Ditch the bus pass, save at the pump, and get your heart pumping with one of the best cheap bikes. These bikes are the ultimate solution for a less expensive and eco-friendlier commute to work. They’re also perfect for those who want a fun new way to stay healthy. Whatever your needs, we’ve found the best cheap bikes for riders of every kind. Whether you’re riding in the city, along hiking trails, or just around your neighborhood, our top 10 list has something for you.
All the best cheap bikes on our list are under $250. Despite their thrifty price tags, these bikes are still built from quality materials with careful craftsmanship. Our top 10 best cheap bikes were designed for dependable daily use, giving you the greatest value for your money whether you’re riding for business or pleasure.
Top 10 Best Cheap Bikes Comparison Guide
Different Cheap Bike Styles
Before choosing the best cheap bike for you, consider which style will fit your needs. Depending on how and where you plan to ride your new discount bike, it’s important to choose the right kind. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:
- Road. Road style bicycles use thin tires that ride well on pavement and sidewalks. Their drop handlebars are lower than other styles, allowing the rider to achieve a more aerodynamic posture. Prized for their deft handling at high speeds, road bikes are great for people who need quick travel around town.
- Mountain. Mountain bikes feature thick, durable tires that offer better traction in rocky, muddy, grassy, and other natural environments. Mountain bikes put a premium on suspension to ensure a smoother ride despite uneven terrain. Because they’re built to be sturdier, mountain bikes are usually heavier than road bikes.
- Hybrid. Marrying the speed and maneuverability of a road bike with the relative comfort and superior braking of the mountain bike, hybrid bikes are a great alternative to both.
- Cruiser. Going for leisurely rides around an urban environment? Cruisers were designed for smooth, comfortable rides at slow to medium speeds. Cruiser style bicycles go great with a pair of bike speakers as well. Many cruiser style cheap bikes have limited speed options and use coaster brakes to keep things simple.
- Folding. Folding bikes are exactly as they sound. They’re lightweight and fold into a portable package that can easily be stored in your apartment or at work until you need it next. Folding bikes compromise a little comfort for convenience, but they’re some of the best cheap bikes for city commuters.
Reviews of the Top 3 Best Cheap Bikes
There’s some debate over the two most common bike frame metals. Some bikes use aluminum, which is light and fast. Other bikes, like the Critical Cycles Chatham-3 Cruiser, use a steel frame. Steel frames are heavier but more durable. This discount bike is both robust and exceptionally balanced with its heavy, hand built steel frame. Even beginners will feel safe riding this classic cruiser.
A durable steel frame isn’t this bike’s best feature, though. It’s easily the most comfortable bike on our list, too. The Chatham-3 comes with a wide, cushioned seat and soft, secure grips to accommodate long rides. The top tube is made extra thick, working alongside the wide tires to absorb shock no matter where you go.
Three speeds give you better control as you move across different terrains and inclines. You’ll have the freedom to ride through your favorite urban centers, parks, boardwalks, or where ever your adventures take you. This cruiser was designed to give you a truly effortless, leisurely ride for bikers of all skill levels and budgets.
For some, the added strength of steel doesn’t make up for aluminum’s portability. The Firmstrong Urban Alloy Single Speed Cruiser uses a lighter, thinner, and curvier frame than the Chatham-3. It still offers all the same comfort and style, though. This inexpensive bike includes a large, padded saddle with dual springs for added comfort. Even the rockiest roads won’t ruin your ride with this smooth cruiser.
Large, 26 x 2.125” tires can handle a variety of terrains from soft grass to hot concrete. These large tires also make it more comfortable dropping from curbs or taking steps. Unlike the Chatham-3, this best cheap bike has only one speed. It uses simple but powerful coaster brakes, too, meaning just about anyone can use this bike.
This cruiser may have an aluminum frame and slightly thinner tires, but it can actually hold more than the Chatham-3. Riders up to 350lbs can ride this bike without compromising performance. That makes this bike an even better value for those looking to get in shape.
When you need an affordable bike for transportation, speed is usually your top priority. Road bikes like this reasonably priced Merax 21 Speed were made specifically for the rigors of city biking. Navigate crowded streets of uneven pavement and traffic with lightning speed when you ride one of these awesome bikes.
At just 27.5lbs and made from aluminum throughout, this speed demon of a bike comes with 21 speeds. Find the perfect gear for every situation, and switch seamlessly between them thanks to the Shimano shifter and derailleurs.
There’s good news for those who aren’t mechanically inclined, too. The Merax 21 Speed comes almost fully assembled. It requires just a wrench and about 10 minutes of your time to get going. Thanks to its speed, low maintenance, and light weight, this is one of the best cheap bikes for city cyclists active lifestyle commuters.
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