When it comes to buying a commuter bike, there are so many ways you can go. If you want something that can commute but also be quick enough to hang onto your weekend group ride, you'll find a commuter that works for both. If you're just getting into cycling to work, you can opt for a more upright, comfortable bike, of which there are multitudes. In 2023, you'll even find electric commuter bikes that can replace your car. Our definitive guide to commuter bikes covers everything you need to know before committing to a new set of wheels, including the best bikes for every type of rider and terrain.
Best Overall Commuter BikePriority Continuum Onyx Read More
Best commuter bike under $500State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black Read More
Best Commuter Bike for Hilly CommutesHudski Doggler 12 Speed City Hybrid Read More
BEST UPGRADE COMMUTER BIKECannondale Treadwell Neo 2 Electric Bike Read More
Best folding commuter bikeBrompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike Read More
What Kind of Commuter Bike Do You Need?
Before you go saddling up any old set of wheels, consider a few key factors. If you'll be pedaling ill-maintained or dirt roads, you'll appreciate a relaxed geometry gravel or mountain bike that can run wider tires. If the roads are steep or long, or you deliver kids or pick up groceries, a pedal-assist e-bike may best suit your needs. If you imagine yourself a speed demon bike messenger racing taxis as you sprint between traffic lights, a single-speed or skinny tire drop-bar bike will help you pin it. And if you live in an apartment or work in an office without much storage space, or your road-tripping combines pedaling plus a train or bus, a folding bike can ease your pain. At the end of the day, though, the best bike is the one you can’t wait to ride. And don't forget the bike helmet.
How We Tested
Our testers rode in heavily-congested cities like Brooklyn, Manhattan and Pittsburgh, but also got the chance to test their bonafides on the gravel roads and pockmarked asphalt you find once you leave the bustling city streets. Our team has spread out considerably since the beginning of 2020, so we were able to test all types of commutes, ranging from quick rides that only take a few minutes to 15-mile journeys that require a more serious commute setup.
The 9 Best Commuter Bikes for Every Kind of Rider
Priority Continuum Onyx
- Weight: 31 pounds
- Gears: Continuously Variable Transmission
Good luck finding an urban ride as simultaneously user-friendly, safe, stylish and affordable as this one. That first quality owes to features like the Enviolo CVT shifter, which enables smooth, continuous shifting to match every incline and descent, plus the Gates Carbon Belt Drive, which runs smooth for hundreds of miles without a drop of oil (on the bike or your pants). Meanwhile, the safety emerges from dime-quick hydraulic disc brakes and dynamo-powered front and rear lights that come to life when you pedal, so you never have to charge them. The good looks stem from the matte black paint job and internal cable routing for a sleek, uncomplicated profile. Adding all those traits up, the fact that it’s one of the less expensive bikes on this list just seals the deal.
State Bicycle 4130 Matte Black
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Gears: Single Speed/Fixed Gear
Dart down side streets and zip through alleys and intersections on the double-butted Chromoly steel single-speed State. This streamlined beauty, now in its sixth iteration, is a customizable classic that’s lost two pounds thanks to State’s new Lo-Pro wheels. The flip-flop hub lets you go from single speed to fixie on a whim. Personalize the bike with a bullhorn, drop or riser bars — plus fancy pedals, straps or a Selle Italia seat at additional cost. Six sizes fit riders from 4'10" to 6'6". And at 20 pounds, it’s light enough to throw over your shoulder and carry up a flight or two of stairs.
Hudski Doggler 12 Speed City Hybrid
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Gears: 12-speed
Based in the Bay Area, Hudski's founders know a bit about hills — and all three versions of the Doggler (the others target gravel and mountain biking) are optimized to tackle them. An alloy frame and carbon fork keep the bike light and nimble. The 1x12 drivetrain provides a wide range of gears ease punishing climbs. And when it's time to descend, flip that lever on the left handlebar to drop the PNW seatpost and get as low and far back as you like. Wide MTB-style handlebars — which can be cut to your specifications — and numerous mounts accommodate off-road adventures too.
Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ
- Weight: Unavailable
- Gears: 8-Speed, electric assist
The only commuter bike that tells you speed, distance and calories burned as well as when your bike needs a tune-up, the BMX-inspired pedal-assist Neo has every bell and whistle a commuter could want. The front rack holds a briefcase, backpack or groceries, full-coverage fenders add functional bling, and top tube bumpers protect the frame from dents and dings when you lean it and lock it. With the battery concealed in the downtube and the motor hidden in the rear hub, this bike doesn’t scream pedal assist. But turn on the power, choose the level of assist, check your battery charge with Neo’s intuitive controller, and you’re ready to go.
Brompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike
- Weight: 27 pounds
- Gears: 6-speed
These oddly shaped bikes, with their long seat posts, awkward tubing and disproportionate tires, are a sight to behold, but once you get over the look, you realize that they are one of the most practical bikes you can buy for life in the city. The Brompton C Line Explore straddles the line between the budget folding bikes and high-end folders, bringing everything you need to the table and leaving behind anything you don't. The gearing is set up for efficiency — you can zip around if you need to, but you'll also be comfortable on hills thanks to a forgiving gear ratio. Plus, at 27 pounds, it won't be a burden to carry up that 5th-floor walkup you just scored in Manhattan (not to mention that it'll fit in your teeny-tiny closet).
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6
- Weight: 73 pounds
- Gears: 7-speed
Don’t let potholes, traffic or weather force you to drive instead of ride. The RadRover 6 e-fat bike is one of the most stable rides around. The step-thru top tube and upright position make it easy to mount and dismount even in professional dress, while front suspension absorbs bumps in the road. Seven speeds, integrated lights and full-coverage fenders are ready to roll in all manner of conditions. The handlebar display tells you battery life in real-time so you won’t run out of juice, and Rad sells a variety of racks and bags for those with extra storage needs.
State Bicycle 4130 All-Road SRAM XPLR AXS
- Weight: 26 pounds
- Gears: 12-speed
We touted the State 4130 earlier in the guide, but we'd be remiss not to mention the all-new upgraded 4130 All-Road that features SRAM's newest wireless drivetrain, XPLR AXS, which allows you to shift seamlessly through its 1x12 gearing with the click of a button on your shifters. Thanks to the exacting movement that is perfectly dialed into the gaps between gears, you'll have access to the most seamless shifting you'll find on a bike under $2,000. Not only that, but you can upgrade to a monster carbon fork for just a few hundred dollars, which drops weight and still has threaded mounting positions for additional storage on longer trips. This is an off-road beast that is easily one of the best bang-for-your-buck bikes on the market.
All-City Space Horse
- Weight: Unavailable
- Gears: 20-speed
All-City makes bikes that feel custom, even though they're not. The little details matter and you'll notice that at first glance, but even more so as you look closer. The brand prides itself on its signature details, which include custom dropouts, reinforced bottle bosses, a custom seat collar and more. When it comes to the actual bike, you get a machine tuned for the road, optimized for light-touring and just as able on gravel roads as it is on pavement. If you're looking for a bike to take you from your Sunday morning coffee rides with the local bike shop to your weekday commutes, the Space Horse is the perfect option.
Yuba Mundo Cargo Electric Bike
- Weight: 70 pounds
- Gears: 10-speed
With gas prices on the rise and the cost of owning a car higher than ever, it might be time to rethink your strategy for getting around town. This is where an electric cargo bike comes in — specifically the Yuba Mundo. Thanks to a wide gear range and pedal assist that takes you up to 20 miles per hour, the Yuba will have you cruising around town and tackling all of your errands just as your car would. It's easy to customize to your exact needs, whether you're dropping your kids off at school, picking up groceries or running to the dry cleaners. The ride is smooth and capable thanks to a 6061-T6 aluminum frame and hydraulic disc brakes will help you stop on a dime.
Here's How to Get the Right Fit
The Size Chart Is Your Friend
Most bike brands will have a size chart on their site that goes over how to fit on your bike. Look at this closely. Whether you've never been fit for a bike or you've had a professional give you the full fit treatment, it's essential that you take each brand's recommendations into consideration. If a frame is not the correct size, no amount of tinkering will ever make it right. When you stand over the bike, you want to be able to lift it at least one inch, but probably two inches, before it makes contact with your body. Luckily, many commuter bikes are forgiving and only come in a few sizes, so it won't be rocket science. With that said, it's better to make sure you've used all of your sizing resources before running that credit card. When in doubt, hit your local bike shop for help.
Check Your Posture
While there is no substitute for a professional fit, many feelings of discomfort and soreness simply result from improper riding structure. To get a feel for how you should be sitting on your saddle, stand with your feet about as wide apart as they would be when pedaling. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward, keeping your back as straight as possible. You should feel the muscles in your lower back activate, along with those in your core. Sticking to this body position while on the bike will help to take the stress off your vertebrae, which is induced by leaning over and bending your spine. It also helps to keep your chest open, allowing for more efficient oxygen intake.
If possible, try out a number of different saddles. Everyone’s body is shaped differently; what’s most comfortable for Chris Froome probably isn’t what’s most comfortable for you. Comfort is subjective, so the more saddles that you can try, the better. Tanner personally recommends Pro’s Stealth saddle, but it may not work for everyone. Saddles with center cutouts tend to be more comfortable when you’re sitting in the correct position with the correct posture on the bike.
Adjust the Handlebars
As with saddles, it’s best to try out a number of different stem lengths if possible. While sitting with the correct posture, you should be comfortable reaching for the bars without putting too much weight on your hands. If you feel like you’re using too much muscle in your shoulders or there’s too much weight on your hands, try adjusting your stem up or down using spacers and swapping to a shorter stem.