Top 5 Best Vintage Style Bikes

Best Vintage Style Bike

After doing extensive research and reviewing various options, we found Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser to be the best vintage-style bike.

If you love the retro style but find original vintage bikes to be too expensive, you can just get a vintage-style bike. By vintage-style bikes, we mean new bikes that have a retro look.

In this article we compiled a list of our 5 favorite vintage style bikes, divided into 5 categories. We considered the quality of components, the performance, the reviews left by other bikers as well as how retro the bike looks.

We picked Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser to be the best vintage style bike because of its high-quality brakes and gearing system, the accessories it comes with and its vintage looks.

What differentiates a vintage style bike?

Vintage-style bikes, also known as retro bikes, are centered around utility, function, and comfort in addition to their classic style. They are mostly hybrid or cruiser-type bikes intended for riding around town and commuting. 

Vintage-style bikes support an upright riding position that is meant to make rides comfortable. These bikes also often come with functional accessories such as a rear rack for cargo and fenders to keep splashes off the rider. Some vintage-style bikes even have a basket in addition to a rear rack.

These accessories are an important touch to create the retro look because bikes back in the day were how a lot of people got around town and picked up necessities. 

People got on the saddle to commute or pick up items for the house all the time so being able to ride with cargo in various weather conditions was vital. That’s why a lot of vintage-style bikes today come with these accessories.

Feel free to keep on reading to find out about all the best vintage-style bikes we included on our list!

Best Vintage Style Bikes

  1. Best Vintage Style Bike: Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser
  2. Best Vintage Style Commuter: Vilano 7-Speed Hybrid Retro Urban Commuter
  3. Best Vintage Style Bike for Women: Huffy 26″ Nel Lusso Women’s Cruiser Bike
  4. Best Vintage Style Bike for Value: Vilano Step Through 7-Speed Hybrid Urban Retro Commuter
  5. Best Vintage Style Bike in Terms of Design: Huffy 26″ Panama Jack Men’s  Beach Cruiser Bike

Best Vintage Style Bike: Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser

Key Features

  • 18-inch (step-over frame) and 16-inch (step-through frame) size options
  • Steel hybrid frame
  • 700c wheels
  • 7-speed rear derailleur with twist shifters
  • Swept-back handlebar
  • Front and rear linear pull brakes
  • Rear rack and full fenders
  • Weighs 42 lbs

Our Review

Our top pick for the best vintage-style bike is the Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Cruiser. It’s not only a retro bike that looks nice but also a high-quality cruiser that performs well. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to go cycling around town in style.

With this model, you can either get the 18-inch or 16-inch frame. The 18-inch frame is a step-over model whereas the 16-inch frame is a step-through model.

True to its retro cruiser nature, the bike comes with a swept-back handlebar to support a comfortable upright riding position.

The 7-speed twist shifters with rear derailleur offer smooth shifting between gears while the front and rear alloy linear pull brakes provide consistent and reliable stopping power.

Overall this bike is a good combination of style, performance and comfort. The rear rack and full fenders are functional accessories that complement the vintage look and come in handy when riding around town.

The main downside to this bike is its weight. The bike weighs around 42 pounds, which is on the heavy side. This basically means acceleration and uphill climbs are harder and more exerting for the rider.

Pros

  • Comfortable upright riding position to take the pressure off your upper body
  • 7-speed rear derailleur for smooth gear shifts
  • Responsive linear pull brakes that perform well
  • Rear rack to carry cargo
  • Full fenders to keep splashes off rider

Cons

  • Fairly heavy at 42 lbs – not ideal for acceleration and climbs
  • Rigid fork – no suspension to absorb bumps



Best Vintage Style Commuter: Vilano 7-Speed Hybrid Retro Urban Commuter

Key Features

  • 53 cm (~21 inch) black steel hybrid frame
  • 700 x 35c tires
  • 7-speed twist grip shifters
  • Hybrid/cruiser handlebar
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Suspension saddle
  • Water bottle mounts and rack eyelets
  • Weighs around 32 lbs

Our Review

The best vintage style commuter on our list is the Vilano 7-Speed Hybrid Retro Urban Commuter. We picked this bike because it offers above average comfort and good performance when you’re navigating urban conditions on it.

The suspension saddle is really comfortable and helps absorb the impact of bumps along the way. The hybrid/cruiser handlebar supports your upper body nicely by putting you in an upright riding position.

The 7-speed twist grip shifters are easy to use and shift seamlessly. The linear pull brakes provide the kind of quick, responsive stopping power you need in an urban setting.

While this bike doesn’t come with a rear rack it does come with rack eyelets on the frame you can attach a rack to. This retro commuter also has water bottle mounts.

The retro look of this Vilano commuter is mainly due to its black classic diamond shape frame as well as its brown saddle and matching grips. It weighs around 32 lbs, which is not that heavy given it’s a steel hybrid bike. It’s certainly a good-looking commuter that is also convenient for urban use.

Pros

  • Lightweight for a steel hybrid bike
  • Well-performing linear pull brakes
  • 7-speed twist grip shifters that are easy to use
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with rear rack unlike a lot of vintage style bikes, would have to be purchased separately and attached to eyelets on the frame if necessary
  • Fine tuning and safety check by a bike mechanic highly recommended upon assembly



Best Vintage Style Bike for Women: Huffy 26″ Nel Lusso Women’s Cruiser Bike

Key Features

  • One-size light blue cruiser frame
  • 26″ x 2.35″ creme tires
  • One-speed
  • Cruiser handlebar with beverage holder
  • Coaster breaks
  • Dual suspension
  • Rear rack and front basket
  • Classic fenders
  • Weighs around 49 lbs

Our Review

The Huffy 26” Nel Lusso Women’s Cruiser Bike takes its place as the best vintage style bike for women on our list. This bike is ideal for any female riders looking to get on the saddle for cruising around town in style.

The light blue cruiser frame and cruiser handlebar put the rider in a relaxed upright riding position. The padded spring saddle is an extra source of comfort, especially on longer rides.

Dual suspension along with the 2.35”-wide tires allow the rider to cycle over small bumps smoothly and with ease. This is especially useful for riding in urban conditions when a biker can easily come across small debris and uneven surfaces along the way.

This bike also comes with a variety of accessories, including a rear rack, front basket and classic fenders, making it ideal for running errands, picking things up for the house etc. even when the weather isn’t perfect.

While this bike was designed for comfort and convenience, it is not the best option for challenging non-casual rides. The fact that it’s one-speed and fairly heavy at 49 lbs, means it will be difficult to tackle uphill climbs or achieve high levels of speed on this model.

However, if you intend to take it on casual rides around town, this bike is a great stylish choice.

Pros

  • Chic retro design with a light blue frame, creme cruiser tires and light brown details
  • Dual suspension and 2.35”-wide tires to absorb small bumps
  • Classic fenders to protect the rider from splashes
  • Rear rack and front basket ideal for riding with cargo

Cons

  • One-speed, not ideal for riders intending to tackle uphill climbs
  • Fairly heavy at 49 lbs, more difficult to accelerate



Best Vintage Style Bike for Value: Vilano Step Through 7 Speed Hybrid Urban Retro Commuter 

Key Features

  • 50 cm (~20 inch) blue steel hybrid frame
  • 700 x 35c tires
  • 7-speed twist grip shifters
  • Hybrid/cruiser handlebar
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Suspension saddle
  • Water bottle mounts and rack eyelets
  • Weighs around 32 lbs

Our Review

Our pick for the best vintage style bike for value is Vilano Step Through 7 Speed Hybrid Urban Retro Commuter. Going through the specs, you will realize that this bike is pretty similar to the best vintage style commuter on our list: Vilano 7-Speed Hybrid Retro Urban Commuter. And you would be right.

The main difference between the two models is the frame. This one is a step-through model whereas the previous Vilano bike is a step-over model. They also differ in size and color. The previous Vilano has a black 53-cm frame and this one has a blue 50-cm frame.

Other than that, however, they are pretty similar. This bike also comes with quick-to-respond linear pull brakes with good stopping power and 7-speed twist grip shifters that are easy to use. Needless to say, this is also a great bike for commuting in urban conditions. And it is slightly cheaper than the #2 Vilano bike on our list at the time we are writing this article.

Pros

  • Weighs around 32 pounds, which is fairly light for a steel hybrid bike
  • Linear pull brakes with good stopping power
  • 7-speed twist grip shifters that are easy to use
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good value

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a rear rack which a lot of vintage style bikes come with, would have to be purchased separately and attached to eyelets on the frame if desired
  • Fine tuning and safety check by a bike mechanic highly recommended upon assembly



Best Vintage Style Bike in Terms of Design: Huffy 26″ Panama Jack Men’s Beach Cruiser Bike

Key Features

  • Aluminum cruiser frame
  • 26-inch wheels
  • 6-speed Shimano rear derailleur with twist shifters
  • Swept-back handlebar
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Cooler bag and beverage holder at the front 
  • Rear rack and fenders
  • Weighs close to 49 lbs

Our Review

Huffy 26″ Panama Jack Men’s Beach Cruiser Bike took its place as the best vintage style bike in terms of design on our list thanks to its retro tropical looks. If you want to ride around town in style this might just be the bike for you.

This model has a 6-speed indexed Shimano TZ-31 rear derailleur with twist shifters that provide seamless shifts between gears. Alloy linear pull brakes offer smooth stopping power to make your rides more controlled and secure.

The swept-back aluminum frame and aluminum cruiser frame put you in a comfortable upright riding position. 

This model comes with an abundant set of accessories, including a rear rack, cooler bag, beverage holder, fenders and even a bottle opener. The accessories not only complement the retro look but are also convenient to have when cruising around town.

The main downside to this bike is that it’s pretty heavy. It weighs around 48.6 pounds, which means acceleration and climbing uphill is relatively harder compared to riding on a more lightweight bike.

Pros

  • Appealing retro design with tropical details
  • Comfortable riding posture thanks to swept-back handlebar
  • High quality Shimano rear derailleur that performs well
  • Variety of accessories including a rear rack, cooler bag, beverage holder and fenders

Cons

  • Quite heavy at 48.6 lbs, not ideal for quick acceleration, uphill climbs or lugging it around



Guide to Picking the Best Vintage Style Bike 

Here we break down the most important things to watch out for when shopping for the best vintage style bike.

Material of the Frame

When you’re picking the best vintage style bike, paying attention to the material of the frame is key. Most bikes you will find are made of either steel or aluminum. Steel is typically the cheapest material. However, it is also the heaviest.

Aluminum is more lightweight but tends to be more expensive than steel. The reason we care about weight is that it’s more difficult to accelerate with heavy bikes. If speed is important to you and you’re flexible on the budget aluminum would be a better option than steel.

Tires

The best vintage style bike for you should come with tires that best fit your riding needs and preferences. Wider tires are better at cycling over small bumps and debris on the road. They will perform better and go faster on rough surfaces compared to narrow tires.

If you feel that you will be cycling on dirt paths and trails with small rocks, you should go for tires that are at least 25 mm-wide. Below 25-mm width are considered narrow tires. You should go even higher depending on the type of terrains you will be cycling on.

Gearing

When shopping for the best vintage style bike for yourself, make sure to pick the gearing that’s best for you too. If you expect to tackle a lot of uphill climbs on your bike, then you should go for bikes that are at least 7-speed.

If you will be cycling on paths that are not sloped or just riding around town, 3-speed and even 1-speed bikes might be sufficient.

Brakes

Brakes are a crucial component of the bike in terms of ensuring your safety. The best vintage style bike needs to come with high quality brakes that are quick to respond and perform well consistently.

There are two main types of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes.

Rim brakes, which apply braking force to the rim of the wheel, are cheaper than disc brakes. However they are becoming less and less popular due to how they wear out and start to perform inconsistently over time. 

They are also less reliable than disc brakes in wet weather conditions. An upside is they are fairly easy to replace.

Disc brakes, which apply braking force to a disc that is mounted on the hub of the wheel, are more expensive but deliver greater stopping power than rim brakes. There are two types of disc brakes: mechanical and hydraulic.

Mechanical disc brakes are more affordable but require a higher amount of manual effort to adjust the brake pads as they wear out over time.

Hydraulic disc brakes, while they are the more expensive option, offer the greatest stopping power and are quick to respond with little effort. They also don’t wear out as quickly.

Saddle

From our list you can surmise that vintage style bikes that are actually new are all hybrid or cruiser types of bikes. That means an upright riding position where the weight of your body is primarily on the saddle.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how comfortable the saddle is when picking out the best vintage style bike. 

Most comfortable saddles are padded and come with dual springs. You will come to appreciate having a good padded saddle especially on longer rides.

Accessories

The best vintage style bike for you should come with accessories that cater to your needs. If you intend to go grocery shopping or deliver things on your bike, then it’s important that it comes with a rear rack and maybe even a basket.

If you live in an area with a lot of rain, full fenders would be a good idea to keep splashes and dirt from getting on you.

The good thing about vintage style bikes is that a lot of them do come with rear rack and fenders since their design is centered around function, utility and comfort.

FAQ

Why not go for an actual vintage bike?

The simplest and most obvious answer is that true vintage bikes are just more expensive. You can purchase a vintage style bike that is actually new for a fraction of the price.

You might also have to replace or update certain parts after purchasing the bike depending on the condition it’s in. So that would mean extra costs involved and you would have to be somewhat bike-savvy if you intend to do these restorations yourself.

Having said that, for some people it is worth it. They like that they are purchasing a bike from the 1960s and they don’t mind the price tag that comes with that experience. It essentially comes down to how much you care about owning an authentic vintage bike and how much you’re willing to spend on it.

What are some good vintage bike brands?

Some of the best vintage bike brands we see on the market include: Bianchi, Cinelli, Cornago,  Wilier Triestina and De Rosa. 

However when you are buying a genuine vintage bike, the quality of it also depends on the condition it’s in. Some second-hand bikes are in great condition because the owner maintained it well and restored certain components that needed updating, while other bikes are in poorer condition.

It’s important to pay attention to those details when you are buying a vintage bike.

Where can I shop for authentic, vintage bikes?

We feel steel-vintage.com (https://steel-vintage.com) is a good marketplace to shop for an authentic vintage bike. We like how much detail the listings provide including exhaustive specs, details regarding the model and the condition the bike’s in.

Steel-vintage.com sells fully serviced bikes that can be shipped worlwide. They also have a 30-day return policy.

Our Verdict

We hope this article helps you pick the best vintage style bike for yourself. We presented what we believe to be the best vintage style bikes on the market right now but it all comes down to your personal preferences. 

If you also think Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser to be the best vintage style bike on this list, you can click here to buy it now.

We believe this is a great option for anyone who wishes to bike in style without having to compromise comfort or performance. We like that it comes with a 7-speed rear derailleur and linear-pull brakes that perform nicely as well as functional accessories like full fenders and a rear rack.

Wishing you great (retro) rides and please feel free to reach out with comments or questions!

About the Author

About the Author

Hey, what's up? Ali here. EDM addict, gym rat, and Tame Impala fan of the Cycle Simply Team.