According to the Pew Research Center, bicycles are considered as the world’s most common vehicle, accounting a larger number of users and models than automobiles. Substantially, the market is over saturated with a variety of bike manufacturers and styles, making it challenging for those who want to find the right bike. If you are planning to buy one, you might be asking how could you know which bike to choose? Well, one good way to narrow down your search is by starting with a brand that holds a favourable and trusted reputation.
Let’s take a glance at some of the major makers of quality bicycles. In this article, some helpful details and information about their history, accomplishments, and specialty are put together to help you in your best bike selection.
Being one of the biggest names in the industry of bicycle manufacturing, the Diamondback Bicycles has been providing a selection of cycling products in many parts of the world. This includes the United Kingdom, United States, Bangladesh, Canada, and Australia. Further, most of their bicycle models can be bought online.
The Diamondback has a reputation for providing reliable bikes at a considerably cheaper price compared to other brands. As such, the brand is often viewed by cyclists as a manufacturer of entry-level units. While the company does produce a number of mid-type bicycles, they also actually offer high-end models. So, whether you need a high-end or entry-level model, Diamondback will be able to provide it.
Established in 1977, the company started originally as a BMX manufacturer. Overtime, they now provide a wide selection of bike models. The present day Diamondback bicycle series was heavily influenced by two entities. There are the two separate bicycle companies that later merged and made up the brand– Raleigh and Centurion.
Centurion bikes are essentially the predecessors of the Diamondback models. Centurion was once a Japanese-manufactured brand by Western States Imports Company. The brand competed in the US market against other industry leaders such as Gitane, Motobecane, Raleigh, and Schwinn. In the 1990s, Centurion became a part of the WSI mountain bike brand, previously known as “Diamond Back”. Later, the Diamond Back brand was sold to Raleigh Bicycle Company. In the mid to late of year 1980s, Raleigh was on the brink of bankruptcy. Then, Derby International took over and restructured the brand. It was in 1999 that Derby purchased and merged Diamondback with Raleigh. Ever since then, the company has undergone different names and owners.
Diamondback bicycles are comprehensively checked and adjusted at the factory, so assembly will be easier. All bikes come with an owner’s manual that include a comprehensive guide and instruction for bike assembly and maintenance. Overall, the assembly is a relatively simple operation. However, if you are not confident with your basic tool skills, it is recommended to ask for a qualified cycle dealer or mechanic.
The Diamondback brand has a variety of cycling products. The company provides different models such as cruisers, comfort, dual sport, BMX, mountain, road, and more. They also carry a line specific for Devine Designs, women, and youth cycles. The brand also moves past with just bicycles. Fitness equipment like recumbent and elliptical bikes are also offered.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known for: Road, Hybrid, MTB, and BMX
Diamondback is a brand known for manufacturing some of the most affordable and durable BMX, road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.
The BMX bikes, being the primary unit from Diamondback, will remain as a vital and significant component in the company’s identity. On the other hand, the trail series of MTB including the full suspension bike, hardtail, and fat series makes its way to one of the brand’s popular models. The Diamondback road bikes also have a multitude of units ranging from entry-level to high-end models. One of the well-praised road bikes is the Diamondback Bicycles Century Road bike. It belongs to the top-end units that incorporate quality components for high performance.
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Bicycles from Diamondback have excellent online sales. This means that there are plenty of customer reviews about them. Seemingly, there are mostly positive feedbacks. “The bike is comfortable, including the frame, handlebars, and seat pad. The assembly is pretty easy to do even for a beginner.” Customers also pointed out that the quality balances well with the price.
Mongoose is a brand known for its assertive focus on innovation, particularly in performance bikes. The brand has been around for some time and has been recognized by the general public. As such, they already have a strong spot in the industry hierarchy. Their bicycles have the reputation to support and push the limits of cyclists.
In 1974, Mongoose was established and managed by BMX Products Inc. The company primarily focuses on producing a line of quality BMX bikes. They later branched out and started manufacturing mountain bikes, which had a growing trend at that time. As a result, the company grew. By the year of 1980, the brand had already gained significant name notoriety. In the 1990s, the company had expanded their product line and had gained even more popularity.
In 2001, Mongoose merged with Pacific Cycles, a huge bicycle distributor, that has suppliers from China and Taiwan. Three years later, Pacific Cycles was acquired by a Canadian conglomerate by the name of Dorel Industries. The merger and acquisition leads to the brand restructuring. Dorel decided to produce two different lines of Mongoose bikes–the entry-level and high-end line. After that, the brand’s reputation has quite faltered. The entry level/ mass-market bikes are lower in quality but cheaper. To have it sold and flooded the department stores, the public’s opinion about the brand’s “can do no wrong” reputation have been damaged a bit. Regardless, there are actually still high-end Mongoose bikes that consistently retain the original high performance and quality that the brand is known for.
It is recommended that you seek the help of an expert when assembling Mongoose bikes, unless you meet certain qualifications. This include the following:
- You have a thorough understanding of the instructions.
- You have the mechanical skills to follow the instruction/guide.
- You have access to bike tools such as:
- adjustable crescent wrench, 6″ and 12″
- water pump pliers, channel locks
- screwdriver, flat blade
- cone wrench, 17 mm and ¾ inch
- torque wrench
If you have all the specifications, you can assemble it yourself. The owner’s manual is provided along with Mongoose bikes. It contains easy-to-understand information about safety, performance, installation, and maintenance.
The brand features two product lines. One of the lines is the mass-market/ discount bikes, often seen in department stores. These bikes are not suitable for heavy-performance cycling but are ideal for casual riding. The other line, offering the higher-end of Mongoose bikes, are sold in specialty shops and online. These are considered quality and superior models. It is also a bit costly compared to discount models, but it guarantees the best value for your money.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known for: BMX bikes
Mongoose is one of the popular BMX brands in the industry. The brand is always associated with the bike model and is trusted by many riders including some of the world’s renowned cyclists.
Mongoose provides a full line of BMX that is designed for a range of riders regardless of experience and ability levels or ages. A prime example of this is the Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX bike. It can be used from beginner level to advanced riders. Its sturdy and solid build allows riders to ride it in different terrains and purposes. Such qualities make it one of the brand’s popular BMX models.
The quality of Mongoose bicycles seem to depend on what kind of model and how it is used. The discount line, which is also the popular model, is often criticized for not having high quality components and stiffest frames. There are some who would argue, though, that the department bikes can hold up well depending on how you ride it. It is remarked that the bikes from this line are not performance-oriented bikes, so it is not ideal for off-road riding. Some customers point out that it is actually suitable for on-road riding such as commuting. The higher-end model of Mongoose bikes are actually praised for its reliability and construction, particularly its sturdy frames and quality components.
6KU is one of those brands that are associated with a certain hallmark/model. In the case of this brand, it is often considered synonymous with the fixie bikes. Whenever people look for a fixie bike, 6KU is one of the brands they would consider to go for. This is because the brand was specifically established to manufacture the particular model as a means to supply the growing demand for high-quality yet affordable fixie bikes.
6KU is one of the three brands under the parent company known as Avant Sports. JW Zhang, the company’s founder, started his endeavors back in 2012. Unsatisfied with the results delivered on his designs from other factories, he decided to establish his own company. This leads to the formation of three cycling brands–6KU, Populo, and Aventon bikes.
The company provides a step-by-step assembly guide for all their bicycles. But, it is recommended to have the bikes assembled by an authorized 6KU dealer or a qualified mechanic. Their bikes come with a starter bag composed of a registration card, a quick start guide, customer satisfaction cards and some decorative stickers.
Even though the brand is fixated in offering the best fixed gear bikes, they also offer different models. This includes urban cycling gear, fixie bikes, road bikes, commuter cycles, and more.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known For: Fixed Gear Bikes/Fixies
The brand heavily focuses on the production of fixie bikes and that attention paid off. 6KU is one of the leading brands when it comes to fixie bikes. Affordable and reliable, that is the quality you can find with 6KU fixie bikes. The 6KU Aluminum Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike is one of the best selling models from 6KU. In fact, it is considered as one of the top 7 best single speed bikes in 2020 according to Outside Pursuits.
Since most of the 6KU bikes are sold online, there are abundant reviews about them from customers and experts alike. Several owners report that they have used their 6KU bikes for three to four years with only a few problems. The handlebars and the overall construction were considered comfortable by some experts. Most of the buyers view the bikes as a satisfactory value purchase. The bikes, particularly the fixies, are categorized by a number of users as an excellent casual/starter bike.
4. Raleigh Bikes
Existing for over 100 years, Raleigh Bikes has been providing reliable and durable bikes for a very long time. This makes them one of the pacesetters in the cycling trade. At Raleigh, you can get the value for your money. They may not be a prestigious brand but they have a name notoriety for providing quality bicycles with a range of style models and affordable price points.
The brand was actually named after a distinguished street in the UK called the Raleigh street.The company was initially founded by Woodhead and Angois in 1885. Three years after that, Raleigh was managed by Frank Bowden as a limited liability company. Back then, the competition is yet tight, so the company experienced a moment of monopoly in manufacturing bikes around the world.
Between 1921 to 1835, Raleigh saw an opportunity to build tricycles and motorbikes, leading to the establishment of Reliant Company. Its division was then acquired and managed by a Dutch corporation based in Nottingham, UK. The company grabbed an award in a Great British design quest, making it one of the major contributions in the cycling industry.
With Raleigh, all bicycles are partially assembled. The customers can choose whether they’re the one to finish the process or to have it done by a local bike shop.
Being one of the world’s oldest bicycle companies, the brand has managed to produce a wide selection of models. This includes children and women bikes, urban cycles, classic bikes, electric bikes, road bikes, and MTB.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known for: Mountain and Road Bikes
Raleigh’s MTBs and road bikes are its popular models to date. Both units are known and praised for its sturdy and durable frames. These bikes can compete with the rigorousness of varied terrains. Outside from the road and MTB models, the Raleigh Bikes Teaba Fixed Gear/ Single Speed City Bike is one of Raleigh’s popular bikes.
Most of the reviews from the customers have satisfactory feedback. A number of them expressed that the reason why they buy from the brand is because of their relatively affordable yet quality bikes compared to other brands of the same model. However, there were few disappointments due to the exclusion of some components or features like kickstands for some units. Overall, a lot of buyers were pleased with the balance of quality and value. The longevity of the bike is also something that is often praised.
Attractive designs and good quality components with affordable price, that is the approach of Sixthreezero bicycles. The company prides themselves with such fundamentals and is known for it. Other distinguished features that characterizes this brand includes their 365-day test period, customizable speeds and colors, one-size-fits-all frames, free shipping, and lifetime warranty. If you are a cyclist who enjoys a light and leisure ride and wants a retro-designed bike, then you are the right customer of Sixthreezero.
Sixthreezero is a relatively young company. Nevertheless, they still have a rich history. Established in 2005, the US-based company started out from a garage in California. They primarily focused on manufacturing cruiser bikes and now have a slow but steady growth in the market of cruisers. Today, the company is also branching out into different bike models.
All bicycles from sixthreezero come 80% pre-assembled. The remaining parts are needed to be installed either by yourself or by experts. Assembly is generally easy to operate and its instruction manual comes with their bikes.
Even if the company primarily manufactured cruiser bikes, they also offer several bike models. The units are essentially divided into four main categories: electric, kids, men’s, and women’s division.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known for: Cruisers
In essence, Sixthreezero specializes in making cruiser bikes. So, it is not a surprise that they are recognized for this particular model. One of their popular cruiser bikes is the Sixthreezero Around the Block Women’s Cruiser. With its sweeping handlebars and upright riding position, it provides comfort and ease. It’s no wonder why it’s a part of Sixthreezero’s top selling product.
Bikes from Sixthreezero are generally complimented for its aesthetics, value and quality, and durability. “It is a great bike to ride around the neighborhood especially with kids. The colors are fun and stylish. The ratio of quality and price is well balanced.” On the other hand, there were some complaints regarding their customer service being unresponsive. “The bike is good, but their customer service would either take too long to respond or have no reply at all.” Regardless, Sixthreezero bikes still hold a positive view among the general public.
For more than a century since its establishment, the Schwinn Bicycle Company is one of the oldest and trusted bike manufacturers in the market. Schwinn prevailed as a major bike manufacturer in the US for most of the 20th century. Today, it is considered as one of the industry leaders in cycling and is practically regarded as a household name. Schwinn is known for providing innovative bike solutions designed for different types of riders at reasonable price points.
The company was founded in 1895 and was faced with several changes with the brand’s name and owner. The establishment of Schwinn coincided incidentally with the sudden bicycle boom in America. With the huge demand in bikes and with Schwinn to supply it, Chicago became the center and major player of the American bicycle industry at that time. However, the bicycle craze was short-lived as motorcycles and automobiles replaced the bikes on the streets. Even though there is a decrease in demand on the market, the company was still thriving due to its motorcycle division. Actually, Schwinn was going so strong that it was placed third just behind Indian and Harley-Davidson. Eventually, Schwinn went bankrupt in 1992 due to poor sales. Later, it was bought by Zell/Chilmark Fund. Today, Dorel Industries, a multinational conglomerate, owned the company.
Bicycles from Schwinn may require some upgrade or tuning. It is recommended that Schwinn bikes should be assembled by the riders itself so they can modify or customize it to meet their demands. Also, it can save some costs compared to having it done by a local bike shop. Every information and details needed for the assembly is provided in the manual.
Schwinn basically features two lines of bicycles– the Signature series and Discount models. The Signature series is essentially high-end bicycles meant for specialty shops to sell. This line of bicycles uses high standard components, so these models are a top quality choice. On the other hand, the discount models are bicycles that are offered through mass-market in local box shops like Sears, Kmart, and Wal-Mart. Compared to the high-end line, this discount line is lower in quality but so is the price. There is apparently a reasonable value and quality ratio. The models from this line may not be recommended for serious off-roading, but this is a considerable option for casual and light riding.
When it comes to bike units, Schwinn provides a variety of models that can meet the needs of their wide clientele. These include: cruisers, electric, comfort/bike path, urban and kids, road, and mountain bikes.
Specialized/ Notable Model(s)
Known for: Hybrid and Road Bikes
The hybrid bike is one of the top selling bicycles in Schwinn. This owes to the fact that it provides a compact package and great quality. The Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women is one of its popular models.
In addition, Schwinn also prides itself for its reputation of providing world-class and quality road bikes. Having durable, stiff, and lightweight quality, Schwinn road bikes are capable of offering a fast ride. The most distinguished Schwinn road bikes would probably be the Schwinn Volare 1400 Road Bicycle and Schwinn Phocus Road Bicycle for Men and Women; both models have gained favorable customer responses. They also respectively reached the top 3 and top 6 best selling ranks on Amazon’s road bikes category.
The brand has been receiving promising feedback among the general public. Majority of them have expressed that they are satisfied with Schwinn bikes. “The bicycles look so stylish and fashionable. With affordable prices and durable quality, the best value for the money is delivered”. Conversely, a few others think that there is a need for improvement in other areas such as innovation. One of the comments that represent this is– “Schwinn bikes are good but there aren’t any newly developed innovations. They should introduce new cutting-edge technology more often”. Regardless of the varied reviews, Schwinn still boasts a long history of having reliable bicycles that can compete on the global market.
On the whole, there are a myriad of factors that play in determining some of the best bike brands in the market. Innovation, quality consistency, and distinctive brand identity are just some of the primary points. With that being said, knowing the best brands in cycling is only a step in your research journey. If you are serious in finding the ideal bike that can meet your demands, you will need to carefully assess countless bike reviews and other specific data to find your match.