Long gone are the days when the commuter bike was an old-school mountain bike with a potpourri of parts and a rear wheel that was only roughly true. A rise in people looking to build fitness, lower their carbon footprint or simply have fun while getting around has created a big market for commuter bikes — from super stylish retro single speeds to those that borrow from road bikes for speed and mountain bikes for durability. Mash all of this up with internal gearing, belt drives and integrated lighting systems, and the commuter bike suddenly forms. Here are some of our favorites for 2016.
Additional contribution by AJ Powell.
State Bicycle Co. Prescott Deluxe
Tempe, AZ based State Bicycle Co. started out making affordable single speed bikes but have since ventured into the world of commuting and most recently mountain bikes. Their flagship commuter bike, the Prescott Deluxe, is a classic silhouette with handy features like fenders, a bottle opener, a rear pannier and a front luggage rack.
Trek District 9
Trek’s District 9 follows the same design principles as the Prescott Deluxe, but incorporates a Shimano Acera 9 speed groupset, which allows you to take on hills like a champ. It also features mechanical disc brakes, which provide consistent braking power even in wet conditions.
This is the pinnacle of Priority’s bike design. The Eight, which is available via a sign-up page on their website, features a comfortable geometry, fenders, disc brakes for stopping in all conditions, Continental puncture resistant tires, a Gates Carbon Drive and an FSA Crankset.
Folding bikes are perfect for those who commute via bus or train, but have longer trips to and from the stations. UK-based Brompton makes some of the finest folding bikes with an easy mechanism to fold it up and tuck it away. It also comes with built in fenders to save you from getting soaked when riding through a puddle.
Low MKI Cross
If your commute takes you through some less-than-smooth roads and gravel paths, the Low MKI Cross is a great choice. It is designed to fit knobby tires that provide plenty of traction, and its geometry is designed to be comfortable, even when tearing across a park. Each MKI Cross is handmade in San Francisco from Easton 7005 double butted aluminum tubing.
Cannondale Bad Boy 1
We labeled the Bad Boy 1 as “perfect” when we reviewed it last year and we stand by our assessment. It features everything you want in a commuter bike — built-in lights, 50mm of suspension, disc brakes and a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub (instead of a rear derailleur) which will keep your bike shifting smoother, longer.
Faraday Porteur S
The Faraday Porteur S is a simple and affordable electric bike. It is built on a classic chassis but is packed with helpful tech like built in lights, an electric pedal assist motor, a built drive and fenders. Each Faraday is also available with a host of accessories including fenders, a Brooks Saddle and a security kit.
Budnitz No. 3
The Budnitz No. 3 is a commuter bike that has a mean streak and likes to be ridden fast. The titanium frame has a semi-racy geometry and accommodates 29-inch wheels which allow you to run tires up to 2.35-inches wide. It is also available with a low maintenance 14-Speed Rohloff Speedhub and comes standard with a Gates Carbon Drive belt.
The Stromer ST2 is the Rolls Royce of commuter bikes. It is incredibly fast, and can hit speeds up to 28 mph. It is also extremely comfortable, soaking up bumps in the road and staying on course. Like most electric bikes, the Stromer is very heavy, so it’s likely not meant for those living in a 4th floor walkup.