It’s no secret that the ceiling of the cycling market has been pushed higher and higher in recent years. While we’d argue that it’s possible to get more bang for your buck these days then when we first got into mountain biking, it’s also true that you can spend a whole lot more cashola if you really want the absolute crème de la crème. Seriously – you can spend more than five figures on a mountain bike. Wow.
Labour-intensive carbon fibre has had a lot to do with it. Both for frames, and also when it comes to uber high-end carbon wheels like those from ENVE Composites. New state-of-the-art components have also helped drive up the price of top-spec’d models. It’s now possible to spend four hundred quid on a cassette, and you can spend over £1500 on a suspension fork. Add all of those bling items together with some titanium bolts and a cutting-edge carbon fibre full suspension frameset, and you’re well onto your way to superbike territory.
Of course for many brands, there’s also marketing value in producing these so-called “halo bikes”. While the lion’s share of the market is more interested in mountain bikes under three grand, it doesn’t exactly hurt a brand’s image when they produce a super top-end version of the same bike that’s double that price. And you could also argue that what the engineering lessons developed at the Formula One end of the price spectrum are worth the financial investment, as they’ll no doubt trickle down into more accessible price points in the future.
So with that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of those halo bikes currently on the market. But here’s the disclaimer; in a global market, a list like this is tricky – some bikes are available in some regions, and some aren’t available. We’ve tried to stick with bikes available in the UK, and we’ve tried to stick with full production-spec bikes. When it comes to the boutique brands like Yeti and Intense, various international distributors will offer their own unique build kits, and various ‘hop-ups’ that will push the price even further. Currency fluctuations will also affect the final pricing outcome.
But as of right now, here are 25 of some of the most expensive production mountain bikes available on the market – get ready for some gratuitous bike porn.
1. KTM Scarp 29 Sonic 12s
- Price: €7999 (£6982 converted)
- From: KTM Bikes
The first entrant into our list is the Scarpa from Austrian brand, KTM Bikes. Boasting a claimed 1700gm frame weight, the Scarpa is an XC racers delight with its 29in wheels, 1×12 drivetrain and carbon fibre DT Swiss wheels. Yummy orange too.
2. Look 989 hardtail
- Price: €8599 (£7458)
- From: Look Bikes
French road brand, Look, also produces some ludicrously expensive mountain bike frames too. They’ve dabbled with various knobbly tyre bikes over the years, but they’re surely aimed at the leg-shaving crowd. The 989 is a striking number, complete with a semi-integrated stem that mirros the aesthetic of their flagship road race machines.
3. Niner RIP 9 RDO XTR w/WTB Carbon Wheels
- Price: £7499
- From: Jungle Products
We got a look at the new RIP 9 RDO back in July, and it’s certainly one hot number. With the full XTR groupset, carbon fibre frame and a sneaky upgrade to WTB carbon wheels, this bling-wagon jumps into our list at number three.
4. Yeti SB6 X0-1 Eagle
- Price: £7527
- From: Silverfish
With a distinctive low-slung frame, 6in of travel and geometry inspired by the racecourse of the Enduro World Series, the SB6 from Yeti Cycles has presence in spades. Depending on how you build it, your price may vary – in the US you can get an ENVE wheel upgrade that pushes the price up over a grand over what we’ve got listed here, which would see the SB6 jump up the list a number of places.
5. Ibis Mojo HD3 X01 Eagle Werx
- Price: £7549
- From: 2Pure
Another boutique US brand to slip into our top-25 list is the Mojo HD3 from Ibis Cycles. Like Yeti and Santa Cruz, there are options galore with Ibis. Once you add in the Fox X2 shock upgrade to the Eagle X0-1 Werx build kit, you’re getting up there in price. Luckily for mortals, the HD3 is available in several other build kits that cost thousands less.
6. Mondraker Summum Carbon
- Price: £7599
- From: Silverfish
If you want to ride as fast as Danny Hart, you gotta pay up. A cool £7599 to be exact, and that’ll get you the boundary-destroying Summum Carbon from Spanish brand Mondraker.
7. Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL: £7600
- Price: £7499
- From: Rocky Mountain Bikes UK
With its redesigned carbon frame and some of the sleekest lines we’ve ever seen on a mountain bike, the new Slayer from Rocky Mountain Bikes is an absolute visual delight. You can get it as a frame on its own, or in the 790 guise that includes Fox Factory suspension, RaceFace finishing kit and Shimano XTR shifting. Drool.
8. AX Lightness VIAL evo XC XX1 Eagle
- Price: €8999 (£7845 converted)
- From: AX-Lightness
If you want exotic, it’s pretty hard to go past some of the boutique German brands like AX-Lightness. The Vial XC is the company’s latest attempt at a superlight 29in hardtail, and its frame comes in at a staggering 870 grams. The complete bike with SRAM Eagle 1×12 and AX’s own carbon wheels? Six. Point. Nine. Kilos. That’s right; 6.9kg, or in other terms, less than most road bikes. Holy shit.
9. Pinarello Dogma XM 9.9
- Price: €9025 (£7896 converted)
- From: Yellow-Limited
The Italians have slotted into our top-25 list as well, with the Pinarello Dogma XM 9.9 edging towards the 8k mark thanks to its Fulcrum carbon wheels, Shimano Di2 groupset and Fox iRD electronically-controlled suspension. It is quite the machine – in a euro-roadie kind of way.
10. Kona Hei Hei Supreme Carbon
- Price: £7899
- From: Kona Bikes
Kona redesigned its Hei Hei 29in full suspension race bike for 2016, and in 2017 it’s stepped up the bling factor courtesy of a gold 12-speed cassette from SRAM. Pair the RockShox Monarch XX rear shock with an RS-1 fork and the Dual Sprint X-Loc hydraulic remote lockout, and you’ve got a sprinters dream package. Interestingly though, Kona has chosen WTB’s wider (but heavier) Ci31 carbon rims instead of the lighter Ci24 carbon rims.
11. Storck Adrenic Platinum XTR Di2
- Price: £7949
- From: Storck
German brands seem to have a penchant for superlight 110-130mm travel XC bikes, and the Adrenic from Storck is the perfect example. Equipped with a dual-link suspension design and 120mm of rear travel, the Adrenic rocks 27.5in wheels and a 70° head angle – that’s with a 140mm travel fork on the front…in 2017. Well, at least you can’t suggest that they’re copying market trends.
12. Canyon Exceed CF SLX 9.9 LTD
- Price: £7999
- From: Canyon Bikes
German mega-brand Canyon is often associated with value-oriented complete bikes, but they also produce some incredibly expensive bikes too. Case in point; the Exceed CF SLX 9.9 LTD. Using the same sub-900gm carbon frame as the rest of the Exceed CF SLX range, the LTD model ups the ante with a set of six-spoke Bike Ahead carbon wheels, a Tune crankset, and DT Swiss forks. Even the drivetrain has been selected for weight – it’s SRAM XX-1 11-speed, because it is lighter than Eagle 12-speed.
13. Scott Spark RC 900 SL
- Price: £8299
- From: Scott Sports
Debuting one of the lightest full suspension mountain bike frames on the market back in June, Scott Sports showed to the world the brand-new Spark. The Spark is available in an enormous number of spec levels across 29in, 27.5in and 27.5 plus wheel options. But if you want the best, then the RC 900 SL is the ticket thanks to its Syncros carbon wheels and Fox Factory suspension package.
14. Ghost PathRiot 10
- Price: £8499
- From: Hotlines
Take a 6in travel carbon fibre multi-link full suspension bike, add in a Fox DHX2 rear shock, a Fox 36 Factory fork, and Shimano XTR groupset, and you’ve got a sweet machine. Then add Tune carbon fibre rims, Tune hubs, a Tune bar and stem, and you’ve got a whole new level of ridonculous.
15. Rotwild GT S
- Price: €9990 (£8665 converted)
- From: Rotwild
How do you make a carbon fibre hardtail as expensive as possible? You put full XTR 2×11 Di2 shifting on it, along with Italian brakes and suspension, and crazy-looking Crank Brothers twin-pair spoke wheels. But how do you make it really, really expensive? You put a sticker on it from a high-performance auto company, that’s how.
16. Bianchi Methanol 9.0 CV Di2
- Price: £8799 (currently £7900 until a price rise on 1st February)
- From: Bianchi UK
Speaking of European race hardtails, the Bianchi Methanol was a sure bet for this list. As one of the oldest bike company’s in the world, Bianchi has been at the whole bike thing for quite a while. They predominantly focus on road bikes, but they make mountain bikes too, like the Methanol CV. Drawing on its top-end road race bikes, the Methanol CV has all sorts of acronyms for its carbon frame, plus a RockShox RS-1 fork and Shimano XTR 2×11 Di2 shifting – a rare pairing on a stock bike that surely helps to achieve the 16th spot on our list.
17. Ghost Lector World Cup: £9999
- Price: £9999
- From: Ghost Bikes
There are 12 models in the Lector hardtail lineup from Ghost, but none are more expensive that the World Cup model. There’s the obligatory SRAM Eagle 1×12 groupset, but look a little closer and you’ll find interesting parts like a 750mm wide Tune carbon handlebar and the scarily named “Re4mer” saddle. Interestingly, despite the uber-light carbon parts and a 100mm travel RS-1 fork, it still has a slacker head angle and a longer reach than that Storck Adrenic.
18. Intense Spider 275 Factory
- Price: £8700
- From: Saddleback
Just like Yeti, Santa Cruz and Niner, Intense Cycles could have been in our list several times. But we just picked this one; the Spider 275 in Factory trim. Like the new Primer, ACV and Recluse, the Spider is offered with a top-of-the-pops Factory build kit that couldn’t be any blingier than if it was one of Flava Flav’s gold teeth.
19. Pivot Firebird Di2 2×11
- Price: £8920
- From: Upgrade Bikes
Pivot Cycles is also another boutique US brand that you often see as the foundation for many a custom build. But while many riders choose to buy a Pivot as a frame only and build their own custom rig, you also have the option of many different build kits to choose from. One of those comes with a full Shimano XTR Di2 groupset. There are 1x and 2x options available, and for those who want the biggest gear range as possible, the 2×11 XTR Di2 helps to push the carbon Firebird in to the upper end of our top-25 list.
20. Trek Session 9.9: £9,000
- Price: £9000
- From: Trek Bikes
Once upon a time, Trek made all of its bikes in the US. Nowadays, only the very top-end Madone 9-Series frames and Bontrager carbon wheels are made in the US – and the Session 9.9. Unlike Trek’s other carbon mountain bikes like the Slash 9.9 and Remedy 9.9, the Session 9.9 is handmade in the US. And that’s most likely why this high-performance, World Championship-winning downhill machine comes in at such a high price.
21. Santa Cruz V-10 CC w/ENVE Wheels
- Price: £9400
- From: Jungle Products
Pipping the Trek Session 9.9 for the most expensive downhill bike is the V-10 CC from Santa Cruz Bicycles. Flown to many a victory thanks to the efforts of the Santa Cruz Syndicate team, the V-10 is as race proven as it comes. Add in ENVE M90 carbon wheels, Fox Factory suspension, Race Face carbon SixC finishing kit, and you’ve got a dead-set superbike.
22. Cannondale Scalpel-Si Black Inc
- Price: £9499
- From: Cannondale
A couple of years ago, Cannondale introduced the Black Inc range. Just like Specialized does with it’s S-Works bikes, the Black Inc range is basically a Product Manager’s wet dream. Their goal? To produce the most high-end build kit known to mankind. In the case of the superlight Scalpel FS-i race bike, that means full electronic shifting from Shimano XTR Di2, along with Cannondale’s own cranks and ENVE finishing kit. Oh, and Chris King hubs too…
23. BMC Fourstroke XTR Di2
- Price: €11,499 (£10,032 converted)
- From: Evans Cycles
The Swiss masters of carbon engineering, BMC, have produced a doozy with the Fourstroke. Employing a dual-link suspension design called APS, this 100mm travel Fourstroke is built for World Cup XCO domination. The top-spec option is only available in the UK as a special order, so don’t expect to see many of these at your local trail head. But why the high price point? Fox iRD suspension coupled with Shimano XTR Di2 2×11 shifting is a big contributor, but hot damn, how freaking cool are electronic gears and suspension??
24. Felt Virtue FRD: £10,999
- Price: £10,999
- From: Felt Bicycles
Not long ago, Felt Bicycles introduced a new level for their carbon frames made from a specific type of carbon fibre dubbed Textreme. It’s found on Felt’s super high-end road race bikes, hardtails, and on the Virtue trail bike. At 12kg for the complete bike, the Virtue FRD is one of the lightest 130/140mm travel bikes on the market, but it’s also one of the priciest.
25. Haibike Xduro Full Seven Carbon: £15,000
- Price: £15,000
- From: Haibike
Oh yes, a controversial entry for the number one spot! But, there’s no denying this is perhaps the most expensive production mountain bike on the market, at a cool 15 grand. Complete with Shimano XTR Di2 shifting, Bike Ahead six-spoke carbon wheels and Magura MT8 brakes, the xDuro FullSeven Carbon 10.0 is, according to Haibike, “the lightest Bosch full suspension eBike in the world“. It still looks hideous though. Oh and 17.5kg still seems like a lot of mass to be on top of a pair of Schwalbe Thunder Burt tyres, but hey, that might just be us.
So, there you have it – a big list of the priciest, blingiest and most exotic production mountain bikes in the world as of right now.
But, we need your help – what bikes did we miss from this list?