They've done the longer, lower, slacker thing and are well on to The Next Big Thing.

When all’s said and done, sometimes we like bikes for not entirely logical reasons. Some bikes are just cool. These are the ten coolest brands of 2020.

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This list could – and probably should – be called ‘Top 10 most progressive mountain bike brands’ as there’s a definite weighting towards function over form. Which may be unusual for a list based on coolness but it’s these brands’ idiosyncrantic take on things like geometry and suspension layout that makes them cool to us, not their decals or colourways.

Having said that, it doesn’t hurt if they look good too.

Without any further ado, here’s our Cool List in alphabetical order…

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What makes it cool?

Partly an undeniable retro heritage vibe is at play but unlike most other old skooly brands, Ancilotti are still all about performance. Bonus points for the pull-shock design (using their own Ancilotti coil shock). And how about that chrome finish? Retro done oh-so-right.


What makes it cool?

A combination of rarity, aesthetics and a healthy cult following of head-nodding chin-strokers. Antidote bikes have a near-mythical reputation for offering a magical ride attributed to an in-house blend of carbon and Vectran combined with an eye-catching floating-shock four-bar layout.

cotic flaremax


What makes it cool?

While the industrial looks may be divisive (some love it, some… don’t) there’s no getting away from the admirable fact that Cotic do things their way. That’s what makes them cool. They don’t really over-hype or obnoxiously shout about it. They just get on with it. And their bikes are screechingly fast downhill too.


What makes it cool?

Evil’s bikes are like AC/DC songs. They’re all the same. And that’s why they’re cool. Even if you can’t tell one Evil model from another, it almsot doesn’t matter. They all look cool and you know they’ll be a blast to ride. Evils are all about that bearing-tastic Delta suspension system; one of the few ‘complicated’ systems that are actually worth it.


What makes it cool?

Well, it’s that idler isn’t it? High pivot idler bikes are where it’s at, maan. But it’s not like you can really get away with pedalling a Commencal Supreme DH around your local trails, unfortunately. The Forbidden Druid feels like it’s a bike that the traditionally rather conservative bike industry wouldn’t allow you to make.


What makes it cool?

There really is no other (non ebike) mountain bike brand more at the leading edge than Geometron. If you want to be ahead the curve, and be like the cool kids who like all the best music before anyone else know about it, you should be on a Geometron. Super progressive geometry, mis-matched wheels, coil shocks, spherical bearing shock mounts, not-carbon. All we need now is someone to design a new water bottle standard


What makes it cool?

Speaking of water bottle mounts… fill yer boots with a Pole. For some riders the choice of which superbike to get often ultimately comes down to being able to fit a water bottle in the frame. Aside from the hydration aspect, the allure of Pole is two-fold: super long and slack geometry combined with the CNC’d construction aesthetic.


What makes it cool?

Being cheap is never cool. Being good value on the other hand, can be. But, as any experienced mountain biker knows, good value is nothing if the performance doesn’t cut it. The Privateer 161 enduro bike may retail for an appealing sub-£3k price tag but it’s also at the front of the pack when it comes to modern geometry.


What makes it cool?

This is Euro cool. Neat. Chic. Flaunting its technology in a pretend-modest way. Raaw want you know the thought and consideration that has gone into their bikes. Sure, they charge a bit of premium for all that production and performance pondering. But just look at the result. That’s cool.

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What makes it cool?

Starling have a less-is-more get-it-done vibe. Nothing flashy. Nothing to complicate matters when what matters is just thrashing your bike around the woods and mountains. No time wasted curing tiny non-problems, get the basics right and crack on. Steel. Single pivot. External cable routing. Mud clearance. Normal standards. Go ride. Cool. It doesn’t hurt that Starlings have some of the best ride characteristics of any mountain bike out there.