Which Bike to Buy for Commuting to Work

Welcome! You’ve decided to start commuting to work by bike but undecided on what type of bike is best suited for your commute. We’ve put this post together to help inform on what types of bikes work best depending on the type of commute.


Why is Choosing the Right Bike for Commuting Important?

Choosing the right bike for commuting is especially important as you will end up spending a lot of time on the thing. Nothing is worse than a bike is either uncomfortable or not suited for your commute.

Some of the issues you may experience with choosing the wrong bike:

  • Impractical to take on public transport due to bulk
  • Not suited for hilly terrain
  • Uncomfortable on bumpy dirt tracks
  • Slow on city streets

For this reason, we recommend considering the following when making a decision on a bike:

  • Will you be riding on country roads/tracks or city streets?
  • Will you be taking the bike on public transport and need to fold it up?
  • Do you want comfort or speed?
  • Are you after lightness or toughness?

There’s the perfect bike out there for everyone but you need to first ask yourself what type of riding it is that you will be doing. There’s no point buying a bike that’s suited for road riding if you will be doing the majority of your riding along bumpy fire trail tracks.


Road Bikes

Example of a road bike

Road bikes are generally what most people think of when they think of a bike. Known for their drop handlebars which help put you in a more horizontal riding position to help with speed and aerodynamics, the road bike will suit some commuters better than others. 

Road bikes are made in a variety of different materials from carbon (super lightweight) to aluminium and all the way to steel (more durable but slightly heavier). We recommend steering away from carbon bikes as they are not durable enough to cope with the conditions of commuting where a small crash could affect the integrity of the carbon on the bike. 

Instead, look for a road bike that’s either aluminium or steel as this will better withstand the conditions of commuting but also come with additional extras such as the ability to attach mudguards or panniers.

Luckily in recent times we have seen road bikes evolve to include options previously only seen in mountain bikes such as disc brakes, suspension and fatter tyres. We will look to cover these types of bikes in the next section.

What type of commuters does a road bike favour?

  • Someone who is looking for speed over comfort
  • Someone who is happy to feel every bump on the road due to no suspension and skinny tyres
  • Someone that wants something that will be quick to ride up hilly terrain
  • Someone who has a long commute

What type of commuter does a road bike not favour?

  • Someone who needs to venture off road from time to time
  • Someone not confident riding in the rain with skinny tyres
  • Someone with a short commute
Bestseller No. 1
700c Road Bike City Commuter Bicycle with 21 Speeds Drivetrain, Mens/Womens Hybrid Road Bike Aluminum Full Suspension Road Bike for Intermediate to Advanced Riders (Black)
  • Premium, richly padded saddle includes dual springs for real comfort; Ergonomic grips are molded to match the contour and feel of your hand, almost like a glove; slight-rise handlebar enables upright riding for more comfort; bell/kickstand included
  • Lightweight alloy linear pull brakes with machined alloy wheel rims enable superior brake pad contact to deliver smooth, stopping power; all-terrain tread on the 700C tires enhances rolling momentum for less resistance between you and your destination
  • It is an affordable entry level 21 speed road bike well suited for commuting. It features a lightweight aluminum frame , a drivetrain powerful disc brakes for all weather stopping. The complete bike weighs in at an impressive 35 lbs, the lightest in its class. Free pedals are included with every bike!
  • 【UNIQUE DESIGN】700c Doubled Walled CNC Machined Wheelset with Quick Release Skewers.21 Speed Drivetrain to Handle Any Situation,can solve multiple challenges and problems of rigorous street racing. Allow you to switch through the gears very quickly with your finger tips, so you can quickly select a gear for every terrain
  • 【EASY TO ASSEMBLE】This bicycle arrives with 80% assembled. You just need to install the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, seat and air up the tires. It was very easy to assemble it in 15-20 minutes
Bestseller No. 2
Aluminum Road Bike, Full Suspension Road 700C Wheel Bike, 21 Speed 3 Spoke ​​Disc Brakes, Road Bicycle for Men and Women (Red)
  • It is an affordable entry level 21 speed road bike well suited for commuting.
  • It features a lightweight aluminum frame , a Shimanos drivetrain powerful disc brakes for all weather stopping.
  • The complete bike weighs in at an impressive 35 lbs, the lightest in its class.
  • Free pedals are included with every bike!
  • Product size: 150x25x(59-70)cm/59x9.8x(23-27.5)in

Gravel, Cyclocross and Adventure Bikes

Example of a gravel adventure bike

In recent times, road bikes have evolved to be more than just fast bikes you ride on roads. We’ve seen a new breed of road bikes released that are capable of riding on just dirt tracks (cyclocross bikes) all the way to bikes that are capable of riding both on and off the road (gravel and adventure bikes).

What makes these bikes more capable of riding off road than road bikes you ask? Good question. Some of the things that make these bikes more comfortable off the road include:

  • Disc brakes for improved stopping power especially in the wet
  • Basic suspension to help absorb bumps
  • Fatter tyres to provide a more comfortable ride

Gravel, cyclocross and adventure bikes are well suited for any commuter that:

  • Do the majority of their riding on and off the road
  • Ride in the rain a lot to benefit from the increased stopping power of disc brakes
  • People with longer commutes

 Where these types of bikes are not suited for commuters who:

  • Ride a relatively short commute
  • Spend most of their time on the road
  • Are on a budget
Bestseller No. 1
Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike, 700c Small
  • Chromoly Steel Frame
  • Chromoly Steel Fork
  • Shimano Claris STI Shifters
  • 32 Hole Double Wall Alloy Rim, 700c x 30mm Tires
  • Mechanical Disc Brakes; Cassette: Shimano 8 speed 11-32T
SaleBestseller No. 2
Continental Cyclo X-King Fold Race Sport Bike Tire, Black, 700cm x 32
  • HANDMADE IN GERMANY-Continental has been hand making their tires since 1871, maintaining the integrity of tradition, while evolving with the most advanced technology.
  • BLACK CHILI- Features Continental’s revolutionary Black Chili Compound which reduces rolling resistance by 26% improves grip by 30% and adds 5% more mileage out of your tire.
  • NYTECHBREAKER- The new puncture protection has been developed based upon the proven Continental SafetySystem breaker. Nylon Fabric makes it resistant to punctures and cuts similar to well-known Kevlar reinforced belts, but offers lower rolling resistance and less weight.
  • PUREGRIPCOMPOUND- Complements BlackChili, based on an active silica technology this compound provides excellent grip, is long lasting and highly durable.
  • RACESPORT- Conti utilizes their World-Cup trialed RaceSport casing on the CycloX-King.

Hybrid, Urban and Commuter Bicycles

Example of a hybrid bike

Major bike manufacturers use the terms hybrid, urban and commuter interchangeably to mean a bike that is a mix between a road bike and mountain bike.

What exactly is a hybrid bike? They are designed with a more comfortable riding position using flat handlebars (think the type you see on mountain bikes) instead of the more aggressive riding position you would see on a road bike with its drop handlebars. Additionally, hybrid bikes also come disc brakes similar to what you would see on a mountain bike. These are great for anyone that rides in the rain a lot.

We’ve started to see commuter bikes emerge using more lightweight materials but we’d recommend sticking away from carbon and using a durable material like aluminium which will endure the harsh conditions that commuting will throw at it. 

What type of commuting is a hybrid bike suited to?

  • Someone who wants something that can ride on a range of surfaces (on and off road)
  • Someone who just wants to be able to quickly get on the bike and ride without much hassle 
  • Someone with a mid to long commute
  • Someone who has a good balance of hills and flats on their commute

What type of commuting would a hybrid bike not be suited for?

  • Someone that wants to go as fast as possible
  • Someone who wants a bit of suspension in their ride for bumps
Bestseller No. 1
Hiland Mountain Bike 26 Inch Aluminum MTB Bicycle for Men with 18 Inch Frame Kickstand Disc Brake Suspension Fork CST Urban Commuter City Bicycle Blue Yellow
  • The Hiland mountain bike is ideal for everyday rides to school,work or a cross country ride.With a size of 26 inches, it is suitable for boys over approx. 5'1'' in height, but also for men. The model is a real eye-catcher, which Leaves a lasting impression thanks to its high-quality painted finish.
  • The brake system consists of double disc brake, giving you the stable and strong braking force. Shimano's 24-speed gearbox ensures total control in every situation.
  • Product quality: Hiland specialises in the production of high-quality bicycles that can withstand daily and special loads. Therefore, only high-quality components are installed, which contribute to the safety and longevity of the mountain bike.
  • 85% pre-assembled,easy to assemble,free pedals,required assembly tools and KICKSTAND included.
  • Size‘S(16.5'')’ideal for riders between 5' & 5'8", Size‘M(18'')’ideal for riders between 5'7" & 6'1",Size‘L(19.5'')’ideal for riders between 6' & 6'5" ,PLEASE CHECK THE SIZE.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Lloopyting Folding Mountain Bike Mens and Womens Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser 21 Speed Bicycle Full Suspension MTB Bikes (Black)
  • 3 spoke Magnesium wheels: lightweight and more durable
  • Gift for friend,Disc Brakes
  • Fashionable, advanced Suspension
  • Disc brakes-Mechanical,Folding Bike,Fast delivery
  • High quality, Full suspensio, Foldable frame,Mens/womens bikes

Touring Bicycle

Example of a touring bike

As the name suggests, touring bikes are made for touring with long days in the saddle with panniers and bags attached. Touring bikes are designed with a similar look to road bikes with drop down handlebars but generally favour more durable materials like steel which can better withstand the different conditions of touring. 

We think touring bikes make a great option for anyone who has a mid to long range commute and is looking for something that is both reliable and comfortable.

Touring bikes favour people who:

  • Have a mid to long distance commute
  • Prefer to ride with panniers and mudguards. Generally touring bikes are designed for these to fit natively on the bike without much effort
  • Want a durable bike able to withstand the different conditions of commuting

Touring bikes won’t favour people who:

  • Have a short commute 
  • Want a lightweight bike 
SaleBestseller No. 1
sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women's 7-Speed Step-Through Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle, 26" Wheels and 17.5" Frame, Navy with Brown Seat and Grips (630035)
  • Step-through aluminum city frame 7-speed hybrid touring, urban commuting, and cruiser bike with matching full fenders, and 26" wheels
  • Shimano 7-speed External Derailleur with front and rear handbrakes Alloys for wide range of riding from leisure to long distance commutes
  • Brown synthetic leather comfy saddle and grips with classic stitching; 2"" semi-slick tires provide excellent roll, and a cushioned, stable ride
  • Low swooping frame makes for easy step-thru entry on and off the bike; puts rider in an upright, heads-up position
  • The foot-forward seat and pedal position Alloys riders of varying heights to stop and put feet flat on the ground while staying in the saddle
Bestseller No. 2
sixthreezero Ride In The Park Men's 3-Speed Touring City Bike, 700x32c Wheels, Matte Black, 18"/One Size
  • Classic 3-speed Men's city cruiser bike with low-profile, lightweight aluminum frame for easy on and off
  • Shimano internal hub with easy-to-use Nexus shifter allows wide range of rides, from leisure to long distance; front and rear handbrakes
  • Rear rack for optional baskets and matching full fenders; seat and handlebar geometry puts rider in an upright, heads-up position
  • 700x32c wheels with double-walled rims for a smooth ride; comfortable Brown synthetic leather saddle and matching grips with Classic stitching
  • Fits riders from 5 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall; comes 85 percent assembled

Fixies and Single Speed Bicycles

Example of a single speed bike

For those of you that want a bike with little maintenance, a single speed bike is for you. Designed with a similar look to that of a road bike, single speed bikes do not have any gears and relies on one gear. This results in less maintenance compared to other bikes which have a full gear set.

One downside to single speed bikes is they aren’t great on hilly areas where having a range of gears is handy when the going gets tough. The same also applies on flat areas where sometimes it’s handy to have heavier gears to help build up more speed. For this reason, we recommend fixie or single speed bikes for people that live in urban environments with a relatively short commute.

But what’s the difference between single speed and fixies? A fixie (or fixed gear) is similar to a single speed bike but without the freewheel. This means that when the wheel is turning also are the pedals. This can be quite scary when riding fast as the pedals start turning rather quickly. One of the positives of not having a freewheel is that pedaling backwards acts as a brake similar to what you may have had on a BMX bike when you were a kid. 

What type of commuters should buy a fixie or single speed?

  • Someone with a relatively short urban commute with no hills
  • Someone on a budget
  • Someone looking for a bike with little maintenance

What type of commuters shouldn’t buy a fixie or single speed?

  • Anyone with a hilly commute 
  • Anyone who needs more than one gear
  • Anyone who has a long commute
SaleBestseller No. 1
Takara Yuugen Single Speed Flat Bar Fixie Road Bike, 700c, Large
  • High Tensile Steel Frame and Fork
  • Upright Flat Bar
  • Flip Flop Rear Hub for Fixed or Freewheel pedaling
  • 32 Hole Double Wall Alloy Rim, 700c x 28mm Tires
  • Single Pivot Alloy Brakes
Bestseller No. 2
Trezure Bicycles 4130 Chromoly Fixed Gear/Single Speed/Fixie Bike Lightweight with Flip Flop Hub (Gold, 58CM)
  • 4130 Chromoly Frame and Chromium Plated for a Polished Finish Look
  • Blue/ Gold Anodized Accents
  • Flip Flop Hub: Ride Single Speed or Fixed Gear
  • Alloy Stem, Rims and Handlebar
  • KENDA 700CX23C Tires and KENDA 700CX23C Long Presta Valve Butyl Rubber Tube

Mountain bikes

Example of a mountain bike

Depending on the type of mountain bike you get, most are generally made for rugged cross country riding and not for riding on urban roads. Most mountain bikes come with disk brakes and front suspension at minimum with some also including back suspension.


We generally recommend mountain bikes for anyone that has a bumpy commute and a need for suspension. From our experience, suspension bikes can be slow as it absorbs a lot of the effort you make when riding which can result in a very spongy and sluggish commute when riding on smooth surfaces. While you can lock and disable the suspension, you might as well just buy a hybrid bike if you see yourself locking it often.  

Mountain bikes favour people who:

  • Have lots of bumps and holes on their commute to ride over
  • Spend most of their commute off road
  • Want quick stopping power that comes with disc brakes

Mountain bikes aren’t for people who:

  • Have a relatively smooth commute 
  • Spend more of their time riding on road
  • Are on a budget
Bestseller No. 1
Hiland Mountain Bike 26 Inch Aluminum MTB Bicycle for Men with 18 Inch Frame Kickstand Disc Brake Suspension Fork CST Urban Commuter City Bicycle Blue Yellow
  • The Hiland mountain bike is ideal for everyday rides to school,work or a cross country ride.With a size of 26 inches, it is suitable for boys over approx. 5'1'' in height, but also for men. The model is a real eye-catcher, which Leaves a lasting impression thanks to its high-quality painted finish.
  • The brake system consists of double disc brake, giving you the stable and strong braking force. Shimano's 24-speed gearbox ensures total control in every situation.
  • Product quality: Hiland specialises in the production of high-quality bicycles that can withstand daily and special loads. Therefore, only high-quality components are installed, which contribute to the safety and longevity of the mountain bike.
  • 85% pre-assembled,easy to assemble,free pedals,required assembly tools and KICKSTAND included.
  • Size‘S(16.5'')’ideal for riders between 5' & 5'8", Size‘M(18'')’ideal for riders between 5'7" & 6'1",Size‘L(19.5'')’ideal for riders between 6' & 6'5" ,PLEASE CHECK THE SIZE.
Bestseller No. 2
Outroad Mountain Bike (Ship from US) 21 Speed 6-spoke Bicycle 26 in Carbon Steel Bicycle Disc Brake Bicycle Full Suspension Folding Bike for Adult Teens MTB Bikes
  • 【Good quality】The sturdy frame, mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology make it a sturdy and durable cruise bike.(folding bike folding bikes for adults bicycles for adults full suspension mountain bike womens bike 26 inch folding mountain bike mountain bike 26 inch mens bikes 26 inches 26 mtb bicycle folding 26 mountain bike bicycle woman 26 folding+bikes+for+adults women bike folding)
  • 【Foldable】 It is equipped with a quick release clip, which helps to quickly fold the bicycle, can be easily folded and stored in the corner of the apartment or in the trunk, and can be carried with you. folding mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology, make it a durable and stable cruising bike.(womens bikes 26 inch mountain bike folding bicycle womens mountain bike 26 inch bike adult bike 26 bike mountain bikes for men 26 inch bike mountain 26 mountain bike)
  • 【tire】 26 inch 6 spoke fashion rim tire is more secure and firm. suspension fork handles bumps and dips for a smoother-feeling ride with hilly terrain, and the gear shifting is great and smooth. All-terrain, wide-knob mountain tires sit on lightweight and durable alloy wheels for added stability. in your car trunk taking it with you anywhere.(26 inch mens bike 26 inch adult bikes 26 bike mens mountain bike 26 inch bicycles+for+adults folding bicycles for adults mens bicycles 26 inch)
  • 【Enjoy cycling】 Stunt bikes are very suitable for mountain, wasteland, and effective on roads, trails, cities, beaches or snow.(bikes for adults 26 inch womens bike folding bikes 26 bicycle mountain bikes for adults bicycle for men 26 inch mountain bike 26 womens bicycle 26 inch bicycle bikes for men 26 inch mens mountain bikes women bikes 26 inch mountain bicycle for women mens 26 inch mountain bike folding bike 26)
  • 【Services and Warranty】: Sagton United States, Item Shipped From United States, Not China. You will receive it within 7 working days, so do not worry about the transportation problem. If you have any question, don't hesitate to contact us. We will provide the best service for you.(Special Situation, We will contact the customer in advance).

Folding bicycles

Example of a folding bike

We've written about some of our favourite Dahon branded folding bikes in the past and we're big fans! Folding bikes are a great option for anyone who is space conscious and has a relatively small commute. We wouldn't recommend them for people with long or hilly commutes due to the limited gear range which will make any hill a grind!

Who we think folding bikes are great for:

  • Small commutes
  • People who need to take their bike on public transport
  • People who have limited space to store their bike

People who might not suit folding bikes

  • People with longer commutes
  • People with hilly commutes
  • People who like the feeling of riding on a true to size bike
  • People who like the feeling of multiple gears
Bestseller No. 1
Outroad Mountain Bike (Ship from US) 21 Speed 6-spoke Bicycle 26 in Carbon Steel Bicycle Disc Brake Bicycle Full Suspension Folding Bike for Adult Teens MTB Bikes
  • 【Good quality】The sturdy frame, mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology make it a sturdy and durable cruise bike.(folding bike folding bikes for adults bicycles for adults full suspension mountain bike womens bike 26 inch folding mountain bike mountain bike 26 inch mens bikes 26 inches 26 mtb bicycle folding 26 mountain bike bicycle woman 26 folding+bikes+for+adults women bike folding)
  • 【Foldable】 It is equipped with a quick release clip, which helps to quickly fold the bicycle, can be easily folded and stored in the corner of the apartment or in the trunk, and can be carried with you. folding mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology, make it a durable and stable cruising bike.(womens bikes 26 inch mountain bike folding bicycle womens mountain bike 26 inch bike adult bike 26 bike mountain bikes for men 26 inch bike mountain 26 mountain bike)
  • 【tire】 26 inch 6 spoke fashion rim tire is more secure and firm. suspension fork handles bumps and dips for a smoother-feeling ride with hilly terrain, and the gear shifting is great and smooth. All-terrain, wide-knob mountain tires sit on lightweight and durable alloy wheels for added stability. in your car trunk taking it with you anywhere.(26 inch mens bike 26 inch adult bikes 26 bike mens mountain bike 26 inch bicycles+for+adults folding bicycles for adults mens bicycles 26 inch)
  • 【Enjoy cycling】 Stunt bikes are very suitable for mountain, wasteland, and effective on roads, trails, cities, beaches or snow.(bikes for adults 26 inch womens bike folding bikes 26 bicycle mountain bikes for adults bicycle for men 26 inch mountain bike 26 womens bicycle 26 inch bicycle bikes for men 26 inch mens mountain bikes women bikes 26 inch mountain bicycle for women mens 26 inch mountain bike folding bike 26)
  • 【Services and Warranty】: Sagton United States, Item Shipped From United States, Not China. You will receive it within 7 working days, so do not worry about the transportation problem. If you have any question, don't hesitate to contact us. We will provide the best service for you.(Special Situation, We will contact the customer in advance).
Bestseller No. 2
Dahon SUV D6 Folding Bike, Lightweight Aluminum Frame; 6-Speed Shimano Gears; 20” Foldable Bicycle for Adults,Blue
  • 【The DAHON Advantage】DAHON is the undisputed king of folding bikes. Join our family of millions of cyclists powered by our leading technology.
  • 【Adjustable Handle & Seat】Equipped with a Radius Telescope made of forged alloy with Fusion Technology, the handlebar and seat can be adjusted to give you greater comfort.
  • 【Durable Aluminum Frame】The SUV D6 folding bike’s frame is constructed from a lightweight Dalloy Sonus tubeset and a lattice forged hinge with ViseGrip Technology
  • 【6-Speed Derailleur & Kenda Tires】A genuine Shimano RD-TY21 rear derailleur gives you the opportunity to cruise or shift in high gear. The wheel features 20-inch lightweight aluminum single wall rims and anti-skid tires.
  • 【Lightweight Folding Bikes】Designed for leisure and daily commuting, this DAHON 20" folding bike has a folded size of 31”x 12” x 25” and weighs 28lbs. Thus, it is quite compact and can be easily stowed away into the trunk of most cars. Suitable for a rider height from 4’9” to 6’2” and a maximum rider weight of 230lbs.

Summary

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for and for this reason we'd recommend not cheaping out too much when buying a bike to commute on. Cheaper bikes generally won't last the harsh conditions that commuting throws at it. 

One way to look at spending more money on a commuter bike is to think about all the money you will save elsewhere whether it be not needing to go to the gym anymore or saving money from public transport. I save $1,500 from not needing to catch public transport anymore so it's a huge saving!

Good luck in your hunt for a new bike! 

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