In our day BMX bikes were all the rage. We pushed them to their absolute limits with tricks like table tops, bunny hops, and wheelies, and some of us did a couple of grinds, with our faces, on the tarred roads.
Today, however, a lot of extreme riders have chosen to do mountain biking, one of the most popular disciplines of cycling. People enjoy mountain biking for different reasons, whether it’s finding a better, faster line on a trail you thought you knew, using newly learnt techniques to tackle nature’s obstacles or getting a workout that leaves you feeling more exhilarated than just exhausted.
And then there are the mountain bikes themselves.
There are fat bikes, dirt jump bikes, single speeds, downhill bikes, enduro bikes, cross-country bikes and trail bikes. And each one offers something a little different. If you’re not sure what kind of mountain bike riding you want to do then consider a trail bike, it’s probably the most versatile of them all. Sadly, choosing a mountain bike is like choosing a date from a beauty pageant line, you can’t go wrong with any of them but they’re all so damn fine.
Mountain bikes can be expensive, but don’t get put off by the prices – if you’re new to the sport and don’t want to pay the equivalent of a deposit on a small house, you can get a decent bike for around $200, and upgrade from there, when you’re ready.
We’ve put together a list of the best mountain bike brands of all time, or at least the last few years.
Way back in 1993 Rob Roskopp and Rich Novak, two legendary skateboarders, founded Santa Cruz, in a garage in Southern Calfornia. Today their line includes 16 different types of bikes, with the most popular being the women’s Juliana line. Because they only manufacture mountain bikes you can rest assured all their energy goes into producing high-end full suspension mountain bikes.
Considered a little off-beat by some is what makes them so popular with others.
Even though you might not find this brand on too many lists (yet) we foresee it being one of the most sought after bikes (soon). Founded in 2008, this German brand has made a name for itself on the mountain bike scene and beyond. Thanks to its consumer-direct sales model YT offers insane value for money across its entire range. Pro-riders like Yannick Granieri, Andreu Lacondeguy, and Cam Zink trust in this brand, and who are we to argue?
Based in California, Specialized is a market leader offering a full range of mountain bikes, from fat bikes and cross-country to downhill models. As one of the largest bike company’s in the world, Specialized focuses on technology and innovation, with a lot of other bike manufacturers trying to imitate and create similar designs.
Aptly named, Giant is the bicycle manufacturing company in the world, possibly, even on the planet. Established in 1972, the brand is recognized all over the world and we can almost guarantee that at some point in your life you’ve owned, or at the very least, ridden one. Giant’s range of mountain bikes is consistently rated and reviewed as one of the top brands to buy.
Cannondale’s line of mountain bikes is focused primarily on cross-country but us starting to blaze a few trails in the enduro category. An innovative brand, Cannondale’s green color schemes, and asymmetrical fork give the bikes a distinctive look making them stand out from the rest. Cannondale is without a doubt one of top mountain bike brands available.
Trek offers one of the largest women-specific lines and models, catering to pretty much everyone, from newbies to old pros. Whether you’re pushing limits or just wanting to get some fresh and exercise, Trek probably has a bike for you.
The company is based in Waterloo in Wisconsin and their focus has, and always will be, to create the most elegant, user-friendly bikes possible.
Niner is considered a new company when compared to some of the bigger brands that you know, but it certainly hasn’t stopped them from producing some of the best mountain bikes we’ve ever seen. Niner bikes come with a 5-year warranty (make sure you understand their Ts & Cs) which means they believe in their products, and so should you.
There you have it. Our best mountain bike brands, at least for now. Have we included your favorite mountain bike brand? Let us know.