The 9 Best Bikes of 2023


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Mar 17, 2023

The 9 Best Bikes of 2023

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

From cargos to commuters to e-bikes, these are the most impressive rides on the market.

Mountain bikes, roadies, cargo haulers, gravel bikes, cyclocross rides, e-bikes—it doesn't matter the style—we’ve likely tested it. Hunting for the best bicycle for you can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. We’ve spent countless hours riding and testing the greatest bikes out there, so whether you want to hit the trails or you’re looking for a reliable commuter to haul groceries, you can find the right ride for you. Check out some of the best bikes that money can buy, according to our experts.

Stay safe and prepped. Check our picks for the best bike helmets and bike pumps before your next ride.

Are you looking for a daily commuter or something to take with you on RV vacations a few times per year? Do you need to haul groceries each week, or are you just looking for a weekend workout? The bike you purchase should be one that best suits your lifestyle.

The right bike for you doesn't always correlate directly with wheel size or tire tread—consider the foldable bike, for example, for those living in small spaces—but knowing your needs will help you find the bike best for you.

Take into account the type of trail (or lack of) you’d use your bike on, as well as how much or little you’ll haul, the maintenance you can handle, your fitness level, and if you’ll ever need to toss this thing in a bus, car, or train.

As a general rule of thumb: The fatter the tire, the better it is on rough terrain. City-dwellers may do best with a road bike with skinnier tires for speed on pavement and smooth surfaces, but if you plan on taking weekend trail trips, lean toward gravel and hybrid bikes. These can better rip through rocks and dirt roads.

As for frames, steel is the heaviest material you can buy, though it can take a harsher beating than lighter materials like aluminum and carbon. Opt for an aluminum or carbon bike if you need something that you can easily load into your car or the train. Lean toward steel if you plan on riding rugged terrain more often than paved roads.

There may be multiple answers to the best type of bike that suits your lifestyle (and we certainly don't turn our noses up at bike collectors), so opt for a multifunctional hybrid if you have varying needs.

Consider electrifying your ride if you plan on using your bike for commuting, especially if you live in an area with lots of varied inclines. Electric bikes have motors that provide pedal assistance or throttles to make moving your bike easier, which counts for a lot—especially if you’re carrying a backpack or a load of groceries. You can get to your destination with less effort, as well as considerably faster, using an e-bike.

E-bikes are pricer than manual bikes, but you can still grab a reliable one for less than $2,000. They increase your carrying capacity, grant travel range that’ll rival your car (for most errands, at least), and make pedaling easier, thus helping conserve your energy. (This comes in clutch when you’re trying to get to the office without sweating through your shirt.) In addition to crossing flat paths with minimal effort, most e-bikes can handle the occasional trail on your weekend ride.

We found the best bicycles through research, familiarity, and hands-on riding experience. To find the best bikes in each respective category, we consulted our longtime expertise and tests, including our buying guides to the best e-bikes, cargo, commuters, and more. We also considered our 2023 Bike Award winners, as well as input from Bicycling test editor Tara Seplavy. These bikes are the best of the best.

Although it's an entry-level bike, the Diverge E5 is one versatile gravel. Its frame can handle up to 700c x 47mm or 650b x 2.1-inch tires, which make it an off-roading beast, or you can swap to 30mm- or 32 mm-wide rubber tires for a faster, sportier ride.

According to Bicycling test editor Dan Chabanov, "the Diverge E5 can be a road bike, gravel bike, drop-bar mountain bike, touring bike, or adventure bike" with a few tweaks of its components. This ride will take you from the dirt to the pavement at a price that matches its comfort.

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Since its debut late last year, we’ve championed Aventon's updated Level.2 as the best e-bike you can buy. We still stand by that opinion today.

The Level.2 updates its predecessor with a new torque sensor, delivering power to the rear hub motor more evenly. It sports integrated lights to increase rider visibility, a small and easily legible display, fenders, a rear rack, throttle assist up to 20 miles per hour, an eight-speed Shimano Acera derailleur, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Best of all, it's a smooth, natural ride that makes commuting a pleasure.

Available in Step-Thru | Read Full Review

After three months of testing, we found the Specialized Globe Haul ST to be a solid choice between entry-level cargo bikes and pricy e-bike haulers. Atypical for cargo bikes, the Globe Haul ST is actually a joy to ride, built to replace short vehicle trips and medium-distance bike rides.

It has a weight limit of 419 pounds (including the rider), and even when loaded up, it still feels like a lightweight, zippy commuter, capable of climbing up to 28 miles per hour.

Its 20-inch wheels are 3.5 inches wide, offering more stability while riding, even when loaded. It's also a smaller e-cargo capable of tight turns, and its battery can handle 71 miles of range on the lowest setting and 27 miles on the highest.

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Denago's Commute Model 1 offers a smooth ride feel without the torquey power of most e-bikes, making it approachable, comfortable, and breezy. The Model 1 has a 652-watt battery hidden within its step-through frame and a 500-watt rear hub motor, capable of a pedal-assisted speed of 28 miles per hour or 20 miles per hour with the throttle.

It also has many starter components for a solid commute: hydraulic disc brakes, a suspension seat post and fork, integrated lights, a rear rack, a kickstand, and fenders.

While the Commute Model 1 isn't as powerful as some of our other favorite e-bikes, it's a steady, calm ride that makes it best for riders of any experience level.

If you can't choose between a gravel or a road bike, why not both? State Bicycle, best known for making excellent sub-$500 fixies, designed an equally impressive all-road bike—the 4130.

It sports a State-branded 1x11 drivetrain for easy shifting, mechanical disc brakes, and sturdy thru-axel dropouts, plus several mounts that make it easy to strap on fenders and racks for commuting and touring. You can also grab it with tubeless-compatible 700c x 38 mm or 650b x 2.1 in. tires to swap as needed.

Its steel frame makes it fairly heavy, but with a few upgrades, the 4130 can be your do-anything, go-anywhere workhorse.

Update: As of March 13th, 2023, all available Co-op Generation e1.1 bicycles are equipped with new gearing (changed to an 11-34T freewheel and 48T chainring). Customers who previously purchased the Generation e1.1 with old gearing (a 14-34T freewheel and 42T chainring gearing) can bring their bike to an REI location after April 15th, 2023 for a free upgrade.

REI in-house label Co-op Cycles specializes in family and kids bikes, and its Generation e1.1 is a solid entry-level utility e-bike priced well enough for casual riders to comfortably splurge. It has a suspension fork from SR Suntour, a Shimano Altus drivetrain, and Tektro hydraulic brakes—everything else is brandless and made for REI, including its frame, wheels, saddle, and seat post.

Its components pair well together, and the included rear rack and sturdy aluminum frame make hauling smaller loads and short commutes easier. This isn't as cargo-ready as the Globe Haul ST, but if you need a quick way to zip those groceries home, the Generation e1.1 will do just fine.

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The Domane+ SLR 9 AXS is a high-speed carbon e-road bike that feels more like riding a traditional road bike than e-bike. This surprisingly lightweight e-bike has a lower max torque than other e-bikes, along with a 300-watt motor, saving weight where it counts.

The low-torque motor helps give it a smooth, seamless start when the motor kicks in—you won't even notice it working. The speed the Domane+ provides riders is incredible, and to ride one is simply a joy, even if you prefer a traditional non-motorized bike.

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The SB120 is a well-balanced mountain ride that can handle most trail conditions, from flat trails to steep climbs and descents, as well as tight twists. Its seat angle comfortably positions riders to tackle intense pitches, while the suspension system eats bumps and floats at mid-to-high speeds. With 20 millimeters of travel, a 130-millimeter fork, four-piston brakes, strong wheels, and burly tires, the SB120 is a beast.

Test editor Matt Phillips says, "The SB120 not only rewards line choice and precision, it also allows you to pick the fastest line through most terrain. It has been quite a while since I rode a bike that feels this balanced and intuitive on the trail."

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The premium version of Brompton's Electric C Line, the Electric P Line Urban is a lighter, speedier, and more user-friendly folding bike.

The Electric P Line shares the same 250-watt front hub motor and 300-watt-hour battery pack, but where the C Line relies on full steel, the P Line sheds its weight with a titanium rear triangle and fork. The P Line e-bike has four speeds, and the amount of acceleration it provides is extremely impressive—our tester was amazed by how quickly its 250-watt motor reached 15.5 miles per hour from a dead stop.

Available with a choice of mid- or high-rise cruiser bars, this stylish bike folds down to about a two feet long and tall, plus its battery detaches for easy travel. It's also under 40 pounds, which, for an e-bike, is an amazing feat.

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Kevin Cortez is a Commerce Editor for Popular Mechanics, Bicycling, and Runner's World. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he's an expert in men's style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He was most recently the style editor for a leading product-recommendation site and previously covered music and podcasting at Mass Appeal, Genius, and The A.V. Club. His work can also be seen in WSJ, Leafly, Input, and Vulture. He enjoys reading graphic novels, birding, and taking long, meandering walks in his spare time.

As Deputy Editor, Tara Seplavy leads Bicycling's product test team; after having previously led product development and sourcing for multiple bike brands, run World Championship winning mountain bike teams, wrenched at renowned bicycle shops in Brooklyn, raced everything from criteriums to downhill, and ridden bikes on six different continents (landing herself in hospital emergency rooms in four countries and counting). Based in Easton, Pennsylvania, Tara spends tons of time on the road and trail testing products. A familiar face at cyclocross races, crits, and bike parks in the Mid Atlantic and New England, on weekends she can often be found racing for the New York City-based CRCA/KruisCX team. When not riding a bike, or talking about them, Tara listens to a lot of ska, punk, and emo music, and consumes too much social media.

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Stay safe and prepped. Check our picks for the best bike helmets and bike pumps before your next ride. Update: