9 Dream Bikes That Will Break Your Budget

Best of best from GT, Marin, Norco, BMC, Intense, Rocky Mountain, Pivot, Scott and Cannondale

27.5 29er All Mountain Trail Enduro Interbike
The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL has a smoothwall carbon frame that  produces a lightweight bike that is stiff, light and efficient. The frame weight alone is a claimed 2350 grams.

The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL has a smoothwall carbon frame that produces a lightweight bike that is stiff, light and efficient. The frame weight alone is a claimed 2350 grams.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL – $11,499

The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL is a carbon framed trail bike and with its 120mm of travel front and rear, it is neither a DH rig nor an XC racer. The smoothwall carbon frame produces a lightweight bike that is stiff, light and efficient. The frame weight alone is a claimed 2350 grams.

The Thunderbolt features a wide range of adjustment with what Rocky calls their Ride-9 system that is basically a flip chip inside a chip that changes the top mounting position of the shock.

Suspension is handled by a Fox 32 Float Fit 4 fork and a Fox Float DPS rear shock. The Shimano XTR Di2 electronic drivetrain adds to price tag. Other parts highlights include Shimano XTR brakes, Stan’s Neo+ hubs and Valor rims with Sapim Laser spokes.

To learn more, visit www.bikes.com.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL – $11,499

Versatile is the word used most often to describe this Dream Bike from Pivot Cycles.

Versatile is the word used most often to describe this Dream Bike from Pivot Cycles.

Pivot Cycles Mach 6 Carbon XTR Di2 – $11,999

The Pivot Cycles Mach 6 has been a favorite of ours for a while and is truly one of the most versatile bikes on the market. The Mach 6 features 155mm of dw-link suspension and really strikes a chord with so many mountain bikers out there, which is a testament to the quality and reputation that they have built over the years.

In fact, the biggest news this past Interbike was the launch of the alloy version of the Mach 6, making it attainable by those who can’t quite save up enough for the full carbon version.

The Dream Bike carbon version shown here is available with a whopping 10 different build kits, with the Shimano XTR Di2 version coming in at $12 grand. This high-zoot rig comes with Fox suspension front and rear, Shimano XTR Di2 2×11 drivetrain, XTR brakes, KS LEV dropper and DT Swiss’s XMC 1200 carbon wheels. You are getting the latest technology in mountain bikes in a package that all together creates one of the most popular mountain bikes on the market today.

Pivot Cycles Mach 6 Carbon XTR Di2 – $11,999

To learn more, visit www.pivotcycles.com.

With it's "Ultimate" designation, this bike comes equipped with all the high end tech bits including the eNude shock with Traction Control.

With its “Ultimate” designation, this bike comes equipped with all the high end tech bits including the eNude shock with Traction Control.

Scott Spark 700 Ultimate – $11,999

The Scott Spark 700 Ultimate is one of the lightest full suspension bikes available. The HMX carbon is a cut above their standard HMF carbon with a special fiber that creates a frame that is 20% stiffer and lighter. The frame itself even has one layer of cosmetic carbon removed in the name of weight savings.

With its “Ultimate” designation, this bike comes equipped with all the high end tech bits like Shimano’s XTR Di2 2×11 drivetrain and suspension from Fox including the proprietary eNude iRD rear shock developed by Fox in conjunction with Scott just for this bike. With the high price tag comes high tech. The eNude provides adjustable travel and variable damping based on the travel setting. Scott’s TwinLoc system works with the Fox iRD fork and Traction Control equipped rear shock.

The Spark 700 Ultimate also has Scott’s IDS variable dropout system, adjustable BB height and now standard features like a tapered headtube and direct mount disc brakes. Naturally, the bike features quite a few choice carbon parts like the carbon bar, carbon seatpost and carbon wrapped stem. The Syncros XR 1.0 rims are carbon matched to Syncros XR 1.0 hubs (made by DT Swiss). All in all, the Scott Spark 700 Ultimate weighs in at a claimed 22.7 lbs. Svelte, indeed.

Scott Spark 700 Ultimate – $11,999

To learn more, visit www.scott-sports.com.

The all black treatment is a sign of Cannondale's ultra-premium spec Black Inc. series.

The all black treatment is a sign of Cannondale’s ultra-premium spec Black Inc. series.

Cannondale Habit Hi-Mod Black Inc. – $12,250

Cannondale has been using the designation “Black Inc.” on several of their bicycles as the top-of-the-line, no-hold-barred models. They use it on their high end carbon road bikes like the SuperSix Evo Black Inc., Synapse Hi-Mod Black Inc. and the Slice Hi-Mod Black Inc. Until now, only one mountain bike has been offered in Black Inc. treatment, the F-Si Black Inc. (carbon hardtail World Cup race bike). Now, the all new Cannondale Habit Carbon Black Inc. is available with the super high-end parts spec and slick looking black and mirror chrome graphics.

The frame is Cannondale’s top tier BallisTec high modulus carbon frame with carbon swingarm. At over $12 grand, the Habit Black Inc. has the distinction of being the most expensive bike here. The frame features 120mm of travel and even the suspension linkage is a one-piece carbon masterpiece. No Cannondale mountain bike would be complete without their signature Lefty fork and the Habit is no exception. The Lefty 2.0 carbon fork has 120mm of travel and uses Cannondale’s XLR isolated damper technology with trail+ tune and X-Loc full sprint remote. Key to keeping the handling nimble is the 50mm of fork offset. For the rear, a RockShox Monarch DebonAir XX shock provides 120mm of travel with a Fullsprint Xloc lock-out.

Like the other high end Dream Bikes listed here, the Habit Black Inc. features Shimano’s XTR Di2 2×11 drivetrain and Shimano XTR M9020 (not M9000) disc brakes. A main price driver here are the ENVE M60 carbon rims, Chris King ISO rear hub, Lefty 60 front hub and DT Swiss Aerolite spokes. Add in more ENVE carbon candy in the form of the carbon riser bar, RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper and Cannondale HollowGram SiSL2 cranks and you have a light, stiff and strong mountain bike. Cheap? No way. Exclusivity included and no extra charge, though.

We had a chance to ride the down-spec Habit Carbon 1 (did we really just call a $7500 mountain bike “down-spec”?) a few months back and it is indeed one sweet ride. It is one of those bikes that rides like more than its specified travel, showing that it is not how much travel you have, it’s how you use it.

Cannondale Habit Hi-Mod Black Inc. – $12,250

To learn more, visit www.cannondale.com.

Let us know which one of these is your favorite and why? Or perhaps you have a suggestion for this list…let us know in the comments below.


About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • hellbelly says:

    Price aside, none of those bikes really do anything for me. If I was given one of them tomorrow I’d likely sell it.

  • Chris I says:

    This feels like buying the most expensive bike possible just to say you bought the most expensive bike available. I still believe that YT’s Pro Race is the best bang for the buck.

  • visser62 says:

    Absalon was “not just winning, but dominating?” I seem to remember Nino winning the title this year…

  • Phil says:

    Seems like Di2 adds about $4000 to the price tag for some of those bikes. Not worth it. And the BMC, are you kidding? No rear suspension, and BMC cockpit, wheels and bits. For what they are asking the wheels better be Envi wheels and cockpit with CK hubs minimum. Seriously?

  • max martinez says:

    BOS supensions (in the Marin one) BE careful!!, bad feedback with the factory and finding parts is a real nightmare, very nice though.

    We are the Yeti, Transition, Specialized… a lot of brands missing here.

  • Matthew Cipes says:

    Hey Max,

    They have a USA service program that is about to launch. It will solve any issues with parts/service for BOS in the US. More to come on this soon!!!

    Cheers!

    Matt Cipes
    MTB Product Manager
    Marin Bikes

  • carl says:

    Wouldn’t trade my Bos Deville for anything. Best fork I’ve ever owned.

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