Downhill bikes have an uncompromising soul that is enchanting now as it was twenty years ago. Where the downhill bike goes, others follow. Or try to. They aren’t overly fussed about being able to pedal, they don’t pander to those without honed bike handling skills, in fact they aren’t concerned with much other than getting down a hill as fast as possible.
Words: James Smurthwaite and Steve Jones
downhill mountain bikes – best of 2016
The fact that they are useless for the majority of mountain biking only adds to their appeal. Much like a great white shark they are keenly tuned for one purpose and this is what makes them so enthralling.
Most of the big brands produce a flagship downhill mountain bike that is raced by its World Cup team. Not only are these the fastest bikes the brand will make, but they will also have technologies that will trickle down through the rest of their ranges as time goes on, so they’re worth keeping an eye on whether you are an avid race fan or not.
We’ve been testing downhill mountain bikes for twenty years but we’re yet to find the perfect one – it takes an ultimate combination of feel, fit and ‘je ne sais quoi’ to convince us, and with new tech coming along every year we always seem to have a new favourite.
Here’s our pick of the current bunch of downhill mountain bikes: IN ORDER OF RANKING