Essential Guide To Top Mountain Bike Brands

The BikeTips team select a handful of our favorite mountain bike brands to share with our readers

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reviewed by Rory McAllister
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Making a decision on which mountain bike to buy can be pretty challenging, given all of the different factors to consider – and that’s before you even consider the sheer number of mountain bike brands available.

First things first, you need to decide on the type of mountain bike; downhill, cross-country, full-suspension, or hardtail.

You’ll also need to consider the budget you have available for your purchase. This decides whether you’re looking for a capable bike without any flashy features or componentry, or a top-spec MTB with modern design features such as a dropper post or a clutch.

And last of all, there’s the mountain bike brand. This can be quite an important factor for many, with some brands being preceded by an excellent reputation for reliability, innovation, and quality.

Knowing the brand you’re after can also help you narrow your search to a more reasonable list of options from the overwhelming plethora of available models.

Before we start, we’d like to acknowledge that there’s absolutely no way this is an exhaustive list. There are hundreds of wonderful mountain bike brands out there, and we’d love for this list to evolve with the suggestions of our readers as we fill in the gaps!

But what are some of the best mountain bike brands to look out for? What gives these brands such a good reputation?

Don’t worry! In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of a handful of the best mountain bike brands out there, from A-Z.

Let’s dive in!

Mountain Bike Brands: Title Image


  • Founded: 1885
  • Origin: Milan, Italy
  • Known For: Quality bikes with the iconic “Celeste” colorway

Bianchi is the oldest continually running bicycle manufacturer, with nearly 140 years of experience in the industry.

Although they are mostly known for their road bikes, they are also an excellent mountain bike manufacturer.

Bianchi is known to produce some of the best road bikes in the world. Having sponsored many different mountain biking teams since the early ’90s, they have begun to build up an extremely solid reputation in the mountain biking world.

Specializing mostly in cross-country mountain bikes, with the option for either full-suspension or hardtail, their entire range of MTBs features the iconic “Bianchi celeste” color that contributes towards their bikes being so sought-after.

Despite its reputation for being a very high-end bicycle manufacturer, Bianchi’s mountain bike range is a little more diverse, catering to many different budgets, with models ranging from entry-level models for under $1000 to flagship models at nearly $10,000.


  • Founded: 2002
  • Origin: Koblenz, Germany
  • Known For: Innovative, high-quality off-road machines

Canyon hasn’t had a huge amount of time in the market but has established itself as a leading bicycle manufacturer through innovation and consistently well-designed bikes.

Canyon is arguably the only bike brand that works on a direct-to-consumer model, which, although means that you’re likely to have to wait a bit for your new machine to arrive, it also means that you’re not paying a third-party markup when buying it.

Now a well-known brand across all cycling disciplines, Canyon’s mountain bikes are some of the best on the market.

Canyon Spectral 29 CF8.0 is one of the best carbon-fiber full-suspension mountain bikes around, although it will set you back a pretty penny.


  • Founded: 1972
  • Origin: Tajia District, Taiwan
  • Known For: Being the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the world

Giant Bicycles command the largest share of the bicycle manufacturing market in the world, and the second-largest in the US, with 10.5% of the American market.

Giant bikes are popular for a reason, too, known for their reliability, high quality, and (generally) reasonable prices. Like their fellow “bike boom” brands such as Trek and Specialized, they produce a wide range of bikes that cater to all disciplines and budgets.

Perhaps the thing that sets Giant apart from the other brands, however, is that many other well-known brands subcontract Giant to manufacture the frames, and so in essence, they’re also Giant bikes.

Mountain bikes are one of the company’s strengths, too, with some of the best in the world made by the Taiwanese brand.


  • Founded: 1893
  • Origin: Padua, Italy
  • Known For: Excellent mountain bikes with decades of experience in bike building

Another Italian brand more than a century old, Cicli Olympia is a reputable mountain bike brand known for their bespoke, high-quality, well-crafted frames.

After many, many years of success in the road bike game, including multiple Giro d’Italia success stories, Olympia decided to bring their immense knowledge of bicycle manufacturing into the mountain bike world.

Although the Olympia hardtail range is pretty wide, they’re best known for full-sus machines, with their FX-1 line being extremely well-received in particular, year after year.

Orange Bikes

  • Founded: 1988
  • Origin: Halifax, UK
  • Known For: Single-pivot MTBs

Orange manufactures performance trail and downhill bikes, instantly recognisable by the minimalist frames fitted with single-pivot suspension that they’ve used for over two decades.

Back in 2001, the World Cup was won on the fledgling Orange 222 by Greg Minnaar, and over two decades later their bikes stem from the design principle of this model.

Orange bikes are now considered somewhat retro by many due to their single-pivot suspension whereas other brands have moved on to newer systems, but Orange remains one of the UK’s most popular mountain bike brands with an impressive range of downhill, trail, and enduro bikes handbuilt at their headquarters in Halifax.

Santa Cruz

  • Founded: 1993
  • Origin: Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • Known For: Mountain bike specialists, with a focus on street biking

Santa Cruz produces some of the most sought-after mountain bikes on the market. The brand is well-known in the mountain biking community, but they don’t produce any bikes for other disciplines.

This is perhaps one of the advantages of Santa Cruz; they exclusively produce mountain bikes and are specialists in the industry.

Santa Cruz mountain bikes are produced for all subdisciplines of mountain biking, but they are particularly well-known for street mountain bikes.

This is likely due to the fact that the original founder of the company, Rich Novak, was a professional skateboarder and the company’s efforts were originally limited to skating.

Coming into the industry in 1993, they were a little late to the American bike boom party, but they have quickly made a name for themselves as one of the best mountain bike brands on the market.

One of their most reputable lines is the Santa Cruz Hightower line of mountain bikes. The most recent of which, the V3, is touted by many as the best full-suspension production mountain bike on the market.


  • Founded: 1974
  • Origin: San Francisco, California, United States
  • Known For: The Stumpjumper line

Fellow Californian brand Specialized was one of the original American bike boom brands and played a major role in pioneering the development of the modern mountain bike design.

The Specialized Stumpjumper was the very first production mountain bike to hit the shelves and claims permanent residency in the MTB hall-of-fame, a line that continues to this day.

The Stumpjumper is a versatile full-sus machine capable of grinding the grittiest trails you’re likely to come across, and even though it is the longest-standing production MTB, it retains its reputation as one of the best mountain bikes you can buy to this day.

Alongside the Stumpjumper, you’ll find a diverse range of Specialized mountain bikes in their catalog, catering the cross-country, trail, and downhill. The Epic line, designed for XC mountain biking, is another legendary line of mountain bikes.


  • Founded: 1976
  • Origin: Waterloo, Wisconsin, United States
  • Known For: Being the United States’ largest bike manufacturer

At 22.5%, Trek commands by far the largest share of the American bicycle market, and, like Specialized, caters to every different type of rider.

Although Trek is perhaps not quite as much a pioneer in the mountain bike world as Specialized, it remains one of the best and most reliable MTB brands on the market, with models for every different type of off-roader.

Trek is somewhat more famous for its work in the road cycling world due to the (in)famous Trek Madone line and the partnership with cycling’s anti-hero Lance Armstrong.

However, since the release of their first mountain bike in 1983, and heavy investment in mountain bike design and manufacturing throughout the ’80s and ’90s, mountain bikes have represented a healthy portion of their business, and for good reason, too.

Trek’s mountain bikes are, like almost all Trek bikes, very reliable machines, with a high level of craftmanship and beautiful designs.

What top mountain bike brands do you feel we need to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jack is an experienced cycling writer based in San Diego, California. Though he loves group rides on a road bike, his true passion is backcountry bikepacking trips. His greatest adventure so far has been cycling the length of the Carretera Austral in Chilean Patagonia, and the next bucket-list trip is already in the works. Jack has a collection of vintage steel racing bikes that he rides and painstakingly restores. The jewel in the crown is his Colnago Master X-Light.

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