Downhill Bikes

Dirt 100 2017 – the best downhill bikes

This is Dirt's pick of ten of the fastest downhill bikes of the year, selected from the Dirt 100 2017

Many regard downhill bikes as the pinnacle of what a mountain bike can do. Designed to plough through the roughest rock gardens, you throw them down a hill and they’ll take anything that comes and then beg for another run. These bikes aren’t your do it all Swiss Army knife, they have one job, and that is to get you down that hill as fast as possible. You just have to hold on.

> Dirt 100 2017: The best enduro bikes
> Dirt 100 2017: The best trail bikes

Perhaps that is what makes them so appealing, these are bikes for one purpose. That exclusivity coupled with the fact that they are piloted by what we regard the fastest racers, makes them oh so desirable. With our modern enduro bikes coming on leaps and bounds with technology and geometry inspired by their bigger downhill siblings, they’re trying to give the downhill bike a run for its money, with their ability to pedal them back to the top being another string to their bow. Though the key word there was “trying”. They’ll never compare to the sheer speed you can rip out of the gnarliest trails, feeling like a world cup racer on board your downhill bike. This is a different ball game. One that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Dirt have been riding, reviewing and breaking downhill bikes for years, with new bikes and new tech coming out every year for us to love or loathe. These innovations come from somewhere though, the flagship bikes that the world’s best ride. Keeping in the know about these super bikes, however out of reach they are, is useful. The tech that they are wrapped in is bound to trickle down into the lower end models and into different lines. If you’re a world cup racing hopeful or even just have deep pockets, you’ll want to pay attention to this list. Though with new crops of direct sales bikes bringing that price down (even with Brexit-inspired fluctuation in price), you’re bound to get a lot for your money.

So, in no particular order, here they are. The fastest bikes in the Dirt 100

CANYON sender cf 9.0

The Canyon Sender has been the ship that has taken Canyon into the uncharted waters of their first world cup downhill team. Designed with the legendary Fabien Barel and being piloted by Troy Brosnan, Ruaridh Cunningham and Mark Wallace, the bike is most definitely in good hands. But, what did we think of it?

For a price that’ll give you some change out of £4500, this bike is “scarily good value”, but, it wasn’t just the price that impressed us. With Barel’s attention to detail present in every inch, it’s silence and impressive sizing (second only to Nicolai’s radical G19), led us to placing it second in our round up of bikes last year and in the good books it remains this year. While the Sender didn’t behave completely as expected it was fast nevertheless and many were fully compelled with the character in its ride.

Price: £4499


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Propain rage carbon

Possibly one of the lightest production downhill bikes on the circuit currently. The full-carbon, Propain Rage comes after the success of its previous aluminium counterpart. Although coming in two size options (S/M and L/XL) the Rage is still one of the longest on the market. The overall reach may come in smaller than the XL Sender but with huge amounts of adjustability coming from both the headset and chainstay, you can take the Rage into heavy terrain with a ride we found super planted and stable with plenty of character to boot.

With prices starting from £3029 complete, Propain are another company swearing by the direct sales approach, bringing high spec to lower prices. Another of our biggest likes is that Propain also offer a superb personalised bike option, taking literally seconds to get a bike that’s suitably kitted out to your budget and aesthetic taste.

Price: £3029


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Solid Strike EVO World Cup

The Propain Rage may have been the lightest, but in second (and without a whiff of carbon) came the Solid Strike. The Strike was one of the first 650b downhill bikes we ever rode and for the past three years it has impressed us enough to keep showing its face in our Dirt 100. Getting such a low weight from a bike with zero carbon comes from a project, Peter Schmid the CEO of Solid, has worked intensively on, “No Carbon”. This is a bike that performs at the top level fuelled by the belief that aluminium as a material has not been completely exhausted, and that carbon is by no means the better material.

With improved geometry providing extra stability for this year, this bike has impressed us further this year. Their close connection with Reverse has the bike wrapped in their components and furthermore the suspension has been swapped from BOS to Fox for this year.

Price: £1500 (Frame)


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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GIant glory advanced 0

The Giant Glory has bloomed, from privateer workhorse to thoroughbred racing machine. The Glory has grown more refined over the years. Carbon has replaced the aluminium, and yet the character that has always peak our curiosity, continues to do so. At the centre of the bike is the Maestro suspension, which despite having fairly average dampers fitted, really makes the best of what it has, going on to produce a ride that is remarkably balanced. This bike is truly made for racing with Marcelo Gutierrez piloting it towards multiple WC podiums.

The bikes carbon construction balances strength and flexibility in a way that few manufacturers have yet to master and is only bested by the Specialized Demo in terms of pure performance, a bike you do pay more for. We really rate this bike, it shows that they can build a bike with good sizing, specced with great components and truly refined suspension. A real super bike that doesn’t have to cost at least one of your kidneys.

Price: £5775


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Mondraker summum carbon pro team

Over the past year The Mondraker Summum has racked up some pretty impressive wins. Piloted by Danny Hart to three world cup wins, a 1-2-3 World Champs result from the Mondraker team at Val Di Sole and it even holds a mountain bike speed record! A super bike indeed. When Mondraker first hit the scene with their Forward Geometry it was quite radical and though manufacturers are catching up with their shapes, it still retains that space-age look that caught so many eyes. Although, not many can match it with the adjustable head angle that can go as low as 61°.

Although it doesn’t come cheap, the spec list is a thing of beauty. You’re essentially buying Danny Hart’s bike, though unfortunately his skills aren’t available for sale at this current time.

Price: £7599


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Nicolai G19

Nicolai are a company that like to push the boundaries on numbers, their Mojo Geometron a classic example of a bike that if spun could create its own artificial gravity. So when we first met the G19 we were taken aback that it wasn’t quite as radical as we expected, it may be 10mm shorter than the shortest Geometron but there is still a healthy 15mm gap between it and similarly sized bikes such as the Sender, Glory and Fury. In our opinion this bike is the correct size large, and it certainly looks it.

The bike comes fresh from Mojo with fine tuned Fox suspension based around you, the rider. It may sport shorter travel and be a little weighty but that didn’t stop team rider, Jack Reading, from piloting this bike to win at the BDS in Llangollen. A track renowned for being tight, where a limo sized bike like this would be expected to falter.

Price: €6999


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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yt industries tues cf pro RACE

In their first year of racing world cups, they couldn’t wish for more success. Straight up (g)winning, with Aaron Gwin plowing through the competition on-board a stock Tues, a bike you can buy direct from YT. We only ever had one issue with the Tues, our 6ft plus riders were limited by size options, but with a new XL for this year, the Tues is looking stronger than ever. A true world cup bike built for good times.

With a spec sheet that’ll have you set for a season of World Cup racing, this is a bike that you would not expect to come in at the price it does. The new colour scheme is achingly beautiful too. Don’t be scared to throw this bike into the rough though, as this bike is built to destroy.

Price: £4999

YT Industries

Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Orange 324 factory

The bike straight out of a Halifax, hand-made with it’s chunky welds bursting with soul and history, the Orange 324 Factory is a bike oozing with confidence. The marketing men must be lying when they say that single pivot suspension designs are dated, this is a bike that is up their with it’s carbon counterparts, standing amongst them bristling with certainty, without a single bit of carbon too.

This is still a bike that though bashed out by hand from a factory in rainy, northern England, is decked in gleaming components from Fox, Sram, Raceface and Hope. Its process of creation giving access to constant refinement and all whilst still retaining the character that has carried it through the years.

Price: £5800


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Specialized S-works demo 8

A bike that has come out on top for us for the past two years, the Specialized S-Works Demo 8 is a bike that appears to have come straight from the future, gifted to us from the sci-fi engineers at Specialized who dedicated a whole year to its creation. This is a bike that has tasted world cup podiums and is always hungry for more.

This bike is a different animal. The bike comes as the only production bike to be equipped with the Ohlins TTX, it sits right in the cut away section providing heaps of cutting edge beauty. If there were to be any negatives to throw its way, it isn’t the longest bike and the Boxxer on the front has not impressed us in the past. Minimal. Details to soon be ironed out with the possible introduction of an Ohlins DH fork in the near future. Take it down the steepest track you can find, it is sure to provide you with tenacious confidence, always ready for more.

Price: £7250


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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Radon swoop 200

Radon produce fast bikes, take a look at their smaller travel Swoop 170 to cement this fact and with the Swoop 200 now being piloted by none other than Manon Carpenter, this bike is set to win this season. A durable performer without need for improvement, the Swoop 200 is a composed ride,  its space and balance coming from its impressive sizing.

The weight is low too, a quality though not important in the rough, will certianly have you making time in the flats. With full Fox suspension being a yes from us, the Swoop also comes with a very choice selection of components that have really impressed us. Although coming in a little more expensive this year, this is a bike set to take all the abuse you can throw its way.

Price: €4499


Read the full review from the Dirt 100 here

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