The azure skies and the warm spring sun prompt us to go on a wild bicycle ride in the city or lush backcountry. And, of course, to get out of hibernation mode. Riding a bike is undoubtedly an enjoyable outdoor activity. However, finding the right bicycle for your size and lifestyle can be challenging. Choose the wrong size, and you’ll be rewarded with stress-related injuries (not cool).
Fortunately, we made this task easier by compiling our list of the best bicycles for spring 2021. We selected from a variety of different bikes, such as mountain bikes, electric bikes, folding bikes, road bikes, and hybrid bikes. Each one promises to add a bit of fun to your commute or to nurture your wanderlust. And remember to pair it with a quality bike helmet to stay safe while you ride.
You can also check out our list of the best bike deals for potential savings on your new ride.
It’s okay to get a mountain bike even if you don’t have a bonafide mountain nearby — anyone can become a beginner to mountain biking. These bikes are tough, stable, and ready for all sorts of terrain, from rutted urban streets and sidewalks to rocky trails and grassy fields. Heavy but durable, a good mountain bike is a fine choice for newer riders who need stability more than speed.
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
A perfect entry point bike, the Schwinn High Timber is being sold at a great price and is a bike with great ratings from a trusted bicycle brand. Its twist shifters are quick and responsive, so you can always have the ideal power control to shift bike gears, and the aluminum frame is durable but not too heavy. Just make sure you get one with the right frame and wheel size for your height, as it comes in both youth and adult sizing.
GT Aggressor Pro Mountain Bike
This mountain bike probably won’t last you a decade, but for less than $500, it’s a perfectly decent set of wheels. Front fork suspension will take some of the jolts and jitters out on rough trails, while the aluminum frame won’t buckle even if you take a few falls.
A good electric bike is not a moped or electric scooter-type vehicle operating entirely under its own power. Rather, it’s a bike with an electric motor that assists you as you pedal, making commuting on your bike (or joyriding) easy but also leaving you with a fully functional bike if the battery runs out of juice.
Macwheel 350W EBike
If you want the fun and convenience of an e-bike but aren’t ready for a top-of-the-line, pedal-driven vehicle, then, by all means, consider this under-$1,000 option from Macwheel. It can cruise along at up to 15 miles per hour and has a 50-mile range with pedal assistance. It can even get you about 20 miles without you doing any work.
As the name suggests, a folding bike folds, usually down to half its size or even less. They are perfect for apartment dwellers, for storing in the office after a commute, or for keeping in the trunk of your car.
Tern Node D7i Folding Bike
If you thought most folding bikes are rather rickety affairs, you’re pretty much right. But this one isn’t — it’s an exception to the rule. The Node D7i is a seven-gear bike that can handle mile after mile and is actually quite comfortable to ride. It feels stable and smooth, and the high seat post ensures larger adults won’t feel scrunched. It folds down small enough for apartment living, but note that it’s pretty heavy at 33 pounds.
EuroMini Zizzo Campo Folding Bike
If you are looking to win the Tour de France, charge down a rutted mountain trail, or bang out some sweet tricks at the park, this is not the right bike for you. If you want a fun and reliable little cycle you can set up in half a minute, carry under one arm when folded, and support a rider weighing up to 240 pounds, then the Zizzo is a win. It has seven speeds, dual brakes, and surprisingly good owner ratings.
It’s always a great time to take up cycling, and if you’re a beginner to road biking, here are some of the best road bikes before you hit the road. Some day, you may well want a multi-thousand-dollar road bike suitable for top-tier racing. This is likely not that day, so we’re keeping things reasonable with a couple of the best cheap bicycle deals that are relatively lightweight and by all means high-quality.
Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1
Ready for fast rides around town with its responsive gearing and brakes, this bike truly belongs on long road trips and even multi-day adventures. It comes with a rear rack perfect for panniers or other gear systems, and it can be outfitted with front gear storage, too. It’s also a great choice for larger riders, as the bike is rated for people weighing up to 300 pounds.
State Bicycle Co. 4130 All Road
If you know State Bicycle Co. at all, then you will know the look of this bike’s frame, which matches the brand’s classic road bikes in the 4130 series. But this? This is the All Road, and some of those roads can be made of gravel or dirt. While the handlebars are shaped much like you’d expect on a road bike or commuter, the rugged frame and heftier wheels of this bike will let you keep up with your mountain biking buddies out in the backcountry — and you’ll leave them in the dust in the city. The bike can be fitted with frames to hold gear on both the front and back, making it ideal for longer bikepacking trips or for carrying cargo (like groceries) in the city. We’ve also found even more fat-tire bikes like this if you’re interested.
A hybrid bike is built for all sorts of terrain, from trail to street to field. It won’t handle mountains quite as well as a mountain bike, and it’s not as light or sleek as a road bike, but sir, you try a road bike on a rough trail and try to race on a mountain cycle, and you’ll see why sometimes compromise is best.
Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 Bike
Eight speeds, mechanical disc brakes, and a great price for a great bike to boot, the CTY 1.1 is truly a wise buy if you ride on all sorts of terrain and want a bike that’s rugged and reliable yet still suitable for cruising around town on the streets, too. At 27.8 pounds, this is not a light bike, but it still manages to be nimble and responsive.
Because buying a bike online means you won’t have the benefit of a bike shop pro to help you choose the perfect cycle for your body size, your planned activities, and your fitness level, we spoke to some experts, like Connor Swegle, co-owner of NY-based Priority Bicycles. Swegle shared a bit of knowledge that should help you get the right bike.
He began by saying, “Inseam is the place to start. If a bike is too small, you will feel crunched and uncomfortable. If it is too big, it will feel unsafe. Either way, you won’t ride it, and you will feel like you’ve lost a bunch of money, and that’s not a great feeling. Check your inseam and order the right size.
“Next, there’s ‘Use Case.’ Buy a bike that fits the type of riding you will be doing, not what you want your bike to look like. If you want to commute, find something that is set up for commuting. Don’t get a super aggressive road bike if you need good field of vision or a mountain bike if you plan to ride on roads where you value speed.
“Also remember more isn’t more — more speeds, more features, more bells and whistles don’t mean you get more. It mostly means more stuff to break. Just scale the features to what you need, and keep things as simple as possible. Keep in mind that it can appear that 21 speeds mean easier-to-climb hills, but often a three- or seven-speed internally-geared hub can cover the same gear range without shifting confusion or routine tune-ups.”
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