Let’s get straight to to the point. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced mountain biker, you’ll want to ride nothing less than a dependable, reliable, maneuverable and speed churning machine. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding paved trails at your local park. Or if you’re trekking on off road adventures through single track, cross country, all-mountain or even downhill terrain. You need to be on one of the best mountain bike brands to really appreciate riding.
And we’re not just saying that so you’ll fork over tons of money. In fact, many of the top mountain biking brands offer bang for the buck and feature rich mountain bikes at affordable prices. We’re not going to hold you back from discovering our choice of ten best mountain bike brands. Here they are.
Top 10 Mountain Bike Brands
Trek is known for bikes. Ever since it was founded in 1976 in Wisconsin, USA, it has become an influential player in the realm. Riders like Lance Armstrong prefer Trek. And in 1983, Trek built its first ever mountain bike, the 850.
Today, Trek’s mountain bike line is jaw dropping as they continue their innovation in the bicycling world while introducing models that were meant for serious riders. Newbies will certainly appreciate Trek bikes. They’re reliable, tough, and able to perform whether you’re out on the trails, in the middle of a mountain biking competition, or just kicking it and having fun in the outdoors.
Giant had its start in 1972 and has grown to a massive, worldwide brand with some of the leading mountain bike models available. It’s the world’s largest manufacturer of bikes. Their off-road road selection of mountain bikes are innovative and includes the Anthem and XTC line for race and cross country off-road mountain biking, Glory gravity bikes, and Talon 27.5 and 29er cross country bikes. They also have an affordable line for recreational mountain biking including ATX and Revel models.
Unique to Giant is their Liv line of women’s bikes, which also offers a selection of mountain bikes designed for women such as the Obsess, Pique, Hail, Embolden, Tempt, Bliss and Enchant models.
3. Santa Cruz
You shouldn’t be too surprised that the brainchild of 2 skateboarders became one of the top mountain bike brands. Founded in 1993 in a small space the size of a single car garage, their humble start was in Santa Cruz, California, hence their name. Santa Cruz bikes are meant to be ridden fast and hard. You’ll crush rough around and steep declines. Today their mountain bike line is comprised of 16 models, which includes a women’s mountain bike line named Juliana. You’ll find everything from hardtail mountain bikes to extreme 8.5” travel downhill machines.
California based and founded in 1974, Specialized became a household name when they launched the Stumpjumper. It’s hailed as the first mass-produced mountain bike in the world and heralded as one of the most popular bikes that introduced many people to mountain biking.
Specialized works closely with the top professional riders and racers to bring the essence and thrill of mountain biking to their mountain bike models. It doesn’t matter if you’re burning your legs climbing uphill, breezing through rugged downhill at death defying speeds, or traversing whatever terrain comes your way, you’ll find a Specialized mountain bike to suit your riding style.
In 1971, Cannondale was founded in a loft above a pickle factory. Where did the name come from, you ask? From the train station right across the street. Since then, this mountain bike brand with a unique start has grown to one of the innovators of mountain biking. They have a simple concept when it comes to designing mountain bikes: shave weight, improve stiffness and use fewer moving parts.
One of the unique innovations Cannondale is known for is their Lefty fork design. Sure it looks weird, but passionate Cannondale riders swear by it. You can rely on their quality. All bikes leaving their factory go through a 29-point inspection. When you ride on a Cannondale, you know it’s a bike you can rely on.
Scott’s motto is “no shortcuts”, and even if you might once in a while take a shortcut while you’re out riding on trails, you’ll be confident knowing the mountain bike you’re riding isn’t going to come short in delivering an exhilarating and performance filled experience. Scott bikes are designed to be light with their use of carbon frames. In fact, in 2001 they broke the record by providing the lightest carbon frame on the market. You’ll have a thrilling ride whether you’re navigating a tough downhill descent on one of their full suspension mountain bikes, or enjoying cross country on a hardtail.
Diamondback is known not only for its affordable and widely available entry level bikes, but also for advanced mountain bikes. Many Diamondback mountain bike models give new and intermediate riders the ability to keep up with riders on more expensive bikes. It’s practically a household name, which you can find in many department stores, bicycle specialty stores and online retailers such as Amazon. But don’t let its affordability trick you into thinking it’s just a mundane mountain bike. Models such as their Overdrive hardtail with 24 speeds, front suspension and disc brakes will put other bikes to shame.
Founder and namesake Gary Turner established GT in 1972, known for durability and more importantly, speed. They got their start in mountain biking in 1987 while the sport was just emerging.
GT offers a collection of top performing mountain bikes with the renown triple triangle hardtail design. This reduces the vibration of motion when riding on rough surface and transfers it from the seat to the rear wheel. Regardless of what terrain you’re riding on, this design makes riding more comfortable and durable.
GT’s bike designs scream fun and performance, with many interesting and unique features. World class mountain bikers compete on GT mountain bikes. If you’ve ever ridden one, you’ll know what the big deal is about.
Yeti is known for their switch infinity suspension system, optimizing pedaling efficiency. When you’re navigating tough trails and rugged terrain, this is something you’ll need so you don’t lose momentum. How solid is this system? Yeti’s president says it’s bombproof.
Mountain biking is in Yeti’s blood and culture — practically built into each team member’s DNA. Leading mountain bikers serve as ambassadors riding Yeti mountain bikes in competitions around the world. Just have a look at their line and you’ll see one it’s one of our top ten mountain bike brands, especially with bikes like the SB6c and the ARC. I bet you’d want to take one of those out on the trails this weekend.
10. Kona Bikes
Kona got its start in the Pacific Northwest in 1988. What more appropriate place to found a mountain bike company than in a region known for its mountain bike trails and terrain?
Their team is comprised of passionate riders who are dedicated to mountain biking. This love for the sport inspires them to produce models like the Honzo, Hei Hei, Kahuna and, of course, the fat bike Wozo. Ride a Kona and you’ll feel how much fun mountain biking can be. Rest assured, Kona bikes are built for toughness and performance.
Other Good Mountain Bike Brands
Here are some other mountain bike brands that didn't make our top 10, but are still worth mentioning.
Schwinn started out in Chicago in 1895 and quickly became a big player building bicycles in America. It is one of the top rated mountain bike brands in the industry having been in the business well over 100 years. Schwinn bikes are meant to tackle even the most challenging terrains, and their mountain bikes are built solidly. It doesn’t matter if you’re just riding around your neighborhood or if you’re doing some extreme trail riding. Taking a Schwinn mountain bike for your ride means you’re in for a great time.
If you’re an aggressive mountain biker, consider getting one of Mongoose’s bikes ranging from affordable models to high end performance mountain bikes. Founded in Southern California in 1974, you can pretty much find a Mongoose anywhere from specialty bike stores to department stores. But don’t let the mass appeal and wide availability of Mongoose bikes lead you to believe it’s just a common bike. Their intelligent suspension designs, strong lightweight frames and smart shifting gears will push you to the limits and keep your mountain bike experiencing anything but mundane.
Seems like some of the best mountain bike brands originated from California. Originating from Marin county, this mountain bike brand offers a range of full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes developed with Jon Whyte, a British engineer who worked with Benetton Formula One racing cars in gearbox design. When you have a speed junkie on your team, you know you’re going to get a performance mountain bike. Marin bikes can withstand rough riding conditions giving you speed and maneuverability on your most challenging rides.
Beiou is relatively new to the American mountain bike market but has quickly exploded into one of the top mountain bike brands. Their feature packed bikes are on the high end of any mountain biker’s budget, like the BOCBM05A. You’ll find they haven’t skimped on any details. Hydraulic brakes, carbon fibre frames, fork suspension and high end parts, with speed ranges of 27 or 30, there’s no kidding around when you’re on a Beiou bike.
Made by a small team of hardcore mountain bikers from the same stomping grounds as Kona, Transition mountain bikes are meant for high performance. Their range of mountain bikes include downhill, all-mountain, cross country and even dirt jumping. And sure, you’ll even find a city bike in their mix.
The parts used and the specs of each bike will impress you, such as the TR500 full suspension downhill mountain bike with Fox front fork and rear shock, SRAM brakes, shifters and drivetrain, all on a lightweight frame. Just ask any Transition mountain biker how much they love their bike and you’ll see how fun it can be to own one.
There are so many good mountain bikes to choose from, and so little time. One last piece of advice: visit your local bike store, shop online, ask your friends, and try some of the best mountain bike brands out for a spin to see which one really connects with you. No matter what you choose, going with one of the best brands will ensure you will get the best enjoyment out of mountain biking, and give you a reliable machine to enjoy the outdoors whether you’re riding just for fun or competing to win.