Experts Recommend The Best Affordable Bikes For Casual Bike Riders

Bike store owners shared the best basic options that are worth the investment but won’t break the bank.
The Linus Dutchi 3 City Bike was one everyday bike option recommended by bike shop owners.
The Linus Dutchi 3 City Bike was one everyday bike option recommended by bike shop owners.

The unofficial pastime of good weather may very well be bike riding. No matter if it’s a breezy errand run around town or just a way to get in some exercise that’ll take you outdoors, having a good bicycle this season is probably something you should consider.

Dean Mullin, co-owner of Portland, Oregon’s Clever Cycles and creator of the bike tube matching service, refers to these kinds of practical no-fuss bikes as “sunny weather bikes.”.

After speaking with Mullin and others, we’ve learned that even if your biking ambitions only extend to casual bike rides and not the Tour de France, you should still expect to invest at least $500 or more if you want something that will last you for ages, be as low-maintenance as possible and offer you a safe ride.

Isaac Denham is the owner of Befitting Bicycles near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with over 15 years of bike industry experience. According to him, you should also factor in the costs of bike accessories, which can cost a few hundred dollars.

“You’ll need things like a pump, helmet and flat repair kit. It may seem like [we’re] upselling you, but the first time you get a flat and have to walk home, you’ll understand why you needed that pump,” Denham said.

Both Denham and Mullin used their combined experience to help create the following list of investment-worthy entry-level bikes that are among some of the most affordable options in this quality caliber. And because we always like to factor in the opinions of real-life shoppers, we’ve included a couple of other highly rated bicycles that can fit your basic cycling needs.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

An introductory hybrid bike from a trusted brand
Isaac Denham is the owner of Befitting Bicycles near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said that there are four major bike companies that offer similar bikes and comparable price points — one being Trek. We scanned Trek's cycle selection to find this introductory bike that's available in both this step-through style and a more traditional step-over design. This hybrid city bike is lightweight and claims to offer the rider comfort, control and the ability to endure the rigors of the streets. It uses a derailleur system to quickly transition between gears and a twist shifter to choose between seven speeds. Shop this in up to three colors and two sizes.
Clever Cycles
A low maintenance and timeless city bike
Co-owner of Portland, Oregon-based Clever Cycles, Dean Mullin calls this good-looking city bike "low maintenance" and appreciates its step-through design, the built-in rack for toting your farmers market haul perhaps and the fenders, which can keep your legs dry when riding on wet pavement.

"The ability to shift the gears while stopped makes starting and stopping easier by not requiring technique and having to downshift," Mulling said. "Chances of a chain derailment are few and far between [and] since there is no derailleur, it is less likely to go out of adjustment."

This elegant three-speeder is made with Hi-Tensile Steel, an alloy made from carbon for an extremely strong and durable build. It comes in two sizes and nine aesthetic colors like a matte cyan and "school eraser pink."
A sporty city bike with safety features
Another bicycle brand suggested by Denham is Cannondale, so we selected their Quick 6 Bike, a road bike-style design that features seven speeds driven by a triple chainring crank — a chainset that can make going up hills easier. The brand claims that the Quick 6 "combines speed with comfort" and also uses larger volume tires for better bump absorption. And if you happen to be caught on a ride when the sun goes down, the bike's frame features 360-degree reflective elements to keep you visible to cars and other bicyclists.
Clever Cycles
An eight-speed folding bike
"A bike that folds up comes in handy if you have limited storage space or need to get it in a vehicle easily to get to where you feel comfortable riding," Mullin said. "The Tern B8 handles that and is very affordable."

This eight-speed and highly portable bike claims to tackle a variety of terrain and uses mechanical disc brakes which translates to safe and reliable stopping even in rainy conditions. It folds down small enough to be stowed away in the trunk of a car, coat closet or taken on the subway, making it a great bike option for city and apartment living. Find this in two colors.
Clever Cycles
An electric city bike
Admittedly, an electric bike may go above and beyond what one would consider a basic bicycle for casual needs. But Mullin does acknowledge that there's a growing demand for these bikes and, according to him, they're being used more on average than their pedal bike equivalents. If you do find yourself curious about one, he considers the Gazelle Medeo T9 City bike to be one of the most affordable, reliable and safe bikes out there.

It's powered by a Bosch Active-Line with 400 Wh battery, a motor that Mullin recommends because they are safe and dependable. Available in two sizes and colors, this City version of the Gazelle line has all the bells and whistles that the standard version has, like front and rear lighting, a chain guard and a bike rack — but for $300 less.
A fan-favorite simple beach cruiser
Our pick: This hybrid beach cruiser is listed as one of the highest-rated bikes on Amazon with reviews that appreciate it for its basic function. Made by the brand Sixthreezero, this single-speed bicycle is outfitted with coaster breaks, a rack and large waffle-tread tires for a cushioned ride across flat terrain, not for anything overly graveled or steep. Available in versions for both men and women, this cycle comes in several fun colors, speed options and heights.

Promising Amazon review: "I am enjoying my new bike. It took as long to remove the packaging as it did to assemble it. I was slightly disappointed to find it did not come with fenders. It is very appealing and an attractive looking bicycle (mint green). I wanted one for many years now and am very pleased in all ways with this one. The handlebars make it easy to steer, the gears are easy to shift, the seat is comfortable, the rack on back makes it nice to stop for an item or two at the grocery store. I am getting a basket for the front. My friends nearby have bicycles. We are not out racing marathons, but will be riding together. Once they found out I got a new bike, they were excited to form a riding group. The mechanisms are quiet, the tires make traveling on most surfaces easier. It is lightweight (for me). The reflectors are not large and obnoxious, but nicely placed, and obvious for keeping you in plain sight. I am very happy with this purchase." Jess Sayin
A comfort Schwinn popular among reviewers
Our pick: Another popular bike option among reviewers is this comfort bike from Schwinn's Discoverer line of bicycles, which are great for commuting and everyday use. The 21 speeds mean this cycle can comfortably scale hills or cityscapes and alloy linear pull brakes promise reliable stopping power. There are also fenders to ward off splash-back from a stray puddle or patch of mud and the built-in bike rack can help transport shopping or book bags. Find this in four colorways and up to three heights.

Promising Amazon review: "Was looking for a budget hybrid and spent a good 5 or so days (in my freetime) shopping online and at my local bike shop. Bought the Schwinn Discover because it dropped in price while in my cart to around $240. I'm a total bike novice so after narrowing it to this bike and a Diamondback I choose this because it was $60 cheaper. If you are looking for a bike that can go on the road, sidewalks, and minor trials/grass this is the bike for you. This bike is amazing. My step dad was in awe at the craftsmanship and he works for CAT so if the craftsmanship impresses him I know its solid. Anyways ill list some pros and a few minor cons. But if you're on a budget and are not sure about which bike to choose (like I was) then hopefully I can sway you. I have never owned a Schwinn or any other name brand bike. I haven't road a bike over 2 miles since 2003 but I love it now."Avid Reader (This review was edited for length. Read the full review.)

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds