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
Hiland Road Bike 700c Racing Bike Aluminum City Commuter Bicycle with 21 Speeds Red 57CM
  • This bike has a high quality ultralight aluminum frame and an inner wire design.【The Black Type B has external wire design.】
  • The brake system consists of double Caliper brakes. And SHIMANO 3*7-speed Shifters ensures total control in every situation
  • The bike can be used to ride comfortably in the city.The 700C wheels offer the high-speed experience of a road bike.
  • 85% pre-assembled,easy to assemble,free installation tools and pedals include.
  • Size Small for people between 5'3" & 5'6",Size Medium for people between 5'6" & 6', Size Large for people between 6 & 6'4" CHECK THE SIZE BEFORE YOU ORDER.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Adult Road Bicycle, 58cm/Large Alluminum Step-Over Frame, Carbon Fiber Fork,16-Speed Drivetrain, 700c Wheels, Black
  • Aluminum road frame with carbon fiber road fork provide lightweight strength; 700c wheels fit riders 64 to 74 inches tall
  • 16-speed shifter / brake lever combination offers precise, smooth gear changes
  • High profile alloy double wall rims with paired spokes are lightweight and strong with front quick release
  • Promax alloy dual pivot caliper road brakes deliver crisp, secure stops
  • Alloy crank for wide gear range; road style tread tires supply fast and smooth riding

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
Schwinn Phocus 1600 Drop Bar Adult Road Bicycle, 58cm/Large Alluminum Step-Over Frame, Carbon Fiber Fork,16-Speed Drivetrain, 700c Wheels, Black
  • Aluminum road frame with carbon fiber road fork provide lightweight strength; 700c wheels fit riders 64 to 74 inches tall
  • 16-speed shifter / brake lever combination offers precise, smooth gear changes
  • High profile alloy double wall rims with paired spokes are lightweight and strong with front quick release
  • Promax alloy dual pivot caliper road brakes deliver crisp, secure stops
  • Alloy crank for wide gear range; road style tread tires supply fast and smooth riding
Bestseller No. 2
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

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
Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike 24 Speed Disc Brakes
  • Performance Hybrid road bike
  • Hydroformed Alloy Performance Hybrid Frame and Fork
  • Disc Brakes for Great Stopping Power
  • Upright Handlebar for Comfort
  • Free Pedals Included, Bike Requires Assembly and Tuning
Bestseller No. 2
Hiland Road Hybrid Bike Urban City Commuter Bicycle with Disc Brake for Men Comfortable Bicycle 700C Wheels 24 speeds Bikes Silver 57cm
  • HILAND 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(3*8gears) 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 32lbs with pedals. Size 49cm for 5'7'' & 5'10", 53cm for 5'9'' & 6'1",57cm 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
Ultralight Bike Touring and Bikepacking: The Ultimate Guide to Lightweight Cycling Adventures
  • Lichter, Justin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 10/15/2016 (Publication Date) - Falcon Guides (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 2
Basic Illustrated Bike Touring and Bikepacking (Basic Illustrated Series)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lichter, Justin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 195 Pages - 10/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Falcon Guides (Publisher)

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, 55
  • Headset: 1-1/8" Nico 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
6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike, Shadow Blacke, 58cm/L
  • "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
SaleBestseller No. 1
Mountain Bike, 26 Inch Full Suspension 21 Speeds Shimano Carbon Steel Mountain Bike for Adults, Non-Slip Bike, Disc Brake MTB Bikes for Men and Women, Fast Delivery [USA in Stock ]
  • [Delivery time]-We ship from the United States, it takes about 5-8 days to arrive, if you have any questions during the purchase or after-sales, please feel free to contact us, we will provide you with a 100% satisfactory solution.(Special Situation, We will contact the customer in advance).
  • [Safe and Stable]-Front and rear double disc brakes perfectly increase safety and controllability for bikers.All-terrain mountain 26 Inches fashion rims with suspension fork for added stability.help keep the cyclist safe even in high speeds and down sloppy terrains. You will also have more control on when and where to stop.
  • ‍[All-Terrain]-This all-terrain mountain bike ideal for trails, gravel paths and even paved streets; hard tail aluminum frame never rusts and is lighter than steel for easier acceleration and easier handling. 6-spoke stylish rim is safer and firmer.Comfortable seat, High-density foam match with double powerful shock absorbers can challenge mountain, wasteland, also effective on the road, trail, city, beach or the snow etc.
  • [21 Speeds]-With Shimanos 51-7,deliver 21 speeds of ultra smooth shifting, with just your index finger and thumb; it’s a complete SHIMANO drive train for precise, efficient performance
  • [Easy to Assemble]- The product comes 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 about 15-30 mins.Please identify the pedal L/R logo Correctly install the pedal.
Bestseller No. 2
Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike, Front Suspension, 24-Speed, 29-Inch Wheels, 17-Inch Aluminum Frame, Matte Black/Red
  • The Bonafide Mountain Bike features an aluminum mountain frame and a powerful suspension fork that soaks up bumps and thumps to provide you with a fun, durable riding experience
  • 24-speed trigger shifters and front and rear derailleurs make gear changes easy and smooth
  • Front and rear mechanical disc brakes provide crisp all condition stopping out on the trail; Durable alloy cranks provide steady gearing and less pesky maintenance
  • High profile double wall alloy rims are light and strong for added durability; 2. 25 inch wide knobby mountain tires are ready for bumpy terrain
  • This bike ships ready to be assembled, and the wheels measure 29 inches

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
Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike, 20-inch Wheels, 7-Speed Drivetrain, Rear Carry Rack, Carrying Bag, Black
  • Lightweight step-through frame folds for easy storage; Folding frame with 20-inch wheels fit riders 56 to 74 inches tall
  • 7-speed twist shifter provides smooth gear changes
  • Front and rear linear pull brakes deliver secure stops
  • Rear carrier includes detachable heavy gauge nylon bag for easy storage
  • 20-inch alloy wheel with smooth rolling street tires are perfect for commuting
Bestseller No. 2
hosote 26 Inch Folding Full Suspension Mountain Bike, 21 Speed High-Tensile Carbon Steel Frame MTB, Dual Disc Brake Bicycle for Men and Women
  • 【Folding mountain bike】 It is equipped with a quick release clip, which helps to quickly fold the bicycle, can be easily folded and stored in the corner of the apartment or in the trunk of your car, and can be carried with you.
  • 【Full Suspension & Soft Seat】High-density foam match with double powerful shock absorbers can challenge mountain, wasteland, also effective on the road, trail, city, beach or the snow etc.
  • 【Durable & High Quality】The sturdy solid Frame, the combination of high carbon steel material folding mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology, make it a sturdy and durable cruise bike, bring you a safe and stable riding experience.
  • 【Easy To Assemble】This bicycle arrives with 85% assembled. You just need to install the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, seat and air up the tires. It was very easy to assemble it in 20-30 minutes.
  • 【After-sales service】Mountain bikes are easy to install. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us, and we will reply to you within 24 hours.

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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