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
Peloton Cycling Shoes for Peloton Bike and Bike+ with Delta-Compatible Bike Cleats - Size EU 39 / Size US 8 Women
  • DESIGNED FOR PELOTON BIKE and BIKE+ – Peloton shoes were designed so that you can get the ideal Peloton workout experience. They include delta-compatible bike cleats that allow you to quickly clip in and out of your Peloton Bike or Bike+, so you won’t waste any time getting started. Tools for cleat installation included.
  • ADJUSTABLE and SECURE FIT – Peloton shoes feature a quick ratchet clip and hook and loop straps that are adjustable so you can get the perfect fit.
  • COMFORTABLE and BREATHABLE – Mesh vents can be found on the base of Peloton shoes so your feet can breathe comfortably throughout your ride.
  • RIDE LONGER DURING CLASS – Stiff sole allows for direct and optimal power transfer without any discomfort allowing you to ride longer class after class.
  • COMPATIBILITY – Peloton shoes were designed to work best with Peloton Bike and Bike+ so that you can get the ideal Peloton workout experience. But they will work with other stationary bikes that require delta-compatible cleats to clip in.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Under Armour Men's Packaged Base 3.0 Crew Neck T-Shirt , Black (001)/Pitch Gray , Medium
  • UA Base 3.0 All Season Baselayer is extremely versatile, providing midweight warmth & mobility to a variety of activity levels & cold temperatures
  • UA Scent Control Technology to keep you undetected in all pursuits
  • Soft, brushed grid interior traps air against your skin, closely managing your body's microclimate to keep you warm & comfortable
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction. Fitted: Streamlined fit that’s not too tight or too loose

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
SaleBestseller No. 1
Bike U Lock with Cable - Via Velo Bike Lock Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock,14mm Shackle and 10mm x1.8m Cable with Mounting Bracket for Road Bike Mountain Bike Folding Bike
  • DURABLE ALL-WEATHER PROTECTION – Via Velo bike U-lock with hexagonal PVC cover resists corrosion from water, dust and dirt to prolong the life of your lock. All-weather performance means peace of mind and better security
  • ️ EASY AND STRONG TO LOCK YOUR BIKE – The bike lock with thickness(including rubber casing):14mm,9.84 in (250mm) x 5.51 in (140mm) U shack to lock and go! Locking your bike and your wheels with 10mm x 180cm cable, fast and easy with our quick, no-hassle system. Great bike safety tool
  • AMAZING CONVENIENCE AND SECURITY – 2 keys for convenience! The bike U-lock comes with 2 keys. One of them you can take and use in daily life and the other you can leave at home in case the trouble when you lose one carelessly
  • SIMPLY INSTALLING BRACKET ON YOUR BIKE – Convenient high-quality mounting bracket means your lock goes with you, Our bracket is suitable for bike tube:20-42mm. Pls refer to our picture to install the bracket Value for your money
  • WARRANTY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE: 3-year warranty applies to U lock for US, CA, UK, EU Cyclists, 90-day money back policy, 24-hour online customer service. If you are not satisfied with it, you get a full refund unconditionally. Rest assured
SaleBestseller No. 2
Mongoose Dolomite Mens Fat Tire Mountain Bike, 26-inch Wheels, 4-Inch Wide Knobby Tires, 7-Speed, Steel Frame, Front and Rear Brakes, Navy Blue
  • Conquer any off-road trail with ease with this steel-framed mountain bike with supersized all-terrain knobby 26-inch wheels that fit riders 64 to 72 inches tall
  • The threadless headset is adjustable for riders of different heights; For added speed and performance, the strong, lightweight alloy rims keep the weight down
  • Ride comfortably with beach cruiser pedals and ensure safety with front and rear disc brakes
  • Rear derailleur with seven speeds makes hills easier to climb, while twist shifters make it smooth and easy to change gears while riding
  • This bike ships ready to be assembled. Sized for adult riders 5' 6" to 6' tall, and has a limited lifetime warranty

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
Zacro Bike Seat Cushion - Gel Padded Bike Seat Cover for Men Women Comfort, Extra Soft Exercise Bicycle Seat Compatible with Peloton, Stationary Exercise or Cruiser Bicycle Seats
  • Best gel material: You cannot enjoy your bicycle leisure time when you are suffering pain
  • Enjoy longer riding: Explore new grounds and enjoy longer rides on your bike
  • Easy Installation: Easy to mount, low cost solution will make your saddle feel much better
  • Common Dimension: This gel seat saddle dimension is 11* 7inch
  • The bike seat also fit for Spins Class and Indoor Cycling. Please confirm this bike seat cushion can fit your original bike seat before ordering.
SaleBestseller No. 2
BV Adjustable Bicycle Bike Kickstand with Concealed Spring-Loaded Latch, for 24-29 Inch Bicycles
  • Tool-less adjustabe length - Spring-loaded latch for adjusting the length of the kickstand
  • Non-slip sole and wide reinforced plastic foot prevents slipping and sinking in mud
  • Steel hexagonal bolt prevents the foot from sliding off the kickstand and deters vandals
  • Any angle stance (great for balancing bikes on uneven ground)
  • For bicycles 24"-29"

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
WATERFLY Crossbody Sling Backpack Sling Bag Travel Hiking Chest Bag Daypack (Black)
  • Keep Everything in Order: Size: 7 x 3.5 x 15 inches /18 x 9 x 38 cm. The front zipper bag and buckle bag allow you to store iPad mini, iPhone 7 Plus, power band, etc., with several separate small compartments inside, it can effectively keep your small items like makeup, tissue, keys and so on. The side mesh pocket is 6 inches height, it can hold 2.4 inch(diameter) bottle.
  • Hidden Earphone Hole: There is a hidden earphone hole on the front, providing easy access to your earphones, you can enjoy music anytime and anywhere.
  • Adjustable Reversible Shoulder Strap: Designed with 3 D-rings on the lower part, the adjustable shoulder strap can be connected with the left or right D-ring for your preference, so that it is convenient to wear on your left or right shoulder. The shoulder strap pouch is 3.5 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches (L x W x H), it hold the phone screen size under 7 inches easily. Shoulder strap can be adjusted from 31 ” to 39.5 ”.
  • Superior Material: The shoulder strap and the back is made of breathable material, make you feel comfortable when travel, hiking and so on.
  • 【After-sales guarantee】If you have any problem with broken or damaged items you purchased,please do not hesitate to contact us with your order ID. We will reply and address your issue within one day, so please purchase with confidence.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Hood Crew Men’s Casual Stand Collar PU Faux Leather Zip-Up Motorcycle Bomber Jacket With a Removable Hood
  • 【WATER & WIND RESISTANT】Finished with eco-friendly faux leather, it keeps you protected anytime you’re out on the move and safe from the rain and snow. Ribbed cuffs and hem traps warmth inside while keeping out chilly wind and providing a secure fit.
  • 【ADDED CONVENIENCE】Stand collar with a removable hoodallows you to play with different styles while the full zip front closure makes it easy to put on or take off.
  • 【MULTIPURPOSE POCKETS】The jacket features side pockets for warming hands up, two decorated zippered pockets and one flap pocket on the chest for carrying wallet, name card, phone and such.
  • 【SUFFICIENT VENTILATION】Our selection features quality lining made from 100% polyester which favor versatility and comfort at the same time and premium leather to allow for airflow.
  • 【COOL STYLE】This men’s jacket is a perfectly cool and modern piece to rock, perfect for commuters or riders who stick to the roads. Team them with jeans for an eye-catching look.

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
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.
SaleBestseller No. 2
WD-40 Specialist Penetrant with SMART STRAW SPRAYS 2 WAYS, 11 OZ
  • Equipped with an attached Smart Straw nozzle that Sprays 2 Ways to offer more control. Spray or stream and never lose the straw again
  • Low odor formula penetrates deep into crevices, threads and seams to break the bonds that hold stuck parts together. Ideal for rusted or seized nuts, bolts, threads, locks, and chains
  • Safe on metal, rubber and plastic parts. 50-state VOC Compliant
  • Fast-acting formula works on contact and leaves behind a protective layer that prevents rust and corrosion from re-forming
  • WD-40 Brand believes in creating high-quality products that will not fail in extreme conditions. Professionals rely on WD-40 Specialist to get the job done right

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
Zacro Bike Seat Cushion - Gel Padded Bike Seat Cover for Men Women Comfort, Extra Soft Exercise Bicycle Seat Compatible with Peloton, Stationary Exercise or Cruiser Bicycle Seats
  • Best gel material: You cannot enjoy your bicycle leisure time when you are suffering pain
  • Enjoy longer riding: Explore new grounds and enjoy longer rides on your bike
  • Easy Installation: Easy to mount, low cost solution will make your saddle feel much better
  • Common Dimension: This gel seat saddle dimension is 11* 7inch
  • The bike seat also fit for Spins Class and Indoor Cycling. Please confirm this bike seat cushion can fit your original bike seat before ordering.
Bestseller No. 2
GoSports Sports Training Cone 20 Pack with Tote Bag
  • AGILITY TRAINING: Includes 20 high visibility orange training cones - essential for any training regimen to support player development in a variety of sports
  • COACH FAVORITE: Low profile design keeps the field safe while still serving as flexible and durable markers for boundary lines, training courses, and drills
  • STORAGE TOTE: Includes sturdy mesh tote bag with drawstring to keep cones organized and easy to take anywhere
  • RETAINS SHAPE: Holds up against the demands of training and made from durable flexible plastic so they don't lose shape from being stepped on unlike other low quality sets

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
WATERFLY Crossbody Sling Backpack Sling Bag Travel Hiking Chest Bag Daypack (Black)
  • Keep Everything in Order: Size: 7 x 3.5 x 15 inches /18 x 9 x 38 cm. The front zipper bag and buckle bag allow you to store iPad mini, iPhone 7 Plus, power band, etc., with several separate small compartments inside, it can effectively keep your small items like makeup, tissue, keys and so on. The side mesh pocket is 6 inches height, it can hold 2.4 inch(diameter) bottle.
  • Hidden Earphone Hole: There is a hidden earphone hole on the front, providing easy access to your earphones, you can enjoy music anytime and anywhere.
  • Adjustable Reversible Shoulder Strap: Designed with 3 D-rings on the lower part, the adjustable shoulder strap can be connected with the left or right D-ring for your preference, so that it is convenient to wear on your left or right shoulder. The shoulder strap pouch is 3.5 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches (L x W x H), it hold the phone screen size under 7 inches easily. Shoulder strap can be adjusted from 31 ” to 39.5 ”.
  • Superior Material: The shoulder strap and the back is made of breathable material, make you feel comfortable when travel, hiking and so on.
  • 【After-sales guarantee】If you have any problem with broken or damaged items you purchased,please do not hesitate to contact us with your order ID. We will reply and address your issue within one day, so please purchase with confidence.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Zacro Bike Seat Cushion - Gel Padded Bike Seat Cover for Men Women Comfort, Extra Soft Exercise Bicycle Seat Compatible with Peloton, Stationary Exercise or Cruiser Bicycle Seats
  • Best gel material: You cannot enjoy your bicycle leisure time when you are suffering pain
  • Enjoy longer riding: Explore new grounds and enjoy longer rides on your bike
  • Easy Installation: Easy to mount, low cost solution will make your saddle feel much better
  • Common Dimension: This gel seat saddle dimension is 11* 7inch
  • The bike seat also fit for Spins Class and Indoor Cycling. Please confirm this bike seat cushion can fit your original bike seat before ordering.

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.