I mountain bike in the hills of South Wales. I am due a new bike and have been riding a 17kg full sus for a few years now. I mostly ride 15-20 miles every week (hopefully more when the summer arrives) of moderatley technical terrain and the occasional trail center and big ride. I'm of average skill and a fairly hefty guy at 14.5 stone and often give the bike a good few knocks and abuse.

I cannot decide whether to buy a full suspension or hardtail bike. My budget is £1000. There are a few half decent full sus' bike around for under this with the current sales. Also a load of really good hardtails. Can anyone point me towards something suitable?


Yes there are a few full suspensions in that range, they will be heavy, and mid to low level parts. Saving a bit longer and waiting (hard i know) Maybe £1200 - 1500 would get you much further.

Your current bike is 17kg. a £1000 bike may only save you 1 - 2 kg. A nice hard tail within your budget would be very light (12 - 13kg)

Another option would be a 29er. the bigger wheels, and high volume tires will really help with overall comfort and capabilities on rocky technical trails, while still being fast and lighter than the full suspension in that range (but likely still 14 - 15kg)

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    Thanks. I know that more £ = better spec, however I intend to buy it through a "cycle to work" scheme which means I am really truly limited to £1000. However your advice is usefull. I think a 29er hardtail may be a good option. I'd upvote but dont have the rep yet. – Mark W Dec 30 '11 at 13:49
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    Yeah, if you are shooting multi purpose, a hardtail is ideal. Get some tires that are a low knob, and capable of high PSI. Like Specialized Fast Trak LK. They are in a 26 & 29 size. They are great at 35psi, and fast on pavement at 80psi. A great all around tire, but can get trashed on really sharp rocky trails. Another great tire for commuting & trail is a schwable racing ralph – Matt Adams Dec 30 '11 at 17:17

You seem to be forgetting the second-hand market, a grand can get you a fantastic 2-3yr old bike of any variety.

If it was my money, I would much rather have a 2yr old bike that was worth £2.5K new, than a £1K new bike. Paint scratches don't affect the ride.

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    great point! I second buying used if you know what you are looking for. – Matt Adams Dec 31 '11 at 13:49
  • Good point. Not so good for the C2W scheme though. – Mark W Jan 3 '12 at 13:53

This ground has been covered a couple of times, probably best here.

You say in the comment to Matt Adams that this will be purchased through a cycle to work scheme - if you are planning on using it to commute at all I would strongly recommend a hard-tail over a similarly priced full suspension bike for the following reasons:

  • The hardtail will be substantially lighter than a comparably priced full-suspension bike.
  • The hardtail will likely have a higher level of components and possibly a better front shock because of the increased expense associated with the full suspension frame.
  • Unless you can lock out the rear suspension, you will have higher pedal efficiency on the hardtail.
  • For commuting, the hardtail will better accommodate fenders and a rack, which are huge improvements to commuting comfort.

Your style of riding may dictate that an full-suspension is appropriate, so the best thing to do would be to describe how you want to ride to the professionals at your local bike shop and listen to their advice.

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