Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 2000 Dollars – Reviews and Buying Guide

Written by

So, you’re here to find the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 bucks, huh?

Cross-country races can be unforgiving. They require a lot of endurance and stamina.

Given how the terrain in these courses is often harsh and bumpy, mountain bike racers have started experimenting with using lightweight full-suspension mountain bikes and had great results with them.

Bikes that offer long suspension travel, such as endure bikes or trail bikes, are becoming more popular among cross-country racers. This has resulted in innovative bikes being made with the intention of blazing through the race tracks with ease.

With that said, full-suspension mountain bikes are very expensive. Like, for real, it can be hard to find an affordable full-suspension mountain bike.

Worry not, though, as this article is meant to save you the time and effort it takes to look for the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 dollars.

I have compiled a list of great affordable bikes so you can determine which one is the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 bucks for you.

But before I tell you which bikes caught my eye, let me tell you about the benefits of getting a full-suspension mountain bike, fellow mountain biker!

PS: I didn’t feature any electric bike in this roundup as such MTBs tend to be super expensive.

Why Should You Go with a Full Suspension Mountain Bike?

Getting a full-suspension mountain bike is a very big investment, but I think it’s worth it if you’re going to ride on rough terrain. While full-suspension bikes lose against hardtails on flat smooth terrain, they become so much better on bumpy tracks.

The main benefit of having full-suspension is shock absorption, which results in better handling and a more comfortable experience. With that said, the downside is that not all energy you put in pedaling will be transferred to the wheels, so you’ll be losing out on speed when you’re cruising flat surfaces.

With that said, most full-suspension bikes have the option of locking out the rear end, so you can pretty much have it set to act like a hardtail. This makes full-suspension bikes more versatile than hardtails.

Which Bike Did I End Up Getting?

If I had to recommend one bike from the review batch, I’d say go with the Diamondback Atroz 3. It’s pretty affordable (for a full-suspension bike, at least), and it comes with (almost) all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find in an FS MTB.

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 2000 Dollars – My Picks

#1 – Diamondback Atroz 3 – Overall Best

Picture showing the Diamondback Atroz 3
Image credit: Diamondback

The folks at Diamondback are known for their excellent mountain bikes. They never fail to make consistently impressive bikes.

When it comes to their Atroz 3 model, it’s a strong contender for the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 dollars.

The Diamondback Atroz 3 is a robust full suspension trail bike that’s geared towards people looking for a durable aluminum frame and components.

As for the bike’s frame, it’s hand-crafted from aluminum alongside the rear thru-axle, which makes it a stiff ride with very little flex. When you couple it with the RockShox RL fork and the powerful Shimano MT 200 hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll be able to cruise anything sort of off-road terrain comfortably.

Two features that I really liked about the Diamondback Atroz 3 are the SRAM NX 1 x 11 drivetrain and Race Face Chester bar and stem combination. Both of these features help get rid of unnecessary weight.

I also tried converting the bike into the tubeless mode. This made it possible to run the tires at lower pressures, which improved the grip and made the ride more comfortable while decreasing the risk of a puncture.

All in all, the Diamondback Atroz 3 is an excellent bike from Diamondback, which isn’t that surprising given the company’s reputation. If you’re a heavy rider, you might find the Diamondback Atroz 3 to be the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 dollars for you.

Specs:

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brake system
  • Tire Size: 27.5″
Pros
  • Pretty affordable for a full-suspension MTB
  • It has wide bars which improve handling
  • Reliable and durable
  • Excellent brakes
  • Wide 27.5” wheels make it easy to roll over big logs and rocks.
Cons
  • I found it to be a bit too stiff

#2 – Hawk Hill 2 – Best for Comfort

Picture showing the Marin Bikes Hawk Hill 2
Image credit: Marin Bikes

If you’re looking for a comfortable ride, the Hawk Hill 2 might be the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 bucks for you.

The suspension on this bike is so good that you won’t feel as much as a tingle even when you’re going through harsh terrain that’s riddled with bumps.

This bike is made with two things in mind, comfort, and stability, and it showed during the time I used it. It has 780mm handlebars and a short 45mm stem. This is why the bike feels so easy to handle. It’s both comfortable and responsive whenever you’re taking turns.

Moreover, the Hawk Hill 2 features a 73.2° seat tube angle, which means that your weight will be behind the bottom bracket, which allows for easier uphill steering. The rear wheel also allows for excellent traction over mud.

You might be lead to believe that this is the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 dollars for beginners, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, even intermediate racers or experts can vouch for the quality of the Hawk Hill 2.

Specs:

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brake system
  • Tire Size: 27.5″
Pros
  • Excellent steering thanks to its wide handlebars
  • Great handling on harsh bumpy terrain
  • Even weight distribution
Cons
  • This is the heaviest bike on this list

#3 – RIFT ZONE JR. – Best for Kids

Picture showing the Marin Bikes RIFT ZONE JR
Image credit: Marin Bikes

Do you want your kid to get into mountain biking with one of the best bikes out there? The Marin Hawk Hill Jr. has you covered.

This bike is very similar to its regular counterpart. The whole design idea and advantages are kept the same but compressed and made smaller so kids can enjoy this amazing bike too. This is easily the best full suspension mountain bike under 2000 dollars for kids.

The Hawk Hill Jr. features the X-Fusion 120mm travel fork in the front and the X-Fusion O2 Pro R shock on the back.

Moreover, it is equipped with Marin’s MultiTrac suspension platform, which is great at absorbing shocks and makes for a smooth riding experience.

On top of that, this bike’s tires are 24 x 2.25” Vee wire, which improves the riding experience even more.

As for the brakes, the Marin Hawk Hill Jr. features two Shimano BR-M315 Hydraulic Disc brakes in the front and back. The front rotor is 180mm, while the back is 160mm.

Specs:

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brake
  • Wheel Size: 24″
Pros
  • It’s the best mountain bike for kids
  • Powerful brakes
  • Great handling on harsh bumpy terrain
Cons
  • None!

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 2000 Bucks – Buying Guide

When looking for the right budget FS MTB for you, there are some features and factors that you MUST consider, including:

Travel

Simply put, travel is the maximum distance that the suspension is capable of compressing.

The standard real-wheel movement for race bikes is usually 100mm, or 4 inches. It might not seem like much, but it can make a huge difference in terms of handling and control when riding through rock without affecting pedaling negatively. It’s also great because it can sync well with the lightest suspension forks, which means that the bike will be lighter for it.

With that said, you can find bikes that have 120mm travel and are fit for racing. You can also find bikes with shorter travel. Two examples that come to mind are the BMC TeamElite Softail and the Supercaliber from Trek with its 60mm travel and ‘pimp-action-shotgun-style’ shock arrangement.

Geometry

The newer full suspension race bikes’ geometry leans more towards the trail style. They usually have 67-69° head angles, which allow for steadier steering. Some bikes are also compensating for short stems with higher top tube reach figures.

With that said, just because a bike with 120mm travel has the same travel as a bike with 150 travel doesn’t mean they belong to the same category. Each type of bike is its own thing and is meant for specific types of tracks.

Frame

Most bikes you’ll come across nowadays either have aluminum or carbon fiber frames. The frame is the first thing you should be looking at whenever you’re looking to buy a new mountain bike. It’s the most integral part of any bike. You can think of it as the heart of the bike.

The main reason you should prioritize a good frame over anything else is that it’s much harder to upgrade than any other component in the bike. Make sure you do your research about the frame of the bike you plan on buying.

Some frames also have features like built-in toolboxes or storage space that is built into the bar-ends or the tube. These can be useful features to have as they allow you to store some things with you without needing a pack.

Frame Material

As for the frame materials themselves, here’s a quick overview of each material and what it’s good for:

Aluminum:

The majority of modern bikes will have an aluminum frame. The great thing about aluminum is that it’s both light and durable. You can never go wrong with an aluminum frame, and you can count on it delivering decent performance.

Carbon Fiber:

You can think of carbon fiber as a beefed-up version of aluminum. It’s even lighter and stronger. It has excellent vibration absorption properties.

You’ll find that carbon fiber frames are always stiff and responsive. In general, carbon fiber frames tend to be the best in terms of performance. You won’t be able to find any other frame material that can compare in terms of value and performance.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find an affordable MTB that has a carbon frame (also known as a carbon fiber frame).

Steel:

Steel frames are reliable, strong, and comfortable. Steel frames were very popular before manufacturers started using aluminum.

Nowadays, you’re most likely to find steel frames in cheaper bikes. This is because steel is heavier than the other materials, which is unfavorable, especially if you’re looking for speed.

Titanium:

Titanium is extremely strong. It is mostly used when making aircraft or large vehicles in generals because of how strong it is. However, it is extremely expensive.

Unless you place a custom order and have a lot of money to spare, you won’t see a titanium-frame bike on the regular market.

Wheel Size

Depending on your height and where you intend to ride your bike, you’ll need to choose the appropriate wheel size.

In the case of mountain bikes, you need to have a three-inch space between the top tube of the frame and the rider.

You can determine this by taking your inside leg measurement and subtracting 3 inches from it. Then subtract an additional 10, and you’ll get the average distance between the ground and the bottom backer.

Another thing that you should take into consideration is the thickness of your tires. If you know you’re going to ride on harsh terrain, you’ll want your tires to be thick. However, wider tires come at the cost of speed. Simply put, wider tires mean more traction, while thinner tires mean more speed.

Gears

The number of gears you should be looking for should depend on your riding style and the situations you might find yourself in. There’s also the fact that adjusting gears while riding can be hard at first and will require some getting used to.

Having more gears means you’ll have access to more riding styles. More gears also represent lower speeds. To put it simply, if you’re going to be riding uphill and doing a lot of climbing, you might want a bike with more gears since they allow you to put less effort for the same result as a bike with fewer gears.

With that said, having a lot of gears without using them is a big waste. If you want to use your bike for exercise rather than just speed, you might want to invest in something that has one gear.

Brake Type

When looking for a mountain bike, you’ll find one of two brake types: hydraulic brake systems and mechanical brake systems.

Hydraulic brakes are strong and reliable. You also don’t have to put much effort into bringing your bike to a full stop. Hydraulic brakes also last a very long time since they’re not exposed to debris, grime, and grit. This means that they rarely require any maintenance.

Mechanical disc brake systems are more affordable. They’re also very reliable and consistent no matter which type of weather you might find yourself in. They also allow for more control from the user since you can control stopping power much more easily. With that said, they require more effort than their hydraulic counterpart.

Your choice will eventually boil down to whether you want more control over your braking power or just want a strong and very responsive break. If you’re looking for responsiveness, I recommend going for hydraulic brakes. If you prefer to have more control and also happen to have a limited budget, you might want to look for something with mechanical brakes.

Components

More and more riders are starting to add trail-style components to their race bikes for better handling and versatility. For instance, they might add wide handlebars or wider tires. Even the newer bike models are starting to adopt some of these features by having wider handlebars and wider tires.

Setting up Your Suspension

The most important part when setting up your suspension is setting up your sag. It isn’t difficult. You need to have a tape measure, but some fork stanchion includes a guide on them. You’ll also need a shock pump.

First off, put on your usually riding kit. This also includes a helmet and goggles. This is so you can properly adjust your suspension to more accurate conditions.

  1. Put your bike beside a wall, and keep it balanced. Then, get into your usually riding position.
  2. Warm-up your suspension by bouncing down on your bike. This will make it supple. Don’t forget to check your suspension and make sure it’s not locked before you bounce down on your bike.
  3. Move the O-ring to the air chamber on the shock and the bottom of the stanchions on your fork. If you don’t have one, you can alternatively use a fitted zip tie. Then, get back into your regular riding position.
  4. Get off the bike without pressing down on it. You need to make sure you don’t compress your suspension by accident, or you might have to repeat the first steps again.
  5. Once the O-ring has been moved, measure the distance between the O-ring and the air chamber. Make sure the O-ring traveled about 25% or 30% of your total travel. For example, if your bike has a 100m fork, you should find the O-ring having moved 25mm or 30mm.
  6. Set it between 25-30%, depending on your personal preference and the guidelines provided by the manufacturer, if there are any. If you want more sag, simply drop your air pressure. If you want less sag, pump up your shock.

As you saw, setting up the sag isn’t as hard as it sounds. As long as you follow these steps, you should have no trouble properly adjusting your suspension. As I mentioned before, you need to have a shock pump.

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under 2000 Dollars – FAQ

Is a Full Suspension Bike Worth the Weight?

There are plenty of advantages that come with owning a full suspension bike. However, since they tend to be heavier than hardtails, it’s natural to question whether they’re actually viable in terms of both comfort and speed.

All you need to do is to look at what the pros are using. You’ll notice that the overwhelming majority of pro racers use full suspension bikes over hardtails. This goes to show just how great full suspension bikes are. Moreover, a lot of full suspension mountain bikes give you the option to lock out the rear suspension, which makes it behave like a hardtail.

With that said, it’s worth noting that full suspension bikes are more expensive than hardtails. This means that if you’re looking for an affordable mountain bike, finding a great full suspension mountain bike at a low price is going to be very hard. You might find yourself settling for a hardtail instead.

Full-Suspension vs. Hardtail: Which Is Best for Me?

If you’re looking for a new trail bike, you’ll inevitably find yourself choosing between a full-suspension MTB and a hardtail mountain bike.

The difference between the two types is quite simple in principle. A hardtail bike only a suspension fork, whereas a full-suspension has both a suspension fork up front and a rear shock.

You should get a full-suspension if:

  • You’re looking to tackle technical trails.
  • You’re looking for speed.
  • You’re looking for a comfy ride.
  • You’re not on a budget.

You should opt for a hardtail bike if:

  • You’re just looking to ride simple trails.
  • You’re looking for a light bike.
  • You’re looking for a low-maintenance ride.
  • You’re on a budget.

Can I Use a Road Bike as a Trail Bike?

No, unfortunately. Road bikes usually feature thin, smooth tires that are designed for pavement, which means that they lack the traction needed for trail rides.

You can understand the differences between road bikes and mountain bikes by taking a look at our MTB vs Road bike roundup.

Why Are Many Bikes Currently Out of Stock?

The shortage of bikes can be attributed to the fact that more people are beginning to catch on to the fact that cycling is an excellent entertainment source that is not only risk-free but also very healthy.

Sports, in general, are becoming a more appealing option. Consequently, there has been a surge in sales when it comes to sports equipment, especially bikes.

Even though finding out the bike you had been planning on buying is out of stock, don’t despair. You can always wait for the seller to restock their inventory. It’s very important that everyone stays patient. More importantly, you can try to be proactive by preordering the model you want if the option is available.

References:

Leave a Comment