Bicycle commuting is a chore, because commuting is, itself, a chore. We’d love to tell you you’re going to become a fetching lass in a summer dress or a strapping lad, fit for the fashion runway who is also saving the environment, but that’s not quite the way it works. You’re going to be caught in the rain, you’re going to be showing up to work sweaty, and you’re going to be lugging stuff around behind you. You’re also going to live longer, live better, and enjoy a simpler, cleaner life.
Our 18 best commuter bikes are meant to make the task of biking easier and more enjoyable; to squeeze as much enjoyment out of your pedaling sessions as biomechanically possible. From weekend warriors to die-hards, we challenge you to name better steeds.
“Commuter” Criteria: Any bicycle determined to be capable of long-term, daily use for ordinary purposes (i.e. no stunts, no need of submersible aquatic capability) was considered a “Commuter” bike.
Known Quantity: Specialized is always a reliable name that’s never been big on flash. Crammed to the gills with Shimano kit, every item on the bike is chosen for the sexiest attribute a commuter could want: reliability. Despite the sturdiness, the A1 alloy frame is light, slim, and quick, giving a little spice to your rat racing.
Priority Bicycles Diamond Frame
Hard-Knock Life: Bicycles are covered in parts that wear out. When that bike is being ridden on a daily basis, those parts wear out faster. Keeping this in mind, Priority headed out to make an everlasting cycle with puncture-resistant tires, a sealed Nexus-3 from the singular Shimano, and a belt drive reinforced with carbon. It’s grease-free and glorious.
Hoy Shizuoka Line
Mixed Breed: There’s 5 models of Shizuoka at growing price points up the scale, giving you the choice of going with their plain vanilla, or outfitting it with a medley of whistles to highlight the bells. Minimalist without being aggressively dark, these are road/mountain hybrids that could be the only bike in your quiver.
Where You Live: Here’s a garden of delights for any cycling enthusiast. Breezer offers a range of options based around your commute. Find the right fit in the right style and you can ride a Breezer in dense traffic, across the boardwalk, or down that muddy rut to the sawmill.
State Bicycle Co. Prescott Deluxe
Coolist’s Coolest: There’s flashier bikes on this list, but none capture the essence of what a commuter bike is like the Prescott. Stabilized storage holds your gear in place and keeps wobble in check while riding loaded. Coaster brakes make stopping smooth, and the apple-cheeked vintage appearance hides a Sunday speedster.
Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Wythe
Dark Horse: Black on black isn’t always the best choice, but if you’re looking to ride the bike Darth Vader would use to commute to telekenetic-strangling class, here it is. A flip-flop hub takes this from fixie to single-speed with quick-release brakes that make disassembly a snap.
Scott Sub Speed 30
Master Maneuvers: It can feel a little crowded at first, since the wheelbase is slightly abbreviated, but the advantage to that is being able to thread the needle through nasty traffic. Touted as a Speed Utility Bike (S.U.B.), this is ready to work with lots of Promax, Shimano, and Syncros accessories.
Track & Trail: Named after the landlord on Three’s Company, the Furley isn’t fully all-terrain, but for loose gravel, smooth pavement, sidewalks, and dirt paths through vacant lots, the Furley has the heart of a parkour champion built into a mouthy road bike.
Diamondback Haanjo Complete
All Options: The Haanjo is more than a bike, it’s a mission that Diamondback has to get people outside more often. The factory stock equipment is rich with names like FSA and Kenda, but feel free to mix and match as much as you like. Made using a versatile 6061-T6 aluminum frame, you can dress it up or down day after day.
Foffa Urban Premium
The Long & Short: Blending elements of both a touring bike and a city commuter, the Urban Premium is fleet of foot and capable of weaving without toppling, and comfortable for bearing down on long hauls. On the body is an 8-speed Alfine that will tone down the hills without slowing you on the straightaways.
Cannondale Enforcement 29 1
Citizen’s Arrest: Literally made to be police models, Cannondale doesn’t want you to just get to work, they want you to knock work down, throw some cuffs on work, then drag work off to do 5-10 just because you felt like it. In truth: A Shimano SLX drivetrain on an aluminum frame makes this low-maintenance and fun on hills.
Trek Bikes Lync 5
Ride in Style: To put it in automotive terms, the Lync 5 would be a quality luxury sedan. It pampers you with 27 gears, internal cable routing, integrated lighting that can be recharged via USB, and decent rack space. If you have the scratch, it’s well-spent here.
All-City Cycles Macho Man
Crossed Out: A true cross dream, this takes a standard top-tube with a steel frame, lugged fork crown, and geometry that looks like it was born on the track. While Randy Savage may no longer be with us, this hardy commuter for the adrenaline-junkie crowd is a proper tribute.
Liv Brava SLR
Ladies’ Choice: Every bike on this list can be used by either gender, but the SLR is specifically created to suit women’s bodies more aptly. It’s a cyclocross mixture that can take on a track, riding around the park, or an endurance trail trek.
Fairfax SC6 DLX
Show Model: A refined Gates CenterTrack carbon drive belt eliminates the concern over broken links and stretched chains, and lighting is provided courtesy of Supernova E3 with a dynamo hub that eliminates the need for batteries. Hydraulic brakes and an internal hub provide more than sufficient power to stop suddenly or go forever.
Smarter, Stronger: Versatile and able to push the limits of e-bike ranges, each of Stromer’s ST line are exceptional, with the ST1 acting as far less of a luxury vehicle. Customized however you like, the ST1 uses pedelec technology that requires some effort, but that saves on the overall energy drain, expanding its distance exponentially.
Modern Marvel: In an attempt to design the perfect high-tech bicycle to solve all of the modern commuter’s problems, the team behind Denny have come extremely close. Intuitive, downward lighting shows you more of the road for a better read, the handlebars detach, becoming a U-lock, and it’s as stable as they come, even with the e-assist kicking on hills.
Helix Folding Bike
Closet Case: The Helix is built for the micro-apartment dweller without an inch to spare. Created out of CWSR titanium, the frame is nearly indestructible, looks fantastic, and manages to keep weight to a minimum should you need to carry it up stairs. 3 available models offer gear options from a single speed to 11 gears in an internal hub.