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
SaleBestseller No. 1
Eurobike Bikes HYXC550 54CM 700C Regular Spoke Wheels 21 Speed Shifting Road Bike Dual Disc Brake Road Bicycle
  • High quality steel frame road bike with dual disc brake and 21-speed shifting system.
  • Aluminum muti spokes and 3 spoke magnesium alloy wheels available for choose.
  • This road bike is very suitable for beginners to ride in competition, with better handling, light weight and stylish style.
  • Suggested rider height range for : 49cm frame road bike Fits for 5’5”to 5'7” . 54 cm frame road bike Fits up for 5’8” to 6'1"
  • This bicycle arrives with 85% assembled. You need to install the front wheel, pedals, handlebar, seat and air up the tires.Bike Installation instruction included in the package, if you have any questions for installing the bike and tuning the brake and speed system,please contact seller for assistance directly.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Eurobike Dual Disc Brake XC550 Road Bike 21 Speed Shifting System 54Cm Steel Frame 700C 3-Spoke Wheels Road Bicycle
  • 21 Speed Shimano Shifting system ensure you to brakes for safety at any speed.
  • Dual Disc brake provided great stopping power.
  • New Fashion Road Bike makes your riding more perfectly.
  • ree pedals and comfortable seat include in the packages.
  • You can ride a road bike to go shopping in the city center, or you can ride to the supermarket or library!

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
Tomasar Power Electric Bike with Lithium-Ion Battery, 26 inch Wheel Cyclocross Bike (US Stock) (26''-Black-Foldable)
  • Material--Ultra Lightweight yet Strong Aluminum,High Carbon Steel Suspension Fork,Anti-rust and Anti-exposure Painting Material.
  • 250W HIGH SPEED GEAR SHIFT SYSTEM--The electric bike wields front and rear disc brakes and 21-speed transmission system, you can adjust suitable speed to complete your journey and perfect brakes fully guarantee your safety.
  • Ergonomic Design--We highlight the attention to detail of each component, ergonomic grips, fully adjustable seat and RST, anti-slip wear resistant tire, lightweight and efficient design will give you best ridding experience. LED front light and horn are include. front suspension, comfortable riding experience with padded saddle let you fondle admiringly.
  • 2 Working Mode--E-bike & Assisted bicycle. The 36V/8AH li battery of the folding bike supports 25km/15.5 mile (E-Bike Mode) to 50km/31 mile (Assisted Mode) ridding. It has 350W powerful motor and It equipped with smart lithium battery charger has fast charging for 4-6 hours.
  • Easy to carry--You can stash it in your car trunk, or take it on the bus, train or subway.And easy to remove and install. You can ride it to work or school, to mall, beach or a road trip. The Best City Commuter Option
Bestseller No. 2
Tomasar Power Electric Bike with Lithium-Ion Battery, 26/20 inch Wheel Cyclocross Bike (US Stock) (26"-Foldable-Black)
  • 【REMOVABLE LITHIUM BATTERY】The removable 36V 8AH lithium Ion battery, can make you ride up to 25-50 kms. With Easy Charge Port System, it can be charged on or off the frame.
  • 【HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL】The Electic Bike use 100% aluminum alloy frame, the front fork is made of high-strength carbon steel and packed with premium comfort shock absorption; The front and rear wheels are double layer aluminum alloy wheel.
  • 【MOTOR& TRANSMISSION SYSTEM】250W high speed brushless gear motors will easily assist you to travel at the 15mph road speed limit; 7-speed professional transmission system.
  • 【BRAKE & PREMIUM QUALITY】Front and rear disc brakes fully protect your safety. The front fork is made of high-strength carbon steel and packed with premium comfort shock absorption, double layer aluminum alloy wheel. The bright LED headlamp and horn is equipped for night riding.
  • 【 2 WORKING MODE】E-bike & Assisted bicycle.You can choose the e-bike to enjoy a long time travel without pedaling, and also you can choose the PAS mode. Meter has 3-speed smart buttons. Enjoy your ride with any mode!

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
Schwinn GTX 2.0 Comfort Adult Hybrid Bike, Dual Sport Bicycle, 17-Inch Aluminum Frame, Blue
  • Aluminum dual sport frame with Schwinn suspension fork is great for versatile riding conditions
  • Schwinn 21 speed shifters with rear derailleur provide quick gear changes. Schwinn alloy triple crank offers optimal gearing
  • Mechanical disc brakes give you extra stopping power
  • Alloy, high profile, double wall rims are lightweight and strong. Schwinn multi-terrain tires are great on or off road
  • 700c size wheel fits adult riders 5’4” to 6’2”. Includes limited lifetime warranty for as long as you own the bike
Bestseller No. 2
Dynacraft Alpine Eagle 700C 45CM Aluminum Frame Hybrid Bike, Black
  • lightweight 45cm aluminum frame
  • 8 speed shimano derailleur and grip shifter
  • promax v brakes
  • thread-less fork
  • double wall rims

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 
Bestseller No. 1
Windsor Tourist FB 700c Flat Bar Touring Road Bike 21 Speed Drive Train (Yellow, 54cm - fits Most 5'6" to 5'8")
  • Lightweight aluminum Frame
  • Strong and Secure Disc Brakes
  • Comes with Rear Rack!
  • 21 Easy To Use Shimano Speeds
  • Reflective Sidewall Tires
Bestseller No. 2
Casulo Electric Touring Bikes for Adult, 26'' Electric Mountain Bike for Men, 350W Electric Trek Bike Bicycle for Adult Hybrid Road e Bike with 36V/10.4Ah Removable Battery
  • OFF ROAD READY: Going for a long ride? Rack mounts make carrying accessories a breeze. For bikepacking, backroad trekking or rugged transport, its MTB-inspired frame & fork and the wider and more grippy 2.1” tyres of the e-bike will deliver extra comfort, control and grip when venturing away from the paved roads let you get in deeper and go further, The super comfortable step-through bike not just around town, but perhaps also across the rougher lanes, gravel tracks and smoother forest trails
  • URBAN STEADY & ADVENTURE: The electric touring bike can be used in both the city and the countryside, Potholes? Gravel? Tram tracks? these hybrid bike are suitable for use over many different terrains, from asphalt to forest floor. Secure, rattle-free fenders and a full rear/front rack, bright front and rear lights, lock, and even a kickstand mean you’re ready to tackle any adventure
  • LARGE CAPACITY LITHIUM BATTERY: 350 W powerful rear wheel hub motor, Maximum speed 32km/h 20mph, 36V/10.4Ah Removable Lithium Battery easily reached 30-40km (Throttle assist) or 50-60km (pedal assist mode). Equipped with an intelligent lithium charger and USB port for quick charging, Easily bring the battery to your home or office to recharge
  • HIGH-QUALITY TIRES: The high-quality, wear-resistant tires impress with their smooth running, Suspension absorbers effectively filter out vibrations during bump road sections and improve the riding comfort. Fill your Removable basket or Rear Rack to the brim with beach outing necessities, food prep produce, and study-sesh essentials!
  • HIGH-QUALITY TIRES: The high-quality, wear-resistant tires impress with their smooth running, Suspension absorbers effectively filter out vibrations during bump road sections and improve the riding comfort. Fill your Removable basket or Rear Rack to the brim with beach outing necessities, food prep produce, and study-sesh essentials!

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
Bestseller No. 1
State Bicycle Bernard - Fixed Gear/ Single Speed Bike, 55cm - Riser bar
  • STATE BICYCLE FIXIE | Fun well built Fixed Gear Single Speed Bike
  • FLIP FLOP HUB | Switch between fixed gear and single-speed with coasting
  • BUILT TO LAST | Lightweight 4130 Chromoly frame Set - superior to hi-tensile steel frames
  • Includes: Front and rear radius brake and handle bar options (See Below)
Bestseller No. 2
6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike, Shadow Black, 55cm/M
  • "how to choose size? please select size according to height: small (52cm) / 5'4 ""- 5'8"" medium (55cm) / 5'8 ""- 5'11"" large(58cm) / 5'11 ""- 6'4"".Please reconfirm whether the size you purchased is correct before you pay.
  • how to assemble your 6ku bike? we have the assembly video available on this page or find it on youtube. tools included in the package.
  • lightweight full aluminum frame and fork
  • 30mm deep v double-walled alloy wheels
  • ride fixed gear or freewheel with a flip-flop hub, including front and rear brakes, suitable for commuters

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 26 Inch Mountain Bike Shimano 21Speed MTB Bicycle with Suspension Fork,Dual-Disc Brake,Fenders Urban Commuter City Bicycle 15inch Frame Orange
  • The hiland mountain bike features an High carbon steel mountain frame and a powerful suspension fork that soaks up bumps and thumps to provide you with a fun, durable riding experience
  • The brake system consists of double Disc-Brake. And SHIMANO 21-speed Shifters with SHIMANO TY21 rear derailleur ensures total control in every situation.
  • The 26/27.5inch wheels and suspension fork make for a great ride experience on mountain roads, highways, and forestways
  • 85% pre-assembled,easy to assemble,free pedals,required assembly tools included.Free front and rear fenders!
  • The 26"wheel 15"frame is suitable for a person 5'- 5'3 tall,26"wheel 17"frame is suitable for a person5'3- 6' tall. The 27.5"wheel 17"frame is suitable for a person 5'5 -6'1 tall,27.5"wheel 19"frame is suitable for a person 6'1 -6'6 tall.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Mongoose Switchback Comp Adult Mountain Bike, 9 Speeds, 27.5-inch Wheels, Mens Aluminum Small Frame, Blue
  • Tectonic T1 aluminum frame for lightweight durability
  • Mongoose MTB saddle keeps you comfortable on long rides
  • 27. 5” tires provide a stable and smooth ride
  • Internal cable routing allows for neat, clean lines while providing added protection
  • Disc brakes offer superior stopping power you can count on in all riding conditions

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
SaleBestseller No. 1
HUUH Folding Bikes for Adults,20" 7 Speed City Folding Compact Bike Bicycle Urban Commuter【Ship from USA】 (Black)
  • 【 LIGHT WEIGHT AND EASY TO TRANSPORT】 The bike easily folds to fit into the trunk of a car, making it perfect for students and commuters. The folding feature makes it perfect for those that do not have a car bike rack or those that would prefer bringing their bike along instead of leaving it on a bike rack where it could be stolen.
  • 【US in Stock】If for any reason you are unhappy with any product , please do not hesitate to contact us. We take full ownership and responsibility for the quality of our products
  • 【EASY TO USE】 Folds flat in seconds! Folded dimensions approx. 86 x 63 x 33/ 33" L x 24" H x 13" W. Easy to carry and easy to store in the car, closet, or garage.
  • 【PERFECT SIZE FOR MOST】 The comfortable seat easily adjusts to most riders ranging from five feet to over six feet tall. Max User Weight: 220 lbs.
  • 【7 SPEED】 Genuine 7 Speed quality,14t-28t 7 speed Fixed Freewheel.Alloy Wheels with High Grade 20" x 1.75 Road Tires.Steel V Brake.
SaleBestseller No. 2
HUUH 24in Folding Mountain Bike Shimanos 21 Speed Bicycle Folding Bicycles for Adults Full Suspension MTB Bikes Folding Bike Adult Bike Commuter Bicycle【Ship from USA】 (Black)
  • 【Portable Use】:Easy to fold, easy to store.The bike folds neatly in about 15 seconds so can store it perfectly in the trunk of your car, Take it with to the office, or store neatly in a closet. Bike offers you a great ride with the added convenience of the portability.
  • 【Folding Bike】:Now you can take your bike where ever you go without the need for those pesky bike racks or risking the dangers of locking it up in public spaces.Escort for your safe return to work or school
  • 【Suitable Crowd】:Portable, durable, light for taking and ride.Streamline frame design suitable for students, office workers, urban enviroments, and near commuting.
  • 【Premium Quality】:It has a 24-inch high tensile strength steel folding frame. The steel V-brake allows you to decelerate quickly.
  • 【Save Time & Space】This bike saves more space.

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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