The best Downhill Mountain Bike brands have built their reputation in the most extreme MTB events – from World Cup racing to big mountain freeride like Rampage.

They not only ride great and are reliable but also provide customer support and replacement parts down the line – often even available in your local bike shop or at least online.

I wrote this list of top-level downhill bike brands to provide you with a solid overview of manufacturers to start your bike buying research – not put any one brand above the rest.

I got a chance to test ride many brands in the past and have been having the traditional bike-park-gondola-chat with many riders on all kinds of interesting bikes to find out their experience.

Then I also cross-referenced them with brands operating MTB World Cup teams and popularity by sales numbers worldwide.

The brands here are a level above the rest in terms of:

  • performance,
  • reliability,
  • component specs,
  • availability and
  • resale value.

Note, that not all of the top mountain bike brands make downhill bikes as well. Some focus more on XC, and others more on the gravity side with enduro and DH bikes.

Which brand of bike is ultimately the best for you depends largely on your location. Some may be available at a local bike shop, some are direct-to-consumer MTB brands. Some smaller brands and boutique bikes may even be unavailable in your region.

Update: With its uncertain future, I removed Nukeproof (filed for bankruptcy) from this list.

Rumors: Marin may be getting back into the DH market, currently testing a prototype. And Yeti built DH prototypes raced by Richie Rude in 2023.


Antidote

Antidote Darkmatter DH bike
Formula 1 design on two wheels: the Antidote Darkmatter DH bike.

Let’s start with arguably the most expensive downhill bike available right now: the Antidote Darkmatter. Antidote is a relatively small Polish brand that has its frames hand-built in Europe.

Antidote is known for carbon craftsmanship and custom options. They’ve quickly gained a reputation for producing uniquely designed, high-end, custom-built MTBs. Their high-pivot downhill bike model, the Darkmatter, is a 29er full carbon frame eye candy.

The brand also offers a custom bike builder service, allowing riders to fully customize their bike to their liking.

Antidote’s attention to detail and craftsmanship has made them a favorite among serious riders looking for a high-performance boutique bike that stands out from the rest.

Learn more at antidotebikes.com.


Atherton

Next up is Atherton, where the slogan “designed by World Champions” is more than a catchphrase. This brand is owned by the three legendary Atherton siblings, Rachel, Gee, and Dan Atherton, the royal family of DH racing.

They’ve used their expertise to create a line of bikes that are custom-built to every rider’s needs – even custom sizing options.

Their downhill model, the AM.200M, is only available as a mixed-wheel wheel setup, and for good reason. Like all their bikes, it’s individually hand-crafted in their own Machynlleth facility.

“The 3 Athertons and our Continental Atherton race team riders all prefer the mullet setup, so we committed to the switch.”

Gill Harris from Atherton Bikes
Andreas Kolb on his Atherton Bikes DH
Andreas Kolb on his Atherton AM.200 mullet DH Bike

What sets Atherton Bikes apart is their use of additive manufacturing technology, which allows them to create unique frame designs that would be impossible with traditional manufacturing methods. Think 3D-printed frames with a geometry, fine-tuned to the rider.

And the best part: If you pick up your new bike directly at the shop, you get not only a tour but also get to turn your maiden laps at DYFI bike park a few minutes down the road.

Learn more at athertonbikes.com.


Canyon

Troy Brosnan aboard his Sender Canyon Factory racing bike.
Troy Brosnan aboard his Sender Canyon Factory racing bike.

Canyon is a German brand that’s been around since 2002, and they’ve quickly become a favorite among amateur riders and top-level racers.

The brand’s direct-to-consumer business model allows them to offer high-quality bikes at competitive prices.

Their downhill model, the Sender, is a regular on World Cup downhill podiums.

Canyon offers an extremely wide range from hard-tail pumptrack bikes to full-suspension downhill machines, making them a great option for people owning multiple bikes.

Learn more at canyon.com, their direct-to-consumer website.


Commencal

amaury pierron 2
World Cup champ Amaury Pierron on his Commencal Supreme

The popular brand from Andorra, Commencal, leans heavily into the gravity side of MTB.

They got no less than two different downhill frames on the market: the FRS and the Supreme DH, one of the winningest bikes in the World Cup DH races recently.

Commencal bikes were one of the first high-pivot designs, which still carries over. They also stand out with the frame materials used. They focus on aluminum frames, avoiding carbon.

Unique for their commitment to aluminum and vibrant community presence, they stand out in the downhill world. And as a side note: The Supreme is one of the most silent bikes you’ll ever hear.

Learn more at commencal-store.com, their direct-to-consumer shop.


Cube

max hartenstern cube2
German racer Max Hartenstern on his Cube Two15 race bike

Cube offers a wide range of bikes, including the downhill model Two15. They’re known for good value and German engineering.

Cube’s blend of performance and affordability makes them a popular choice.

Learn more at cube.eu


Forbidden

forbidden supernought dh bike
High-pivot DH beauty: Forbidden Supernaught

When it comes to boutique high-pivot mountain bikes, there’s no way around Forbidden Bikes.

Founded in 2015, the company has quickly established itself as a leading brand of high-end, carbon fiber beauties.

The result is a range of bikes that are not only visually stunning but also perform at a high level.

After years of development on the World Cup circuit: One of industry’s most refined high pivot design is now equipped with 205mm of rear wheel travel – a “fighter jet of a downhill mountain bike” in their own words.

The Supernought is available as a full 29er or Mixed (MX) wheel size.

Learn more at forbiddenbike.com


GT Bicycles

gt fury downhill bike
The GT Fury in traditional GT-colors.

GT Bicycles is a cornerstone American brand that’s been around since the 1970s, and they’ve built a reputation for producing bikes that are both high-quality and affordable.

GT Bicycles has a rich history in BMX and mountain biking. Their downhill offering is the Fury. Known for their Triple Triangle frame design, GT stands out with a blend of heritage and innovation.

Learn more at gtbicycles.com or check for current deals at Jenson.


Intense

INTENSE M1
The all-new Intense M1 DH bike

Intense Cycles is an American brand that’s been around since 1993. With multi-time motocross champion Ryan Dungey as an investor and downhill veteran Max Stöckl as race team manager, Intense has tons of experience behind it.

They had an interesting situation going on: The aluminum prototype bike raced in the 2023 DH World Cup circuit was different from the consumer model, the M29 with a full carbon frame and 29-inch wheels.

So you can be sure Intense will only release the best possible, race-proven equipment to the public.

Now the new M1 DH bike is finally available to the public.

Learn more at intensecycles.com.


Kona

Kona is a Canadian brand with a cult following. Their downhill bike, the Operator, is a testament to their dedication to the sport. Known for their playful bike designs and long-standing presence since 1988, Kona bikes have a distinct personality.

With a focus on performance and fun, Kona is a brand that is sure to appeal to riders who want a bike that is as playful as it is capable.

Learn more at konaworld.com or check for current deals at Jenson.


Mondraker

Brook Macdonald mondraker 3
Brook Macdonald aboard his Mondraker Summum race bike. // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Mondraker from Spain is known for the Summum downhill bike. They pioneered Forward Geometry, which makes Mondraker bikes always easy to spot. Mondraker stands out for their innovative frame geometry.

They’re also known for having some of the longest, slackest geometries out there. The brand is definitely gravity-focused.

Learn more at mondraker.com or check for current deals at Jenson.


Norco

norco aurum hsp 2
The Norco Aurum high-pivot carbon-frame downhill bike.

Norco, another Canadian brand, offers the Aurum for downhill enthusiasts. They’re recognized for their unique approach to fit and geometry – and of course the unique frame designs with the high-pivot rear end.

Norco has been making bicycles a long time – over fifty years now – and it just keeps getting better. Behind the walls of Norco’s two offices you will find some of the most dedicated and committed people in the cycling industry – some with a motorsports engineering background.

That’s how they are able to team up with some of the world’s best racers like the greatest of all time, Greg Minnaar.

Learn more at norco.com or check for current deals at Competitive Cyclist and Jenson.


Pivot

20230117 SI202209090623
Bernard Kerr putting his Pivot Pheonix DH through the wringer on this 100ft jump. // Dan Griffiths / Red Bull Content Pool

The American brand Pivot Cycles excels in innovation, with the Phoenix as their downhill star. They’re known for cutting-edge technology and lightweight carbon frames (just look at the mind-blowing prototype bikes raced in the world cup!).

Pivot is another premium brand that’s only offering carbon bikes with all the bling parts you could ever want on it.

Learn more at pivotcycles.com or check for current deals at Competitive Cyclist.


Propain

propain rage cf 3
Propain Rage CF 3

Propain is a German brand known for customizable bikes. Their downhill model, the Rage, stands out for its customization options. Their mission is to create high-end mountain bikes that are reliable and budget-friendly at the same time.

Propain’s unique selling point is offering riders the ability to tailor their bike to their preferences. That starts from individual frame colors down to individual parts and components.

The Rage CF comes with an adjustable geometry system using “Flip Chips” that allows the rider to tweak the bike’s head angle, chainstay length, and bottom bracket height to suit their riding style.

Learn more at propain-bikes.com, their direct-to-consumer shop.


RAAW

RAAW Yalla dh bike
Straightforward, raw DH bling. RAAW Yalla.

RAAW is a newer brand making waves with the Yalla. They focus on robust, reliable bikes with a straightforward design that gets some heads turning.

RAAW’s approach of simplicity and durability in their bikes is what sets them apart. Their offering is catered towards experienced riders who know what they want out of their bike with extensive customization options and primarily frame kits for custom builds.

Learn more at raawmtb.com.


Rocky Mountain

rocky mountain slayer A30
Rocky Mountain Slayer A30 Freeride

I wasn’t sure if I should include Rocky Mountain on this list of DH bike brands. Technically they offer one with the Slayer. But it’s more of a Freeride Bike, a big Enduro frame that also can hold a dual crown fork. So take this however you like. It’s not as aggressive, slack or lightweight as most others on this list.

Rocky Mountain is a Canadian brand that has been around since 1981 with a focus on cross-country, trail, and enduro.

Learn more at the Rocky Mountain Website.


Santa Cruz

greg minnaar santa cruz
The G.O.A.T. combo: World Champ Greg Minnaar on his Santa Cruz V10.

Santa Cruz is a premium brand headquartered in California that has been around since 1994. The brand’s bikes are designed to offer a perfect combination of performance and style, with a focus on trail, enduro and downhill riding.

Santa Cruz is famous for the V10 downhill bike. They’re known for their high-quality carbon frames and unique suspension systems. Santa Cruz stands out with their no-compromise approach to quality and performance – and lifetime frame guarantee.

They’re one of the few american MTB brands, with part of the manufacturing located within the US. That’s reflected not only in the price but also in quality.

Learn more at santacruzbicycles.com or check for current deals at Competitive Cyclist and Jenson.


Scott

Scott is a Swiss brand that has been around since 1958. They’re one of the biggest bike / sports brands out there which is reflected in the line-up: From cross-country, trail, and enduro to downhill, Scott covers every discipline with high-quality, World Cup-proven bikes.

The Gambler DH bike has been a staple in World Cup racing for decades now, always with high-calibre riders on board and a team of veterans behind them.

Known for the high weight in the past, they found a way to shed extra kilos with durability and style remaining. Scott is always committed to innovation (have you seen their integrated stem and handlebar?).

Learn more at scott-sports.com.


Specialized

leogang world cup quali downhill mtb pov 1.2.1finn iles
Finn Iles on the Specialized Demo prototype before it’s available to the public.

Specialized is one of the biggest names in cycling. Their downhill bike, the Demo, is a popular choice for weekend warriors and racers.

Specialized is an American brand that’s been around since 1974, and they’re known for producing bikes that are both innovative and high-performing. They are known for drastic changes in their bike designs with their extensive research and development – they stand out with a commitment to innovation.

Their famous S-Works line is known for offering the pinnacle of what Specialized engineers can come up with. Including lighter weights, expensive materials and race-ready machines.

Learn more at specialized.com or check for current deals at Jenson


Transition

Transition TR11 2022

Transition is an American brand that has been around since 2001. It’s is a rider-owned company known for the TR11 downhill bike.

They focus on fun and playful bikes. Transition is unique for their rider-focused approach and community-driven ethos.

The Transition Factory Racing program is designed to support young talent to reach the World Cup level.

Learn more at transitionbikes.com.


Trek

vali holl trek session
Trek’s DH World Championship-winning bike: The high-pivot Session

Trek is an American brand that has been around since 1975. They’re one of the biggest bike brands out there which is reflected in the line-up: From cross-country, trail, and enduro to downhill.

Ever heard the saying “looks like a Session”? While a mildly funny meme, there is some truth behind other brands copying the successful design of Trek’s downhill rig – which also contributed to this running gag by largely keeping a similar (because successful) deisgn over the years.

The change to a high-pivot design for the Session DH bike was the biggest in years. Trek offers two gravity bike models: the Session, a downhill (race) bike, and the Ticket, a more nimble freeride bike built for jumps.

Learn more at trekbikes.com where they also handle their direct-to-consumer model.


YT Industries

20230301 YT Tues white downhill bike
My YT Tues CF Pro

YT Industries is a German direct-to-consumer MTB brand that’s been around since 2008 when it started its humble beginnings with just a dirtjump bike.

Since then they’ve become a major international brand known for producing bikes that are both affordable and high-performing. So much so, that they won their first DH World Cup season they entered.

Their downhill model, the Tues, has stayed the same in terms of frame and geometry for a number of years now. Paint jobs and components are varying year-over-year tho.

They have a unique approach to bike models with a couple of Core models and time-exclusive limited Uncaged builds.

With a focus on performance and affordability, YT Industries is a great choice for riders who want a high-quality bike without breaking the bank.

Learn more at yt-industries.com.


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