The Best Bikes of 2013
32 perfect rides for the road, trail, triathlon and urban commute
We've said it before, but we'll say it again: the bicycle is the most efficient (and, arguably, most elegant) form of human-powered transportation ever devised. Whether you're doing lunch loops in the local trails, heading out for an evening group ride with your roadie friends or just riding across town from Point A to Point B, you'll always find a reason to saddle up. That's because besides being a quick, low-impact way of exploring the world and getting exercise, riding a bike is also fun as hell, plain and simple.
But riding is even better when you're on the right bike. You want something that fits your needs and, just as important, your budget. If you're a broke college kid new to the racing scene, you're probably not in the market for a $13,000 all-carbon dream machine that you can lift with your pinkie. A versatile, entry-level aluminum aero road bike, though? Now we're talking.
Need a spry, rugged city commuter bike that doesn't weigh a ton or make you look like too much a hipster? Try a nimble urban Cyclocross bike with thick, puncture-resistant tires.
Want a go-anywhere mid-level all-mountain bike that offers exceptional value? It's probably not your big-box hardtail (or full-suspension ride, for that matter). But more than one 650b (with 27.5-inch wheels) made our list because it could chew up downhills and roll over all varieties of rugged terrain with aplomb.
To come up with our list, we considered all varieties of two-wheeled transport—road bikes, mountain bikes, triathlon time machines and a variety of townie and miscellaneous street bikes—to bring you this year's 32 best.
Our choices represent the best in their respective categories. We selected them from a combination of personal tests, consumer review sites and reviews by other leading bicycle media, and ranked them based on price, components, weight, consumer reviews and overall build quality.
We'll leave you with a word of caution: Our list is meant as a buyer's guide, but it doesn't substitute for personal trial. Above even carbon forks, high-end derailleurs and lightweight frames, nothing improves ride quality more than perfect fit. Once you've determined the category of bike you're in the market for and narrowed your slection a bit, we recommend heading to your local bike shop and riding as many models as possible. Once you've chosen, have them custom fit for you. Trust us, you'll never want to walk again.