Today we'll answer the question, "What is the most expensive mountain bike money can buy?" And we'll explore what that gets you. Exclusivity, technology, materials, and craftsmanship? And we'll explore what makes these bikes cost so much and if they make a difference in the ownership and riding experience.

Of course, there are one-of bikes that are gold-plated or have a diamond-laced head badge which puts the price beyond $500,000. But we'll stick to production bikes that are readily available for the buyer with a well-stocked bank account.

Most expensive mountain bike

The BMC Fourstroke 01 is a fully optimized XC slayer with a frame integrated dropper post.​

BMC FOURSTROKE 01 - $9,999

To kick things off, we'll sneak you in under $10,000 with this BMC bike from Switzerland. It's a purpose-built bike for cross country racing and it makes no apologies. It's sleek, chic, and ready for you to don your skinsuit and shaved legs to shatter those Strava hillclimb records.

What you're paying for here is the best cross-country racing rig that the Swiss engineers of BMC could create. It features their best carbon fiber lay-up on to a frame that is proven in World Cup circuits. Its purpose-built pedigree is pursued by a dropper post integrated into the frame for seamless looks and performance. It features the latest wireless shifting from Sram AXS, the finest components by Fox suspension and Mavic wheels, and optimized Vittoria tires.

And it delivers it with a weight of 10.5kg or 23.1 lbs

More info: https://us-en.bmc-switzerland.com/fourstroke-01-one.html

Most expensive mountain bike

DT Carbon wheels and Sram wireless AXS bump up the price of this fine steed to $10,400.​

Yeti SB150 EAGLE AXS CARBON WHEEL MOUNTAIN BIKE - $10,400

And then there's the Yeti with its cult-like following. We picked the SB150 All Mountain bike but the other bikes in its line can be had in this ultimate, pricey configuration as well. The no-expenses-spared build is equipped with a set of DT Swiss carbon hoops that provide snappy engagement with minimal weight. Sram wireless AXS components and the best Fox suspension finish off this build. These are all packaged with a versatile frame that makes quick work of steep, technical terrain, and stays lively for smoother singletrack.

Mountain bikes are mostly excellent these days so Yeti had to separate itself from the pack by pushing the envelope. The SB150 is for racers and weekend warriors alike who can handle a very aggressive 29er that is slack and low. It needs to be pushed and the rider needs to move around the cockpit and manhandle this bull. With 150mm of rear travel provided by Yeti's Switch Infinity suspension platform and a 170mm fork, the rider will be rewarded for years to come as they progress with this bike.
  • A dream-worthy trail bike built for all-mountain domination
  • 150mm of plush Switch Infinity eats bumps and pedals efficiently
  • Updated geometry is optimized for going up and down steep terrain
  • TURQ carbon construction drops grams and boosts stiffness
  • DT Swiss carbon hoops upgrade the ride with light, stiff, snappy engagement
  • SRAM's XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain wirelessly
More info: https://yeticycles.com/bikes/sb150

Most expensive mountain bike

The Megatower is mega dialed like all Santa Cruz bikes are. Other Santa Cruz bikes can be had with this ultimate build option as well.​

SANTA CRUZ MEGATOWER CARBON CC XX1 EAGLE RESERVE MOUNTAIN BIKE - $10499

The Megatower is a capable, modern-day bruiser from one of the most desirable brands in the mountain bike industry. It features their latest, lower link-driven VPP suspension derived from the V10. It can be a trail bike or it can be a downhill bike as a massive sweet spot is its trademark.

Like all Santa Cruz bikes, it's about engineering and details. Lines are clean and all the foundation details like pivots and cable routing are engineered so well that they rarely call attention to themselves. And when a well-used steed needs some TLC after thousands of miles and smiles, everything is serviceable and supported by the mothership, Santa Cruz Bicycles.

To complement its sweet spot, a tidy and concealed flip-chip in the lower-link adjusts bottom bracket height and changes the angles, the height, and behavior of the rear suspension. A second flip-chip in the rear dropouts, allows for a 10mm fore-aft adjustment in chainstay length to dial in the rider's rearward weight distribution. This bike is about options, not just a downhill beast that some might assume it is.

The bike can climb as well as it has a suspension platform that allows it to transfer power to the ground during heavy pedaling efforts. It's still responsive to rocks too, making it ideal for rough, steep climbs.

More info: https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/bikes/megatower

Most expensive mountain bike

How about automatic suspension that locks and unlocks using an array of sensors to understand and anticipate what you're doing with the bike?​

MACH 5.5 CARBON TEAM XX1 LIVE VALVE - $11,400

The Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon Team XX1 Live Valve bike is all about craftsmanship and balance as it is designed to climb and descend most terrain with composure. The key to its sweet spot is a fully-integrated Fox Live Valve electronic suspension. Live Valve is suspension technology present in the most advanced vehicles, adapting to terrain changes and automatically adjusts your suspension to match them. We've ridden this bike for about 6 months in our local terrain and its performance and operation is almost seamless. Just turn it on at the start of the ride and you're almost guaranteed a faster ride on your normal loops.

The DW-link suspension on the Mach 5.5 separates itself from other systems with square-edged bump supple compliance, coupled with excellent pedaling performance. It's responsive, stays high on its travel, and remains active under heavy power or braking. Frame quality too is first-rate with carbon frames that have perhaps the lowest warranty rate in the industry, at less than 2%.
  • A progressive trail bike with the best components on the market
  • Fox Live Valve electronic suspension adjusts compression in real-time
  • Long, low, & slack geometry provides stability for descents and high-speeds
  • Sturdy carbon frame comes with a 10-year warranty & reliable oversize bearings
  • Carbon wheels and XX1 drivetrain provide lightweight, precise performance
More info: https://store.pivotcycles.com/en/bike-mach-55-carbon-1

Most expensive mountain bike

$11,000 gets you a cross-country missile, paired with some of the best wheels in the market.​

Trek Supercaliber 9.9 XX1 AXS - $11,000+

This bike is a delight indeed from the carbon fiber wizards of Trek from Madison, Wisconsin. They've tuned their best carbon materials to deliver seatstays that flex just enough to avoid pivots in this ultralight bike. It's not a system for All Mountain bikes but they feel is perfectly suited for this application. Materials tuning and application is what they're able to do with their experience with carbon fiber.

Couple that with some of the best carbon fiber wheels around, the Kovee XXX. These wheels are wide, light, and strong at 1290 grams.

Set up tubeless, this bike weighs under 20 lbs in Medium size. If you don't achieve your hillclimb PR with this bike, the blame may not be on the bike.

There's no dropper post so if you need one, the price tag goes up. And if you want a custom paint job from their Project One division, what's another few dollars?

More info: Supercaliber XX1

Bottom Line

These bikes are pricey but they're really not outrageous. The prices are pushed by automatic suspension or wireless shifting, wireless dropper posts and lightweight motors. These technologies are in their infancy so there is a premium for all that R&D. The bikes are all stunning as well, all sporting impressive craftsmanship, brand support and build details.

Are they worth it? If you have a fat bank account and you're going to ride it a lot, with great appreciation, we think so. But also remember that the build and technology on all these bikes are available for half the price in their less exclusive, more value-oriented builds. So the buyer has good options today.