Best Commuter Bikes 2019 – Bikes For Riding In The City
Best Commuter Bikes 2019 – Bikes For Riding In The City
No two commutes are exactly the same. Where you live, where you work, and what you do all play a role in shaping your route—and the gear you need. While commuter bikes can be as diverse as the commutes for which they’re used, there is one feature they all share: utility.
See at-a-glance reviews below of five of our top commuter bikes, or scroll deeper for more helpful buying info and full reviews of these and other high-ranking options.
Best Belt Drive
An understated city bike with upscale components
A road e-bike with drop bars and a utilitarian bent
Best Classic Commuter
A stylish, Euro-style city bike with a sub-euro price
Best Urban Commuter
Affordable, durable grab-and-go commuter
Best Cargo Hauler
A cargo/kid-hauling e-bike with a 150-mile range
The right commuter bike must get you to work, with all the gear you need to do your job. When looking for your perfect option, consider how much gear you have to haul, how far you need to ride, the terrain you have to cover, how fast you need to go, how sweaty you’ll be getting there, and your budget.
How Much Do You Need to Spend?
You can find a good, reliable commuter bike for as little as $400. If you want more features, like a rack or basket, fenders, and disc brakes, expect to pay twice as much. Lighter bikes with more gears that are ideal for longer or faster commutes start at about $800 and can go up to $10,000. Electric-assist bikes typically cost about $2k or more, but prices are starting to fall and some options are closer to $1,000 (though you can’t go as far on them). Cargo bikes, especially ones with an assist, start at about $2,500, which isn’t cheap but still a lot less than a new Camry—and a lot more fun to ride.
Commuter Bikes Explained
How We Tested These Bikes
Every bike on this list has been thoroughly vetted and evaluated by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience riding these bikes to determine the best options. Our team of experienced testers spent many hours and miles using these bikes for their intended purpose. We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to run errands, tested their passenger-hauling capability, ridden them in annoying traffic, and run the e-bikes’ batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, and aesthetic appeal to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to live a two-wheeled lifestyle.
An understated city bike with upscale parts and surprising performance
Quick-handling like a road bike and confidence-inspiring like a mountain bike, the Spot Acme is a willing accomplice on any ride. It’s capable on a spin through the neighborhood or zipping along with traffic on your commute. Spot uses first-rate features and components from well-known brands throughout. Notably, the Gates belt drive gets paired with an 11-speed internally geared rear hub, which gives you an extremely quiet, smooth-running, and virtually maintenance-free drivetrain—plus no more greasy marks on your pants or leg. And once you get going, powerful hydraulic disc brakes help control your speed in any weather.
A road e-bike with a drop bar, a utilitarian bent, and a boosted top speed of 28 mph
This drop-bar commuter looks and handles like a road bike—but its utilitarian nature is unmistakeable with integrated front and rear lights, full-coverage fenders and mud flaps, rear rack for attaching packs or bags, wide 38mm tires, and a kickstand. The Bosch Performance Speed motor provides a pedal-assist boost up to 28 mph, and the 500Wh battery has a range up to 100 miles (depending on conditions). There’s appeal beyond its practicality, too. This is a fun, versatile, speedy e-road bike, ideal for commuters on a mission.
State The Keansburg
A stylish, Euro-style city bike at a very nice price
The traditional and stylish Keansburg looks as if it were plucked from a black and white movie with subtitles. With modern materials and parts, it exemplifies simple utilitarian qualities. The sturdy steel frame comes with a mustache handlebar, retro-style pedals, a Shimano Nexus 3-speed internally geared rear hub, a chainguard, and fenders. The internally geared hub is easy to shift, quiet, and relatively maintenance-free. Options include a rear rack, front and rear lights, and a front rack reminiscent of old French delivery bikes stacked with loaves of bread.
Raleigh Redux 1
One of the most affordable grab-and-go commuter bikes you can get
Raleigh’s urban Redux 1 has all the basic features you look for in a city bike: a simple 1×8 drivetrain, a light aluminum frame with reflective details, flat pedals, a chainring guard to protect your pants, and a comfortable saddle. It doesn’t come with fenders, racks, a kickstand or bell, but it does have provisions to add them. A wide range of 8 gears will cover moderate hills, quick accelerations from traffic lights, and cautious pedaling on sketchy surfaces. For $130 more, the Redux 2 gives you hydraulic disc brakes and an even easier-pedaling 9-speed drivetrain.
Tern GSD S10
A cargo/kid-hauling e-bike that can go up to 150 miles
We’ve all heard the optimistic sounding claim that “This bike can replace your car.” Well, this bike can. The Tern GSD, with the dual-battery option, has an amazing 150-mile maximum range. With a cargo limit of 400 pounds including rider, it can haul a significant amount of cargo on the integral rear rack. There’s even room for two children, with seats sold separately. Other options include a sturdy front rack, large packs for the rear rack, and a rack tray to stack on more gear. With a compact design and 20-inch wheels, it handles almost as easily as a standard bike, plus the handlebar folds and teh saddle drops down to make it easier to store when not in use.
Marin Presidio 1
Errands become more fun with this smartly equipped commuter
Marin’s Presidio 1 is a simple, get-it-done option for urban riding. It feels lively and snappy, and goes when you stomp on the pedals—exactly what you want when you’re mixing in with traffic. To address common commuting concerns, Marin included reliable, low-maintenance components like hydraulic disc brakes, puncture-resistant tires, and a 3-speed internally gear hub. The hub shifts quickly and suits all but the hilliest routes.
Close to utilitarian perfection for cargo-carrying cyclists
It looks unconventional, and it is—based on the features you get for only $600. The impressive list includes a color-matched front rack with integral base, a 1×8-speed drivetrain, front and rear fenders, beefy 2.4-inch-wide tires, mechanical disc brakes, aluminum platform pedals, and a classic bell. The Lorry is undeniably unusual, with a 20-inch wheel up front and a 26-inch wheel in the rear. Despite its appearance, we were able to accelerate and maintain speed with this steel-framed bike. If you’re on a budget and need a versatile bike for commutes, errands, and other cargo-carrying adventures, the Lorry gets it done at a terrific price.
A folding e-bike that makes commuting fast, feasible, and fun
The Vika+ stows, folds, and goes well, due to folding mechanisms in the stem and down tube, as well as a 350-watt electric motor located in the rear hub. It has a range of 35 miles, but you can buy a larger battery that runs for up to 60. In addition to pedal-assist mode, the Vika+ has a throttle for a boost of speed on-demand. It comes with a rear rack, integrated lights, front and rear fenders, leather grips, a 7-speed drivetrain, and traditional rim brakes. For an e-bike at $1,649, the Vika+ is an affordable way to fit cycling into your multi-modal commute.
A multi-use, mixed-terrain, all-season commuter
The Priority 600 features an integrated Pinion Gearbox with 12 speeds that works more like an automotive transmission than a typical bike derailleur to shift gears. This sealed unit is positioned between the cranks and minimizes drivetrain maintenance with just the chain to keep clean and lubed. The gearbox, full-coverage fenders, Gates Carbon Drive belt, and hydraulic disc brakes, make the Priority 600 a competent, all-season, all-weather commuter. Wide, 47mm tires make transitioning from pavement to unpaved paths easy and fun, while front and rear light, powered by a dynamo in the front hub, and reflective decals on the frame help the rider see and be seen.
Civia Lowry Step-Thru
A light, fast, affordable everyday driver
The aluminum-frame Lowry does not have disc brakes, wide tires, a belt drive, or internal gearing. It’s just a classic city bike with attractive paint and features—like stitched grips and saddle, narrow frame tubes, a swept-back city handlebar, and rubber-clad pedals to keep your shoes from slipping. At 25.8 pounds (for a size medium, 7-speed), hauling it up and down apartment steps isn’t a big deal—and there’s some room to add fenders and a rear rack, if you need them.
All-City Macho Man
The kinds of features you’d find on more-expensive, custom steel models
This sparkling-black and white (it also comes in emerald green), steel-frame commuter is as capable on city roads and rail trails as it is on crushed-stone paths and in busy urban traffic. It has a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain, Promax mechanical disc brakes, and comes in a wide range of sizes. It also sports the kinds of details usually found on more expensive bikes: an engraved logo on the seatpost clamp, reinforced water bottle cage mounts, custom dropouts, and a biplane steel fork. It’s a solid, stable, stunning bike with an exceptional steel frame at a reasonable price.
Haro Beasley 27.5
Rock urban playgrounds with this uber-affordable commuter
The Beasley 27.5 will have you exploring alternative routes on your commute. Curbs, pot holes, and messy urban terrain will become your playground. Wide, 2-inch tires on tall, 27.5-inch wheels make it grippy and fast on pavement, and there’s enough tread to handle unpaved paths. A 1×8 drivetrain provides plenty of gearing for cruising fast, with low enough gears to get up the hills. Other notable features include a wide handlebar for better control, powerful cable-operated disc brakes, and mounts for fenders and a rear rack.
Seven Greenway SL
A custom-built, meticulously crafted, titanium masterpiece that will last a lifetime
A $6,000 bike for urban riding and commuting is a commitment. You have to love it—forever. Lucky for you, the Greenway’s naked titanium frame is tough and corrosion resistant—and because it doesn’t require paint, you’ll never get stuck with a trendy color that you’ll grow tired of a year from now. In addition to the Greenway’s beautiful welds and curvaceous rear triangle, every part that goes onto it is chosen by you, Weird Science-style. Most important, it has to give you something in return. In this case, you get an exceptionally sweet ride that makes the miles tick by easily.
Benno eJoy 9D
A quiet, convenient, easy-to-operate e-bike that hauls a lot
Drawing from the design of vintage Italian scooters and classic German cars, the eJoy 9D will have you zipping around town in style. A modest 250W motor provides pedal-assisted power up to 20mph with a 35- to 80-mile range. Notable features include: an oversize rear rack, a frame-mounted lock, integrated lights, and an optional front tray. With an absolutely silent Bosch motor, a low standover height for riders of most sizes, balloon tires to roll over anything, and one of the easiest-to-operate computers, the eJoy is an e-bike for everyone.