The Dominer represents exceptional value for money, even from a brand known to offer impressive specs for less. With a Shimano Zee drivetrain, Nukeproof finishing kit and a RockShox BoXXer fork (with Charger damper) and Super Deluxe shock, it’s strange we don’t see more Dominers.
A slack 63-degree head angle and decent reach and wheelbase (460mm /1,264mm on the large, measured) make this bike race-ready out of the box. Overall, the Dominer’s fantastic geometry and great components make it a superb choice for privateer racers.
Finding the right downhill bike for you
Decide what’s most important to you when it comes to choosing a downhill mountain bike. Steve Behr
When looking for a downhill bike, a good starting point is to ask the question ‘what do I want from a DH bike?’ Is it top-performing suspension? Or do you want high-end components or even more sophisticated frame technologies such as carbon fibre constructions or hydroformed tubes?
Choosing a DH bike that concentrates your cash into one area over another, especially if you’re on a budget, will always create compromises though.
How do you prioritise performance, then? It’s quite a balancing act and requires a bit of careful consideration. You need to be able to rank, in order, the parts of the bike you think are the most important.
Is it the frame’s construction? Its geometry? The way the suspension works? The bike’s components or its fork and shock dampers? The wheels and tyres or something else such as its looks? Prioritising any one element should help guide your purchase.
Setting a budget
How much do you have to spend? Steve Behr
In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of the fancy tech that makes top downhill bikes so expensive trickle down to their more affordable siblings, so you can get quite a lot of bike for your buck nowadays.
Most DH rigs now have adjustable geometry, metric trunnion shocks and downhill-specific parts. Even if you’re considering a model that’s much cheaper than the brands’ range-topper, its suspension may not be as sophisticated and the parts may feel clunkier, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun on the hill.
It is possible to pick up a bottom spec DH bike for around £2,000 / $2,000 / €2,000, although some can be found cheaper in sales and at the end of their model year. Equally, the second-hand market is truly vibrant, so you can still get your kicks on a shoestring.
Top-end bikes — that can reach lofty purchase prices of around £10,000 / $10,000 / €10,000 — will be dripping in top DH-specific kit and have cutting-edge technology such as the latest suspension designs and dampers.
Getting a model lower in the range doesn’t necessarily mean less fun on the trails. Steve Behr
Direct to consumer
Generally speaking, direct to consumer brands — such as YT Industries, Canyon, Cube and others — offer the most top-end parts and frame technologies for the least amount of coin.
On the flip side, because you’re buying a bike from the internet, there’s no bike shop to help out when things go wrong and you could be left bikeless for longer than you’d like. So you’ll need to decide how important that initial purchase price is compared to after-sales support.
Online retailers can offer great value. Steve Behr
A carbon fibre frame will generally cost more than an alloy one. For that extra money, it will normally be lighter and should have a more tuned construction compared to an alloy counterpart.
Carbon is an easier material to work with to generate different characteristics over an alloy bike.
Carbon or alloy might be your next choice. Steve Behr
Spending more money won’t necessarily get you better geometry, so study the geo charts carefully when you’re looking to buy.
A bike with great geometry at a reasonable price is a good place to start, meaning you can upgrade the parts over time to improve the way it rides. For more information, check out our guide on all things bike geometry and handling.
What do you need from your bike’s suspension? Steve Behr
The way the suspension works is really important, but don’t get too bogged down on whether it’s a single pivot, Horst-link, four-bar or virtual pivot point style suspension.
Each one of those suspension designs can be tuned in a certain way so study up on what you think you’d like from the bike’s suspension by reading our ultimate suspension guide.
Check the suspension damping. Steve Behr
Because they’re a high-value upgrade, getting the right suspension dampers fitted to your bike’s fork and shock from the factory is important. Carefully read the bike’s specs, making sure that its suspension is damped correctly. It would be worth considering sacrificing some of the bike’s spec — such as elements of the drivetrain or the wheels — to get better dampers.
Components and spec
Spec can always be upgraded over time if suspension and geometry are your priorities. Steve Behr
Although these make up a large portion of the bike, they don’t necessarily change its fundamental ride characteristics. Given the choice between outstanding suspension and geometry or a platter of top-spec parts, we think it would be wise to go for the better sus and geo.
The bike’s parts can be upgraded over time as they break or your budget permits. That said, if this is a finite spend, one-off purchase, then carefully consider what tyres, brakes and gears are bolted to the bike. Poor performance in these areas is the most detrimental to overall ride feel, especially if the frame’s geometry and suspension is sorted.