Downhill Bikes

9 downhill bikes that you can still buy in aluminium

Who needs carbon? Here are nine downhill bikes that are still aluminium to the core

Carbon may be the most desirable frame material for a mountain bike but don’t let that put you off good old aluminium. Aluminium has been more than good enough for many years and that doesn’t change just because a lighter material comes along. In fact, we sometimes prefer the damping that aluminium provides over carbon and, of course, it’s a lot cheaper.

Here are 10 downhill bikes that are more metal than James Hetfield in a Sheffield mill:

Orange 324 Factory

Of course an Orange was going to make this list – the sun is more likely to rise in the west than these boys starting to experiment with fancy plastic. The Orange 324 works so well due to the steady refinement of its angles at the hands of master craftsmen so we think they should carry on doing what they do best.

We reckon the numbers are spot on and, when loaded with the right kit, this is a bike that simply flies.

Nukeproof Pulse Team

If it’s good enough for Sam Hill you can bet it’s probably good enough for you too. Hill’s downhill weapon of choice is the aluminium Nukeproof Pulse and it delivered him to consecutive World Cup wins in 2014.

For 2016 the Pulse is longer, slacker and sleeker. With a range of four sizes from small to extra large and a build mixing Sram with Nukeproof’s own established components, 2017 is looking good for the small bunch of enthusiastic – actually change that – obsessed Nukeproof bunch who eat, sleep and drink bikes. Cheers to that!

Specialized Demo 8 Aluminium

We think the S-Works Demo 8 is the greatest downhill bike ever built and earlier this year, Specialized announced a budget aluminium version.  We were amazed that Spesh were able to keep the one sided design – it truly is an amazing feat of engineering.

We will only be seeing the Demo 8 1 version here in the UK. At £3500, with a RockShox BoXXer RC fork, Fox Van RC shock it is sounding like a good buy. Sure there’s a weight penalty, but when you save £3,000 on the price can you really complain?

Scott Gambler 710

The Gambler that Brendan Fairclough uses in the World Cups and Red Bull Rampage is an aluminium beast. It’s not perfect but it’s a massively fun bike and incredibly durable to boot.

We think the geometry is faultless, especially as it offers multiple settings, and it’s now a proven podium contender on the World Cup circuit thanks to Adam Brayton. We just wish there was some way to quieten its full metal racket.

NS Fuzz 1

NS may be best known for its dirt jump bikes but it has made a strong stride into the world of downhill with its Fuzz. With distinctive luminous green flashes, the Fuzz is certainly an eye catcher and has proven to be adept at both freeride and downhill.

YT Industries Tues Al

Another bike we’ve always rated highly is the YT Tues, in fact it’s a multiple winner of our downhill bike of the year. Aaron Gwin may have won the World Cup series on a carbon model, but Lacondeguy won Rampage on an aluminium one, so don’t think it’s outgunned by any stretch of the imagination.

As always you get YT’s bargain pricing for this and it’s easily one of the best downhill bikes you can buy for less than £2,000.

Solid Strike World Cup

Whereas a lot of companies will be meek about their aluminium offerings, Solid shout it from the rooftops. “Metal is back” is the motto for their flagship Strike, and they should be happy as they managed to pull a whole bike together for 16.4kg.

The Strike was also one of the first 27.5” bikes we rode at Dirt, and it remains one of the best to this day.

 Devinci Wilson 27.5 XP

Devinci produce both carbon and aluminium versions of the Wilson and we got to test them back to back in March. While we found the carbon version to have more zip, especially on flat trails, but the aluminium bike was more comfortable at speed.

On a pound for pound test we’d probably actually pick the aluminium version over the carbon one, the carbon one is just a shade too stiff and obviously costs a lot more.

Norco Aurum A7.1

Norco offers its Aurum World Cup bike in both carbon and aluminium. There are two aluminium versions available with full Rockshox suspension and SRAM groupsets. The Norco Aurum C7.2 made it into the Dirt 100 and we’ve no doubt the aluminium versions offer comparable performance.


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