I wrote this list of top-level mountain 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 included not only the most expensive ones either, but all reputable MTB brands for every type of MTB: XC, Downhill, hardtails and full-suspension trail bikes.

MTB Brands List

Best Mountain Bike Brands and their types of bikes. Updated: February 2024
BrandXCTrailEnduroDHeMTBDirtjumpKids
AthertonXXX
CannondaleXXXX
CanyonXXXXXX
CommencalXXXXX
CubeXXXXX
Evil BikesXXXX
Forbidden BikesXXX
GiantXXXXXX
GT BicyclesXXXXXX
Intense CyclesXXXXXX
KonaXXXXXX
MarinXXXXXX
MondrakerXXXXXX
NorcoXXXXXXX
OrbeaXXXX
PivotXXXXXX
PropainXXXXXX
Rocky MountainXXXXXX
Santa CruzXXXXXX
ScottXXXXXXX
SpecializedXXXXXXX
Transition
TrekXXXXXXX
YetiXX
YT IndustriesXXXXXX

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.

I also cross-referenced the UCI World Cup race teams to find brands that are going above and beyond to test and improve their bikes.

Of course, the big three MTB brands are included: Giant, Trek and Specialized.

But all these manufacturers know how to design frames with modern geometry and make great, reliable mountain bikes with some of the best and latest components money can buy – especially when it comes to the top-of-the-line bikes in the higher price category.

High-quality parts from brands like SRAM, FOX, TRP, Shimano, and RockShox among others are common among all. They’re not only reliably performing well, but also provide replacement parts down the line.

Update: With its uncertain future, Nukeproof (filed for bankruptcy) is no longer on this list.

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Note: Especially beginners should not fixate on any one best mountain bike brand. Rather look at availability and price in your country, be it online stores or local bike shops.

Most brands only distribute in a couple of countries and are very expensive to import elsewhere. That’s going to narrow down your list by itself.

And if any bike brand you have your eyes on is on this list of the best MTB brands, you’re on the right track!


Atherton

Atherton Bikes is a UK-based brand founded by three siblings, Rachel, Gee, and Dan Atherton. You know, the legendary downhill racers with 49 World Cup wins between them.

Atherton Bikes offers a range of bikes, from downhill race machines to all-mountain rigs, and hardtails. No e-bikes yet, but you may wanna keep your eyes and ears open!

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DH legend Gee Atherton on a 3D-printed Enduro frame of his own bike brand. // Sebastian Marko / Red Bull Content Pool

What sets Atherton Bikes apart is their use of additive manufacturing technology, which allows them to create unique frame designs and up to 22 size options that would be impossible with traditional manufacturing methods.

Think 3D-printed frames with a geometry fine-tuned to the rider.

Learn more at athertonbikes.com.


Cannondale

Cannondale is a distinguished American brand that has been around since 1971, initially with the manufacturing of backpacks and trailers for bike camping. Always very unique with their designs, the lefty suspension fork is arguably the most widely known.

Cannondale offers a range of mountain bikes, from hardtail XC race bikes to full suspension enduros and eMTBs.


Canyon

20230301 Canyon Torque black Enduro Bike
The big burly freeride/enduro bike Canyon Torque.

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.

Canyon offers an extremely wide range from hardtails, pumptrack bikes to full-suspension downhill machines, making them a great option for riders of all skill levels.

The brand’s flagship trail bike, the Spectral, is a popular choice among enduro riders, thanks to its adjustable geometry and light weight.

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


Commencal

amaury pierron 2
Commencal is one of the overall top-performing brands in both Downhill and Enduro.

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

With a clear focus on gravity MTB, they got a couple of enduro frames and no less than two different downhill frames on the market: the FRS and the Supreme DH, which won multiple World Cup races and overall titles.

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. They’re also one of the most silent bikes you’ll ever (not) hear.

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


Cube

max hartenstern cube2

Cube has been around since 1993 and is competitive in MTB World Cup racing. As another German brand with a wide catalog of MTBs from XC to DH and competitive prices, they’re not direct-to-consumer.

The brand’s frames are made from high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber are known for good value and German engineering.

Learn more at cube.eu


Evil Bikes

Bildschirmfoto 2024 02 01 um 00.17.15

Evil Bikes is an American boutique MTB brand founded in 2008. The brand’s founder, Kevin Walsh, started the company after working for another mountain bike company and feeling frustrated with the lack of creativity and innovation in the industry.

Evil’s bikes are designed to be playful and fun, with a focus on aggressive trail riding and enduro racing. Evil Bikes stands out for its exclusive use of carbon frames in their mountain bike lineup, with the exception of the Faction 2 dirt jumper, which is steel.

Evil Bikes’ approach to sales combines direct-to-consumer and traditional retail models, allowing customers to purchase directly from the brand or through authorized local dealers. This strategy aims to balance cost savings with the technical support provided by local bike shops.

Additionally, Evil offers customization options for their bikes, allowing riders to choose specific parts and add upgrades.


Forbidden Bikes

forbidden dreadnought gx 2023
The interesting design of the Forbidden Dreadnaught.

When it comes to boutique mountain bike brands, there’s no way around Forbidden Bikes. Founded in 2015 by a team of industry veterans with a shared passion for designing beautiful and innovative frames, the company has quickly established itself as a leading brand of high-end, carbon fiber trail machines.

What sets Forbidden Bikes apart from the competition is its innovative use of high-tech materials to create unique frame designs.

Instead of relying solely on the stiffness and lightweight properties of carbon fiber, the company has developed a proprietary molding process that allows for the creation of complex shapes that would be impossible to achieve with traditional techniques.

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

Learn more at forbiddenbike.com


Giant

Giant Bicycles, founded in 1972, is a Taiwanese brand and the biggest bike manufacturer worldwide.

Their mountain bikes cater to all types of riders, including competitive cross-country riders with models like the Anthem, and downhillers with models like the Reign and Glory. Giant also ventured into electric bikes, mirroring its most popular regular MTBs.


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 Cycles

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.


Marin

Marin is an American brand founded in 1986 and based in California. Many of their bicycle models are named after locations in and around Marin County.

Initially known for manufacturing full-suspension mountain bikes, with notable innovations like the single-pivot rear suspension

The company offers a wide range of MTBs, generally placed in the mid-high end bracket of each respective market – with a focus on cross-country, trail and enduro riding.


Mondraker

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

Mondraker is a Spanish brand that has been around since 2001. The brand’s bikes are designed to offer a perfect combination of performance and style, with a focus on downhill and enduro riding.

They pioneered Forward Geometry, which makes Mondraker bikes always easy to spot as some of the longest, slackest bikes. 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.


Orbea

Founded in 1840 by the Orbea brothers in Spain, the company initially produced handguns before transitioning to bicycle manufacturing in 1920 – making great use of the expertise in shaping and joining round tubing to bicycles.

The brand is now well-established in the MTB industry, offering a range from cross-country hardtails to full-suspension enduro models. They produce both alloy and carbon frames, with build kits varying from budget-friendly options to high-end configurations featuring top-tier components.


Pivot

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

Pivot is another premium brand that’s only offering carbon bikes with all the bling parts you could ever want on it – from XC and Trail to Downhill bikes.

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!).

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 gravity mountain bikes stand out for their customization options. Their mission is to create high-end mountain bikes (carbon and alloy) 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.


Rocky Mountain

rocky mountain slayer A30
Rocky Mountain Slayer A30 Freeride

Rocky Mountain is a Canadian brand that has been around since 1981 with cross-country, trail, and enduro bikes in the catalog.

The brand’s tough frames are made from high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber and are designed for durability and performance.

Learn more at the Rocky Mountain Website.


Santa Cruz

20230117 lukas smith vVOZRKi6G s unsplash
Popping colors and a unique rear suspension design: Santa Cruz bikes are eye-catching. // Photo by Lukas Smith

Santa Cruz is a Californian premium brand 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 offers a range of mountain bikes, including their signature Tallboy and Nomad models.

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

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Finn Iles on the Specialized Demo prototype before it’s available to the public.

Specialized is one of the biggest names in cycling. Their trail bikes, the “Enduro” and Stumpjumper, are 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 and lifetime frame guarantee

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 and is focused on freeride and downhill riding.

Transition offers a range of mountain bikes, including their signature TR11 and Patrol model.

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.

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.


Yeti

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Enduro World Cup champ Richie Rude on his Yeti SB165

Yeti Cycles is a premium mountain bike brand that was founded in 1985. The brand is known for producing high-quality bikes with a focus on solely Trail and Enduro.

Yeti Cycles prides itself on its attention to detail, with each bike being carefully crafted to provide the best possible performance.

The brand has a loyal following of riders who appreciate its commitment to excellence, and its bikes have been used to win numerous races and Enduro World Series championships.

One of the things that set Yeti Cycles apart is its commitment to innovation. The brand is always looking for new ways to improve its bikes, and it has developed several patented technologies that are now used throughout the industry.

If you got the cash for it Yeti has unique, high-end bikes for you.

Learn more at yeticycles.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 has been around since 2008 when it started as a Dirtjump bike brand. Now YT covers the whole gravity MTB spectrum, with a focus on enduro and downhill riding.

YT Industries offers a wide range of mountain bikes, including their signature Capra and Jeffsy models. They have a unique approach to bike models with a couple of Core models and time-exclusive limited Uncaged builds.

The brand’s frames are made from high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber, and they use components from top brands like TRP, SRAM, FOX and Shimano.

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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