Full Suspension vs. Front Suspension

Full Suspension vs. Front-only Suspension

One of the most basic decisions to make when buying a mountain bike is the type of suspension to get. Essentially, the debate boils down to two options: full suspension (front and rear wheel) vs. front suspension (front wheel only, also known as 'hardtail').

If you're going to spend money on a new bike, it is absolutely worth considering what kind of suspension you want. The difference can be fairly substantial. So let's take a look at the two options.

Full Suspension

Full suspension mountain bikes are generally more comfortable and controllable to ride. By combining front- and rear-wheel shocks, a full suspension ensures maximum distribution of weight, which means hitting those bumps is a lot easier on your body. This is especially important if you plan to do rough-terrain biking or serious downhill rides.

There is a drawback, however: adding additional shocks adds an inevitable weight to the bike. Serious mountain bikes tend to be pretty hefty to begin with, so further weight is a legitimate issue. Additionally, a full suspension is going to be more expensive than the hardtail, if only because you're doubling the equipment.

Front Suspension

There are advantages to a front suspension bike. Pedaling is generally more efficient, especially on smooth ground (ideal for road or light off-road riding). They are also lighter than their full cousins, and in tend to require less maintenance. If you plan on doing long distance biking, on generally smooth conditions, the hardtail is probably the optimal choice. They are also prized for dirt jumping, because they provide better performance jump to jump.


In the end, it all comes down to how you plan on riding. If you're looking for a bike for basic or road conditions, you're probably better off with the front suspension. But if you plan on tackling serious terrain, we strongly recommend spending the extra dollars for a full suspension. It's an investment you won't regret.