Best Commuter Bikes
Have you ever stopped and considered how much money you could be saving every day if you were to commute on a bicycle? Now, it is fair to assume not everyone is in the position to have the freedom of commuting to work on a bike. Some people may live 20 to 30 miles away from their workplace, making it illogical.
But for those of you who know it is feasible, it could be an excellent option for you. Not only will you end up saving money on gas but you will also receive a high-quality exercise. Of course, you must swallow the initial price point as if you want a top-end commuter bike it is not going to be cheap. Even if you are on the fence about whether you actually want a commuter bike, check out our list as it provides some necessary insight on some of the best bicycles in the world.
- Dahon Mariner
- Aluminium frame
- Rust-resistant frame
- Tommaso La Forma
- Many size options
- Mechanical disc brakes
- Smooth performance
10 Best Commuter Bikes
Dahon Mariner D8
The combination of the adjustable handlebars, high seat, and 20-inch wheels make this a very enjoyable ride. Additionally, when you ride over bumps it does so very smoothly.
Bike brakes are the key to a bike’s safety and with Winzip aluminum V-brakes on both the front and the rear, that mission is accomplished. Plus, the action to engage the brakes is sudden and you can stop whenever you need to.
As the gear system has been fitted with the brake lever, it is incredibly easy to shift through them. Furthermore, there are eight different speeds to provide an ample amount of flexibility.
Implemented on this bike are two 20-inch racing tires that deliver an impressive amount of versatility.
Thanks to the adjustable saddle seat, riders from 4’9” to 6’3” can properly ride on the Mariner D8. As a side note, though, it is recommended that the maximum user weight be 230 pounds.
At first look, you may think this bike is too wonky for you. Yet, it delivers everything you need from a commuter bike and as a bonus can even fold up when you arrive at your destination.
- The aluminum frame easily folds up
- Features fenders that block road splashes from your clothes
- The frame is also rust-resistant
- It is very difficult to stand up while pedaling
Tommaso La Forma
Much like several other designers in the world, Tommaso aimed to optimize the comfort of their bicycle as much as possible. Thanks to its upright geometry and flat handlebars, for the most part, this is achieved.
The brake set included on this model is very reliable and will perform admirably when called upon. No matter the situation, you can take comfort in knowing these brakes will deliver.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the La Forma is its gear system. Being equipped with a 3 x 9 groupset, the number of speeds you can achieve are enormous. Plus, the rapid-fire shifters ensure fast and efficient shifts every time.
Inside of the 32mm tires, which deliver a superb amount of control and balance in their own right, are 28 spoke alloy rims. These add to the design by providing necessary strength and dependability.
While it can’t be promised Amazon will have all sizes available at all times, this bike is available from XX-small all the way to extra-large. This accommodates all riders from 4’10” to 6’3”.
Granted your specific bike does not arrive with issues, which has been a notable issue for various consumers, this is simply a superb design. Whether you want to commute or simply enjoy a classic ride, this is fantastic.
- You can add a variety of fenders and racks
- It is designed for riders looking for versatility
- Size options from XX-small to extra-large
- A few users have reported their bike arrived damaged or with issues
Indeed, the comfort of this bike was clearly emphasized here. Not only is the bike tailored in a more upright position, the fork suspension system delivers a smooth ride over bumps and divots in the road.
To provide an ample amount of stopping power in any weather condition, the mechanical disc brakes work in conjunction with the 160mm rotors. The result is a much safer and secure ride.
Nashbar did not hold back with providing you different speeds. The drivetrain features a 3 x 8 gear system which provides you with over 20 different speeds to choose from while riding.
What is really nice about the Kenda tires on this bike is they have a file tread pattern. This means you will be provided with enough traction on dirt; while having low rolling-resistance on asphalt.
All riders should be able to find a size that suits them. Nashbar provides you with five different sizing options and unless you are abnormally tall or short, one should work for you.
Besides the fact that your co-workers will be raving about the design of your Dual-Sport bike, you can also explain to them how well it performs. A location to mount a front rack would have been nice but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
- The jet-black and red appeal is fantastic
- Features mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors
- The included tires offer smooth-rolling performance on dirt
- There is no place to mount a front rack
Raleigh Carlton Mixte 8
Not too many users have had negative things to say about the comfort of the Carlton 8. Overall, the ride it delivers is very smooth and comfortable for long journeys.
While the power of the three-piece alloy crank system gets you up and moving, the Promax dual-pivot brakes are able to stop you at a moment’s notice.
An eight-speed drivetrain has been utilized for the Carlton 8 and while that is not an overbearing amount of speeds, it will be just enough for the average commuter. In addition, the rear derailleur and trigger shifter handle the shifting.
Making up both the wheels are 32mm Kenda tires and inside of them are 700c high-profile alloy rims. This combination provides optimal strength and traction on multiple surfaces.
There are actually two types of frames that come in different sizes. The one presented to you comes in small to large sizes which will accommodate riders from 5’3” to 6’.
When trying to assess valid reasons one should not buy this bike, they are few and far between. Perhaps the lack of adjustability could be one but with the overall comfort provided in the first place, that even could be a stretch.
- There are twin top tubes that add to the classic style
- The included pedals have been upgraded
- Integrated reflective decaling allows visibility at night
- Due to the handlebar design, the adjustability you are provided is limited
Without the need for a tool, you can adjust the Octagon handlebar within seconds on your ride. Furthermore, both the sizing and geometry have been expertly implemented for a comfortable ride.
While one user claimed they had to adjust the brakes when the bike arrived, the dual-pivot caliper and quick release side pull ensure a safe and secure experience.
For hills, there is actually an extra-low MegaRange gear. At its core, though, this sports a drivetrain with seven different speeds and that should suffice for most riders.
Do not worry; there is no limit to the terrain you can traverse when on this bike. If the path to your destination is a little rocky, the 35mm semi-knobby tires will easily get you there.
From all the way from small to large, Montague has you covered. The smallest size can adapt to heights as low as 4’8” and the largest heights of 6’4”.
Folding bikes are logically ideal for commuting; granted you have a special location you can leave your bicycle. But, past this feature, you will fall in-love with the Crosstown because of its comfort and safety.
- Both the sizing and design were thought out well to maximize the comfort
- It can be folded down to a compact design
- Features a dual-pivot caliper with a quick release side pull
- Other than the seat, there is a lack of suspension
- The seat takes some time to get used to
Raleigh Redux 1
Thanks to the Big Ben tires and the suspension system of the Redux 1, you will not feel a majority of bumps and divots on rough roads.
It is irrelevant whether you plan on biking on rainy days or when there is not a cloud in the sky, the mechanical disc brakes of the Redux 1 can handle it. They provide ideal stopping power in any weather condition.
Up front, there is a single cog and up to eight gears to choose from. While some users have criticized this drivetrain claiming it should be upgraded, it is far from insufficient.
As was mentioned in the comfort section, the Big-Ben all-terrain tires can really handle it all. They are built to withstand encounters with potholes and any roadblock you make contact with.
This is probably not the best bike for short riders as the smallest size is recommended for people no shorter than 5’3”. Of course, if you are only off by an inch or two you should be okay.
Despite the fact that some riders will feel the drivetrain is a bit limited, the Redux 1 is going to a tremendous addition to most everyone’s daily routine. This is especially true when you take the bike’s superb tires into consideration.
- It is lightweight enough to easily be carried
- You can install rear and front racks for storage
- Features all-terrain tires
- Some riders feel the drivetrain could be upgraded
Marin San Rafael DS5
While the 63mm of suspensions assists in minimizing the shock you absorb over uneven terrain and potholes, the frame is designed in a way to improve the comfort of your riding experience.
Marin decided to go with hydraulic-disc brakes for their San Rafael DS5 and it is safe to say that was a strong call on their part. Besides being an efficient braking system, they also have all-weather performance meaning you can stop with confidence every single time.
Sometimes, too many gears can be overwhelming and all some people want is a few to select from. Being powered by a 1 x 10-speed drivetrain, Marin accomplishes this quite well.
If you ever need to ride this bike off of the beaten path, so to speak, the 700 x 40c WTB tires and double-wall rims deliver the muscle and traction that you will need.
Unfortunately, it appears that this model only comes in extra-small. Clearly, because of this, the San Rafael DS5 will be limited to a far less amount of people.
Speaking from a technical standpoint, this appears to be an absolutely fabulous piece of equipment. Yet, there has not been too much feedback from users and consumers and as such, this could be a risky purchase.
- The hydraulic-disc brakes offer all-weather stopping power
- It is lightweight, comfortable and versatile
- Getting off the bike is made easier because of the aluminum frame
- Not too much feedback to go off of
- It appears there is only one size option
The junior equip saddle gives your child much-needed support and the robust head tube does an admirable job of absorbing most of the shock and toughness from the road.
Rest easy knowing your kid is on a bike with all-weather brakes. Plus, in conjunction with the 140mm rotors, they will be able to stop at a moment’s notice when they need to.
While you may desire a plethora of different speed options, knowing your child is merely reduced to eight might be what you are looking for. At the same time, this provides them with enough speeds for enough versatility.
Despite the fact that the alloy disc-brake wheels are lightweight, they are also durable enough to handle country roads and rough terrain
Even though it has been mentioned multiple times that this is a kid’s bike, do not confuse this for an adult bike. If you are short enough, it could arguably work for you but it is specifically designed for youngsters.
Do you like your kid enough to spend this much money on them? All joking aside, this is not only a fantastic way for your child to get to school and back but it has enough versatility to be used as an everyday bicycle for them.
- Built with an aluminum frame that will not corrode
- Features an alloy crankset for superior riding
- Ideal for a plethora of uses including commuting
- Does not come with a kickstand
- The included cables are not attached well
The steel frame is complemented by the butted seat tube perfectly for an ideal amount of comfort. Also, the handlebar is adjustable and padded with gel for additional comfort.
Integrated into this road bike are front and rear alloy caliper brakes and you should be satisfied with their performance.
There happen to be some complaints about this bike but one thing is for sure, they do not stem from the gear system. Thanks to the 16-speed drivetrain with light-action shifting, you will probably have too many speeds to handle.
Both the 17mm-deep dish alloy rims (with stainless steel spokes) are covered by Hutchinson Nitro II tires. Besides delivering an adequate amount of response, they also feature an all-weather tread design.
Nearly any and all riders are accommodated for thanks to the plethora of sizing options available. All in all, there are six different sizes that cover people 4’11” to 6’4” in height.
If you can overlook the potential issues with the tires being finicky, according to some reviewers, you can get a lot out of this design. Considering how optimized it is from a comfortability standpoint, you can certainly understand why.
- It is available in six different sizes
- The tires feature an all-weather design
- It is ideal for beginners and experienced riders alike
- Some reviews allude to issues with the tires being finicky
- The seat needs to be tightened severely to prevent it from coming loose
State Bicycle Elliston
State Bicycle has revamped their previous designs to create The Elliston Deluxe which features superior tires for a cushier ride. However, one user reported that both the handlebars and seat were not padded enough.
Each of their Elliston bikes has been equipped with a coaster brake that not only provides a clean aesthetic but also delivers fantastic stopping power.
While you can upgrade to a three-speed bicycle, this is actually a single speed bike. As such, this is only going to tailor to a specific demographic of riders.
Again, with the integration of the 35c tires, the ride and experience are improved and much more comfortable in the long run.
There are three different sizes that you can select from. From small to large, riders between 4’9” to 6’1” in height can find an adequate size for them.
Is a single-speed bike worth the money? It simply depends on your preferences as it certainly can be. Sure, a single-speed bike is limited in some respects but as can be seen with this design, it certainly does not insinuate it is bad.
- The design adapts for all types of riders
- This deluxe version comes with a front basket, bell and rear pannier rack
- Features a European/Dutch style
- Both the seat and handlebars could have provided more cushion
- The chain guard is quite flimsy
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
The Comfort of the Ride
Let’s get something straight right away; there is no one on this planet that wants to commute on an uncomfortable bicycle. If you do, you are either a masochist or you seriously despise your job to death and literally do not care. Speaking for the vast majority of people, the comfort of your bike is almost everything. However, it is more in-depth than you may initially believe. Sure, basic design features such as a highly-cushioned and comfortable seat and comfortable handlebars are important. But, two other factors that come into play when determining the comfort of a bike are the suspension system and the frame construction.
As you might suspect, the suspension system is primarily important to delivering a smoother ride by absorbing most of the impact from bumps and shocks. Yet, if the suspension system is not high-quality, you may not notice a difference and clearly, this is what you want to avoid. As far as the frame construction is concerned, this can aid in how easy it is to pedal and how your body fits on the bike.
How Safe the Ride Is
When you assess the safety of a bicycle, much like you would with a vehicle, the primary component you are looking for is the brakes. For the most part, you are either going to see a bike with rim brakes or disc brakes. We are not here to debate which system is superior but just know that their major difference is how the force is applied. For rim brakes, the calipers on the outer edge of the rim apply the stopping force and disc brakes move this braking away from the rim to the rotor.
Arguably, disc brakes are preferred simply by their incredible stopping power. But, they do come in two slightly different variants; either being mechanical disc brakes or hydraulic. Between the two of them, hydraulic disc brakes tend to be a bit more expensive as they utilize sealed hydraulic fluid to control the brake pads. Meanwhile, mechanical disc brakes use a wire to connect the brake caliper and brake lever. Over time, a mechanical system will require more maintenance than a hydraulic system.
How Many Speeds You Desire
When you were growing up, if your parents bought you a bike, you probably experienced what it was like to ride a single-speed bike. To be blunt, they are not for everyone and are limited in their speed options. Sometimes, you may desire multiple speeds as this can accommodate for different types of terrain. The important detail to assess is the drivetrain on a commuter bike and how many speeds it possesses; in addition to how it is designed in the first place. For instance, let’s look at two common drivetrain designs. Firstly, the internal gear hub. What is nice about this design is not only are all the gears sealed and protected from the elements, but you can also shift gears while you are stationary.
Yet, you will find a majority of commuter bikes with an external drivetrain. As opposed to an internal gear hub, this design has all the gear sprockets on the outside of the bicycle. But, what if you have no interest in multiple speeds? In this instance, you could simply settle for a single-speed bike to eliminate the concern. However, this does extremely limit your riding.
What good is a bicycle that does not possess high-quality wheels and tires? They are another critical design feature of bikes and without a doubt, one you should spend a considerable amount of time on. Firstly, you need to assess the wheel sizes. Most commonly, you will see wheels that have a 700c rating (which simply indicates the tire’s diameter). On top of that, they will also have differing widths. In actuality, smaller wheels offer improvements in strength and are also easier to maneuver with. But, wider tires can aid in traction and can be better suited for off-road riding; which is important if your commute requires that.
Over time, though, the current tires on your bike will wear down and need to be replaced. When you need a new tire, you can then buy one based on the type of commuting you do.
The Sizing of the Bike
This may come as a shock to you but you simply can’t blindly buy any bike you want and expect it to tailor to you. Hence, this is why you see different sizes available for the same bike. Your height makes all the difference in the world as someone who stands six-feet tall will need a different bike than a 5’1” man. Have you ever stood up on a bike and noticed there was no room from the bike’s top tube and your groin? If so, you know how uncomfortable that can be and that is one factor that indicates a bike does not fit.
If you are ever confused on how you are supposed to select the right size, most manufacturers will include their recommended sizing with the corresponding heights for each size. Simply referencing this information will be paramount in finding a bike that fits you right as after all, if the bike does not fit you well the experience will be both painful and miserable.
Q: Why Do Some Bikes Not Have Kickstands?
If you are not careful in your assessment you may end up with a bike without a kickstand as you may automatically assume that all bikes come with one. The reality is, however, not all of them do and in fact, most of them will not. You may be left scratching your head at this and wondering why such an important design element is left out. The reason for this is depending on the materials of the frame and the style of the bike, some are simply not fitted for one. Yet, ironically, some riders feel that kickstands are practically worthless.
They are designed to keep your bike upright when you are not riding on it but the problem is, relying on a kickstand is not sufficient enough. With a gust of a strong wind, it may not hold up to it and could end up falling; which can lead to damage to the brake levels and derailleur.
Q: Are Smaller Wheels Slower than Larger Wheels?
This guide already touched on the importance of determining your wheel size but this is a question that has been brought up on more than one occasion. It is actually quite a tricky question to answer as you can’t necessarily come straight out with one answer. Technically speaking, if both a small wheel and large wheel are turning at the same RPM then you could get more speed out of the larger wheel. However, this can alter with the factors such as the size of the person riding the bike and the gearing system of the bike.
As such, if you are simply looking for speed than assessing just the wheel size may not prove to be sufficient for you. But, due to the lower amount of inertia smaller wheels will accelerate faster than larger wheels so that is something to consider.
Q: What Happens When you Exceed the Weight Limit on a Bike?
Yes, all bikes have a weight limit on them. Commonly, most bikes will have a weight limit somewhere within 200 to 300 pounds. Of course, there are some of you out there who may disregard this rating and ride the bike anyway. If you are a few pounds over the weight limit it should not be too big of a deal. But, if you are a 300-pounder riding on a bike with a 230-pound weight limit, serious repercussions can follow. For one, you seriously risk damaging both the wheels and the spokes that make up the rim.
What happens is the extra weight adds unnecessary stress to the bike and the first aspect to usually suffer from this will be the wheels. Given you continue to ride the bike after the spokes begin to break, the bike will eventually collapse as the core strength is being compromised.
Q: Should You Not Ride a Bike First Before You Buy It?
As great as online shopping is, there are some serious caveats that go along with it. For most people, the number one issue with online shopping is they can’t physically see what they are potentially investing in. As such, they can’t gauge how they like it and for something such as a bicycle, can’t try it out. It is no secret that being able to ride a bike before buying it is ideal. Yet, you may not be close to a retailer that will carry some of the commuter bikes listed in this guide.
Ordering online is still more than a viable option and if you do not want to take our word for it, take Raleigh’s word. They got asked this question on their FAQ page and they assured everyone that their experience has allowed them to accurately suggest a bike to a customer without them taking it for a test ride. You can assume that most manufacturers possess this same trait.
Q: Does a Folding Bike Compromise the Integrity of the Frame?
Folding bikes can make fantastic commuter bikes; as has been seen with a few entries on this list. With that being said, there is a potential concern with this type of a design. Some consumers may be suspicious of the strength of the frame and if it is compromised with an integrated folding feature. It depends on how the bike is manufactured as, to be honest, this actually can present itself as an issue. If it so happens that the folding bike pivots in the middle of the top tube then yes, this can actually weaken the frame over time.
But, if it is designed in the same manner as Montague folding bikes then this is not a concern. See, Montague incorporates a different design into their folding bikes and pivots them at the seat post to prevent the frame from being weakened.
Q: How Often Are Tune-Ups Necessary?
It is important for bike owners to understand that a tune-up is going to be necessary from time to time. Basically, this is to provide your bike with basic maintenance, such as lubricating all the moving parts and thoroughly cleaning it. This can improve the performance and also the longevity of your bike. As an owner, though, how often do you need to worry about this? Well, it really depends on how often you ride your bike and how much abuse you put it through. A casual rider who stores their bike indoors for the winter may only need to perform a tune-up once in the spring; while hardcore bikers who ride under any weather condition may need it serviced more than once a year.
Whew, there sure is a lot that goes into a commuter bike, huh? Even though this information may seem overwhelming at first, it is all critical stuff that needs to be assessed. Given how much money you could potentially spend on your next commuter bike, spending ample time researching to get the right one is certainly worth it.