Buying a bicycle is no easy task, and it is getting increasingly harder due to the overwhelming number of brands available nowadays.
Do not jump to buy anything you see in your local bike shop. Read my list of the best mountain bike brands in 2021 first to make a well-informed decision.
Established in 1985, Yeti Cycles has frequently topped the list for the best mountain bike brands since then.
Yeti Cycles was founded by John Parker – a former designer and welder. The brand changed hands a few times before being purchased by Chris Conroy and Steve Hoogendoorn in 2001. Under the leadership of Conroy, Yeti has continuously released magnificent bikes.
Since its establishment, Yeti Cycles have created a huge impact on downhill mountain bikes. Yeti Cycles bikes have been the favorite choices of many major downhill racing competitions, especially after it partnered with Nema in 2008.
Yeti Cycles has many high-quality full suspension bikes, among them is Lawwill DH-9. Apart from downhill, there are other models including XC, trail bikes, AM & Enduro bikes, and dirt jump bikes.
Although the brand is more biased towards mountain biking, Yeti Cycles does manufacture some excellent road bikes and electric bikes.
Following is another boutique brand – Specialized Bicycles. Founded back in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, it is now one of the biggest names in the biking industry. Currently, it is sponsoring the World Champions in both men’s and women’s tours.
The brand manufactures bikes across all disciplines, including road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX, cross country bikes (XC bikes), gravel bikes, and so on. Their road bikes are among the most popular nowadays, but Specialized Bicycles actually made a name for itself with the best mountain bikes.
Its owner – Sinyard claimed to make a total of $64,000 by 1974, when the brand was just established for a while. His success was owing to the fact that mountain bikes were integral to the community at that time.
Apart from bikes, Specialized Bicycles also offer helmets, shoes, and clothing for all riders.
Even if you are buying your first mountain bike, you probably have heard of Trek Bikes before. It is one of the best mountain biking brands in the US for the time being, some of them are carefully listed on the top 13 best mountain bikes under $500 in 2021.
Trek Bikes’s journey started in 1975, as an answer to the market domination of Japanese and Italian bikes at that time. But it was not until 1982 that the brand managed to manufacture its first complete bike after building a factory.
Later, Trek Bikes continuously acquired advanced technologies from aircraft and other mountain bike brands. In 1985, it introduced the first bonded aluminum bike frames, and 3-tube carbon composite bikes shortly after that.
In 1992, Trek Bikes launched its first series of full-carbon frames, which went on to become the world’s lightest bikes. That is why many lighter riders love riding Trek bicycles.
Today, Trek Bikes’s mission is to help the world solve complex problems by using bicycles. It has tried its best to cut down on coal emissions by limiting parking spaces at their headquarters.
When it comes to mountain biking, you cannot miss out on GT Bicycles.
It has been around for almost 50 years. The brand first started out producing BMX before shifting its focus on other types of bikes as well. Currently, GT Bicycles has a loyal fanbase for their mountain, road, as well as hybrid bikes.
GT Bicycles stands out from the crowd with its hard-tail frame, also known as triple triangle. In this design, the seat is attached to the top tube while remaining parallel to the down tube.
The manufacturer also equips the independent drivetrain system on its full-suspension bicycles. These models are great for several purposes, from racing, touring, cross country riding to recreation.
Over the years, GT Bicycles has sponsored various teams that take part in mountain and BMX competitions as well as famous athletes like Rebecca Twigg and Juli Furtado.
Santa Cruz Bicycles
Are you searching for modern mountain bikes with advanced technologies and features? Then Santa Cruz Bicycles is the best bet for you.
Santa Cruz Bicycles was co-founded by Rich Novak, Rob Roskopp, Mike Marquez in 1993. The brand made its debut with the Tazmon, a full suspension bike and Heckler, an ebike. Over the years, Santa Cruz Bicycles has developed one of the biggest and most loyal fanbases with its high-performance bicycles, particularly women’s bikes
Some of its most notable products include the Santa Cruz Hightower 29er bike and the Santa Cruz Chameleon hardtail trail bike. The ever-capable Santa Cruz Tallboy also leaves a strong impression regardless of your riding style.
Santa Cruz Bicycles also offers a line up of a new mountain bike for riders who can afford extra. The brand has even created a spin-off line called Juliana where you can buy a quality women’s mountain bike for your wife or daughter.
Mongoose is well-known for manufacturing gears for extreme sports, most notably mountain bikes. Its Dolomite mountain bike is designed to conquer all terrains thanks to the oversized tires and sturdy frame.
Mongoose was founded in 1974 by Skip Hess when he developed the first cast magnesium alloy wheel for BMX bicycles. Not until 1985 did the brand introduce its first mountain bike called ATB Pro. Since then, Mongoose has completely shifted its focus from racing BMX bicycles to racing mountain bikes.
In 1992, Mongoose introduced one of the most successful mountain bikes of its time – the Amplifier. It was a full-suspension MTB with a gloss aluminum frame, Shimano gear, Rock Shox Quadra 21 fork, and innovative Grip Shift shifters.
Mongoose continued to secure its spot at the epicenter of the action sports culture. In 2005, it signed on as the exclusive sponsor of the Dew Action Sports Tour.
Schwinn is named after its founder – Ignaz Schwinn, a German mechanical engineer. Established in 1895, Schwinn is one of the oldest mountain bike brands in the industry. It is currently headed by Dorel Industries – a multinational conglomerate.
Nowadays, Schwinn offers two bike lines, namely the Signature Series and discount bikes distributed by mass-merchandisers such as Kmart, Sears, and Walmart. The Signature Series include high-end models and are featured on Schwinn’s websites.
In each line, there are a wide array of models, including electric, road, mountain, comfort, urban, kids, etc. to meet different needs and wants of customers. The brand also produces cycling gear and accessories for their bikes such as saddles, helmets, jogging strollers, pumps, and many more.
Schwinn mountain bikes are mostly budget-friendly entry-level products. They all have an aluminum frame and Shimano gear (grips, triggers, tires, brakes, etc.). There are five models for you to choose: Mesa, Moab, Protocol, Traxion, and Bonafide.
It would be a big mistake not to mention Roadmaster on today’s list of the best mountain bike brands in the industry.
Roadmaster was founded in 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio by the Cleveland Welding Company. It has changed hands a few times before being sold to Pacific Cycle Inc in 2000.
In its early beginning, Roadmaster manufactured two-wheeled bikes, sidewalk bikes, ride-on toys, wagons, and many more. In the 1970s, the brand began manufacturing BMX and mountain bikes. After many decades of growth, it still remains the beloved biking brand for all generations.
One of the most famous moments of the MTB brand was in 1979 when it was featured in the film Breaking Away, in which a Roadmaster track bicycle was used in a bicycle race at the University of Indiana Bloomington.
Compared to other aforementioned giants, CUBE is relatively young. It was founded in 1993 in Germany before expanding its market to many countries all over the world. Therefore, it is much more popular in European countries than in the States.
Cube is widely known for manufacturing top-end mountain bikes with innovative technology. The most notable is probably the Aerium technology, which offers optimum aerodynamics and allows all riders to adapt swiftly.
Its electric mountain bikes are also of high quality with an appealing look and powerful engine. The PowerTube technology allows Cube to hide the batteries into the frame, bringing to riders an elegant and sporty bicycle.
Like its competitors such as Rocky Mountain, Cube offers various types of full-suspension and hardtail trail bikes. You can also find some models with only front suspension or rear suspension. Their prices vary, but the good news is its top-level bikes are slightly cheaper than other brands’ products.
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Huffy is one of the world’s biggest bike manufacturers. Since 1892, it has continuously supplied the biking market with high-quality bikes for men, women, and kids.
The RadioBike was one of the best mountain bikes manufactured by Huffy at its peak. This bike featured an electron-tube radio in its tank, hence the name. These bikes have become a rare collector’s item.
Today, Huffy owns many popular models, including the Comfort Bike, Holbrook Cruiser, etc.
A shared characteristic of Huffy bikes is the smart-looking design. They do not come with unnecessary bells and whistles but remain functional to the core. More interestingly, most Huffy bicycles are available at a competitive price while offering good value. This is possible since Huffy moved its construction to China to cut down manufacturing costs.
Nowadays, you can find Huffy bikes in over 10,000 retail outlets all over the world. Each year, the brand sells around 5 million bicycles.
Hyper Bicycles was founded in 1990 by BMX Pro Clay Goldsmid. At present, the company is located in Malaga, NJ, United States.
Initially, the brand only focused on producing high-end BMX frames and components. It gradually moved on to launch complete BMX and mountain bikes and received much support from cyclists.
Most Hyper Bicycles bikes offer a smoother ride, particularly dirt jump and are durable enough to last long. Currently, it is gearing up to distribute high-end mountain bikes through Walmart in the USA and Canada.
Apart from bike manufacturing, Hyper Bicycles is also committed to support riders through sponsorships.
One of the first cyclists to benefit from Hyper Bicycles sponsorship was Eric Carter. He won a National Championship and went on to become an excellent spokesperson and promoter of the brand.
Now, Hyper Bicycles is sponsoring Eric Carter, the Van Steenbergen brothers, and Jordy Scott.
Next on the list is the Haro Bikes, which was established in 1978 by Bob Haro. The company was first named Haro Designs with headquarters in Torrance, California.
Haro Bikes quickly grew up as the BMX era boomed at that time. The product line was quickly expanded to meet the needs of the market, and the brand started national and international distribution.
In the next two decades, Haro Bikes still dominated the market with various flagship bikes. It remained as the most popular freestyle BMX biking manufacturer until Bob Haro sold it in 1988.
By 1999, Haro Bikes re-established its reputation for manufacturing innovative bikes and introducing a competitive BMX racing team.
In fact, Haro Bikes riders have won over ten medals in the X-Games competition, the most of any company. As of 2019, the brand sponsors many freestyle BMX riders and racers such as Ryan Nyquist and Dennis Enarson.
The Kent name was not around until 1958, but the company actually operated as early as in 1947 under the name Philkam Cycle. It quickly grew in popularity and became one of the largest bike sellers in the States.
Unlike most brands on today’s list, Kent is a family-owned brand. It is committed to providing quality bikes for the whole family at a wallet-friendly cost.
Kent has a wide range of sub-brands that offer different types of bikes. For example, the sub-brand Northwoods supplies mountain, hybrid and tandem bikes, while Weeride focuses on kids’ bikes.
With wide offerings, Kent ensures you can always find a suitable model at their stores regardless of your purposes and preferences.
One of the best-rated Kent bikes is probably the Northwoods Springdale hybrid bicycle. It is specially designed with a slanted down top tube for women and short riders.
Surly was founded in 1998 and first started out manufacturing single-speed bikes. Later, it began working across all disciplines before focusing on steel-framed adventure bikes for fat biking and long-distance touring.
Until now, Surly is famous for producing some of the most durable bikes in the industry. All Surly bikes feature steel frames, which are hand-crafted and carefully welded to withstand the test of time. The team at Surly works hard to ensure every bike has the correct stiffness, lengths, and angles for extended use.
Surly was also known as one of the pioneers of fat biking. Back in 2010, many fat bike manufacturers used Surly tires for their bikes.
Surly bikes are available in many countries, and you can find Surly dealers almost everywhere in major cycling countries. There are several stores across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and so on.
The Genesis name first sprung to life in 2001 when the brand launched its first flat bar road bike called the Genesis Day One. The bike was a sellout success at that time, making Genesis a popular name in the industry.
After five years, Genesis went so far to offer 13 bikes, including the Day One models, the single-speed Flyer, the cyclocross Vapour, and many hardtail bikes.
In 2009, Genesis expanded its mountain bike brand range to include the hardcore models such as the Abyss and Alptitude. At the same time, it launched the first titanium frame known as the Altitude Ti.
The team of engineers at Genesis claims to always have riders in mind when designing any bike. They try to manufacture a bike that gives riders a feel of a brand-new bike that cyclists cannot wait to use again.
Vitus began its story as a steel-tubing manufacturer in France.
It was not until the 1970s did Vitus become an official brand specialized in producing high-end race frames. The brand had a pioneering role in developing aluminum and carbon fibre frames, which are often found in top-level bicycles.
The 1980s was an iconic era for Vitus as it introduced the Vitus 979 frame – one of the most successful racing bikes ever built. During that period, Vitus took frame construction to a higher level by launching Carbon 3, Carbon 7, and finally Carbon 9 in 1986.
By manufacturing the ZX-1 in the early 90s, Vitus was at the forefront of bike design once again. The ZX-1 featured an aerodynamic shape and internal routing.
However, the brand had a hard time during the late 90s and early 2000s and almost disappeared from the market. Fortunately, a team of engineers in Northern Ireland bought and relaunched it successfully. Today, Vitus continued to impress cyclists with a clean slate and fresh designs.