Best Bikes For Cheap | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Research should be done before you decide to purchase
  • Finding the right size bike is important
  • Electric bikes are replacing pedal pushers by a wide margin
  • Buying from an online dealer may mean additional assembly costs

Finding a quality bicycle doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars. There are some great bikes built for folks on a budget. What are the best bikes for cheap?

The best bikes for cheap are:

  • Best Road Bike: Tommasso Fasino Sport
  • Best Hybrid Bike: Vilano Diverse 3.0
  • Best Mountain Bike: Mongoose Malus
  • Best Electric Bike: Ancheer Classic Max
  • Best Midtail Cargo E-Bike: NAKTO Electric Bike
  • Best Commuter Bike: Brooklyn Bicycle: Franklin 3

If you are like me, counting every penny is important. With the price of everything going up, many Americans believe they cannot enjoy the adventures cycling can bring because they don’t have thousands of dollars to plop down on a new bike. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get out on the road. Plenty of manufacturers offer quality, well-built bikes for cheap for all kinds of riders. The bikes listed below can be purchased for less than $700 and are worth every penny.



What Should be Considered When Shopping for a Bike?

Many considerations need to be addressed before closing in on a purchase. Aside from price or budget, riders should do their homework in other areas.

What Type of Riding Will I be Doing?

There are so many different kinds of cycling available these days. Finding the right bike is very important for a rider with specific needs and routines. A rider planning on heading off-road to explore the nature trail behind where they live doesn’t need to consider a bike built for pavement. Conversely, a bike designed for an urban setting will disappoint when the mountain trail tears it to shreds.

Consider how often you will be riding and the type of road surface you will use the bike on most of the time. An entry-level bicycle will do the trick if you are looking to ride only now and then with the kids. But if you plan on riding every day, preparing for a race, you need a different bike.

Do I Want to Pedal Myself or Go Electric?

This question is becoming a critical decision many bike buyers face today. Electric bikes have their advantages in that they can help keep the bike moving, even when the rider stops pedaling, but they are only for some.

If you want as much benefit for your body as possible, stick with a regular pedal pusher. If you want to get to work as fast as possible without working up a sweat, then the electric bike might be the way to go.

Many manufacturers recognize the growing demand for e-bikes. The market is saturated with electronic bicycles already, but by 2029, the market is expected to double in size to almost 90 billion dollars in sales every year.

What Size Bike Do I Need?

You will need to make sure that you buy a bike that can accommodate your frame and build. Many entry-level bikes have a one size fits all approach that may spell trouble for taller or heavier riders.  It is imperative to get the size right because if you choose the wrong bike, it can be a nightmare to return it for the right one.

There are a couple of things to consider when determining the right bike size. The first is standover height, the distance from the top tube to the ground. This measurement is essential because if something happens and you slide forward off the seat, your feet will hit the ground. (Think about where the top bar might hit if your feet didn’t land correctly).

Another consideration is cockpit length, the distance between the seat and handlebars. If the distance is too great, the rider has to lean forward to steer the bike (aka superhero style), which can cause discomfort to the shoulder, back, and neck area.

A great idea here is to visit your local bike shop. Most sales consultants will help you determine your bike size and get you fitted. Sure, they might try to sell you a bike or explain why buying online can be dangerous, but most understand the need to get the dimensions right.

What Does the Bike Look Like?

Aesthetics is essential because no rider wants to ride a bike that they don’t look good riding. Many bike manufacturers will splash beautiful pictures of models on their bikes all over their websites, but don’t be fooled. What is most important is how you feel about your body type and what kind of statement you want your new bike to make when you cruise down the street.

Who Am I Buying My Bike From?

This might not seem a big thing to consider, but it is.  A potential owner has several options when purchasing a new bike.

Private Owner

You can purchase a bike from a private owner, which can also be risky. Try to inspect and test the bike out so that you can ensure that everything is in working order. Only some owners take care of their bikes, as you will. A bike that is bought sight unseen is a disaster waiting to happen.

Run the serial number to ensure the bicycle you buy isn’t stolen. Your local police department can help provide you with that information.

Online Purchase

Many people purchase their bikes over the internet and have them delivered right to their doorstep. While this option can save money by cutting out the middleman, it can also mean additional hassle. Most bikes that are shipped online still need to be assembled, and this can be frustrating if you aren’t very good with that kind of stuff.

Find out how assembled the bike will be and whether it requires any special tools to complete the assembly. A simple call to the manufacturer can advise you on how challenging the task will be. (Remember that they are likely to say that the assembly is easy because it is for them. It might be complicated for the rest of us, though).

One way to avoid the frustration with tools is to take the bike to your local bicycle shop and ask them to assemble it, or at the very least, tune it after you put it together. Most shops charge for this service, but it doesn’t hurt to have an “expert” give your bike a once over before you do any serious riding.

Bike Shops

One place to buy a bike is a local bike shop. Most of the time, you will pay extra for a bike from a local retail dealer, but the advantage is their advice and counsel. The sales consultants will want to sell you a bike, but they also want to help you enjoy the ride. It might be worth the extra money to have the help. You just have to decide whether it fits into your budget.

Box Stores

Many families buy their bicycles at big box stores like Walmart, Target, and others. These stores often stock cheaply made bicycles that fit a one size fits all philosophy. While you might find a great price, remember there will be no service after the sale. It is impossible to get anyone to care about your broken bike or help you fix it after walking out the door with it.

What is My Budget?

Bicycles come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and prices. It is easy to get carried away with all kinds of options and accessories that are not necessary and that you don’t need to spend money on. If you aren’t going to ride at night, don’t buy the bike with the extra charge for a headlight. If you have a budget, research online to see what bike is best for your price. (You will need to invest in a helmet, however. That is an essential accessory).

Here’s a note about purchasing online. Many manufacturers offer coupons or discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars in some cases. Don’t be afraid to compare shops or take advantage of sales that might be happening.

What are the Best Bikes for Cheap?

Let’s review some of the best bicycles you can purchase today without breaking the bank.

Best Road Bike: Tommaso Fasino Sport

Tommaso Fasino Sport
Tommaso Fasino Sport

Tommaso has been a player in the bicycling community for many years now. They build quality bikes and have some of the best on the market today. The bike is designed in Italy but engineered in Denver, Colorado, which has a strong biking community.

The 6061 aluminum frame is lightweight and sturdy and has a lifetime warranty. The VDT steel fork offers a very comfortable ride. While the bike won’t glide over potholes, the 700c wheels are standard on most adult road bikes and sufficient to handle any bumps or cracks a rider might encounter.

The 21-speed drivetrain and Shimano Tourney shifters will help the rider navigate even the steepest inclines. The Shimano products are known for quality and reliability and are the type of derailleur used on many more expensive road bikes.

One of the best things about the Tommaso is that the bike is offered in six different sizes, from small to x-large, so that every rider can find the correct size and tailor the bike’s specifications to their body frame and contour. Instead of buying a generic one size fits all bike, the folks at Tommaso realize how important it is to find a bike that fits the rider correctly.

The braking system for Tommaso uses the Freno Dual Pivot Calipers, which provide adequate stopping power even on wet pavement. The brake levers are Shimano.

The bike is reasonably lightweight, coming in at 23.6 lbs in the small size, and has a load limit of 230 lbs.


  • Aluminum frame with a lifetime warranty
  • Shimano parts all around, found on more expensive bikes
  • It is built in the USA
  • Reasonable price
  • Great Entry level bike


  • Factory saddle is not comfortable at all
  • Not the lightest of road bikes
  • The weight limit may push away larger riders


Best Hybrid Bike: Vilano Diverse 3.0

Vilano Diverse 3.0
Vilano Diverse 3.0

The Vilano Diverse 3.0 is a great hybrid bike priced very modestly ($399). Vilano is based out of St. Augustine, Fl. and has been making affordable, high-quality bikes for about fifteen years. The company uses premium components often found in higher-priced bicycles and has set its mission to compete effectively in a crowded casual rider market.

The aluminum alloy frame is hydroformed, a manufacturing process that uses water under intense pressure to form the tubes. Hydroforming produces a stronger and more rigid product, allowing the bike to move more efficiently because every tube is appropriately shaped.

The 24-speed drivetrain is adequate, allowing the rider to handle almost any incline. The Shimano EF-51 shifter is more than capable. Using Shimano derailleurs, the transition between gears is reliable and smooth.

The tires are 700c x 35, which is more comprehensive than most hybrid bikes but makes this bike even more suited to riding off-road should it need to. (Just only some of the time). The braking system is a Shimano disc, which is an excellent system that provides stopping power.

The handlebars are straight rather than dropdown, and this configuration allows the rider to sit comfortably in a more upright position as they pedal.

The Vilano Diverse 3.0 has a weight of 26 lbs and a total weight limit of up to 300 lbs. The bike comes in three sizes, which can fit riders from 5 - 1 to 6 - 4.


  • Aluminum frame.
  • Shimano parts all around, found on more expensive bikes
  • It is built in the USA
  • Very Reasonable price (under $400).
  • Great Entry level bike
  • Increased weight limit makes larger riders.
  • Tires provide an excellent grip on wet surfaces


  • The top tube may get in the way of some riders.


Best Mountain Bike: Mongoose Malus

Mongoose Malus
Mongoose Malus

This bike is a mountain beast, and its fat tires can take you anywhere you want to go. Mongoose is one of the world's leading makers of BMX and mountain bikes. Made by Pacific Cycle, Inc. out of China and Taiwan, these bikes are often found in big box stores like Walmart, Target, or Academy Sports.

The 18-inch steel frame and rigid fork make the bike ideal for the trail. The suspension is stiff, but not enough that you will feel every bump or tree root you roll over. While steel isn’t as light as aluminum or carbon, it holds up well to damage and, with proper care, can last for years.

The 7-speed drivetrain with twist shifters provides precise and effective gear changes. The bike can handle all sorts of inclines and descents.

The four-inch tires are considered fat, which is great for off-road cycling. Most mountain bikes understand the need for more surface contact on the trail, mainly when riding in slippery or muddy conditions.

The bike's weight is 35 lbs which might be on the high side as mountain bikes go, but the rider shouldn’t be afraid of the added weight. The extra pounds keep the bike centered and make it more deliberate in curves. This bike may not be as agile as other mountain bikes, but it isn’t supposed to be. As an entry-level bike, heavier is better, particularly for beginning riders.


  • Steel, rigid frame.
  • Reasonable price (under $500).
  • Great Entry level bike
  • Increased weight limit makes larger riders.
  • Tires provide an excellent grip on wet surfaces


  • More responsive than other MTBs.


Best Electric Bike: Ancheer Classic Max

Ancheer Classic Max
Ancheer Classic Max

Ancheer has been one of the pioneers in electric bike development and the fitness industry for years. Their e-bikes are manufactured out of China and Taiwan, but over the last decade, they have been producing very affordable e-bikes. The Classic Max model is a mountain bike that is all electric and has been very popular for families on a budget.

The Classic is powered by a 500W lithium-ion battery attached to the downtube. The battery is detachable to aid charging if needed. The battery has a charging time of about 4-6 hours, which is better than most e-bikes on the market.

The real test of an electric bike is how fast and far it will go. There is no reason to buy an e-bike if the charge in the battery is used up a few miles down the road. We’re happy to report that the Classic Max has enough power to get up to speeds of 20 mph and produce a 45-mile range on a single charge. That’s more than enough to navigate even the most challenging mountain trail.

The e-bike has a 21-speed drivetrain that helps adjust it to any terrain. Front and rear disc brakes help provide stopping power, particularly on descents. For anyone who has done mountain biking, a better-than-sound braking system is crucial to making it off the trail in one piece.

The Ancheer has three drive modes; full throttle, pedal assist, and regular bike. While there are not as many drive options as other more expensive e-bikes, the folks at Ancheer are keeping it simple, and simple is good.

The tires are fat and wide, as you might expect on a typical mountain bike. The aluminum alloy frame is sturdy enough to handle almost any kind of dip or rock on the trail. The high-strength carbon steel suspension fork is more than adequate for keeping the ride smooth and stable.

The weight limit to the Classic Max is 300 lbs which means that taller and larger riders can consider the bike without having to choose a specific bike that costs a lot more.


  • Strong battery for the entry-level e-bike
  • Reasonable price (under $699).
  • Excellent Entry level bike for mountain riders
  • The increased weight limit makes the bike usable for larger riders.
  • Fat tires help with traction on the trail


  • Doesn’t come with a headlight or rear tail light.
  • The Bike could do better in the sand.


Best Midtail Cargo E-Bike: NAKTO Camel Electric Bike

NAKTO Camel Electric Bike
NAKTO Camel Electric Bike

This Nakto is a bike for busy parents who want to introduce their toddler or young child to the joys of bike riding. The mid-tail has a rack over the back tire that can accommodate a child safety seat or monkey bars and a padded seat for a small child. If you feel your family has been cooped up inside because of the pandemic, strap a helmet on your little one and run a quick errand on this bike.

The 350W lithium-ion battery has a recharge time of 4-6 hours and enough power to motor for about 22-35 miles depending on the weight. The top speed is 25 mph which is more than fast enough to get to school, the store, or even just around the neighborhood. While the battery isn’t as powerful as a lot of other e-bikes, the bike is a good value for the price.

The NAKTO is a step-through bike and has a decidedly feminine appearance. (There is an option with a higher-top tube for Dads who need a bike. We suggest checking out the NAKTO Classic).

A high gloss finish makes the bike look excellent and attractive. This e-bike is the perfect ride to run short errands on flat terrain. Leave the offroad ideas along because this bike that doesn't handle trail action very well because the battery just doesn’t have the juice to do it.

The step-through design makes this bike easy to mount and dismount (which, if you have ever ridden with a child, you know how important that can be). The braking system is V-shaped on the front, and the expansion system on the rear, but the combination works in this bike. There is enough stopping force even on wet pavement, and the motor intelligently powers down in braking situations.

The bike is equipped with headlights, reflectors on the wheels, and an ergonomic fashionable padded seat. The handlebars are set just right for the rider to pedal upright comfortably, and the rear rack can accommodate 1 - 2 children.

The bike has a weight limit of 250 lbs fully loaded, so riders must do the math before purchasing.

Natko assembles all their electric bikes at their factory in California. They are the USA all the way.


  • Reasonable price (under $669).
  • This e-bike is built for kid hauling.
  • Step-Thru design helps for quick dismounts.
  • The bike comes with headlights, taillights, and reflectors
  • The seat is very comfortable and adjustable.
  • USA built


  • The battery could be more powerful.
  • The Bike does not do well off the pavement or in hilly terrain.


Best Commuter Bike: Brooklyn Bicycle Franklin 3

Brooklyn Bicycle Franklin 3
Brooklyn Bicycle Franklin 3

Don’t let the name fool you because even though advisors design Brooklyn Bikes in the US, they aren’t assembled anywhere in the states. Instead, the company takes advantage of labor savings from China and Taiwan as a way to keep costs contained and offer an affordable city commuter like the Franklin 3.

The idea of a commuter bike is one that you can ride back and forth to work without imitating a racer in the Tour De France. While many excellent commuter bikes are out there, this little company has made a statement with the Franklin 3.

The lightweight steel frame is strong enough to handle the punishment that city streets offer, and the 26 x 1.375 tires, while narrow, are puncture resistant to keep nails, glass shards, and other debris from stranding the rider blocks from work.

The bike has a Step-Thru design which makes getting on and off the bike easy regardless of what you are riding. The bike has a classic old-styled look, complete with fenders, and the three-speed gears are operated through a twist shifter on the handlebar and are enough for the level terrain of an urban landscape.

The internally geared hub makes for more smooth shifting and fewer problems with chain slippage or tune-ups.

This online company specializes in shipping the bike to one of over 300 dealers across the country, where it is entirely tuned so that the new owner can just pick up the bike and ride. (While we agree this is a good idea to ensure everyone has a good fit, we just don't like being forced to do it). Another thing that sets this company apart is the lifetime warranty on the frame and the fork.


  • Reasonable price (under $599).
  • Step-Thru design helps for quick dismounts.
  • The bike comes with fenders - has a classic old-styled look.
  • The seat is very comfortable and adjustable.


  • Manufactured in China
  • The Bike has to be finally assembled at a bike shop