Do you remember your first bike? The electric joy of the speed you could go, the pride your parents had in you when you took off your training wheels, how your world suddenly became bigger since you could go so much further under your own power. Getting your first bike was a thrill… a feeling that never truly went away for biking enthusiasts.
The question is, which of the bike brands out there is going to give you the biggest thrill now that you’re an adult? If you’re sticking to roads, which are the best road bike brands? For the off-roaders amongst us, which are the best mountain bike brands and which are the ones to avoid? Does location matter—for example, are the best bike brands in the UK the same than the best bicycle brands in the world? And how about the best bike brands for kids?
Let’s get into the top 10 bike brands in the world (we’ll even throw in an extra brand for good measure). You’re certain to recognize some of the brand names, but you may be surprised how a couple of small bike companies have made their way onto a list of top 10 bicycle makers.
From hardcore hills to easy ebike thrills, from the Tour de France to Tour Your Neighborhood, there’s a bike brand here for everyone.
The 11 best bike brands in the world
11. Lectric eBikes
We’ve previously taken a good hard look at the Lectric XP 2.0, and really liked what we saw. Lectric eBikes, known for their neat-looking foldable electric bicycles, made it onto our best electric bikes list alongside the likes of brands like Ancheer, and we’re happy to see the brand pop up on the overall best bikes list as well. These bikes are little marvels of engineering: they’re foldable, they’re electric (the XPremium Black model has a range of 100+ miles), and somehow Lectric managed to make them look cool too.
|Bike categories:||Foldable electric|
10. Kona Bikes
Founded in Vancouver, BC, the company is still owned by the pair of friends that created the brand in 1988. Kona Bikes is probably best known for the durability of their freeride mountain bikes, which are made of titanium, aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber (they introduced carbon fiber frames to the market in 2011). They now make a whole range of rides, from the above-mentioned mountain bikes to commuter, electric, road, and cyclo-cross options, which now sell in 60 countries around the world.
|Bike categories:||Mountain, Commuter, Road, Cyclo-cross, Electric|
Founded in 2019, Ride1Up Bikes has made our pages before when we did a deep dive into their most prominent bike models. Honestly, our opinion of them has only gone up since then. The brand makes some of the coolest-looking ebikes on the market today, looking just as slick as an Unagi scooter or your electric motorcycle of choice. Plus, Ride1Up is makes a range of ebikes designed for different riders (commuters, all-terrain, etc.) as well as ebikes that are welcoming for beginners.
|Bike categories:||Electric commuter, All-terrain, Urban|
8. Marin Bikes
Marin County, California is the home of rolling foothills and challenging slopes, which makes it an ideal birthplace of a bike company like Marin Bikes. While the rocky climbs of California naturally led Marin Bikes to start their line with mountain bikes, they’ve since branched out into making roadworthy fitness and transit bikes, as well as a line of bicycles durable enough to withstand the tough love of children.
|Bike categories:||Hardtail, Full suspension, Fitness/Transit, Drop Bar, Ebikes, Kids|
7. Rad Power Bikes
Perhaps the thing we like most about Rad Power Bikes is that the brand is making a genuine effort to make the various classes of ebikes affordable so everyone can enjoy their benefits. North America’s largest ebike maker, Rad Power Bikes (a brand we’ve reviewed in the past) had its humble origins 15 or so years ago in founder Mike Radenabugh’s parents’ garage where he tinkered with electronic components on his own bicycle. Now, the brand builds ebikes with a wide variety of riders in mind.
|Bike categories:||Off-road, Cargo & utility, City & commuter, Folding|
6. Giant Bicycles
Giant Bicycles is appropriately named. Founded in 1973, Giant is the biggest bicycle brand in the world, having produced more than 6.6 million bikes (as of 2014). As you’d expect from a brand with those kinds of numbers, they’re not exactly shooting for niche markets. Giant builds bicycles for just about every kind of rider, and builds them to last. And because they move such volume, Giant is able to offer bikes at budget-friendly prices, adding more adherents to the biking habit around the world.
|Bike categories:||Mountain, Ebikes, Kids, Road, Gravel|
Believe it or not, Scott came to their world class range of bikes via a skiing pole. Engineer Ed Scott began his company back in 1958 as a maker of aluminum ski poles, and the sports company has been innovating ever since. In 1992, Scott brought the first full suspension mountain bike to the market, and followed it up in 1998 with the G-Zero, the lightest full-suspension mountain bike which set the bar for mountain rides. The brand is still continuing to expand and innovate, adding road, gravel, cyclocross, hybrid, and kids’ bikes to their line-up.
|Bike categories:||Mountain, Road, Gravel, Cyclocross, City, Hybrid, Kids|
|Website:||See on Amazon|
4. Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a niche bicycle brand, going all-in on building bikes for hardcore mountain bikers. Started in a garage in Santa Cruz, California in 1993, the brand has always maintained a laser-sharp focus on the mountain bike market. To be honest, Santa Cruz bikes aren’t necessarily going to be for everyone, especially downhill beginners, but if you love the rush of hurling yourself down the side of a mountain on two sturdy wheels, you should definitely give this bike brand a look.
|Bike categories:||Mountain, Mountain, and more Mountain|
Oddly enough, bike brand Cannondale might have first gained worldwide notice not specifically because of their bicycles, but because of The Bugger, the very first bicycle trailer to hit the market. That doesn’t mean they don’t now make world-class rides. The brand’s first bicycle was released in the early 1980s, and they went on to be one of the first to start making frames out of carbon in 2004. Since then, Cannondale bikes have made regular appearances at Le Tour de France, including some podium-topping performances. Now they’re even moving into the ebike market, designing electric rides to rival the best electric scooters.
|Price range:||$ (kids), $-$$ (adult)|
|Bike categories:||Road, Mountain, Active, Electric, Kids|
Bike brand Specialized was the first manufacturer to bring a mass-produced mountain bike, the Stumpjumper, to the world, in 1981. Built by riders for riders, Specialized’s bikes are backed by the motto, “If you ride, we’re for you”. It’s not just a saying—when the brand saw children struggling to focus in school they started supporting the Outride program, which is designed to promote better health (and thus concentration) through cycling. It looks like Specialized is to blame for getting whole generations of kids into mountain biking… and we thank them for it.
|Price range:||$ – $$$|
|Bike categories:||Cross country, Trail, Downhill, BMX/Dirt Jump, Performance, Gravel, Cyclocross, Triathlon, Fitness, Transport, Comfort, Ebikes (Road, Mountain, Active)|
Trek is a bicycle brand that had humble beginnings, starting its life in a barn in 1976. They seemed to have done alright since then, considering it was a Trek 5500 that Lance Armstrong rode during his first Tour de France win in 1999. Almost all of his consecutive wins after that were also on the backs of Trek bikes. In 1998, Trek created its Advanced Concepts Group, which was a pool of engineers and technicians focused on bike technology development. With all that brainpower built into Trek bikes, it’s not hard to see why so many cyclists consider this the best bike brand in the world.
|Price range:||$ – $$$|
|Bike categories:||Mountain, Road, City, Electric, Kids|
Whether you’re buying bikes online, or investigating rides at your local store, we do recommend you check out the bikes we’ve listed here today. Here’s a quick recap of the best 11 bike brands out there:
- Santa Cruz
- Giant Bicycles
- Rad Power Bikes
- Marin Bikes
- Kona Bikes
- Lectric eBikes
Frequently asked questions about bike brands
In terms of sales, Giant Bicycles is an industry leader with over 6.6 million bikes sold (as of 2014). In terms of durability, range of bikes, and price range, take a look at Trek.
Trek is the best bike brand in the USA—the U.S. company changed the notion that superior bikes had to come from overseas. Check our ranking of the best bike brands in the world to see the full list.
Some popular established bike brands are Trek, Giant, and Cannondale. Some up-and-coming bike brands to watch, especially in the ebike market are Rad Power Bikes, Lectric eBikes, and Ride1Up. You can consult our list of the best bike brands in the world for even more options.
Trek bikes, like the Madone SLR 9, are quite often chosen as a favorite by riders and leading cyclist publications. For some alternatives, look into the Kona, Rad Power Bikes, and Scott brands.