Are downhill bikes worth it?(Everything you need to know) – GoMTBiking

Published by Praful N on

Downhill bikes are amazing as you know!!! They’re just so good when it comes to going downhill. But yes they’re expensive. Let’s get straight to the question.

Is it worth buying a downhill bike?

The short answer is it depends on where you’re riding. If you’re riding 80% of the time downhill or if you’re a downhill racer it’s totally worth it. But if you’re cross country rider or you ride most of the time going uphill then downhill bikes are not worth it for you. 

As you know every year there’s an increase in downhill parks and people are getting more interested in downhill biking because it’s amazing if you compare it to any other type of mountain biking my opinion.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything about why downhill bikes are expensive and why downhill bikes are worth it for some riders.

Let’s dive in.

Why are downhill bikes so expensive?

Downhill bikes are expensive because they give you a superior speed and ride performance when it comes to riding technical downhill. They’ll give arguably give the best experience for you when it comes to going downhill. 

The average expensive downhill bikes reach up to $10000 and that can be huge for someone who’s getting into mountain biking. It’s not the average price for downhill bikes, but the average price for expensive downhill bikes.

Sometimes they’re almost priced as a motorbike which makes you think about buying these downhill bikes lol.

But what makes them expensive. Do they have any differences in them compared to other types of MTB? Let’s look at what makes downhill bikes expensive.

  • The first reason would be the frame of the downhill bike. It’s the main geometry and holds up most of the weight of the downhill bike. They are designed to be strong, stiff, and also light to have a better rider experience. To make it lighter manufacturers are using carbon instead of aluminum. This makes it more expensive. The cost of the carbon frames come from $2000 to over $4000+ that’s pretty expensive for a newbie.
  • Another reason for the downhill bike’s expense is its suspension. When you’re talking especially about downhill bike suspension, the front fork is mostly a dual crown fork and has suspension travel of 200mm. The larger amounts of travel, air springs, and also the volume spacers make it more expensive. Also, the other features like low and high-speed adjustments and many other suspension systems make it more prolific. If you’re looking at the price of the fork and rear shock, it’s around $1500-$2000 each.
  • The third reason is the wheels. Wheels are also an important component to look at. The price is also similar to enduro bikes. But still, this also makes up quite a big amount. The three factors of wheel production which really make an impact on riding performance are material, weight, and stiffness. If you’re making it lightweight, carbon is the way to go and that’s an expensive thing. Sometimes it also makes downhill to have better climbing. Some say that carbon is not strong enough to handle downhill. But that’s not the case now. They’re designed in such a way to handle downhill.
  • The other components include braking and handlebars &stem. To have a technical downhill ride, you need to have a better gearing system. They’re also important in having a better ride downhill. Also to have lightweight and proper stiffness, manufacturers use carbon for handlebars. Carbon handlebars come with a feature called vibration damping. Read more: Are carbon cranks worth it for your mountain bike? – GoMTBiking
  • The last reason would be the production of these downhill bikes. These bikes are made in small quantities especially after the arrival of enduro bikes there are fewer sales in downhill bikes because of the enduro bikes having more riding options which I’ll be discussing in the later section of this article. Then comes the cost of the distributor, the cost of the MTB shop, and many more. It’s all about the small market with little competition.

These were some of the reasons why downhill bikes are expensive. Looking at the expense of buying a downhill bike, let’s get into the main question. Are downhill bikes worth it? Are they worth it for a selected number of riders? Let’s discuss this in detail.

Why are downhill bikes worth it for some riders?

Looking at the prices of the downhill bike components makes you feel wow. But that’s not true it’s not worth it for everyone and it’s not made for everyone. Let’s look at the riders who should be buying a downhill bike.

If you’re interested in being a  full time downhill park rider. Then downhill bikes are worth it for you. What I mean is you’ll mostly be riding downhill type riding all the time and having a solely made bike for this type of riding will be worth it for you.

As I mentioned about the fork, wheels, braking, etc makes it worth it. They’re purely designed for descending, rough terrain and if your goal is to become a descender then downhill bikes give you great confidence.

They come with a dual crown fork with suspension travel of 200mm and that’s amazing to have proper control over your bike while hitting downhill or any steep technical terrain.

And don’t even think of going with other types of mountain bike for downhill racing because when you’re interested in becoming a professional in downhill racing then you should be looking to buy a downhill bike. Yes, enduro bikes are also capable of doing that but the bikes which are designed solely for downhill will work much better in my opinion.

And yes!!! Downhill bikes are worth it for riders who are mostly riding downhill and are participating in downhill racing.  

But what about other riders? Are they worth it for them?

Why are downhill bikes not worth it for some riders?

All those riders who’re not interested in the previous section should not be buying a downhill bike. Here’s why

As you know downhill bikes are solely designed for going downhill and if your main focus is not going downhill then you should not buy a downhill bike.

It’s harder for you to have a climb or go uphill with a downhill bike because of the bike structure. Long travel makes it more aggressive but tougher to have a good climb. That doesn’t mean that downhill bikes cannot climb suspension just makes it harder to climb compared to other mountain bikes.

Read more: Are downhill bikes good for climbing? (Everything you need to know) – GoMTBiking  

So to end if you’re mainly riding uphill then you don’t need to go with downhill bikes. If you’re slightly interested in going downhill then you can go with enduro bikes which are also known as all-mountain bikes which are capable of both downhill and uphill.

Should I buy a downhill bike or an enduro bike?

It depends on where you’re mainly riding. As mentioned in the previous article, if you’re mainly hitting uphill and also you want to hit the downhill(going downhill is fun) then enduro bikes are perfect for you. 

Enduro bikes come with a long fork which is around 180mm and also designed for all types of riding styles. It’s great for both downhill and going uphill. That’s an advantage for enduro bikes and they are more worth it than buying a downhill bike because they offer you so many riding options.

If you’re solely riding downhill around 80% of the time in downhill then you shouldn’t be thinking of any other bike. Downhill bikes are worth it for this situation.

What is the most expensive downhill bike?

Specialized Levo SL Founder’s edition is the most expensive downhill bike in my opinion. This downhill bike costs around $26000 and that’s very expensive 

This was known as the limited edition for ‘Founder’s Edition’. Levo SL manufactured only 250 worldwide which itself makes it rare expensive. They have used premium bike components like custom saddle, and other graphic designs to make it expensive and high quality.

What to look at a downhill bike before buying?

Not all entry-level so-called downhill bikes are capable of giving you the best downhill biking performance. Let’s look at some features that you should check before buying a downhill bike.

  • Downhill bikes should at least come with 180-200mm+ travel. They should generally be having a dual crown fork because they need to offer more stiffness while riding technical downhill.
  • Look for a downhill-specific air shock. They are better at handling stress and big jumps. Which will give better comfort and traction over these rough surfaces.
  • If you don’t have higher budgets that’s totally fine. Look for the aluminum versions because they tend to be a lot cheaper compared to the carbon version of downhill bikes. If you have a higher budget, go with the carbon version because they look more will be better, they’re good at vibration damping and they’re lightweight.
  • Overall buy a good quality downhill bike that costs around $3500+ and don’t go with cheaper ones. They’re not good at providing comfort.

My takeaway!!!

Are downhill bikes worth it? Yes, they are worth it for riders who are solely riding downhill and will not be worth it for riders who are mostly riding uphill.

If you’re interested in both, buy an enduro bike. They’re capable of going both downhill and uphill.

If you enjoyed reading his article about downhill bikes, share it with your friends and colleagues. 

Keep riding😉