The 15 Best Mountain Bike Brands: The story behind the brands

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The best mountain bike brands are locked in a technological arms race, but who is the winner? We've added that to our list of top mountain bike brands

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Overview

Mountain bikes have a relatively short but intense history stretching back about 50 years. It is when people started using the regular road bikes on mountain trails, the bike brands started repurposing the normal bikes into mountain bikes in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Since then the big bike brands like Trek or GT have their mountain bikes at the front of innovation and are the marketshare leaders. These popular mountain bike brands established a standard for the rest of the upcoming mountain bike brands. The new brands like Pivot or Santa Cruz Bicycles brought in technological innovations in the new generation of mountain bikes to glide through the rough terrains.

Let us understand more about the mountain bike brands through this article, which will help you know their history, their best bikes, and much more. 

What are the Best Mountain Bike Brands of 2021?


1. Cannondale Bicycle Corporation

cannondale-mountain-bike

Image Source: Cannondale Bikes

Cannondale had a realization that the whole world was still using conventional bikes whereas digital inventions had already hit the world. Cannondale came up with innovative ideas in producing bikes and soon became one of the top mountain bike manufacturers.

They began modeling a mountain bike from their small workshop in Connecticut back in 1971. Cannondale is one of the first amongst the best bike brands who came up with carbon fiber frames for bikes, unlike steel frames.

 Ever since, they have never looked back and have continued to innovate a wide range of mountain bikes with dual and full suspension, and electric bikes. Their best innovation is an electric bike - ‘ Cannondale Topstone Neo 2021’ made of carbon fibre frame having a speed of 20 miles per hour.

  • Founded: 1971
  • Founder: Joe Montgomery and Murdock MacGregor
  • Location: Wilton, Connecticut
  • What we like: Super lightweight aluminum frames and carbon fibre frames
  • What we don't: Bland designs

2. Western States Imports -Diamondback Mountain Bike

Image Source: Diamondback Bikes

Founded in 1977 this Diamondback brand started as a BMX brand by Western States Imports. Ever since then they have grown in the industry making their range of trail bikes and mountain bikes.

The quality of Diamondback is unquestionable as they hold an experience of 40 years in bike making. Their bikes have always been sold at an affordable price ensuring that all kinds of riders and enthusiasts can afford them easily. 

 Their popular bike ‘Atroz 2’ is a full suspension mountain bike providing extra cushioning for riders against rough terrains. This bike is the best-in-class for beginners with reliable shifting and braking, rear suspension with an air-sprung to smooth out the bumpy patches.

  • Founded: 1977
  • Founder: Regent L.P
  • Location: Kent, Washington
  • What we like: High-quality bikes for low cost
  • What we don't: Not durable

3. Yeti Cycles

Yeti Cycles

Image Source: Yeti Cycles

Yeti has been in the industry since around 1990 when the other mtb brands began their journey. Yeti thus made the new hobby of mountain biking into a full-fledged industry. They began with racing bikes and within no time became the most trustworthy brands for racing bikes helping many riders become legends. 

Yeti mountain bikes are well known to support the rider on the toughest of the mountain terrains irrespective of the speed and terrain.

The Turq T2 X01 Eagle is a great example of their successful make, featuring 27 inches wheels and a 65 degrees head tube giving great trail clearance and confidence respectively.

  • Founded: 1985
  • Founder: John Parker
  • Location: California 
  • What we like: Most desirable bike, excellent looking bikes, multi-terrain bike
  • What we don't: Highly expensive

4. Kona Bicycle Company

Kona Bikes

Image Source: Kona Bikes

Kona was founded in Vancouver in 1988 which ever since has given its riders a joyful element while they ride. The Stinky Lineup has been Kona’s most popular mountain bike all through the duration of the 1990s to the early 2000s.

This bike was very much ahead of time with its 130 mm travel freeride. Kona suffered as a brand when it tried to venture into road bikes, but ever since it launched Process with full suspension and Honzo hardtail, it has been back on track. This mountain bike manufacturer gives a 1-year warranty on all its bike frames that were produced after 2009.

  • Founded: 1988
  • Founder: Dan Gerhard, Jacob Heilbron
  • Location: Ferndale, Washington
  • What we like: A simple company offering mountain bikes at a competitive price, 1-year warranty on frames
  • What we don't: Limited availability online

5. Fuji Bikes

Top Mountain Bike Brand Fuji

Image Source: Fuji Bikes

Founded on the land of Japan is the brand Fuji bikes in 1899 making it the oldest and biggest mountain bike manufacturers in the world. Retailers like Montgomery Wards, Sears, and Roebuck sold the Fuji bikes in the entire USA. Fuji has made its name in mountain bikes as well under various categories like XC Bikes Plus, Trail Bike, Fat bikes, and Electric Mountain Bikes. 

  • Founded: 1899
  • Founder: Okazaki Kyūjirō
  • Location: Japan
  • What we like: Low-cost bike with great specs, very responsive bike
  • What we don't: Not durable, demands for fixes every now and then

6. Giant Bicycles 

Giant Bikes

Image Source: Giant  Bikes

As of today's date, Giant Manufacturing is responsible for the frames of the world’s top bike brands. The company Giant Manufacturing was founded in Taiwan back in 1972. In the whole world, there are very limited bike stores manufacturing a huge number of bikes, and Giant Manufacturing is one amongst them.

In 1981, the company came up with its in-house bike brand known as Giant. Ever since their inception the Trance line has been the company’s all-mountain bike range, that is for 40 years. These Trance bikes are known as the all-in-one bike as the company has reached the pinnacle of progressive geometry.

  • Founded:1972
  • Founder: King Liu
  • Location: Taichung, Taiwan
  • What we like: Manufacturing is top-notch with extensive experience and competitive cost
  • What we don't: Not much popular amongst the people and the market, the designs are a bit old-fashioned

7. Orbea Mountain Bike Brand

Orbea Bikes

Image Source: Orbea Bikes

The Orbea brand dates back to 1930 when it was founded by the Orbea brothers. They opened a small workshop in Eibar, Spain, and began with manufacturing steel frames for bikes. They are known to be Europe's oldest bike brand.

They also have a reputation for producing the best-in-class materials to innovate their mountain bikes. This ensures that all the bikes that leave their workshop are as good as the previous one.

The brilliant artistry of technicalities that make the bike frames sleek and round reflects their history and the level of meticulous attention their craftsmen put into it.

  • Founded: 1930
  • Founder: Juan Manuel, Mateo, and Casimiro Orbea
  • Location: Eibar, Spain
  • What we like: Their brilliant workmanship, highly innovative frames, meticulous attention to the bike designs
  • What we don't: Average tire quality

8. Northern Cycle Industries - Norco Mountain Bikes

Norco Mountain Bike Brand

Image Source: Norco Bicycles

Founded in 1964, Northern Cycle Industries was born and was then known as Norco. Mountain biking has been their passion and area of interest and thus they are one of the best mountain bike manufacturers.

All their bikes are ruggedly produced as mountain bikes and tested on the landscapes of British Columbia, Canada. Their most popular model is the ‘Aurum HSP C1 2021’ having a single pivot suspension, kinematics that is optimized for downhill, and to ensure that there is suspension absorbing each obstacle is an idler pulley.

  • Founded: 1964
  • Founder: Bert Lewis
  • Location: Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
  • What we like: The expertise in mountain biking, a wide range of MTBs
  • What we don't like: The material is not very strong and durable

If you are looking for quality mountain bikes and don’t have much to spend then you can check out our best mountain bikes for under 500 dollars

9. Schwinn  Mountain Bike

Image Source: Schwinn Bikes

Ignaz Schwinn met Adolf Arnold in 1895 after working in several bike companies. Both Adolf and Igna founded the Schwinn brand which was named World Bicycles during its inception.

Since then they have produced great bikes. Schwinn’s mountain bike range has been a great success for the company and is one of the popular mountain bike brands on our list.

Axum DP is Schwinn’s best MTB having an aluminum frame that is produced with a 100 mm suspension fork that absorbs all the rough bumps along the trail. The company suffered bankruptcy in 1992 and has been operating ever since as the sub-brand of Pacific Cycles.                                                                                                                                                                           

  • Founded: 1895
  • Founder: Ignaz Schwinn and Adolf Arnold
  • Location: Chicago, USA
  • What we like: Great breaks and top quality shock absorbers, great quality mountain bikes
  • What we don't: Aluminium frames are expensive

10.  Bianchi Bicycles

Bianchi Bikes

Image Source: Bianchi

One of the oldest bike firms that are still in the bike-making business is Bianchi. It is an Italian company established in 1885 by a 21-year-old boy Edoardo Bianchi. Cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes are produced on a large scale by Bianchi.

  • Founded: 1885
  • Founder: Edoardo Bianchi
  • Location: Milan, Italy
  • What we like: Light in weight frame and meant for speed
  • What we don't: Not very comfortable, less sturdy frame

11. Santa Cruz

santa cruz

Image Source: Santa Cruz

Rob Roskopp, a very well-known skateboarding legend, founded Santa Cruz Bicycles in the year 1994. This legend made history even in bike manufacturing by producing the first dual-suspension mountain bike, unlike the other normal bikes with full suspension having no rear suspension.

Ever since Santa Cruz has continued to produce bikes that meet the expectations and the requirements of the riders in terms of speed and for all terrains. Their most popular bike is the ‘Nomad Carbon X01’.

  • Founded: 1994
  • Founder: Rob Roskopp
  • Location: Santa Cruz, California
  • What we like: Great customized feel, high-quality frames, minute attention to details, a lifetime warranty on pivot bearings and frames
  • What we don't: A bit expensive

12. Trek Bicycle Corporation

trek bikes

Image Source: Trek Bikes

The company Trek was founded in 1975 by Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg. They began making handcrafted frames in their Wisconsin barn. They brought in innovation in their bikes and set their foot on the podium of the world leader in bike technology. They produce the best and the high-end mountain bike models. ‘E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS’ is one such great make of Trek Corporation.

  • Founded: 1975
  • Founder: Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg
  • Location: Waterloo, Wisconsin
  • What we like: Superior quality bikes and a lifetime warranty on all frames
  • What we don't like: Most of the bikes are available in stores rather than online

13. Scott Sports

Scott Bikes

Image Source: Scott bikes

Founded in 1958, Scott Sports is one of the oldest Swiss bike manufacturers. Scott is well known for its bikes and also the ski sports equipment. Scott has been a sponsor at the Cycling Pro Level competitions, sponsoring various legendary mountain bike riders like Nino Scherter and Kate Courtney. They are known for maintaining the best grade of durability in their bike frames.

  • Founded: 1958
  • Founder: Ed Scott
  • Location: Givisiez, Switzerland‎
  • What we like: High durability, sponsorships at the tournaments 
  • What we don't: Expensive

Other Top Mountain Bike Brands

14. Felt Bikes

Felt bikes

Image Source: Felt Bikes

Felt Bicycles was established in Irvine, California. They have been the top-tier bike manufacturers for mountain, road, cyclo cross-country bike , electric, and cruiser bikes. Although the designs were made in the USA, they were produced in Asia. Triathlon hosts many of these Felt bikes for professional cycling.

Felt was founded by Jim Felt in 1994 but due to unfortunate events with their distributors, Answer Products, they were not seen in the market at all. They relaunched as an independent brand in 2001. They are known for their aerodynamic designs and computational fluid dynamic modeling.

15. Roadmaster Mountain Bike

Road master Mountain bike brand

Image Source: RoadMaster

Roadmaster is a well-known brand for producing everyday bikes and other products related to bikes. It was founded in 1935 by the Cleveland Welding Company in Cleveland, Ohio.

The company was later on bought by Pacific Cycles after a series of acquisitions in 2000. They have been a great brand to manufacture entry-level bikes for kids, men, and women as well. They are one of the most popular bike manufacturers in the USA even today.

16. BMC Mountain Bikes

BMC Mountain Bike Brand

Image Source: BMC bikes

Originally known as Bicycle Manufacturing Company and commonly known as BMC bikes, it was founded in 1986 by Bob Bigelow. It is a Swiss-based company. Initially, BMC distributed the bikes for Raleigh range bikes, but it was in late 2001 that BMC built their bikes and got their own distributor’s license. 

Known For: Road Bikes

One of the best and most successful bikes in the cycling industry. Colnago bicycle company was established in 1952. It is an Italian brand with a very long term tradition. The company produces race winning frames and are pioneers for many bike frames technologies.

Due to the high-quality and winning tendency of the frames, these bikes are popular and are highly admired among many racers and riders. 

The Colnago bikes are famous for mountain bikes and best road bikes manufacturing, however it is highly known for its excellent road bicycles.

The company is highly promising towards the customers and provides a wide range of colors to their frames including customized colors from the manufacturer. 

You may also like to see how measuring bike tire size is done?

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Conclusion

Hope this article has given some insight into the best mountain bike brands. This would surely be helpful for you while buying a mountain bike.

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