Affordable and comfortable to ride, commuter bikes are a popular choice. They don’t have high maintenance costs, and can be equipped with baskets or pannier racks, making them ideal for both riding to work or going to the store. However, not every commuter bike is the same.
In this article, we’ll review the five best commuter bikes and provide a detailed buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision.
5 Best Commuter Bikes
Schwinn Network Hybrid Bike, 15-18-Inch Frame
Hybrid bikes are an ideal choice as they combine comfort with speed and lightness. The Schwinn Network Hybrid Bike is available in 15, 16 and 18“, frames, and is suitable for riders between 5’4″ and 6’2″. While it resembles a road bike, it also incorporates the front suspension forks found on mountain bikes. While that doesn’t qualify it for riding on gravel, it will absorb the impact with small cracks and bumps on the asphalt.
The bike features a classic Shimano 21-speed gear system, with three speeds on the left and seven on the right. For stopping, Schwinn Network Hybrid Bike uses linear-pull brakes, which are surprisingly strong. Therefore, riders will need time to adjust. Hard braking may cause tire blowouts, so you need to be careful or choose a bike with disc or hydraulic brakes. The tires can handle light dirt trails, but they’re not meant for wet weather conditions.
While it’s not the most affordable hybrid bike, Schwinn Network Hybrid Bike has an attractive design. And since it’s easy to assemble, you can do it yourself; that way, you’ll save up to $100, money you could spend on accessories such as a rear rack, spoke reflectors, or a tire repair kit. If you need a bike for asphalt and concrete surfaces, this might just be the best commuter bike around.
- Easy to assemble
- Efficient braking system
- A reliable speed gear system
- Relatively fast and light
- Not suited for off road
Sixthreezero Around the Block Men’s Beach Cruiser Bicycle
Beach cruisers are popular options due to their simplicity and durability. The sixthreezero Around The Block is a classic example as it’s stripped back, making it ideal for a relaxing ride on flat surfaces. This model has one of the best seats among commuter bikes. It’s comfortable and wide, making it suitable for longer journeys.
Weighing less than 40 lbs., the sixthreezero Around The Block is still pretty heavy because of its steel frame. However, it’s lighter than most other beach cruisers.
With its retro style, the Around The Block looks attractive and comes in five colors, from light blue to black. This bike is comfortable to ride for a person between 5′ and 6′, and not heavier than 300 lbs. Because of its one-size-fit-all design, there are adjusting options. You can change the handlebar position or lift the saddle.
While there are 3-speed, 7-speed, and 21-speed variants, the single-speed model can be the easiest in terms of maintenance. This version has a classic reverse pedal braking system that’s reliable and has the perfect amount of stopping power. As for tires, they’re suitable even for wet conditions or gravel roads. They also fit the retro look of the bicycle with its white walls.
If you need a low-maintenance and durable beach cruiser, the sixthreezero Around The Block will fit the narrative. It’s very affordable, but be aware that assembling is not straightforward, so you might need to take it to your local bike store.
- Very affordable
- Adjustable seat and handlebar
- Beautiful frame
- Color choices
- Comfortable seat
- Uncomfortable for tall or short riders
Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s Hybrid Cruiser Bike
Hybrid bikes for women should be light, affordable, and have a distinctive feminine touch. In terms of looks, the sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s 3-Speed Step has a beautiful retro design.
It comes in more than a dozen colors from cream to teal or bright yellow. While hybrid bikes are among the heaviest, this model breaks that tradition. With its aluminum frame, it weighs less than 34 lbs., well below the average for this category.
The priority of this bicycle is comfortability. Mounting and unmounting is comfortable – even when wearing a skirt. Keeping the upright sitting position is guaranteed by the low swooping design.
The foot forward seat enables riders to rest their feet on the ground, while the paddle position allows for full leg extension. Double spring saddle and 1.95″ tires are excellent at absorbing smaller bumps in the road. All this makes the sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s 3-Speed Step suitable for longer, but relaxing rides.
While it sacrifices speed for comfort, this bike offers excellent maneuverability because of its low center of gravity. It’s also equipped with reliable front brakes while offering decent stopping power.
The rear rack has a classic release clamp, making this model ideal for the quick trip to the local store. Because of its customization option, ergonomics, and beautiful design, sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s 3-Speed Step deserves a recommendation.
- Classic design
- Lightweight but sturdy
- Not suitable for off-road cycling
Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser
Hybrid bikes combine versatility with comfort, and the Schwinn Wayfarer Bike Mens and Womens Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser is a perfect mix with models for men and women.
The aluminum frame ensures that this model is lightweight and sturdy, as it can handle riders of up to 300 lbs. Hybrids may sacrifice the ergonomics of classic commuter bikes, but that isn’t the case here. The seat is wide and comfortable, while a handlebar enables upright riding as it’s closer to the seat.
The Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser uses a 7-speed Shimano shifter, which makes it suitable for an uphill ride. However, this model performs best on the city streets. Its 700c tires are an excellent choice, as they offer high-performance and maneuverability.
Since the traction is strong, this model is entirely usable in wet conditions. Alloy brakes offer respectable stopping power while looking attractive. They’re durable and lengthen the tire life because of heat dissipation.
The Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser is surprisingly easy to assemble, so even beginners won’t need more than 20 minutes to put it together. All you need is a full socket set, an adjustable wrench, and a screwdriver. As an affordable model with high performance and ergonomics, it’s an attractive choice.
- Alloy brakes
- Ergonomics is good
- Quick to assemble
- Strong traction
- Heavier than an average hybrid bike
- No taillight and headlight
Schwinn Huron and Mikko Adult Beach Cruiser Bike
The Schwinn Huron and Mikko Adult Beach Cruiser Bike is a classic with universal appeal. Both male (Huron) and female (Mikko) models offer the same performance while having a slightly different design and color scheme. These bikes are available in single-speed, 3-speed, and 7-speed variants. Made from aluminum alloy, Schwinn Huron and Mikko cruisers are both lightweight and sturdy.
As it should be with all cruiser models, this one is comfortable to ride, thanks to a handlebar with upright stem and padded saddle. The 26“ wheel size is perfect for riders from 5’4 “to 6’2 “, with 300 lbs. maximum weight.
The light frame makes this model surprisingly agile, but leaving concrete or asphalt isn’t recommended. Tires are wide and provide a terrific grip, making this bike a safe choice even on wet surfaces.
The best commuter bike isn’t necessarily affordable. Still, the Schwinn Huron and Mikko Adult Beach Cruiser Bike offers high performance for the asking price.
Owners will save money as they quickly assemble the bike, while Schwinn provides a lifetime warranty for the first owner. Attractive-looking and comfortable to ride, this bike is one of the top choices among cruisers.
- Great ergonomics
- Available in 1-7 speed variants
- Linear-pull brake
- Only two color choices
The best commuter bike offers quality build and performance without sacrificing comfort and accessibility. When buying one, it’s advisable to pay attention to these factors:
The main structure of the bike should be both strong but also light, making it easy to maneuver. There are four types of frame materials:
Extraordinarily lightweight and expensive, so it’s mostly used on road bikes. It’s also easily damaged.
A popular choice for commuter bikes, aluminum improves stability as its heavy.
Lighter than aluminum, a steel frame is stable, shatter-resistant, and sturdy. This material is prevalent on comfort bikes, where the top speed isn’t an essential factor.
Even lighter and more durable than steel, bikes with titanium frames are rare, as they can be expensive.
The advantage of commuter bikes is that you can fit pannier racks with ease, both front and rear. To ensure that the bicycle is compatible with a rack, check if it has eyelets for panniers and rack mount eyes, located next to the mudguards.
If the bike is missing eyelets, you can purchase them and attach it to the rear axle and the frame. If you’re paying for a commuter bike with disc brakes, be aware that you’ll need a compatible rack.
Pannier racks are made from steel, aluminum, and titanium. The aluminum option is the most affordable, steel is the strongest, while titanium is durable, lightweight, but also the most expensive.
Quality lights are essential to ensure your safety, and the best commuter bike needs to have them. These are the key factors to consider before purchasing:
They define how bright the light is. Rear lights have values between 5 and 100, while front lights range from 10 to over 1,000.
There are two types of mounts: clamp and strap/band. Strap and band mounting doesn’t require tools, and since it’s easy to remove, it’s a recommended choice for commuter bikes. Clamp mounts are used for high-powered front lights as they’re a more secure option, ideal for rough terrain.
While classic cycle lights powered by alkaline batteries are still available, models with rechargeable batteries are prevalent. They’re a better choice because they’re not only lighter and compact but also more powerful.
Most of them can be charged via USB, but look for a model with a built-in connector. Better units also have battery life indicators.
Disc brakes are very common on commuter bikes. They offer excellent brake control and stropping power while being reliable in all conditions and easy to maintain. There are two types of disc brakes:
- Mechanical disc brakes connect the brake lever to the brake caliper by using a mechanical wire. They’re an efficient and more affordable variant
- Hydraulic brakes control the brake pad movement with sealed fluid. While this solution is more expensive than mechanical disk brakes, the performance is better while the maintenance is low. Hydraulic brakes are rare on bikes with a price of less than $1,000
Mudguards or fenders are the best protection against grime, mud, or water spray. They make the riding experience better in wet conditions, but also protect the bike’s components.
The best commuter bike needs to have them, and full-length mudguards are the top choice. Their main advantage is that they offer full protection for you and your bike. As they have mud flaps on the rear mudguard, they’re also beneficial for riders directly behind you.
Full-length mudguards can only be installed on bikes with eyelets on both sides of the rear dropout and front fork. Moreover, the bicycle frame needs enough clearance.
If a full-length mudguard isn’t compatible with your commuter bike, clip-on mudguards are an excellent alternative. They’re easy to mount using rubber bands, clips, or straps. Shorter than full-length mudguards, they’re also lighter. Their main disadvantage is that they can’t be installed on some bikes with disc brakes.
The best commuter bike is the one that is light and comfortable while offering plenty of space for bags. If you aim for higher performances, hybrid commuter bicycles may be the top choice. At the other end of the scale are cruisers, which are ideal for relaxing rides on a smooth surface. Hopefully, this article helped you make the right choice for enjoyable future rides.