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
Trinx TEMPO1.0 700C Road Bike Shimano 21 Speed Racing Bicycle (Black/Green)
  • 700C*56cm Hydroformed AI6061 Aluminium Alloy Frame, 560mm for 5'10-6'2
  • Trinx Hi-Ten Steel Fork;
  • Shimano A050 Shifter, Shimano TZ500 Front and TZ500 Rear Derailleur, Shimano Cassette;
  • Cst 700C*25C Colorful Tires, Alloy Double Wall Rim, Winzip Alloy Brakes, KMC C50 Chain;
  • Shimano 21 Speed Road Bike, 25lbs Net Weight;
Bestseller No. 2
Road Bike (Blue)
  • Best choice at rock-bottom price range with good brakes, intuitive shifting, reliable parts and aerodynamic frame geometry.
  • 21-speed Shimano Tourney-series derailleurs and shifter system ensures a smooth ride. Three front gears and seven in the rear.
  • Mechanical dual disc brakes give you added stopping power in year-round ride conditions.
  • Precision welded frame with matte finishing gives a solid impression of great quality. Perfect for city or campus commutes and casual cruise.
  • The product comes 90% assembled and nicely secured in the package. Tools and instructions are included. You only need to put on front wheel, handlebar, pedals and seat. Approximate assembly time is between 15-30 mins.

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
ANCHEER Electric Bike Folding Electric Mountain Bike with 26" Magnesium Alloy 6 Spokes Integrated Wheel, Premium Full Suspension and 21 Speed Gears
  • FOLDING ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN BIKE --- This bike adopts ultra-lightweight yet strong aluminum. Double shock absorption. Mechanical front and rear disc-brake design and 21-speed professional transmission system. Perfect climbing ability.
  • ULTRA STRONG WHEELS --- 26 inch magnesium alloy integrated wheels with anti-slip resistant thick tire-- suit for trails, gravel, city streets, back roads, increases hill-climbing power, further range variation, and greater terrain adaptability.
  • 3 WORKING MODES --- Ebike & Assisted bicycle & Normal bike. With the LED 3-speed smart meter button, you can choose the electric assist power according to your needs. You can add a burst of speed with the throttle, which is ideal for pulling away from traffic lights. Combining three modes would be a better choice.
  • ELECTRIC SYSTEM --- Equipped with the 36V 8AH lithium-Ion front battery and 250W stable motor, you can reach a range of up to 15-30 miles at toppest speed 15-17mph per charge. Plenty for a day’s adventure or most trips to travel and back.
  • SERVICE AVAILABLE --- This bicycle arrives 85% assembled. It's not hard to finish aseembly by yourself---Watch video on ANCHEER SPORT. The assembly service on this page is provided and charged by third-party company partnered with Amazon. If you can't finish by yourself, you can click and choose the service.
SaleBestseller No. 2
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

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
Schwinn GTX 2.0 Comfort Adult Hybrid Bike, Dual Sport Bicycle, 16-Inch Aluminum Frame, Light 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
Hiland Road Hybrid Bike Urban City Commuter Bicycle with Disc Brake for Men Comfortable Bicycle 700C Wheels 24 speeds Bikes Black
  • MADE IN TAIWAN. Matte aluminum frame, plus with mechanical DISC-brake design.It's easy to accessorize with racks, a kickstand, fenders, lights, and more!
  • Road bike speed and hybrid bike versatility. SHIMANO 24(gears) speeds change system provide a stable speed change experience.
  • Aluminum rims,Shimano 12-32T cassette and Kenda 700*40C High-performance tyres,good riding experience.
  • 85% pre-assembled,easy to assemble,free installation tools and pedals include.Frame 5 Years warranty.
  • Weight: Approximately 28lbs (12.8kg) with pedals. Size S/M for 5'7'' & 5'10", M for 5'9'' & 6'1",L for 6'1'' & 6'5", PLEASE CHECK THE SIZE

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
Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike 700C Wheel Bicycle, Blue, 54cm frame size
  • Versatile adventure touring bike features capable adventure bike geometry, a sleek alloy frame and steel fork for the ultimate ride
  • 2x7 drivetrain with Shimano Tourney derailleurs, an integrated Micro shift shifters/brake lever combo and mechanical disc brakes keep the ride smooth
  • Integrated frame bag features a stylish embroidered patch and all the room you need for your riding essentials
  • Large front rack (with an integrated bottle opener!) can easily carry two panniers, while the rear rack mount offers even more carrying capability
  • Internal cable routing leaves room for 3 Distinct water bottle cage mounts (and 2 more on the fork) so you'll always stay hydrated when you ride
Bestseller No. 2
Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bike, Medium/56cm, Red
  • Medium fits riders 5'8"-6'0" with an inseam of 30"-32"
  • Steel frame and Fork
  • 1 1/8" Alloy Threadless Stem and Alloy Handlebar
  • 14-speed Shimano Tourney STI drive train
  • Down Tube water bottle mounts

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
Golden Cycles Fixed Gear Bike Steel Frame with Deep V Rims Collection, Vader, 59
  • Headset: 1-1/8" Neco headset handlebar: Alloy custom riser bars
  • Chain ring crank: Alloy 46t bottom bracket: Sealed bearing 68mm
  • Wheels: 45mm deep alloy rims hubs: 32hole sealed bearing flip flop hub
  • Tires: 7c x 25 Kenda brakes: Front radius forged alloy pedals: BMX platform
Bestseller No. 2
Kent 700C Men's, Thruster Fixie Bike, Black/Red
  • Steel frame Steel fork
  • Alloy brakes front and rear
  • 700C alloy rims Steel rise stem
  • Full-protection chain guard
  • Black/red Fixie bike

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
Huffy 26-inch Oxide Mens Mountain Bike - Dual Suspension
  • 21-speed bike with Shimano rear derailleur delivers consistent response for uphill and downhill rides
  • Trigger Shifter: Comfortable trigger shifter delivers smooth, easy shifting.
  • Frame and Fork: Hardtail steel frame and dual suspension fork combine for a responsive ride
  • Brakes: Dual disc brakes provide consistent response & stopping action
  • Tires: Dual disc brakes enable use of wider tires for greater traction.
Bestseller No. 2
Hiland 26 Inch Mountain Bike 24Speed MTB Bicycle for Women 16 Inch with Suspension Fork Urban Commuter City Bicycle Mint Green
  • The special geometry of the frame was designed for women.Special upper tube and small frame are more suitable for female cycling
  • The brake system consists of double disc-Brake. And 24-speed Shifters ensures total control in every situation.
  • The 26-inch wheels and Lock out 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.
  • The 16-inch frame is suitable for a person 5'1-5'9 tall. The 16.5-inch frame is suitable for a person 5'3- 6'tall.

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
Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike, 20-inch Wheels, Rear Carry Rack, White
  • Discover the convenience and utility of the Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bicycle. In just a few easy steps, this brilliant device folds out to a bike that's big enough to accommodate a six-foot rider
  • Great for camping or RV-ing, this durable steel bike packs up so small that no bike rack is required. The folded size is 29.5 inches by 29 inches by 19 inches
  • Tackle small hills and cut through brisk winds easily, thanks to a seven-speed Shimano RevoShift Twist Shifter and Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
  • The rear carry rack and an included nylon carry bag keep the bike protected and concealed. Perfect for commuting, this bike features a kickstand and durable steel hinges
  • This bike ships ready to be assembled, weighs approximately 33 pounds, has a limited lifetime warranty, and the wheels measure 20 inches
SaleBestseller No. 2
EuroMini ZiZZO 2019 Campo 28lb Lightweight Aluminum Frame Shimano 7-Speed Folding Bike 20-Inch (Matte Black)
  • Lightweight aluminum frame; folds in seconds and is easy to carry so you never need to leave it outside.
  • Genuine Shimano components with 7 speeds and grip style shifter.
  • Easy single fold stem, folding pedals, magnet catcher to hold fold bike's frame securely together. Rider Height - 4.8-6.3 inches. Gear inches - Low 34.9. High 70
  • 2“ multi-terrain tires and v-style brakes.
  • Folded size: H-27. 25" L-33. 2" W-13. 5. Weight: 28. 5 lb. (Lightweight).

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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