The Best Bikes Under $1,000 to Get You Back on the Road (or the Trail)

There's never been a better time to get into cycling

April 10, 2020 12:21 pm
The Best Bikes Under $1,000 to Get You Back on the Road (or the Trail)

When was the last time you went for a bike ride? Even if you haven’t pedaled in ages, it’s never too late to get started again. There’s a lot to love about riding—fresh air and exercise, a pollution-free commute, an excuse to start wearing Lycra. All you need is a solid set of wheels. Luckily, there are plenty of great starter bikes to suit every budget and riding style.

To build this guide, we researched models across well-known brands like Trek and smaller outfits like Tokyobike and State to find the best bargain bikes on the market. Here you’ll find a variety of picks for different types of riding (commuting and trail riding, for example), all for under $1,000. All of the models below are high quality and built to last, so consider this a long-term investment. Start with something basic, and you can always upgrade parts as you develop a taste for beefier tires or carbon fiber.

Ready to start pedaling? These are the best starter bikes to get you back in the saddle.

Best Commuter Bike: Tokyobike Classic Sport

Tokyobike’s sleek Classic Sport is perfect for getting to work and exploring your city in style. The 8-speed Shimano drivetrain will give you plenty of power on hills, and the smaller 26-inch wheels help you accelerate quickly from stoplights.

Easiest Maintenance: Priority Bicycles Brilliant L Train

If even the thought of bike maintenance makes you shudder, opt for this steed from Priority. It comes with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive instead of a traditional chain, which means you don’t have to clean and lube the drivetrain. Added bonus: There are no greasy parts to stain your pants, either.

Best Fixie/Single-Speed: Sate Wulf Core-Line

You won’t find a better bicycle for 300 bucks. State’s Core-Line bikes are renowned for their high build quality and versatility, and they make an excellent, affordable intro to riding (especially if you don’t live near hills).

Best Road Bike: Trek Domane AL 2

Lightweight aluminum frame? Check. Mounts for accessories and racks? Check. Comfortable riding position? Check. If you’re aiming to tackle long rides on the pavement, the Domane AL 2 is a great bike to start with.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike: Cannondale Trail 6

The Trail 6 is a solid entry level hardtail (a mountain bike without rear suspension). The front fork delivers 100 millimeters of travel for excellent shock absorption, and the aluminum alloy frame will feel light and responsive when hustling uphill.

Best Full-Suspension Mountain Bike: Diamondback Atroz 1

A full-suspension mountain bike under a grand is a rare beast, but the Atroz 1 nails both affordability and performance. With its 18-speed drivetrain and front and rear shock absorbers, this bike is just what you need to get started on singletrack.

Best Gravel/All-Road Bike: Surly Cross-Check

Surly designed this bike to go pretty much anywhere. If you’re looking for one bike to do it all—get you to work and ride trails on the weekends, for example—the Cross-Check’s tough steel frame, rack-ready mounting points, and chunky 41-millimeter tires are up to the challenge.

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