If your adrenaline rushes every time you take a downhill ride, then you came to the right place. Mountain riding can be a great experience with the right gear. Every adventure lover will have a mountain bike at their disposal but there are some things that you need to take care of in your bike if you are particularly interested in downhill riding.
The right bikes for gravity riding are rightly called the king of all bikes with a heavy body and monster size capable of riding through any rugged path at a very high speed. Nowadays gravity riding is done in two different ways – overlapping downhill racing and bike-park playing. In overlap downhill racing, the bike rides are divided with different timings while in Bike Park playing, the riders perform stunts and tricks using their bikes.
Even though downhill bikes are included in the mountain bike segment, there are many features that make it stand out in this category. They are a comparatively longer with a rugged body that can take up big hits during their wild ride down the hill. While the free ride bikes and other park bikes have a shorter size so that it gets easier to do tricks using the bike.
The best downhill bikes are huge and have a frame that is reinforced to take any kind of damage. Due to the big endurance capacity built into it, it is too much bulk to an extent that you will find it a bit difficult to use it well on the shuttle- able terrain and other easy to ride terrains. If you have a lot of uphill riding with the downhill rides, then you must be a bit careful while choosing the downhill bikes.
It will be better for you to choose a hybrid mountain bike like the enduro bikes or the cross-country bikes which will perform almost the same on different rides. But if uphill riding is not your cup of tea and you want something for the deadliest downhill rides, then you can select the best downhill mountain bikes from our list of the top 3 downhill mountain bikes of 2021.
Top 3 Downhill Mountain Bikes of 2021
Buying Guide for the Best Downhill Mountain Bikes of 2021
Downhill mountain bikes are in no way a general mountain bike. They are specifically designed for a purpose and they are really good at it too. If you love speed and that too while riding down the mountain terrain, then you will love downhill mountain bikes. Recently we have seen many bikes that are competing to give performance similar to that of downhill mountain bikes on downhill rides.
Enduro bikes have shown up to as a good competitor in this category with a good built and high-speed capacity. Since they are better as an overall mountain bike people have started to prefer them instead of the downhill mountain bikes to save money. But if you want the best performer, then there is still nothing that can beat the dedicated downhill bikes. Like we told if you are into downhill rides then this is your best bet.
How to choose a downhill mountain bike?
If you visit a market you will understand that there are a plethora of bikes available right now. So, how you ride with your bike is an important point to consider when you are choosing the bike. Check out the features of the bike based on that. When you are downhill riding, the main concern is high speed and the capacity to stable and rugged during the ride.
There will be a lot of hits and drops down the hill so your bike should be able to protect itself and also your bike down the hill. To make the ride smooth on your vertebra, the dedicated downhill mountain bikes must have a good ‘suspension travel’ of around 7 – 10 inches in the back and around 7 – 8 inches in the front wheel. This will help in absorbing the hits through the Rocky Mountains and the rough edges of the road.
The plain truth is downhill rides are risky so every feature must be there to keep you safe. Mostly all the downhill bikes will have chain guides. This will prevent the chains from falling off during the ride. The tires of the downhill mountain bikes are huge and have a good grip. The brakes in these are preferably disc brakes because you will need all these supporting you if you want your bike to stop immediately for a reason.
Since they are fighting with earth they have to be extremely rugged. Their frames and the whole body are made strong. This will contribute a lot to its weight. These are best trek mountain bikes and usually, weigh around 38 and 42 pounds.
1. Suspension: These bikes are susceptible to extreme riding conditions. So, the shock absorbers must be of the best quality and this will play a huge role in making your ride better. You must take of things like the rebound level, compression and the preload settings of the bike.
2. Brakes: If you have good brakes, these will safely stop the vehicle whenever you need it. This can make you can be confident enough to ride at very high speeds. Downhill bike rides are all about speed rides so a good braking capacity is a must. With good braking, you will be having greater control over the bike. We will suggest you go for the hydraulic brakes made by brands like Avid, Hayes, Shimano, Magura or Hope. Apart from that also make sure that the brake rotors are 8 inches in size.
3. Chain Retention: The maximum impact of a downhill mountain bike is felt at the front of the bike. So, even the best rocky downhill bikes have just a chainring in the front. A lot of stutters will be experienced in the front side of the bike when you are riding steep from a hill so make sure that there is a chain guide on the sprocket in the front.
4. Wheels: Every rock down the hill is going to hit your tire and it is this tire that has to keep you and your bike safe down the hill. So, they must be made in such a way that these have high endurance capacity. We will recommend you to have a tire with at least 36 spokes and has an air pressure capacity of 25 psi. There are tires that have a maximum pressure capacity way below this and they are susceptible to breakage really fast.
5. Tires for Downhill MBK: Tires are the most important component of your downhill mountain bike so extreme care must be taken to get the best tires for your bike. Most of the reputed companies make good tires but there are tire types that stand out from each of these bikes in a different style of riding. For example, Michelin produces the best quality bike tires for Enduro mountain bikes.
From all the mountain bike tires we reviewed, we have found the tires manufactured by Michelin to be the best. So, it will be good for you to stock these mountain bikes tires in your garage.
- Michelin Enduro Wild
Michelin Wild is well known for its strength and the good grip it delivers. If you don’t like limits and you prefer to ride on the worst of the paths, then this is the best choice you could take. It is more of like an all-purpose tire so you will perfectly be fine to take it to all kinds of terrains available. This variant of tires is mostly used in combination with the Enduro mountain bike ranges.
- Michelin Enduro Rock
This type of tire is specifically designed for riding your bike through the rough terrains filled with rocks and hard surfaces. You can use it for all kinds of challenging roads.
- Michelin Enduro Force
This type of tires comes with the extra benefit of Gravity Shield Technology. They are well suited for tracks that are made of dry terrains where it is really hard to get a good grip.
- Michelin Enduro Mud
Enduro Mud will let you ride effortlessly on any kind of muddy tracks without any kind of difficulty. It gives good grip and good handling even on those kinds of terrains.
6. Downhill Mountain Bike Frame Sizes: As we have told earlier, downhill mountain bikes tend to be much longer than the normal mountain bikes. The frame size of the downhill bike is measured as the distance between the center portion of the head tube and the center part of the seat tube. This frame size measurement is often called the ‘effective top tube length’ and in some other cases we call it the ‘horizontal top tube length’.
The length of the top tube must be more of you are taller than average people. for a comfortable ride on them. Generally, the riders who are taller than 5’11” usually use the large downhill frame sizes. To make the frame selection easier for you, manufacturers usually provide a sizing chart with every model. The frame size of models in each category varies a lot between one another.
So, it is highly recommended for you to check out the chart and find the bike size that is apt for your body size. This is an average measurement made out of the tests conducted on many people. To get the best fit what you have to do is try out different bike sizes and find out the one that suits you the best.
7. Downhill Mountain Bike Frame Materials: Downhill bike riding is extremely risky. So, the material from which your bike is made of is extremely important. The stronger the material the healthier the bike and you will be. The materials from which the mountain bikes are usually made of are listed below.
It is the cheapest material available. So, if you want cheap bikes then expect them to be made out of aluminum. Because of their strength and lightness, they are used in almost all of the bikes. Aluminum has the property of being too stiff so you can expect to get rough rides from them if you compare them with that of chromoly or titanium.
- Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber is usually found in the most premium bikes. They have high durability. It is made out of carbon strands that are arranged in the form of cloth by twisting the fibers up. The carbon fiber achieves a special shape by coating it with a hard resin or plastic when it is put on a mold. It is the lightest material used in mountain bikes and is normally found in cross-country bikes and all mountain bikes.
Recently, it has shown its presence in downhill bikes too. With the latest technology integration, manufacturing using carbon fiber has become cheaper and the strength of the material is also improving by a great extent.
- Chromoly Steel
Chromoly is heavier than all the other materials but they are superior in quality. It is a steel alloy but is much lighter than high-tensile steel. The strength and responsiveness of the material will give you a very supple riding experience.
- Material Combinations
In some cases, mountain bike frames are made of different materials. The most common combination you can find is carbon fiber and any other metal. This metal can be steel, aluminum or titanium. We haven’t seen any mountain bikes with frames made out of any material blends but using more than one kind of material is a common scene.
For example, on some bikes, we have seen a bike carbon fiber front triangle coupled with an aluminum swingarm. If the materials are carefully selected based on their properties, then the bikes will have an overall improvement in their stiffness and damping where you need it.
8. Budget Considerations: Mountain bikes are highly complex so deciding on your budget will be a tough job. As it generally goes, if you are spending more cash on the bikes, you will be able to get superior metals used in them and this will give an overall better performance and value to the bike. The difference between the best mountain bikes over $1500 and the best mountain bikes over $500 will be quite significant.
In most of the cases, expensive bikes like the mountain bikes over $1000 tend to be made with stronger materials so they offer much more overall durability but this durability may reduce if you are getting a lightweight version. There are good Giant Mountain bikes as well that are affordable mountain bikes. But, if you are constant mountain rider, then you must be ready to spend good enough cash on them.
So, be ready to spend around $2000 for a good enough bike. If you go for something cheaper, expect your bike to be at the repair shop most of the time. We have often seen beginner buyers buying the lower grade version of any particular models expecting to upgrade when required. But the problem is that the individual costs of these parts are way higher than when you buy it with the bike. So, please avoid keeping a cheap eye towards getting your good mountain ride.
A Quick and Handy Tip for Mountaineers
Buying additional gear for mountain bike rides can improve the overall experience you will have on your bike rides. Most of the dedicated mountain riders will only spend cash on tires and that won’t alone help you get the complete experience. It is a common mistake made by the beginner bike riders to buy the mountain bike tires with the inner tube.
The end result is once you reach the top of the mountain your tire might get a puncture and the whole point of taking the downhill ride will be lost. There are varieties of tires that could save you from this kind of stupid mistakes. The anti-puncture variety of Cush Core bikes can prevent you from these unforeseen circumstances. These tires are used almost all of the dedicated mountain riders.
They are highly durable and it will help you stay tension free throughout the ride. Mountain bike riding is not a child’s play and there are always chances for you to end up damaging your bike or get into any unforeseen situations. So, we would advise you to carry a service kit to cover you during those situations. This will become handy if you are engaging in competition.
One of the best services we have found is the Enduro Tyres tubeless service kit. Other than that you can also go for the Schwalbe tubeless easy kit with an additional Enduro Tyre if you find it useful. This combination of service kit is extremely useful if you are using Moto x and Enduro Tyres.
The dedicated downhill bikes are designed for tough and fast rides down the mountain paths. They are designed to handle all the tough jumps, rocks, and any other obstacles. The extra durability built on to them is added with the addition of weight. Because of this, they are heavier and stronger than normal mountain bikes.
To handle the hard jumps and protect your back, these bikes have good suspensions that have suspension travel of around 20 cm. As we have said, they are dedicated bikes and are made to tackle the roughness of the road even when you are at high speeds. They may not be the ideal choice for uphill climbing. But there won’t be any sacrifice on your downhill rides.
So, hold yourself tight for a fast descending ride down the roads when you get one. If you want that experience, then don’t waste a moment just go and buy the best downhill mountain bike.