The coronavirus pandemic has led to shortages of all kinds all across America, many of which have made headlines countless times. There were the supermarkets and big box stores with shelves devoid of toilet paper. There was everyone from Amazon, to Walmart, to the pharmacy on the corner without a bottle of hand sanitizer to spare. And of course there was the dire shortage of PPE for healthcare professionals and ventilators for the ill.
One of the more unexpected shortages caused by COVID-19 in America comes as more of a surprise: a bike shortage. With everything from malls and museums to parks and playgrounds closed, millions of Americans looking for diversion from the isolation of home quarantine have rediscovered their love for bike riding. And that’s all well and good for those who had a bike in the garage, shed, or attic, but for people looking to buy a bike online, thus avoiding proximity to others at a bike shop, the process has been surprisingly hard, because so many retailers are completely sold out of bikes right now.
That’s why we tracked down a number of good, affordable bikes you can order online right now and that will ship within a few weeks, if not within the next few days.
Bought online or in person, a bike is still a major purchase, so it’s good to be in the know before you click the link to make that order. That’s why we also talked to several professionals in the industry to gather some insight that can inform your online bike purchase.
First, think about why you actually want a bike and how you will actually use it. Ryan Zagata, president of Brooklyn Bicycle, says: “The most important thing to think about is what is your use case. You don’t want to end up on a road bike to ride to the local market. Really take time to understand – are you looking for a commuter bike? For a bike just to get around the neighborhood? For something recreational you’ll ride around on with the kids?”
And depending on the use case, keep in mind that there is flexibility there. “A lot of people are now riding mountain bikes for regular riding,” says John Pappas, owner of Bicycle Playground in Port Washington, NY. “They have a front suspension and wider tire and smaller side wall, so they give a cushier ride.”
Connor Swegle, the co-founder of Priority Bicycles, based in Lower Manhattan (and shipping bikes around the country) reminds customers that: “More isn't more. More speeds, more features, more bells and whistles don't mean you get more. It mostly means more stuff to break. Just scale the features to what you need and keep things as simple as possible.
One thing stressed by all three experts? Get a bike that’s the right size for you, which you can determine (with equal importance) based on your height and your inseam.
Here are seven fine bikes you can buy online right now and actually expect to enjoy this summer.
Priority Bicycles Classic Plus
The Classic Plus bike from Priority would have looked right at home two generations back and it will still look great two generations hence. It’s timeless, stylish, reliable, and a great price, too. That style comes thanks to an elegant simplicity, which is also the case for the function. The bike has three gears (think hills, cruise, and speed, basically), one hand brake, and a grease-free chain.
Hyper Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
$450 is on the cheaper side for an adult bike, and it’s on the very cheap side for a carbon fiber bike, with carbon fiber, of course, being much lighter than the standard steel used in most bicycles. If you want a bike that will last you 20 years, keep shopping. But if you want a pretty light, fun cycle you can take on trails or roads, this one delivers.
Schwinn Mesa 2 Mountain Bike
The aggressive treads on the tires that come with a Mesa 2 will keep you upright and steadier on rough, loose terrain, while the front suspension will minimize the jarring ride you get off-road. On the road, this bike isn’t going to win any races, but the ride is comfortable and stable. Just make double sure you get one that will fit you, as even the medium frame is designed for riders not much taller than 5’6”.
SixThreeZero Go for a Jaunt 250W Beach Cruiser Electric Bike
Most electric bikes assist you as you pedal, making your ride easier and a bit more enjoyable. This guy? This guy can zip along at 15 MPH with the throttle open and your feet stone still. Pedal hard and crank the throttle and you’ll get up near 30 miles per hour on level or sloped ground. The battery can get you an average of 25 miles without pedaling and more than 50 if you do some work. Consider this bike for fun now and as a serious option for commuting later.
GT Aggressor Pro Mountain Bike
This is a nearly $700 bike selling, at the time of this review, for less than $500, also known as a good deal. Its mechanical disc brakes give you reliable slowing and stopping, there are 24 speeds and easy-to-use Shimano shifters to control them, and four options for frame size, so riders as short as 4’11” or as tall as 6’8” should be able to get an Aggressor that will suit.
Concord 700c NuVinci Hub SCN BikE
This is a perfect choice for use both as a commuter and recreational bike, as the ride is so easily controlled thanks to the internal gear hub. The hub lets you shift right to whatever gear you need without having to hop up or down gears to get there. That means easy downshifting all the way to gear one as you get caught at a traffic light in the city or smooth and steady upward shifting as you gain speed on a backcountry open road. Also there’s that luggage rack, perfect for your briefcase, backpack, or overnight adventure bag.
Cannondale Quick CX3
This versatile bike takes inspiration from mountain bikes, but it performs quite well on pavement, dirt, or even grass or gravel for short stints. 16 gears give you plenty of control and the front suspension forks will keep your ride (relatively) smooth and stable even as you jam your way over rougher terrain. Also check out the Cannondale Trail 6 if your rides are mostly off road.
Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations. Don’t forget to check out our coupon site to find activewear deals from Nike, adidas, and more. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.