Have you ever wondered what it takes to conquer the rugged terrains and steep slopes of the world's most daring trails? In the realm of adrenaline and speed, only the best downhill mountain bikes can deliver such a thrilling experience. But what makes these bikes the ideal choice for those who crave high-speed adventures?
Through comprehensive research and analysis, we've curated a list of the best downhill mountain bikes in 2023. We've evaluated their comfort, quality, suspension, and handling capabilities. Each bike stands out for its exceptional design and ability to redefine the limits of the top downhill mountain bike riders.
BEST OVERALL PICK
For downhill biking enthusiasts who demand the best, the Trek Sessions 29 9.9 Downhill Bike 2023 our top pick and is a hard act to follow. A regular on the world cup podiums, it sports a full OCLV carbon frame, embodying a fine balance of style and performance with its clean, streamlined design.
The bike is celebrated for its lightweight and stiff construction. Ensuring you conquer every trail with exceptional ease. While it features 190mm of travel - slightly less than some competitors - it doesn't falter on rider comfort or performance.
Available in four sizes to accommodate a wide range of riders, it caters to various body types, ensuring a comfortable and customizable ride experience. User testimonials applaud its responsive handling, lower fatigue on long rides, and overall stability. However, this championship-level performance comes with a higher price point. If downhill biking is your passion, and you're willing to invest in top-notch quality and performance, the Trek Sessions 29 9.9 makes a compelling case.
The Vitus Dominer 2023 is an impressive choice for downhill biking enthusiasts, especially those seeking a budget-friendly option without compromising on quality. Despite its sub-$2.5k price tag, this bike packs high-end features typically found in models twice its price.
Unlike pricier bikes geared for the World Cup circuit, the Dominer offers a versatile performance that extends to all-mountain and enduro biking, making it excellent for longer-distance rides. Equipped with industry-leading parts like RockShox 200mm BoXXer forks, 225mm RockShox Super Deluxe Select R Coil rear shock, and Sram Guide RE brakes, it ensures a smooth ride and powerful stopping power.
The Nukeproof Horizon V2 wheelset, known for its quick acceleration and distinct buzzing noise, adds to the bike's all-around performance. However, it's worth noting the coil on the rear shock could be a point of concern for some due to reported kickbacks from hard landings.
The Vitus Dominer is available in four sizes, accommodating a wide range of riders. Although it might be heavier than some, its affordable price, high-quality components, and fast acceleration make it a great value pick for downhill mountain biking.
The Scott Gambler 900 Tuned is a top-tier downhill mountain bike that sets itself apart with its impressive construction and a plethora of customizable features. Although the price is steep, it is justified by the high-quality components it boasts.
Equipped with 29” wheels and 200mm of travel, the Gambler 900 Tuned can also accommodate 27.5" wheels thanks to Scott's integrated adjustments. It features a lightweight yet stiff frame due to the unique 'stiffness zone' which runs along the top tube and chainstays. The frame is lighter than most downhill bikes, rivaling enduro and cross-country models.
One of the distinct elements of the Gambler 900 Tuned is its proprietary chain guide system that includes elastomers absorbing impacts. Besides, the bike offers extensive customizability; with adjustable chainstay, forks, headset, and stack height, you can tailor it to your riding preferences.
If the $8k price tag is beyond reach, Scott also offers the Gambler 910 with slightly fewer premium components. This model costs $3k less. Even more affordable options are present in the 920 and 930 models.
In summary, the Scott Gambler 900 Tuned is an exceptional downhill bike with a simple, attractive design, lightweight frame, and customizable features, though its price tag makes it a premium option.
Nukeproof's Dissent 920 is a dream downhill bike for privateers, designed for top performance without a hefty price tag. Born from a legacy that began in the 1980s, Nukeproof evolved from making bike components to winning accolades with its Mega series.
The Dissent 920 boasts adjustable geometry and superior suspension kinematics, making it versatile and race-ready. The flip-chip in the main suspension pivot, a novel feature, enables the testing of multiple suspension setups and is a result of successful experiments in Downhill World Cups.
However, there is room for improvement. Riders find the Sram Code R Brakes lackluster for a bike reliant on braking power. Additionally, the choice of new Boxxer forks over Fox Floats is questioned for consistency during intense rides.
In summary, the Nukeproof Dissent 920 is an outstanding, low-maintenance downhill bike with high tunability at an attractive price. It's ideal for privateers seeking professional performance in downhill racing but is not tailored for park or dirt jump biking.
Mondraker, with 20 years of accolades and innovation, brings the Summum RR 2023, a downhill mountain bike crafted for professional performance. Steeped in racing heritage, including World Cup victories, the Summum RR is equipped with cutting-edge technologies like Stealth Air Full Carbon construction, Forward Geometry, and the lauded Zero Suspension System.
The Zero Suspension System, a turning point for Mondraker when first introduced in 2009, is central to Summum's superior ride experience. This system and Forward Geometry contributed to Mondraker's dominance in the 2016 Downhill World Championships, taking all three podium spots.
The Summum RR features a complete geometry kit allowing riders to tailor the bike, including suspension settings and wheel size adjustments. This customization ensures an optimized riding experience and builds rider confidence for aggressive and fast rides.
However, excellence comes at a cost, as the Summum RR carries a high price tag. Additionally, some riders might find the forks and shocks could be better.
What to Look for in a DH Mountain BikeWhether you're a seasoned pro or just diving into the adrenaline-pumping world of downhill mountain biking, finding the right bike can be an expedition in itself. You need something that can take the hits, maintain high speeds and keep you in control while flying down steep and rugged terrain. Here's a streamlined guide to aid your search:
High-quality suspension is paramount. For downhill mountain biking, full suspension is a must. Look for a bike with at least 180mm of travel in the front and rear. Well-known brands like RockShox and Fox are a good bet. Be sure the suspension is adjustable, as tuning it to your weight and riding style can substantially improve your experience.
Downhill bikes should be strong yet reasonably lightweight. Aluminum is the most common frame material due to its blend of strength and affordability. Carbon fiber is a pricier option but shaves off weight without sacrificing strength. Steel is durable but heavier and generally best for those on a tight budget.
Look for a slack head angle (63-65 degrees) for stability at high speeds and a low bottom bracket to keep your center of gravity down. The longer wheelbase is also beneficial for downhill stability.
Wheel Size and Tires
27.5-inch wheels are a popular choice for their balance between agility and rolling power. However, some riders prefer 29-inch wheels for faster rolling over obstacles. Tires should be wide (2.3 inches or more) and have an aggressive tread pattern for maximum grip. Brands like Maxxis and Schwalbe are often favorites among downhill enthusiasts.
Downhill biking demands brakes that can handle high speeds and steep descents. Look for hydraulic disc brakes with large rotors (200mm or more) for better-stopping power and heat dissipation. SRAM and Shimano are reputable brands in this department.
While not as crucial as in cross-country biking, a reliable drivetrain is still important. A 7 or 8-speed cassette is standard for downhill bikes, and a clutch derailleur can help reduce chain slap and dropped chains.
Size and Fit
Ensuring it fits correctly is essential for control and comfort. Consult the manufacturer's sizing chart and consider visiting a local bike shop to sit on a few bikes and find what feels best.
Brand Reputation and Reviews
Buying from a reputable brand is often a good indicator of quality. Brands like Specialized, Trek, Giant, and Santa Cruz are well-regarded. Also, check for user reviews and professional evaluations to get a sense of how a bike performs in real-world conditions.
Budget and Value
Set a budget, but be mindful that downhill mountain biking can be hard on equipment. It's often better to invest in a higher-quality bike upfront than to pay for costly repairs later. Look for models that offer the best balance between performance and cost.
Check if the brand offers a warranty and good customer support. This can be invaluable if you run into issues down the line.
By weighing these factors in your decision, you can find a downhill mountain bike that not only satisfies your thirst for adventure but also ensures you have a reliable and enjoyable ride on the trails. Happy trails!
Trek Sessions 29 9.9 Downhill Bike 2023
Photo by @kirkbyoffroadClick Here to Check Best Price
Trek is one of the most well-rounded brands in mountain biking. They sell dozens of models throughout various disciplines, including downhill, where the Sessions 29 features.
This bike has a great heritage on the downhill competition circuit. Riders, including Vali Höll, Loris Vergier, Rachel Atherton, and Kate Edwards, are just a few that commonly ride this model. You will have seen this model on the DH world cup podiums various times over the past few years.
Trek released the 29” models onto the world cup circuit in 2017. Since then, they've made great improvements in each iteration, leading to this year with the 9.9 machine!
Full OCLV carbon makes up the frame, with the rest of the bike being quite a common setup for Trek's DH bikes. Trek only released the full version of this bike in 2019. Before then, only the frameset and fork kit was sold.
I love the simple, clean design of this frame. The top tube flows smoothly from the headtube down to the bottom bracket, with a strong seat tube triangle that angles backward, similar to most DH bikes. At the end of this line is the BB83 threaded bottom bracket.
Another contributing factor to the sleek design is the cable routing. Trek has routed the brake and gear cables internally into the front triangle and out of the lower portion of the downtube. The gear cable then goes through the chainstay, intending to reduce chain-slap noises. This doesn't seem to have worked very well, so extra chainstay guards may be a good idea.
To cater to every rider up to 136kg, Trek has produced four different sizes of this bike, from small to Extra Large. Use the table below to determine the best size for you to buy.
|S||155 - 165 cm||74 - 78 cm|
|M||165 - 176 cm||79 - 83 cm|
|L||177 - 188 cm||84 - 89 cm|
|XL||188 - 195 cm||89 - 91 cm|
Acceleration and gaining speed out of corners or jumps are very easy with this bike. The lack of weight and stiff construction improves this speed, but any bottoming out can feel quite rough and uncomfortable.
The Session comes with 190mm of travel and a max of 200mm. It's a lot for an all-rounder mountain bike, but for a DH bike, this isn't much. You'll see most downhill bikes with 210mm or more. This isn't a terrible feature of the Trek, but it's something to think about.
What we like:
- Simple, clean design with a great finish
- Aggressive but comfortable geometry
- High-Quality, professional parts
- Extremely Light
- 4 Different Bike Sizes
What we don't like:
- Lack of weight can create a stiff feel
- Very Expensive
5/5 Trek Review
WOW! I bought this bike for bike park riding. This bike is fast! I had a Session 9.9 27.5 that I liked but compared to that bike this Session 29 has way more life to it! In my opinion it's more responsive than the 27.5 version. I like it better in the steep rock gardens (obviously 29" wheels are better in rocks), better off jumps (pops off the lip) and I found it very stable at high speeds in straightaways and high banked berms. I love the G5 tires as they have tons of traction and roll fast. The suspension was easy to fine tune for the way I like to ride. My favorite run with this bike is Upper Chillin-FoSho-Lower Supreme-Transition-Half Aspen-Pinball-Candy Land (Angel Fire). That run throws everything at this bike, but the Session 29 just smashes it! With the Session 29 I can do more bike park laps with way less fatigue, way more speed and waaay more fun! At the time of this review I have 200 miles of downhill on this bike after 30 days.
Photo by @kirkbyoffroad
Trek Sessions Specifications:
- Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame. 190 mm travel
- Fork: RockShox Boxxer Ultimate. 190mm travel
- Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate DH
- Max Compatible Travel: 200mm
- Front Wheel: Bontrager Line DH 30
- Rear Wheel: Bontrager Line DH 30
- Rim: Bontrager Line DH 30
- Tyre: Bontrager G5 Team Issue
- Rim Strip: Bontrager TLR
- Max Tyre Size: 29” x 2.5”
- Shifter: SRAM X01 DH, 7 speed
- Rear Derailleur: Sram X01 DH
- Crank: Sram X01 DH, 36T, 165mm
- Bottom Bracket: Sram DUB 83mm
- Cassette: Sram PG-720, 11-25, 7-speed
- Chain: Sram PC-1110, 11-speed
- Pedal: Wellgo MG-1
- Max Chainring Size: 36T
- Saddle: Bontrager Arvada, 138mm width
- Seatpost: Bontrager Rhythm Elite, 31.6mm, 0mm offset, 330mm length
- Handlebars: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm, 15mm rise, 820mm width
- Grips: Bontrager XR Trail Elite, alloy lock-on
- Stem: Bontrager Line Pro, 35mm, 50mm length
- Headset: FSA Orbit, sealed cartridge bearing
- Brake Rotor: Sram CentreLine, 6-bolt, 180mm or 200mm
- Brake Set: SRAM Code RSC 4-piston hydraulic disc
- Weight: ~15.27kg
- Max Weight Limit: 136kg
Trek Session 9.9 | Dirt 100
Vitus Dominer Budget Downhill Mountain Bike 2023
Photo by @roscolinesClick Here to Check Best Price
Although it's still well over $2k, the Vitus Dominer is our budget pick for this guide. Vitus has created a great bike for any downhill enthusiast. You will see many DH bikes up around $10k now so it's good to see a model that's running some of the best RockShox and Sram parts but with a much lower price tag.
You might not get the world cup setup you're used to seeing on YouTube and TV, but you will be able to use this bike as an all-mountain or enduro bike. I also feel like this bike is a great one for riding longer distances.
Vitus chose a lot of the same parts I would have if I built this myself. The RockShox 200mm BoXXer forks, massive 225mm RockShox Super Deluxe Select R Coil rear shock, and Sram Guide RE brakes are industry leaders. 200mm rotors are pretty standard for bikes like this, but I appreciate the stopping power on a budget option like this.
102 points of engagement are hidden inside the Nukeproof Horizon V2 wheelset. Horizons produce a gorgeous, buzzing noise when sending it down the trail. Other than the noise, you'll feel the instant acceleration when coming out of a turn or jump.
My main grievance that would probably get changed if I was riding this bike for an extended period is the coil on the rear shock. I much prefer an Air Shock and the adjustment it brings over any type of coil. Many users have noted the obvious kickback from hard landings when using the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil.
Similar to the Trek Sessions, Vitus has released this bike in 4 different sizes. You can use the table below to determine which size is best for you and your riding style.
|Rec Rider Height (Imperial)||5' 2" - 5' 6"||5' 6" - 5' 10"||5' 10" - 6' 2"||6' 2" - 6' 7"|
|Rec Rider Height (Metric)||152 - 170cm||170 - 178cm||178 - 190cm||190 - 201cm|
|Rec Inside Leg (Imperial)||26.5" - 30"||30" - 32"||32" - 34"||34" - 37"|
|Rec Inside Leg (Metric)||67cm - 76cm||76cm - 81cm||81cm - 86cm||86 - 94cm|
|(A) Seattube Length||393.7mm||393.7mm||406.4mm||432mm|
|(B) Effective Top Tube Length||588.5mm||610mm||633.5mm||653.5mm|
|(E) Chainstay Length||446mm||446mm||446mm||446mm|
|(F) Headtube Length||110mm||110mm||110mm||110mm|
|(G) Headtube Angle||63°||63°||63°||63°|
|(H) Seat Tube Angle||64°||64°||64°||64°|
|Bottom Bracket Drop||0mm||0mm||0mm||0mm|
|Axle to Crown||579mm||579mm||579mm||579mm|
|Bottom Bracket||83mm BSA||83mm BSA||83mm BSA||83mm BSA|
|Headset||ZS44/28.6 - ZS56/40||ZS44/28.6 - ZS56/40||ZS44/28.6 - ZS56/40||ZS44/28.6 - ZS56/40|
|Chain Device||ISCG 05||ISCG 05||ISCG 05||ISCG 05|
|Rear Axle||12x150mm Bolt through||12x150mm Bolt through||12x150mm Bolt through||12x150mm Bolt through|
What we like:
- Low price with great parts
- High-Quality suspension setup
- Fast acceleration with 102 points of acceleration
What we don't like:
- Kickback from the coil shock
- Chain Slap
- A little heavy
Photo by vitusbikes.com
Vitus Dominer Specifications:
- Frame: Dominer Alloy 6061-T6
- Forks: RockShox BoXXer Select, 200mm Travel
- Rear Hub: Nukeproof Horizon V2, 32H
- Wheelset: Nukeproof Horizon V2 Wheelset, 27.5", 32H
- Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select R Coil, 225mm x 72.5mm
- Front Tyre: Maxxis Assegai, 27.5" x 2.50"
- Chainset: Truvativ Descendant DH, 34T, 165mm Crank Length
- Rear Tyre: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 27.5" x 2.4"
- Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB, BSA Threaded BB, 83mm Shell
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RE
- Brake Rotors: SRAM Centerline, 200mm
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX DH, 7 Speed
- Handlebars: Nukeproof Horizon V2 Riser, 7075 Alloy, 25mm Rise, 9° Back Sweep, 31.8mm Clamp
- Shifters: SRAM GX DH, 7 Speed
- Stem: Nukeproof Neutron DH, 47mm - 52mm Adjustable Length, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter, 30° Rise
- Cassette: SRAM PG720 DH, 7 Speed, 11-25T Range
- Chain: SRAM PC1110, 11 Speed
- Grips: Vitus Lock On
- Front Rim: Nukeproof Horizon V2, 27.5", 32H
- Saddle: Nukeproof Vector DH Saddle
- Rear Rim: Nukeproof Horizon V2, 27.5", 32H
- Seatpost: Nukeproof Horizon Inline, 30.9mm x 300mm
- Front Hub: Nukeproof Horizon V2, 32H, 6 Bolt Disc Fitment, 110mm x 20mm
- Seat Clamp: Vitus, 34.9mm Diameter
DREAM BUILD MTB - Vitus Dominer - Joe Smith RedBull Hardline
Scott Gambler 900 Tuned Downhill Mountain Bike
Photo by @eneiteClick Here to Check Best Price
The Gambler 900 DH bike from Scott is our premium pick for this list. The price is extortionate for many, but the parts list and setup are super impressive. I'm obsessed with the simple construction and three-shock linkage.
In this recent version of the Gambler, we receive 29” wheels, a carbon or aluminum frameset, and 200mm of travel. The travel is pretty generic for this list of downhill MTB bikes. Scott has integrated so many adjustments to this bike that it's super easy to set up the bike for 27.5” wheels.
Scott knows that the $8k price tag is too much for most people. That's why they've released a very similar version called the Gambler 910 for $3k less. You'll receive less carbon, and a few of the premier Fox, Sram, and Syncros parts have been switched out. If this is still too much, you can go even cheaper with the 920 or 930 Gambler models. I really appreciate these options, and it opens up the market to so many more riders.
Photo by @eneite
As I mentioned, I love the clean construction of this frame. The paint job will surely turn heads, but the frame is very pleasing to look at. Scott designed the frame with a ‘stiffness zone,' which runs along the top tube and the chainstays. The top sections of the bike are considered lightweight areas and feature reduced thickness and lighter tubing.
Using this method, they've managed to keep up stiffness whilst reducing weight. This frame is lighter than most DH bikes, competing more with enduro or cross-country bikes.
A big part of the hefty price tag you see here is the proprietary chain guide system. The bad guard no longer threads directly into the frame. The guard slides over two lugs located under the bottom bracket. They contain elastomers that absorb some of the larger impacts the bike may face.
In order to get as many people riding this bike as possible, Scott has added many adjustment points. Extra headset cups come in the box so you can adjust the head tube angle. The chainstay, forks, headset, and stack height are just some of the adjustments that can tailor this bike to your riding. You can imagine a pro-DH mechanic will be setting this bike up perfectly for their riders on the world cup circuit.
What we like:
- Professional parts included
- Dozens of possible adjustments
- Proprietary chain guard
- Extremely light design
What we don't like:
- The paint job isn't very durable and not for everyone
- Integrated bars make some adjustments tricky
The Gambler is an incredibly neutral feeling bike - it's free of any unwanted surprises, and no matter the terrain, whether it was extra-chunky and blown out or fast and smooth, the handling remained consistent.
Photo by @eneite
Scott Gambler Specifications:
- Travel: 200mm
- Rear Shock: FOX DHX2 Factory
- Fork: FOX 40 Factory 203mm travel
- Headset: Syncros DH adjustable Semi-integrated / adj +-1° with cup
- Cassette: SRAM CS PG-720 DH 11-25
- Crankarms: SRAM X01 DH DUB Carbon 34T Alloy Chainring / 165mm
- Chainguide: SCOTT DH Custom
- Chain: KMC X11-1
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM XO1 DH
- Shifter Pods: SRAM XO1 DH 7-speed
- Handlebar: Syncros Hixon iC DH Carbon 15mm Rise / 8° / 800mm
- Grips: Syncros Pro DH dual lock-on grips
- Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
- Wheelset: Syncros Revelstoke DH 1.5
- Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5"
- Seat: Syncros Comox 1.5 Titanium Rails
- Seatpost: Syncros DH1.5 / 31.6mm / Alloy7050
Introducing the all NEW SCOTT Gambler Tuned
Nukeproof Dissent 920 Comp Review
Photo by nukeproof.comClick Here to Check Best Price
Nukeproof is a renowned mountain bike brand that originated in the United States during the late 1980s. Founded by John Muenzenmeyer, the company initially focused on producing bike components such as titanium and carbon composite hubs, which quickly gained popularity among mountain bike enthusiasts.
In the 1990s, Nukeproof expanded into full mountain bike production, known for its robust design and performance.
In 2007, the brand underwent a significant transformation when it was acquired by Chain Reaction Cycles, a Northern Irish online bike retailer. Under new ownership, Nukeproof's headquarters were moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The company has since established itself as a prominent player in the mountain biking industry, notably with its Mega series, which has won numerous accolades, including multiple Enduro World Series titles. Nukeproof continues to be renowned for its innovation and high-performance mountain bikes.
The Nukeproof Dissent 920 advertises itself as the privateer's dream downhill bike. A mountain bike privateer is a rider who competes on the professional circuit without being associated with a pro team.
Privateers generally have less money and equipment for support, so getting top quality with professional parts without the professional price tag is important.
The Pulse was the long-standing top DH model from Nukeproof until 2019, when they released the Dissent. Adjustable geometry, greater suspension kinematics, and better part options have created this dream for privateers or less established riders.
A flip-chip in the main suspension pivot was the brand new feature and the reason Nukeproof developed this bike. They were looking to test multiple suspension kinematics at the same time. After achieving some success in the Downhill world cups, the company decided to concentrate some more energy on the project and release it to more riders.
Sram Code R Brakes are the main complaint from a lot of riders. They aren't bad brakes, but for a product that relies so heavily on brake adjustment and stopping power, they could've made a better choice.
I also think going for the popular Fox Float forks would've been better than the new Boxxers. You have some good tunability, but the consistency throughout hardcore rides would be better with the Floats.
You're getting a brilliant, low-maintenance bike with next-level tunability for a great price. You won't be getting a brilliant park or DJ bike due to the frame and wheel size, but you can't argue with its downhill speed.
What we like:
- Great tunability and options
- Incredible stability at speed
- Robust Design and Frame
What we don't like:
- Some parts could be improved
- Harder to ride on flat or uphill sections
- The brakes could be better
Photo by nukeproof.com
Nukeproof Dissent Specifications:
- Frame: Nukeproof Dissent 290 Alloy
- Fork: RockShox Boxxer Select Charger RC, 200mm.
- Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select R
- Wheels: Sun-Ringle Duroc SD37 Comp 29”
- Tyres: Michelin DH22 29 x 2.4”
- Crankset: Sram Descendant DH
- Shifter: SRAM GX 7-Speed
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX 7-Speed
- Chain: SRAM PC-1110 11-Speed
- Cassette: SRAM GX DH 7-Speed
- Chain Guide: MRP G4 CS
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RE
- Rotors: SRAM Centreline 220mm
- Handlebars: Nukeproof Neutron 25mm Rise, 780mm Width
- Stem: Nukeproof Horizon Direct Mount, 45mm
- Saddle: Nukeproof Saddle
- Seatpost: Nukeproof Neutron, 30.9mm, 300mm, 10 offset
- Headset: Nukeproof, 49IITS
- Grips: Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature
- Bearings: Enduro Bearings
- Weight: 17.4kg
BIKE REVIEW - Nukeproof Dissent 290
Mondraker Summum RR 2023 Downhill Bike
Photo by @flcycling_seClick Here to Check Best Price
Mondraker, founded by Paco Sanchez and Miguel Pina at the turn of the millennium, has celebrated 20 years of innovation, passion, and victories in mountain biking, specifically downhill mountain biking.
Their first bike, the Petrol, was released in 2001 and won the Spanish Downhill Cup in 2003. The Mondraker Curve, introduced in 2002, paved the way for the long-lasting Foxy model launched in 2003. The Mondraker Kaiser in 2007 evolved from the original Petrol DH bike, raising the bar on racing performance.
In 2009, the brand gained recognition with Fabien Barel's World Cup victory at Maribor. The Zero Suspension platform was thus introduced. This was followed by the 2012 Summum Pro Team, the lightest DH race bike in the circuit at the time.
The 2012 Podium Carbon redefined the brand's XC hardtail bike. In 2015, Mondraker released its first e-bike collection and the Foxy Carbon, a versatile high-end carbon fiber bike. The 2016 Summum Carbon led to an unprecedented World Champs 1-2-3 for Mondraker riders.
In 2019, Rebecca McConnell rode the F-Podium Carbon RR to its first World Cup podium. By 2020, the brand had revamped its eMTB lineup, setting new standards with the lightweight Crafty Carbon RR SL.
It's safe to say Mondraker has enough experience to know how to make a successful downhill mountain bike. The Summum RR is the bike picked for the Mondraker professional team riders. Stealth Air Full Carbon, Forward Geometry, A Zero Suspension System, and Mind are just some of the next-level technologies integrated into the Summum bike.
Photo by @flcycling_se
A complete geometry kit has been included to optimize the whole bike. From the suspension to being able to change the size of each wheel, you can tailor every part of the bike to your riding.
Mondraker's proprietary Zero Suspension System is unique and integral to the Mondraker range, providing a superior ride experience and demonstrating Mondraker's commitment to innovation.
The Zero Suspension System was first introduced in 2009 and featured on the prototype Summum frame. This was a turning point for the Mondraker brand, marking their first Elite World Cup win. The system was also introduced onto the Summum downhiller and Foxy Enduro bikes in their 2010 models. The Zero Suspension System was proven in races, contributing to the development of the Forward Geometry concept, which revolutionized mountain bike geometry.
In 2016, the Summum Carbon, featuring the Zero Suspension System and Forward Geometry, was chosen by many riders. At the Downhill World Championships at Val di Sole, Mondraker riders won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, showcasing the performance of the Zero Suspension System. Danny Hart, one of the winners, used the Summum Carbon throughout the season, contributing to Mondraker finishing the season as the number 1 ranked team.
You won't be getting a great price with this bike, but you will receive a brilliantly tuned machine that will take you to the next level on your rides. You quickly gain confidence when riding this bike, getting faster and more aggressive after just a few runs.
What we like:
- Brilliant Geometry
- Easy Maneuverability
- Comfortable Ride
What we don't like:
- Forks and Shocks could be better
Photo by @flcycling_se
Mondraker Summum Specifications:
- Frame: Summum Carbon Stealth Air Full Carbon
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Rear Shock: Fox DHX2 Factory Kashima, 225x70mm
- Fork: Fox 40 29 Float Fix GRIP2 EVOL, 203mm
- Headset: ONOFF Mercurium 1.5 ZS
- Stem: ONOFF Krypton DH CNX Integrated, 30mm
- Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar
- Grips: Renthal Double Lock-on, 130mm
- Seatpost: SDG Micro I-Beam SP-951 Carbon, 31.6mm, 300mm
- Saddle: SDG I-Fly 2.0
- Brakes: Shimano Saint M820, 4-piston, 203mm
- Brake Lever: Shimano Saint
- Rims: E*thirteen LG1 Race Carbon
- Spokes: E*thirteen custom Hive triple-butted
- Front Hub: E*thirteen Boost 20x110mm
- Rear Hub: E*thirteen Superboost 12x157mm
- Tires: Michelin DH34 29x2.4”
- Crankset: Shimano Saint M825 Hollowtech II, 165mm
- Chainrings: 36T, aluminum, BCD 104
- Bottom Bracket: Shimano 83mm
- Chain: Shimano HG95, 10s
- Front Derailleur: E.13 Vario Compact Upper Slider
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Saint RD-M820-SS
- Shift Levers: Shimano Saint SL-M820 10s
- Cassette: Shimano CS-HG500-10, 11-25T, 10s
- Weight: 16.7kg
BIKE REVIEW - Mondraker Summum Carbon MX
We can't include every great downhill mountain bike on this list. As we've been testing and researching we came across the following bikes that we're easily good enough to be on the list but didn't quite make it:
- Commencal Supreme V5
- Santa Cruz V10 MX
- YT Industries Tues 29
- Atherton Bikes DH Bike
Frequently Asked Questions About Downhill Mountain Bikes
What is a downhill MTB good for?
Downhill mountain bikes are primarily used on downhill mountain bike trails. They are sometimes also used on enduro trails.
What is the hardest downhill MTB race?
Val di Sole in Italy is the hardest downhill mountain bike race. Red Bull asked some of their riders and overwhelmingly found that the tricky, technical trail of Val di Sole was the toughest on the circuit.
What is the difference between a downhill bike and a mountain bike?
Downhill bikes are specialized mountain bikes designed for descending steep and technical terrains at high speeds. They feature heavy-duty frames, longer travel suspension (around 200mm), and slack head angles to increase stability.
On the other hand, general mountain bikes are versatile and lighter, designed for a mix of climbing and descending across varied terrains. They have shorter travel suspensions (between 100mm to 160mm) and steeper head angles for better pedaling efficiency and agility. Downhill bikes are for extreme descents, while mountain bikes are more versatile for different types of trails.
Are heavier bikes better downhill?
No. Heavier bikes are harder to control, resulting in terrible maneuverability. It's also much harder to gain speed on a heavy bike.
Can I use my hardtail for downhill?
You'd be able to get to the bottom of most generic downhill mountain bike runs on hardtail mtb, but you won't be very comfy. Some of the harder trails would be very tricky without at least a full-suspension mountain bike.
How fast do downhill MTB riders go?
A downhill rider on a challenging run is likely to achieve over 35mph. However, it's quite common for advanced riders to go over 60mph when on a fast trail.
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