Depending on how much you want to invest, it's entirely possible to spend up to six figures when purchasing a bicycle. Granted, these bicycles are usually the best available for their respective purposes, but few people are willing (or able) to spend that much. On the other end of the spectrum, a bike that costs $50 usually lacks durability and is a lot less fun to ride. The key to finding a great entry-level bike is to find a mid-range bike that performs well but won't break the bank.
People who ride their bikes to work have to find a balance between comfort, speed and function, and Giant's Transcend commuter bike ($440 as of 2009) delivers on all three without putting buyers in debtor's prison. The aluminum frame is light enough to make climbing hills a breeze, yet sturdy enough to handle the occasional curb hopping. Shimano components ensure smooth shifting, a reflecting seat keeps riders visible on the road and rack and fender compatibility make the bike ready for upgrades.
A good mid-range road bike will provide speed at a reasonable price, and Trek's 1.1 road bike ($659.99 as of 2010) does that in spades. A perfect introduction to road cycling, the 1.1's lightweight aluminum frame is built for speed and responsive performance. The Bontrager tires make for a smooth, quick ride and the upright positioning provides a comfortable stance to make long rides easier, helping make the transition from mountain to road biking an easy one.
Performing like a much more expensive mountain bike, Specialized's Rockhopper hardtail bike is a terrific introduction to the sport of mountain biking. With an M4 aluminum alloy frame, the Rockhopper is light enough to charge uphill, but sturdy enough to handle the bumps and bruises of flying downhill. Double-walled wheels add durability, and Specialized FastTrak LK sport tires feature a lower knob height for better rolling efficiency without sacrificing traction.
Article Written By Billy Brown
Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California.
An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight," uncooped.com, and Trails.com, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.