Best Full Suspension MTBs Under $2000: Top 5 Picks

Last updated: April 15, 2020
Best Overall
Great Handling, Light and High-Quality Frame
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Best Budget
Affordable, Durable and Good Suspension
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Best Lightweight
Premium Materials, Light and Great Tires
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Best 27.5 “
Fast, Springy, Versatile and Durable
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Best 29”
Robust, Ergonomic and Adaptable
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Your guide

Full-suspension bikes make use of more intricate components than your average mountain bike, allowing them to handle rougher terrain and sharp descents – but this also makes them more expensive.

This is like an axiom in the world of mountain biking – but it doesn’t automatically mean that good full-suspension bikes are prohibitively expensive. In conditions such as those, you don’t want to compromise when it comes to reliability or performance.

Plenty of reputable manufacturers offer well-made full-suspension bikes that cost less than $2000. We’ve chosen five of the very best – all of which have different strengths.

Top 5 Full Suspension Mountain Bikes Under $2000

Full-suspension bikes can seem daunting at first – they’re more complex and require more maintenance and upkeep.  The addition of an entirely new component and the different type of performance does make it harder to know exactly what you should look for in a full-suspension bike.

blue full suspension mtb

Price is, as always, a chief concern. But affordable full-suspension bikes do exist – and some of them do provide fantastic levels of performance.

Whether you’re working with limited funds or a beginner when it comes to full-suspension bikes (or both), our top picks are all great choices – and all of them will set you back less than $2000.

1. Best Overall - GHOST SLAMR 2.9

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 12 speeds
  • Wheel size → 29 inches
  • Weight capacity → 265 lbs
  • Weight → 31 lbs

Key Features:

  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Hydroformed aluminum frame
  • Slack head tube angle
  • 130mm of travel

GHOST SLAMR 2.9 Review

Full-suspension mountain bikes are more expensive than hardtails – this is just a fact of life. If you’ve decided that you need to get a full-suspension bike, you’re in for a big investment – so making it count is all the more important.

At slightly under or near $2000, you’re getting a high-performance bike either way – but your decision still matters. Full-suspension bikes last a long time and cost a pretty penny – so making sure that you get the very best of the best is a high priority.

At just a hair short of $2000, the GHOST SLAMR is a fantastic bike – combining great build quality with a set of impressive components.

Design and Ergonomics

The GHOST SLAMR 2.9 utilizes a lightweight, durable hydroformed aluminum frame with a maximum weight capacity of 265 lbs. It does a tremendous job of keeping the overall weight of the bike down – and although the exact weight isn’t listed anywhere, the SLAMR 2.9 weighs approximately 30 lbs.

As far as frame geometry goes, the SLAMR 2.9 has a slack head tube angle and a steep seat tube angle – guaranteeing stability and comfort, respectively. To go along with this, it is available in four size options – making it easy to make sure that the bike will fit you.

The riser handlebar is quite wide, measuring in at 780mm, allowing you easily achieve a comfortable grip and retain control of the bike, while the seatpost is adjustable – featuring a JD dropper with an easy to use remote.

The bike uses a durable, high-quality SRAM SX Eagle chain – further complementing the bike’s great build quality. The only downside on this side of the aisle is that the bike doesn’t come with pedals – but that’s more of a minuscule footnote than a real drawback.

Impressive, Versatile Performance

The 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain has a wide gear range, and the 1x setup makes it intuitive and easy to use. The shifters change gears effortlessly and provide a lot of reliability – as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to a change in terrain.

At 29 inches in size, the tubeless-ready tires provide a lot of acceleration. The front tire is a Maxxis Minion DHF, while the rear is a Maxxis DHRII. They’re 2.5 and 2.4 inches wide, respectively, with a TPI rating of 60, and use Maxxis’ proprietary EXO technology, making them even more resistant to punctures.

The RockShox Judy Silver front suspension fork has a handy lockout feature, while the RockShox Deluxe Select+ rear suspension has three firmness settings.

Both the front and rear suspensions have a generous 130mm of travel – allowing the bike to make short work of obstacles and steep descents alike. The handling of the bike is rounded out by a pair of Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes.

Fast, well-built, durable, and extremely adaptable, the GHOST SLAMR 2.9 is a masterpiece. Is it barely under $2000? Yes. Is it worth the price? If you can afford it – very much so.

Pros
  • High-quality frame
  • Good suspension system
  • Powerful brakes
  • Durable tires
Cons
  • Costs barely less than $2000
  • Doesn’t come with pedals

2. Best Budget - Diamondback Atroz 3

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 11 speeds
  • Wheel size → 27.5 inches
  • Weight capacity → 250 lbs
  • Weight → 32.5 lbs

Key Features:

  • T6 6061 aluminum alloy frame
  • SRAM NX X-Actuation trigger shifters
  • Internal dropper post
  • VEE Flow Snap tires

Diamondback Atroz 3 Review

As a rule of thumb, you can’t get a high-performance full-suspension bike for less than $1500. But the devil is in the details – and in the case of a tight budget, you need to go with a trusted manufacturer.

Diamondback’s Atroz 3 is the most advanced bike in its line – and although far from perfect, it most certainly provides the biggest bang for your buck at this price range.

Built with care and a focus on what matters the most, the Atroz 3 is a fantastic starting point – and a bike that can easily be upgraded down the line.

Impressive Frame, High-Quality Materials

The Atroz 3 features a meticulously crafted 6061 T-6 aluminum alloy frame which provides a lot of stiffness and durability without being too heavy.

T-6 refers to tempering – and it is the highest grade of temper for 6061 aluminum, offering maximum hardness and tensile strength. Fully assembled, the bike weighs 32.5 lbs and supports a maximum weight of 250 lbs. The frame features an optimized single-pivot design, as well as a tapered steerer, a machine formed top tube, and a butted and formed down tube.

The bike’s handlebar is a 780mm wide Raceface Chester, and it sports a pair of silicone grips – combined with the comfortable DB Sync’r saddle, they make for quite an ergonomic bike that is easy to control.

The KMC X11EL chain is durable, light, and offers smooth shifting, while the DB4L alloy platform pedals provide solid, dependable footing. The Atroz 3 has an aggressive frame geometry, with a slightly higher than average center of gravity.

If you’re not used to such a setup, don’t worry – the seat tube is routed for an internal dropper post, allowing you to easily adjust the height of the saddle.

Speed, Adaptability, and Shock Absorption

The VEE Flow Snap tires feature a TPI rating of 72 and use two different rubber compounds to provide versatile handling. At 2.25 inches wide, they offer a decent amount of traction, while the 27.5-inch size of the tires guarantees rapid acceleration.

They particularly shine in dry, loose conditions – but they’re no slouch when it comes to wet terrain either. The tires are quite robust and durable – our only complaint being that they aren’t tubeless-ready.

The RockShox Recon RL front suspension fork has 130mm of travel and features rebound and lockout adjust, as well as a tapered steerer tube. The rear suspension system is a 184x44mm RockShox Monarch, which also features rebound adjust. Working in tandem, the two make short work of obstacles and can absorb huge amounts of road shock.

The handling is further improved by a pair of powerful Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes that make use of 180mm front and rear rotors. With all that stopping power, adjusting your speed or coming to a complete stop won’t be an issue.

And speaking of adjusting speed, the SRAM NX-11 speed drivetrain is quite versatile. The single-ring drivetrain is reliable and easy to use, and the SRAM NX X-Actuation trigger shifters are very responsive, allowing you to rapidly change gears.

Pros
  • Well-made and durable frame
  • Good ergonomics
  • Powerful brakes
  • Great suspension
Cons
  • Tires aren’t tubeless-ready
  • Only available in 3 size options

3. Best Lightweight - Giant Stance 1

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 12 speeds
  • Tire size →  27.5 inches
  • Weight capacity → 305 lbs
  • Weight → 31 lbs

Key Features:

  • ALUXX frame
  • Flexpoint rear suspension
  • Maxxis  tires
  • Dropper Post

Giant Stance 1 Review

Looking for a lightweight full-suspension bike doesn’t mean that you should overlook build quality, durability, and performance. There can be no compromise when it comes to the frame, suspension, brakes, and drivetrain of a bike

Giant’s 2020 model of the 27.5-inch Stance 1 is quite light, as far as full-suspension bikes go. It isn’t the lightest bike of its kind, and our best overall pick is lighter by a hair – but if weight is a priority, and you can’t afford the best bike on this list – then this is the bike for you.

With that in mind, the Stance 1 is certainly the best lightweight full-suspension bike that costs less than $2000.

Rugged, Durable, and Well-Designed

The frame of the 2020 model of the Stance 1 uses an SL-grade ALUXX alloy, which offers 30% more stiffness than a regular 6061 aluminum alloy, and a lower total weight. The double-butted frame is thin yet sturdy and durable, and has a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs, while the fully assembled bike weighs 31 lbs.

The Giant Connect Trail riser handlebar is 780mm or 30.7 inches wide and features a pair of comfortable grips. The width of the handlebar greatly contributes to the overall ergonomics of the bike.

The Stance 1’s seatpost features a dropper post, and the neutrally-positioned Giant Contact saddle features a curved relief channel that will reduce the pressure you feel on longer rides. The saddle itself is decently comfortable, but a bit on the smaller side.

The bike utilizes a durable, high-quality SRAM SX Eagle chain that will last for quite a long time – but on the other hand, pedals are not included with this bike. But we wouldn’t call that a flaw – most stock pedals aren’t really that great, and can easily be upgraded.

Adaptability, Speed, and Handling

The low weight of the Stance 1 works well with the 27.5-inch size of the tires, allowing the bike to easily and rapidly accelerate. The bike features a pair of Giant AM 27.5 tubeless-ready sleeve-joint rims that are 30mm wide.

The front tire is a Maxxis Rekon, while the rear is a Maxxis Ardent Race. Both of the tires are 2.6 inches wide, meaning that you won’t be sacrificing traction for acceleration.

The SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain has 12 gears, and the gear range is very wide, allowing you to easily adapt to a change in terrain or incline. The shifting is fast and dependable, and the 1×12 setup is uncomplicated and easy to use.

The bike makes use of a pair of Shimano Altus MT200 disc brakes. They’re reliable, and get the job done – but as far as performance goes, they aren’t quite up to par with the rest of the bike. They aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – but they would be the first component that we’d upgrade on a Stance 1.

The RockShox Recon RL front suspension fork has 130mm of travel, while the Flexpoint rear suspension has 120mm of travel. The suspension system is quite springy, and easily handles bumps, obstacles, and even quite sharp descents.

Pros
  • Simple and reliable drivetrain
  • Stiff, lightweight frame
  • Good set of tires
  • Great suspension
Cons
  • Underwhelming brakes
  • Doesn’t come with pedals

4. Best 27.5” - GHOST Kato FS 2.7

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 12 speeds
  • Wheel size → 27.5 inches
  • Weight capacity → 265 lbs
  • Weight → 32 lbs

Key Features:

  • Maxxis Forecaster tires
  • Hydroformed aluminum frame
  • Tektro HD M285 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Slack head tube angle

GHOST Kato FS 2.7 Review

Speed is just as important as handling and shock absorption when it comes to difficult, highly technical trails. A bike with a 27.5-inch wheel size offers the maximum amount of acceleration without sacrificing traction or handling.

The GHOST Kato FS 2.7 is a well-made, affordable 27.5-inch full-suspension bike. It’s durable, light, fast, and maneuverable – so let’s take a closer look.

Materials, Build Quality, Ergonomics

The GHOST Kato FS 2.7 utilizes an impressive aluminum frame which is light yet sturdy. The hydroformed aluminum is durable, and it provides an impressive amount of stiffness.  The fully assembled bike weighs 32 lbs, while the maximum weight capacity is 265 lbs.

The Kato FS 2.7 features a utilitarian frame geometry – with the slack head tube angle providing a much greater amount of control, and the steep seat tube angle improving pedaling efficiency.  The slack head tube angle meshes well with the bike’s high-quality handlebar – a 760mm wide alloy riser bar that makes it easy to achieve a stable ride.

The bike’s seating position might feel a tad high to some – but this is easily remedied, as the bike also has a JD dropper seatpost with a remote. The Selle Italia X-Base saddle is quite entry-level – decently comfortable and large enough, but far from impressive.

The Kato uses a durable, high-quality SRAM SX Eagle chain that is sure to last for a long time – but it doesn’t come with pedals – so you’ll have to find a good pair of mountain bike pedals to go with the bike.

Fast, Springy, and Versatile

A pair of Alex MD27 rims support the Maxxis Forecaster tires. The rims are light but quite robust and tough, and both the tires and the rims are tubeless-ready.

The 27.5-inch Maxxis Forecaster tires are 2.35 inches wide and provide an incredible amount of acceleration. Usually, this benefit of 27.5-inch bikes comes at the price of traction – but the width of the tires still provides a very comfortable amount of grip.

These fast-rolling tires make use of Maxxis’ EXO technology, which protects them from cuts and abrasions, and they boast a solid TPI rating of 60. They’re also made from two different rubber compounds – allowing them to perform equally well in dry and wet conditions. They particularly shine when it comes to cornering.

As for the suspension, the front fork is an SR Suntour XCR 34 with 130mm of tunable travel, a tapered steerer, and a lockout option. The rear suspension, an SR Suntour DUAIR, also has 130mm of travel, and can also be tuned. That’s quite a lot of travel – and it makes riding the Kato a smooth, enjoyable, springy experience.

The 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain provides plenty of range, while still retaining ease of use. It’s very responsive and works well in tandem with the bike’s Tektro HD M285 hydraulic disc brakes and their powerful 180mm rotors.

Pros
  • Fast, durable tires
  • Powerful suspension
  • Impressive handling
  • Lightweight frame with modern geometry
Cons
  • Average seat
  • Unremarkable grips

5. Best 29” - Marin Rift Zone 2

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 12 speed
  • Wheel size →  29 inches
  • Weight capacity → Not listed
  • Weight → 34 lbs

Key Features:

  • Series 3 6061 aluminum alloy frame
  • Tubeless-ready Vee Crown Gem tires
  • TranzX dropper post
  • Tektro M275 hydraulic disc brakes

Marin Rift Zone 2 Review

While 27.5-inch wheels are often considered faster, this isn’t entirely accurate. The smaller wheels do accelerate more rapidly, but overall top speeds are more or less the same.

The 29-inch option has a host of perks – it’s easier to maintain high speeds, cross over obstacles, and retain stability. The large wheel size also translates to more efficiency, allowing you to go for longer distances without requiring a break.

For our top pick in this category, we’ve selected the 2020 model of the Marin Rift Zone 2 – a modern, well-designed mountain bike that offers an impressive level of performance – without an exorbitant price tag to accompany it.

Design and Build Quality

The Rift Zone 2 is available in four different sizes, which can accommodate riders from 5’3” to 6’4” tall. The bike’s frame is made from a high-quality Series 3 6061 aluminum alloy that is durable, stiff, and light – with the bike weighing in at 34 lbs.

The Marin Mini-Riser handlebar is 780mm wide, and made from a double-butted 6061 aluminum alloy. It has 28mm of rise, and the width of the bar greatly contributes to the bike’s overall ergonomics.

The Rift Zone 2 has a steep, 76-degree seat tube angle, and the seatpost comes equipped with a TranzX dropper post that is controlled via remote. The dropper post has 100mm of travel in the small size option, while all other sizes have 120mm.

The saddle is a Marin Speed Concept, while the grips are Marin Single Clamp Locking grips. Neither is terrible – but they aren’t good either, so we suggest finding a replacement saddle and grips ahead of time. The bike also doesn’t come with pedals – so you may as well just go ahead and prepare for a complete ergonomics-focused refit.

High-Quality Components and Remarkable Performance

The Rift Zone 2 uses Marin’s in-house 29mm double-wall alloy rims. Although the rims are ever so slightly on the heavy side, they’re incredibly durable – and also tubeless-ready.

The rims support the large 29-inch folding bead Vee Crown Gem tires, which are also tubeless-ready. These fast-rolling tires are made from two compounds, giving them a bit of additional versatility, and their 2.3-inch width means that you will have quite a decent amount of reliable traction.

The tires do have one downside – they’re quite heavy. But this doesn’t detract too much from the overall value of the bike – as the tires can easily be replaced.

The SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain has enough versatility to rise to any occasion. This 1×12 setup is commonly seen in bikes at this price range – it’s a tried and tested, reliable, no-nonsense component – and quite responsive when it comes to changing gears.

The Shimano BR-MT201 hydraulic disc brakes make use of 180mm centerlock rotors, and perform well enough – but as far as the performance-oriented components of the bike go, they’re likely going to be your first upgrade.

The bike’s front suspension fork is a RockShox Recon RL 29 with 130mm of travel, while the rear shock is a 210x50mm RockShox Deluxe R.

Pros
  • Fast, tubeless-ready tires
  • Good suspension system
  • Simple, reliable drivetrain
  • High-quality frame
Cons
  • Could benefit from better brakes
  • Slightly heavier tires

Full Suspension Mountain Bikes Under $2000: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get a Good Full-Suspension Bike for Less Than $2000?

Yes! High-quality entry-level full-suspension bikes can be found at the $1500 and above price range. These bikes are a great way to broaden your horizons and tackle new challenges - and most of them can easily attain an even greater level of performance with a couple of upgrades.

What Are the Advantages of Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes?

Full-suspension bikes can absorb a much greater amount of road shock - resulting in a smoother ride. The addition of a rear shock makes for a much more comfortable experience and allows the rear wheel to stay in contact with the ground much more easily.

Riding a full-suspension bike is easier than riding a hardtail, as you greatly benefit from the increased amount of control. To top it off, the fact that road shock is lessened to such a large degree allows you to retain much more speed.

What Are the Disadvantages of Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes?

Apart from the price tag, full-suspension bikes are also heavier than hardtails. They also require more frequent and attentive maintenance.

The rear suspension unavoidably reduces pedaling efficiency - although this is much less pronounced with bikes that feature suspension lockout. Repairs, tuning, and servicing are also much more expensive with full-suspension bikes.

Do I Need a Full-Suspension Bike?

If you plan on cycling through tough, technical trails, or bumpy, uneven terrain, then a full-suspension bike is the way to go. The same holds true if you want to try your hand at downhill mountain biking.

If you’re not going to come face to face with such scenarios, and often cycle on flat terrain, a hardtail will provide an equal or greater level of performance.

Even if the latter holds true, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid full-suspension bikes - they’re incredibly fun and offer a different but no less enjoyable riding experience - but it’s important to understand in what areas they can offer a boost in performance - particularly if you’re on a budget.

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