This is the point where I had planned to make some clever remarks about how different people have different ideas of what cheap is, but I decided to cut right to the chase.
A cheap bike is one that costs under $300 new. A very cheap bike costs under $200 and a super cheap bike is under $100. This scale is for adult bikes. I’m still working on the scale for kid bikes.
So that being said. Are more expensive bikes better? Of course they are, that’s why they’re more expensive. The question is the; how good a bike do you need? Bikes all have basically the same parts, but the quality and durability of those parts is what comes into question. But if all you’re doing is cruising the park bike paths do you really need 30 precision gears? No.
My current daily road/commuter bike cost me $225 new and in a year and a half I’ve gone just under 1500 miles on it and expect to go at least that far in the coming year. Yes, it’s a heavy bike, but I’m a heavy guy. The gears are a bit clunky, but it’s not worth it to me to pay an extra $1000 to be able to shift a few tenths of a second faster. I’m not in that much of a hurry.
And surprise surprise, no one wants to steal my bike.
Seriously though, it all comes down to your needs. Unfortunately there is such prejudice against cheap bikes that they are excluded from nearly all online buying guides. The purpose of this site is help guide users to find their perfect bike, even if it is a cheap one. Like everything else in the world, not all cheap bikes are created equal. More on that later.
Next: Are you a cheap bike person?