If you're a biker that likes to ride both on and off-road, or if you're an adventure-seeking cyclist, dual sport bikes might be just what you're looking for.
This is a new and fast-growing segment of the hybrid bike category and there are quite a few models on the market already. This article aims to select our top picks for dual sport bikes for beginners.
Our favorite dual sport bike models for beginners in 2020 are:
How To Pick the Best Dual Sport Bike for Beginners
The first thing you have to do before buying a bicycle is consider what kind of biking you’ll be doing.
An off-road bike such as a mountain bike, for example, doesn’t ride well on the freeway, while a normal road bike should stay on paved roads. The focus of this review is dual sport bikes which offer the best of both worlds.
Are Dual Sport Bikes a Good Option for Beginners?
Off-road bicycles might seem like an option for advanced cyclists only, but dual sport bikes can definitely be a good pick for new bikers.
Dual sport bicycles are lightweight and quite easy to maneuver. They’re also comfortable because of the upright riding position they typically offer.
This bike style is similar to other hybrid bikes in that they use suspension, but they’re more suited for off-road travel than most hybrids. In general, dual sport bikes have bigger tires, and use disc brakes which makes them perfect for more technical trails.
What To Consider When Picking a Dual Sport Bike
The quality and the price of the bike is of course important when buying a bicycle. There are a few other things to consider.
Wheels and Bike Frame Size
The size of the wheels and frame largely determines the size of your bike. You’ll match your height to the available manufacturer specs for the best fit.
If you’re between 5’3” and 6’2”, for example, a bike with 700c wheels would be appropriate. On another hand, a bike frame from 16 to 17 inches could fit an individual from around 5’5” to 5’8”.
You want to be able to put both feet on the ground when standing over the frame. Your toes should touch the ground when seated on the bike and an adjustable seat helps with this customization.
As a beginner, you want a bike that’s stable enough so you feel confident, without weighing you down in the process.
This mainly comes down to the component materials. It might be a good idea to pick a bike that’s more lightweight, since it’s less to handle all-around.
Dual sport bikes usually weigh less than mountain bikes and might be heavier than many road bikes. In the hybrid category, you shouldn’t push more than 30 pounds or 35 maximum, unless a heavier option has features you’re craving.
The body of the bicycle consists mostly of the frame and this portion should include long-lasting materials. Depending on the type of riding you’ll do most, you can match the appropriate materials accordingly.
Most bike frames are made from aluminum. It’s a cost-effective and lightweight option. However, it’s not as durable as others, like steel.
If you're interested in off-road travel, you might opt for a heavier alternative that can handle the rough nature of these rides. Are city streets more your thing, for a quick jaunt here and there? Aluminum would suit you fine.
Steel is heavier and more expensive. But these frames will usually hold up best for years to come, especially compared to other materials.
Some bikes take a beating and if yours is one of them, opting for steel, especially for challenging terrains and environments, could be appropriate.
Frames made from carbon fiber are the most expensive styles.
It’s for a reason. Carbon fiber brings together the best of both worlds from the categories above, it’s lightweight and strong. This makes the material resilient and suitable for a variety of rides.
It’s probably not a necessary choice for beginners, but if you’re looking to invest, opting for carbon fiber is a smart pick.
Again, this segment relies on the type of riding you’ll be doing the most, whether that’s a commute on pavement or weekend getaways in the forest.
For a happy-medium tire suited for different scenarios, look for:
- Medium grip tread for traction.
- Semi-slick for city rides.
- Approximate 1.3 inches in width or above.
Usually, the dual sport bikes come with either V-brakes or disc brakes.
V-brakes are powerful rim brakes that are great for different kinds of terrain, but they also require that frame or fork mounts are attached to the bike. They’re inexpensive and lightweight, but are easily contaminated by dirt.
Disc brakes are a step up and require less effort to handle. They’re also great for off-road use. However, their performance can suffer in high-speed situations. Disc brakes are the heavier, more costly option here.
Climbing tough hills requires low gears. It’s a common feature on mountain bikes for this reason, whereas road bikes usually feature higher gears for hitting top speeds.
This also means that greater gear options come with more to manage, but this is something that beginners can ease into. The most common setup on these hybrids is 21 speed, which offers you plenty.
Our Top 5 Best Dual Sport Bikes for Beginners: Reviews
Below are our top picks for the best dual sport bikes for beginners:
This bike comes from a well-reputed brand and is great for off-roading in particular. It weighs in at closer to 30 pounds and features loads of specs to contend with.
The aluminum frame and carbon fork pair together nicely, offering a lightweight model that still features some durability for the long haul.
There’s a Schwinn soft tail suspension system that provides great comfort for the rider and the 21-speed drivetrain with trigger shifters offers precise use. However, the many gears make it slightly less ideal for urban-riding.
It comes with your standard 700c hybrid tires and double-wall rims on the wheels providing an added element of strength.
The bicycle features disc brakes, too, and a flat handlebar with extra grip for a comfortable riding position.
- A reliable carbon fork.
- Fender and rack mounts included.
- 21-speed drivetrain with trigger shifters for precision.
- Three other sizes available, for larger individuals.
- Radius disc brakes.
- Doesn’t perform as well in high-speed situations.
This 21-speed bike was made for smooth sailing.
It features an ergonomically designed saddle with dual springs and a front suspension fork with a Shimano drivetrain, all helping to ease operation and enhance comfort.
The slight-rise handlebar on this bike makes for an upright riding position, too. You’ll find an appropriate grip level for added security.
This dual sport bike is equipped with alloy rim brakes and an aluminum frame that comes in multiple sizes, according to your height. It comes in a shiny metallic color, too, made to help the rider standout.
But there’s one caveat to this bicycle…it’s heavy. While the bike is suitable for beginners, 38 pounds for an intermediate or advanced cyclist might be frustrating.
- The comfort features make it great for beginners.
- SHIMANO drivetrain front suspension fork.
- 21 speeds.
- A beautiful color.
- It’s heavy.
- No kickstand included.
This Tommaso bike is sleek, appealing and the lightest option on our list, coming in at 25 pounds. The compact, aluminum frame helps with that and the carbon fiber suspension fork does, too.
The La Forma is decked out from head to toe with Shimano products, and this brand is known for quality bicycle components. This includes a Shimano groupset with 27 speeds in total, a higher number than many others. There’s also Shimano Acera Rapid Fire shifters here and a clear display so you always know what gear you’re in.
This bike is also comfortable to ride since it features flat handlebars and an upright geometry. You shouldn’t have an issue packing your belongings, either, because it comes with pre-drilled holes for carrying mounts.
A big win is that this bike comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and fork, as it well should for the price. Unfortunately, it’s a more costly bike but given the components and features, we aren’t surprised.
- Lightest on our list.
- Quality components and materials used.
- 27 speeds.
- Heads up display.
- Comfortable sitting position.
- Quite expensive.
The style of this bike leans towards “cruiser”, which makes it a great starter bike for adult ladies who might appreciate a more simple machine.
It features a small 17.5 inch steel frame, offering strong construction paired with comfort and accessibility. The frame is also stooping and low to the ground which lets you get in and out easily. Wide handlebars add to the cruiser feel and help you achieve an easy, confident riding position.
The bike comes with just seven speeds, which is standard for this style. It’s a suitable amount for laidback rides that don’t require a lot of “get up and go” scenarios.
It’s fitted with 2 inch semi-slick tires for absorbing impact while offering a smooth ride.
The downside? It’s another heavy option at approximately 41 pounds. Considering the frame and stability features, this adds up.
If you’re looking for a quality piece of equipment that’ll be around a while, and you don’t require too much speed or agility, the weight may not concern you.
- Durable steel frame.
- Attractive design and colors.
- Comfortable to ride.
- Rear rack included.
- Not many gears.
- Not as suited for off-road biking as the other options.
This is another attractive stepover hybrid model and comes in as the most affordable option on our list. It weighs around 36 pounds, placing it in the middle of our weight category.
It’s built with an aluminum frame and fitted with a zoom suspension fork to absorb impact. The 700c tires are standard at this point but the double-wall rims are appreciated.
The tires are multi-surface and should be capable of properly dispersing any liquids out from under your tires. They feature a semi-slick tread offering low rolling resistance to boot.
You’ll get 21 speeds to choose from, thanks to the Shimano brand and upright handlebars for added confidence and comfort.
Overall durability might be an issue with this bike, it’s on a tight budget, after all. Take care of questionable terrains and follow maintenance protocols for the best results.
- An affordable option.
- Multi-surface tires for watery conditions.
- Zoom suspension fork.
- Stepover model is convenient.
- A kickstand is included.
- May not hold up as well as more expensive models.
- The brake levers are on the small side.
In this article, we gave you options on affordable, comfortable and lightweight dual sport bikes, as well as one that’s great for commuters. However, the winner of our roundup must be the Schwinn Vantage Mens/Womens Sport Hybrid Bike.
Specifically designed for beginners, this bike has everything that makes a dual sport bike a great option for bikers who like to travel on all types of terrain. It’s equipped with disc brakes, a suspension fork, and handlebars that allow for an upright riding position. This is a textbook example of a good dual sport bike.
Our top pick offers high-performance in sport, lightweight design, efficiency on the road and comfort as well. This is definitely a great choice for anyone looking to get into dual sport bikes.