Wondering which downhill mountain bike you should choose as your partner? After testing over 15+ bikes over the last five months, we picked five MTBs worth your money in 2023. So let’s jump straight to it.
Determining the Right Downhill Mountain Bike For You
When looking for the right bike, there are a couple of things worth considering, namely:
- Your budget
- The bike’s performance
- The bike’s drivetrain components and brakes.
Best Downhill Mountain Bikes – Top 5 Picks
1. Scott Gambler 900 Tuned
Image Credits: Scott-Sports
- Gambler HMX Carbon Frame
- FOX 40 Factory Float 203mm Fork
- FOX Float X2 Factory 200mm Shock
- SRAM XO1 DH 7 Speed
- Shimano XT M8120 4 Piston Disc
- Raceface Atlas TR Wheels
- Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ DH Tires
I must warn you that Scott Gambler does not come cheap, but here’s the catch. One of the most popular racers in the women’s category, Marine Cabirou races on a Scott Gambler 900 Tuned.
She won three races in 2019 and the first win in 2020. Riding that fast requires the right bike, and she put all her hopes on the Scott Gambler, and it has never let her down. So what makes the Scott Gambler such an excellent winner’s bike?
It comes with air shocks, Fox Factory forks, and rear suspension, and a carbon-fiber Hixon iC bar and stem to start things off.
For the drivetrain, the bike is equipped with the DH-specific SRAM XO1. The 29-inch downhill bike is a top-range bike that gives you the confidence to chase after the cup and medals.
Scott is a famous manufacturer whose bikes are perfect and ready for any challenge you throw at them, and the Gambler is no exception.
Another essential feature of the bike is the adjustable geometry which allows you to switch between 29 and 27.5 wheels with zero worries. What’s more, you can also adjust the chainstay length and your head angle.
The suspension kinetics can be adjusted as well. With all that and a carbon frame, we can comfortably say that the bike is suitable for the price.
2. Canyon Sender 6
Image Credits: Canyon
- Material: Aluminium 6061
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX DH
- Disc Brake: SRAM Guide RE
- Front Travel Fork: 200mm
- Suspension Fork: RockShox Boxxer RC
- Weight: 38 lbs
We have a German machine on the list, and it’s none other than the Canyon Sender 6. This bike will cruise down the hill in the shortest time if you hop on that saddle and push it past the limit.
The brand comes in both aluminum and carbon frame material options. Both frames offer incredible experiences despite their price difference.
The bike runs on 27.5 wheels as has been the tradition. Perhaps they will consider introducing a 29er version of this superb bike.
The Sender is Troy Brosnan’s favorite, and you would want to know why. First, the bike comes with air shocks, a RockShox Boxxer Select fork, and a Supper Deluxe Select rear suspension, both with charger dampers.
Also, a feature to note is the SRAM GX GH 7-speed drivetrain. The bike also features a longer wheelbase than other 27.5-inch downhill bikes like the Vitus and Saracen. The bike is fast and calm on rough descends, thus saving the pilot their energy.
However, Canyon hasn’t focused on improving the bike’s geometry like their competition, which has seen other bikes getting more attention for their wide wheelbase.
With its agile geometry, the bike is best for riders who enjoy manoeuvering while putting effort into it, rather than relying on the bike’s stability downhill.
3. Nukeproof Dissent 920 Comp
Image Credits: Vital MTB
- Material: Hydroformed 6061 Aluminium Tubeset
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX 7-Speed
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RE, Sintered pads
- Travel: 190mm Rear Travel
- Suspension: Adjustable Suspension Kinematics
- Weight: 38.47 lbs
If you are looking for a bike to get into downhill riding or racing, you can bet on Nukeproof Dissent 920 Comp.
This affordable MTB bike comes with an aluminum frame, 200mm RockShox Boxxer Select forks, and Super Deluxe Coil shocks for the rear suspension. The MTB is adjustable to cater to all sorts of riders.
The Dissent has the same silhouette as Nukeproof Pulse, but that’s the only similarity between these two bikes.
The bike also comes with an SRAM DH drivetrain and Guide RE brakes. The bike also has a longer wheelbase to offer more stability. The bike comes with 29-inch wheels and runs over bumps like a monster truck.
Just like Scott Gambler, the Nukeproof Dissent is adjustable. You can adjust the chainstay length by 10mm, alter the suspension progressivity through the main pivot flip-chip, and adjust the cable routing.
This makes the bike one of the few bikes with adjustable features in the downhill scene.
4. Santa Cruz V10
Image Credits: Santa Cruz Bicycles
- Frame: Carbon CC
- Wheel Size: 27.5″, MX, 29″
- Front Travel: 200mm
- Rear Travel: 215mm
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX DH, 7spd
- Weight: 35.09 lbs
Though there is no aluminum option for those on a budget, the Santa Cruz V10 is a hell of a downhill bike you would be happy to have in your bike garage.
If it weren’t for Santa Cruz, the Californian bike maker, we wouldn’t see the trends in the DH world. So what does Santa Cruz have to do with them?
The brand loves to take risks, and as a result, they have invented some eye-catching features, especially with the V10.
The bike has been making appearances in the World Cup since 2002 and has emerged amongst the best performers.
Equipped with a 30mm Fox 40 Performance fork and the Fox DHX2 Performance Coil in the rear, the bike is the king of downhill softening the ride no matter what nature places on your path.
The V10 also features an SRAM GX derailleur, a Descendant crankset, and also an E*Thirteen chain guide to ensure you have a smooth ride all the way.
It’s the ideal bike for those looking for a burly, bold, capable bike that can handle the most challenging descents on 29er wheels.
5. Trek Sessions 29 9.9
Image Credits: Vital MTB
- Frame: Carbon CC
- Brakeset: Shimano Saint M820
- Rear Travel: 190 mm
- Rear suspension: Fox Factory Float X2,
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Saint M820, Shadow Plus
- Weight: 34.5 lbs
We’ve never seen a legendary bike like the Trek Sessions 29, and it’s all for good reasons.
Almost every DH rider has something to say about this model, especially the unique silhouette. It’s also one of the lightest downhill bikes, weighing 34.5 pounds approximately!
Besides, you can change the bottom bracket or the chainstay by 10mm. Also, since the Session started coming with 29er wheels, the manufacturer reduced the rear travel from 190mm.
The bike looks slack with its superb 62.1-degree head angle to give you the utmost confidence you need descending from the mountain top.
This carbon frame bike comes with the high-end Fox factory air suspension (front and rear) with adjustable damping.
The bike runs on the Shimano Saint drivetrain and brakes. Other bikes running on the Shimano Saint groupset are Pivot Phoenix and Mondraker Summum.
The bike also features downtube protection to protect the frame from trail debris, such as rocks hitting the frame, and chipping off the paint.
Other notable features of the bike are the adjustable head angle which can be toggled between 62.1 and 62.6 degrees, and the Bontrager carbon handlebar.
Downhill mountain bikes are amongst the most versatile bikes out there. You can still buy a budget bike from the bike shop and upgrade the components later.
What’s more important is to get the bike of your dreams and reach your goals. If you have any questions, you can ask us, and we will respond as soon as possible.