Now is a better time than ever before to buy a bike. With cycling becoming increasingly popular, there is a range of models and brands on the market. It’s now also possible to purchase a high-quality touring bike for a fraction of the price it would have cost a few years ago. Whereas before a few big brands would dominate the market, there are now lesser-known names making excellent quality bikes for a far cheaper price - and available at the click of a mouse.
With more people opting to cycle - whether for purpose or pleasure - you might find yourself tempted to buy a bike. Cycling is a great way of keeping fit, commuting, lowering your carbon footprint, and enjoying some spectacular views along the way; but choosing the best bike for your needs can seem overwhelming.
When it comes to choosing a bike, think about what you’ll use the bike for. Road and fitness bikes are great for hard surfaces, whereas mountain bikes are ideal for off-road cycling and steep climbs, and city or hybrid types are most suitable for commuting.
Different brands specialize in different bikes, and this article aims to provide you with some of the best bike brands out there, but also to equip you with the points you need so that you can make an informed decision. Plus, you’ll spend less time scrolling and more time enjoying your bike!
In a hurry? Here’s what you need to know:
There’s no “one size fits all”, perfect bike brand out there - and that’s the truth. Bikes come in different styles (Road, Mountain, Hybrid, City, Touring, Electric), and different types of bikes offer different benefits:
- Road bikes have thinner tires and dropped handlebars for speed and lightness
- Mountain bikes have fat tires for difficult terrain
- Touring bikes prioritize comfort and are built with durable frames to carry heavy loads
- Hybrids combine elements from all of the above!
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OUR TOP PICK
If you’re after a fast road bike that will turn heads, this eye-catching design by Savadeck comes in a range of color combinations, including a striking orange, red, and blue.
Sava was first registered in Germany and uses advanced carbon fiber materials and application technology of Titanium from German and European countries. As a company, Sava aims to create high-end bikes centered around technological advancements.
The road bike offers a TORAY Carbon Fiber Frame, Fork, and Seat post, and weighs in at 20.6lbs, so it’s super lightweight. Carbon is stealthy and durable but also lightweight and springy, meaning this bike will feel like you’re riding on air.
The bike has Shimano gears so you can start and operate your ride effectively, with smooth shifting when changing between gears. Designed in the Wind Tunnel, the stays, seat post, and seat tube are aerodynamically contoured for speed, and the fully internal cable routing ensures clean airflow over the entire bike. The tapered head tube strengthens the torsion rigidity and gives riders better handling of the bike.
We also liked the fact that this bike comes mostly assembled, with pedals included, making it ideal for new cyclists and beginners. Buyers praised this bike for its price, particularly because you get a top-quality road bike that feels more expensive than it is.
- Made of carbon fiber for lightness
- Shimano gears
- Aerodynamically contoured for speed
- Range of colors
- Feels more expensive than it is
- The seat is non-adjustable so ensure that you order the right sized frame
If you want a mountain bike that can take on all types of terrain, then this Fat Tire model from Mongoose is ideal for you. The supersized, 4-inch thick tires are built for snow, mud, dirt, and whatever else is thrown at them.
Mongoose has been creating durable bikes for mountain and BMX riding for nearly 40 years. Founded in a Southern Californian garage back in 1974, it’s an authentic and reliable brand that offers bikes that are practical, reliable, and most of all - great fun.
This bike has a Shimano rear derailleur with seven speeds, making hills easier to climb, while the twist shifters make it easy to change gears smoothly while riding. Front and rear disc brakes ensure safety and enable stopping power, allowing you to stop easily and quickly on long descents.
One thing to bear in mind is that this bike is shipped ready to be assembled - so while you won’t be able to get riding immediately, you can get to know your bike while putting it together.
- Fat, knobbly tires perfect for mountain biking
- Disc brakes for stopping power
- Shimano gears
- Not readily assembled
- Less ideal for everyday riding due to tire thickness
This unisex hybrid bike is perfect for riding around the city, commuting, or family cycling trips. It has an attractive, retro-style design with back sweep handlebars, and comes in a choice of a step-through frame or step-over frame, depending on your preference. The frame is made of aluminum, meaning it’s lightweight and easy to carry on and off the metro, should you need to.
The well-known Schwinn brand was founded in 1895 in Chicago, Illinois, with a mission to get more people riding and enjoying the outdoors. They’re known for creating some iconic bicycle models such as the Phantom, the Varsity, and the Stingray, and are known for affordability and quality.
This bike is probably best suited to somebody who hasn’t cycled in a few years, or for a first bike, thanks to its simple design which can be assembled in the space of a few hours.
Hybrids combine qualities from road, touring, and mountain bikes, so this bike features 21-speed Shimano gears, fenders to keep dirt off the rider, and a city-rise adjustable seat. It comes in a range of sizes and colors, and also features a rear rack which you can attach a trunk bag or panniers to.
- Fun, retro style
- Shimano gears
- Comes with a rear rack
- Multiple sizes and colors
- You need to assemble this yourself
As one buyer puts it, “this is a lot of bike for the money!” The Monza combines quality and affordability in the shape of this striking, aluminum-framed road bike, which is perfect for long distances thanks to its drilled frame which will fit a variety of rear racks.
The 2x10 Shimano Tiagra Groupset, featuring a 50/34T Tiagra compact crankset and 11x32T Tiagra cassette, provides a huge range of speeds, and, the Shimano STI shifters provide lightning-fast shifting for a powerful ride.
Operating since the 1980s, Tommaso Bikes promise factory-direct bicycles and accessories, combining value for money with quality craftsmanship. They believe that no matter what your budget looks like, you should be able to ride a high quality, performance bike that feels great to ride.
We love this bike for its versatility. The sleek frame and compact handlebars offer high power, speed, and comfort for both short and long distances. It also comes in a choice of an electric blue or matte black. Though bear in mind that unless you have experience as a bike mechanic, it's best you take this bike to be assembled professionally so that you get the most out of the design.
- Quality manufacturer - value for money
- Light, compact aluminum frame
- Shimano gears and STI shifters for smooth, fast riding and gear-changes
- Pre-drilled so you can fit a rear rack for long rides and tours
- Needs to be assembled by a professional
If you want a bike to ride around the city or park on, then this stylish cruiser style bike from sixthreezero is ideal. With its classic, curvy frame available in a range of colors, it’s ideal for casual, comfortable riding around the neighborhood but will also last thanks to its steel material.
Created in 2005 out of a garage in Hermosa Beach, CA, sixthreezero creates eye-catching designs that prioritize comfort, ease, and style, and can be cycled in neighborhoods, parks, cities, or even on beaches. The upright style of this cruiser bike will keep your back in an ergonomic position, keeping your joints relaxed and tension-free - making it perfect for older cyclists or less confident riders. There’s also a high-density support foam seat for ultimate comfort.
This bike is available in a 1, 3, 7, or 21-gear speed range depending on the terrain you’ll be cycling on and the speed you plan to travel at. Single-speed bikes are great for flat terrain, while the version with a 21-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur and friction shifters will be better equipped for steeper hills and longer distances. The 2.125-inch wide aluminum wheels with large, waffle-tread tires provide a cushioned ride for easy rolling, and the bike also comes with a rear rack so that you can attach a trunk bag or panniers for longer journeys.
- Classic, curvy design perfect for neighborhood cruising
- Quality, steel frame for durability
- Available in multiple, sizes, colors and speed ranges
- An upright style for ergonomic positioning
- Rear rack included
- Ideal for short distances and casual riding, but not for long distances or touring.
- Self-assembly required
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Type of bike
Where do you plan on riding your bike? The answer to this question will determine the type of bike you’re after, which will make finding the best brand a whole lot easier. If you’ll be riding primarily on hard surfaces or mainly for fitness purposes, then a road bike will be a good choice. If you’re more adventurous and plan on tackling rocky terrain you’ll want a sturdy mountain bike. Whereas a comfort or cruiser bike is better for short, casual family rides in the park. For commuting, a city bike, folding model, or electric bike may be suitable.
Bike characteristics to look out for...
Road: a lightweight frame, Shimano gears with quick, smooth shifters, aerodynamically contouring, thinner wheels
Mountain: thicker or “fat” wheels with threads for grip, disc brakes for stopping on the descent, easy, smooth gear shift for uphill power
City/Cruiser: curved frame, cushioned seat for comfort, ergonomic design
Hybrid: a combination of the above!
Knowledge of basic bike anatomy and jargon will enable you to choose a model and brand which suits your needs. If you’re a seasoned cyclist, this will be old news to you, but if you’re choosing your first bike, it’s important to put in some research so that you know what to look out for…
Frame: Connects all of the elements of the bike. Made of metal, usually aluminum, sometimes steel, and rarely titanium. Your frame size depends on your height.
Brakes: There are three types - Coaster, Rim, or Disc. Coaster hub brakes are found mostly on beach cruisers. Rim brakes are the most common and can be found on anything from inexpensive city bikes to high-end road racers. Disc brakes are cable-activated or hydraulic. They’re heavier but stop better and work well in adverse conditions - so these are great for mountain or touring bikes.
Wheels: Made up of the rubber tire, the rim, and the hub, which connects to the rim via spokes.
Contact points: The seat (also called the saddle), handlebar and stem (flat, curved, or drop), and pedals (flat, toe-clips, or clipless).
Suspension: Front and rear hydraulic shocks that smooth out bumps and jolts. The rougher the trail, the more suspension you need, so bear this in mind if you’re looking for a mountain bike. The more expensive the suspension, the lighter it is likely to be, and vice versa.
Drivetrain: Typically 1-30 gears, with up to 12 in the back (cassette or internal-gear hub) and 1-3 in the front (chainrings). Most use a traditional chain, but some city bikes feature belt drives.
There are some seriously expensive bikes out there - and these offer some state-of-the-art features such as aerodynamic technologies for ultimate speed and power. However, don’t worry if you’ve got a smaller budget, as there are still some quality, affordable brands on the market which offer great products without breaking the bank.
Another thing to consider is how much you’ll be using your bike, and how long you’ll be riding it when you’re on it. If you’ll be using it daily or for long-distance tours, it’s perhaps worth investing in something more expensive and durable, whereas if you’ll be using it for occasional family rides in the park - you don’t need to worry as much.
The material of the bike frame largely shapes the speed and power of the bike, as well as the weight, feel, and look of it. Reliability and longevity are usually the reasons why cyclists will stick with a classic steel frame. However, in more recent years these are competing with aluminum, carbon, and occasionally titanium options, too.
Aluminum is lightweight and stiffer, so is usually used by racing cyclists as they favor that rigidity for speed. However, Carbon, which came onto the scene in the 90s, has improved over time and the top carbon bike frames will offer durability and lightness, with many now tested in wind-tunnels and offering the latest aerodynamic contouring.
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Which is the best bike brand?
There’s no clear winner when it comes to bike brands, as different brands offer different styles, features, and prices, and these all depend on your personal preferences, budget, and requirements.
What’s a hybrid bike?
A hybrid bike is exactly what it says it is - it blends the characteristics of road bikes, mountain bikes, and touring bikes, meaning you get the best characteristics of each. These are great for everyday use and are usually resilient enough to withstand a range of riding conditions, making them an ideal choice for a first bike, or for somebody who can’t make up their mind!
How much should I pay?
Again, this depends on your budget and what you plan to use the bike for. Low-range bikes range from $80 to $600, with many people, on average, spending between $330 to $600 for a cruiser or comfort bike. For a high-end road bike you’re looking at $1,000 and above, however specialized bikes from brands such as S-Works cost around the $10,000 mark.
While these bikes are excellent for serious cyclists, the bottom line is that in today’s market, you can get a good quality bike to suit your needs for a far more reasonable price.