Commuting by bike is healthier and more environmentally friendly than driving, faster than walking and cheaper than MetroCards worth a few months. But getting started can be intimidating. If you're interested in riding to work, you may be wondering how to carry your things, where to store your bike, what to do when it rains, and most importantly, what type of bike to buy.
To demystify the process, we spoke to bike dealers, retailers, and advocates of bike traffic. They explained what features to look for on commuter-specific bikes and how much you should be willing to spend. While a top-class aerodynamic road bike can throw you back a couple of giants, the experts we spoke to agreed that you could find a reliable commuter bike in the $ 350 to $ 750 range. But be careful with anything that is much cheaper, as they are likely to have lower quality parts that wear out faster. Read on for their 16 choices for the best commuter bikes (most are available in men's and women's versions) on the market. Because these bikes are all so different and each rider has their own needs, we have organized the suggestions by category – hybrid, upright, and collapsible – rather than choosing the best overall model.
Best hybrid commuter bikes
Jamis Coda S3
The experts we spoke to recommend “hybrids” as the best pendulum bikes for most people because they offer part of the speed of a road bike as well as the robustness and comfort of a simpler stationary bike (more about the stands). Alex Gonzalez, sales specialist for action sports at REI Soho, describes hybrids as “a mixture of road and mountain bikes”. The tires are somewhere between the narrow, smooth tires of a racing bike and the wide, nubby tires of a mountain bike, and the frame lets you sit upright, in a "more relaxed" position than if you were sitting on a racing bike. Susi Wunsch, founder of Velojoy, the bicycle lifestyle website, says: “A hybrid is more versatile, especially if you drive to work as well as to work out on the weekend. It also gets a bit easier and faster. "Instead of the wide grips you'll find on an upright bike, hybrids generally have a flat handlebar that allows a more active riding position and the ability to accommodate attachments such as fenders and luggage racks (if not already included).
The Coda, a sports hybrid, is recommended by Rich Conroy, director of education at Bike New York. He says he is a pendulum bike that is durable enough for the city streets. The steel frame isn't as light as an aluminum frame bike, but it says that for the price, you get a solid bike that's strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of everyday commuting.
Giant Escape 3
According to Andrew Crooks, owner of the NYC Velo bike shop, this ferris wheel is the cheapest hybrid on our list (around $ 20) and another simple but solid commuter bike that doesn't break the bank good value. "In particular, it does Lighter aluminum frame found on more expensive racing bikes, and 21 gears, giving you plenty of options to adjust your riding style and adapt to the terrain.
Due to potholes and bumpy roads, flat tires are one of the most common problems that commuters face in the city – and one that can mean they appear late for work. The eight-speed alibi, which also has an aluminum frame, was a top choice for both John Keoshgerian from Zen Bike and Charlie McCorkell from Bicycle Habitat, as its semi-rigid tires never flatten out. "This is a response from new commuters," said Keoshgerian. "If you don't want to bother pumping a tire, a flat bike is pretty damn good."
Pure urban commuter bike
According to Gonzalez, this eight-speed bike from Pure Cycles is a "great commuter bike," especially because it's so difficult to find a solid bike with disc brakes at this price. "Disc brakes are much quieter than traditional rim brakes and are great for stopping," he says, adding that disc brakes generally require less maintenance. This bike uses mechanical disc brakes as opposed to hydraulic disc brakes, which are more advanced but also more expensive. It has a steel frame, so it's not as light as an aluminum frame bike, but Gonzalez and the other experts told us that many commuters prefer steel because it is more portable and durable.
Crooks told us that Kona makes some great commuter bikes, and for a mid-priced option, he recommends a bike from the Dew line. "Kona is an old school mountain bike company," he says, adding that he likes how "it has transferred much of the durability of their mountain bikes to the hybrid." Like the Pure Cycles bike above, this is an eight-speed with mechanical disc brakes. However, the Kona has a lighter aluminum frame.
Specialized CrossTrail hydraulic disc
For a slightly higher price, you can purchase an aluminum frame hybrid wheel with hydraulic disc brakes that stop the wheel with a pressurized fluid. "It's the same fluid that brakes your car," said Jonnie Ling of the Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon. Ling told us that while both types of disc brakes are better than rim brakes, hydraulic discs are "more powerful and responsive" and do not require as much pressure to activate. Hydraulic disc brakes are also fully sealed, which is one of the reasons why Keoshgerian calls them "a crucial New York must" when dealing with bad weather and rough roads. He likes that the CrossTrail includes this feature and is still a relatively affordable bike.
Cannondale Quick CX 3
Unlike mountain bikes, hybrids usually don't have shock absorbers. That is why Gonzalez is a fan of the Cannondale Quick CX 3 aluminum frame. “The front shock absorbers are good if you are not driving on slippery roads. They absorb the imperfections on the road. "He adds:" It would be great for people who have to walk paths or cut through a park on their way to work. "(It also has 16 gears to" climb bridges and hills ".) Between the front bumpers, the This hybrid should be able to keep up with most mountain bikes in the gear area and the broadly structured tires.
It may not seem intuitive if a steel frame hybrid is the most expensive option on this list, especially considering that another steel frame hybrid is the least expensive in summary. However, Crooks repeated some of his colleagues, telling us that most hardcore city bikers actually prefer steel. "Steel wheels are basically universal among NYC Velo employees," he says, noting that the material is "more flexible" than aluminum, which makes it naturally shock-absorbing and, as already mentioned, extremely durable. For shorter distances and light to average use, the comparatively less maintenance and the lower weight of aluminum is better. However, if you want something to be really durable, you may be better off with steel. Crooks says that while this model is expensive, the price is justified by the particularly "high quality steel and components". It's also "super useful," he says, adding that it "has a number of brackets for each bag or frame."
Best upright commuter bikes
Public Bikes V7 seven-speed city bike
This style is commonly referred to as an "upright" bike or "cruiser" and places great emphasis on comfort. Therefore, many of the commuters we talk about prefer that people prefer them for shorter trips. As Crooks explains, these motorcycles sit in a comfortable position. You are fairly upright, with no strain on your back or neck to look at traffic signals, cars, or other road users. "When it comes to choosing an upright bike, Desire recommends one with multiple gears, like this classic-looking seven-speed bike from Public, to give you some options when riding up hills.
Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Franklin 3rd
Choosing a single speed bike may save you some money. However, since most commuters include hills or bridges, Conroy agrees that a multi-speed style would be better for regular commuting. If seven gears seem too much, the Franklin 3 is a three-speed bike with a hub with internal gear recommended by him. According to Conroy, it “looks like one speed, but all gears are in the hub. The chain does not move when shifting, so it is easy to use and maintain and looks good. "
Linus Dutchi 1
Wunsch likes upright step-through bikes with low top tubes because she says the design allows for more modesty and comfort – especially for those who wear skirts or dresses to work. If you are looking for a way through, she says: "The Dutch-style stationary bike is the simplest, most robust and least complicated (type). Best for trips in mostly flat terrain and on shorter distances."
Linus Roadster Sport
The Linus Roadster is a stylish upright bike that McCorkell likes for riders who want comfort and style ahead of speed. He recommends upright bikes for those who are looking for the so-called "retro urban style" – or bikes that are similar to the European models of the 60s and 70s and have been updated and modernized so that they are not so heavy. The Roadster Sport is also fully equipped with a luggage rack where you can carry your belongings and fenders to protect you and your bike from dirty, wet roads.
Best foldable commuter bikes
Brompton M6L folding bike
City commuters love the convenience of space-saving folding bikes, but a smooth and user-friendly folding mechanism can be an investment. When it comes to folding pendulum bikes, Brompton is the absolute favorite among our experts, four of whom recommend the top model. It was also the first choice for the streets blog editor Gersh Kuntzman, who tested a variety of folding bikes for us. While the Brompton is expensive, Kuntzman thought it was really the best. As he puts it: "Every part of this bike has been designed for maximum compactness." Conroy agrees: “If money doesn't matter, go with a Brompton. They are really well-made folding bikes that cannot be folded into anything. "Crooks, also a Brompton fan, says that the" utility of the bike offers a much easier way to do multimodal commuting: you can take a folding bike on the train during rush hour without disturbing your commuters, and then put the bike in unfold a matter of seconds and finish your way. "And McCorkell says it is" a visual experience "to see it fold seamlessly.
According to Crooks, Brompton motorcycles made in England are extremely well designed. "All things that normally fail (like other folding bikes), such as hinges, are bombproof on the Brompton." He adds that unlike other folding bikes that "usually need an extra bag or strap," "Brompton's is complete are folded together and are equipped with miniature wheels so that you can slide them along when folded. ”Another practical feature is the fact that the bike can carry itself when folded. "You fold it in half and it becomes its own stand," says Gonzalez.
Dahon starts D8
Wunsch recommends Dahon folding bikes for a cheaper alternative to Brompton, and Kuntzman's tests have confirmed this: The Dahon Launch D8 was his “second”. In his test, Kuntzman describes the D8 as reduced, without fenders or luggage rack, but says that it has a "sexy, yet robust aluminum frame" and does well where it matters most. In particular, "it can be folded up and compacted to half its size with magnets that hold the wheels together," and it was the only model he tested with disc brakes.
Tern Link C8 folding bike
The manufacturer Tern is generally known for its foldable electric bikes and also produces normal folding bikes. For something even more budget-friendly, Keoshgerian recommends entry-level models like this C8. While it's still not cheap, it's almost half the price of the Brompton.
Giant Expressway folding bike
The cheapest folding bike for commuting recommended by our experts is the Giant Expressway. Crooks says that "due to the nature of the frame design – the top tube is very low – most people can ride it, so it's good for people who have problems fitting other bikes." It also made our list of the best folding bikes. Kuntzman says that "of all the models tested, it works best like a real bike," and that it has a "strong, proprietary Aluxx aluminum frame that provides extra support when driving up a steep incline."
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