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FAQ: Top 5 Mountain Bikes That Hold Their Value

TPC has sold over 45,000+ Certified Pre-Owned bikes so we have more data than anyone on what bikes hold their value. I dug through the numbers and found the 5 mountain bike brands and models that resist depreciation the best.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:FAQs

I can’t reveal the secret sauce, but there is an ideal amount of time we want used bikes to sit on our site, and we’ve collected years of data, written fancy algorithms, and created dashboards to help our small team price bikes to optimize their ability to sell. 

Our data is perfect for revealing which mountain bikes hold their value. We know the original retail price of nearly every bike we sell and can compare that to the average selling price for used models. Using this, I've deduced which mountain bike brands and models resist depreciation the best.  

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The 5 Strongest Mountain Bike Brands

Let’s start with the bigger picture — MTB brands that resist depreciation the best. These rankings are based on data for bikes that TPC has sold within the last 3 years.

  1. Specialized
  2. Santa Cruz
  3. Yeti
  4. Ibis
  5. Trek

Brands like Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Ibis always do well because they are “core” mountain bike brands that have been in the sport for decades, have a reputation for quality and performance, and are well-known to enthusiasts. Here’s another thing they all have in common: they’re known for making bikes on the more expensive end of the spectrum. For many riders, they’re unaffordable when new, and occupy the realm of “dream bikes.” 

Realistically, a Santa Cruz, Yeti, or Ibis isn’t “better” than a similarly equipped bike from another brand. Even if the quality is no different from a competitor though, many consumers are often willing to pay much more for a bike from one of these brands simply because of strong brand recognition. This has a major effect on a bike’s value in the used market. 

Our purchasing manager, Kyle Goodmaster, leads the team at TPC that tries to determine the value of the used bikes based on years of data (we’ve been at it since 2006). He explained it to me in the simplest terms possible: “Big name brands hold their value the best since they have more buyers.”

What about Specialized and Trek, the two bookends? No surprises here. They’re two of the biggest bike manufacturers in the world. When it comes to brand recognition, they beat Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Ibis. They’re Honda and Toyota. Even people who aren’t “hardcore” cyclists are likely familiar with them. Their bikes regularly top our lists for the most popular mountain bike brands we sell


Extra Interesting Tidbits

Sitting right on the heels of the top five are two more big names: Giant and Canyon. They hold their value very well despite a reputation for selling more budget-friendly bikes. Again, brand recognition is the key. 

Giant is the biggest bike manufacturer in the world and Canyon is the benchmark for direct-to-consumer bike brands, so their bikes are extremely popular. Despite lower original retail prices than comparable Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Ibis models, many of their offerings come with highly competitive component builds (higher-end drivetrains, quality suspension, and carbon wheels) that keep them extremely competitive in the used market. 

A brand that surprised me is Crust Bikes. Technically, I could say Crust beat out Santa Cruz, but I didn’t include it in the rankings because we sold so few of them over the last 3 years. Crust is an example of a niche brand that is in demand among a small but dedicated fanbase. My gut feeling is that if we had as many Crusts available as we do Specialized bikes (i.e., several hundred), then their resale value would tank because they become commonplace. 

Top 5 Mountain Bike Models That Hold Their Value

Specialized Epic Evo
  1. Specialized Epic / Epic EVO
  2. Yeti SB115
  3. Santa Cruz Blur / Blur TR
  4. Santa Cruz Tallboy
  5. Trek Supercaliber

I want to share Kyle’s comment to me after he pulled the data for mountain bike models with the strongest resale value: “Poor fun bikes. It's like everybody hates fun.”

Kyle says this because he's a gravity guy. He likes enduro and downhill bikes, and his riding goals are more focused on sending gnarly features and shralping turns than pedaling long distances, conquering climbs, or winning races. Unfortuantely for Kyle, it seems like our used mountain bike customers lean more toward the other end of the mountain bike spectrum since XC, downcountry, and short-travel trail bikes hold their value the best. 

Again, these bike models tend to also be among out best-selling bikes. Modern short-travel mountain bikes are extremely versatile and capable, which has made them the ideal choice for a wider range of riders.

Cross-country riding is likely more closely aligned with how most riders actually use their bikes. Bigger travel bikes tend to only be popular in areas where riders have access to a large amount of technical downhill terrain. Also, bigger travel bikes tend to experience a bit more abuse, which can effect resale. 

Extra Interesting Tidbits

The 2021+ Specialized Epic and Epic EVO are the mountain bikes that we find hold their value the best, and the lighter S-Works version is at the very top of the pile. Across the board, higher-end frames tend to be the most desirable — Specialized S-Works, Yeti Turq, Santa Cruz CC frames tend to hold value better than versions that use heavier lower modulus carbon. 

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