Mountain Bike Brands From A to Z + Pro and Cons of Each

There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

Share it!

I’m going to preface this post by saying that you really can’t go wrong when buying a new mountain bike these days. Pretty much every mountain bike brand delivers great bikes and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that isn’t up-to-date with modern geometry or dialed builds.

Let’s just say that mountain bikes have come looong way over the past few years.

So what should you be looking for when choosing a brand? It really comes down to personal preference, budget, dealer network, and availability.

In this post, I round the top mtb brands around the world and provide a few details to help you find the best brand for you. There’s no one right answer, so take your time to do proper research before pulling the trigger on your new set of two wheels.


C

Canyon

  • Headquarters location: Koblenz, Germany & Carlsbad, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Grand Canyon, Stoic
    • Short-travel: Neuron, Exceed, Lux
    • Mid-travel: Spectral, Strive
    • Long-travel: Torque
    • DH bike: Sender
    • e-MTB: Spectral:ON, Torque:ON
  • Price range: $1,000s-$7,000s
  • Online dealers: Direct-to-consumer
  • Website: Canyon Bikes

Personally, I think Canyon makes some of the most beautifully designed bikes out there – mountain, road, and gravel. Headquartered in Germany, Canyon takes pride in its bike craftmanship by testing, redesigning, and testing again their frames, forks, and components until everything meets its stringent criteria for excellence.

One big thing that sets Canyon apart is that it’s a direct-to-consumer company. This means that you can only buy Canyon bikes online from Canyon themselves. This cuts down on price but may also make it more challenging to deal with warranty issues or find spare parts.

The Canyon Spectral is one of their most versatile trail bikes while the Strive and Torque are ready for big Enduro days.

Canyon Pros:

  • Potentially cost less than other mountain bike brands because they are factory-direct
  • Beautifully designed bikes (they’re so pretty!)

Canyon Cons:

  • Need to deal directly with Canyon for warranty issues and parts (can’t just bring it to a bike shop)
  • 6-year warranty is short compared to other brands
Shop Canyon:

Cannondale

  • Headquarters location: Wilton, CT
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Cujo, F-Si, Tango, Trail
    • Short travel: Scalpel, Habit
    • Mid-travel: Jekyll
    • e-MTB: Cujo Neo, Habit Neo, Moterra Neo, Trail Neo
  • Price range: $900s – $8,000s
  • Online dealers: REI, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Cannondale

Cannondale is known for pushing the boundaries of mountain bike innovation and design – for better or worse. For example, their one-sided Lefty fork is used on several of their lightweight cross-country bikes like the F-Si Hardtail and you’ll either love it or hate it.

While the full-suspension Habit and Jekyll look more ‘normal’ they definitely still have their own design quirks.

Cannondale is owned by Dorel Sports and is based out of Wilton, Connecticut.

Cannondale Pros:

  • Innovative

Cannondale Cons:

  • Maybe a little too innovative
  • Limited dealer network
  • Not all shops may be able to work on proprietary designs
Shop cannondale:

D

Devinci

  • Headquarters location: Saguenay, QC, Canada
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Kobain
    • Short-travel: Marshall, Django
    • Mid-travel: Troy
    • Long-travel: Spartan
    • DH bike: Wilson
  • Price range: $1,000s – $6,000s
  • Online dealers: evo, Jenson, Competitive Cyclist, Backcountry
  • Website: Devinci Cycles

My first ‘real’ mountain bike was a Devinci Troy and I loved it. I actually loved it to death because I didn’t really know how to take care of mountain bikes back then… But anyway. Devinci Cycles is a small boutique mountain bike brand based out of Quebec, Canada. They actually manufacture many of their bikes in Canada, which is pretty cool.

Devinci has a small line-up of mountain bikes covering a range of suspension travel from XC bikes all the way up to the full-on double-crown Wilson.

As far as geometry and innovation, Devinci is pretty middle-of-the-road. It’s a great small mtb brand, especially if you live in Canada!

Devinci Pros

  • Lifetime frame warranty

Devinci Cons

  • Small company based out of Canada, so parts may be hard to locate

Diamondback

  • Headquarters location: Kent, WA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Sync’r, Line, Mason
    • Short travel: Atroz
    • Mid-travel: Release, Catch
    • Long travel: Mission
  • Price range: $1,000s – $5,000s
  • Online dealers: REI, Backcountry
  • Website: Diamondback

Diamondback was first founded as a BMX mountain bike brand in the late 1970s and has since grown to include a much wider range of bikes and models. They’re known for building quality and affordable bikes, although their innovation and customization are a bit lacking compared to other ‘boutique’ brands.

If you’re looking for an entry-level mountain bike at an affordable price, Diamondback could be a great choice.

Diamondback Pros

  • Good value

Diamondback Cons

  • Dated geometry on some models
Shop Diamondback:

E

Evil

  • Headquarters location: Bellingham, WA
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Following
    • Mid-travel: Offering, Wreckoning
    • Long-travel: Insurgent
  • Price range: $5,000s-$8,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, Competetive Cyclist, Backcountry
  • Website: Evil Bikes

A rider-focused brand based out of Bellingham, Washington, Evil is firmly driven by the need to have fun on a mountain bike. Founder Kevin Walsh and his team are located in the Pacific Northwest where steep, rough, and rowdy trails are the norm. Evil bikes are, therefore, unsurprisingly descent-focused.

They’re not cheap, though, but they do have a bit of a cult following. If you’re looking for a well-engineered bike, you’re not new to mountain biking (i.e. you know how to handle one), and the sticker price doesn’t shock you, Evil might just be your brand.

Evil Pros

  • Designed and built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Evil Cons

  • Small line-up of bikes to choose from
  • Only carbon frames

G

Ghost Bikes

  • Headquarters location: Waldsassen, Germany
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Lector
    • Short-travel: Lector FS, Riot Trail, SL AMR 29, Kato FS
    • Mid-travel: Riot AM
    • Long-travel: Riot EN
    • e-MTB: E-Riot, Hybride ASX
  • Price range: $1,000s – $4,000s
  • Online dealers: REI
  • Website: Ghost Bicycles

Ghost Bikes is a manufacturer based out of Bavaria in northern Europe. Started by two friends in a garage, they’ve been around for over 20 years. Ghost offers a range of bikes from simple cruisers and touring bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes.

They have a larger presence in Europe, but I have seen a few bikes around the trails here in the US.

Ghost Bikes Pros

  • Good entry-level mountain bike options

Ghost Bikes Cons

  • Very limited US dealer network
  • Short 3-5 year frame warranty
Shop Ghost:

Giant

  • Headquarters location: Taichung City, Taiwan & Newbury Park, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Fathom, STP, XTC
    • Short-travel: Stance
    • Mid-travel: Reign, Trance
    • e-MTB: Reign E+, Trance E+, Stance E+, Fathom E+
  • Price range: $1,000s – $9,000s
  • Online dealers: Giant, evo, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Giant Bicycles

Giant has been around forever. I remember owning an early Giant hardtail that I would pedal around the dirt backroads of Vermont. Bikes have come a long way since then…

Based in Taiwan, Giant is one of the world’s largest frame manufacturers with offices all over the world. Despite their dominant presence in the bike industry, though, their mountain bikes aren’t particularly innovative or exciting. That being said, they’re absolutely good bikes and a great value if you’re looking for an entry-level mountain bike from a solid mountain bike brand. The mid-travel Reign and Trance are great choices.

Liv is the sister company to Giant, so if you’re looking for a women’s-specific bike you might want to check them out.

Giant Pros

  • Good value
  • World’s largest frame manufacturer with a ton of experience
  • Good warranty and dealer network

Giant Cons

  • A bit generic

GT

  • Headquarters location: Wilton, CT
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Avalanche
    • Short-travel: Sensor
    • Mid-travel: Force
    • DH bike: Fury
  • Price range: $800s-$8,000s
  • Online dealers: Planet Cyclery, Backcountry
  • Website: GT Bicycles

GT was founded in 1972 and was one of the earliest mountain bike brands that spearheaded the BMX movement. They still make BMX bikes today but have since branched out into manufacturing mountain bikes (and road bikes) as well.

GT is in the market of engineering fast bikes and they sponsor some pretty big names on their GT Factory Racing roster and have a storied race history. You don’t have to be a racer to appreciate their bikes, though. The GT Sensor and Force are great full-suspension bikes that can handle a variety of terrain. However, GT isn’t the most glamorous brand I wouldn’t consider them “top of the line”.

GT is owned by the Canadian conglomerate Dorel Industries alongside Cannondale (see above).

GT Pros

  • Wide range of bike options from racing to recreation
  • Aluminum and carbon frame options

GT Cons

  • Stock components aren’t the best
  • Bikes are on the heavy side

I

Ibis

Ibis is one of the oldest mountain bike brands out there with ties to early innovators and riders such as Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly, and Tom Ritchey. Founded by Scot Nicol in 1981 in a garage in Mendocino, CA, Ibis mountain bikes have undergone countless iterations. Today, they remain one of the top mountain bike brands on the market.

Unlike most corporate bike brands, which lack the freedom to design and innovate freely, the team at Ibis is continuously tweaking and improving its models. Their goal is to create bikes that last and stay relevant in the ever-changing industry. For example, the ground-breaking Mojo is on its fifth iteration and remains an Ibis – and industry – favorite.

Ibis bikes aren’t the most budget-friendly options out there, but their aluminum frame builds (AF) makes them slightly more affordable.

Ibis Pros

  • Lead designer is a woman
  • Good value compared to premium brands

Ibis Cons

  • 7-year frame warranty compared to lifetime warranty for other brands

Intense cycles

  • Headquarters location: Temecula, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Sniper
    • Mid-travel: Primer, Carbine
    • Long-travel: Tracer
    • DH bike: M29
    • e-MTB: Tazer
  • Price range: $3000s-$8000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, Planet Cyclery
  • Website: Intense Cycles

Intense Cycles can be credited with the first full-suspension double-crown DH mountain bike design: the M1. Founder Jeff Steber created a prototype of the M1 in 1994 and it became the benchmark for downhill bikes at the time.

Today, Intense Cycles operates out of its headquarters in Temecula, CA where Jeff Steber still tinkers and innovates with design. Intense offers a range of full-suspension mountain bikes from the short-travel Sniper to their modern-day M Series DH bike.

Intense recently released the 951 Series which includes two models: the 951 Trail and 951 XC, both of which are better suited for entry-level riders. You can also purchase this series through Costco.

Intense Pros

  • Get replacement parts straight from Intense website
  • New 951 series is more budget-friendly

Intense Cons

  • Limited color choices
  • Prices are high compared to other brands and models of similar caliper
  • Very short 1-5 year warranty on frames
Shop Intense:

J

Jamis

  • Headquarters location: Northvale, NJ & Miami, FL
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Dragon, Komodo, Highpoint
    • Short-travel: Faultline
    • Mid-travel: Portal
    • Long travel: Hardline
  • Price range: $900s$9,000s
  • Online dealers: Find a retailer
  • Website: Jamis Bikes

The first bike that Jamis released in 1979 was the revolutionary Earth Cruiser, a beach cruiser-style bike that was an instant hit. Since that debut, Jamis has grown into a larger bike brand that encompasses all types of two wheels from road bikes to mountain bikes, fixies, and yes, modern-day beach cruisers.

While Jamis isn’t considered a ‘boutique’ or top-of-the-line mtb brand, it still offers good value bikes that perform well on the trail. Over the years, they have received several awards for best value full-suspension mountain bikes so if you’re looking for a no-frills bike at a good price, Jamis could be a great fit.

Jamis Pros

  • Good value

Jamis Cons

  • Limited dealer network
Shop Jamis:

Juliana

Juliana is the sister company to Santa Cruz Bicycles. They are a women’s-specific mountain bike brand, although their bike geometry is exactly the same as Santa Cruz bikes. What differs is sizing (Juliana offers extra-small bikes), women-specific components like saddles, and a lighter suspension tune that is more appropriate for lighter weights.

Juliana is named after Juli Furtado, the former “Queen of the Mountain” and one of the fiercest mountain bikers of all time. Their mission is to inspire more women to get into mountain biking.

Juliana Pros

  • Focus on female mountain bikers
  • Frame bearings for life
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Well-engineered and easy to work on
  • Extensive dealer network
  • Large online small parts availability for many models
  • Excellent resale value

Juliana Cons

  • Only available in XS, S, and M sizes
  • No low-price entry-level bike options

K

Kona

  • Headquarters location: Ferndale, WA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Honzo, Kahuna
    • Short travel: Hei Hei, Process 134
    • Mid-travel: Process 153
    • Long travel: Process X
    • DH bike: Operator
    • e-MTB: Remote, El Kahuna
  • Price range: $600s – $11,000s
  • Online dealers: Kona
  • Website: Kona Bikes

Kona is making a bit of a comeback in the mountain bike scene after a several-year lull where they shifted their focus to roadies. But their updated geometry and wide range of bikes and models have made them a popular mountain bike brand in recent years. They’re a no-frills company with a focus on having fun on two wheels. The Kona Process comes in several models including short, mid, and long-range travel while the Kona Hei Hei has made its name as a fun trail bike and even as a reliable bikepacking set-up.

The main drawback is that Kona bikes are difficult to find online. That being said, their bike shop dealer network is pretty large, so check to see if there’s a dealer near you.

Kona Pros

  • Long-standing brand
  • Good dealer network
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Kona Cons

  • Limited online availability
Shop Kona:

L

Liv Cycling

  • Headquarters location: Taichung City, Taiwan & Newbury Park, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Tempt, Bliss, STP
    • Short-travel: Pique, Embolden
    • Mid-travel: Intrigue
    • e-MTB: Embolden E+, Tempt E+, Intrigue E+
  • Price range: $1,000s – $6,000s
  • Online dealers: Liv Cycling, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Liv Cycling

Liv is the sister company to Giant and they are one of the industry leaders for women’s mountain bikes (alongside Juliana). Unlike Juliana bikes, though, which have the exact same geometry as Santa Cruz bikes, Liv Cycling makes the argument that women’s bodies are different, and therefore they benefit from different bike geometry. Specifically, women tend to have shorter torsos, longer legs, narrower shoulders, and smaller hands.

Arguments about whether all of this necessitates new design aside, Liv has done a lot of research and testing to create women’s-specific bikes and they are very popular with a lot of women riders.

Liv Pros

  • Liv has done a lot of research around women’s cycling

Liv Cons

  • Women don’t necessarily need women-specific bikes

M

Marin

  • Headquarters location: Petaluma, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: San Quentin, El Roy, Bobcat Trail, Wildcat Trail
    • Short-travel: Rift Zone
    • Mid-travel: Alpine Trail
    • e-MTB: Alpine Trail E
  • Price range: $500s – $6,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson
  • Website: Marin Bikes

Marin Bikes was founded in 1986 in Marin County, California – the birthplace of mountain biking culture as we know it today. Since then, the team behind Marin has designed and built mountain bikes with a mission to create affordable options for every rider. Today, Marin has a huge line-up of mountain bikes for all budgets and riding styles from XC charging hardtails to enduro-ready full-suspension mountain bikes.

They also make e-bikes, beach cruisers, road bikes, and gravel bikes to help round out their mission to get more people having fun on two wheels.

Marin Pros

  • Simple designs
  • One of the original mountain bike brands
  • Committed to sustainability and minimizing impact

Marin Cons

  • Not overly innovative or progressive
Shop Marin:

Mondraker

  • Headquarters location: Alicante, Spain
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Podium, Chrono
    • Short-travel: F-Podium
    • Mid-travel: Foxy
    • Long-travel: Superfoxy
    • DH bike: Summun
    • e-Bike: Level, Crafty, Dusk, Chaser, Prime, Thundra
  • Price range: $5,000s – $8,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson
  • Website: Mondraker Bikes

Mondraker is an interesting mountain bike brand out of Spain that is working hard to bring its bikes to a broader, international market. Mondraker bikes have a unique performance-focused design with a super slim top tube and a proprietary rear suspension linkage set up.

I’ve never ridden a Mondraker mountain bike but I’d love to try one because they look so interesting!

Mondraker Pros

  • Unique and progressive designs
  • Lifetime warranty on frames

Mondraker Cons

  • No entry-level priced mountain bikes
  • Limited availability in the US
Shop Mondraker:

N

Niner

  • Headquarters location: Fort Collins, CO
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: AIR, SIR
    • Short-travel: JET, RKT
    • Mid-travel: RIP
    • Long-travel: WFO
    • e-Bike: RIP E9, WFO E9
  • Price range: $1,000s – $9,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, Backcountry, Competetive Cyclist
  • Website: Niner Bikes

Based out of Fort Collins, Colorado Niner is a rider-focused brand with an emphasis on great design (although it may not appeal to everyone) and amazing ride quality (Niner bikes do pedal well). Originally, Niner Bikes started out in 2005 by only selling 29” wheel mountain bikes. Now they offer a wider range of models and wheel sizes, but one thing remains: Niner is committed to dirt and having fun. Whether that’s shredding singletrack or pedaling on gravel roads, Niner has a full line of dirt-ready rigs.

Their proprietary CVA (Constantly Varying Arc) suspension is one feature that helps sets them apart. This linkage controls the unwanted movement of suspension components helping make Niner bikes more efficient at climbing.

Niner Pros

  • Pedal well thanks to proprietary rear suspension
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Niner Cons

  • Love or hate the design

Norco

  • Headquarters location: Port Coquitlam, BC
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Torrent, Revolver HT, Storm, Fluid HT
    • Short-travel: Optic, Fluid, Revolver
    • Mid-travel: Sight
    • Long-travel: Range, Shore
    • DH bike: Aurum, Shore Park
    • e-Bike: Range VLT, Sight VLT, Fluid VLT
  • Price range: $1,000s – $10,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, evo
  • Website: Norco Bikes

Norco has been making bikes for over 50 years and their designs and innovation just keeping getting better and better. Located in the loamy evergreen forests of British Columbia, Norco has a large presence in Canada, but you will also see them throughout the US as well.

They have a huge line-up of bikes with over 130 models to choose from ranging from award-winning full-suspension mountain bikes to gravel bikes, road bikes, commuter bikes, and more.

Norco Pros

  • Limited crash replacement program
  • Wide range of model options

Norco Cons

  • Short 3-5 year frame warranty on most frames
Shop Norco:

Nukeproof

  • Headquarters location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Scout
    • Mid-travel: Reactor
    • Long-travel: Giga, Mega
    • DH bike: Dissent
    • e-Bike: Megawatt
  • Price range: $3,000s – $8,000s
  • Online dealers: Chain Reaction Cycles
  • Website: Nukeproof Bikes

Nukeproof is the house brand for Chain Reaction Cycles, an online retailer for bikes and bike components based out of Belfast, Northern Ireland. My brother has both the Nukeproof Giga and Mega and, after churning his way through a number of different bikes and brands, seems to have landed on his perfect pair of full-suspension mountain bikes. They’re solidly built and professionally designed. World Cup racer Sam Hill rides for Nukeproof and has helped them innovate and develop their models.

Nukeproof has an interesting history of racing and innovation and the brand continues to push the boundaries on what is possible – and what is the future – of mountain biking.

Nukeproof Pros

  • Worldwide shipping
  • Good small parts and warranty support
  • Make XXL bikes
  • Solid builds

Nukeproof Cons

  • Only dealer is Chain Reactions in the UK
Shop Nukeproof:

O

Orbea

  • Headquarters location: Mallabia, Spain & Boulder, CO
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Laufey
    • Short-travel: Oiz
    • Mid-travel: Occam
    • Long-travel: Rallon
    • e-Bike: Rise, Wild FS
  • Price range: $1,000s – $9,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, evo, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Orbea Bikes

Orbea is a long-standing Spanish brand seeking to gain a foothold in the US. With roots in Basque Country, Orbea was founded in 1840 (1840!) by three brothers as a rifle and gun company, but they began to manufacture bicycles in the 1930s using discarded materials from producing guns. Orbea was one of the earliest participants in the Tour de France and has a storied history of road racing.

In 1989 Orbea launched its first mountain bike and since then has continued to innovate and design beautiful full-suspension and hardtail bikes. You can even customize your bike including choosing frame colors, components, tires, and more.

I think Orbea bikes are some of the classiest looking bikes out there!

Orbea Pros

  • Customize the colors and components of your bike
  • Beautifully designed
  • Options for every type of rider
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Buy spare parts directly online from Orbea

Orbea Cons

  • It’s hard to find cons for Orbea!

P

Pivot

  • Headquarters location: Tempe, AZ
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Les
    • Short-travel: Trail 429, Mach 4
    • Mid-travel: Switchblade, Mach 5.5
    • Long-travel: Mach 6, Firebird
    • DH bike: Phoenix
    • e-Bike: Shuttle
  • Price range: $5,000s – $13,000s
  • Online dealers: Competetive Cyclist, Backcountry
  • Website: Pivot Cycles

Chris Cocalis is a long-standing bike industry guy and he founded Pivot Cycles in 2007 with a mission to build the world’s best-performing bicycles. He’s definitely on the right track. Over the last decade, he’s managed to build a company that produces some of the tops bikes on the market like the Switchblade and Firebird. Along the way, he’s also sponsored many talented athletes (many of whom have stood on the podium) and done a lot of work with the Phoenix, Arizona bike community.

One feature that sets Pivot bikes apart is their use of the DW-Link suspension platform, a four-bar link system that helps reduce suspension bob and improves traction. Many riders who love the Pivot mountain bike brand love it because of this suspension setup, but not every rider prefers the feel. Take a Pivot bike out for a demo and see for yourself how it feels!

Pivot Pros

  • Good warranty support
  • DW suspension design is smooth and efficient

Pivot Cons

  • Not everyone will love the DW suspension link feel
  • Premium prices
  • Only carbon frames

Propain

  • Headquarters location: Vogt, Germany
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Hugene
    • Mid-travel: Tyee
    • Long-travel: Spindrift
    • DH bike: Rage
    • e-Bike: Ekano
  • Price range: $3,000s – $6,000s
  • Online dealers: Direct-to-consumer (for US)
  • Website: Propain Bikes

Propain is a bike manufacturer based out of Vogt, Germany. Known for its renowned German quality engineering, this is a quality mountain brand featuring exceptional design.

Through constant innovation and attention to detail, Propain bikes has earned a reputation for creating amazing bikes that are built to withstand even the most challenging terrain and conditions.

The brand was started in 2006 after the founders – Robert Krauss and Markus Zander – came back from a mountain bike trip to Whistler. Since then, they’ve been delivering top-of-the-line bikes all over the world and have a very solid pro-racing and athlete roster including Carson Storch and Rémy Métailler.

Propain Pros

  • Choose from carbon or aluminum frames
  • Buy spare parts and accessories straight from website
  • Able to customize bike when buying online (colors, components, decals, etc…)
  • Extensive demo schedule around the world including many festivals

Propain Cons

  • No entry-level options
  • Only available for online orders from Europe
Shop Propain:

R

REI Co-op Cycles

  • Headquarters location: Kent, WA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: DRT Hardtails
    • Short-travel: DRT Full-Suspension
  • Price range: $600s – $3,000s
  • Online dealers: REI
  • Website: REI Co-op Cycles

REI launched its Co-op Cycles brand in 2017 and has since grown it to include several bike models including mountain bikes, fat bikes, gravel bikes, and even e-bikes. Their first full-suspension mountain bike – the DRT 3.3 – was launched in January 2021 and quickly sold out (like so many bikes did in 2020/2021).

Co-op Cycles is committed to making affordable, entry-level bikes so they would be a great choice if you’re just getting started with mountain biking.

REI Co-op Cycles Pros

  • Great warranty
  • Good value

REI Co-op Cycles Cons

  • Dated geometry
  • Few models to choose from
Shop ReI Co-op Cycles:

Revel Bikes

  • Headquarters location: Carbondale, CO
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Ranger
    • Mid-travel: Rascal
    • Long-travel: Rail
  • Price range: $5,000s$10,000s
  • Online dealers: Worldwide Cyclery
  • Website: Revel Bikes

The team behind the relatively new mountain bike brand Revel Bikes has a pretty lofty goal: to make the absolute best full-suspension mountain bikes in the world. They’re doing that by paying the utmost attention to detail – like optimizing carbon layup technology to create stronger and stiffer frames while using less material.

Since they’re such a new company, but comprised of a bunch of industry veterans and awesome riders, it’ll be interesting to see where this brand goes!

Revel Pros

  • No questions asked lifetime frame warranty
  • Lifetime crash replacement program

Revel Cons

  • Limited dealer network
  • Only carbon frames available
  • Premium pricing
  • Small line of bikes to choose from
Shop Revel:

Rocky Mountain Bicycles

  • Headquarters location: St-Georges, QC, Canada & North Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Growler
    • Short-travel: Element
    • Mid-travel: Instinct, Thunderbolt
    • Long-travel: Altitude, Slayer
    • e-Bike: Altitude Powerplay, Growler Powerplay, Instinct Powerplay
  • Price range: $1,000s – $10,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson
  • Website: Rocky Mountain Bicycles

With their Development Centre located on Vancouver’s North Shore, it’s no wonder that Rocky Mountain Bikes are fit for rugged and challenging terrain. Rocky Mountain has been designing and engineering mountain bikes since 1981 and they have built up an impressive line of mountain bikes. My dad rides a Rocky Mountain Altitude and loves it for his rocky, rooty east coast trails.

One thing that Rocky Mountain bikes are particularly known for is their stiff carbon frames and suspension set-up, which some riders may love and others will not.

Rocky Mountain Bicycles Pros

  • Wide dealer network
  • Aluminum frame options

Rocky Mountain Bicycles Cons

  • Short 3-5 year frame warranty
  • Not everyone will love the stiff-feeling frames
Shop Rocky Mountain:

S

Salsa cycles

  • Headquarters location: Bloomington, MN
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Timberjack, Rangefinder
    • Short-travel: Horsethief, Spearfish
    • Mid-travel: Blackthorn, Rustler
    • Long-travel: Cassidy
  • Price range: $1,000s – $7,000s
  • Online dealers: REI, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Salsa Cycles

Salsa Cycles has been around for a while and over the years they’ve become known for making no-frills, but still great, bikes ranging from full-suspension mountain bikes to fully rigid touring rigs. Their focus is more on backcountry adventures and everyday fun on two wheels rather than performance and speed.

Salsa was purchased by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) in 1997, one of the largest bike manufacturers in the world. They remain committed to inspiring cyclists of all backgrounds and to get out and enjoy the adventure!

Salsa Pros

  • Parts and dealer service to any shop with access to QBP
  • Certified B Corporation

Salsa Cons

  • Short frame warranty (2-5 years depending on model)
  • Not as progressive or performance-driven as other mtb brands
  • Limited online dealers
Shop Salsa:

Santa Cruz Bicycles

  • Headquarters location: Santa Cruz, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Chameleon, Highball
    • Short-travel: Tallboy, Blur, 5010
    • Mid-travel: Bronson, Hightower
    • Long-travel: Megatower, Nomad
    • DH bike: V10
    • e-Bike: Heckler, Bullit
  • Price range: $2,000s – $11,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, Competitive Cyclist, Backcountry, Mike’s Bikes
  • Website: Santa Cruz Bicycles

It’s probably no secret that I love Santa Cruz Bikes. My current bike is the 2021 Santa Cruz Bronson and I love it. Santa Cruz is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California and they are one of the most popular and best mountain bike brands on the west coast. You’ll see them everywhere on the trails in California.

Santa Cruz’s designs are progressive and innovative and their bikes are solidly built. Each bike in their line-up gets an upgrade every few years, so you can be sure that you’re getting the latest and greatest mountain bike technology.

Santa Cruz bikes aren’t the lowest priced options on the market, but they have a lifetime frame warranty, lifetime bearings, and they retain their resale extremely well.

Santa Cruz Pros

  • Frame bearings for life
  • Lifetime warranty on frames
  • Extremely well-engineered and easy to work on
  • Extensive dealer network
  • Large online small parts availability for many models
  • Excellent resale value

Santa Cruz Cons

  • No low-price entry-level price options
  • Some models are only available in carbon

Specialized

  • Headquarters location: Morgan Hill, CA
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Fuse, Rockhopper, Epic Hardtail, Chisel
    • Short-travel: Epic
    • Mid-travel: Stumpjumper
    • Long-travel: Enduro
    • DH bike: Demo
    • e-Bike: Turbo Kenevo, Turbo Levo
  • Price range: $1,000s – $15,000s
  • Online dealers: Mike’s Bikes, Jenson
  • Website: Specialized Bicycles

Specialized is one of the biggest mountain bike brand names out there and they can also be credited – in part – to manifesting the explosion of mountain biking throughout the United States. The Specialized Stumpjumper is one of the most popular and widely recognized mountain bike models ever to be built and it’s still in their lineup today.

Specialized caters to all types and levels of riders with their diverse range of bike models and specs. Their S-Works line is their premium line of bikes, but you can also find budget-friendly and entry-level options as well.

Specialized also isn’t complacent with their models and designs. They continue to innovate and come up with new technologies, which is cool to see from a brand of their size.

Specialized Pros

  • Excellent warranty
  • Wide variety of bikes and prices from entry-level to premium

Specialized Cons

  • So many different models and customizations can be overwhelming
  • $15,000 for a bike!?
Shop Specialized:

Scott

  • Headquarters location: Givisiez, Switzerland
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Spark Hardtail, Scale
    • Short-travel: Spark
    • Mid-travel: Genius
    • Long-travel: Ransom
    • DH bike: Gambler
    • e-Bike: Ransom eRide, Genius eRide, Contessa eRide, Strike eRide
  • Price range: $1,000s – $14,000s
  • Online dealers: Scott
  • Website: Scott Sports

Scott Sports is another long-standing brand that was established in 1958 by a skier and engineer who developed the first aluminum ski pole. It wasn’t until 1980, though, that Scott started designing and manufacturing road cycling products and eventually mountain bikes in the 1990s.

Today, Scott Sports is located in Switzerland and while they may be more widely known for their road cycling presence, they also have a large line of mountain bikes and they sponsor some pretty big athletes including world XC champion Kate Courtney.

In recent years, it seems like Scott has redirected their focus to redesigning and updating its mountain bike line, so it’ll be interesting to see where the brand goes in the next few years.

Scott Pros

  • Proprietary TwinLoc system allows you to control suspension and geometry remotely from handlebars
  • Wide range of prices and models for every type of rider

Scott Cons

  • Short 5 year frame warranty
  • Limited dealer network
Shop Scott:

T

Transition

  • Headquarters location: Bellingham, WA
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Spur
    • Mid-travel: Sentinel, Scout
    • Long-travel: Spire, Patrol
    • DH bike: TR11
  • Price range: $3,000s – $9,000s
  • Online dealers: Worldwide Cyclery
  • Website: Transition Bikes

Transition Bikes is located in Bellingham, Washington and they pride themselves on being rider-owned and rider-focused. This means they don’t compromise on quality and they work hard to build and design bikes that riders want to actually ride (i.e. they’re not into ‘fads’ or gimmicky sales pitches). They also have a pretty great crash replacement program for original and secondhand owners. Transition wants to keep you riding!

It’s a fun brand with a cool vibe and if I wasn’t on a Santa Cruz bike, I’d probably be riding Transition.

Transition Pros

  • Rider owned
  • Bikes for all types of mountain biking from XC to DH
  • Carbon and aluminum frame options
  • Innovative and progressive
  • Crash replacement program

Transition Cons

  • No entry-level bikes
  • Limited online dealer network
Shop Transition:

Trek Bikes

  • Headquarters location: Waterloo, WI
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: Marlin, Procaliber, Roscoe, X-Caliber
    • Short travel: Supercaliber, Fuel EX, Top Fuel
    • Mid-travel: Remedy
    • Long-travel: Slash
    • DH bike: Session
    • e-MTB: E-Caliber, Powerfly
  • Price range: $400s – $11,000s
  • Online dealers: Trek
  • Website: Trek Bikes

Trek is one of the largest bike manufacturers on the market and they have a huge line of mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, and more. They’re not as innovative as some smaller mountain bike brands, but they still stay at the forefront of technology and they are quite popular among mountain bikers, particularly entry-level riders and those who are multi-passionate outdoors people (in other words, mountain biking isn’t their only jam).

To be fully honest, I rode a Trek Remedy 9.9 for half a season and really did not like it. It felt loose and unstable at high speeds going over chunky terrain. That being said, I’ve met a lot of other riders who absolutely love the Remedy!

Trek Pros

  • Excellent lifetime warranty on frames
  • Large dealer network
  • Wide variety of bikes from entry-level to premium
  • Customize paint and components with Project One online bike builder

Trek Cons

  • So many options can be confusing
  • Not as innovative as other brands
Shop Trek:

Y

Yeti

  • Headquarters location: Golden, CO
  • Popular models:
    • Hardtail: ARC
    • Short-travel: SB 115
    • Mid-travel: SB 140, SB 130
    • Long-travel: SB 150, SB 165
  • Price range: $3,000s – $9,000s
  • Online dealers: Jenson, Competitive Cyclist, Backcountry
  • Website: Yeti Cycles

Yeti bikes are almost idolized by some mountain bikers. You’ll see many riders in Colorado on Yeti’s (they are based in Golden, CO) and their line-up is lusted after by racers and those seeking high-performance mountain bikes. You need to be willing to pay premium prices, though, because Yeti’s aren’t exactly cheap.

They’re also not for every rider. My brother had both a Yeti SB 130 and Yeti SB 150 and didn’t like the flexiness of Yeti frames. That being said, Yeti’s are super popular among cross-country enthusiasts due to their lightness, speed, and great pedaling efficiency.

Yeti Pros

  • Pedal exceptionally well
  • Great resale value

Yeti Cons

  • No entry-level price options
  • Brand has a ‘cultish’ vibe

YT Industries

  • Headquarters location: Forcheim, Germany & San Clemente, California
  • Popular models:
    • Short-travel: Izzo
    • Mid-travel: Jeffsy
    • Long-travel: Capra
    • DH bike: Tues
    • e-Bike: Decoy
  • Price range: $2,000s – $8,000s
  • Online dealers: Direct-to-consumer
  • Website: YT Industries

YT Industries was one of the first factory-direct mountain bike brands to enter the US market and their bikes are known for being top-quality with great components. You can only purchase YT bikes online from them, though, which helps cut down on prices but can also limit their availability.

Based in Germany, YT Industries has a small line-up of mountain bikes, but they get great reviews from riders, and the team behind YT is continuously updating and tweaking their designs.

YT Industries Pros

  • Great value because they are factory-direct

YT Industries Cons

  • Not always in stock
  • Warranties and getting replacement parts can be slow since you have to deal directly with YT
Shop YT:

Do you have a favorite mountain bike brand? What is it and what do you love about it? Share in the comments below!

Share it!

Similar Posts

14 Comments

  1. Great list, several of these made my short list (YT, Yeti, Ibis, Canyon, Cannondale, Niner, Evil). My end pick was not on your list but I think it deserves to be. A small boutique brand that makes their carbon frames in their factory in Denver, CO. I picked the Alchemy Arktos 27.5 with Eagle GX components. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Thank you again for the research.

  2. I have a few brands I didn’t see here as well. I didn’t see Radon or Whyte, which both have pretty good bikes. Thanks!

  3. What about Ghost Bikes? They make some quality bikes. Also, Commencal Bicycles makes nice bikes as well. And, although this is less of a brand to think about since they only have two models, Forbidden Bike Co.

    1. Also Banshee Bikes. I will try to also remember other brands of quality mountain bikes and come back to this link to comment about them! Thanks!

    2. I did realize I forgot Commencal and Banshee after I hit publish… I’ll go back and add them. I’ve seen a few Ghost bikes, but don’t know much about them. I’ll do some research on Forbidden Bikes as well. Thanks!

      1. Great read learning a little about all the different brands. I have been riding a Knolly made out of BC. They make some amazing high quality aluminum bikes. Definitely not well known where I live in Texas, nobody has a clue what I’m riding lol. Definitely worth checking them out!

      2. Hi, I noticed one of my favorite brands, Propain, isn’t listed here. They make high quality bikes. Anyway, thanks for this amazing list otherwise!

  4. From Wikipedia “On July 3, 2015, Santa Cruz Bicycles was sold to Pon Holdings, a family-owned Dutch conglomerate with a bicycle division including brands such as Cervélo, Focus and Royal Dutch Gazelle.”

    A 5010 owner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.