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Best Short-Travel Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes – 100 to 130mm

By Mark David Hartley   /  Last updated - April 19, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Reviews
ibis ripley bike

Ibis Ripley – One of the most iconic short-travel playbikes available.

Trail and Cross-Country mountain bikes offer limitless fun on various terrains. There are quite a few different mountain bike types out there, but in this review – we’ll be focusing on the lighter end of the spectrum, bikes that are considered as short travel full-suspension mountain bikes.


Best Short-Travel Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes


1. Orbea – Oiz M20 2022

Best XC Full-Suspension Mountain Bike of 2022

ORBEA OIZ M20 TR 2022

Carbon / 12-Speed SRAM GX Eagle / 29×2.35″

MSRP: $4,999
Jenson USA

Fork: Fox 34 Float SC Performance, 120mm travel
Shock: Fox I-Line DPS Performance, 120mm travel
Wheels: DT Swiss X-1900 Spline 

The Orbea Oiz M20 is an ultra-light full-suspension XC bike, weighing in at an average of only 22lbs depending on size. With a full carbon frame and DT Swiss carbon rims, it’s no wonder!

It’s ideally suited to cross-country or long-distance trail riding, with an extra-wide 12-speed SRAM GX groupset that covers 10-50T on the cassette. Fox provides both the I-Line DPS Performance shock and the 34 Float SC Performance fork. To complement the lightweight rims, you get 29×2.35″ Maxxis tires, Forekaster on the front, and Rekon Race in the rear.

Head tube angle: 68º / Seat tube angle: 74º / Chainstay: 435mm

Buy on Jenson USA


2. Santa Cruz Bicycles – Blur

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Blur C S Complete Mountain Bike 2022

MSRP: $5,199
evo.com

  • Carbon C
  • Fork – RockShox SID SL Select
  • Rear Shock – RockShox SidLuxe Select+
  • 12-speed SRAM GX
  • SRAM Level TL
  • Wheels: Race Face AR Offset 29″
  • DT Swiss 370 hubs
  • Tires: 29×2.4″

Buy on evo.com


3. BMC – Fourstroke 01 LT Two

Best full-suspension mountain bike under $3,000

bmc fourstroke 01 lt

Carbon / 12-Speed SRAM GX Eagle / 29×2.4″

MSRP: $5,999
Mike’s Bikes

Fork: Fox Float 34 SC – Performance Grip 120mm travel
Shock: Fox Float DPS – Performance Elite 120mm travel
Wheels: DT Swiss M1900

The Fourstroke is a sleek full-suspension MTB by the high-quality Swiss manufacturer BMC. For those who want precision engineering, The 01 Premium Carbon frame is incredibly light and strong, with 29″ wheels delightful suspension. It comes standard with 2.4″ Maxxis Recon tires.

It uses 120mm front and rear suspension from Fox’s Float Performance range. This is ideal for XC, along with an ample 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle system for the drivetrain with Shimano Deore SLX hydro disc brakes and SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon cranks.

Buy from Mike's Bikes


4. Cannondale – Scalpel Carbon 3

cannondale scalpel 3 carbon

Carbon / 12-Speed Shimano XT/SLX / 29×2.25″

MSRP: $4,999
Mike’s Bikes

Fork: Lefty Ocho, 100mm travel
Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance Elite EVOL, 100mm travel
Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Crest S1

One of the more expensive offerings on our list, this Cannondale full-suspension mountain bike is a race-ready XC bike with aggressive geometry and top-quality parts. The BallisTec frame even features a ‘Stash’ built-in repair kit section. The 100mm travel Lefty Ocho fork is a strange component that some might find a bit odd at first – but it works well!

The HollowGram crank merged with a 12-speed Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes couldn’t be better, not to mention 29″ Stan’s NoTubes Crest S1 rims. On the rear is an adjustable Fox Float Performance shock and the tires are 2.25″ Schwalbe Racing Ralph.

Head tube angle: 68º / Seat tube angle: 74.5º / Chainstay: 436mm

Buy on Mike's Bikes


5. Intense – Sniper T Pro

intense sniper t

Carbon / 12-Speed Sram X01 Eagle  / 29×2.35″

MSRP: $5,099
Aventuron

Fork: Fox Performance Float 34 SC, 120mm travel
Shock: Fox Performance Elite Float DPS, 120mm travel
Wheels: ETHIRTEEN XCX XC 27MM Alloy 

The 29″ Sniper T Pro from Intense Cycles is a pure cross-country MTB with a unique riding experience. The lightweight full carbon frame has aggressive geometry, Fox Performance Float suspension with only 120mm of travel, and JS Tuning which separates pedaling and braking forces from the suspension performance.

For the groupset, it matches SRAM’s premium X01 Eagle drivetrain with Shimano’s XT M8100 hydraulic disc brakes. This makes climbing easier and descending safer, plus you get a Kindshock Lev CL dropper seat post for added downhill capabilities. The wheelset fits Maxxis Forekaster 29×2.35″ tires on EThirteen XCX rims.

Head tube angle: 66.5º / Seat tube angle: 73º / Chainstay: 439mm

Buy on Aventuron


6. Diamondback – Catch 1

diamondback catch

Aluminum / 12-Speed SRAM SX Eagle / 27.5×2.8″

MSRP: $2,550
JensonUSA

Fork: SR Suntour Aion, 130mm 
Shock: Suntour Edge R, 130mm
Wheels: Diamondback Blanchard

The Catch is a Diamondback full suspension plus-sized MTB focused on cross-country racing with a lightweight, pocket-friendly aluminum frame, Suntour suspension, and SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain. It takes advantage of Diamondback’s elite design expertise for excellent ride characteristics, with 130mm of travel on the front and rear.

The wide gear ratio (11-50T) allows for easy hill climbs while TRP Slate X2 hydraulic disc brakes ensure safe descents. The wheelset combines 27.5″ alloy rims with 2.8″ WTB Vigilante tires.

Head tube angle: 68º / Seat tube angle: 73º / Chainstay: 446mm

Buy on Jenson USA


7. Co-op Cycles – DRT 3.3

A reliable, affordable XC bike

co-op cycles drt 3.3

Aluminum / 12-Speed Shimano SLX / 27.5 or 29 x2.4″

MSRP: $3,299
REI

Fork: RockShox Revelation Motion Control RC 120 or 130mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ 120 or 130mm
Wheels: WTB ST Light i30 TCS

The DRT 3.3 is a cross-country bike with plenty to offer beginner or intermediate XC mountain bikers. It features progressive wheel sizing and suspension travel based on frame size, Airsprung RockShox suspension, and premium Maxxis High Roller or Dissector tires. 

This bike has a lightweight but strong aluminum frame that helps keep the price down without sacrificing too much performance. This is boosted by a Shimano SLX 12-speed with a 10-51t climbing cassette and powerful Shimano SLX disc brakes for controlled descending. 

Head tube angle: 66/67°   /   Seat tube angle: 75°   /   Chainstay length: 433/441mm

Buy on REI.com


8. Juliana – Wilder CC X01

Juliana Wilder Carbon CC X01

MSRP: $7,649
Competitive Cyclist

Fork: Fox Factory 34 Step-Cast, 120mm travel
Rear Shock: Fox Float Factory DPS Rear Shock, 115mm travel
Wheels: RaceFace ARC Offset 27

Julianna’s Wilder is a race-ready trail bike designed to tackle the toughest trails with confidence. As Santa Cruz’s women-specific brand, Julianna takes advantage of its VPP suspension system to provide the Wilder with unbeatable suspension performance.

Large 29″ RaceFace ARC rims and slack geometry allow you to roll over any obstacle on the trail. In addition, female-tailored geometry and a premium Carbon CC frame ensure the Wilder is painless to maneuver.

Finally, this bike is built on an elite SRAM X01 drivetrain and paired with grippy Maxxis Rekon tires and powerful SRAM Level TLM hydraulic disc brakes to ensure smooth climbing ability and controlled descending. 

Buy on Competitive Cyclist


9. Marin – Rift Zone 3

Best value full-suspension mountain bike

marin rift zone 3

Series 3 Aluminum / 12-Speed Shimano SLX  / 29×2.35″

MSRP: $2,999
Jenson USA

Fork: Marzocchi Bomber 130mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS, Performance 125mm
Wheels: Marin Aluminum Double Wal

The Rift Zone is a rapid 29-inch XC mountain bike designed for speed over rough but mostly flat terrain. The  Multi-Trac alloy frame is fitted with a 125mm Fox Float Performance fork and a 130mm Marzocchi Bomber rear shock, which holds excellent traction along with the Vee Tire Co Flow Snap tires.

The Rift Zone runs a typical 12-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain with Shimano MT420 hydraulic disc brakes and is finished off with an X-Fusion Manic dropper. This is a beast of an XC trail bike and with a stylish finish, it’s got the looks to match.

Head tube angle: 65.5º / Seat tube angle: 76º / Chainstay: 425mm

Buy on Jenson USA


10. Revel – Ranger GX

Revel Ranger GXCarbon / 12-Speed SRAM GX-Eagle / 29×2.4″

MSRP: $5,799
Evo.com

Fork: RockShox SID Select, 120mm travel
Shock: RockShox SIDLuxe Select, 1150mm travel
Wheels: Industry 9 Trail 

The Revel Ranger is a full-suspension mountain bike with an innovative Japanese Toray carbon frame, Canfield Balance Formula geometry for maximum pedaling efficiency, and RockShox SID Select+ suspension. It features 120mm of front travel and 115mm or rear, with a reliable SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and matching G2 R hydro disc brakes.

Revel chose Industry 9 Trail rims with Maxxis Dissector/Rekon 2.4″ tires for their excellent grip and durability. For a seatpost, you can rely on the Crank Brothers Highline 7 Dropper. Every detail is accounted for on the Ranger, making for the perfect XC trail bike.

Head tube angle: 67.5º / Seat tube angle: 75.3º / Chainstay: 436mm

Buy from Evo.com


11. Marin – Rift Zone Jr. 26″

Marin - Rift Zone Jr 26"

Aluminum / 11-Speed Shimano Deore / 26×2.4″

MSRP: $1,899
Evo.com

Fork: X-Fusion Velvet RLC,120mm travel
Shock: X-Fusion O2 Pro R 120mm travel
Wheels: Marin Double Wall

The Rift Zone Jr. is a full suspension XC mountain bike designed for kids 4’6″ to 5’2″. This bike can decimate climbs and thunder down descents with ease. The lightweight, durable aluminum frame is fitted with a 120mm X-Fusion Velvet RLC fork and a 120mm X-Fusion O2 Pro R shock.

This bike takes advantage of Marin’s premium MultiTrac suspension technology. This suspension system provides a balanced ride, able to absorb big hits and maintain efficient pedaling. In addition, you can adjust the air suspension as your kid grows. Finally, you can rely on Shimano’s Deore 11-speed drivetrain for smooth shifting. 

Head tube angle: 67.5º / Seat tube angle: 69º / Chainstay: 429mm

Buy from Evo.com


12. Yeti – SB100 T-Series X01

Best Performance Bike

Yeti Cycles T-Series X01

Carbon / 12-Speed Shimano XT / 29×2.3″

MSRP: $5,999
Competitive Cyclist

Fork: Fox Factory 34 SC, 120mm travel
Shock: Fox Factory DPS, 100mm travel
Wheels: Crank Brothers Synthesis 2

The SB100 T-Series X01 is a Yeti full-suspension mountain bike that blurs the lines between XC and enduro. The Turq carbon frame is ultra-lightweight and stiff, and the seat tube allows longer dropper posts, but the redesigned Switch Infinity pivot on the Fox Factory suspension is specifically designed for 100mm travel. This combination provides an XC bike that seems intended for more intense, rougher terrain than usual.

For power, you get the top-class SRAM X01 drivetrain with a 12-speed 10-52t cassette and SRAM G2 RSC hydraulic disc brakes. The Crank Brothers rims are fitted with 29×2.3/2.25″ Maxxis tires, a Minion up front, and Ardent on the rear.

Head tube angle: 67.8º / Seat tube angle: 74.3-74º / Chainstay: 437mm

Buy on Competitive Cyclist


13. Pivot – Mach 4

Pivot - Mach 4 SL Carbon Pro X01 Eagle Mountain Bike - Deep Lake Blue

Carbon / SRAM X01 Eagle / 29×2.2″

MSRP: $7,599
Backcountry

Fork: Fox Factory Stepcast 34, 120mm travel
Shock: Fox Factory DPS, 100mm travel
Wheels: DT Swiss M1700

Pivot Cycles is a relatively new bicycle company but has already won awards for its innovative design. This can be seen on its Mach 4 SL 29er full-suspension mountain bike, a lightweight carbon beast with top-level parts. It’s a professional XC bike for advanced riders, just slack enough to handle big drops but tight enough that you won’t lose pedal power on flats.

The suspension is tight, with a Fox Factory 120mm fork up front and 100mm shock on the rear. The aggressive geometry places you higher over the pedals for more power into each stroke and with a 12-speed SRAM X01 drivetrain you get perfect shifting every time.

Head tube angle: 68-67.5º / Seat tube angle: 75.5º / Chainstay: 434mm

Buy from Backcountry


14. Santa Cruz Bicycles – Tallboy C S

Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C S

Carbon / 12-Speed SRAM NX Eagle / 29×2.3″

MSRP: $5,699
Evo.com

Fork: Fox 34 Float Performance, 130mm travel
Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance, 120mm travel
Wheels: Race Face AR Offset 30

The Tallboy is of the most popular Santa Cruz full-suspension Mountain Bikes and this version has a tighter, more grounded feel, perfect for attacking bumpy terrain at high speed. With the Santa Cruz Flip-Chip upper link, you can fit 29″ or 27.5″ rims and tires, although it comes standard with 29×2.3/2.4″Maxxis tires on Race Face AR Offset 30 rims.

The 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle groupset runs a wide-ratio 10-52T cassette for easy climbing and includes SRAM G2 R hydraulic disc brakes. It’s finished off with a Burgtec Enduro MK3 stem, handlebar, and RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost with WTB saddle and Cane Creek 40 IS integrated headset.

Head tube angle: 65.7º / Seat tube angle: 76.8-76º / Chainstay: 436mm

Buy from Evo.com


15. Diamondback – Atroz 2

Best Cheap & budget full-suspension mountain bike 🏆

diamondback atroz 2

Aluminum / 9-Speed / 27.5×2.35″

MSRP: $1,375
Jenson USA

Fork: SR Suntour XCM, 120mm
Shock: SR Suntour Raidon-R Air Shock,100mm travel
Wheels: 32h – Double-wall aluminum

This Diamondback full-suspension mountain bike is one of the most affordable on the market and it still comes with decent parts. The aluminum frame is fitted with an SR Suntour XCM fork with 120mm of travel and a 100mm rear air shock, both adequate for heavy trail riding.

The drivetrain is a 9-speed Shimano Acera with a sufficient gear ratio for steep climbs and for braking you get Shimano MT200 hydraulic discs. None of the parts are top quality by any means but they fit together well to provide excellent value for money. If you’re on a tight budget but love hitting the mountain trails, this bike will do you fine.

Head tube angle: 66.5º / Seat tube angle: 72.5º / Chainstay: 435mm

Buy on Jenson USA


16. Ibis – Ripley 

🏆 Best all-around mountain bike for every terrain

Ibis ripley GX Eagle

Carbon / 12-Speed SRAM GX Eagle / 29×2.4″

MSRP: $5,899
Competitive Cyclist

Fork: Fox Float 34 Factory, 130mm travel
Shock: Fox Float Factory DPS, 120mm travel
Wheels: Ibis S35 Aluminum & Ibis Hub
Max Clearance 2.6″

Coming in at just under $6,000, this is one of those professional-level bikes for serious riders. Luckily, it has the goods to match. Straight off the bat, the 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is impressive with Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes. 

Naturally, it has a premium quality carbon frame with superb DW-Link suspension technology, offering 120mm of rear travel from a Fox Float 34 Factory shock. With a similar kit upfront, you get 130mm of travel on the Float 34 fork and it’s all rounded off with Ibis rims and 2.4″ Maxxis tires. 

 Head Tube Angle: 66.5º / Seat Tube Angle: 76º / Chainstay length: 432mm

Buy on Competitive Cyclist


17. Yeti – SB115 C2

CARBON C1 BIKE 2022

grey yeti full sus mtb

Available in 3 designs

Carbon / 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle / 29×2.5″, 2.3″

MSRP: $6,200
Competitive Cyclist

Another top-class mountain bike from Yeti, this combination XC and trail bike attacks both the hills and the drops with equal vigor and aggression. The lightweight carbon frame combined with the 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle 10-52T cassette makes easy work of hills, while the Switch Infinity rear suspension technology combined with 130mm travel on the Fox Performance fork makes downhills a breeze.

You get added support from a thick 2.5″ Maxxis Minion DHF front tire and 2.3″ Aggressor on the rear, wrapped around DT Swiss rims. Oh and let’s not forget the Fox Transfer dropper seat post for added ease and enjoyment!

Head tube: 67.6 / Seat Tube: 74.1 / Chainstay: 437mm

Buy on Competitive Cyclist


18. Santa Cruz Bicycles – 5010

Santa Cruz Bicycles 5010 Carbon

Carbon C / 12-Speed SRAM NX Eagle / 27.5×2.4″

MSRP: $4,799
Competitive Cyclist

Fork: RockShox Pike Select, 140mm travel
Shock: Fox Float Performance DPS, 130mm r travel
Wheels: RaceFace AR Offset 30

This XC bike from Santa Cruz is designed to excel along technical trails while also tackling the occasional steep descent with ease. The lower-link VPP suspension on the full carbon frame combined with increased travel on the RockShox Pike Select fork provides better confidence on the downhills.

For more stable charging along flatter terrain, you get slacker geometry combined with 130mm of travel on the Fox Float rear shock. The combination results in a lively, responsive ride with strong traction and efficient climbing ability. The groupset is a 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle with SRAM Guide T disc brakes on nimble 27.5″ RaceFace rims and 2.4″ Maxxis Minion tires.

Head Tube Angle: 65.7-65.4 / Seat Tube Angle: 77.5-76.8 / Chainstays: 423-433mm

Buy on Competitive Cyclist


19. Cannondale – Habit Carbon 1 

cannondale habit carbon 1

MSRP: $5,500
Planet Cyclery

Every XC rider comes across an unexpectedly steep descent every now and again, leaving them in a precarious situation with an inadequate bike. The Cannondale Habit Carbon 1 rises to this challenge, offering an XC-specific bike that can tackle steep downhills with confidence.

It achieves this with the addition of a Cannondale DownLow dropper post combined with Cannondale’s Proportional Response Tuned suspension system. The RockShox Pike Select+ 140mm fork has slightly longer than usual travel for an XC bike, with the 130mm RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ rear shock to match. A wide-range SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain with a 10-52t cassette and SRAM G2 RSC hydraulic disc brakes make up a solid mountain-ready groupset that can tackle climbs and descents with ease.

HT: 66° / ST: 74.5° / Chainstay: 435mm

Buy on Planet Cyclery


20. Evil – Following GX

Evil - Following GX Complete Mountain Bike 2021

MSRP: $5,799
evo

Evil Bikes is known for making high-quality mountain bikes that push the boundaries of design and innovation. The ‘Following’ is its versatile XC offering – a high-speed MTB with 29″ wheels, semi-compact geometry, and mid-range travel that can tackle unusually harsh conditions 

The proprietary DELTA suspension system and RockShox Deluxe shock are both highly tunable to adapt to varying conditions so if you feel like doing some downhill riding, simply adjust it to your needs and hit the trails. On this more affordable version of Evil’s Following, SRAM provides decent 12-speed gearing and instant braking with its mid-level GX Eagle groupset and G2 RS disc brakes.

Buy on evo.com


Where Can You Ride a Short-Travel Mountain Bike?

Short travel mountain bikes are ideal all-rounder bicycles for fast and zippy trails, whether it is flat or hilly.

Downhill mountain bikes with lots of travel are ideal for extremely rough terrain with big drops and large obstacles but provide a disadvantage on flatter terrain. 

The less stiff your suspension is, the more speed you lose when riding fast on flat terrain. So you need to choose a bike that best suits the type of riding you intend to do. For most All-mountain, Cross-country, and Trail riding, you shouldn’t need more travel than 100-130mm. MTB bikes with travel between 140-180mm are intended for intense downhill and enduro-style riding.

Of course, many of these bikes have adjustable suspension, so in some cases, you can change it for the terrain of that day. However, if you don’t intend on ever tackling extreme downhills, big jumps, or huge drops, then there is no need to spend the extra on advanced suspension with unnecessarily long travel.

Other Factors to Keep in Mind


Carbon vs. Aluminum: Which is Better?

Which is better: Carbon or Aluminum for a full-sus. MTB? Well, carbon has taken over the whole cycling industry for a while by now, and it is not different from the mountain bike scene. As carbon-tubing gets better each year, there is a reason why mountain bikers prefer carbon over aluminum. Carbon simply has the right ‘feel’ to the whole ride, while providing enough durability and ways to form a bike.

Tires & Tire Pressure

It is recommended to use more air in the rear tire when on trails.

  • 29″ – 18-28 psi. Plus-size tires or on wider wheels (Ibis) can be run on lower,11-18 psi range
  • 27.5″ (650b) – 16-30 psi.

Lowering your tire pressure means you create more contact with the ground so if you have thin tires, less pressure will provide more grip. However, while this may be a bit more comfortable offroad it comes at the sacrifice of speed on flatter ground. Depending on your weight, you should try to find a perfect balance that isn’t too low or too hard.

Tubeless tires can usually run lower pressure since there is no tube to pinch. Similarly, wider rims can also accommodate lower tire pressure. These are all factors to consider when pumping your tires.

Suspension set-up

You should always tune your suspension correctly to accommodate your weight and riding style. This can be done by rocking up and down on the bike to measure your ‘sag’ rate and then adjusting the air or spring pressure accordingly.

If you’re going to be hitting big jumps or drops, you’ll need a wider, looser suspension to take heavy impact. If you’re riding mostly flat trails, you’ll want it stiffer so you don’t over-compress and lose speed on each little bump.

Compression / Sag / Rebound

The Sag, as mentioned earlier, is important to measure and set accordingly before heading out on the trails. Once that’s done, set the rebound damping by pushing on the front suspension and seeing if you get any ‘bounce’. Tighten it until it only rebounds once, doesn’t bounce up and down.

For the compression settings, you’ll need to specify them according to your riding style. Different shocks have different settings, so it’s down to your style and preference. Basically, add more compression damping if you want tighter traction on corners, or less if you want more absorption on big drops.

Rider Weight

It’s important to get the correct weight distribution on a full-suspension bike otherwise you could injure yourself on the trails. The longer wheelbase a bike has, the more stable it will be, so heavier riders should consider this factor. 

Bottom bracket height is also important, as the higher the less stability you get but it can’t be too close to the ground either for obvious safety reasons. Generally, these measurements can all be perfected for you in-store when you buy a new bike. It’s always a good idea to have a professional fit your bike for you.

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