Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $3000

$3,000 gets you a lot of mountain bike these days. You can expect fancy 12-speed drivetrains, lightweight frames and high-end brakes. Combine these components with full suspension and you can buy yourself a seriously capable mountain bike.  In this post we will go through the best full suspension mountain bikes under $3,000 available online. However, we will start with some buying tips, so you can be sure you buy the right one for you.

Full Suspension Mountain Bikes Explained

For serious mountain biking, there are two types of bike, hardtail, and full suspension. A hardtail has suspension built into its fork that connects the front wheel to the bike. The suspension absorbs shock and vibration using either a metal spring or an air spring.

The idea of reducing shock and vibrations is to improve tire grip on the trail and make your ride more comfortable. With less shock and vibrations transferred to your hands and arms, you can ride much longer before getting tired.

A full-suspension mountain bike has a suspension fork and rear shock absorber. The addition of rear suspension improves grip even more while giving you a smoother ride. A full-suspension mountain bike will allow you to ride on terrain much more technical than you could on a hardtail.

The downside of full-suspension mountain bikes is that they are a little heavier and less efficient to pedal than a hardtail. The bobbing effect when you pedal takes some of the energy from your efforts. However, some bikes have the functionality to lock out or stiffen the suspension for climbing hills. Once you are ready to descend, unlock the suspension and enjoy the blast back down.

Types Of Full Suspension Mountain Bike

You can buy full suspension mountain bikes for specific types of riding. The bikes have different characteristics to suit the style of the rider and their preferred terrain. Here is a brief rundown:

Cross Country Mountain Bikes

Cross country mountain bikes are lightweight and don’t have a huge amount of suspension travel. They are efficient to pedal and built for long rides.

Trail Mountain Bikes

You can buy hardtail and full suspension trail bikes. These have a medium amount of suspension travel and are the most common type of mountain bike. They are very versatile and can be ridden in many different environments.

Enduro Mountain Bikes

Enduro mountain bikes have lots of suspension travel. They are built to tackle big alpine climbs before smashing back down the mountain at high speed. Enduro bikes can do it all. However, if you ride trail centers, an enduro bike may be less engaging due to how much suspension travel it has. Some would say they are overkill for many rider’s needs.

Downhill Mountain Bikes

Unsurprisingly, downhill mountain bikes are built to go as fast as possible downhill. They are very heavy and have the most suspension travel of all types of mountain bike. They are geared to accelerate quickly while riding downhill, so going uphill is a challenge.

Now you have a little overview of the type of mountain bikes out there, you can narrow down your choices based on the type of riding you want to do and for your local terrain.

Best Cross Country Mountain Bike For Under $3000 – Our Picks

Vitus Mythique

Vitus added the Mythique to their lineup in 2020 to provide mountain bikers with a full suspension mountain bike featuring excellent components that won’t break the bank. Vitus has definitely managed to achieve its goal, which becomes apparent when comparing the components with similarly priced bikes.

The Mythique has low and slack geometry, which is in keeping with modern trends. Its geometry figures make it lots of fun to ride and very capable of technical terrain. It is also the ideal bike to develop your skills on, when you graduate from a hardtail.

There are several versions of the Vitus Mythique to choose from, depending on your budget and preferences. The higher-end VRS and VRX versions still come in under the £3,000 mark with plenty of change to spare. The lower-end VR is still a good bike, but the VRS and VRX versions have better components that will stand the test of time while enhancing your ride.

You can choose between versions with 27.5” or 29” wheels to suit your preference. There is also the VRW, which is designed for women. The main difference is that it has narrower handlebars fitted to a shorter stem.

On the trail, you will love how the Vitus Mythique climbs steep hills, especially with the lower rolling resistance of the 29″ wheeled versions. To make ascending even easier, the four-bar suspension reduces suspension bob significantly when you are pedaling.

When it comes to descending, the Vitus Mythique is very composed and forgiving while providing a lively feel. It feels sure-footed on technical terrain, which inspires confidence.

For an outstanding trail bike with exceptional components and value for money, the Vitus Mythique is a worthy contender.

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GT Force Elite 29”

The GT Force Elite 29” is a very competent enduro mountain bike designed to hit big and technical terrain hard. If you like to be able to ride up a mountain and back down it as fast as possible, the GT Force Elite 29” is a great option.

This is one of those bikes that can be ridden anywhere and is pretty good value for money, considering its specification.

The GT Force Elite 29” has an aluminum frame, which is the same that Martin Maes used on the Enduro World Series. With 170mm of suspension travel on the fork and 150 on the rear shock, you get plenty of squish for big jumps and obstacles.

GT has finely tuned the rear suspension linkage to work very well when climbing or descending. The shock absorber is a high-end air-sprung item from Fox Racing that is lightweight and smooth running.

The linkage system and high-end SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed drivetrain make the GT Force Elite an efficient climber. It is a very rewarding bike on fast descents too, making it an excellent choice for thrill-seekers. The suspension components and geometry figures allow you to smash through trail sections littered with big rocks and roots with a solid and confident feel.

The GT Force has a burly nature that will suit some rider’s tastes, but for riders that prefer a nimble feel to their mountain bike, a Nukeproof Mega may be a better choice.

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Nukeproof Mega Comp

The Nukeproof Mega is another fantastic enduro mountain bike. Its long-travel suspension and high-quality components allow it to take on the most gnarly terrain. On top of this, Nukeproof has an excellent reputation for building reliable and durable bikes that last for years of hard riding.

It was originally designed to win the Megavalanche competition in Alpe d’Huez, France, a grueling race from the snowy glacier at 3330m all the way down to the village 2,600m.

The Nukeproof Mega has seen lots of success on the Enduro World Series too, which has been won by Sam Hill on a Mega several times. The Nukeproof Mega Comp is the entry-level version, but it still uses the same geometry as Sam Hill’s bike.

With all this pedigree, you can be sure that the Nukeproof Mega is very capable of taking on big mountain terrain. When it comes to climbing, the ascents are made easier by the Mega Comp’s Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain.

Descents are super fun while feeling nice and stable thanks to its low and slack geometry. The suspension setup soaks up the bumps effortlessly while giving you plenty of confidence when it gets technical.

You can choose between 27.5” and 29” wheels on the Nukeproof Mega Comp. The 29er rolls much easier, making climbing more efficient and riding rough surfaces smoother. However, the 27.5” wheels give the bike more agile handling, so whichever you choose is down to personal preference.

For riding trail centers and less technical terrain, the Mega will dull the sensation, as it is built for the big stuff. Therefore you should go for something more trail oriented, such as the Orbea Occam H30.

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Orbea Occam H30

The Orbea Occam H30 is focused on trail riding, but it’s geometry is inspired by enduro bikes. It is long, low, and slack, which suits aggressive trail riders, but it’s steeper seat tube angle makes it an excellent climber.

You can choose between aluminum s or carbon frame materials, but the carbon frame will take you over the $3,000 budget. However, the aluminum frame is lightweight and stiff, so it is super responsive. It has a polished finish, which looks fantastic, so you can feel smug about the attention it gets in the trail center car park.

However, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the trail center, thanks to its excellent capabilities. The 29” wheels and 140mm of travel front and back allow the Orbea Occam H30 to roll over rough terrain with ease. The Shimano Deore M6100 12-speed drivetrain has a massive 51 tooth gear that makes steel climbs feel like you are riding an e-bike.

When it comes to descending, the Shimano MT201 hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power so you can be assured you are in control. Its handling is very agile, with a balanced feel, which also adds to the control you have over it, inspiring confidence.

To top off the H30’s impressive specification list, it comes with a dropper seat post as standard. If you have never used a dropper seat post before, you will soon realize that it is a game-changer for riding variable terrain. Raise your seat at the touch of a button to help you climb, and drop it back down to get it out of the way for descents.

Overall, the Orbea Occam H30 is a fantastic trail bike. It should be a consideration for anyone that wants a high-performing 29” wheeled trail bike that can slay the trails with ease.

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Final Thoughts

If you have $3,000 to spend on a mountain bike, you have some excellent but difficult choices ahead of you. Do you go all-out enduro or opt for a more lively trail bike? It is a nice problem to have, but any of these bikes will do their job exceptionally well.

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