In the last few years, fullys have become more powerful, and top manufacturers have also gone one better in terms of versatility. The dark side of the coin, however, is that with a Vario rear stay, fat tyres and brake discs the size of a pasta plate, you also have to haul a lot of weight around. Read on to find out why it's still worth buying a fully for your biking plans
A fully is certainly not a bike for every biker, it's more of a die-hard community that blasts through the countryside on these bikes. A Fully comes with many features that are only beneficial in certain circumstances. You can find out if your rides benefit from the features of a fully with three simple questions:
- If the sweat is flowing on your bike rides, it doesn't necessarily have to be due to exertion. You can also mix in some adrenaline-induced sweat?
- You prefer gravel fields, jumps and drops to long, straight stretches?
- When you see a sensational video from one of the MTB stars, there's only one thing for you - get out and copy it?
Seems like a full suspension is the stuff for you. But full suspension bikes are aplenty! Which one will be yours?
This is a Fully - Things to know about full suspension mountain bikes
A Fully is a mountain bike, you've probably gathered that much. Roughly simplified, mountain bikes are bikes that can ride on loose surfaces and difficult terrain, a mountain is not necessarily a requirement. Mountain bikes are divided into two major subcategories, there are hardtails, unsuspended off-road bikes, and then there are fullys, "full-suspension" off-road bikes.
What is a hardtail, what is a fully?
Both are mountain bikes, but they differ in their features and therefore in their area of use. A hardtail has a suspension fork and wide tires, which makes it rideable even in rough terrain. A Fully also has both components. However, it also has a shock absorber in the frame. So the bike can be ridden even on technically challenging terrain.
Fully derives from the English term "Full-Suspension Bike", so full-suspension bike. Under these terms, you'll find bikes with frame shocks.
The frame of a fully
There is a really big station around the geo of a fully. Sometimes there is a few millimeters increase here, but elsewhere the plane is set. Reach up, but Stack down and so on. But what's the point? Quite simply, the small changes affect the handling of the bike sometimes enormously. At this point to give exact diagnoses about how a new frame shape actually affects your mountain bike would go beyond our scope. Therefore, only this much: the tube lengths of the bike frame of course determine your seat position. Whether you sit more upright or more stretched, for example. But you can always change the seatpost and the handlebar/stem combo to counteract this.
Besides that, in grossly simplified terms, the frame and wheelbase make the bike more playful or smoother.For many of the fullys here in the online shop, you'll find a characterization of the riding characteristics in the item description that will help you decide what to buy. In general: A short rear end makes the bike more agile, a long wheelbase indicates a long-distance runner.
In the Fully frame, a shock ensures that the bike can react flexibly to uneven ground.
The frame material used today is mainly lightweight carbon, in addition to aluminum, which affects the riding characteristics and the weight of the bike.
The equipment of a fully
- This brings you the frame damper
The frame damper makes the frame of the bike flexible. It gives way on rough ground or when you roll over obstacles. This keeps the bike from losing its grip, which improves traction and control over the road. The shock also allows you to gain momentum and jump.
Depending on the intended use, different frame shocks are used on fullys. On the one hand, there are different spring systems, for the most part air dampers or steel springs are at work. Apart from the technology of the damper, the suspension elements differ in their suspension travel, also called travel, working travel or dive travel. The value, which you will find in the description of the article, indicates how many millimeters the installed suspension compresses. More travel means more bounce and therefore more off-road capability. On the other hand, the shock does not only react to movement from below, your pedaling movements can also trigger it. As a result, some of your pedaling effort on a Fully will always disappear into the shock. A full suspension mountain bike is therefore a lot of fun, but not really efficient to ride, and therefore rather unsuitable for long distances.
Dampers with lockout you can lock, so you pedal without loss and make more distance.
One of the smartest innovations on the market since the 2021/22 season are bikes with integrated shocks. Here the shock is in the frame, there it is protected from dust, shocks and moisture, so the mountain bike rarely has to go on the lift.
- Fullys have a suspension fork
Not only is there suspension built into the frame, but the fork also brings a shock. These shocks make sure that impacts don't ruin your shoulders, they also help you stay on track with your bike. If your front wheel rolls over an obstacle, the fork's suspension can give way, without shocks it would swerve sideways.
- More is more - the suspension travel on the MTB Fully
You can tell what the suspension fork is capable of by its travel or dive, the amount by which the fork's suspension can compress. Of course, a frame shock also has a working travel.
The frame shock and suspension fork make your Fully usable in verblocken terrain. The wilder the terrain you run your Fully on, the more travel it should bring. And then some more, reserves never hurt after all. Suspension does come with drawbacks, though: Lots of damping comes at the expense of efficiency. More travel also means more cost, more weight, and ultimately more sponginess in the ride.
You can lock out modern suspension forks and shocks vialock-out, both of which will then bounce less or no more.
> See our suspension forks for more information on the different systems and how to adjust them.
- The perfect tires for an MTB Fully
The tires have an influence on the riding characteristics of a mountain bike that should not be underestimated. Means in plain language: The wrong tires spoil your tour. But the advantage is that a set of new tires is already considered the simplest kind of bike tuning.
Mountain bikes generally have wide tires with expansive treads.This way, they eat through all kinds of surfaces and find grip in places that would be impassable for other bikes.
As for tire size, in many cases you can put off the headache until later. A few years ago, 26-inch tires were considered the only true MTB bikes... but that was then. Now 26s have largely migrated to the kids' section, with fullys rolling up to 27.5 or 29 inches. Many modern MTBs offer the option of riding both sizes, or even a mullet setup (smaller wheel on the back, big wheel on the front). Additionally, you often have the option of mounting different tire widths. From narrower 2.1 inch tires to fat 2.6 inch tires, you can switch based on your preferences or requirements.
You should definitely get a bike that comes with at least tubeless-ready tires if it's not already on tubeless. Less weight and less puncture-proneness are two unbeatable arguments that make tubeless more and more popular.
- 1-speed, 2-speed, 3-speed - the perfect gears for a Fully
For a long time, a mountain bike with less than 20 gears was more of a joke, but since 1x gears with a wide range have come into vogue, this has changed fundamentally. Single chainring gears require less maintenance and care, which is a big advantage. Fewer components also means they're cheaper and lighter, few bikers are likely to complain about that. You'll then get a 11 or 12 cassette with 10-45 or 10-51T to go with your lone chainring (depends on the manufacturer and model, of course).
If you want to ride longer tours in varying terrain and therefore want to buy a bike that is as versatile as possible, however, you should not cross MTBs with 2-speed shifting off your watch list right from the start! Even luxurious electronic gears are no longer a rarity in the top segment.
> Here in the shop, you'll find mountain bikes with groupsets from the two top dogs SRAM and Shimano.
Why is a Fully "high maintenance"
A Fully needs to spend a little more time on the assembly stand than any other bike. The shock and suspension fork need to be cleaned and readjusted every now and then. Also, new seals are due there from time to time. A shock in the frame also means joints that need to be cleaned and kept movable.
In addition to maintenance, a new Fully must be adjusted, later you can always adjust the shocks again, how exactly depends on various factors. Among other things, the specific bike model, your body weight, your riding style, and the terrain ahead are important considerations. The more precise the setup of your frame shock, the more optimally your bike will react and the more riding fun awaits you. But there is no way around adjusting the fork and shock until everything is just right.
Fullys are built tough
When you're blasting downhill at top speed, you don't want your bike to start rattling all over the place and components flying around your ears, right? That's why mountain bikes are generally good at sticking. Not only are the frames durable, but you can push the other components to their limits. If you're shopping for a fully in the entry-level segment, though, you should expect a little less mileage before the first workshop visit. As the price goes up, the bikes get more powerful and durable - as in any bike category.
What fullys are there anyway?
Nowadays, a fully is not just a fully; there are many different specs and specializations. Meanwhile, the capabilities of the bikes are also mixed, which blurs the boundaries of the individual categories. We generalize a bit here and sort by suspension travel from big to small:
Up is where a downhiller prefers to ride the lift. The generous suspension travel makes going uphill a pain, because efficient is different. Also the geo is made exclusively for downhill. But you can really let it rip downhill. The generous suspension of 180mm, 200mm or even more ensures a good grip at high speeds on nasty terrain. Plus, downhillers bring massive braking systems, and they're sorely needed on those steep descents.
> Find our downhillers here!
You'll also get down the hill on an enduro, though you'll also be able to take on the uphill trail yourself. Enduros are ideally suited for technically challenging terrain, they easily master blocky trails or even rooted downhill tracks. The suspension travel of about 160 to 180mm makes them versatile and makes you a lord over any terrain. With lockout or tightly adjusted suspension you can also ride longer distances.
> One click to enduros in the online shop
If you don't want to commit or are buying your first Fully, an AllMountain is perfect because it does a little bit of everything. It brings a working travel of about 130mm, so you can ride woods, trails and gravel, but it can also handle bigger bike tours.
A trailfully or trail bike is meant for dirt trails, a few obstacles are welcome on the way. With under 130mm of dive, it's efficient enough for many miles of trail, some climbing is welcome, a little downhill too, but moderate please!
> Check out the AllMountains and trail bikes!
- Marathon Fully, Cross-Country Fully, XC Bike
XC-Fullys are the lightest and fastest representatives of their kind. With a working travel of about 100 to 120mm, the shocks are made for comfortable and efficient pedaling.
> This way for touring fullys and marathon fullys!
Since well-known giants like Shimano, Yamaha or Bosch presented special drives for mountain bikes, E-MTBs have been growing like mushrooms. The drives have a brute torque of 85Nm and more, so they bring enough dynamic power that you can also give uphill proper flame. The powerful batteries deliver a long range, yet are slim enough to disappear into the frame of the e-bike. Whether it's a climb or a sprint, an e-fully delivers full MTB fun while costing you significantly less sweat!
Why are there constant "trends" when it comes to Fully?
In the field of mountain bikes in particular, there are always innovations to marvel at. For one thing, there are the aforementioned shifts in geometry. New components appear with every model year. But also optical improvements such as internally routed cables or integrated cockpits are always there. Number one on the popularity scale when it comes to bikes is, of course, always weight loss. With fullys there is much more room for experimentation. An enduro with shocks that you would really only expect to find on a downhiller. A trail bike with a lot of propulsion. A racer with enough suspension travel for trails. The boundaries blur, shift and get re-sorted. So you need to do your research before you buy, that's the downside of diversity. The huge advantage is that there is sure to be a bike that suits you, your preferences, your plans and your riding style. So don't get confused by "MTB trends 2022" or the like! Ride the bike you love!
Our verdict: A Fully is an exciting mix of fun machine and sport machine for the most demanding terrain. The dimensions of the shocks and the geometry significantly influence the riding characteristics and the field of application.
Is a Fully the right bike for you?
Hardtail or Fully? You're not alone in asking this question, every mountain biker asks it at some point!
If you want to ride terrain that's unconquerable for any other bike, you should get a fully, because where it's shift time for other bikes, full-suspension specimens are just turning it up a notch. The comfort on "bad" ground speaks for the purchase of a fully, because the suspensions smooth rough terrain reliably. If extreme descents, moguls or technically demanding trails are on your way, off-road equipment is essential! But it's not just the fun factor that counts here, with no other bike will you tackle descents, obstacles and jumps in such a controlled and safe way!
If the higher purchase price doesn't scare you and the maintenance work is no problem, you'll get a versatile and fearless buddy in your house with a Fully. Whether it's your local bike park, an alpine trail or the most beautiful descents of the low mountain ranges - with a Fully you'll experience adventures in nature you've never even dreamed of!
If you are looking for a vehicle for your everyday life, however, other bikes are much better suited. They ride more efficiently, require less maintenance, weigh less, and cost less! A Fully is not the right base for mudguards, child seat and bell! In everyday life not completely unimportant: Also bicycle thieves recognize the value of a Fullys at first sight, you should not park it unattended if possible!
The features of a MTB Fullys at a glance:
- Very versatile
- many different orientations
- extremely off-road capable
- good traction
- robust workmanship
- agile, nimble, or smooth-running, depending on model
- more sport than everyday
- relatively high purchase price
How does a Fully ride?
Here you have to distinguish in "Fully with locked shocks" and "Fully with open shocks". And into enduro, race-fully, downhiller, etc. If you use the maximum capacity of the shocks, the bike - of course depending on the model again - gives a little to huge. This makes for excellent traction and good ride comfort without shuddering, but also for a soft, spongy feel. Here you can of course counteract with the adjustment of the spring elements and the lockout. The damping smoothes uneven surfaces and makes difficult terrain rideable. In return, it absorbs a lot of energy.
The different fulls also come with very different riding characteristics.
Most bikes have a low center of gravity, which gives a reliable, safe riding experience. Offroad bikes in particular are easy to control and respond sensitively to the rider's movements.
Thewide tires further enhance these riding characteristics, giving the bikes even more of a grippy feel no matter what they roll on.
Fullys are also among the heaviest bikes, 14 to 17 kilos you'll have to budget for the luxurious comfort features. Shocks, deflectable seatpost or the big braking systems make fullys real heavyweights, even if they are built on a carbon base.
Fullys are also the heaviest bikes on the market.
The riding experience of a MTB fullys at a glance:
- Smooth, comfortable ride
- high weight
- lower pedaling efficiency
- wide, grippy tires for a secure ride and good grip
- good control
- confident ride
The advantages of a Fully mountain bike
A Fully is an off-road specialist. Many bikes can handle off-road to some extent, but technically difficult terrain is still pure Fully terrain. Downhill slopes, trails and bike parks are only really fun with a Fully. To put it in a nutshell: The more challenging the surface and terrain become, the thinner the choice of bikes becomes, until in the end only a Fully remains.
On no other bike can you experience so much limitless riding fun while enjoying so much riding comfort.
With so many different models, manufacturers, parts and components, there's also the option to buy a bike exactly for your needs or customize it with various bike parts.
The advantages of a fully at a glance:
- off-road capable
- best suited for mountainous terrain
- The dampers compensate for bumps and shocks
- confident ride and good control
- comfortable to ride
- Many models with different focal points and orientations
How much does a Fully cost?
There are significantly cheaper bikes than fullys, that much is certain. All that technology just comes at a price. But how much should you spend?
Under 2000 euros a usable Fully is hardly to be had. There are cheaper bikes, but here the quality is really doubtful. If you're looking for a bike on a smaller budget, you'll probably have more fun with a good hardtail than with a bad fully. Entry-level fulls from 2000 to around 3000 euros are a good idea if you want to test the riding experience, or only get on the bike very rarely. Gear shifting and brakes are "basic", you should not expect too much from the shocks.
The middle class starts at about 3000 euros and goes up to 4800 euros. Here you can expect good quality that will not let you down on the road. The components are still not quite first cream, but they are solidly built and deliver a good performance. Usually the weight of the bikes drops here too, as you've already read, that's not necessarily the case with fullys.
The top tier of fullys start at around 4800 euros. Finest workmanship and carbon frames are basic requirements here, bolted only the best that can be found on the market. With the circuits you can count on the premium groups of the well-known brand manufacturers, perhaps even with an electronic circuit. Fork, suspension and braking system can also be seen at any event. The bikes of the top class deliver excellent performance and score with reliable durability. The frame and fork dampers can be finely adjusted in a variety of ways. The limits shift upwards with each year of manufacture, you can also spend five-figure sums on a Fully.
The cost of a fully at a glance:
- Introductory fullys range from 2000 to around 3000 euros
- Mid-level fullys range from 3000 to 4800 euros
- The top tier of fullys start around 4800 euros
What should you look for when buying a fully?
Just in the field of fullys, there are many different models that score with the most diverse features. A few questions simplify your purchase decision
- Enduro, Trail-Fully, Downhiller - which bike should it be?
Further above we have roughly outlined the areas of application of MTBs. Before you click on "Buy", you should think about where and how you will ride your bike. Downhill or uphill? On gravel or soft ground? An hour after work or for days on end?
This will help you find the right type of fully, and you can also decide on a price range. The longer and more you get on your bike, the more fun it will be to ride a good bike from one of the upper price ranges.
Both basic materials have advantages, but also bring some disadvantages. Carbon is undoubtedly the more noble material, it can score with good stiffness, in addition, it is lightweight and virtually any shape. On the other hand, it is a bit sensitive, cracks and breaks occur from time to time. Aluminum is a bit heavier, but you can easily clamp an aluminum frame into a mounting stand or a car rack. Bikes made of aluminium are also much cheaper.
The weight advantages of having a carbon frame in other bike categories are often directly negated by the many components of a fully.
- Steel spring or air suspension?
A damper with a steel spring is more forgiving of rough handling and less maintenance, but it cannot be adjusted as precisely as an air suspension.
An air suspension is lighter, and its adaptability makes it particularly versatile. You'll have to keep checking and readjusting them with a shock pump, though.
- Fully or hardtail, which suspension is the better?
Which mountain bike is right for you can easily be found out by considering where you'll mainly be riding. The wilder the terrain, the more fun a fully will be. On the other hand, a hardtail is lighter, requires less maintenance and, not least, is cheaper; it also moves forward more efficiently.
- How much suspension travel do you really need?
Much helps much, logo, but is there such a thing as too much suspension travel?
So yes... Thick shocks aren't exactly cheap, they weigh more and make the bike less efficient. So when is it worth it to have a generous amount of travel on your suspension fork and frame shock? The answer is actually quite simple. The more challenging the terrain underneath you turns out to be, the more forgiving your suspensions should be. A day ride over forest trails needs little suspension travel. An hour of technical downhill rumble calls for lots of dive.
- How much tire clearance do you need?
The wider your tires are, the better they cushion, plus more contact patch makes for better grip. Less contact patch, on the other hand, makes for less rolling resistance, allowing the bike to move from place with less force. Tire clearance or tire clearance tells you what width tire you can put on.
- What size tire do you want to ride?
27.5 or 29er - also a good question. Smaller tires are more maneuverable and accelerate more dynamically, big ones are smoother and faster on the trail. If you don't want to commit forever, pick an MTB that allows both wheel sizes.
- The ground clearance thing
You're riding your full off-road - so you don't want a bottom bracket constantly scraping along rocks or the crank bottoming out. That's why mountain bikes generally have a lot of ground clearance, or distance from the ground.
It's been raging for years, the battle between forest owners, hikers, conservationists and bikers. Fortunately, there are more and more trails where bikers can let loose without plowing new forest ground or mowing down deer and hikers. It's simple: if there's no nature left, your Fully is of little use to you, so being careful with the environment ultimately serves yourself and others! By the way, to make sure you don't scare anyone to death on the trail, there are Trailbells that make you easy to hear!
Buy a full mountain bike from best manufacturer
With each new model year, more fullys are available. So much for the good news. The bad: you have to choose! Here at BMO Onlineshop, we take one decision away from you right from the start. You'll find bikes in different price ranges here, but we only buy from well-known bike brands, so we can deliver good value and top quality.
Cannondale, Santa Cruz, Trek, Giant, NS Bikes, Octane One or Orbea, the list of our bike forges is long and top-notch! You'll also find women's mountain bikes from Liv, the only bike manufacturer that builds exclusively for women.
Our Dirt Bikes and Hardtails are a real alternative if you're still not quite sure whether a Fully is really the perfect fit for you.
By the way, here you can also buy the right accessories, first of all we would like to recommend you a suitable bicycle helmet, the best thing to do is to take a look at our full-face helmets, so you come home from the alpine tour with a healthy jaw. But you'll especially need a shock pump to keep readjusting the suspension elements.
If you haven't decided yet, it's worth checking out our other bikes! The buying guides for the bike categories are very similar, so you can easily compare which bike best suits your plans. We'll explain what mountain bikes, urban bikes and city bikes, trekking bikes, dirt bikes, race bikes and E-bikes can do. We also have small size bikes of course, you can also find a cool kids bike for your little one here in the online shop. Just read our buying guides and you'll know which bike you'll be happy with! If you see a bike at a special price, you can visit our Sale, where reduced items lurk with bargain alerts!