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Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Brands to Buy (2023)

By Jason
April 5, 2023
6 minutes

If you are looking for a premium mountain bike, you might be spoilt for choice given the many brands you have to choose from. In this article, we look at 10 of the best in the market that offers industry-standard bikes. Let’s see how they stack up.

Brand

Year of formation

Location

Popular model(s)

YT Industries

2007

Hausen, Germany

Jeffsy

Co-op cycles

2016

Kent, Washington

DRT series

Kona

1988

Ferndale, Washington

Process

Specialized

1974

Morgan Hill, California

Stumpjumper

Santa Cruz

1994

Santa Cruz, California

Bronson

Yeti Cycles

1985

Golden, Colorado

SB series

Pivot Bikes

2007

Tempe, Arizona

Firebird

Evil Bikes Co.

2009

Bellingham, Washington

The Following

Cannondale

1971

Connecticut

Trail

Salsa cycles

1982

Bloomington, Minnesota

Timberjack

1. YT Industries

YT Industries

YT Industries, a Germany-based mountain bike brand was among the first to enter the United States market has gone on to become a favorite for most cyclists. It is well-known for producing some of the most durable and industry-standard bike parts, with some of its most popular models being the Capra and Jeffsy.

If you are looking for a cheap yet robust and practical mountain bike, this is arguably the brand to choose. It is one of the brands to champion the consumer-direct approach, ensuring you get the quality you yearn for. So, if you are looking for a bike worth every penny, this is the brand to choose.

2. Co-op Cycles

Co-op Cycles

Co-op Cycles is part of the REI brand, which is renowned for producing high-quality outdoor gear. Whether you want camping and cycling or hiking gear, REI has proven to be a reliable brand. And the Co-op Cycles is no different. It is a favorite for most cyclists since it affords you a balance between quality and price. In short, you get what you pay for.

Some of the models gracing mountain bike trails include DRT 1.1 and 2.1. Since 2016, the company has focused on offroad cycling, becoming a go-to for mountain bikers. Currently, the brand also manufactures road, adventure, and other bikes. And their new full-suspension bikes are nothing but stellar.

3. Kona

Kona The Washington-based company produces mountain bikes ideal for different cycling levels. Whether you are a beginner or an avid cyclist, there’s a model that suits your needs. Since its launch in 1988, the company has gone on to win the hearts of many, with its popular model, Process, gracing most mountain biking events.

While focusing more on dirt and fun, the company also produces bikes for other groups such as commuters and road cyclists. And for peace of mind, the company provides a lifetime warranty for bikes produced after 2009. For pricing, the brand is among the top-tier in the industry. But this is thanks to their ingenuity and craftsmanship.

4. Specialized

Specialized The California-based brand was formed in the 1970s as the craving for mountain biking grew in the United States. Their bikes are however manufactured in Taiwan, which is synonymous with most brands. However, their goal is to satisfy the needs of USA cyclists. Among its most popular brands include Turbo Levo and Stumpjumper.

The Stumpjumper was in fact among the first mountain bike models to hit the global market. Launched in 1981, the model has since diversified into 10versions, making it ideal for all biking levels. As you’d guess, the brand also produces other bikes such as electric, road, and gravel.

Unlike most brands on the list, Specialized was among the first companies to embrace e-bikes. In fact, it has been producing them for years. And currently, it is championing e-waste recycling by manufacturing e-bikes with recycled materials.

5. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Santa Cruz is yet another premium brand in the mountain biking industry. With at least 14 models to choose from, it has become a staple brand for armatures and avid mountain bikers. known for its creative and innovative flair, the brand has been able to cater to a small target group, producing industry-standard bikes year after year.

The most popular mountain bike models include the Bronson and 5010. These models are synonymous with durability and practicality that is Santa Cruz. As the explosion of electric bikes takes shape, Santa Cruz has not been left behind. Currently, the brand has two popular models Heckler and Built, which come with pedal assist motors for powerful pedaling.

Like its competitors, the brand offers a lifetime warranty on its frames and bearings. And thanks to their minimalist design, they are lightweight, improving their maneuverability through tight corners. If you want value for your money, Santa Cruz might be a brand to bet on.

6. Yeti cycles

Yeti This is yet another brand based in the USA. Located in Golden, Colorado, the brand is known for its extensive range of bikes, with the SB150 being among its most popular models. Formed in 1985, the brand has become a staple in competitive biking. In fact, it is among the few brands to identify young talents and couch them to be renowned riders.

Unlike most brands on the list, Yeti sells its models at a premium. As such, it is not popular with armatures, but has a loyal following among avid bikers, with most hailing its superior suspension system. As you’d expect, their bikes are of high quality, and you get a warranty for peace of mind.

7. Pivot Bikes

Pivot While a new entrant in the market, the brand has become popular within the armature circles. Founded in 2007, the brand comes with futuristic innovation and creativity. Most of their mountain bikes are made of carbon, bolstering their durability significantly. However, you’ll find some steel and aluminum models too.

Besides mountain bikes, the brand also produces enduro, DH, fat, gravel, and e-bikes. The Firebird is among the popular models with the most riders. Similar to Yeti Cycles, the models sell at a premium, most costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. But this is due to their high-quality materials and unmatched craftsmanship. For peace of mind, Pivot Bikes provide a 10-year warranty, which is unlike other pricey brands such as Santa Cruz, which offer a lifetime warranty.

8. Evil Bike Co.

Evil Evil Bike Co. is based in Bellingham, Washington, offering direct-to-consumer mountain bikes. Founded in 2009, the owner, Kevin Walsh, wanted to challenge conventional mountain biking concepts, by offering a more versatile and practical bike. This led to the introduction of The Following and Offering models. Both boast robust suspension, ideal for downhill mountain biking.

Of the two, The Following is the most popular and successful model in the mountain and trail biking category. However, The Offering is the most versatile. Both come in lightweight designs, affording you better control and handling.

9. Cannondale

Formed in 1971, the Connecticut-based company was initially focused on camping and outdoor gear. It entered the bike market in the 1980s, providing superior and more versatile models than its competitors. Some of its notable strides in the market include acquiring Dorel Industries in 2008 and becoming part of the Cycling Sports Group.

Cannondale produces several mountain bike models such as Scalpel and Habit. With the latter being an ideal option for those in the trails category. The best part is that they have affordable models such as the Cujo, making them popular among beginners. Unfortunately, it has fallen from grace, compared to the 90s, when the Volvo Cannondale was the most sought-after model.

10. Salsa Cycles

Finally, you can buy mountain bikes from Salsa Cycles. The Minnesota-based brand was formed in the 1980s. in fact, it traces its humble beginnings in a garage. They were however acquired by Quality Bicycle Products in 1997. However, their initial no-frills approach is still synonymous with Salsa Cycles bikes. Some of its popular models include Timberjack and Blackthron.

How to choose a mountain bike

Before settling for a bike from any of the above brands, you need to consider the following aspects.

  • Type

Mountain bikes come in different types. They include trail, cross-country, fat-tire, downhill, and all-mountain bikes. Trail bikes are the most popular since they are not limited to a specific category, making them ideal for beginners. If you like riding during winter, get yourself the flat-tire models.

  • Features

Of all the features, you should first consider the wheel diameter and suspension type, since they determine which terrain you can ride on. You’ll also want to consider the number of gears, frame material, and brakes type.

You can choose between aluminum alloy, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium frames. Carbon fiber is common with most trail and all-mountain bikes. For suspension, you can choose between rigid, hardtail, and full suspension.

  • Fit

You want to buy a bike that fits you properly. A properly fitting bike will bolster your confidence and handling. Here, you can choose between small, medium, and large sizes, with each being ideal for a specific height range.

Conclusion

These are some of the top mountain bike brands in the market. They afford you practical and efficient bikes. If you want to buy expensive models, you can opt for Santa Cruz, otherwise, all other brands have affordable models.

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