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The 25 Best Mountain Bike Brands of All Time

Are you looking for a new mountain bike?

Well you’ve come to the right place, because in this article we have curated a list of the best mountain bike brands of all time so you can choose the perfect one for you!

Mountain biking has a short history, dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when many bike companies repurposed road bikes to handle mountains. It was then that some of the best mountain bikes brands today were established, including Trek and GT Bicycles, which set the standard for all mountain bikes to come.

Santa Cruz and Pivot, two younger and newer mountain bikes brands, have added technological innovations designed to tackle rough terrain.

Let’s go through the best mountain bike brands of all times, so you can look for what you need.

The Features of Modern Mountain Bikes

A mountain bike has a much greater number of features than a road bike, making it difficult to pinpoint which are the most important. Most of the good mountain bike brands place a large emphasis on suspension, a component found on both wheels that improves traction and comfort by absorbing impact, which is important when navigating rough terrain. There are full-pivot, dual-pivot, and single-pivot suspensions to choose from.

The drivetrain is another major feature you’ll find. Essentially, this is the engine of a mountain bike, as it consists of a variety of features. Several components comprise a drivetrain, such as a chain, crankset, and brakes. A drivetrain is often marketed by mountain bike manufacturers as a unitary system.

Various Types of Mountain Bikes

Due to the diversity of terrain and unpredictable obstacles that mountain bikes navigate, there are a number of types of mountain bikes that can help you enhance your performance and overcome obstacles safely.

A cross-country mountain bike is designed to give you excellent pedaling performance, especially on those mountain climbs that are so taxing on the lungs. 

Trail bikes have more suspension and chunkier tires for greater stability and traction, which makes them great all-rounders. 

Enduro bikes have a geometry optimized for downhill descents and are used for racing.

The majority of brands of mountain bikes have developed electric bikes, or e-MTBs, thanks to modern technology. Powered by rechargeable batteries, they allow riders to adjust power to the wheels or change gears without having to take their hands off the bars.

To help you choose the right bike for your riding needs, here are some general guidelines for the bike frame and suspension:

Cross-Country

  • Singletrack with a smoother ride
  • A low-level of technicality, making it suitable for simpler rides
  • 80-120mm suspension
  • Head tube angle of 69 degrees (or more) 

Trail

  • Uphill and downhill beginner singletrack, dirt roads
  • Some roots, some small drops
  • 120 to 150mm suspension
  • Head tube of 66 to 68 degrees

All-Mountain, Enduro

  • Singletrack terrain with uphills and downhills
  • Technical terrain, such as rocks and moderate landings, is supported
  • 140-180mm suspension
  • Head tube of 65 to 67 degrees 

Downhill

  • Bike parks and descents on steep trails
  • Supports hitting jumps and large drops
  • 170-250mm suspension
  • Head tube angle less than 65 degrees

Electric Mountain Bike

  • Provides electric assistance to increase pedal power
  • Only allowed on designated trails

How Can You Identify the Best Mountain Bike Brand?

The qualities that make a mountain bike brand stand out as the best can be difficult to pinpoint. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and opinion. Some cyclists have had bad experiences with Trek bikes or with Bianchi bikes and may swear off those brands for life, despite their excellent reputation.

Good mountain bike brands usually offer a range of different bike styles and prices. They have models that cost under a thousand dollars and that use entry-level components, yet these bikes are still good quality. It will be hard to find the best budget mountain bikes when you’re dealing with the top mountain bike brands.

There are often some deep connections between the best mountain bike brands and the cycling community. 

Some favorite brands are made by former professional cyclists, who have a good sense of what constitutes a quality bike.

Choosing The Right Mountain Bike Gear

The best mountain bike gear can seem like a complicated purchase with the seemingly overwhelming number of options available. It’s hard to imagine a bicycle world without dual-sports, hardtails, fatties, with suspensions, without suspension, different wheel sizes, frame materials, and all different disciplines. There seems to be no end to the options!

  • Choose a mountain bike that suits your riding style.
  • Compare the specifications and stats of different models.
  • Choose the size that is right for you.
  • Consider your goals and budget when choosing a kit and components for your build.
  • Get on the bike! Check out the demo models.
  • Select the mountain bike that best matches your riding style and budget.

The list looks simple, right? However, choosing the best mountain bike can still be a challenge. The first thing we can assure you is that there are so many excellent mountain bikes out there today that it is really hard to go wrong. It is often marginal gains that matter, so keep your eye on the important things we outline below, and remember to take your time and enjoy the trail!

How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike for Your Budget

After deciding what kind of bike you want, determine your budget for the best mountain bike for the money. Prices often vary considerably depending on a bike’s specific features, such as the frame material, brakes, wheels, seat, the dropper seat post, and the suspension. Remember, you can always upgrade your components and accessories in the future.

Think about the tire width and diameter you prefer. Mountain bikes have tires that are about 2.3 to 2.5 inches wide and diameters of generally 27.5 to 29 inches. It can be more stable to have a larger wheel and it has more surface contact and traction, making it easier to roll over rocks, roots, obstacles, rough terrain, and snow. Keep in mind, the larger wheel and tire size makes the bike heavier.

Smaller wheels are lighter and more suitable for smoother trails where higher speeds are needed. They are also more maneuverable. 

A 27.5-inch wheel may be more comfortable for shorter riders who prefer to be closer to the ground. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the wheel diameter and tire width.

Research bikes a bit and then visit your local bike shop to demo a few models. There are even shops that allow you to demo the bike before making a purchase.

Best Mountain Bike Brands to Choose From

If you’re wondering what is the best mountain bike brand, we’ve curated this mountain bike brands list for you to choose the best mountain bikes for the money.

Trek

A father-son riding trip led to the founding of Trek when Dick Burke purchased mountain bikes from Bevil Hogg’s shop and used them himself. They eventually set up the brand in 1975 in a Wisconsin barn where they developed handcrafted frames.

As it grew into a world leader in bike technology, the brand included innovations in its range of bikes that were not limited to only the highest-end models. The ‘E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS’ mountain bike rides like a cross-country bike but has suspension that is race-worthy and the carbon frame is light and fast.

Vitus

In the 1970s, Vitus became an official brand and began developing high-end race frames. Vitus traces its roots back to the 1930s as a steel tubing manufacturer in France. The company was a pioneer in the development of aluminum and carbon fiber frames used by some of cycling’s top cyclists.

Their bikes are designed to overcome any obstacle you come across on the trail, such as endurance bikes for rough terrain and downhill bikes. With an alloy frame and Maxxis tires, the ‘Dominor Downhill’ mountain bike’s suspension is agile and provides maximum grip, even down those slippery slopes.

Devinci

Devinci was founded by two engineering students in 1987 as part of their university project to make a bicycle brand. A century-old copyright claim was avoided by rebranding as Devinci and partnering with Felix Gauthier. In 1993, they became the best brand for mountain bikes with heat-treated frames.

Devinci’s range includes features that will give you confidence on the trail, no matter how long your ride might be. With the AC GX1 E-Bike, you’ll find a combination of technology and engineering, thanks to the 11-speed GX drivetrain and their patented Aluminum Optinum frame, which incorporates modern enduro geometry.

GT Bicycles

GT Bicycles, founded in 1979 by Gary Turner and Richard Long, were pioneers in producing the first BMX bikes as well as a carbon fiber ‘superbike’ for the 1996 Olympics. The company also invented the ‘triple triangle’ mountain bike design, which features seats parallel to downtubes to reduce vibration.

In cases where mountain trails are your preferred riding destination, GT Bicycle’s range of mountain bikes provides you with improved stability and rollover across uneven terrain. Featuring an aluminum triple triangle frame and hydraulic disk brakes, the GT Avalanche is the best model offered.

Mongoose

Mongoose founder Skip Hess invented the first cast magnesium alloy BMX wheel in 1974 from his garage in Simi Valley. Initially a BMX brand, it launched its first All-terrain Bike (ATB), in the year 1985, called the ‘ATB Pro’, and transitioned into racing mountain bikes.

Mountain bikes developed by the brand have been designed by people who understand what you will find on the trails. The Dolomite mountain bike is capable of tackling any terrain thanks to its large tires that are designed to take on bumps and obstacles.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz was founded by skateboarding legend Rob Roskopp in 1994 with the goal of disrupting the sensibilities of the time. Rob decided to create Santa Cruz’s first mountain bike, which is considered the first dual-suspension bike. Most conventional bikes were full-suspension without any rear suspension.

The brand has since continued to make bikes that help riders go further and faster. Their range of mountain bikes will satisfy the demands of trail enthusiasts of all levels. Despite its aggressive geometry, the Nomad Carbon X01 bike is built with suspension for maximum performance and adjustability on the move, even when riding steep terrain.

Orbea

The Orbea brothers opened a workshop in 1894 in Eibar, Spain, where they produced bicycle frames from steel. Having been one of Europe’s oldest cycling brands for over 40 years, they have a deep understanding of how to deliver the best mountain bikes to their customers so that every model leaves their factories better than the last.

Every model in their range has been meticulously handcrafted, and the technical artistry of the smooth and rounded frames reflects their history. With EVOL rear shock absorbers and Shimano hydraulic disk brakes, the ‘Occam M30’ also has the functionality of a modern mountain bike.

Yeti Cycles

During the 1980s, while other mountain biking brands were still in their infancy, Yeti was already producing the kind of bikes that would make the hobby a viable industry. After developing racing frames, the brand quickly became home to one of the most widely recognized racing teams, helping many of its riders become legends in the sport.

Yeti mountain bikes have a pedigree that guarantees that no matter how fast you ride, you will be supported on the trail. ‘Turq T2 X01 Eagle’ proves this point, with 27-inch wheels designed for rolling over trail obstacles, and a 65-degree head tube providing confidence even on steep slopes.

Pivot

Although Pivot is one of the newest brands in cycling, they have set the bar high with their DW-Link suspension, among the first in the industry for smoother rides. Chris Cocalis founded the brand in 2007 to advance technological innovation and provide high-performance products.

As the industry has progressed so rapidly, their mountain bike line reflects that and shows no signs of slowing down. 

Featuring a carbon fiber frame and a masterful suspension platform, the Switchblade Pro XT provides greater responsiveness and increased rear-wheel traction.

Hiland

Hiland’s slogan ‘Forever Forward’ expresses their goal to make mountain bikes that fit whatever goals you have. It doesn’t matter whether you are racing, riding a trail, or going on an adventure, they have something for everyone.

They manufacture a range of mountain bikes based on these principles, and no matter your budget or what sort of ride you undertake, they will meet your expectations as far as quality and performance are concerned. The aluminum-framed ’27-inch, 27-speed’ mountain bike features a lock-out suspension fork and an aluminum frame.

Schwinn

After moving to the United States in 1891 to pursue the American Dream, Schwinn worked for a number of bicycle companies before meeting Adolf Arnold in 1895. They founded World Bicycles together, which became the early name of Schwinn Bicycles, one of the most recognizable mountain bikes brands.

Schwinn’s mountain bikes, though they first appeared in the 1980s, are among their most recent offerings. ‘Axum DP’ mountain bikes feature aluminum frames and 100mm suspension forks that absorb bumps on trails and feature centuries of experience.

Cannondale

Since 1971, Cannondale has recognized that the world of cycling remains traditional and conventional despite the rapid development of technological innovations. The company made some of the first mountain bike frames using carbon fiber in their small Connecticut workshop, at a time when the industry was still using steel.

A range of mountain bikes, including e-bikes and dual-suspension bikes, is another example of their commitment to innovation. With a carbon frame and a maximum sustained speed of 20 mph, one of the best electric bikes is the ‘Topstone Neo 2021’.

Rocky Mountain

The Rocky Mountain Development Centre is located at the foot of the North Shore Mountains of Vancouver. Its terrain is among the world’s most diverse and rugged. Mountain bikes have been created there since 1981, establishing a leading position in the Canadian mountain biking industry and now in the global market.

It is safe to say that these bikes have been thoroughly tested on trails suitable for their design in a backyard like the North Shore Mountains. ‘Altitude Carbon 70’ mountain bike has adjustable geometry, 12-speed drivetrain, and a gear range that can handle the steepest ascents.

Ibis

The year 1981 marked the first anniversary of Scot Nichol opening his bicycle shop in Mendocino, California. Despite this small shop’s lack of money and plan, Scot set out to make Ibis a reputable mountain bike manufacturer created exclusively for trail enthusiasts like himself.

With only a few models treated with expert engineering and design, the range is focused on quality over quantity. You’ll find that the ‘Ripmo V2’ model has a 76-degree seat tube angle that places riders centrally over the pedals, as well as rear suspension with extra-light, whisper-quiet compression.

Diamondback

Diamondback was founded in 1977 and began as one of the best BMX bike brands. Since then, they have expanded their range to include mountain and trail bikes. The company has over 40 years of experience and has maintained a high level of quality while keeping prices low so that riders of any skill level can enjoy the trails.

You will find full suspension on the Atroz 2 mountain bike for riders who like a little extra cushion when they ride rough terrain. With reliable brakes and shifting, as well as air-sprung rear suspension, this bike is the best mountain bike for beginners.

Norco

Northern Cycle Industries was founded in 1964 as a repurposed chicken coop before startups were even a thing. Such grassroots efforts have allowed them to evolve and push harder to always innovate.

Mountain bikes are their passion, and every bike they produce has been tested in the rugged landscapes of British Columbia, Canada. It has a single pivot suspension system, downhill optimized kinematics, and an idler pulley to ensure every obstacle you face is absorbed by the suspension. It is one of the most advanced models in the Aurum range.

Rock Rider

Decathlon adds the Rock Rider brand of mountain bikes to its line of sporting goods. A cross-country bike is specially designed for cross-country riding or racing as well as for every type of ride in between.

Rock Rider is there to help you if you are looking to get started on the trails but are intimidated by the amount of information you need to know. In the ‘XC500’ you’ll find an all-arounder that has excellent geometry, a lighter feel, and shock-absorbent brakes.

Niner

Ninety-Niner’s inclination is to make big-wheeled bikes that extends beyond geometry, traction, and momentum. It is part of their identity, and they want people to recognize them on a local singletrack or on a journey into the mountains.

There are a wide variety of mountain bikes available that are perfect for cross-country riding and can handle the impact of a jump so that you stay stable and secure. There is a carbon fiber frame and CVA suspension on the RIP 9 RDO mountain bike that features 29-inch wheels.

Specialized Bicycles

In 1974, Specialized was founded by riders for riders, and their approach to design has changed over the years based on the demands of their customers. They built their very own wind tunnel when riders wanted to go faster, and they developed mountain bikes when people began riding on dirt trails.

Cycling is their passion, and the range includes trail bikes, cross-country bikes, and even enduro bikes for fast descents. They are imbued with their new Brain technology that allows the suspension to be adjusted between firm and plush while on the go, for high levels of control and bump absorption. For the best offered, look no further than the ‘Stumpjumper’ series.

Juliana

Juliana specializes in high-quality mountain bikes for women. Santa Cruz, a brand’s sibling company, develops the geometry for each model. Juliana Furtado, a professional rider and Olympian, spearheaded the brand.

The shocks in each build-out are specifically designed for lightweight riders, and the frames are available in sizes down to XS. The bikes feature anatomically designed grips and saddles, which many leaders in the industry believe is the most important feature. If you are small in stature and are in the market for a comfortable mountain bike, take a look at one of their six models.

Giant Bicycles

Giant is a huge company offering a wide variety of bicycle models at an affordable price. Giant has the biggest revenue of any bike manufacturer in the world. Several other brands of mountain bikes, such as Trek and Scott, are made by Giant.

Giant bicycles were launched by company founder King Liu, who initially manufactured frames. At the age of 82, Liu retired from his position as chairman of the company after leading it for four decades.

Giant’s designs range from a lightweight cross-country racing bike to an enduro bike with long suspension. There are also trail and electric mountain bikes.

The Trance, introduced 15 years ago, is the brand’s most popular trail and all-mountain bike. Giant is a classic household choice if you’re looking for a reliable mountain bike at a reasonable price and you don’t need the latest technology or aggressive frame engineering.

Salsa Cycles

Salsa Cycles’ selection of gravel grinders, bikepackers, and fat bikes has carved a niche with adventure-oriented tours. Recent developments have seen the brand develop trail-centric mountain bikes for a broader audience.

The bikes they produce are built with the rider experience in mind, rather than being the lightest or fastest. There are two water bottle holders on each of the Horsethief and Spearfish bikes, which is rare on full-suspension trail bikes.

Check out Salsa if you’re looking for an efficient hardtail or a playful full-suspension ride.

Liv Cycling

This is a great place to start if you’re a woman looking for a bike made especially for you. Liv Cycling has made a major impact on gender-specific design in the bike world.

Based on anatomical and physiological data, the brand pioneers frames specifically designed for women. Consequently, the bike frames are designed with unique proportions. The biggest difference is that even taller women have shorter torsos than men.

Bonnie Tu, Giant CFO, spearheaded the launch of Liv, which offers apparel and gear for women and employs an entirely female team.

The brand recently introduced the Pique Advanced 29er with XS and small frames, a unique and challenging combination. In the 2020 Bicycling Bike Awards, the bike received an honorable mention.

Revel Bikes

At the age of 11, Adam Miller, the founder of Revel Bikes, began swooping bikes at garage sales and deconstructing them for parts or building his own bicycles. Since then, his obsession with bikes has never subsided. During his collegiate racing career, he pioneered the industry’s first-ever carbon fiber model for Borealis Fat Bikes.

Prior to starting Revel, he launched Why Cycles hardtail gravel and road bikes. He was successful with back-to-back launches.

Outside Magazine named the Revel Rascal 29er its Best Mountain Bike of 2020 immediately after its release. The Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension system on the bike maintains neutrality when riding on varying terrain.

This results in an incredibly comfortable ride in any weather condition. Only Revel has a license to use the technology beyond Canfield Bikes.

Additionally, Revel is committed to sustainability. It’s no secret that the process of manufacturing carbon fiber, an important material for bicycle construction, is extremely harmful to the environment and human health. Carbon fiber waste is not biodegradable and largely ends up in landfills. To combat this, Revel developed wheels made of recyclable carbon.

Guerrilla Gravity

Very few best road bike brands in the United States make all of their bikes in-house, one is Guerrilla Gravity. They are able to lower the carbon footprint of their company by reducing the steps in the supply chain. Furthermore, the company is flexible and reduces inventory when necessary, which reduces waste and allows them to focus on improving quality control. Furthermore, the company is flexible and reduces inventory when necessary, which reduces waste and allows them to focus on improving quality control.

This brand aims to slow down consumerism through rider customization so that the bike will grow with you instead of being replaced. This is the Modular Frame Platform. All bikes have a universal front triangle, a seat stay that can be swapped out, and adjustable reach and wheelbase.

Revved Carbon Technology (RCT) is a patented manufacturing process that produces a carbon fiber blend that’s eco-friendly, recyclable, and 300% more impact-resistant than traditional carbon.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the different types of suspension for mountain bikes?

There are three main types of suspension for mountain bikes. The first one is rigid, meaning the bike has no suspension in its tires. Generally, rigid suspension bikes are less expensive, but are not suitable for mountain biking, unless they are fat bikes. Since fat bikes have oversized tires, they have rigid suspension, which offers the rider protection from bumps. 

A hardtail bike suspension does not have any suspension on the back of the bike and only provides it for the front wheels. With fewer moving parts, these bikes require less maintenance and are less expensive than full-suspension models. It gives them enough power to pedal, which is why many mountain bikes have hardtail suspensions.

Finally, there are full suspension bikes, which are equipped with both front and rear suspension. Bikes with full suspension are more comfortable and better at absorbing shocks. These bikes also provide better traction and are more fun to ride.

You should choose a suspension based on the type of mountain biking you are interested in. A hardtail or rigid suspension mountain bike would be suitable for riding on mountain trails, but if you want the bike to be able to drive over rocky terrain with steep climbs and descents, then a full suspension bike would be a better option.

  1. How to choose the right mountain bike frame material?

There is a wide selection of mountain bike frame materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Steel is the most affordable of all the materials. However, steel also adds weight to the mountain bike, which is not ideal for a sportbike.

Titanium is next on the list, which keeps the bike’s frame light while also providing the strength needed to handle rough terrain. The titanium frame has the disadvantage of being extremely expensive and is generally confined to high-end bikes.

It is common for mountain bikes to have carbon fiber frames, but because the process of manufacturing them is labor-intensive, the cost of the bike rises and demand declines.

As a result, we are left with the aluminum alloy frame, which meets our needs in terms of strength, weight, and affordability. Mountain bikes with alloy frames offer good performance and are popular among riders.

A titanium or carbon fiber bike frame is a great option if you want a really strong and durable mountain bike. Aluminum alloy bikes, on the other hand, are better than steel bikes, are more affordable, and can be used on all kinds of terrain.

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Conclusion

What is your dream bike? Have you decided yet? It’s possible you haven’t, but at least you know where to start searching. It’s always a good idea to attend a bike demo, so see if there are any around your area, or, better yet, visit one while you’re on vacation in a mountain biking destination. 

Consider these factors if you are in the market for a cost-efficient bike: How long are you planning on keeping the bike? On what terrain are you planning to ride? Is this bike going to be used vigorously or casually? If you’re looking for a bike that will last you a long time, opt for quality—otherwise, you’ll end up having to buy another one before you know it.

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