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Buy a downhill bike – everything you need to know about your next mountain bike

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If you want to immerse yourself in the extreme world of downhill racing, or have seen the viral videos of cyclists throwing themselves off cliffs and want to experience a piece of the action for yourself, then this guide on downhill cycling is for you . Here are the key details you should know about your next downhill mountain bike as a beginner. With the help of our useful tips, you can find out what to look out for when buying equipment, parts and accessories for the Downhil bike.

What is a downhill bike?

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With the exception of the downhill model, the different categories used to define mountain bikes can be a minefield of marketing nonsense and completely confusing for customers. The models are instantly recognizable, full of technology and an impractical variant for 80 percent of ordinary cyclists. The downhill bike is perfectly shaped to tackle extreme, steep and fast bike trails that can be very challenging.

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With a length of up to 200mm, its suspension is the strongest on the market. The downhill bike is equipped with sharp brakes and sporty components. There is no better alternative if you want to come down a hill faster than your sports buddies. Watching it all come together in the hands and legs of a capable cyclist is fascinating, and the speed of the pros sometimes defies common sense.

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In many ways the downhill bike is the purest form of the mountain bike. It’s reminiscent of the hippies in the California hills who started the sport in the 1970s. Not only are these bikes suitable for racing, but you can also have a lot of fun with them. In many places like the Alps or Canada they are ridden on classy routes with big jumps, while an enduro bike can wear down the body after a few runs. In fact, many brands are designing the downhill bike to be durable and fast enough to address customer needs in the market.

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The only problem is that the downhill bike is not particularly useful for other purposes. The long suspension and the loosened geometries make it unsuitable for long journeys such as cycling or city tours. Shopping with it would be a bit like driving a Formula 1 car through the big city at rush hour. So if you want to get to the top of a mountain, you’d better use a cart.

Why would you want to create a downhill bike??

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Some people wonder whether a downhill bike would still be worthwhile in the age of enduro. The answer would of course be “Yes!” Because this mountain bike fulfills its purpose perfectly. The real question would be, will you buy one or not? The majority of cyclists prefer an enduro bike. If all you want to own is a bike, it probably shouldn’t be a downhill bike because it’s not versatile enough. But if you are an avid fan of downhill runs, or want to get on there, there really is no better choice.

How much should you spend on a downhill bike??

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You may think that your decision to buy will be either the world’s most expensive downhill bike or a used five year old model. With the rise of direct sales companies, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Some companies offer their models very cheaply, and you can even have the carbonized ones for a reasonable price. So the downhill bike is accessible and affordable for most budgets.

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Upgrades to the cushioning and wheels are worthwhile, but the cost of most gear can also be on the lower end of the price scale. That’s not to say you shouldn’t spend more, as some of the newest components are pretty good after a lot of test drives.

The following criteria should be considered when looking to buy the best downhill bike for your money:


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As with any bike, the quality of a downhill model is very much related to the finish of its frame. This is developed together with the fastest world championship racing drivers who only have the pure speed record in mind. The best frames are made of carbon, but some are still made entirely of aluminum. The main advantages of carbon are lightness and endurance, but of course it comes at a price. The guideline value for the weight of the frame is approx. 2.8 kg.

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You won’t go wrong with an aluminum frame because the technology is well tested and durable. Instead, you’d prefer to focus on the geometry. You are looking for a downhill bike that is stable in speed. That is why a longer and more relaxed version is generally better. But keep in mind that slow sections of the trail will change maneuverability.

A head angle of 62-64 °, a bottom bracket height of approx. 350 mm and a wheelbase of more than 1250 mm are a good start. However, a test ride would be the best way to get a real feel for how you’re handling a particular downhill bike. When riding with a proper frame it will feel like you are sitting in the bike and not on it. There is no exact science, so it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.


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The downhill bike must have suspension at the front and rear. Usually it has a suspension travel of 200 mm. This means that the suspension provides sufficient cushioning for every impact. The adjustment of the suspension is of great importance for these models, as it must not be too soft or too hard. You can also adjust how the suspension behaves while driving, for example how quickly it rebounds after a collision.

Wheel forks

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Most downhill bikes use double crown forks that extend along the head tube. The bike has to withstand massive knocks, so the wheel forks are clamped in three places to increase endurance. As a rule, they have about 200 mm of travel, are up to 40 mm thick and offer far more power than other wheel forks. Double crown forks are more robust, but they don’t allow you to rotate the rods as much as you are used to with single-crown abutments.

Shock absorbers

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Coil springs have been ubiquitous in the past, but recent advances in shock absorber technology have made them a viable option. In terms of performance, the spiral shock absorbers are currently preferred, but it cannot be denied that the air shock absorbers offer more adjustment options and are lighter.


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Carbon wheels are available on par with downhill bikes, but their combination of high strength and light weight means they are no cheaper. Aluminum bikes will serve a thrifty rider better. In addition, her many years of development have enabled her to remain consistent in sports performance.


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The tires for the downhill bike tend to prefer grip over rolling resistance, making them thicker, stronger and more aggressive than the usual suspects. It is best to look for tires between 6 and 6.5 cm. They may also be heavier than usual, but that’s a tradeoff for the added strength. Otherwise you would burst everywhere. Different tires offer different connections – some are more grippy while others are more enduring. There are also different profiles for various weather conditions. For example, in Germany you will need at least one set of tires for dry weather and one for mud.

Other parts for the downhill bike

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Since you will be riding fast on a downhill bike, you should be able to do so too. Brakes are often four pistons screwed onto 203 mm wide rotors for maximum braking power. Gears don’t seem that important when your mostly downhill racing, but top racers use them more than you might imagine. A compact 7-speed cassette will probably be fine for most journeys, but it can’t hurt to have more.

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For the rest of the equipment, it makes sense to buy accessories that are as durable as possible. Handlebar grips are often approx. 760 mm wide with stocky stems. The pedals can be flat or clipless pedals, depending on your preference. Most riders switch to flat pedals in muddy conditions. The downhill bike basically has a saddle and a seat post, but they are often positioned directly on the frame to protect the rider from a major impact.

Where can you buy your future downhill bike?

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You will look for a downhill bike either in your local store or on the internet. A reputable shop will allow you to do most of the purchase. You can also be sure that the advice will be more valuable than that from an internet expert. It also has the added benefit that you can test the goods on site.

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The third option is to order a used downhill bike from various sources. These models are losing weight quickly because of the high levels of abuse, but bargain hunters are sure to find what they’re looking for. You need to be aware, however, that there may be a few scratches and some of the components may be damaged or missing altogether. It is advisable to look at the bike before buying. If you haven’t bought bikes yet, be sure to take someone with you who can spot dents, cracks, or rattles.

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The downhill bike has an uncompromising soul that still enchants adults and children today, just as it was twenty years ago. A good bike for extreme sports, the main aim of which is to descend a mountain as quickly as possible.