The 10 Best Places to Buy Bikes in 2021

From a kid’s first to specialty set-ups for the most seasoned cyclist

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Bicycle Warehouse

"Carries BMX, e-bikes, road, path and pavement, mountain, and kid’s bikes."

Best Value: Nashbar

"Leans more toward affordable setups that don’t sacrifice quality for low prices."

Best Shopping Experience: REI

"Matches your online shopping with some in-person guidance and experience."

Best for Road Bikes: Moosejaw

"Sells a handful of road bikes that are capable of traveling comfortably for miles on end."

Best for Cargo Bikes: My Amsterdam Bike

"Ranks as the largest U.S. online cargo bike store."

Best for Kids: Amazon

"Carries everything from strider bikes to those with training wheels."

Best for Electric Bikes: Trek Bicycles

"Sells several types of electric bikes such as commuter, road, and mountain e-bikes."

Best for Mountain Bikes: Jenson USA

"Offers in-depth information on each mountain bike including front and rear suspension."

Best for Used Bikes: Bike Exchange

"A great resource to find lightly used and new bikes."

Best for Custom Bikes: Moots

"Has been making some of the highest-performing custom bikes since 1981."

As with most things in retail, the online bike-buying market has been growing consistently and received a serious jolt of engagement because of the pandemic. Shopping for a bike online makes loads of sense—it allows you to compare models by price, utility, brand, and a host of other filters; offers easy access to both pro and customer reviews; and helps you navigate the sometimes confusing world of bike types from the comfort of your home. Mind you, local bike shops are the lifeblood of the cycling industry—though more for helping riders maintain their rides with tune-ups and classes around bike maintenance. And they’re also likely the ones that’ll assemble your new rig once it arrives. With that in mind, here are the best places to buy bikes.

Best Overall: Bicycle Warehouse

Giant Contend 3 Road Bike (2020)

 Courtesy of Bicycle Warehouse

https://bicyclewarehouse.com/collections/road-bikes/products/giant-contend-3-road-bike-2020

When it comes to the biggest inventory, Bicycle Warehouse delivers. The site carries all types of bikes, including BMX, e-bikes, road, path and pavement, mountain, and kid’s bikes—each subdivided into even narrower bike genres to help every biker make their selection. And the range of brands they cover is equally deep, with everything from high-end manufacturers to more budget-friendly options. Filtering and shopping follow a conventional retail user experience, with options to sort by brand, price range, size, gender, and model year; you can even filter by more niche specs like drive train, frame material, or the amount of shock travel. In other words, Bicycle Warehouse will appeal to the detail-obsessed as well as the casual shopper. Product details and specs are clearly laid out, and they support user reviews and star ratings, though some products may lack that info. Along with carrying all other things bike-related, they are the Southern California chapter of a nonprofit program that helps establish self-sustaining bicycling businesses in the developing regions of Africa.

Best Value: Nashbar

Fuji Bikes 2019 Roubaix 1.5 Road Bike (Satin Anthracite/Cyan) (XS)

Courtesy of Nashbar

https://www.nashbar.com/fuji-bikes-2019-roubaix-1.5-road-bike-satin-anthracite-cyan-xs-1091242549/p991415?v=950972

 

Nashbar is a venerable online and brick-and-mortar retailer that has been around since 1974. They offer every type of bike—BMX, cyclocross, gravel, mountain, road, hybrids and commuters, kid’s, and single-speed/fixed gear—from most major mainstream brands. They also sell parts like frames and forks. The customer experience is refreshingly straightforward and makes it easy to filter brand, product status, color, gender, wheel diameter, and frame size, as well as more nuanced elements like e-bikes-only or selections based on the desired suspension. Rather than carrying high-end bikes like Santa Cruz or Surly, Nashbar leans more toward affordable setups that don’t sacrifice quality for low prices. Their VIP rewards points program will encourage repeat purchases, and they also carry other cycling merchandise, from clothing to parts to tires and tubes. Most bikes that are more than $99 ship for free (look for the “Super Saver Shipping” designation). Nashbar also has a robust content arm, producing stories about bike racing and tips and advice for aspiring cyclists.

Best Shopping Experience: REI

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.2 Bike

Courtesy of REI

https://www.rei.com/product/106336/co-op-cycles-drt-12-bike

 

Champion outdoor brand REI also sells bikes, and their wide retail footprint can let you match your online shopping with some in-person guidance and experience to help you narrow your selection based on fit and feel. In addition to a robust inventory of bikes across all major genres, the site also supports a large library of buying advice and riding tips, making it a go-to resource before (and after) you make a purchase. The brand's inventory is equally rich, but budget shoppers should look at Co-op Cycles, REI’s line of proprietary bikes, which typically offer high-quality rides for lower prices than other major brands.

Filtering and sorting are what you’d expect from a major online retailer, including sub-categories, brands, gender, wheel size, and best use, as well as more informed specs like brake type or gear configuration. Star ratings and user reviews are pretty well represented, and the "compare" feature lets you line up a few options to weigh their characteristics easily. Shipping varies based on bike, but most are available for free in-store pick-up and often come with a maintenance/tune-up package. As a bonus, if you’re a member of their Co-op program, buying a bike will add some revenue to your account, which you can then apply to all things outdoor gear-related.

Best for Road Bikes: Moosejaw

Raleigh Amelia 2

 Courtesy of Moosejaw

For those who like to ride long distances, look no further than Moosejaw. The online retailer sells a handful of road bikes that are capable of traveling comfortably for miles on end. Each product gives technical details including information on disc brakes, tire size, shifters, the saddle, and frame material. All bikes ship free with a small oversize package fee that's under $10. While only a handful of bikes have customer reviews, the retailer does accept returns for unused merchandise within 30 days. Moosejaw also offers tutorials on how to assemble your bike, and customer service is on hand 24/7 to answer any questions you have about frame size or included accessories.

Best for Cargo Bikes: My Amsterdam Bike

Babboe City

 Courtesy of My Amsterdam Bike

https://myamsterdambike.com/product/babboe-city/

Cargo bikes are a trendy, eco-friendly way for parents to grocery shop or ride around with their kids—something that the biking-obsessed city of Amsterdam has been doing for decades. The aptly-named My Amsterdam Bike ranks as the largest U.S. online cargo bike store, and the variations of their Babboe model is the world’s best-selling cargo bike: a long bike with a big basket nestled into the frame between the handlebars and the front wheel. They offer this rig in a variety of versions, including an electric model and one built for singletrack, along with a host of accessories. However, this may not be the right place if you're looking for something slightly more streamlined.

Best for Kids: Amazon

RoyalBaby Freestyle Kid’s Bike for Boys and Girls, 12 14 16 inch with Training Wheels, 16 18 20 inch with Kickstand, in Multiple Colors

 Courtesy of Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KXF5BTP/?tag=tripsavvy02-20

While Amazon carries pretty much every bike available, the sheer inventory of bikes for toddlers, tykes, and pre-teens make it easy for parents to hone in on what they want. The online retailer has everything from strider bikes to those with training wheels to higher-performance bikes tailored for the more experienced young rider. Amazon also makes it a breeze to search by price, brand, wheel size, weight, number of gears, gender, age range, and so much more. And, of course, there are copious, reliable user reviews and star ratings to help filter through the marketing language.

Best for Electric Bikes: Trek Bicycles

Verve+ 2 Low Step

 Courtesy of Trek Bicycles

Trek Bicycles was born out of a desire to make high-quality bikes that are priced lower than other competing brands. They offer several types of electric bikes, including commuter, road, and mountain rigs. In addition to free shipping, they also offer a two-year warranty on their batteries and sell replacement batteries for those who have already purchased a bike. Each bike comes with a headlight, taillight, speedometer, and fenders. They also give you a bunch of information with helpful tips on buying an e-bike and how to take care of your new investment. The only downside? The site doesn't sell other brands outside of Trek, but prices still vary depending on each bike's make and model. There's also offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects for the bike's frame, swing arm, wheels, and fork.

Best for Mountain Bikes: Jenson USA

Yeti SB100 Carbon C2 Bike

 Courtesy of Jenson USA

If you're looking for off-road adventures on a singletrack or downhill trail, look no further than Jenson USA for your next mountain bike. This retailer offers a number of bikes from high-quality brands including Yeti, GT Bicycles, Orbea, and Norco. The site sorts bikes into four different categories: trail, cross-country, gravity, and on sale. You can easily search further within each category by sorting by brand, price, wheel size, or rear suspension type.

In addition to selling bikes, Jenson USA will also help you find the perfect fit. Simply fill out a customer service form with a preferred time, and one of their specialists will call you to discuss your biking needs. The site offers in-depth information on each mountain bike, including frame material, tire size, front and rear suspension, shocks, and brake systems. Bikes are shipped for free and can be returned within a year of purchase.

Best for Used Bikes: Bike Exchange

2017 Felt Cafe 24 Deluxe Men Charcoal MD

Courtesy of Bike Exchange

https://www.bikeexchange.com/a/cruiser-bikes/felt/ut/orem/2017-felt-cafe-24-deluxe-men-charcoal-md/144991049 

Bike Exchange is both a great resource to find lightly-used and new bikes and also a place to get rid of your old ride. And it’s not just other cyclists selling their bikes: brick-and-mortar retailers also use the site to help move unsold inventory, and the pricing is wonderfully competitive. You can find savings of up to $1,000 in some cases. All the major brands are represented, including Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, and Giant, and the bike categories are broken into four main sections: road bikes, mountain bikes, kid’s bikes, and e-bikes. The site also sells components, clothing, wheels, and helmets. Filters on the left side of the site help narrow down the expansive inventory, with specs like riding style, wheel size, models, sellers, condition, gender, color, and availability.

Product-level details are fairly robust, and you can contact the seller directly if you have additional questions. Most ship free, though that depends on the seller. Bike Exchange also lets you sell your bike (or components, wheels, and more). Sellers should note that ad prices (their term for a post) break out into second-hand and new products and are priced based on the selling price, with a fee that ranges from free (for used products less than $500) to $20, along with a $10 upgrade option to flag the ad as “Featured” for additional exposure. All ad pricing runs for 60 days.

Best for Custom Bikes: Moots

Uniquely Moots - Frame Details

 Courtesy of Moots

https://moots.com/uniquely-moots/#crafted-with-precision

For cyclists who reject the notion of an off-the-rack bike, Moots has you covered. The Steamboat Springs, Colorado-based company has been making some of the highest-performing custom bikes since 1981. They hand-craft each bike using the highest-quality titanium available for the frame before building out the rest of the rig with equally high-end components. The website breaks bikes into three general groups: road, mountain, and gravel + cross, and then sub-divides each section by more nuanced categories like performance, endurance, urban/commute, and specialty.

Rather than relying solely on an online purchase, the first step is to visit one of the many authorized Moots dealers throughout the country (and the world) to help select your optimal fit and narrow things down to the right model (or to start designing your own specialty rig). Then, select from a library of frames and build out all the other elements, from frame size and brake configuration to crank and group set, among many others, including a selection of finishes. The bike is then shipped to the local dealer and hand-assembled.

Final Verdict

When it comes to the Bicycle Warehouse, it’s all about inventory—both the number of bikes in stock, but also the variety of bike types. This online retailer sells every type of bike, from road to mountain to city, as well as e-bikes, kids bikes, and niche products like BMX, cargo, or gravel. The shopping experience is intuitive, and their alignment with a nonprofit adds some extra incentive to give them your business.

But if you’re looking for a retail experience that partners well with online shopping, consider REI. They have shops scattered across the country, so you can hone in the optimal ride by perusing their website, and then organize a test drive. Their retail experts will also help answer your questions and provide guidance, and their own line of bikes often offer a lower-cost alternative to the big brands without sacrificing performance.

What to Look for in a Bike

Price

Expect to spend at least $400 for a quality bike. You can find cheaper models at big-box retailers, but chances are those bikes won’t last. That entry point aligns nicely with urban-specific models with nominal gearing and a few other standard features. But the price tag can easily grow into four figures, especially if you’re looking to acquire a higher-end road or mountain bike. “Folks looking for a modern mountain bike should be prepared to spend $2,000 to $3,000,” says Chris Cartier, Director of Technical Sales at Vermont-based Outdoor Gear Exchange. And the same goes for road bikes. That extra coin gets you higher-end components that’ll perform reliably for years, higher-tech frame materials like ultra-strong/ultra-light carbon fiber, and other features like disc brakes, telescoping seat posts, and quality suspension. E-bikes also come with a higher price tag simply because you’re buying the tech to power your rig as much as you’re buying a bike.

Bike by Type

Which bike is right for you should be dictated by your riding aspirations. If you’re looking for something commuter-focused, consider city/urban bikes made with frame materials that have a bit of flex to soften the bumps in the road, a more upright riding posture, and a few other features like a modest selection of gears. If your riding is inspired by Tour de France fever dreams, go with a road bike that comes with a clean, light silhouette; lots of gears; and narrow tires. “Road bikes are good for fitness riding, commuting, even rides, touring, and racing,” advises REI. “Most have drop-bar handlebars, which puts the rider in an aerodynamic position.”

Singletrack riders should naturally consider a mountain bike, specifically those designed for cross-country riding on rolling trails, or ones with burly full suspension if you want to bomb lift-service tracks. Gravel bikes cut the difference between mountain and urban rigs, with more durable tire treads that can handle some off-roading without dampening performance on the pavement. But if you’re looking for a bike less as a form of exercise and instead want something to simply to get you to points A, B, and C, consider an e-bike, which offers pedal-assist modes to increase energy output with each pedal stroke.

Number of Gears

This also depends on both where you ride, and what kind of riding you do. If you live in a relatively flat locale, single-speed bikes are a good option as the absence of gears removes potential points of failure and reduces cost. Road bikers and commuters in hillier cities and suburbs should consider a bike with at least seven gears, more if you plan on cycling in places like the Rocky Mountains. Mountain bikes typically have a smaller range of gears than road bikes, relying instead on other features like larger wheels to help you move. And some bikes even have internal gear shifting, removing the potential complexity of forcing you to shift by doing it automatically. There’s also a new trend of using belts in the drive train, instead of your traditional bike chain, which affords smooth shifting and none of the messiness typical to a well-greased bike chain.

Warranty

Warranties vary by bike manufacturer and can range from one to 10 years, sometimes even longer. But be sure to read the fine print. Most simply refer to the fact that the bike was sold without manufacturing defects, while others will have a warranty for the frame to cover things like frame cracks, but not components like brakes or shifters, which are often made by a different company. And, as with most products, bike warranties don’t cover routine use and abuse.

FAQs

What size bike is right for me?

Bike seats sit on seat posts that can quickly be raised or lowered, so the important measurement for finding the right sized bike is to measure your inseam, with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. This will help you understand where the top tube of the bike frame will be in relation to your crotch so that you can stand, flat-footed, when at a rest and not be seated. You want a few inches of space between your inseam and the bike frame. Bike brands offer sizing in measurement groups or in small, medium, large, and extra-large configurations, with measurement ranges documented for each one. You can also find the right size by taking your overall height into account, though inseam measurements may prove more useful. All bike manufacturers have size charts for each of their bikes.

What accessories do I need?

At a minimum, plan on buying a helmet—even the lower-cost helmet models still adhere to safety standards, so you don’t have the break the bank (higher-cost helmets offer lighter, more breathable protection). Other than that, accessories are just nice to have—cycling gloves can help reduce hand fatigue, bike-specific padded shorts offer comfort and sweat-wicking tech, and cycle-specific bags let you haul stuff without the bag swinging around with each pedal stroke. But if you plan on commuting or riding at night, bike lights are essential, ideally one pointed to the back to help approaching traffic see you (typically blinking or solid red), and another on the front to help you stand out to oncoming traffic. Of course, the more you get into the sport—especially road or mountain biking—the more gear you’ll want to get. Cartier also advises that you “should have a basic understand of the maintenance involved with your new bike.” Look for tips and tutorial classes at local bike shops and hardware stores.

Should I try to test-ride the bike before buying it online?

Test-riding a bike is always a good idea. It helps you see how the bike feels in terms of the riding posture as well as how well it responds to turns, how easily it is to shift, how manageable the overall ride feels, and how much the bike weighs. This is especially true if you’re interested in upgrading from something like a standard mountain bike to one of the industry’s larger tire models. But if you have ridden a specific bike—or even a specific bike brand—in the past, that should boost your confidence level that buying a bike online without checking it out in person first will still likely get you the bike that’s right for you.

Why You Should Trust TripSavvy?

Nathan Borchelt has been a cyclist for his entire life and has pedaled the singletrack of South Africa, bombed down lift-service terrain in Utah, climbed several of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, and navigates the urban streets of Washington, DC, daily. He’s also been profiling and reviewing cycling gear for decades, and he has leveraged his expertise and experience in selecting these products for inclusion.

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