We love a good custom paint job as much as the next mountain bike nerd but sometimes there's no denying the allure of a raw finish. Here are 12 of the best we've spotted at events of all disciplines:Sam Hill's Raw Nukeproof Mega 29er
We're used to seeing some pretty wild paint jobs on Sam's bikes including a Grave Digger inspired Monster Truck theme
and a Day of the Dead paintjob
in previous seasons but at Val di Fassa last year he went for muted, raw aluminium.
Alongside the stunning finish on this prototype Mega 290, was an all-new front triangle based upon a longer shock and revised kinematics, which became the base for the carbon Mega released later that year. Sam raced the bike to his first EWS podium of the year and kicked off a run that would see him take the overall for a third time in Zermatt.
Check out the full bike check, here
.Aaron Gwin's Prototype YT Tues 29
Gwin's 2018 season was hampered with a thumb injury and, after he aggravated it with a crash in Val di Sole, he decided to sit out Mont Sainte Anne to get it fully fixed. In that time, we saw him teasing a new bike and when he made a return for the final round in La Bresse though he bought this unpainted, carbon prototype with him.
The YT Mob were one of the last World Cup teams to have a 29er at their disposal and we only saw it in this raw form for one race as they released a consumer version in February the following year. Gwin also only got one race on it as he moved to the Intense Factory team during the following offseason.Cube's Prototype 29er DH Bike
If there's any track you're going to switch to 29-inch wheels, Mont Sainte Anne is probably a good one to pick. Cube turned up there in 2017 with this aluminium prototype ready to face the high speeds and big holes on offer on the Canadian track. Although it looked a lot like the old Cube Two15, apparently slight adjustments to pivot placement and geometry made for a much more progressive bike more suited to the needs of a World Cup racer.
Read the full bike check, here
.Greg Watt's Mongoose Fireball
Greg Watts' speed and style bike is an exercise in simplicity, no gyro, a homemade crank stopper, one gear and, of course, no paint. Get all the details, here
.Carlos Coloma's BH Prototype Hardtail
Nevermind a lack of paint, Carlos Coloma's hardtail from the Nove Mesto World Cup last year didn't even have clear coat on it, leaving the complicated layering exposed. Like all XC hardtails, this is designed to be super lightweight and efficient. Just look at the minimalist chain protection to see how seriously BH were taking that.Jakub Vencl's Rose Bikes The Bruce
Czech slopetlye rider, Jakub Vencl, turned up to Crankworx Innsbruck 2018 with this updated version of Rose's Bruce slopestyle hardtail. With geo designed to suit the bigger Crankworx courses, updated tubing and a raw finish, it was definitely one of the standout bikes of the event.Brendan Fairclough's Scott Gambler Prototype
Scott spent all of 2018 tinkering with this aluminium test mule that went on to become the carbon Gambler in 2019. Brendan Fairclough was the test pilot and he experimented with everything from wheelsize to idler pulleys throughout the course of the season. The Sharpie style graphics really add to the raw feel of the bike and make for a sweet looking ride.Joe Nation's Pole Stamina
If you're going to use a unique construction method, you may as well show it off. The CNC’d monocoque frame sections and glued join are all proudly on show on all Pole bikes and enduro racer Joe Nation's is no different.Atherton Bikes' Prototype
The Atherton bike can have as many as three raw frame materials in the mix with carbon tubes, titanium lugs and aluminium pivots. Logan Peat's One-Off Santa Cruz Slopestyle Bike
Logan Peat's full suspension slopestyle bike is a head-turner wherever it goes but unfortunately, we're pretty sure it's a one-off and this brushed aluminium masterpiece will never grace shop floors.Intense's 29er Prototype
Intense were the first brand to experiment with 29 inch wheels with the 2951 back in 2009. It took them nearly a decade to bring such a bike to the downhill World Cup circuit but it was worth the wait as at Fort William in 2017, we saw what Jeff Steber had been cooking up in his workshop with these handbuilt prototypes. The bike tasted instant success and Jack Moir delivered a 2nd place, the brand's first podium in a very long time.Commencal's ever-evolving Supreme
Commencal's mechanics may have one of the most difficult jobs on the circuit as the Supreme platform is constantly tweaked and tuned throughout the year. Each racer on the team uses different suspension linkages, and when you think about the adjustable chainstay length, reach, and bottom bracket height, there can be a dizzying amount of setup options. Add on top of that, the team's fondness for telemetry tracking and you have a lot of work over a weekend.
This particular bike was a prototype that was being worked on last season that ditches the bolt-on dropout system and has some slight geometry tweaks.
Article updated for accuracy