Each type of bicycle like endurance, trail, and cross-country has a specific purpose. While most bikes are all about commuting, trail riding, and climbing, others focus on better performance when descending steep slopes. We’re talking about none other than downhill mountain bikes.
The purpose of downhill MTBs is so distinct that most of them can’t be used for climbing at all. It should be transported through another vehicle. It has a different design compared to ordinary bikes, which is why it can be difficult to choose the right model for your skill level and budget.
Don’t worry; we’re here to help you get started by showing you some of the best downhill mountain bikes in the market.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Downhill Mountain Bikes Review
- 1.1 Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike
- 1.2 Mongoose Boot’r 27.5″ Down Hill Bicycle
- 1.3 Merax FT323 Mountain Bike 21 Speed Full Suspension Aluminum Frame
- 1.4 Schwinn Bonafide Front Suspension
- 1.5 Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension
- 1.6 BEIOU Carbon Fiber 27.5 29″ Hardtail
- 1.7 Cyrusher FR100 Folding Mountain Bike Full Suspension
- 1.8 Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Mission 1 Complete Full Suspension
- 2 How to Choose Good Downhill Mountain Bikes
- 2.1 Shape
- 2.2 Material
- 2.3 Suspension
- 2.4 Seat Post
- 2.5 Cable Routing
- 2.6 Brakes
- 2.7 Wheels
- 3 Conclusion
Best Downhill Mountain Bikes Review
Go over these affordable downhill mountain bikes so you’ll have a chance to find the right model for yourself without spending too much time browsing.
With its traditional hardtail design, the Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike is dynamic and lightweight without the expensive price. It’s not exactly recommended for steep slopes, but it can still perform like a downhill bike for beginners while being effective for other purposes like trail riding and racing. It’s one of the most versatile models you can buy before you can even add some upgrades.
This mountain bike is lightweight yet durable because of its aluminum frame. The frame’s durability is enhanced with a strong 100-millimeter suspension fork, Boost 148 spacing at the rear, and thru-axles on both ends.
When it comes to the specifics of its performance, this MTB uses an 11-speed drivetrain designed by SRAM. That’s why it’s highly responsive for shifting without the complicated system of a classic front derailleur.
Let’s not forget about the hydraulic brakes. The Shimano MT500 disc brakes are so powerful for advanced MTB riding.
- Lightweight and durable for a more dynamic performance without consequences
- Versatile for racing and trail riding even without upgrades
- Strong for off-road riding
- Basic yet extremely responsive shifter
- Great stopping power
- Not effective for steep slopes
- Still needs several adjustments during setup
- Uncomfortable seat
- Crooked chainring
- Tangled chain
A downhill bike should be able to move fast while going down without compromising the rider’s safety. An excellent example, the Mongoose Boot’r 27.5″ Down Hill Bicycle is highly recommended for both steep and subtle descents.
The Tektro Slate T4 levers and disc brakes have a hydraulic system and a set of four pistons to maintain lightness, control, and efficiency when speeding up or stopping while descending. The tires are also made for downhill riding. You can already enjoy all of those features without spending a lot of money.
Downhill bikes should have a strong frame as well. This mountain bike has an aluminum frame to ensure strength and, at the same time, lightness. To keep the frame neat, tidy, and secured, the cable routing is designed internally.
Meanwhile, the suspension is free-floating so you can easily monitor progression. Its 200-millimeter fork can absorb huge amounts of impact.
Additionally, one of the main reasons why this bike is reliable is the Shimano Zee 10-speed drivetrain. Together with the rear derailleur directly mounted on the bike, this MTB won’t jump or fly off the slope’s surface because of its sufficiently heavy structure maintaining contact with the ground.
- Fast yet safe descents
- Impressive performance on any slope
- Absorbs impact
- Instant control for safer acceleration and braking when going downhill
- Predictable progression
- Tire malfunction
- Wrong placement of the rims
- Loose fork
Thanks to its 21-speed Shimano shifter and derailleurs, the Merax FT323 Mountain Bike will remain powerful as you ride it down a slope. And, the best part? It can still smoothly roll over flat ground and even climb some hills. It’s one of the most versatile downhill MTBs.
For rocky terrains, this mountain bike has dual suspension. It improves control and dampens vibrations for smoother rides. You won’t bounce like crazy on bumpy surfaces.
More about control, it depends on comfort. That’s why this model has a molded handlebar with high-quality rubber grips. The seat will also conform to your body regardless of your shape.
Since stopping power is a crucial factor, this product uses linear-pull brakes. It’s safe for beginners weighing up to 330 pounds.
And, for the sake of ultimate durability, the alloy frame has undergone heat treatment. The full-suspension fork is also certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Consistent power for downhill riding
- Smooth rides on flat ground
- Can be used for climbing
- Stability on rough terrains
- Safe for heavy novice riders
- Hard seat
- Unappealing crank
- May require adjustments on the brakes
- Not designed to readily hold a pump
Just like the first option, the Schwinn Bonafide Front Suspension bike isn’t designed for steep slopes. However, it’s versatile for high and low trails. Trail riding is so much easier with this MTB.
This mountain bike is strong and lightweight for bumpy trails. It can absorb shock to keep you comfortable on the saddle no matter how challenging the terrain is. It’s perfect for people who want to explore the great outdoors without the time-consuming task of hiking.
As expected from a lightweight bike like this one, the frame is made of aluminum. And, to reduce vibrations, the suspension fork is powerful.
For steadier shifting, this MTB uses Shimano 24-Speed shifters and low-maintenance alloy cranks. Both ends of this bike also include derailleurs and mechanical brakes. The disc brakes can maintain stopping power, rain or shine.
Other alloy components of this bike are the double-walled rims. They combine strength and agility. Around the rims are tires with big knobs for rough terrains.
- Versatile for any trail
- Hassle-free trail riding
- Comfortable for rocky trails
- Less maintenance
- Efficient stopping power on wet or dry trails
- Shouldn’t be used on steep slopes
- Crooked axle
- Friction between the frame and the tires
- Tires constantly hitting your feet
- Inconvenient design for tire replacements
Even though it needs some adjustments to handle downhill riding, the Gravity 2020 FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension is still a good choice because it can minimize vibrations from rough, uneven surfaces. It’s effective not just for off-road activities but for the urban setting as well.
The strength of this mountain bike comes from its single-pivot aluminum frame with hydroformed tubing, 24-speed dual suspension, disc brakes, and double-walled rims. For convenience, the Shimano shifters have a simple design, the rear coil and front shock are adjustable, and the wheels include a quick-release.
Meanwhile, are you worried whether you’re too short or too tall for this bike? Fortunately, this model has size options. Its smallest variation can be used by people up to five feet, six inches tall while the biggest is for six-footers.
If you’re into bikes with bright colors, you’ll surely appreciate the vivid yellow frame of this product. It’s surrounded by black components for a cooler look.
- Weaker vibrations
- Strong and convenient features
- Great choice for tall and short riders
- Fun color
- Can be used as an urban bike
- Requires small adjustments to prevent damages from downhill riding
- Not durable enough for difficult trails
- Uncomfortable seat
- Road tires
- Inconvenient position of the bottle holder
Stiff, strong, lightweight, heat and chemical resistant–all of those benefits are already possible just by having the Toray T800 frame of the BEIOU Carbon Fiber 27.5 29″ Hardtail. The carbon fiber frame of this bike has hi-tensile strength and resistance to heat and corrosion. No wonder the material is more expensive than plastic and glass fibers and more in-demand for advanced applications like aerospace.
If you’re still a beginner or an intermediate rider who’s ready to be a pro, this mountain bike uses a Shimano M6000 Deore groupset. Deore is known for its reliability, durability, technology, and affordability. It has a cassette with ten cogs and at least two front gears.
Other features include the 3 x 10-speed air fork, disc brake, hardtail, and Toray T800 handlebar and seat post. They all look good with the youthful red, white, and black color combination. Different matte and shiny finishes also make the bike more attractive.
- Stiff yet lightweight
- Durable against chemical changes and hot weather
- Modern, reliable system
- Catchy color combination
- Different finishes for a more sophisticated look
- No rebound adjustment for the air fork
- Leaking air fork
- Needs improvement on the seat
- Broken parts caused by heavy use
Control and safety go hand in hand for downhill riding. That’s exactly the focus of the Cyrusher FR100 Folding Mountain Bike. It has disc brakes on both the front and the back to keep the rider safe during acceleration, retention of high speeds, and descents on dry or wet slopes. The brakes are definitely efficient and powerful.
To enhance safety, the 24-speed Shimano shifter and full suspension are included. You’ll be more precise with your speed and more balanced especially on sandy and muddy terrains.
For general use, the lightweight 17-inch frame, suspension fork, and 26-inch wheels ensure smoother rides on flat surfaces and more comfortable time when you encounter bumps along the way–literally.
Of course, we should highlight the adjustable folding frame. You can instantly fold the bike because of its quick-release mechanism. You can store it almost anywhere, leading to easier transport and more space in your home. It’s one of the best MTBs for people living in apartments.
- Stable acceleration
- Safe to use even when it moves faster
- Can handle wet grounds
- Precise speed control
- Portable and storage-friendly
- Faulty wheels
- Loose components
- Not enough shock absorption for difficult terrains
- Heavy despite the compact form when folded
- Mistakes on the pre-assembled parts
Don’t underestimate the 10-speed drivetrain of the Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Mission 1; it can handle not just downhill riding but hill climbing as well! Its suspension platform is perfectly designed for challenging terrains.
The versatility and professional-standard performance of this bike is possible because of its heavy-duty features. For starters, the 6061-T6 frame is made of high-grade aluminum. It’s paired with a stiff 160-millimeter KnuckleBox suspension fork.
Meanwhile, the rear derailleur is SRAM X7 for accuracy and quiet shifting. More about the gears, the crankset is simple and highly responsive.
Since this bike is packed with durable safety features, it’s recommended for people who are still training to become better downhill riders.
- Specifically designed for downhill riding
- Also effective for climbing
- Extremely durable for difficult terrains
- Accurate shifting
- Broken bearings
- May be ineffective for wet terrains
- Needs improvement on the pedals
How to Choose Good Downhill Mountain Bikes
There are several factors to consider before buying a downhill mountain bike. Read on to learn about MTB shapes, materials, suspensions, seat posts, cable routing, brakes, and wheels.
The shape or geometry of a bike determines its main purpose. Downhill mountain bikes should have their front wheel extended forward to keep it further away from the seat. A bigger gap between the front wheel and the seat will help you maintain balance when you ride your MTB down on steep hills.
Another way to identify the shape is by knowing the angle of the head tube. Find out the required angle for each type of MTB below:
Let’s start with the most important one. Downhill MTBs should have a head tube with a 65-degree angle or lower to move faster. That measurement is ideal for rolling and flying on slopes without making you lose control.
To handle both hill climbing and downhill riding, enduro bikes should have a 65- to 66-degree angle for their head tube. Just like a standard downhill MTB, an enduro with the correct angle can be used on steep hills.
Not necessarily capable of downhill riding on steep slopes, trail bikes have a 66- to 68-degree head tube angle. However, they’re still in-demand because of their unbeatable performance on rocky terrains. They’re commonly used by both beginners and pros for a wide range of outdoor activities.
With its head tube angle of at least 68 degrees, a cross-country bike can move nonstop for hours on almost any terrain. It’s super-versatile and effective for climbing.
This factor isn’t complicated at all. You just need to choose between two common materials for downhill bike frames: aluminum and carbon fiber. As expected, each one has a specific set of pros and cons.
Bike frames made of aluminum are more popular because they’re easier and cheaper to produce. They’re also more durable when it comes to shock absorption. You can hit one with a big rock and still use it daily without any issues.
However, aluminum MTBs aren’t exactly the best performers. Carbon fiber bikes are much better for pro riders.
For flawless acceleration and better handling of vibrations from rough surfaces, carbon fiber bikes are generally lighter than aluminum ones. They will help you feel the terrain for a more calculated performance while keeping you comfortable because of the weaker vibrations.
Unfortunately, you’re more likely to spend thousands of dollars on a mountain bike with a carbon fiber frame. A carbon fiber MTB should also be protected from direct impact as much as possible.
When it comes to suspension, choose between air and coil shocks. You can also measure the travel of the fork.
This type of bike suspension promotes more precise tuning. Its air pressure can be increased or reduced to match the rider’s weight. It can deal with the worst impact as long as you adjust it perfectly. But, it’s not as consistent as coil shocks.
Consistency has a lot to do with higher sensitivity. You can’t adjust the heavier weight of coil shocks, but they’re very helpful for longer rides downhill because of their comfortable, reliable feel.
Simply check the measurement of the fork to know the travel. Downhill mountain bikes are better with forks measuring at least 160 millimeters. Meanwhile, a travel between 140 to 160 millimeters is ideal for enduro and trail bikes. Lastly, the smallest range which is 120 to 140 millimeters is for the cross-country type.
Whether the seat post is low, high, fixed, or adjustable, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Low seat posts are best for downhill riding. They allow better control by letting the rider stand on the pedals freely.
On the other hand, high seat posts are for flat surfaces and hill climbing. That’s because they help riders step on the pedals with more force.
Fixed vs Adjustable
More affordable bikes have fixed seat posts. They’re stronger and sturdier. The downside? You can only adjust the height when the bike’s not moving.
Meanwhile, some hi-tech bikes have a button on the handlebar specifically for seat post adjustments. Simply press the button to adjust the height without stopping. You can move from one hill to another continuously.
Adjustable seat posts, shifters, and brakes require foolproof systems, so they need cables to connect the mechanisms. Now, which one is better for organizing cables: internal or external routing?
To make internal routing possible, there should be narrow tubes that can hold the cables without affecting the bike’s structure. This design looks cleaner and is safer for the cables since it can prevent snagging. But, it’s inconvenient for maintenance.
It goes without saying that external routing is easier to maintain despite the safety risks of exposed cables. This is more convenient for riders who frequently use their MTBs on the most challenging terrains. That kind of lifestyle requires regular maintenance on the bike.
Find out the right type of brakes and the suitable rotor size for downhill mountain bikes.
Mechanical disc brakes are still preferred by many riders, but for downhill riding, you need something with higher efficiency. We’re talking about hydraulic brakes.
Disc brakes with hydraulic technology are more sensitive, hence more responsive despite less effort. And, the cherry on top is you don’t need to constantly maintain them.
Bigger brake rotors within the 160- to 200-millimeter range are more powerful. They’re essential for downhill riding. The usual design is that the bigger rotor should be at the front while the smaller one is at the rear wheel to concentrate power forward as you descend.
Should you go for 27.5-inch wheels or 29ers for downhill riding? Pay attention to the following tips:
This size is more suited for advanced riders. Its main purpose is to let the rider do tricks, especially the complicated ones. It can make you fly and jump easily for more exciting rides if its rear is shorter. If there are a lot of obstacles on the terrain, agile 27.5-inch wheels can help you dodge all of them.
For racing, a longer wheelbase plus 29-inch wheels are ideal. A 29er is at its best at higher speeds.
While 27.5-inch wheels are for pros, 29ers are perfect for beginners who want to master downhill riding. They have better stability for the rider’s safety.
While other bikes on the list focus on versatility, the Mongoose Boot’r 27.5″ Down Hill Bicycle is specifically designed for safer high-speed descents. Whether the slope is smooth or steep, this MTB can handle it. It can also absorb impact for comfort. These advantages are the reasons why we highly recommend this bike. Just watch out for problems on its fork, rims, and tires due to factory defects or shipping issues.
Lastly, to separate good downhill bikes from the bad, just check their geometry, construction, travel, seat post, cable placement, brakes, rotors, and wheels. That’s a lot of factors to think about, but getting a high-quality downhill MTB in the end is worth it.