider Before opting for Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000
- 6 Wrap Up – Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000
Best Overall: Diamondback Bicycles Release 3
Oh, my holy Jesus!!! That’s what I said the moment I set eyes on this behemoth right here. And I’m sure you’ll feel the same. The all-black design with hints of red on it is just too inviting to pass up. But the bike is more than looks – it better be at nearly 3000 Let’s check out some of its features.
- A durable aluminum frame that can more than handle whatever you throw its way
- SRAM GX 11 speed drivetrain lets you switch gears with perfect ease
- Race Face cinch cranks let you completely personalize your crankset to the exact way you like it
- Fox 34 Performance float fork gives 150mm of travel (front suspension)
- Fox float dps evolve rear shocks with 130mm of travel
HMM…. Let me think…. I don’t have much bad to say about this bike. Being an aluminum frame means it’ll be a tad heavier than some mountain bikes. But considering it’s a full-suspension bike, at roughly 30 pounds, it’s also not all that heavy.
The Diamondback Release 3 has earned its way into being my favorite full suspension mountain bike. It is beautiful, durable, and offers one of the smoothest rides around. I am comfortable saying that this is a bike you should pick up.
Best Carbon Fiber Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000: XHCP 26″ MTB
Carbon fiber frames are quickly becoming the go-to when you need something strong and lightweight. And the dropping price of the technology is making more than possible for the everyday person to be able to afford one of these bikes.
Aside from the carbon fiber frame, the XHCP Mountain Bike has another game-changing characteristic. One that is completely new to me, and one that made reviewing this bike a complete joy. That game-changing technology is electronically controlled shocks. I’ll give you some more details.
The manufacturer recommends using this bike with the forks at a 30% sag. Basically, you put the forks 30% away from the shocks. Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure how much travel this gives you, but by all accounts, the shocks are incredibly soft.
If it doesn’t fit your comfort zone, no worries, you can adjust your forks to whatever level you choose to.
- Infused with technology that keeps the shocks where they need to be, and provides smooth, comfy rides
- Carbon fiber frame keeps the weight of the bike down as much as possible
- Absolutely beautiful bike
- Battery indicator lets you know how much life is in your shocks
- Performs beautifully on the trails
- Insanely fun and absurdly fast
- Never have to worry about messing with your suspension
First of all, I don’t like that there is only a 24-hour battery life on these shocks. It’s already somewhat jarring to have to charge your bike overnight. If I happen to have to that in the middle of a weekend ride, I’ll likely be thoroughly upset.
Also, these shocks add a whole lot of weight to the bike. So if your legs aren’t in the game, you’ll be stuck begrudgingly pedaling this beast the entire way.
This bike is smooth, fast, and an absolute joy to ride. The bike looks amazing and gives the rider all they could ask for. Once you get past the whole “why do I need to charge my bike?” stage, it will quickly become one that you love.
Favorite Newcomer: Steppenwolf Tycoon LTD Pro
This is our third and final entry in today’s post is the German engineered Steppenwolf Tycoon LTD Pro. Why does it make our list? Well, outside of the fact that German engineering is always ahead of its time, it’s pretty simple. This bike has everything that you could ask for in a full suspension bike.
Let’s check out everything you get with this incredible bike.
- Ultralight aluminum X6 frame
- Fox 32 Talas performance forks with 140mm of travel (front and rear)
- Shimano XT disc brakes
- Incredibly comfortable Sirio saddle with a Rockshox reverb seat post keeps you comfortable throughout your ride
This is one of the most attractive bikes you’ll ever lay eyes on. But it also provides one of the smoothest and most satisfying rides you’ll ever have. With 140mm of travel, never again will you have to worry about your shocks bottom out.
Not all Mountain Bikes are Equal
Many people tend to think, if I spend a bunch of money on it, then it must do everything I want it to. This thought pattern is consistent throughout all transactions, but it is never more noticeable than it is when dealing with first-time bike buyers.
You see, when it comes to mountain bikes, there are just too many variables at play. What type of derailleur does it have? What is the frame made from? Do the forks have lockout capability? Is it a full suspension or a hardtail mountain bike?
All of these things will change the price of the bike. Now, whether the price increased or decreases is up to the answer to those questions. But at least for today’s post, we have the answer to one of those questions.
There are other things to consider though
Let us get this out of the way first. A full-suspension mountain bike MUST have forks on both the front and back of the bike.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get to what you should look for in a good suspension fork. First, there should be sufficient travel in the forks. Travel is the measurement that the forks will move before they bottom out. The higher the travel, the smoother the ride. The high-end forks will have locking technology on them as well. This gives you the ability to lock the forks in place.
There are some other more minor things to consider as well though. Brakes are a pretty big deal – for obvious reasons.
Any mountain bike that takes itself seriously is going to utilize disk brakes. Disk brakes are infinitely better at stopping, so they are typically the brake you will want to ride with. If the bike you have has rim brake mounts, then you will be at a giant disadvantage.
The lesson here is, get forks with disc brake mounts and travel of no less than 100 mm (preferably 120mm), and locking technology.
Piggybacking off of the forks, the next thing to consider is the springs those forks are housing. There are two types of spring systems; coil and air springs.
Coils are nothing more than coiled up steel, similar to what you see in car suspensions, or in spring mattresses. Air springs are more like the air ride systems found in luxury SUVs. Pressurized air that compresses evenly throughout the ride. This means fewer dead spots and more stability in the forks.
Frames are always a big deal. But they’re an especially big deal with full suspension mountain bikes. If you get a full suspension bike then presumably you are going to hit some pretty rough trails. Your frame has to hold up to all that punishment. You’ll need something sturdy.
But you probably want something that doesn’t weigh you down either. This is where the frame construction comes into play. The three most common frames are carbon, aluminum, and steel.
I can tell you right off the bat; steel frames are not the way to go here. The suspension on the bike is already going to add a metric tonne of weight to the bike. And trust me, you certainly don’t want to add to that by getting a steel bike.
The better options are aluminum and carbon fiber frames, with carbon fiber being the most optimal. Carbon fiber is known for being irrationally lightweight, but still, finds a way to be impenetrably strong.
What to Consider Before opting for Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000
People often want a full suspension bike for no other reason than it “sounds like it would be better.” That’s understandable, having two forks offset the bumps you roll over makes for a much smoother ride. But that doesn’t mean full-suspension bikes are always ideal. For starters, they weigh a lot more than hardtails.
Suspension systems are heavy, especially if you are using a coil spring system. This might not seem like such a big deal if when your descending mountainsides, but if you spend any amount of time riding uphill too, you will quickly feel its effects.
Maybe this isn’t a big deal. Maybe you already know you’ve got 3000 to spend on a bike, and that’s all there is to it. But you should know that full suspension bikes cost a whole heck of a lot more to maintain than hardtails. Mostly because they require more maintenance to keep them at an optimal operating condition.
Wrap Up – Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 3000
If you are looking for a full-suspension mountain bike, especially one in this price range, then it’s clear to me that you’re looking for some adventure. Nothing says adventure like these three bikes we’ve gone over today. If you’re looking for speed, grace, and strength; then either of these will give you what you’re looking for.
All you’ve got to decide is what you like best.
Need to upgrade your rims? Give this a read, Best Mountain Bike Rims.