If you’re shopping for one of the best commuter bikes, we salute you. Not only are you declaring a stern refusal to intense rush hour public transport, but you’ll also be doing your part to reduce unsustainable car exhaust, while also improving your fitness by ending your workday with exercise. Not to mention the mental euphoria you feel when cycling outdoors to and from get off work.
While technically any bike can be considered a “commuter vehicle” — be it road, hybrid, gravel, electric, or otherwise — some types of bikes are better suited for this role than others . Mountain bikes, for example, have been fine-tuned for rough roads and rocky terrain, taking into account different riding positions and are more suited to trail bikes than tarmac.
All of this makes this sometimes overly specialized field of shopping pretty unwieldy. So, before you ditch public transportation entirely, here we take you through everything you need to look for in a commuter bike before getting into our pick of the best whips.
What to consider when buying a commuter bike
The type of commuter you choose will depend on several factors, including the type of ground you ride on (most likely asphalt), the slope of your commute (hopefully fairly flat), your post-ride storage facilities and your travel distance. In this case, every aspect of the bike is taken into account.
saddle. A comfortable ride is key, and any cyclist who wants to go out on the best commuter bike without a numb ass should consider their seat a top priority. The good news is that it’s easy to buy and individually install a comfortable saddle, so if you’re really interested in a quality commuter car and the saddle isn’t comfortable, don’t let that put you off completely. Check that the saddle is at a neutral angle so you don’t slide forward or backward while riding, and keep the saddle level or even slightly above the handlebar.
handle. Racers and long-travel bikes tend to have drop-down handlebars, while commuters tend to have flat handlebars, which are lighter and less unwieldy on busy roads. Flat handlebars are also an option if you want to add a basket or rear rack to carry everyday essentials and avoid a sweaty back. Wider bars can be awkward for commuting in the city, especially if you need to pass small spaces, but for beginners climbing hills, it can prove very useful.
frame. Usually made of steel, carbon or aluminum, your bike’s frame needs to be comfortable and allow for easy movement. Steel and aluminum frames tend to be more resilient, while carbon fiber bike frames are lightweight but expensive. Make sure you have space between your crotch and the top tube, which is either angled or straight horizontal. You should also be able to reach the handlebars with your elbows slightly bent (your saddle may need to be readjusted for this to work).