When you buy a bike, you want to make sure you’re buying quality, something that last for years to come and that will help you get around with comfort and speed. The top cycling brands often have deep ties to the cycling community, with many of them being started by former racing greats.
A Brief History of Bikes and Bicycling
When was the first bike built and who built it?
That information is pretty much lost to the sands of time. As the Smithsonian Institute notes, it is pretty much impossible to say who invented the bike.
What is clear is that people were using two-wheeled vehicles by the beginning of the 19th century. Infant, some people date the invention of the bike all the way back to the 1400s. According to the International Bicycle Fund, a sketch for a bike, credited to none other than Leonardo Da Vinci, dates to the 1490s.
Interestingly enough, we might have the eruption of a volcano to credit with the actual built of one of the first bike-like vehicles. In the early 1800s, a Baron Von Drais, also known as Karl or Charles, designed a vehicle with a steerable front wheel. Draws also included a padded seat in his design and an armrest that allowed him to balance the vehicle and steer.
Draws apparently created the vehicle, later called a velocipede by the French, in response to the horses and widespread starvation that occurred as a result of the eruption of Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia which had one of its most powerful eruptions in 1815.
Although the velocipede quickly became popular, it was missing one that’s a key feature on today’s bikes. It has no pedals. Instead, people pushed the bike forward using their feet, similar to the way the cartoon family, the Flintstones drove their prehistoric car.
It wasn’t until 1863 that urban bikes got pedals. Even then, the pedals weren’t quite like the ones people are familiar with today. They were attached to the front wheel of the vehicle.
In the US in the late 1800s, designers set out to create a safer bike. One model that was somewhat popular at the time also very dangerous. High wheel cycles, sometimes called Ordinaries, were tricky to ride and had a high risk for accidents. It wasn’t uncommon for people to tumble head first over the front of their “Ordinaries.” If you were injured in a bike accident, reach out to the Kaplan Lawyers.
The safety bike looked like the bicycles of today. Its wheels were the same size; it had gears and a chain driver. Although the safety bike did initially have hard rubber tires, those were soon swapped out with airfield or pneumatic tires.
As bikes started to take off and became accessible means of transportation for men and women, bike-centric companies began to pop up. Some of those brands, such as Bianchi, remain among the top cycling brands today. Others, such as Schwann, have evolved considerably over the past century and are no longer the leading companies they once were.
What Makes a Good Bike Brand?
It can be challenging to put a finger on what makes a cycling brand a good brand. Ins one cases, it does come down to a personal preference and opinion. One cyclist might have had a bad experience on a Trek bike or might have found a Bianchi bike uncomfortable and might swear that brand off for life, despite the excellent reputation either company has.
Usually, a good cycling brand offers a range of different bike styles as well as a range of price points. Although it might have some models that only cost a few hundred dollars and that use entry-level components, those bikes still provide a decent ride. A top quality brand’s higher end models are going to be precisely that – the best bike you can get for the money.
Often, a great bike brand has some deep connection to cycling or the cycling community. For example, some favorite labels were created by former professional cyclists, who have a decent idea of what makes for a quality bike.
How We Choose the Top Brands
When picking out the top bike brands, we looked at a variety of factors. One was how many models a brand produced and whether it had a bike to suit a variety of cycling styles or needs. For example, we tried to stick with brands that produce both road and mountain bikes, since a company that is super specialized is going to appeal to fewer people.
We also looked at the price points of the bikes offered by the brands and the components used. Brands that only produce low end, low-quality bikes were out. We all didn’t want to solely focus on brands that produce the caviar of bicycles, although we know those companies appeal to some riders.