Full suspension mountain bikes are great for giving you more control and comfort. After riding one on a lumpy trail it’s hard to go back to a hardtail bike. How much is the average full suspension mountain bike weight?
The quick answer is that the average aluminum full suspension trail bike weighs 30 to 33 lbs. The average carbon full suspension trail bike weighs 28 to 30 lbs.
A lightweight cross country bike can weigh as little as 21 lbs. A downhill bike can weigh up to 60 lbs. Let’s look at what makes full suspension bikes so heavy.
Full Suspension Mountain Bike Weight. How Heavy Are They?
Mountain bikes have been getting heavier with time. Suspension forks, disc brakes, and rear suspension all add weight. Going from 26inch to 29inch and 27.5inch wheels added weight. The current trend is to make wheels and tires wider that also adds weight. There is a saying you can have cheap, good or light. Pick any 2. That saying very much applies to mountain bikes. You can still get a 15 lb mountain bike but it will cost you a fortune in carbon parts that aren’t very durable.
When we add full suspension to a mountain bike we add a few pounds of weight. The shock weighs 1 to 2 pounds. You had a bunch of bearings and fasteners to connect them. The structure of the bike needs to be reinforced to support loads of the shock and pivot points. This adds up to more weight.
The weight of bike components, such as the driveline, seat, handlebars, and brakes, varies a lot. Parts meant for cross country use weigh less than parts meant for downhill use. Part sets at lower price points weigh more and maybe less durable than those costing more. At a certain point weight loss becomes the ultimate goal on the high cost parts. The parts will be weakened to save weight. Mid range parts have the best combination of weight and durability.
The weight of bike wheels varies a lot. This is an area where bike manufacturers skimp or go all out depending on the price point. Weight in the rims and tires of your bike is very noticeable when climbing hills. Your wheels are what is called “rotating mass”. You have to spin it as you move your bike. Everytime you slow down and accelerate you have to push against the mass of your wheels. Saving weight on better tires and spending money on lighter weight wheels will make a very noticeable difference in how your bike rides.
Most bike frames these days are made of aluminum alloy. Frames can also be made of steel, titanium and carbon fiber. Steel frames are the heaviest and least expensive. Carbon fiber frames are the lightest and most expensive.
Aluminum frames are the most common these days. An aluminum full suspension bike frame will weigh 1 to 2 lbs heavier than the same frame made of carbon fiber. A carbon fiber frame will cost thousands of dollars more. The same bike with a carbon fiber frame might cost $2000 to $3000 more.
Aluminum frames have the disadvantage that they are rigid and don’t have much give. To make aluminum durable it has to have very little flex. A steel frame can have some give and flexibility. This is due to the lifespan characteristics of the 2 metals. Steel can have an infinite fatigue life with some straining. Aluminum has no infinite fatigue life strain range.
Aluminum bike frames tend to have a harsh rigid ride. Hardtail aluminum frames can give you backaches as an older rider. Thank goodness full suspension is here to save us.
Carbon fiber bike frames can be really light. The stiffness and flexibility of the bike frame can be tuned by using different weaves. Carbon fiber frames can have built in softness and flexibility. They have a much less harsh ride than the same bike in aluminum.
Carbon bike frames are often made so light that durability is questionable. I have seen many posts on the local mountain bike groups here where carbon fiber frames have cracked or torn. I have seen very few broken aluminum frames.
There is currently no good way to recycle a carbon fiber bike frame. Once it is made there is no good way to recover the fibers. Frequently carbon bike parts end up in landfills or dumped in the ocean. The resin used for molding it has environmental issues also.
There are a lot of costs associated with the 1-2 lbs you can save by getting a carbon bike frame.
Mountain Bike Types
There are several types of mountain bikes available with full suspension. The 4 main types are: cross country, trail, enduro and downhill.
Cross country bikes are made for racing both up and downhill on less technical terrain. They aren’t made to handle big jumps and drops.
Trail bikes are the happy medium that many people ride. They are made to climb well and also handle downhill riding with some jumps and drops.
Enduro bikes are optimized for downhill riding but can be ridden uphill. They are designed for a race format where you have to ride both up and downhill but only downhill portions are timed. They have a time limit for the amount of time you can take between the downhill segments but no scoring.
Downhill bikes are the heaviest mountain bikes. They have large travel suspension. They have heavy duty frames and components made to withstand large jumps. They are not designed to be ridden uphill at all.
To learn more about mountain bike types click here.
Is a lighter mountain bike better?
Lightweight is generally better when it comes to mountain bikes. Every pound less bike is a pound less you have to carry up the next hill. Over a several hour bike ride, the calories needed to carry the extra weight add up. If your only riding downhill, weight is much less of a factor.
There is a limit to how light you can make a bike part before it starts falling apart in normal use. The very very high end all carbon super lightweight bikes are meant for competitive racing. People really serious about racing don’t mind replacing parts between races if it will give them an edge. At that point, depending on your goals, lightweight may not be good. Look here for a good article on how much faster a lighter bike will really make you.
The below video gives some good information on bike weight and what effect it really has for trail riding.
Full Suspension Mountain Bike Weight FAQ
Q: What is the lightest full suspension mountain bike?
The lightest full suspension mountain bikes you can buy are carbon cross country race bikes. These bikes weigh around 20 lbs. They have all carbon components including frame, wheels, and driveline. Examples are the Specialized Epic and Trek Supercaliber. They will cost over $10,000 to get one.
Q: Is a full suspension bike worth it?
Full suspension bikes allow you to have much more control over rough terrain and to take big hits jumps. They let you corner harder at high speeds.
They aren’t miracle workers if your technique isn’t good. If you can’t ride a trail on a hardtail you probably won’t be able to ride it on a full suspension bike either.
Aluminum hardtail bikes are very rigid with harsh feeling rides. They make you feel like every stump and rock is jammed up your spine. For older riders or anyone with back pain they make riding much more enjoyable.
Full suspension adds a few pounds to the weight of your bike. Most of us are carrying a few extra pounds attached to our body. For most of us who want to ride for fun, the extra control and comfort is very much worth it. The below video gives some good advice on hardtail versus full suspension bikes.
Q: What is the lightest mountain bike?
The very lightest mountain bikes will be carbon hardtail cross country race bikes. These bikes can get down to 15 lbs weight. They will have everything possible made of carbon including frame, wheel, and components. An example of this bike is the Specialized Epic Hardtail. They claim to have the lightest carbon bike frame right now at a feathery 1.7 lbs.
Q: Is 30 lbs heavy for a mountain bike?
30 lbs is about the average weight for an aluminum framed mountain bike these days. An aluminu full suspension bike will weigh up to a few pounds more. An aluminum hardtail or carbon full suspension bike will weigh a few pounds less.
Q: Average trail mountain bike weight?
An average trail bike with full suspension and an aluminun frame will weigh 31 to 34 pounds. It depends on the price point of the bike and what level parts it has. For $1500 it will be 34 lbs. For $3000 it will be closer to 31 lbs.
There are a lot of factors that go into full suspension mountain bike weights. The average full suspension bike that most of us ride will be a 30 to 34 lb bike. For those really serious about mountain biking and want a lightweight bike, carbon is the way to go. For those who are just interested in recreational riding, aluminum is fine. Most of us carry more extra weight in our bodies then we will save by spending thousands more on our bike.
Full suspension bikes are worth their extra weight for both performance and comfort. If you haven’t ridden one you should try to find a demo event near you to try one out.
You might also like:
- The Best Mountain Bikes Under $600 Helpful Guide
- Cycle Wheels USA Wheelset Review – Great Custom Made MTB Wheels
- Flat Pedals For Recreational Mountain Biking. Have More Fun Riding
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water. I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions. I decided to start Gear Craver as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.