Written By
Published Jan. 2, 2020

Cheap bikes often get a bad rap, but they shouldn’t. In a world where folks are continually working to get the best and shiniest things, having a hearty workhorse of a bike seems to have fallen out of favor. Of course, the best thing about good, cheap bikes is that they’re perfect for bridging a gap, encouraging fitness, and even learning the rules of the road without the risk of going too far, too fast.

Whether you’re looking for the best cheap bike to get you to and from work or are seeking affordable bikes for teenagers, we’ve got you covered. In our review we provide a list of the top cheap bikes that are currently available, and we go in-depth to help you choose the right cheap bike for your needs.

The Best Cheap Bike

Proving to be ever popular, this step-through bike is a firm favorite for everyone out there who isn’t keen on trying to get their leg over the saddle. Aside from looking great, this bike allows for a pleasant, smooth ride and is capable of holding up to a 21-speed drivetrain, depending on the model you choose.

It can hold up to 300 pounds without issue, which is especially handy considering you can add a good quality basket bike and cycle home without any concerns about the frame or wheels buckling. It also has a dual-spring saddle which ensures you stay comfortable on the slightly rougher roads, too.

Key Features
  • Up to 21-speed drivetrain
  • Holds up to 300 pounds
  • Dual-spring saddle
  • Step-through frame
  • Front and rear handbrakes
Specification
  • Brand SixThreeZero
  • Model 630033
  • Weight 46.1 pounds

As well as the great design, this bike holds up to 300 pounds and also features a dual-spring saddle, so you will be comfortable as you ride around town. Another great-looking option, this cheap cruiser bicycle is perfect for relaxed, everyday riding. If you don’t have the best dexterity in your fingers or even if you simply prefer to have a clean, simple look to your bike, this is the bike for you.

That’s because this bike uses coaster brakes, which gives your bike a great look and relaxed feel. However, for those who are into their mountain biking, this won’t be the best option, as the braking power isn’t as strong or as quick as the traditional handbrakes.

Key Features
  • Single speed for coaster brake options
  • Dual-spring saddle
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Pedal-backwards coaster brakes
Specification
  • Brand Firmstrong
  • Model 16027
  • Weight 38 pounds

Holding a fantastic design that hosts front and rear handbrakes, as well as a sleek and stylish look, this cruiser bike from Kent is easy to use and comes at a great price. The chain uses an enclosed cover, to ensure you can keep your chain protected from the elements – and stop any nasty pinches if you haven’t ridden for a while.

It also boasts a rust-resistant aluminum frame, as well as a quick-release seat clamp. All-in-all, this is a great choice of cheap bicycle for infrequent use and those who are after a simple, affordable bike that can carry its own for however long you may need it.

Key Features
  • Up to 7-speed drivetrain
  • Covered chain
  • Front and rear handbrake
  • Quick-release seat clamp
Specification
  • Brand Kent
  • Model 42692
  • Weight 40 pounds

Available in a wide range of styles and sizes, to best suit your personal needs, this bike is durable, hard-working and ready to go, whenever you are. With the addition of a decent set of premium features, such as the flip flop hub which allows you to freewheel or ride fixed, this is a great bridge bike which edges onto the higher ends.

The frame itself may look a little straight and dull but it actually consists of hard-wearing steel and solid TIG-welding to ensure everything stays strong and stable during rougher rides. Ideal for commuting, this is a cheap road bike that does a great job of providing long-lasting quality at a great price.

Key Features
  • Fixed or freewheel ride
  • Very durable frame
  • Weight capacity of up to 220 pounds
  • All tools and components included
Specification
  • Brand Retrospec
  • Model 3272
  • Weight 34.1 Pounds

A great choice if you’re looking to enjoy a rougher ride, this mountain bike from Mongoose comes with the rather noticeable feature of having 4-inch thick wheels. With a knobby tread and thicker width, this is a fantastic choice of tire and frame pair to help you make short work of tough trails. Meanwhile, the alloy rims ensure that you aren’t weighed down as you try to make your way up the tracks.

A threadless headset allows for greater height flexibility to meet the needs of yourself or your loved one, and the rear derailleur makes climbing those steeper areas much easier. All in all this is the best cheap mountain bike as it offers great value for money and fantastic features.

Key Features
  • Designed for off roading
  • Threadless headset
  • Lightweight alloy rims
  • 4-inch thick wheels
Specification
  • Brand Mongoose
  • Model R4144
  • Weight 59 Pounds

Hybrid bikes are incredibly popular for a reason, being able to handle almost any terrain and ensuring a comfortable ride – and no bike better signifies quality at a great price with the right features than this hybrid bike from Schwinn.

Utilizing the most common benefits of hybrids, you’ll find that this bike comes with a decent suspension on the front fork and plenty of gears to help get you where you need to be. It also uses both front and rear handbrakes, so you don’t find yourself thrown forward if you’re not used to picking up speed have used road bikes only, before. 

Key Features
  • Front suspension
  • Front and rear handbrakes
  • Up to 21-speed drivetrain
Specification
  • Brand Schwinn
  • Model S5397
  • Weight 45 pounds

A number one bestseller and one of the most popular options in the SixThreeZero range, this cruiser bike amalgamates all of the best features that the company has to offer without compromising on a fair price. Hosting the coaster brakes that is so loved by this type of bike rider and a classic design, you’ll find yourself happily coasting along without a care in the world with this option.

The waffle-tread tires allow for greater traction and 21-speed drivetrain gives you complete control over your speed. All-in-all, this is a great choice in the cheap bicycles market as it provides the occasional rider with everything they could possibly need to get back on the road.

Key Features
  • Upright riding design
  • Up to 21-speed drivetrain
  • Waffle-tread tires
Specification
  • Brand SixThreeZero
  • Model 630102
  • Weight 43.7 pounds

Available in a range of sizes, to best suit your needs, this commuter bike from Vilano has a classic look and dependable structure – ideal for those who cycle to and from work. While you may not be able to a great range of mountain climbing with this option, it’s still a fantastic choice in the cheap bicycles range.

A lightweight frame ensures you aren’t spending a great deal of effort first thing in the morning, during the commute and makes it easier to put away when not in use. Meanwhile, the 21-speed drivetrain gives plenty of flexibility and control over your bike.

Key Features
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Up to 21-speed drivetrain
  • Front and rear brakes
Specification
  • Brand Vilano
  • Model R2 Commuter
  • Weight 41 Pounds

Another great option from the minds of SixThreeZero, this cheap road bike is ideal if you’re a commuter or are looking to work on some straightforward cycling during the day. The design helps you to keep an upright position while cycling, making it easier on your back and hips – especially if you aren’t used to riding or have come back to it after a long time away.

The wheels are double walled to resist punctures and offer a more stable ride, while the seats and handlebars are made with synthetic leather for a classic look and durable material. This is a great choice in cheap bikes if you’re looking for a day-to-day cycle that can offer some flexibility and stability at a great price.

Key Features
  • Up to 7-speed drivetrain
  • Upright riding design
  • Wheels host double-walled rims
Specification
  • Brand SixThreeZero
  • Model 630211
  • Weight 30 Pounds

This is a very popular option that users love. This cruiser bike from Kent features a wide range of additions that provide comfort, style and stability – and all of this comes are a great price. It’s perfect for getting back into cycling or buying for your teen for a special occasion.

The 7-speed shifter keeps things simple while still providing you with a good range of speed. Better still, the dual suspension and comfort tires will keep you from getting saddle sore and help you traverse those tougher roads, making it ideal for day-to-day and commuter riders.

Key Features
  • 7-speed microshift twister
  • Dual suspension
  • Comfort tires
Specification
  • Brand Kent
  • Model 32620
  • Weight 41.4 Pounds

With a truly unique look, this cruiser from Firmstrong seems to have quickly made its way into being one of the best cheap bikes online, recently. Depending on which type you decide on, you can opt for a bike with up to 21-speeds, although we’re a big fan of the single speed option for cruising around on flatter roads.

The design itself helps to keep you in an upright position, making it easier on your back and hips. Meanwhile, the balloon tires keep you comfortable and secure on your ride, which is especially handy in conjunction with the coaster brakes. This is a good choice for those who like to take things slow and enjoy the ride.

Key Features
  • Up to 21-speed drivetrain
  • Upright riding design
  • Pedal-backwards coaster brakes
Specification
  • Brand Firmstrong
  • Model 15258
  • Weight 38 pounds

A great option for all genders that comes with a classic look. This Schwinn bicycle is more than just a cheap bike, however, as it comes with a range of great features and provides you with complete peace of mind during your ride – also making it ideal for parents.

The spring seat allows for a comfortable ride, while the 7-speed shifters give you enough control to easily manage a range of surface types without concern – and without over-complicating your journey. The best part about this cheap hybrid bike, however, is the fact that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Key Features
  • Limited lifetime warranty included
  • Quality spring seat
  • Up to 7-speed shifters
Specification
  • Brand Schwinn
  • Model S4023D
  • Weight 45.2 pounds

If you love the traditional designs of cruiser bikes, then this is the best budget bike for you. As well as coming with a classic, step-through frame and wide-set, dual density handlebars for greater grip, it also comes with a range of pleasant extras too.

The covered chain means you’re less likely to get dirt and debris caught in your bike chain during your rides, and leaves you with less maintenance in regard to cleaning and greasing. Meanwhile, the padded spring saddle allows for greater comfort. It also comes with a nice little extra of having a basket included, making this bike the ideal choice for students or shoppers.

Key Features
  • Pedal-backwards coaster brakes
  • Padded spring saddle
  • Dual-density grips
Specification
  • Brand Huffy
  • Weight 49.2 pounds

For those who love their mountain bikes but don’t want to spend too much on their purchase, this is the best cheap mountain bike that money can buy, thanks to it’s amazing value for money. With a rear derailleur to keep the power where it’s needed and avoid any pinches, along with 21-speed twist shifters, you’ll find power and control are the main focus on this bikes’ design.

That said, it also comes with a range of comfort-based benefits. The full suspension means you won’t have an issue or finding yourself getting saddle sore when enjoying yourself on even the roughest trails. Meanwhile, the alloy rims keep this bike nice and light – ideal for picking back up after a slide or placing away at the end of a long day riding.

Key Features
  • Rear derailleur
  • Full suspension
  • Up to 21-speed twist shifters
Specification
  • Brand North Woods
  • Model 22418-p
  • Weight 42 pounds

If you’re looking for a quality, but cheap teenagers’ BMX, then you’ll find everything you’re looking for in this Freestyle BMX bike from Tony Hawk. Perfect for those 12 years and older, this bike is safe and secure enough for you to feel peace of mind but cheap enough to still be attractive to those who are just going through a phase of riding.

The Promax U-brakes are some of the most effective that you’ll find on the market, helping your teenagers come to a complete stop as soon as they need it. Meanwhile, the alloy threaded stem gives greater durability and stability during their ride. Best of all, there’s a lifetime guarantee on the frame and fork, to help out when someone gets a little carried away with their stunts.

Key Features
  • Lifetime guarantee on frame and fork
  • Alloy threaded handlebar stem
  • Suitable for 12 years and over
Specification
  • Brand Tony Hawk
  • Model 8153-24ZTJ
  • Weight 31.1 Pounds

Best Cheap Bikes Buying Guide & FAQ

What to Consider When Buying a Cheap Bike

Type

First and foremost, when you’re looking to purchase your bike, you’ll need to consider your own riding style and therefore what type of bike you need for your day-to-day or infrequent riding needs. The most popular types of bike include the road, mountain, hybrid, electric, bmx and cruiser.

  • Road

Road bikes often have a very traditional look, although they can come with both step-through frames and straight frames. They are designed to be ridden on smoother surfaces, which means they aren’t built for bumpier roads – so they can sometimes lead to a sore behind if used on uneven tracks. For this reason, they are recommended for commuters and casual riders, with some options being more suitable for road cycling races.

Cheap road bikes can be hard to find, as most companies will try to outweigh any discomfort with extra features, making them more expensive. However, affordable road bikes can still be found and the increase in interest means that the best cheap road bike options will come with these features regardless of price.

Be aware that most road bikes are not designed to carry heavier loads, as their frames aren’t usually built to carry any extras, such as baskets or similar and therefore you are limited in what you may be able to carry with this type of bike.

  • Mountain

Cheap mountain bikes are increasingly common, mostly due to their ability to work with uneven surfaces and are brilliant for downhill cycling. They often come with a wide variety of gears, which can help when going up steep surfaces and can increase speed control when working downhill. Their wheels are often thicker and come with a deeper tread, which takes more energy to cycle but provides greater traction.

Their brakes are often more responsive, and the handlebars lay flat, with the saddle being fairly high on the frame.  This encourages the rider lean forward and can therefore be a little harder on the back during longer rides – however, it also allows you to spread your weight more evenly, making it ideal for when you’re working with dusty, tough trails to keep your bike steady and well-balanced.

Mountain bikes can feature additional benefits, such as suspension around the front fork or over the rear end of the frame. These help to absorb shocks when riding downhill, allowing you to keep the bike on an even keel and helping reduce the risk of you becoming unseated during a bumpy ride.

BMX Freestyle Bike
  • Hybrid

If you like the design and fit of a road bike or cruiser, but also want the choice of different gears for different inclines and day trips out, a hybrid bike is the right selection for you. They often come with a good mixture of benefits from both the road bike and the mountain bike, such as the higher handlebars to maintain an upright position and more comfortable seat.

While they are perfect for hopping from trail to road without too much issue, it also means that they are not better than single-use types. For example, the tires are often a little slimmer, making it more difficult to work with on steep or dusty inclines. They do, however, utilize the benefits quite often, such as the suspension or a greater number of gears, which can help if you cycle over uneven surfaces often – even during the commute.

  • Cruiser

Not entirely dissimilar to the hybrid bike, a cruiser provides a very comfortable ride and are perfect for the casual rider who isn’t looking for a heavy-duty bike that can handle lumps and bumps. Their handlebars are often a little wider apart, and the seat is often placed lower, so you have an upright riding position to give you a greater view ahead and more comfortable seating position.

Their tires are often described as being “balloon” in how they look and feel while riding. In other words, they are much more comfortable to ride over slightly uneven surfaces as they are better at absorbing shocks. However, they are not designed to handle faster speeds. This fits in with the cruiser bike as a whole, as they are a little slower but very comfortable to ride.

  • BMX

Bike Motorcross, or BMX for short, options are usually better suited to teenagers and children, as their smaller frame and wide-set design allows for stability, as well as being a good size for their height. They can, however, be used by adults when looking for a bike that is better suited to stunts and trick riding.

They provide short, sharp turning circles and are generally comfortable for younger people to ride – but can be a little awkward for longer trips and therefore aren’t designed for this purpose. They are also extremely lightweight and easy to carry or store.

Size

The size of your bike should mostly depend on your own height, or the height of the person you are buying the bike for. The main way to check the right height for your needs is to measure up to your hip, as this is where the seat should sit. Most people should feel comfortable with a size around the 17-24-inch mark for the frames, as this works with people between 5’6” up to 6’4”. Naturally, those with a smaller height will need a smaller frame and vice versa. Both the frame and the wheel size can alter the height of your bike, so check with both before buying.

Gears

Gears can help you work with different gradients, with lower gears being ideal for steep uphill riding and higher gears adding a greater control over speed during downhill riding. In the same way that cars work, using a lower gear at all times will result in higher energy consumption, as you’ll be pedaling faster for the same speed as you would get when pedaling at a slower rate during a higher gear.

Brakes

The type of brakes on your bike can be an important factor to consider. While the most common types consist of standard wheel brakes – or caliper brakes – which use a pinching motion and rubber brakes to slow and stop the wheel by forcing friction to reduce your speed.  Disc brakes are very similar, but are placed around the disc and are dependent on hydraulics, which adds both weight and added maintenance to your bike.

Other common types include the back pedal – or coaster – types, which require you pedal backwards in order to slow and stop. These can be much more difficult to work with and the result is slower, since the brake needs to release a cone which slides through when you pedal backwards. These are usually placed on cruisers or road bikes, as they are less likely to work well at speed and you may find that they are not as good at stopping during an emergency brake.

Placement also matters, as those bikes which use front and rear brakes are more likely to stop in a smooth, even motion. Front brakes require a little more preparation before braking, as there is a danger of being thrown forward due to the speed of the braking, while rear brakes may be a little slower and can throw off your center of balance.

driving bike

How Much Should You Spend on a Cheap Road Bike?

Naturally, the more you have to spend on any bike, the more you will get your money. However this isn’t always the case. While the best budget bike isn’t always the cheap bicycles, cheap bikes can still provide you with the best value for money. The good news is that, that means you don’t have to spend an extraordinary amount of money to get the bike that works best for you – however, you may need to compromise on some of the extra features you might otherwise prefer.

The real question is what kind of features you’re looking for you in your bike. It’s important to check out the above to see what kind of bike and what extra benefits you would like, in order to make your purchase worthwhile. The type of bike you choose, the level of comfort and stability it offers and any particular features you like may cost you a little bit more – but the result means that you get yourself a bike that you are happier with and therefore likely to use for a lot longer.

Our Top Pick

We love the sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s Step-Though Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle because it provides a wide range of speed and smooth motion, without breaking the bank. Looking great and offering you a straight-backed ride without any issues, thanks to the dual-spring saddle, this is a great choice for those new to cycling and veterans of the two-wheeled variety.

It’s available in a wide range of speeds and designs, which allows you to show a little more personality during your ride – all while still holding the classic look that we all know and love. Highly rated and very affordable, this is a great choice and easily hits the mark as the best cheap bike on the market.

MORE TO READ