Did you know the humble bicycle is the most used vehicle in the world? No wonder there are so many good bike brands.
If you’re in the market for a new two-wheeler, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous brands out there.
To help you out, I’ve compiled a bumper list of 2020’s best bike brands, including:
The History of Bikes and Bike Brands
Bicycles date back to 19th century Germany. In 1817, Baron Karl von Drais debuted the laufmaschine, or “running machine” he had invented. Although there were probably earlier iterations, this is the first known bicycle example. (1)
Von Drais’ bicycle featured two wheels but no pedals, so you had to run Flintstone-style to move about, much like the balance bikes you can buy for toddlers today.
The infamous high-wheel bicycle wasn’t invented until the 1880s when Frenchman Eugene Meyer showed off his creation. These bikes, often referred to as Ordinaries, were tricky to ride due to the massive front wheel and tiny rear wheel.
It wasn’t until the late 1880s that the bicycle we know today began to take shape. The Safety Bike or Safe Bike was the first invention to feature two equally-sized wheels, rear chain drive, and even caster wheels.
With the introduction of the Safety Bike, more people, including women, began riding. Previously, riding a bicycle was an activity reserved for young, sporty men.
The first successful Safety Bike was designed by John Kemp Starley. It was named the Rover but never patented.
What’s interesting is that some of the best bike brands today had quite early beginnings. One of those is Bianchi, which was founded in 1885. Schwinn came soon after in 1895.
What Does It Take to Become a Great Bike Brand?
The best bike brands cater to different people’s needs. In line with that, high quality brands offer decent bikes across all price points to suit all budgets.
What makes a bike brand the best is ultimately a personal preference, though. We all have different experiences, you might find dealbreakers on a Trek bike while other people love this brand.
There are brands that focus on specific cycle types, such as Mongoose, which is famous for its mountain and BMX bicycles. Others, such as Strider, focus on kids’ bikes.
These factors also play an important role when determining the best bike brand. If you’re into mountain biking, you won’t value Sixthreezero as it focuses on cruiser bikes.
How Did I Choose the 30 Top Bike Brands of 2020?
Something I like to look for is the company’s history or mission, why did they choose to manufacture bikes, what was their drive?
Most of the brands on this list have interesting histories in the industry. Some have been around for years while others are newer, but they all have something that sets them apart from the pack.
Many of the brands in the list below were founded by cycling enthusiasts, which is something I value since it shows that the brand knows what makes a good bike.
The Best Bike Brands of 2020
Keep in mind that the best bike brand is a personal preference. The list below isn’t rated from first to last or vice versa.
I simply listed my 30 best bike brands for 2020 in alphabetical order.
1. 6KU Bikes
I’m starting this list off with quite a new brand. 6KU Bikes started in 2012, and although rather new, it’s quickly gaining mass popularity.
The brand is known for using only the very best materials in its bikes. For any city-dweller, 6KU road or commuter bikes are excellent for nipping around the city and jumping on and off public transport.
Bianchi is one of the oldest bike brands in the world. Founded in Milan in 1885, the brand has more than 130 years of experience. These bikes are focused on a combination of style, design, taste, and high quality. (2)
The brand offers a wide range of bikes for all types of cyclists, whether casual or professional. Bianchi prides itself on improving the rider’s experience, be it through improved suspension, better gear mechanisms, and many other elements.
Founded in Grenchen, Switzerland in 1994, BMC prides itself on its top-of-the-line intricate Swiss engineering. The brand is often favored by professional cyclists, and it’s not rare to see a BMC bike in the Tour de France.
BMC is quite a small, boutique company, with only three global offices and 120 employees. However, this brand is an ideal choice for serious cyclists or professionals who are after a durable and reliable frame. (3)
Although founded in 1971, Connecticut-based bike manufacturer Cannondale didn’t launch production until 1983. The brand started out in aluminum frames but has since ventured into carbon fiber models. (4)
Cannondale’s bikes are highly efficient, whether you’re zooming down the road or traversing off-road ridges. I’ve always rated Cannondale’s unique gear shifting mechanism that makes the ride even smoother.
The brand has recently targeted Asian bike manufactures by opening up a brand new plant in Taiwan.
Gerard Vroomen began researching bike dynamics at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Vroomen later took his knowledge to Canada, where he continued his research at McGill University. Then, well-equipped with specialist knowledge, Gerard Vroomen co-founded Cervelo Cycles with Phil White in 1995.
Cervelo Cycles utilizes rigorous wind tunnel, CAD, and computational fluid dynamics testing at various facilities, including the San Diego Air and Space Technology Center. (5)
Currently, Cervelo produces five bike series: the C, R, S, P, and T models.
C, R, and S series models feature unique road bikes designs with multi-shaped frame tubes, also known as squoval. The P series features triathlon and time-trial bikes, which are designed with airfoil-shaped down tubes. The T series are track bikes.
“Cervelo TestTeam is at the highest level of racing, and Cervelo is the first of all bike manufacturers to have its own champion cycling team.”
Colnago was founded in 1954 by Ernesto Colnago. The young Colnago was brought into racing after meeting Italian, Fiorenzo Magni, a professional road racing cyclist.
Today, Colnago bikes are still made in Italy and designed by top engineers. Each frame undergoes years of research and testing to ensure it measures up. One of the brand’s latest additions is the C64 road bike, which is handmade with Colnago’s typical care and attention. (6)
Cube Bicycles had a humble beginning that dates back to 1993. The brand was founded by Marcus Purner, who started out in a small section of his dad’s furniture factory.
The brand quickly grew, and today it caters to more than 60 countries worldwide. Although Cube is mostly known for its durable mountain bikes, its bikes have become a must-have for Wanty–Groupe Gobert, the Belgian UCI Professional Continental team.
Diamondback started out as part of a BMX brand back in 1977. However, over the years, Diamondback evolved and became one of the most sought-after brands across all cycle niches.
Nowadays, it produces mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, and folding bikes. Plus bikes for kids, women, and men, as well as bicycles for hobbyists and professionals.
Diamondback is renowned for high quality construction and durability. These are bikes that can stay in the family for generations.
9. Eddy Merckx
Eddy Merckx was founded in 1980 by the former road cyclist professional Eddy Merckx. This brand is among the most prestigious in the world. One of its latest designs to woo cyclists is the eminently desirable EMX 525 road bike.
Specialists have marked the EMX 525 as one of the fastest and most responsive bikes in the world, no small feat considering the stiff competition!
In 1994 Jim Felt started his self-named company, Felt bikes. The brand produces a broad range of bicycles, including mountain bikes, road bikes, track bikes, electric bikes, and even cyclocross bikes.
Over the years, Felt has become a staple piece in time trial and triathlon races. Furthermore, the brand has provided bikes for the Tour de France teams for several years.
Firmstrong is another company based in California and, more specifically, Hermosa Beach. This brand is all about fun and a love of biking. It offers a range of cruiser bikes for men, women, and children.
If mountain biking is your style, Firmstrong isn’t the brand for you. However, if you need a stylish bike that can take you around town or to and from the beach, Firmstrong is a good option.
The simple yet sleek look of Firmstrong bikes is what draws its fans. They also offer a varied selection of road and electric bikes at different price points.
Focus Bikes is a German brand founded in 1993 by Mike Kluge, then a cyclocross champion.
The brand then partnered with Derby Cycle Werke and soon began producing top-notch bikes. In 1994, Focus introduced six mountain bike lines to the public. Today, Focus dedicates its time to mountain, racing, and e-bikes.
13. Giant Bicycles
Started in 1972, Giant Bicycles is one of the leading brands worldwide. Giant began manufacturing bike frames from lighter and stronger aluminum, despite steel frames being the reigning industry standard. Furthermore, Giant was the first brand to make carbon fiber bikes available to cyclists.
What bikers enjoy about Giant is its simple yet complex design approach. The brand follows simple (read tried and tested) designs that are packed with revolutionary technologies. An example is Giant’s Compact Road Technology, which creates a lighter bike with a downward-sloping top tube that is ideal for the road.
Moreover, Giant invests significant time in evaluating market trends to find areas in need of improvement. The brand then designs bikes to suit all needs, whether you’re a new cyclist or experienced.
Giant is a global company with sales in over 50 countries around the world and manufacturing plants in both the Netherlands and China.
14. Giordano Bikes
Giordano Bikes is a New Jersey-based brand that finds inspiration in Italy’s cycling history. Cyclists favor Giordano bikes because of the company’s high standards when it comes to safety. All bikes undergo rigorous testing before being shipped out to riders around the world.
Giordano focuses on four main bicycle types: hybrid, specialty, lifestyle and road bikes. But they occasionally make forays into other styles.
Huffy is a brand with history and was founded all the way back in 1892. Today, it’s headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, where the brand produces various bike types, including mountain, hybrid bikes and road bikes. Huffy has quite a following since the company caters to such a range of cyclists.
Another reason why Huffy is so popular is its affordability. It’s possible to find high-quality bikes that are also budget-friendly.
Kent is a brand that caters to the entire family with extensive bike lines for men, women, and children. Some of the brand’s most popular bikes include mountain bikes, road bikes, and cruiser bikes.
The brand also features a few fun models, including dual bikes and what one could only describe as adult tricycles. All jokes aside, Kent is a real family-orientated brand that wants to get families moving using its hashtag PedalTogether.
Mongoose started out in Southern California in 1974. After humble beginnings in a Simi Valley garage, Skip Hess created the first-ever magnesium alloy cast BMX wheel. Since then, Mongoose went on to become one of the top bike brands in the BMX-world.
Mongoose continues to produce top of the line wheels and frames that can keep up with demanding BMX riders. Today, Mongoose still makes BMX bikes but has also branched out into mountain bikes, urban bikes, and scooters.
Your youngest family members are catered to, as are both men and women.
18. Montague Bikes
Montague Bikes is a folding bike company that was founded in 1987 by Harry and David Montague. Harry Montague wanted to create a folding bike that could accommodate his large frame. The first prototype, the BiFrame, used the Concentrus system, where the two frame parts are united with concentric seat tubes.
2016 was a big year for Montague as the brand introduced a new system called DirectConnect. This system allows you to fold the bike using a release on the wheel and a lever on the frame. The brand also released multiple models during this year, including the Paratrooper Elite, Urban, Allston, and FIT.
19. Pinarello Bikes
Pinarello Bikes started in Treviso, Italy, in 1952. It’s a high-end brand that primarily designs handmade road, track, and cyclocross bikes.
The brand was founded by bicycle enthusiast Giovanni Pinarello, who was born in 1922. At the young age of 15, Giovanni started making bicycles at the Paglianti factory. Giovanni had a very successful career as an amateur bicycle maker; he became a professional at the age of 25 in 1947.
Some of Pinarello Bikes’ most celebrated models include Montello SLX, Treviso, Paris, Montello FP8, Dogma, Bolide, and more. Furthermore, since 1960, Pinarello has sponsored professional cycling teams, including Banesto, Caisse d’Epargne, Fassa Bortolo, Team Telekom, and more.
20. Pure Cycles
Also known as Pure Fix Cycles, Pure Cycles was founded in 2010, making it one of the youngest bicycle brands in the US. The brand is managed by Austin Stoffers, Jordan Schau, Zachary Schau, and Michael Fishman. The idea started out as a school project but quickly grew into a business offering affordable bikes for campus students.
Pure Cycles wanted to create something for everyone, and today, the brand offers road bikes, race bikes, e-bikes, and more. You can feel that this is a young bike company and that’s exciting because although we don’t know what’s coming next, we certainly want to!
Pure Cycles manufactures high-quality bikes with a weight limit of 275 pounds. The company has quickly become known as one of the best road bike brands in the US and beyond.
21. Yeti Cycles
Yeti Cycles is regarded as one of the best mountain bike brands in the world. Yeti designs highly innovative bikes that differ from others.
From 1985 the brand has shown that its designs can stand the test of time. One of Yeti’s trademarks is ZeroLoss suspension technology, which creates an easy wheel alignment that’s much sought-after in mountain bikes.
The company hires an entire team of creative designers to ensure the style and features of Yeti mountain bikes remain unique.
22. Raleigh Bikes
Raleigh is another brand that’s been around for many years. Started in 1885, it has since become an established brand that’s popular and enduring. Raleigh is known for its relative affordability and versatility.
“Not only does Raleigh produce bicycles, but it also manufactures motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles.”
The Los Angeles-based company isn’t purely a bike brand, the company also produces a significant amount of outdoor and sports gear. Despite the brand’s diverse portfolio, Retrospec designed bikes are highly praised in the cycling community.
The brand primarily focuses on hybrid, road, and commuter bikes. Each bike is made with light, durable materials and is ideal for commuting or zipping around the city.
Retrospec has a wide array of bikes for men, women, and children, so it’s easy to find something for everyone in the family. One of the many reasons families are drawn to Retrospec is its affordable prices that suit any budget.
Savadeck, also commonly known as SAVA, is a highly sought-after brand in Germany. It’s also a rather new brand, founded in 2005 by Yang Yiwu. It specializes in producing a wide array of bikes, including road bikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes, and folding bikes.
With high-quality materials and affordable price points, this company offers great value for money.
From humble beginnings in 1895, Schwinn grew quickly to become one of the best bicycle brands in the world as well as one of the most successful dealers. In the 1930s, Schwinn created the Schwinn Quality Seal for both bicycles and motorcycles, setting a new industry standard in the process.
However, with a bit of sun comes a little rain, and after 97 years in business, the brand went bankrupt. It was soon acquired by another brand, Pacific Cycles, that helped get Schwinn back on track eventually.
Today, Schwinn continues to hold its place among the best. It not only caters to men and women but also produces some of the most popular kids bikes on the market.
Started in 2005, Sixthreezero is one of the youngest bike brands on my list. The company’s roots are firmly in Southern California, where the founders were inspired by the California cruiser culture.
What sets this brand apart is its keen interest in pop culture and fashion, which is then incorporated into each bike design. You can see your average hipster fawning over these bikes any day of the week.
This brand isn’t for you if you prefer mountain bikes or BMX bikes, however, for anyone who enjoys cruiser bikes with a retro edge, this is your match.
What makes Specialized so special is that it’s a bike company created by bikers. From the very beginning, Specialized strived to create what cyclists both wanted and needed. The company quickly moved on to carbon fiber bikes and a range of bikes for athletes.
Specialized, favored by professional bikers, and the bikes were used by five Olympians at one point. The brand continues to produce mountain bikes, road bikes, and bicycle parts.
In 1987, the Specialized team, along with other mountain biking enthusiasts, created the International Mountain Bike Association, an organization that works to protect trails. (7)
28. Tommaso Bikes
Tommaso Bikes is another leading brand. From its early start in 1985, the brand’s mission has been pleasing its customers with quality bikes as well as good customer service and help when it’s needed.
Despite the build quality in Tommaso bikes, the prices remain affordable, no matter how tight your budget is. Materials such as aluminum and carbon create lightweight and durable bikes that handle well.
Whether you’re after fitness, hybrid, road bikes or mountain bikes, Tommaso has you covered.
29. Trek Bikes
Founded in spring 1976 in a Wisconsin barn, Trek quickly became a leading bike brand. At the time of its beginning, there weren’t many American bike companies crafting high-end bikes in the US.
During its first year, the brand produced 904 bike frames with just five employees on the payroll. Each frame was handcrafted from steel tubing then handpainted. (8)
Today, Trek Bikes sell bikes under a few different names, including Electra Bicycle Company, Gray Fisher, Klein, and Diamant Bikes. Treks are made to last with durable frames that can easily handle more than 300 pounds.
Like many others, Vilano crafts a range of bikes, including road, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes. The bike company is also well-known for its commuter-friendly folding bikes.
Vilano is among the best bicycle brands because it understands the importance of creating bikes for different sizes — there’s no barrier here if you’re particularly short or tall. Furthermore, they cater to men, women, and kids.
When Vilano isn’t designing new bikes, it focuses on quality bike parts. The brand produces key spares, including saddles, pedals, and gears.
Trek Bikes, Specialized, Giant Bicycles, Cannondale, and Bianchi, are among the most popular and best bike brands in the world. What they have in common are high quality bikes that cater to a wide array of cyclists, be it professional or casual.
Yeti and Kona are two of the top mountain bike brands. Both put a lot of work into improving the ride when out on trails. And both include cutting-edge technologies, such as Yeti’s ZeroLoss suspension.
Kona, on the other hand, is a family-orientated brand. Its dedicated team is comprised of passionate cyclists who use their experiences when designing new bikes.
When it comes to road bikes, you can’t go past Specialized and Cannondale. These brands put a lot of thought and effort into each design and always pick high-quality materials. Most bikes are made using carbon or steel, but these two companies also use aluminum to craft uber lightweight bikes.
What makes a good bike really depends on your needs. If you enjoy riding off-road, you’ll need a mountain bike. However, if you need a bike to exercise, a road bike or fitness bike is best. Likewise, if you’re a commuter in a hilly city, than one of the popular electric bikes might be your best choise.
The End of the Road
When buying a new bike, first decide where you’re going to ride: the trails or the pavement? Once this is settled, begin to look at the best bicycle brands catering to that market.
Since so many of the brands I’ve featured above produce more than one type of bike, it’s super easy to find something that works for you.
My Pro Tip: Don’t be swayed by industry dominance; many of the up-and-coming brands are fighting hard to bring you the best bikes at great prices. Name isn’t everything, after all.
- Frank J. Berto – History Of The Bicycle, retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/technology/bicycle.
- Bianchi – About Us, retrieved from https://www.bianchi.com/about-us/
- BMC – About BMC, retrieved from https://us-en.bmc-switzerland.com/about-bmc?___store=us_en&___from_store=intl_en
- Cannondale – About Us, retrieved from https://www.cannondale.com/en/about-us
- Jim Lucas – What Is Fluid Dynamics?, retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/47446-fluid-dynamics.html
- Colnago – Brand, retrieved from https://www.colnago.com/en/brand/
- Specialized – About Us, retrieved from https://www.specialized.com/us/en/about-us
- Trek – Inside Trek, retrieved from https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/inside_trek/heritage_global/