Three Excellent Beginner Bicycles for New Riders
A few years ago, I taught my wife how to ride a bicycle for the first time. When her parents tried to teach her as a child, it just didn't stick. I got a bicycle made for a beginner rider and after a few minute she was riding. Finding the best bicycles for beginners can really help a new rider get used to coasting and pedalling, and that makes a big difference.
A lot of people are pretty uncomfortable riding a bicycle, as they lack the confidence and composure of a seasoned riders. Many people (such as my wife) never learned how to ride at all. The ride you choose to start on has a lot to do with it. A good quality bicycle for beginners will make the rider feel stable, confident and safe, and will help a rider grow in their ability to ride.
This article will take a look at a few of the better bicycles for beginners, and it's intended to help a new rider find a good quality starter bicycle. Hopefully this will help you find a great ride that will help you gain confidence and riding prowess. Cycling is such an amazing sport, I don't want anyone to miss out on it. In addition to the bike reviews, I will talk about what you should specifically look for in a beginner's bicycle. Let's get started!
Looking for Starter Bikes for Kids?
If you're looking for a good starting bicycle for your child to learn on, I have a few suggestions. (The bikes I'm looking at in this article are mostly for adults).
The best thing to do is get your child started riding at a young age. They should learn the basics of balance and coasting before you get them to start pedalling. That's why I recommend going with a balance bike or something similar first.
Don't use training wheels, they're more of a hindrance than a help and they teach the child nothing.
When they're ready to graduate to a pedalled bike, consider going with a BMX. They're fun, stable and easy to learn on.
What to Look For In a Bicycle for Beginners:
When shopping for a bike you'll probably notice there are a wide range of 'types' you can choose from, including mountain, hybrid, road and comfort bicycles. The best bicycles for beginners can belong to any of these categories, provided they have the right characteristics. Here are a few things to look for:
RELAXED RIDING STANCE:
When learning, you want to make sure that you ride in an upright and comfortable manner. A lot of fancier road bikes, for example, will have you riding leaned forward in an aggressive stance. That's not a good idea for a new rider. Instead, the best bicycles for beginners will have an upright feel, keeping your back straight and your arms straight ahead. That way, if you want to step off at any time it's much easier to do so.
ADJUSTABLE SEAT HEIGHT:
It's important to have an adjustable seat on a bicycle for new riders, and here's why: you want to be sitting lower than usual while learning. A lower seat height is good for a new rider because you can put your feet down if you have to. For anyone learning to ride, I'd say make sure you can put both feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle. Once you're more comfortable, you can always raise the saddle height.
FEWER GEARS / INTERNAL HUB:
The best bicycles for beginners will have fewer gears to choose from, and ideally an internally geared rear hub. There is a lot to think about when riding. Gradually things like balance and pedalling will become second nature, but until that time you want a bike that's easy to shift gears in. Single speeds or 3-speeds are excellent choices.
Critical Cycles Commuter: A Good Beginner Bicycle for New Riders
Critical Cycles is a newer brand name producing a few different models of entry level bikes. They've recently started producing a fantastic series of comfortable commuter bikes that are among the best bicycles for beginner riders for a few reasons.
First, these bikes have a very upright riding position. They're comfortable to ride and very easy to get on and off, especially the step-thru Dutch style frame. Secondly, they have limited gearing. I'd even recommend opting for the single speed. They come with an intuitive coaster brake which means it brakes when you pedal backwards. If you need a few more gears, consider going for the model with the 7 speed rear derailleur.
In addition to the wide tires, upright riding position and extras like the built in fenders and rear luggage rack, these bikes are really attractive and built well with steel frames that should last you a long time. I'd recommend all of the following Critical Cycles models as some of the best bicycles for new riders.
Diamondback Serene / Wildwood Bikes, Perfect for Beginners
I'm listing two names here because they are identical for all intents and purposes, and I wanted to list bikes suitable for both men and women. These bikes are great all-purpose comfort bikes that lean towards hybrid use, and they are great starter bicycles for beginners for several reasons.
First off I wanted to point out the puncture resistant Kenda tires. They are not too tread heavy, but they're still wide enough to handle loose gravel and rough terrain that can be tricky for newer riders. They both have an extremely comfortable and upright riding position, and all the controls are quite intuitive, such as the integrated grip shifters for both front and rear derailleurs. Speaking of gearing, this bicycle has 21 speeds to choose from, and there are linear pull brakes front and rear.
The frame is light and strong aluminum, and the wheels are double walled, which means that for the price this is a really durable bike. Both models have front suspension forks for a cushioned ride, and the seatpost and handlebars are adjustable depending on your height. Speaking of, these bikes are available in a range of frame sizes. Definitely some of the best bikes for new riders.
Dahon Boardwalk: A Folding Bicycle for Beginner Riders
I know that a folding bicycle might not be the obvious first choice for a lot of riders, but let me present a case for them. First off, they are generally built to be very comfortable, upright and easy to ride. The wheels are smaller making them more nimble, and there is generally more clearance for your legs, so it's easier to put a foot down when coming to a stop or when losing your balance. They come with fewer gearing options and the shifting system is built to be manageable and practical. And overall, Dahon is a really great brand.
The Dahon Boardwalk is a great bicycle for beginners because it's simple and fun to ride. It's a single speed bike, which means that you won't have gears to worry about. It sports a single ProMax front linear pull brake that will stop the bike nicely. The frame is chromoly steel, which is generally stronger and lighter than conventional steel.
And did I mention that it folds up in seconds? It will fit nicely in the trunk of a car or in a small closet when not in use, which is a really handy feature to have. If you prefer a bit more gearing range, they make a few models with rear derailleurs and internal hubs that are just as great. Definitely a good, cheap starter bicycle to consider.
Other Notes & Advice:
Learning how to ride a bicycle, or perfecting your ride can be daunting. If you do end up buying a bicycle online (which I recommend if money is tight), I would still recommend you take it in to a bike shop to have them assemble it. While it is possible to do it yourself, your local bike shop will tune it to perfection and ensure it's assembled safely.
I would generally avoid certain types of bikes if you're looking for the best bikes for beginners. Road bikes, for example, can tend to be quite aggressive in riding stance and can be difficult for a newer rider to handle.
Cruiser bikes are another type that I discourage, simply because they're not easy to ride. They are not always geared well and require a lot of huffing and puffing to get up hills. Their large tires and laid back riding position don't do anything for your balance, and they don't always have the best brakes.
Stick with a standard, hybrid or comfort style bicycle if you're looking for an easy to ride bike, and ride in wide open areas like parks until you're more confident in your abilities. Good Luck!
Starter Bicycle Poll:
Questions or Comments about these or other bikes for beginners?
Shum on October 07, 2015:
Hello! great article.
I am a beginner and my sister is giving me her Dahon Briza D8, do you think this will be ok for me? I intend to ride for leisure mainly. Would appreciate your advice!