Your significant other may not understand it but there’s no denying that downhill bikes are sexy beasts – there’s just something so enchanting about a bike that’s so perfectly honed to destroy the world’s gnarliest tech. So here are ten hunks of metal that are guaranteed to get you hot under the collar.
Please note, we’ve only picked from bikes that are currently available, we’d be here all day if we had to judge every downhill bike ever produced.
Intense M16 C
The Intense M16 brings together a perfect combination of history and modernity to create one of the most coveted bikes around. You can still see the imprint of the early Intense M series bikes that dominated the world circuit in this bike, but it’s combined with the smooth clean lines of modern carbon manufacturing.
This is one of the longest travel downhill bikes on the market and makes for a burly, straight line bruiser whose performance perfectly matches its aggro looks.
Santa Cruz V10CC
The poster bike for a generation, the Santa Cruz V10 was made into a dream ride by Peaty, Minnaar and Bryceland on the Syndicate. These swooping lines of carbon stand very near the top of the all-time most successful downhill bikes list and it’s still winning to this day.
The V10CC continues to grow (literally and figuratively) thanks to the input of the Syndicate team. But the V10 is much more than what happens in a fitting room. Like the Trek Session it’s a beautifully evolved piece of race machinery. And the finish of Santa Cruz bikes is a lesson for most companies who aspire to demand high sums for their machinery.
Specialized Demo S Works
A thoroughbred race bike. A revolution in design. And, in our book, the best downhill rig in the world. The Specialized S-Works Demo 8 is no doubt a Marmite rig but it certainly tickles our pickle.
The standout feature of this bike may be the asymmetrical design but it’s the finer details that make this bike pop for us. It’s so clean, so quiet and so composed. A truly remarkable machine.
Foes Hydro H2
Foes is another brand with a wealth of World Cup pedigree that gives this frame heaps of character. That’s probably helped by its handmade-in-California exclusivity and artistic design.
Previous iterations have made our Dirt 100 lists but the 2016 Hydro re-built was built from the ground up. Don’t worry though, the hydroformed aluminium is every bit of gorgeous as it always was and we’ve no doubt the ride will match.
Pivot Phoenix Carbon
Bernard Kerr and Eliot Jackson are two of the most stylish riders on the World Cup circuit and it’s only fitting they have a bike to match. The brainchild of Chris Cocalis, the Phoenix is a boutique carbon construction with an alluring air of exclusivity.
When we tested it a year ago with Bernard Kerr’s X-Fusion set up, we rated it as one of the better bikes out there, surely this will only improve now it’s equipped with our favourite Fox dampers.
Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro Team
There’s nothing sexier than a winner and the Summum proved it can do just that by taking a 1-2-3 at the men’s World Championships just a few weeks ago.
The Summum is also a maverick, throwing the geometry rulebook out of the window and creating the blueprint for longer, slacker bikes. We still think it’s ahead of its time and the fact that it’s still one of the lightest downhill bikes around is testament to the superb engineering that’s been put into it.
Unno Downhill bike
A bike so secretive it’s yet to have a name, the Unno downhill bike is coming and when it arrives it’s sure to turn some heads. It was first revealed at the Masters’ downhill World Championships 2015 where its creator and legendary designer Cesar Rojo won.
Since then all we’ve had is tantalising spy shots but they tell us one thing, this is going to be a very pretty machine.
Norco Aurum C7.1
Norco are a brand that either makes beautiful bikes or total trollops, thankfully this one is the former. In fact, every bike in the 2017 range is smooth lined, solid, well-proportioned and beautifully finished. Certainly one of the most coveted brands in current guise.
The Aurum was a shoe in for the 2016 Dirt 100 and it’s every bit as desirable as its golden moniker suggests.
Bikes associated with Fabien Barel tend be two things: 1) fast 2) gorgeous. The Canyon Sender ticks both boxes and is rapidly becoming one of our favourite bikes out there. Its moto inspired design brings a cool linkage system and Canyon’s attention to detail give cool lines and a clean finish. More than anything though it comes with Canyon’s eternally great value.
Devinci is a relatively young brand but we’ve always loved the frames that they pump out of the heart of Canada. The Devinci Wilson is yet another one of the bikes that made it into the 100 this year (maybe there’s something in a bike looking and also being fast).
The Wilson is one of those charismatic bikes that delivers straightforward performance. They call it the Commando.