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 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
- Smooth 21-speed shifting system and reliable dual disc brake
- Sturdy 26 inches 3-spoke rim with removable stickers
- Durable 700c road tire
- Partial assembly is required for the front wheel, pedals, handlebar and seat. Approximate assembly time between 15-30 mins. All components, assembly tools and instruction book are included
- Please rotate front fork 180 degrees before putting on front wheel with front and rear brake both on the left side of the bike. Please contact us for any assembly or tuning questions
- 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Frame - Lightweight
- A050 Thumb Shifters
- 700c Doubled Walled CNC Machined Wheelset with Quick Release Skewers
- 21 Speed Drivetrain to Handle Any Situation
- Free Pedals Included, Bike is Factory Direct, Assembly & Tuning are required
Gravel, Cyclocross and Adventure Bikes
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
- Lightweight aluminum frame and fork designed for riding comfortably on unpaved roads
- Shimano Sora 9 speed shifters provide 18 gears to choose from
- Tektro lyra mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power in inclement weather
- Clement X'PLOR MSO 700x40c tires grip well on gravel roads and trails
- Pedals included; limited lifetime warranty on the frame for as long as the original retail purchaser owns the bicycle
- Cantilever Brakes
- Lightweight Aluminum Frame
- Aluminum Alloy Wheels
- STI Shifters
- 24 Speed Shimano drivetrain
Hybrid, Urban and Commuter Bicycles
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
- Men's comfort bike with aluminum city frame. Anatomic grips with dual density
- Schwinn suspension fork. Schwinn alloy crank. City rise bar with back sweep handlebar
- 21 speed SRAM grip shifters. Shimano rear derailleur. Alloy twist shifter compatible 4 finger brake levers
- Promax alloy linear pull brakes; rear gear carrier. Adjsutable stem rise alloy ahead
- Swept back upright handlebar and padded saddle
- Schwinn alloy hybrid frame with Schwinn fit geometry and suspension fork provide a smooth ride.
- Shimano 21 speed EZ-Fire shifters with Shimano rear derailed for quick, precise gear changes.
- Alloy linear pull brakes give you exceptional stopping power. Alloy rims are strong and lightweight.
- Suspension seat post with Schwinn hybrid saddle and ergonomic grips provide a comfortable ride.
- 700c size wheel fits adults 5'4" to 6'0". This bike comes unassembled and includes a limited lifetime for as long as you own the 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
- 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
- Versatile women's hybrid cruiser bicycle with 17.5-inch swooping step-through aluminum frame; perfect for cruise, leisure, and commute rides
- Upright riding style keeps your back and shoulders comfortable; foot-forward design helps maintain proper leg extension. Weight Range - Up to 300 Pounds. Height Range - 5' - 6'2 Inches
- 7-speed Shimano external hub allows for a wide range of riding – from leisure to long distance commutes; front and rear handbrakes
- Stylish, curvy frame with comfy dual-spring saddle; includes matching fenders and rear rack for optional baskets and panniers
- 26-Inch, 1.95-Inch wide whitewall semi-slick tires provide a cushioned, stable ride for easy rolling. Good for Riders with Knee and/or Back Pain
Fixies and Single Speed Bicycles
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
- Includes a flip-flop hub so you can ride fixed or with a freewheel
- Premium hand-built, tig-welded, high-tensile strength steel frame absorbs the bumps in the road and is as durable as can be
- Comes standard with 30mm deep-v rims, Kenda Kwest 700 x 28C tires, KMC chain, VP freestyle pedals, and two sets of brakes
- All of the components required for a super smooth ride. All of our bikes have a weight limit of 220 lbs. Height Range - 5.9 - 6 Inch. Standover Height - 34 Inch
- Includes all the tools you need for building and maintaining your own bicycle
- Frame: high tensile steel fully tig-welded fork: 1-1/8 inch steel fork brakes: front & rear
- Headset: 1-1/8 inch 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: 700C x 25 Kenda pedals: BMX platform
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
- Assembly tutorial video located beside the images; with a Denim Blue hardtail frame and 21 speeds to conquer the trails, the Huffy Summit Ridge is ready for outdoor adventures; just follow the steps in our product manual
- An exclusive: Ideal for ages 13 and up, and a minimum rider height of 5 feet; durable steel frame backed by our limited lifetime (see owner's manual); kolo 1200 suspension fork handles bumps and dips for a smoother-feeling ride
- The indexed SHIMANO TZ-31 rear derailleur combines with the micro-shift twist shifter to deliver 21 speeds on-demand for uphill Climbing, downhill riding, or pure acceleration; removable rear derailleur guard ensures consistent gear operation
- 26" X 1. 95" Knobby tires tear into dirt bike paths with ease; linear pull hand brakes deliver consistent, stopping action; premium padded ATB saddle has stitched sides for lasting quality; alloy quick release provides easy seat height adjustment
- Slight-rise handlebar enables upright riding to minimize back and shoulder strain; ATB-type resin pedals on the 3-piece kolo crank have responsive feel; Krayton grips remain comfortable to the touch; alloy wheels in matte Black; kickstand included
- Deluxe Paint
- Shimano Derailleur
- Dual Suspension
- Includes Alloy Rims
- Linear Pull Brakes
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
- The Schwinn Hinge folding bike is designed to fit a wide range of riders with a suggested maximum rider weight of 220 pounds. Ditch headache-inducing traffic and bike to work with this convenient single-speed folding bike
- With a sturdy steel frame, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a convenient folding system, the Schwinn Hinge is easy to carry, easy to fold, and easy to store. Includes one folding pedal and one regular pedal for easier storage and folds down to 30"x32"x11"
- Commuting with the Schwinn Hinge folding bike is quick and easy with the 1-speed drivetrain that allows you to coast when you need a break
- The Schwinn Hinge folding bike comes with full-wrap fenders to keep you clean and dry while riding and the included rear carrying rack is perfect for your work bag.Pedals:Resin platform w/ reflector
- This bike comes ready to be assembled, includes a thick nylon storage bag, and is perfect for urban commuters and city riders. Comes with Schwinn's Limited Lifetime Warranty
- 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
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!
I’m Ben! I used to catch a bus to work until one day I decided the time would be better spent commuting by bike to save time and keep fit. Ever since then, I’ve loved commuting to work with this blog sharing some of my favourite tips and equipment for fellow commuters.