Commuter bikes are designed to combine the reliability of mountain bikes with the comfort of road bicycles in a blend that makes them quite versatile overall. Along with getting the best of both worlds, you also get a recreational benefit due to their decent speed and maneuverability. It is for this reason that some people refer to commuter bikes as ‘recreational’ bikes although this isn’t a sentiment we would necessarily agree with.
As the name would suggest, these bikes are mostly designed for daily commuting, usually to and from work somewhere close enough for a bike ride. These bikes are becoming increasingly popular nowadays as people prefer eco-friendly alternatives to heavy polluting cars and SUVs. Not only that but bikes are also a lot easier to maneuver within an urban environment, easily avoiding traffic on crowded streets.
Given the versatile nature of commuter bikes, you have many things to consider when assessing such a bike, starting from the construction and reliability to the ease of use and its maintenance. With this in mind, let us point out that the market has quite a lot to offer when it comes to commuter bikes; so much, in fact, that we thought it would be wise to put together a list of the ten best commuter bikes money can buy for you to look at.
Best Commuter Bikes – Reviews
10Vilano Urbana Single Speed Folding Bike
Offering a classic yet reliable design, this is a modern folding bike by most standards, a single-speed commuter bike that can be used by most casual riders. It features a quality suspension saddle and great mustache handlebars for riding comfort and control, while the track-style frame plus 700c alloy wheels deliver stability. Simple and elegant, its coaster brake system allows braking with the feet, and since it eliminates much of the cabling that commuter bikes generally use, the bike looks more elegant in terms of aesthetics. Also worth noting are its convenient pedals and a kickstand that comes with the bike.
9Schwinn Men’s Wayfarer Hybrid Bike
The Schwinn Wayfarer is a men’s hybrid commuter bike with 7-speed shifters and proprietary rear derailleur, reliable alloy brakes. Its steel-made retro frame provides unique style, while its spring seat is comfortable for urban rides. The bike also features brakes in the rear and front while an upright riding design helps you maneuver it at any speed. At the same time, the bike comes with a few other interesting features like a capacity to protect your clothes as you ride. Then again, this has to be among the most sought-after features in a commuter bike.
8GMC Denali Road Bike
This is a great choice for a commuter bike, a 21-speed model with a lightweight but very sturdy aluminum frame. A great stopping efficiency is ensured by its alloy calipers and brake levers, with premium-grade alloy Vitesse rims adding to remarkable performance. Thanks to integrated Shimano Revo shifters, you can shift gears without taking your hands off the handlebars for added confidence and safety. We should also point out that its drivetrain is completed by a Shimano derailleur for smooth and quick gear changes. This will enable you to regulate not only your speed with relative ease but your cruising comfort as well.
7Pure City Dutch Style Commuter Bike
Designed with the enthusiastic city rider in mind, this is a bike with which you will love to commute around town over and over again. Each of its components is selected for the best riding performance possible, a construction that recommends it for anyone who intends to use it regularly. In this respect, you can opt for a single speed, a 3 speed Shimano Nexus hub, or even an external eight-speed cassette for the gearing which is suitable for your character. The bike also features a rear rack with a bell and front/rear fenders for good measure.
6Critical Cycles Beaumont-7
Any urban dweller who loves commuting with bikes should love the Critical Cycles Beaumont-7 for its style alone. It is a bike you can count on, owing to a step-thru design that makes it easy to mount on and ideal for any stature, dress style, or age. Coupled with rear and front alloy brakes, its Shimano 7-speed drive-train and the Revo-Shift shifters deliver the ultimate riding precision and control. This is precisely what a modern commuter bike should look like in regards to regulating speed and cruising parameters, which is also why this particular bike enjoys a rapidly increasing popularity.
5Kent Northwoods Springdale Women’s Hybrid Bike
Designed for around-city commuting as well as recreational use, this is another reliable women’s hybrid bike model you can go for. This particular bike boasts a lightweight yet strong aluminum frame and quality wheels and tires for stable, comfortable riding. It also has a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur, offering 21-speed shifters for easy up or downhill cruises. Its linear pull brakes deliver great stopping confidence and power while its other highlights include a rear rack, quick-release seat clamps, and fenders. Then again, these are the exact inbuilt accessories one should look for in a high-end commuter bike.
4Vilano Shadow Road Bike
Although an entry level model by most standards, the Vilano Shadow is perfectly suited for your commuting purposes, besides other applications like exercising or recreational use. On its strong but lightweight performance aluminum frame, we find integrated Shimano STI brake lever and shifters, offering better stopping and gear changing ease along with great precision when riding on rough terrain. This ingenious design puts you in full control of the bike’s speed and traction, doing so without having any impact on your riding comfort or affecting its overall maneuverability.
3Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Commuting Bike
The Giordano Libero 1.6 is a beautifully designed men’s road/commuter bike with a lightweight but firm aluminum frame. It boasts high-performance Shimano Claris 16-speed STI shifters along derailleurs matched to a dedicated compact crank to make uphill rides less demanding. The bike also features lightweight yet incredibly strong aluminum wheels, adding to the remarkable performance this bike delivers overall. When combined with a relatively lightweight frame, these features recommend the Giordano Libero 1.6 as one of the most easy to maneuver bikes in this price range.
2Schwinn Men’s Siro Hybrid Bike
If you are on the lookout for a bike that you could take cruising your neighborhood, leisurely ride at will, or commuting with style and flare, then the Schwinn Siro 700c Hybrid might just be what you need. It is a men’s model that features a sturdy yet balanced proprietary quality aluminum frame and suspension fork for a smooth, comfortable ride. Its Shimano 21-speed rear derailleur integrates Shimano E-Fire shifters, allowing quick, easy gear changes. The bike also features high-grade alloy wheels with a quick-release fore-wheel, all of which being lightweight yet strong, while a wide saddle coupled with suspension seat post ensures a greater riding comfort.
1Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
Featuring a reliable aluminum city frame, padded saddle, suspension seat post, and a shock-absorbing Schwinn suspension fork, the Schwinn’s Discovery is a men’s hybrid comfort bike designed to meet the highest possible standards for commuting or leisurely rides. Among its many ingenious features, we find 21-speed SRAM shifters allowing quick, simple gear shifting, a Shimano rear derailleur, Promax linear pull brakes, a Schwinn quality alloy crank, a convenient handlebar with easy-adjust stem, a rear gear carrier, and impressively durable fenders. Overall, it is perhaps one of the best commuter bikes the market has to offer right now.
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What To Look For In A Commuter Bike
Due to the broad and versatile nature of commuter bikes, you are advised to use your own judgment when choosing a bike for yourself. This is because commuter bikes have come a long way over the years engineering-wise, meaning that you are unlikely to get a sub-par model as long as you’re buying a reputable brand. Even so, some of these bikes definitely stand out from the others due to their particularities, which you can use to determine whether a bike meets your needs or not. Before getting there, however, we should perhaps understand the nature of these bikes by looking at how they’re built:
You have to understand that commuter bikes are designed to incorporate the best features of mountain bikes and casual road bikes into a practical blend without losing any of the benefits each style of bike has to offer. While some of them use larger tires for added comfort, others employ powerful disc brakes to increase control. It is for this reason that you must first understand what makes a good commuter bike design-wise, so that you may make a wiser decision when you finally make a purchase.
Steel Frame – It used to be that all bikes were made of steel back in the day, a tradition that seems to have died off over the years. Although very sturdy and resistant, steel frames are somewhat heavier than their modern counterparts, even though they make up in practicality what they lack in weight. Bikes made with a steel frame are generally easy to maintain and even easier to repair when it comes to dents or bends.
Carbon Fiber Frame – These bikes are a lot lighter in weight than steel bikes, which recommends them for people who enjoy a more sporty approach to riding their bike. The greatest advantage of using a nonmetal like carbon in the making of a bike is the increased stiffness and strength in areas where steel bikes would have needed extra binding. At the same time, carbon fiber frames make bikes more affordable due to being easier to make.
Aluminum Frame – Aluminum bikes tend to be quite stiff, lightweight, and reasonably strong. As such, bicycles with an aluminum frame deliver an excellent power transfer along with a smaller shock absorption. This ensures that the rider experiences a much smoother ride, even when riding across rough terrain. Then again, the purpose of commuter bikes isn’t to be ridden off-road but rather on a relatively even terrain.
Titanium Frame – Bikes made with a titanium frame are usually top-notch, mostly because of how expensive they are. With the increase in price, however, you are also guaranteed a much smoother and comfortable riding experience, devoid of any surface vibration to speak off. This is owed to the fact that titanium delivers an inherent flex, similar to well-made steel frames to some extent yet in a more lightweight package.
Although the design and purpose of gears are pretty straightforward with most bike types, with commuter bikes you can expect the gears to present a more flexible design. Many of these bikes use either double or triple chainrings, each with their own particularities. Double chainrings, for example, are perfect for changing gears rapidly across an entire speed range, thus allowing you to either rise or drop in gear at a moment’s notice. With triple chainrings, on the other hand, you lose the speed but gain a much more precise gear change range, many of these tweaks happening in the low-end gear range.
It is fairly important for any bikes to have decent brakes, not just for their maneuverability but for your safety as well. In this respect, some commuter bikes employ hydraulic disc brakes while others use either mechanical disc brakes, dual pivot caliper brakes, or v-brakes. With hydraulic brakes, you get a superior bundle of power, control, and reliability, characteristics that will surely help you when riding across particularly rough or wet terrain. You can also opt for v-brakes or dual pivot caliper models which are a lot more reliable without losing any of the bike’s maneuverability.
For the most part, commuter bikes benefit from some pretty ingenious accessories like pannier racks, mudguards, or kickstands. They are intended to provide you with an added level of control and stability when riding the bike on dangerous terrain while boosting the rider’s comfort levels on even ground. Commuter bikes with rear rack mounts, for instance, are perfect for people who also like to do a bit of shopping on their daily commute or for people who have to carry items that they cannot put inside their pockets. Last but not least, you definitely want a bike with a mudguard, not only for the protection they offer when it’s raining outside and there is a risk of getting dirty but also to protect you from any small objects that the
wheels might throw at you as you ride.