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
JBL CHARGE 5 - Portable Bluetooth Speaker with IP67 Waterproof and USB Charge out - Black
  • JBL Pro Sound with an optimized long excursion driver, separate tweeter and dual JBL bass radiators
  • Long lasting battery delivers up to 20 hours of playtime
  • Take the Charge with you anywhere due to its IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating
  • PartyBoost feature allows you to pair two JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers together in stereo or link multiple JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers for really incredible sound
  • Built-in powerbank lets you charge your devices without taking a break
SaleBestseller No. 2
NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle with 30-Day iFIT Family Membership - NEW MODEL
  • 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Add up to 5 users; Elite trainers adjust your equipment (39 Dollar value)
  • UPGRADED 22” Rotating HD Touchscreen Display streams on-demand iFIT workouts; IMPROVED HD graphics processor; Adjustable display allows for 360-degree screen rotation
  • ENHANCED Automatic Trainer Control; NEW quieter incline motor; -10% to 20% incline; 24 resistance levels; iFIT Trainers auto-adjust your resistance and incline for a hands-free workout at home. Tilting display.
  • NEW Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity; Pair your own Bluetooth headphones to your bike for high-quality in-ear audio; FASTER WIFI Connectivity; (2) 3 Lb. dumbbells for cross-training on your bike
  • 350-pound user weight capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty; 59” H x 22” W x 60” L

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
Muc Off Dry Chain Lube, 120 Milliliters - Biodegradable Bike Chain Lubricant, Suitable for All Types of Bike - Formulated for Dry Weather Conditions
  • ULTRA-DURABLE: Muc-Off Bio Dry Lube is an ultra-durable bike chain lube that penetrates deep to provide long-lasting lubrication.
  • REDUCES FRICTION: Advanced formula reduces friction and energy consumption to ensure silky-smooth gear shifts.
  • IDEAL FOR DRY WEATHER: Our Bio Dry Chain Lube uses a wax-based formula to protect against contaminants in dry and dusty conditions.
  • BIODEGRADABLE: Fully biodegradable chain lubricant that is just as friendly on the environment as it is on your ride.
  • SUITABLE FOR ALL BIKES: Whether you prefer to hit the road or shred the trails on your MTB, Muc-Off Bio Dry Lube is the perfect choice for protecting your bike’s chain.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Bell STANDARD Tube 700 x 35/43c
  • Mold cured rubber for consistent side wall–prevents high pressure blow outs

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
SaleBestseller No. 1
Rightline Gear Range Jr Car Top Carrier, 10 cu ft Sized for Compact Cars, Weatherproof +, Attaches With or Without Roof Rack
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF + CONSTRUCTION: UV protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT material, welded seams, and urethane coated zipper with hook-&-loop-close flap provide reinforced protection against rain, snow, heat, heavy winds, and other extreme conditions.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • ATTACHES WITH OR WITHOUT A ROOF RACK: Attach the carrier's straps to a vehicle’s roof rack or use the Car Clips to attach the straps to a vehicle's door frame weather molding.
  • COMPACT CAR DESIGN: 10 cubic foot capacity, 36 L x 32 W x 15 H; designed for compact cars (can be used on larger vehicles).
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Your bag comes with everything you need to load it up, attach it, and hit the road in minutes! Includes carrier, (4) attachment straps, (4) Car Clips, and stuff sack with sewn-in set up guide.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Rightline Gear Range 3 Car Top Carrier, 18 cu ft, Weatherproof +, Attaches With or Without Roof Rack
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF + CONSTRUCTION: UV protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT material, welded seams, and urethane coated zipper with hook-&-loop-close flap provide reinforced protection against rain, snow, heat, heavy winds, and other extreme conditions.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • ATTACHES WITH OR WITHOUT A ROOF RACK: Attach the carrier's straps to a vehicle’s roof rack or use the Car Clips to attach the straps to a vehicle's door frame weather molding.
  • X-LARGE CAPACITY DESIGN: 18 cubic feet of storage, 48" L x 36" W x 18" H; designed for SUVs and minivans.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Your bag comes with everything you need to load it up, attach it, and hit the road in minutes! Includes carrier, (4) attachment straps, (4) Car Clips, and stuff sack with sewn-in set up guide.

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
Garmin Edge 530, Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer with Mapping, Dynamic Performance Monitoring and Popularity Routing
  • Performance GPS cycling computer with mapping. Compatible with Vector (power meter). Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT Plus-enabled power meters)
  • Dynamic performance monitoring provides insights on your VO2 max, recovery, training balance, heat and altitude acclimation, nutrition, hydration and more when paired with compatible sensors
  • Cycling safety features include new bike alarm, group messaging and tracking, assistance and compatibility with Variant rearview radar and lights so you can see and be seen (when device is paired with your compatible smartphone)
  • Includes routable Garmin Cycle Map with popularity routing — which helps you ride like a local — plus off-course recalculation and back to start; mountain biking model has integrated Trail forks data, including trail difficulty ratings
  • Customize with free apps, widgets and data fields from the Connect IQ Store
SaleBestseller No. 2
G4Free Sling Bag RFID Blocking Sling Backpack Crossbody Chest Bag Daypack for Hiking Travel(Black)
  • Unique design: Back hidden RFID signal blocking pocket(7.5 X 8 inches), to protect your ID card, bank card, or phone from getting scanned and stolen. And protect your information security in public places
  • Perfect Size: 3 Main Compartments in all, only 12oz. The foremost compartment is 7.5 X 10.5 inches. The middle zippered is 8 X 11 inches--with 2 extra pouches, 2 pens pouches, and a key chain. The LARGEST zippered is 11 X 16inches. The Strap phone pocket size is: 3.3x6.5inch (WxL) with an earphone hole. 2 water bottle holders (up to 2.4 inches) with a contraction band
  • Reversible and Breathable: Good construction and lightweight, designed with one right / left easily switchable and adjustable padded strap and breathable back pad for your comfort. The adjustable strap range is 25.9 - 46.5 inches / 66-118cm. Perfectly fit your body
  • Water Repellent and Anti-friction: This sling bag is made of precision nylon with an SBS metal zipper, which is water-resistant, easy to clean, and anti-friction, effectively preventing it from tearing, wetting, and ripping. Has a certain waterproof performance, but can not be soaked totally in water for long period.
  • Multipurpose Daypack: Adjustable type strap fit for the child also adult. Can be used as messenger bag/family weekend trip sling bag: black color for Dad, blue color for Mum and the green color for kids/shoulder bag/crossbody backpack / casual daypack/sling bag/chest bag/travel bag/working or business bag, suitable for office, school, outdoor, business and other occasions. 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE WARRANTY

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
Shoe Goo Repair Adhesive for Fixing Worn Shoes or Boots, Clear, 3.7-Ounce Tube
  • Shoe Repair and Protective Coating for Leather, Vinyl, Rubber or Canvas
  • Bonds, protects and rebuilds for a permanent repair
  • Excellent sealant – Perfect for patching Small holes
  • Waterproof – Bond remains secure even when exposed to Water
  • Creates extra traction – can even be used on skateboards
SaleBestseller No. 2
Ascher Ultra Bright USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set, Powerful Bicycle Front Headlight and Back Taillight, 4 Light Modes, Easy to Install for Men Women Kids Road Mountain Cycling
  • ADVANCED DESIGN: USB rechargeable front and back lights, built in 2000mAh rechargeable lithium battery for Headlight and built in 330mAh rechargeable lithium battery for Taillight.
  • FOUR LIGHT MODE OPTIONS: The Headlight and Taillight feature an one-touch switch with four different lighting modes depending on your preference. Include full brightness, half brightness, fast flashing and slow flashing.
  • EASY INSTALLATION: The Headlight is equipped with a mounting bracket that can be easily fixed to the handlebar. The silicone mount strap for Headlight and Taillight are designed with four openings that tightly fit around most size seat posts. Both Headlight and Taillight can be easily loosen and fasten, and no tools are required.
  • MUTIFUNCTION: This bike light set is versatile enough for cycling, hiking, camping, or any outdoor activity and can be used as emergency flashlight. This is great for cycling at night or in places where visibility and safety are concern. So, just start your next adventure with us.
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: Ascher is committed to providing our customers with high quality products, we are dedicated to ensuring your fully satisfaction. Please contact us when you have any problem, we will solve the problem for you as soon as possible.

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
SaleBestseller No. 1
Garmin Vivoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch, Features Music, Body Energy Monitoring, Animated Workouts, Pulse Ox Sensors and More, Black
  • Keeps track of your energy levels, Pulse Ox (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition), respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, estimated heart, hydration and more
  • Easily download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon music or Deezer (may require a premium subscription with a third party music provider), and connect with headphones (sold separately) for phone free listening
  • Record all the ways to move with more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more
  • Get easy to follow, animated workouts right on your watch screen, including cardio, strength, yoga and Pilates
  • Battery life: Up to 8 days in smartwatch mode; Up to 6 hours in GPS and music mode
Bestseller No. 2
The North Face Vault Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
  • VAULT CLASSIC. The much-loved Vault pack has a modern aesthetic, a water-repellent finish, and the ability to stand unsupported, and it's endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.
  • FLEX VENT TECHNOLOGY. The FlexVent suspension system features a flexible yoke built from custom injection-molded and flexible shoulder straps, a padded mesh back panel and a breathable lumbar panel for comfortable, ventilated support.
  • ORGANIZED DESIGN. A front compartment simplifies organization while maintaining essential features for storage with secure-zip pockets, a tablet sleeve and a key fob. On the outside, it has two water bottle pockets and a daisy chain for added lash points.
  • CAMPUS READY. A huge main compartment holds all your books for a day on campus and contains a padded laptop sleeve to protect your computer from bumps and falls. Top handles allow for easy grabbing, and a sternum strap provides extra support.
  • TECH SPECS. Dimensions: 11" x 8.5" x 18" (27.9cm x 21.6cm x 45.7cm). Laptop Sleeve: 11.5" x 11" (29.2cm x 27.9cm). Volume: 26 Liters. Fabric: 600D recycled polyester with non-PFC durable water-repellent finish.

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
Rightline Gear Range 3 Car Top Carrier, 18 cu ft, Weatherproof +, Attaches With or Without Roof Rack
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF + CONSTRUCTION: UV protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT material, welded seams, and urethane coated zipper with hook-&-loop-close flap provide reinforced protection against rain, snow, heat, heavy winds, and other extreme conditions.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • ATTACHES WITH OR WITHOUT A ROOF RACK: Attach the carrier's straps to a vehicle’s roof rack or use the Car Clips to attach the straps to a vehicle's door frame weather molding.
  • X-LARGE CAPACITY DESIGN: 18 cubic feet of storage, 48" L x 36" W x 18" H; designed for SUVs and minivans.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Your bag comes with everything you need to load it up, attach it, and hit the road in minutes! Includes carrier, (4) attachment straps, (4) Car Clips, and stuff sack with sewn-in set up guide.
Bestseller No. 2
Master Lock 8143D Bike Lock Cable with Combination
  • Outdoor bike cable lock with combination is best used as a bicycle lock and to secure other outdoor equipment
  • Cable bike lock features a preset, four-digit combination lock; Provides a basic security level that is best used as a theft deterent
  • Bike lock is made with braided steel for flexibility, and includes a protective vinyl coating that helps prevent scratching
  • Bike lock cable is 4 ft. (1.2 m) long and 5/16 in. (8 mm) wide in diameter
  • Includes one combination bike lock cable

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! 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.