The question with budget suspension bikes is always: “how low can you go?”
As much as we’d all love to pay £200 for a bike, there definitely comes a point where you’re paying for a Bike Shaped Object, rather than something truly capable of tackling the trails.
In our mind you should be looking to spend at least £1,000 on a full suspension trail bike (you can afford to go a bit lower if you want a hardtail). This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the alternative is a heavy, poorly designed, waste of money that will only end up putting you off the sport and rusting in a shed.
You probably get more bang for your buck with one of the direct sales bikes here, but none are totally perfect. If you have any money left over for upgrades we’d look straight into dropper seat posts and getting the cockpit sorted out.
Here are five budget, full-suspension trail mountain bikes for under £1,500 that provide a great intro to the sport:
Marin Hawk Hill
When Marin first showed us the Hawk Hill there were no presentations or PR bullshit, they just wanted us to ride it. We’re so glad we did.
With new-world geometry, a single chainring up front and good sizing this is a very promising start to Marin’s revised range. The Hawk Hill is a fun bike to chuck around, with good trail manners – a handy rider could take this bike into some challenging terrain with confidence. One model at £1450.