What are the best downhill mountain bikes

Downhill racing is all about rampaging down a mountain at breakneck speeds and bulldozing through the roughest, most gnarled terrain thinkable. The victor is he or she who manages to remain calm and composed, mind on the goal of achieving the fastest possible time from A to B no matter how technical, steep or fast the going gets.

The best downhill bikes are built to hit a set of criteria: strong, light, stable, forgiving and fast. They achieve this using different frame layouts, materials, wheel sizes and components; in fact, in the 2019 Mercedes Benz UCI Downhill World Cup series, races were won on 27.5" wheels, 29" wheels, 27.5"/29" rear/front-wheel combinations, aluminium frames, carbon frames and even 3D-printed frames.

So whether you're just searching for some bike porn to pore over, or are thinking of taking your rig pro, here's a selection of 10 of the best, most successful downhill bikes money can buy.

1. Commencal Supreme DH

Price: £3,242-£4,522

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Wheel sizes: 27.5” (S, M, L) or 29” (S, M, L, XL)

Material: Aluminium

Credentials: Second, 2019 World Cup series overall (Amaury Pierron); Winner, 2019 World Championships (Myriam Nicole)

Commencal’s Supreme DH is available in 27.5"- or 29"-wheeled versions and is laden with components packages that are hard to beat for the money. The Supreme also has several feathers in its hat: namely the successes of more or less everyone who races on it. In 2019, Amaury Pierron battled for the men’s World Cup series title all season, Myriam Nicole took the women’s World Championships win, and Thibaut Daprela crushed the competition in juniors.

The bike’s high pivot, idler-pulley design and progressive sizing and angles (read: long and slack) help the Supreme eat up everything in its path.

Find out more information here

2. YT Industries Tues

Price: £2,299-£4,999

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Wheel sizes: 27.5” or 29”

Material: Aluminium or carbon fibre

Credentials: Winner, 2019 junior women’s World Cup series and World Championships (Vali Höll)

YT Industries revolutionised the image of direct-sales-only brands when it signed Aaron Gwin in 2016. Could such a great value bike really take on the behemoths of World Cup racing? Absolutely: Gwin won his first World Cup aboard the bike and then went on to win the 2016 and '17 World Cup titles. Another top DH athlete, Vali Höll, also flies the YT flag with style – Höll took the junior women’s World Cup and World Championships titles in 2018 and 2019. Quite the CV.

Beyond the highest ranks of racing, the Tues is a very rideable bike that is as suited to everyday enthusiasts and bike park riders as it is world champs. The price range reflects that: at just £2,299 for the well-equipped Tues AL (aluminium), it is one of the most affordable downhill bikes around.

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3. Atherton Bikes DH Prototype

Price: Priceless

Frame size: Infinite

Wheel size: 29”

Material: Titanium and carbon

Credentials: 2x 2019 World Cup wins (Rachel Atherton); Second, 2019 Red Bull Hardline (Gee Atherton)

The Atherton family like to do things their own way, and when they announced they’d be making their own line of bikes, no one could have imagined they would be using such an innovative process to create their race rigs. Atherton Bikes use additive manufacturing technology (sort of like 3D printing, but don’t let them hear you say that) to produce the titanium frame junction lugs, with carbon tubes cut to length and glued in place (with some very, very permanent glue). This allows them to rapidly prototype new bikes, meaning they can turn up at each race with a different frame. The downhill bikes aren’t yet for public consumption but watch this space...

Find out more information here

4. Mondraker Summum

Price: £3,699-£7,999

Frame sizes: S, M, L

Wheel size: 27.5”

Material: Aluminium or carbon fibre

Credentials: Winner, 2019 Val di Sole World Cup (Laurie Greenland)

Mondraker’s Summum can be credited with starting the modern geometry revolution in downhill racing: when the Spanish brand released Forward Geometry the long, low and super slack frames were ground-breaking. While the Summum’s design hasn’t changed drastically in a handful of years, it continues to be relevant with World Cup podiums aplenty in recent seasons, not least under Laurie Greenland, who took his first World Cup win in Val di Sole in 2019.

Carbon fibre or aluminium models are available, both incorporating solid components packages and the same race-proven geometry and suspension design. The Summum’s only failing comes at its high price tag.

Find out more information here

5. Canyon Sender