Jumping on a new bike and pedaling down a bike path, on dirt trails, or exploring the alleys and side streets of your town is a healthy, stress-relieving activity.

That is, if you can find a bike. Manufacturing delays have many bike shops and online retailers without many models to sell. We’ve been testing beginner bikes all year, but some of the top performers are currently unavailable or have waiting lists to purchase. We still recommend those models, but if you need something quickly (and we completely understand that desire to ride), we’ve put together a list of bikes from manufacturers and retailers we trust below; we’ll keep this list of currently available models up to date.

No matter which bike you choose, be sure to read our buying guide below, which has lots of tips and advice to help you find the right model. Then read our longer reviews of top models. If you can wait several weeks (or longer, for some models), the bikes we tested are great options that we know to be reliable performers.

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Which Type of Bike Is Right for You?

Beginner bikes are more affordable and better than ever. You can now buy a high-quality bike for less than $600 that is designed to be stable, simple, and comfortable to ride. That’s a bit pricier than something you may find at a big-box store, but spending the extra money is almost always worth it: You get pro assembly and parts that won’t rust, perform better, and will last years longer than lower-cost options. Check out our five favorites below and keep reading for other tested options and buying advice.

If you’re ready to buy your first bike, the number of options can be daunting. Start by asking yourself where you want to ride. How you answer that question will help determine the right type of bike.

If you’re planning to ride trails or unpaved paths, you might be most comfortable on a hardtail mountain bike. The knobby tires give you better traction in the dirt and the suspension fork will soak up some of the bumps in the trail. Basic options start at $700 to $800.

If you’re planning to stick to paved paths, sidewalks, and boardwalks, try a cruiser or hybrid bike. A cruiser bike is a classic-looking bike with a wide, sweeping handlebar that’s great at lower speeds and start at about $300 for models with just one speed. A hybrid bike is designed to be ridden for exercise or fun while still keeping the rider in a comfortable, upright position. Prices start at about $500.

For mostly paved-road riding, your fastest option is a road bike. Built with narrower tires and drop-style handlebars, a road bike is the fastest option for riding smooth surfaces. Look for models with an aluminum frame and (if you can afford it) disc brakes, which offer better control. Those details put the price about $900, but some cheaper options exist if you go with rim brakes. If you plan to ride mostly dirt and gravel roads, try a gravel bike. The wider, grippier tires will make your dirt or gravel road riding more comfortable when the pavement ends. Like with road bikes, prices start at about $900.

The Best Beginner Bikes
Trevor Raab

Do I Need an E-bike?

If you are looking for a bike for transportation or want some pedal-assisted exercise, e-bikes will get you to your destination with less effort (and less sweat) than a regular bike. While an e-bike still requires pedaling, the motor will boost your speed according to how hard you pedal (up to 20mph). In exchange for this assist, you’ll have to charge the battery every few days (or daily, depending on your battery’s range). Because of the added weight of the battery and motor, e-bikes are much heavier than regular bikes, so they’re harder to move and store. They’re also more expensive. The cheapest e-bikes still cost at least $1,000.

Key Features for Beginner Bikes

Stability: A stable bike will give you enough support from the bike as you balance and corner, allowing it to be predictable and maneuverable at slow speeds. A bike with good stability will have a longer wheel base, wider handlebars, and a low standover height so you can more easily put your foot down to steady yourself.

Relaxed positioning: You want to be comfortable on your bike—the more happy and relaxed you are, the more you’ll ride. Most beginner bikes keep the rider’s back somewhere between a 90- and 70-degree angle with the ground, to put less strain on your back and neck.

Wider tires: No matter what type of bike you purchase, look for options with wider-than-typical tires. They offer more grip and traction, so you can ride more safely across most conditions.

Proper fit: Use this guide to get an idea of what size you need. Try to test ride the model you like if you can, or research the geometry and hop on something similar to get a sense of it.

How We Tested These Bikes

All of the bikes below have been ridden or thoroughly evaluated by our team of test editors. To choose the right ones, we speak to the designers, engineers, and product managers who develop these bikes to understand the intended user, and the design goals. And we weigh that with our own research into the market and experience riding similar bikes.

To make our recommendations, we weighed cost, performance, style, ease of maintenance, and our long-term experience with similar bikes. For those you can order online, we also considered the quality of the initial build and how much effort (or cost) you should expect to assemble the bike.


Aventon Level

Level Commuter Ebike
Aventon aventon.com

  • Easy handling
  • Great parts

This class-3 e-bike will spin you up to 28mph through pedal assist or you can use the throttle and hit a max speed of 20 miles per hour. Those speeds sound fast for newer riders, but the bike has strong brakes and a balanced ride. The battery is housed cleanly in the downtube and provides 672 watt hours of power. The controls are easy to use, the dip in the frame’s top tuber makes getting on and off a snap, and the price is hard to beat for everything this e-bike fantastic city and commuting bike delivers.



Adventure Neo 4
Cannondale REI

  • Nicely integrated battery
  • Great Bosch e-bike motor

In the world of e-commuter bikes, the Adventure Neo 4 hits a happy medium between a traditional townie and a larger, more cumbersome cargo model. With an excellent Bosch motor that assists you up to 20 miles per hour and wide, cushy tires, the Adventure is ideal for cruising along bumpy streets and bike paths. The alloy frame keeps weight modest, and the step-through frame makes it easy for anyone to hop on and start spinning. There are Shimano hydraulic disc brakes to slow you safely, and the 60+mile range means you can ride for hours before recharging.


Strider Sport

Strider - 12 Sport
Strider amazon.com

  • Great value
  • Requires almost no maintenance

  • Tires can slip on slick surfaces

This is the most popular model of Strider, designed for kids between 18 months and five years old. Everything is scaled to young kids, from the smaller grips to the light frame (just 6.7 pounds complete). The 12” wheels are made from EVA polymer, so they’ll never go flat, and the bike has an extra-long seat post so you get the most out of it when your kid hits that growth spurt.



Trail 6
Cannondale REI

  • Disc brakes
  • Nice aluminum frame

  • 2x8 shifting not as simple as a 1x system

We’ve long been impressed with Cannondale’s Trail line. The 6 model is a stellar beginner bikes that is great for bike paths, trails, and riders who want to explore more singletrack. The 2x8 shifting is simple and basic. While we love 1x systems for bikes because it removes the finicky front derailleur, this set up from Shimano is proven to be durable and requires little upkeep. The aluminum frame keeps weight low, and the disc brakes add control on fast trails and variable terrain.


Co-op Rev 20

REV 20
Co-op Cycles rei.com

  • Cushy plus-size tires
  • Great value

  • A bit heavy
  • Assembly required (if purchased online)

With its disc brakes, extra-wide tires (called “Plus-size”) and reliable Shimano shifting, this bike gives young trail riders a lot for the price. Our 8-year-old tester immediately hit the trails, where the 2.6-inch tires, run at low pressure, helped the bike roll over rocks, ruts, and small logs across the singletrack. At about 24-pounds, it’s heavier than some rigid 20-inch bikes, but the extra traction and cushion from the wheels make it a reasonable tradeoff; the plus size tires offer some of the benefits of a suspension fork, which can add weight (or hundreds of dollars) to the price of a kids’ bike. Co-Op is REI’s house brand and the retailer delivers the bikes mostly assembled or allows you to pick them up in the store. They toss in a nice Park multi-tool, but unless you have decent bike-mechanic skills, we suggest in-store pickup if that’s an option. The test bikes we received required more brake and derailleur adjustments than those from other consumer-direct brands.


Electric Bike Co Model X


  • Great price
  • Lots of accessories

  • Heavy

The Model X feels like a higher-quality product than the price indicates. It’s assembled in the U.S., and the attention to detail is immediately evident; the bike makes almost no noise while in motion, save the subtle whir from the rear-hub motor. The Schwalbe Fat Frank tires, aluminum frame, and steel fork combine to deliver a smooth ride, and the comfortable saddle and retro handlebar put you in a relaxed position while the e-assist does most of the work. Its 500-watt motor peaks at 1,000 watts for quick bursts of power, making the Model X sporty enough for most. Pedal assist maxes out at 25mph, and you get a throttle as well. The model shown here starts at $1,699 but can be upgraded (at a cost) to include things like a front basket that houses one or two batteries, a rear rack, custom frame colors, a 7-speed drivetrain, and more.


Priority Coast

Priority Coast

  • Rust-proof frame and components
  • No-maintenance Gates belt drive
  • Step-through model fits riders 5'0

  • One-size-fits-most diamond frame only fits riders 5'5

The salt air is no match for the Coast’s rustproof components, which include stainless-steel spokes, an aluminum frame and fork, and a maintenance-free Gates Carbon Drive belt. Sealed bearings keep out water, and Kenda puncture-resistant tires are hardly fazed by broken glass and clamshells. On boardwalks and level city roads, you’ll likely spend most of your time in the hardest gear, but you’ll be thankful for easier pedaling when the street takes a slight upturn. A double kickstand keeps the bike from tipping when parked, and the traditional cruiser-style handlebar has a three-speed twist shifter on the right and a front hand brake on the left (though you have the option of using the coaster brake).



RadRunner Electric Utility Bike
Rad Power Bikes radpowerbikes.com

  • Lots of utility
  • Bump-absorbing 4-inch tires

  • Harder to control at high speeds

Rad Power's city riding workhorse has storage areas: the front rack, the rear rack, and the mid-frame center console, which is great for loose ends and anything that couldn’t get wet. The fat tires and short wheelbase make the RadRunner 1 a capable off-roader and maneuverable urban bike. It can be more challenging to handle at higher speeds, but the bike is pleasant and nimble around town, ideal for its intended purpose.



CTY 1.1
Co-op REI

  • Disk brakes
  • Wide 40mm tires

It’s flat-bars, wide 40mm tires and comfortable geometry make this a great first bike for anyone looking to commute, ride on paved bike paths, or seek out longer adventures on fitness and fun rides. You get proven Shimano components, reliable disc brakes, a comfortable Selle Royal saddle, and mounts for fenders and racks in case you want to ride in the rain or increase the CTY's carrying capacity.


Aventon Pace 350

Courtesy Aventon
Pace 350

  • Has pedal assist AND a throttle
  • Cheap for an e-bike

  • Too heavy to haul up steps

If you’ve been an electric-bike window shopper all these years, now is the time to step inside and consider a purchase. The Aventon Pace 350 has made it easier (as in more affordable) to stop wishing and start riding. For a thousand bucks you get a Class 2 e-bike (that means it tops out at 20 mph and has a throttle), a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain, and five levels of e-assist. Aventon claims you’ll get about 30 miles on one charge depending on how you’re using your Pace 350. (As with any e-bike, when you factor in hills, wind, assist mode, rider weight, and all that fun stuff, range can be less.)


Kona Rove

Kona Rove

  • Disc brakes
  • Wide and grippy WTB Riddler tires

  • Mechanical disc brakes aren't as powerful as some hydraulic disc brakes

Though noticeably heavy for a road or gravel bike 26.8 lb. (58cm), it doesn’t feel like a heavy bike when you’re riding it. The aluminum frame and wheels are strong and efficient, even uphill. On patches of sharp, barely-crushed stone and drifts of washed out sand, the Rove maintains a steady composure, keeping the rider balanced and in control. The wide, puncture-resistant tires cruise over pointy, golf ball-sized rocks and track easily through soft lumps of dirt.