If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s easy to forget how great cycling is. For commuters, it’s more cost-effective and eco-conscious than taking a car — not to mention you get a little workout twice a day. For fitness enthusiasts, cycling offers one of the best possible cardio workouts: Unlike running, you can easily cover miles of ground and, better still, it’s low-impact, so no aching joints down the line
If you’re looking to start biking — or you’re in need of an upgrade — read on. We’ve rounded up some of the best bikes, all of which you can buy online right now.
How to Buy the Best Bikes Online
Despite some significant benefits, some shoppers still don’t buy bikes online. Sure, a brick-and-mortar bike shop might let you test out different models, but online bike shops offer some of the best bikes at better prices, and they deliver right to your doorstep (the same goes for buying bike parts online).
When shopping for a bike online, it’s important to vet the web store. We’ve sourced a handful of the best bikes from trusted retailers that even offer returns if you don’t like the bike. You’ll also want to get familiar with bike sizing (more on this below) to get the right frame size for your height.
What Are the Best Bikes to Buy Online?
New to cycling? Here are a few basic factors to consider when buying a new bike.
Style: Road, mountain, and hybrid are the three most common types of bike, but there are also e-bikes, bikes made specifically for commuters, folding bikes, and gravel bikes. Think about how and where you’ll be using your new rig, and pick accordingly, as the difference between styles is drastic.
Size: If you’re buying a bike online, you’ll need to know the proper frame size for your height. Most bikes come with simple small, medium, or large options. Generally, if you’re shorter than 5’7,” go with a small bike. Riders around 5’7” to 5’10” should go with a medium bike, and if you’re taller than 5’10,” get a large bike.
Frame material: The best bikes are lightweight yet durable to prevent bending in case of a crash. Steel is the lowest-grade bike frame material, although it’s very durable and less expensive. Aluminum is what you find on most of the best bikes, offering a good balance between weight, sturdiness, and price. Titanium and carbon fiber, meantime, are reserved for expensive, pro-level bikes.
Components: Besides a solid, lightweight frame, the best bikes feature smooth drivetrains, wheels, seats, and pedals (although pedals aren’t always included). We’ve chosen bikes with quality components, so you don’t have to go down internet rabbit holes to find out whether a bike is properly outfitted.
Where to Buy a Bike Online
Whether you’re getting into road biking, switching up your commute, or hitting the trails, here are some of the best places to buy a bike online to help you get rolling.
1. Tommaso Imola Endurance Road Bike
This Imola Endurance road bike from Tommaso punches way above its sub-$1,000 price tag. The handsome aluminum frame is lightweight and easy to maneuver, and the bike’s 24-speed Shimano Claris R2000 drivetrain is a much better shifting system than you’ll find on similar entry-level road bikes.
For some background, Tommaso was founded by an Italian racer who moved the brand to the U.S. in the Nineties. Now a factory-direct brand, Tommaso offers some of the best prices, good customer service, and a lifetime warranty on its frames. Better still, assembly is easy right out of the box — even if you’re not the handiest person.
2. Diamondback Sync’R Mountain Bike
One of the best mountain bikes to buy online is this Diamondback Sync’R. Known for mid-tier to high-end mountain bikes, Diamondback offers cutting-edge components and durable build quality. The Sync’R is a good example of the brand’s expertise, delivering a lightweight aluminum frame, rugged 140-millimeter RockShox front suspension, and reliable Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The design is low-slung for a playful feel that intermediate and advanced cyclists are sure to appreciate, although it may take a moment of getting used to for beginners.
3. Vitus Mach 3 VR
Hybrid or urban bikes are designed for commutes and quick jaunts around cities or suburbs. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider this Vitus Mach 3 VR. As the Mach 3’s name suggests, Vitus was aiming for speed when they made the bike, and they delivered. A Shimano Claris R2000 8-speed drivetrain and a slim aluminum frame combine for ample speed that’s sure to come in handy if you’re late to work. This lightness also means you can take the Mach 3 out for a country ride on the weekend.
Performance aside, we also think the Mach 3 looks great — something that matters with commuter bikes, in our opinion. Plus, at under $1,000, it’s also very accessibly-priced.
4. State Bicycle Co. Rigby Core Line
State Bicycle Co. has been grabbing headlines in the cycling community for its attractive, no-frills bikes. This Rigby, part of the brand’s Core Line, is a fixed gear bike (a.k.a. a singlespeed). These singlespeed bikes have seen a resurgence lately as commuters praise the improved energy transfer and precision — two things you want when weaving through traffic in a city. Plus, the lack of a gear system leaves the bike looking cleaner and sharper than most.
State leans into the stylishness of fixies with a handsome blue frame, cream wheels and a brown leather seat. The brand also lets you customize your build when you order online by choosing different components and add-ons like a water bottle cage.
5. Sixthreezero Around the Block Cruiser
Great for leisurely weekend rides or uncrowded commutes, cruiser bikes are sometimes better than performance-oriented options (and often cheaper). We like this one from sixthreezero, featuring a characteristic dual-spring saddle, wide handlebars, and a rack on the back. Surprisingly for a cruiser (especially at this price) the frame is lightweight aluminum for maneuverability and added speed. Overall, it’s comfortable, durable, and convenient — exactly as a cruiser should be.
6. Diamondback Union 1 E-Bike
E-bikes have skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple years. With just a bit of extra power, e-bikes are able to cover far more ground and do so without much effort (i.e. you won’t pull up to work sweaty).
If you’re looking to understand the e-bike hype, try this Diamondback Union 1. It’s a class-3 e-bike, which means it has pedal-assisted acceleration up to 28 miles-per-hour (any higher and it would be considered a moped or motorcycle). Power comes from a Bosch motor that’s integrated into the frame for a streamlined, maneuverable build. The power is also matched by reliable Hydraulic brakes and a Shimano Deore 10-speed shifting system. In short, the Union 1 can take you all over town — and fast.
7. Goplus 20” Folding Bike
If you don’t have a place to securely lock your bike at all times, consider a folding bike. Favorited by European urbanites, the nifty bikes can collapse for easy storage and transportation into an office or a cafe, for example. We like this one from Goplus because its tires can handle rough ground, and the Shimano 7-speed shifter makes up for the bike’s smaller wheels. It’s also strong enough to hold heavier riders, and it’s very easy to fold when you’re ready to stash the bike or bring it inside somewhere.
8. Bikeroo Bike Seat Cushion
A common complaint, especially from new riders, is discomfort on bike seats. Whether you’re spin cycling, road biking, commuting, or mountain biking, a stiff, low-quality bike seat can ruin a ride (and your rear will feel it the next day). For more comfort, pick up one of these bike seat cushions from Bikeroo. The gel seat cover fits over almost every bike seat, relieving pressure for a more comfortable ride.