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The Best Commuter Bikes You Can Buy Right Now

The Best Commuter Bikes You Can Buy Right Now

Even if most of the world returns to the traditional office, the way we commute will likely become more dependent on bicycles thanks to the newfound freedom many of us have rediscovered on two wheels. And urban areas have also become more bike-friendly to promote pedaled commuting. So, what should you look for in a commuter bike?

What Makes a Good Commuter Bike?

Although the commuter bike segment encompasses a broad swath of many different bike categories, they’re generally more comfortable to ride, more robust than dedicated road bikes, and less trail-focused than mountain bikes. Some qualify as “city bikes” based on their upright riding position, standard fenders, folding capability, or cargo versatility, while other commuter bikes are generally more well-rounded and can be ridden for overall fitness and recreation. We’ve chosen twelve excellent bikes that will work for biking commuters of all kinds. No matter which one you choose, always remember to ride smart and always wear a helmet.


Priority Bicycles Ace of Spades

This belt-driven alloy and carbon fiber speedster is not only light and fast, but it’s also remarkably low maintenance sans chain and traditional gearing that require lubrication. The Gates Carbon Drive and unique flip-flop rear hub provide tremendous flexibility, and its carbon-fiber seat post and front fork help dampen the ride. A mere 22-pound weight means it won’t burden your efforts to get where you need to go. Buy directly from Priority with shipping as little as $30. $499


Canyon Bikes Roadlite 7

Canyon’s direct-to-consumer business model lets them sell you more bikes for less, and that’s certainly the case with the urban-friendly hybrid Roadlite 7. The aluminum frame has beautiful geometry that’s kept clean via internal cable routing, while the carbon front fork keeps things in control over street bumps and divots. Powerful hydraulic disc brakes bring you to an authoritative stop. And the Shimano Ultegra groupset ensures smooth and quick shifts. Even though it’s ready for fast workout rides, it’s also just as content taking your butt to work. Canyon bikes are only available in small batches directly from their website. Their newsletter isn’t the fastest to get out, so make sure to check in often for first dibs. $1,399


Marin Bikes Presidio 3

The Presidio 3 is truly greater than the sum of its already awesome parts lineup. The lightweight aluminum frame, fuss-free belt drive, Shimano Nexus 8D 8-speed internally geared hub, internal cable routing, hydraulic disc brakes, and puncture-resistant tires make it ideal for the urban commuter. The upright riding position will keep you comfortable for long stints in the saddle, and the two-sided cleated commuter pedals provide sure-footedness. It comes with standard 700C wheels for improved stability and speed. Best of all, it’s only a smidge above a grand. Buy through your local Marin dealer. $1,129


Detroit Bikes E-Sparrow

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don’t have to commit financial Hara-Kiri to get a great commuting e-bike. The E-Sparrow turns Detroit Bikes’ already solid Sparrow platform and adds a rear hub motor and a lithium battery to make longer, harder commutes that much easier. With a 25-mile electric range and 17 mph electric top speed, you’ll be at the office before you know it. The aluminum frame, mechanical disc brakes, and upright riding position ensure comfort and safety, while the very black coloring keeps things muy urbane. Buy directly from Detroit Bikes online. $1,099


Cannondale Bad Boy 1

The Bad Boy practically started the hybrid city bike craze, and it’s only gotten better over time. The Bad Boy 1 is painted black (of course) and has that now-famous single arm front fork, maneuverable 650b wheels, and a super-clean belt drive and internal hub gearing system that makes upkeep a breeze. The Lefty LightPipe fork even comes with its own integrated LED bike light, while the seatpost houses an integrated taillight to keep things properly minimalist. It’s damned popular, so it runs out of stock often. But check back online or look up a local Cannondale dealer. $2,250


Orbea Vector Drop LTD

This baby looks like it was born for the city. The important bits include Orbea’s tapered tube aluminum frame, a pavement-eating 700c400C max tire size, low-maintenance hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Tiagra groupset, LED head and taillights, alloy mudguards, and drop bar. It even comes with a rear luggage carrier for those panniers you said you’d never get. Check often on Orbea’s site for small batches of stock for this very popular urban bike. $2,099


Surly Cross Check

If it’s a classic look and a smoother ride you desire, look no further than the affordable Surly Cross Check. The Chromoly frame is light and shock absorbent for easy management of less-than-perfect surfaces. The flat bar and riding position ensure comfort on your commutes, and the Tektro M730 V-brakes provide top-notch stopping power for a more traditional brake setup. The best thing is the truly affordable price point. Check with your local Surly dealer for availability. $899


Seven Cycles Greenway SL

A titanium commuter bike is light (a 3.3-lb frame!), tough, and seriously premium, and the Greenway SL is the tops. The Greenway SL has a full titanium frame, hydraulic brakes, and reflective sidewall tires for ideal visibility. Full front and rear fenders keep your office garb clean, too. You can also upgrade to your heart’s desire. Choose from features like a carbon belt drive, electronic shifting, custom paint, fender mounts, etc. Order directly from Seven Cycles. $6,000+


Xtracycle RFA

Cargo bikes are generally long and bulky, so they’re not well-suited for commutes, but the RFA is different. Its compact dimensions make it maneuverable, while its adjustable wheelbase makes it very versatile. It also has the benefit of electric power to give you a boost, as well as a 30- to 60-mile range and torquey uphill assist. The low-step-over height geometry makes for easy ingress and egress. And cargo-carrying options front and rear mean you can ditch the sling bag. $5,000


Tern Bicycles Eclipse P20

No commuter bike list would be complete without a good folding bike that doesn’t make you look like a dork. The P20’s simple folding mechanism makes jumping on a train or bus with your wheels as easy as pie. And the larger 26″ Rolf Paired Spoke wheels provide great looks and better stability. A 20-speed Tiagra gearset is reliable and quick-shifting, the Kojak road tires roll smoothly and provide puncture protection, and the Tektro hydraulic brakes make short stops. One of our favorite features is the Syntace VRO adjustable stem that allows you to choose your riding position. Purchase the Eclipse P20 directly through your local Tern dealer. $1,699


Evil Bikes Chamois Hagar

We’d buy this bike for its name alone. But the brilliant design is the main attraction. Part drop-handled gravel bike, part mountain bike, the Chamois Hagar shows there’s more than one way to rock the commute. The crazy 66.67-degree headtube angle, 50mm stem, and quick-adjust dropper post mean you can take on just about any commute surface, while the 650-700C tire accommodation lets you pick your poison up to a fat 50 width. Buy the frame only or have one built up for you, the flavor is all badass. Find a local dealer or check back on the site for stock. $2,799+


State Bicycles Elliston Deluxe

If you don’t want to plunk down a grand or more on a city bike, and you’re not traveling long distances to and from work, the Elliston Deluxe is just about perfect. The tough steel frame and upright position suit just about anyone who’s not looking to break a land speed record, and the grip shift and the 3-speed internal hub gearing are a cinch for the city. Fenders and cargo racks are standard, making the Elliston Deluxe a classic beast of burden. $569

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