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If you’re looking for a fun way to get from Point A to Point B, you can’t go wrong with a bike. Cycling can be a great way to get somewhere fast—and it can also be an excellent way to explore your neighborhood. Plus, since cycling is a solid form of exercise, you can work up a sweat while getting where you need to go.
“Outdoor cycling is a great workout,” Tiffany Berenberg, studio manager at Life Time, says. “[It] can take you places where your car can’t go, and farther than your feet on their own could take you,” Berenberg says you can expect to work your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes while cycling. And since cycling is a pretty low-impact workout, it makes a great complement to other, higher-intensity exercises.
Of course, you can’t go for a bike ride if you don’t have a bike. So it’s worth it to invest in a high-quality option you can ride anywhere.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best bikes—and we’re sure you’d have fun riding any of them.
Best Overall: Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 Bike
Searching for a solid bike that can take you anywhere? Look no further—Co-op Cycles has you covered. The brand’s CTY 1.1 Bike is sleek, comfortable, and versatile. And since it’s a hybrid, it should be well-rounded enough to handle a few different kinds of terrain. The bike’s puncture-resistant tires promise to hold up to the wear and tear of city riding. And it boasts all the gears you’ll need to navigate hills and other obstacles nimbly. (It does have a 24-speed drivetrain, after all.) Also nice? The bike is available in two different colors and four different sizes, so it should be pretty easy to find an option that works for you.
Best Budget: Roadmaster Granite Peak Ladies Mountain Bike
Let’s not beat around the bush here—bikes can get expensive. But Roadmaster’s Granite Peak Mountain Bike is proof that you don’t have to break the bank to land a quality ride. Though the bike is labeled a mountain bike, it’s designed for all-around use. So it should hold up, whether you’re taking it on a morning commute through the city or on a leisurely ride around the neighborhood. And since the bike boasts 18-speed twist shifters, you should have everything you need to climb hills and tackle obstacles like a pro. Snag the bike in sleek maroon or crisp white. Either way, you’re in for a well-rounded ride.
Best Road Bike: Hiland Road Racing Bike
Road bikes are great at picking up serious speed on slick pavement. And if you want a sleek option that’s not quite racing quality (and that’s not priced like its race quality), Hiland’s Road Bike is an excellent pick. The road bike is crafted from light aluminum, so it promises a seriously nimble ride. And its 7-speed gear shifters should make it easy to navigate turns, hills, and all the other obstacles that come with city riding. The bike is available in three different colors—so you can pick an option that’s as vibrant or as sleek as you want it to be. And since the bike comes in three sizes, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an option that suits you.
Best Mountain Bike: GT Laguna Pro Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes make great starter bikes because they’re incredibly versatile. And GT’s Laguna Pro Mountain Bike promises to be a solid pick, whether you’re just getting started or whether you’re ready to kick things up a notch. The bike boasts the kind of beefy tires that should give you a smooth ride on slick pavement and off-road trails. And its 21-speed gearing will keep you in control as you embark on all kinds of adventures. Pick between two colors and three different frame sizes—and get ready to ride this bike everywhere.
Best Hybrid: Schwinn GTX 2.0 Hybrid
Are you looking for a great go-anywhere pick? It’s pretty hard to go wrong with Schwinn’s GTX 2.0 Hybrid. The hybrid promises to be as comfortable as a cruiser and as versatile as a mountain bike, so it’s perfect for leisure rides of all kinds. Since the bike is crafted from lightweight aluminum, you should be able to pick up at least some speed with it. And its plush tires promise to smooth out the bumps in your rides. Unfortunately, this one’s not available in more than one color. But the color it comes in is a vibrant yet versatile blue that’s sure to turn heads on all your rides.
Best Cruiser: Townie Original 7D Step-Thru
If you’re looking for a low-key riding experience—and you care about comfort above all else—you probably need a cruiser. And Electra’s Townie Original 7D Step-Thru is one of the best options around. The bike is designed to keep you upright as you ride, meaning you won’t have to hunch over to pick up speed or avoid obstacles. And since it only boasts seven different gears, you won’t have to master a ton of different settings just to ride your bike. Also great? The bike comes in six very pretty colors. And since they all look great, you’re in for a treat—no matter which bike you pick.
What Our Editors Say
"If you're looking for a cute, quality bike for cruising around, this is the best brand out there. Not all of us are looking to pedal up giant mountains (although this bike totally works for your taller-than-average hill), so why not embrace a stylish, easy-to-maintain model that's guaranteed to last? I own the electric blue townie, but they come in a variety of fun colors for every style. My entire family owns one, so I can confirm—every shade looks great in person." —Madeline Hirsch, Senior News Editor
Best for Commuting: Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Road Bike
If you’re commuting on a bike daily, you need something lightweight enough to pick up speed—but nimble enough to keep you in control. And Vilano’s Diverse 3.0 Performance Bike promises to be exactly that. The bike is a hybrid, so you can rest assured knowing it’s pretty versatile. But its sleek tires and 24-speed drivetrain make it a great pick for city riding. Even better: The bike’s matte black frame is sure to complement your most professional attire, so you won’t have to worry about your ride ruining your outfit.
Best Foldable: EuroMini ZiZZO Campo Folding Bike
The idea of a folding bike may seem a little strange. But EuroMini’s ZiZZO Campo promises to be just as solid as an ordinary bike—it just happens to fold down to a fraction of its size between uses. The bike is crafted from lightweight aluminum, so it should feel pretty quick and nimble. And since it boasts a 7-speed drivetrain, you’ll have all the control you need to tackle hills and other obstacles. But why on earth would someone need a folding bike? Well, they’re easier to lock up on bike racks. (You can get your lock through a lot more of the bike.) And they’re also easier to toss in your car. Since folding bikes are both lightweight and space-efficient, you can throw one in the trunk of your car without giving it a second thought. (This is especially helpful for road trips—and for scenic biking routes you can’t get to without a car.)
Best Tricycle: sixthreezero BodyEase Tricycle
Tricycles are traditionally reserved for toddlers, but sixthreezero is making adult-friendly tricycles mainstream. The brand’s BodyEase Tricycle is big enough to suit an adult. And thanks to its leisurely tricycle design, it offers the low-key experience you’d expect from a comfortable cruiser. Despite its very chill appearance, the tricycle can ride. It boasts a 7-speed drivetrain. And according to sixthreezero, it can reach speeds up to 20 MPH. What’s nice? The tricycle also comes equipped with a rear basket you can use to store plenty of cargo. So take this beauty to the grocery store, the beach, or on other short but cargo-heavy rides.
If you’re looking for a classic bike you can take anywhere, Co-op Cycles’ CTY 1.1 Bike is a solid pick. The hybrid bike is comfortable and versatile. And though we wouldn’t call it budget-friendly, it’s available at a shockingly reasonable price point given its quality. So if you’re looking for a bike worth investing in, you’ve found it.
Meet the Expert
Tiffany Berenberg is a studio manager at Life Time.
What to Look For When Buying a Bike
There are many different kinds of bikes out there—and they suit different styles of riding. (That's right—not all bikes are designed for all kinds of riding.) "Different bikes are great for different things," Berenberg says. "Do your research and determine what type of riding you will be doing." If you already know what style of riding you love, snag a bike that suits it. And if you don't, opt for something versatile—like a mountain bike or a hybrid bike.
Depending on your skill level, you might want a bike that's very basic—or you might prefer one that's pretty advanced. If you're a first-time bike rider, look for something comfortable with minimal gearing. (The words "speed," "gears," "shifters," "drivetrain," and "derailleur" all refer to gearing. And when they're paired with a smaller number, that means there are fewer gears.) And if you're more advanced, look for a more specific bike with enough gearing options to suit you.
Basic specs—like tires and gearing—may vary from bike to bike. But these aren’t the only features worth considering. Many bikes offer special features, like foldability or built-in motors. These features may make the bikes feel a little more like novelty items. But depending on the kind of riding you hope to do, they can also be incredibly useful.
How do you pick the right size bike?
Figuring out whether a bike is the right size for you can be tough—especially if you're shopping online. Thankfully, many bikes are listed alongside "size charts," which make it a little easier. Keep an eye out for a bike's weight capacity and recommended height range. Combined, these metrics will let you know whether or not a bike is the right size for you.
How do you change a bike tire?
Changing a bike tire is a pretty involved process. Start by putting your bike on its side—chain facing up. Then, remove the wheel by opening your bike’s quick-release lever (if it has one) or loosening the nuts on the side of the wheel. Once you’ve done that, try to remove your wheel from the frame. (If you can’t, try releasing your brakes—then try to remove your wheel from the frame.)
After that, find the air valve on your tire and loosen it. This should deflate your tire. Once your tire is deflated, insert something between your wheel and your tire to separate the two. Between them, you’ll find a tube, and you’ll want to pull this tube out. Then, take a second to check out your tire. Are there any holes in it? If so, you might need to replace it entirely.
If your tire looks OK, replace your old tube with a brand new tube. (You may want to inflate it slightly before sliding it in.) Once the new tube is all the way in, inflate it, place the wheel back on your bike, and make sure you’ve returned everything else to its original state.
How do you adjust a bike's brakes?
Before you adjust your bike's brakes, you'll want to take a look at your brake pads. These are the things that press against your tires when you engage your brakes. Most brake pads come with a labeled "wear line." And if your brake pads are so worn down that you can no longer see this line, they probably need to be replaced before you do anything else.
Once you know your brake pads are in good shape, check to see where they're hitting your tire. They should be hitting the middle of the rim. And if they aren't, you can use a wrench to adjust them. You can also use a wrench to adjust the tightness of your brake cables and the brakes on your handlebars.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Lindsey Lanquist has years of experience in the health and fitness space. And as an avid shopper, she knows what a bummer a bad product can be. That’s why she makes sure to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and widely beloved by those who’ve tried them.