10 Best Bicycle Brands
Table of Contents
Searching For The Best Bicycle Brands
Tired of public transportation? Fed up with automobiles? Do you think walking is for the common folk? We feel your pain, and that’s why we’ve got the best alternative for you; why not take up biking?
Cycling is a phenomenal way to engage with your body and with nature1. The best bicycle brands allow you to do both while also offering you a way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Read through our list of some of the best bike companies around to find out which brands you should look out for, what makes them special, and what they have in store (or online) for you.
10 Best Bicycle Brands
1. Trek Bikes
The first entry in our list of the best bicycle brands is Trek Bikes. You’ve definitely seen one of their bikes before if you live in North America and they were likely the first bike you ever rode. Trek Bikes are the most popular bicycle manufacturing company in the United States.
Popularity doesn’t always equate to success, but it does with this Wisconsin-based company. They’ve been expanding their repertoire since their formation in 1975. They’re a great brand for people who aren’t exceptionally bike-savvy because they offer so many types of bicycles.
Here are just a few of their bicycle types to give you a preview of what Trek Bikes is packing:
- Mountain bikes
- Road bikes
- Electric bikes
- Cross country bicycles
- Downhill bicycles
And that’s not even including all of Trek Bikes’ subsidiaries. The Electra Bicycle Company and the German brand Diamant Bikes operate under Trek Bikes’ watchful eye.
Thus, this brand has the ease of access, the wide product selection, and the affordable prices to earn their spot on our list.
- Massive collection of bikes distributed through many brands
- Available in almost 100 countries worldwide
- You can order a personally customized bicycle
The funny thing about Cannondale is that they first got involved in the bike industry not by manufacturing bicycles, but by building transportation means for them.
Cannondale was formed in 1971 in Connecticut and started out making bicycle trailers, which were, essentially, hitches for your bike.
As time went on, Cannondale slowly became one of the best bicycle brands through consistent innovation. They introduced aluminum fibers into their bicycles in the 1980s. This material provided larger bicycles with more stability.
They continued to assert their dominance in the marketplace by integrating carbon into their racing bicycles in 2004. Cannondale’s technological leaps mean that their bikes have an unmatched feel.
Their pristine quality comes at a higher price tag, but just like how some people will spend an entire month’s salary on an engagement ring, Cannondale’s road, mountain, and electric bikes are worth the commitment.
- One of the most inventive bicycle brands today
- Their bikes are widely distributed by local bicycle shops
- Bicycles are manufactured in Taiwan, one of the best biking countries in Asia
3. Santa Cruz
Call us conspiracy theorists, but we think the 2006 video game Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam took more than a little inspiration from Santa Cruz bicycles. Look at the commonalities: both are the product of professional skateboarders, both focus on incline terrains, and both radiate sublime ‘90s energy.
Santa Cruz Bicycles was established in 1993 by former professional skateboarder Rob Roskopp, who was led to believe got tired of four wheels and wanted to see how far he could go on two wheels. It turns out he could go pretty dang far since Santa Cruz is seen as a sensational mountain bike brand.
Their catalog is narrow and expensive. For example, the Santa Cruz Nomad costs $5,149. This is a company for dedicated mountain bikers who want the best vehicles for unpredictable weather and rough journeys.
- Some of the best mountain bikes available
- Bikes can be fitted to customer specifications
- Bicycles are built in Santa Cruz
4. Marin Bikes
Our bias towards California-based mountain bike companies is showing with the inclusion of Marin Bikes after talking about Santa Cruz. Maybe there’s just something in the water over on the west coast (and we hope it’s not bike chain lube).
Carrying on, Marin Bikes has been a titan of the mountain biking industry since 1986. Their catalog includes hybrid bicycles, road bikes, and their highly-esteemed full suspension mountain bikes.
Here are some of their most popular mountain bikes and their prices:
- Marin Bikes Alpine Carbon Trail 2: $4,499
- Marin Bikes Alpine Trail XR: $3,999
- Marin Bikes Rift Zone 29 Carbon XR: $4,859
Marin Bikes are one of the best bicycle brands when it comes to environmentally-conscious practices. Their Green Bear Initiative is the company’s way of keeping their packaging as eco-friendly as possible by using recycled materials.
They’re also members of the Shift Cycling Culture’s Industry Climate Commitment, an industry-wide movement to dampen their carbon footprint.
- Eco-friendly packaging
- More affordable prices compared to other boutique mountain bike brands
- Distributors are located throughout the United States
Raleigh is a well-trusted name and one of the best bicycle brands. Both of these facts are proven by the company’s long tenure.
They were founded in Nottingham, England all the way back in 1885. Their longevity and sustained success show that their ability to continually improve themselves while staying true to their vision has ensnared many a customer.
The company operates on the principle that biking should be available to everyone regardless of price, age, or ability. They manufacture bikes for toddlers, children, and adults.
Their bikes aren’t powerhouses in terms of performance but they’re more than good enough to get you where you need to go.
The biggest appeal of Raleigh’s bikes is their price. Most Raleigh bicycles are less expensive compared to their competitors. When you combine that with their commitment to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to ride then it’s hard not to see the appeal of this brand.
- One of the most experienced bicycle brands in the world
- Great selection of children’s bicycles
- Products are reasonably priced
6. GT Bicycles
Mountain bikes are great, road bikes are useful, but there’s nothing quite like BMX bikes. GT Bicycles are experts in those. They hail from the extreme sports capital, California, and are one of the best bicycle brands in terms of extreme sports.
Their BMX bicycles prioritize fun and their construction reflects that. Their bikes are built to mitigate vibrations so that riding and performing tricks is easier. Thankfully, they apply this concept to their mountain bikes, road bikes, and dirt bikes too.
It’s hard not to be charmed by items like the GT Bicycles Rad Series 29 ($790) or the GT Bicycles Performer 29 ($525) unless your idea of a great bike is closer to a reclining office chair.
- Specializes in crafting mountain bikes
- Pioneered the triple triangle design
- Distributes bicycles across the globe
- Most bicycles cost less than $1,000
7. Schwinn Bicycles
Schwinn Bicycles package German engineering with Chicago’s hard-working spirit. Ignaz Schwinn founded his namesake company in the windy city in 1895. Nearly 100 years later they were bought out by Pacific Cycle.
Notably, Schwinn Bicycles have two separate lines that cater to different markets. Their Schwinn Signature Series is their premium line of bikes though they also manufacture less expensive bicycles that you can find in big box stores.
Their line-up of bicycles includes all these variations:
- Electric bicycles
- Hybrid bicycles
- Cruiser bicycles
- Mountain bicycles
- Road bicycles
- Tandem bicycles
- Adult tricycles
- Produces higher-end and more affordable bicycles
- Free shipping on all US orders over $49
- You can receive a 10% discount by signing up for their email newsletter
Here’s one of the best bicycle brands for engineering nerds (and we mean that affectionately). Canyon is a company that loves the process of making bicycles nearly as much as they love giving their customers an unmistakable riding experience.
This German brand has proved their worth since their inception in 2002. The bicycles go through testing that’s so strenuous it’d make a STEM major wish they could return to their master’s thesis for relief.
The results are clear: their products have won world championships, scaled mountains, and come straight to your door. Canyon can deliver their bikes right to your door, cutting out a middle-man distributor and saving you money.
- 4/5 stars average from more than 16,000 customer reviews on Trustpilot
- Can ship bicycles directly to you
- 30-day return policy
9. Yeti Cycles
Most mountain bikes are built to help you scale up a summit. Yeti Cycles flip that script quite literally. They’re considered among the best bicycle brands for downhill racers. The company has been intertwined with mountain biking since the sport’s nascent days in the 1980s.
As you can probably tell based on their name and their product catalog, Yeti Cycles come from the mountainous state of Colorado. Their insight into high-risk sports allows them to equip their products with technology like switch infinity suspension.
Their products are all tailored for racing. They’re organized by wheel size and rear travel, so you’d better know your stuff if you want to buy a Yeti Cycles ride.
- Great company for serious mountain bikers
- Favored by downhill cyclists
The final entry in our list of the best bicycle brands is Orbea, a Spanish company that’s been active since 1840. Oddly enough, they began by making handguns but later transferred production to a more prosocial focus – bikes!
Though Orbea also makes mountain and hybrid bicycles, they’re best known for their road bikes. Their road bikes are as light as a feather and perform great regardless of the weather. You can customize their road bikes to fit your specifications.
They manufacture racing road bikes like the Orbea Orca M20 ($4,699), endurance models like the Orbea Avant H30-D ($3,199), and gravel bikes like the Orbea Terra M21e Team 1X ($7,999).
- The largest bicycle manufacturer in Spain
- Bikes are light and speedy
How to Shop for the Best Bicycle
You’ve made it through our considerations of the best bicycle brands. Now it’s time for you to consider which bike will get you where you need to go. We’ve put together a few factors to keep in mind while you make your decision.
The brand with the practices that most align with your beliefs will be the best brand for you. If you only care about getting to and from work do you really need a majestic European mountain bike?
By the same token, if you care about your carbon footprint (which you probably do if you’re looking into bicycles) then you wouldn’t want to purchase from a brand that doesn’t care about the environment. Consider the brands before you look at their products.
As we just touched upon, your intended purpose will determine which type of bicycle you should look into.
If you can’t decide what you want to use your bike for or if you want one that’s versatile enough to do everything then we recommend looking into hybrid or all-terrain bicycles.
This is a very important factor because buying a bike that doesn’t fit you can damage your knees in the long term2.
Check how big each bike’s frame is and compare those measurements to your legs and gait.
Durability and construction
Bikes come in many different forms and are made with different materials like carbon, aluminum, and steel.
These materials each have trade-offs regarding their weight and their durability. Typically, heavier materials will last longer than lighter materials. It’s reasonable to assume that they’ll be more of a hassle to maneuver by hand.
Some bikes can function perfectly fine on different terrains regardless of their make. For example, a mountain bike might do decently at helping you get to work on time. Alternatively, a road bike might be just as good for weekend trips through the park.
There are bikes that can venture onto many terrains without a hitch. Knowing where you’ll be riding your bike can help you guide you towards a more specific model or it can defer your attention towards multi-purpose bicycles.
Bicycles have an extremely high price ceiling, with some models costing thousands of dollars. You might not need a bike of that majesty if you’re an average joe bike rider.
However, if you’re looking to win the Tour de France then you’re going to want the best possible bicycle regardless of the cost.
What are the bicycle safety rules?
Bicycles exist in their own realm as vehicles. They’re not cars, though they often follow the same rules as automobiles, yet they’re too fast to be treated the same as pedestrians.
The best bicycle safety rules are to follow the flow of traffic, signal your turns using your hands, give way to larger vehicles and walkers, and follow traffic regulations as if you were driving a car.
How do you use gears on a bike?
Using gears on a bike is a matter of feel, despite the fact that the concepts are simple to understand.
The right gear shift controls the gears for the back tire and is the one you’ll be using more often. The left gear shift is responsible for the gears on the front wheel.
Changing the left gears will massively affect your bike’s performance while the right gears are more subtle and thus have more gears.
The lower the gear, the less effort you’ll have to put into pedaling. This means that it’s best to shift to a lower gear when you’re going up a hill and better to stay in higher gears when you’re on flat ground.
What are the most common bike repairs?
Like any vehicle with wheels and tires, flat tires are a common bike repair issue. Other problems include a slipped chain (which usually comes from changing gears at an inopportune time), a seat that doesn’t hold its height, and bolts loosening as you ride.
What muscles does cycling work?
The best cyclists in the world are usually caked up like it’s their birthday. Cycling works the majority of your lower body muscles including the glutes, the quads, the calves, and the hamstrings.
Your upper body will also get a bit of stimulation because you’ll be using it to stabilize yourself. While you won’t get 18” biceps from cycling you will get a full-body workout if you push yourself hard enough.
We’re glad you’ve taken an interest in the best bicycle brands. It’s important for us to do what we can to conserve what’s left of the environment as the Earth approaches the point of no return in the face of climate change.
Cycling is one of the best ways that you can cut back on your carbon emissions. Plus, it’s a great way to exercise without taking too much time out of your day.
So whether your goal is to scale a summit on two wheels or just to get outside more, we hope you’ve found the information in our list helpful.
How We Chose the Best Bicycle Brands
Before choosing any brand, we scour the web and all the biggest e-tailers to ensure we know all the available options on the market. We look at customer reviews, star ratings, brand ethos, processes, materials, accessibility, and so much more. We weigh the pros and cons, so you don’t have to, helping you make informed shopping decisions.
1. Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., de Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger-Nash, B. and Kohlberger, T. (2011). Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, [online] 21(4), pp.496–509. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01299.x.
2. Johnston, T.E., Baskins, T.A., Koppel, R.V., Oliver, S.A., Stieber, D.J. and Hoglund, L.T. (2017). THE INFLUENCE OF EXTRINSIC FACTORS ON KNEE BIOMECHANICS DURING CYCLING: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 12(7), pp.1023–1033. doi:10.26603/ijspt20171023.
Here are some other curated lists of top brands: