Bike to Work in Style

This Year’s Best Commuter Bikes for Any Budget


December 26, 2017 Buying Guides By

Last Updated October, 2017: We’ve added new picks and insights. Prices and links have also been updated.

Editor’s Choice: Trek CrossRip 2

Trek designed the CrossRip 2 to do more than just get you from A to B, but it’ll still do that incredibly well. The CrossRip 2 has a road geometry and drop bars for fitness riding and longer jaunts and enough tire clearance to equip it with rubber burly enough to take on gravel. It also has mounting points for fenders and racks if you travel with more than just a backpack. If you only have room for one bike in your tiny urban apartment, consider this one.



Introduction

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 and Tanner Bowden.

The 9 Best Bikes for Urban Commuting

Best Budget Commuter: Priority Bicycles Classic 2.0 Gotham Edition

Priority Bicycle’s Classic 2.0 Gotham Edition is a utilitarian commuter bike with a Gates Carbon Belt drive and a Shimano internal hub shifter that need little maintenance, matched with a sleek matte black frame. The geometry is comfortable and suitable for a wide range of riders. Whether you’re going to and from the grocery store or getting in a few spirited miles on the way to work, the Classic 2.0 Gotham Edition will get you there comfortably and stylishly.

Best Full-Featured Commuter: State Bicycle Co. Elliston Deluxe

State Bicycle Co. designed the Elliston Deluxe to ride well and look great doing it. The single-speed steel commuter is available in three sizes (the medium is available with three speeds for an additional fee), each of which are equipped with mustache handlebars, coaster brakes and 35c tires. Beyond those crucial functional elements, the Elliston comes with front and rear racks, a bell and of course, a bottle opener.

Most Stylish Commuter: Raleigh Carlton 8

Raleigh’s eight-speed Carlton is a solid affordable option that doesn’t need customization. The Carlton uses a steel, diamond-shaped frame with dual top tubes as a base for a range of good components including a Shimano drivetrain, front and rear fenders and a low-profile basket that contains an unfinished wooden platform. Additional details include a bell and reflective tape on the frame (for those who arrive early and leave late).

Best Commuter for Storing in an Apartment: Brompton

commuter-bikes-gear-patrol-brompton

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.

Best for Riding Beyond the Commute: Trek CrossRip 2

Trek designed the CrossRip 2 to do more than just get you from A to B, but it’ll still do that incredibly well. The CrossRip 2 has a road geometry and drop bars for fitness riding and longer jaunts and enough tire clearance to equip it with rubber burly enough to take on gravel. It also has mounting points for fenders and racks if you travel with more than just a backpack. If you only have room for one bike in your tiny urban apartment, consider this one.

Best Rough Road Commuter: 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.

Best Commuter for Roadies: Cannondale Bad Boy 1

We labeled the Bad Boy 1 as “perfect” when we reviewed it 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.

Most Unique Frame Design: Budnitz No. 3

commuter-bikes-gear-patrol-budnitz

The Budnitz No. 3 is a commuter bike that has a mean streak and likes to be ridden fast. The steel (or 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.

Best Commuter E-Bike: Specialized Turbo Vado


Specialized designed the Turbo Vado to be a bike first. That means the mechanical system is fully integrated, with internally routed cables and a concealed motor. It’s sleek and uncluttered, and for the most part looks like a normal bicycle. The 40-cell battery and belt-driven motor, which together power the Turbo Vado to speeds up to 28 mph, is fully incorporated into the downtube of the E5 aluminum frame. Components include an 11-speed Shimano cassette and front and rear Tektro Zurich custom hydraulic disc brakes. There are also built-in extras, made possible by the electronic system, like a removable handlebar-mounted display and a brake-responsive tail light integrated into the rear rack.

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