Every month the MBA wrecking crew
has a room full of bikes that are sent to us for testing. We go over them with a fine–tooth comb and then take them out and give them the once–over in the dirt. We jump them, crash them, ride through streams with them and generally abuse them. Mountain bikes are active tools that are meant to be ridden and enjoyed—you don´t just hang them on the wall and look at them. Mountain bike designers and builders know that the reason people purchase their products is to get them dirty, rough them up and not care too muck about how they look at the end of a ride. Breaking out the metal polish, toothbrush and degreaser is more a reflection of the road bike rider than of any mountain biker.
Sure, the purpose of a mountain bike is to get beaten up, so why bother starting off with a fancy one if its fate is predetermined? Luckily, the bike designers of the world do not ascribe to a theory of making their bikes ugly just because they will tend to get even uglier after normal use. We found five bike companies that go out of their way to make their mountain bikes start off as a piece of art. Obviously, none of these manufacturers is afraid to design bikes that would give nearly anyone a complex about riding them. The bikes supplied to us by Klein, Ventana, Dean, Alpinestars and Santana are so beautiful that any one of us would have been as happy to look at them in our living rooms as to take them out to hammer in the hills.
Unlike road bikes, which still look just hke the road bikes used before there were any paved roads to ride them on, mountain bike frame designs are as different as the dresses worn at the Academy Awards. The varied demands of off–road riding, as well as the varied tastes of off–road riders, have given designers incredible freedom to create a bike as they see fit. They are free to use any material, in whatever shape and in whatever color they prefer. A mountain bike´s design is as limitless as the adventure it guarantees. Here are five bikes that you may want to limit to hanging in your living room.