Picking a commuter bike is a very personal choice and will depend on a number of factors – most importantly the terrain you’re riding on and the distance of your commute. Other than this, you will want to be looking at things like price, weight, ease of maintenance and fit.
Here are some of the best bikes for commuting in a range of different situations:Road Bike - Specialized Allez
If you’re commute takes in a fair bit of road riding, then a proper race bike can make a huge different to the speed and ease of your commute. With skinny tyres, light frames and plenty of gears, this bike will make your 20 mile road commute a breeze. The Allez won’t break the bank either with the base model for 2016 coming in at just £600 and with last year’s models being picked up for less than £500.
The only problems you’ll find with this type of bicycle is that it can be a bit fragile, so pot holes and dropping off curbs can damage it. Additionally, the light skinny tyres are also prone to punctures but this is something that you can easily upgrade.
Tourer - Dawes Galaxy
Want something a bit burlier and with ample storage capacity without sacrificing too much weight and speed? The Dawes Galaxy could be exactly what you’re looking for, using a light 4130 chromoly frame and forks to reduce weight but maintain strength. This is classed as a ‘tourer’ bike, which means that it is designed to make long journeys more comfortable – making it ideal as an everyday commuter.
With prices starting at £600 and going up to around £1,200, the Galaxy isn’t the cheapest bike but it will last you for years to come. The riding position is more head-up than a road bike, giving you better visibility in traffic and you can easily attach panniers to carry all your day to day items safely.
Urban - Canyon Commuter 7.0
City dwellers require something a little bit different from other commuters and this is something that Canyon Commuter provides brilliantly. In fact, this is such a well-designed and specced package that it won a Gold Award at Eurobike 2014. Unlike the other bikes listed above, the combination of internal gear rear hub and the Gates Centertrack Carbon Drive belt system makes this bike relatively maintenance free. For those of you not familiar with this system, it uses a belt rather than a chain which means you don’t need to lube it, it won’t pick up as much grime and dirt and the gears will not need to be frequently indexed for proper shifting.
All this doesn’t come cheap however, and a new Canyon Commuter will cost you around £1,600. This means that you definitely need a beefy bike lock to protect your investment. Don’t be put off by the price, this bike will last for years and the top level components on the bike definitely won’t feel like you’re being held back by an under-par bike.
Hybrid – Boardman Hybrid Pro
A hybrid bike is, as you might expect, a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes which combines elements of the two. You’ll find the narrower 700C wheels of a road bike, but with the upright riding position of a mountain bike – there’s also a chance that you’ll have road bike calliper brakes or mountain bike disc brakes, but it’ll depend on the model you go for.
One thing that’s for sure is that the Boardman Hybrid Pro is a very reliable bike for commuters. It’s almost road bike fast, but with a bit more durability if you decide to take bumpy or off-road routes. Thanks to being low weight, you’ll find that it’s easy to get up to speed and maintain it, this means that if you want something faster and lighter than a tourer but tougher than a road bike then this could be the one for you.
Folding – Brompton P6R
Anyone who knows anything about bikes will have heard of the British brand, Brompton. These are perhaps the mecca of folding bikes and they’ve gained that accolade by creating some absolutely awesome bikes. They provide a stable, comfortable ride and can be folded up into a neat package that can easily be taken with you wherever you go.
Prices start at £765 and go up from there, but what you get for your money is a bike that can be tailored to your exact specifications and will last for years and years. Unlike other folding bikes, Bromptons are incredibly light making them a pleasure to ride and extremely easy to fold up and carry around.
Mountain – Calibre Two.Two
Unless your route to work takes on a lot of bridleways, off-road tracks and gravelly roads then a mountain bike isn’t the best commuter bike. They’re typically much heavier than other types of bike and have a tendency to be specifically targeted by thieves. However, if you’re a person of larger stature or want a bike that is virtually bombproof then a mountain bike could be the perfect solution,
The Calibre is Go Outdoors own brand bike and they’ve put a lot of work in to create the Two.Two, a great specced bike with good geometry and all for an amazing price – under £400! There’s plenty of places to strap on panniers and water bottles and with the bike weighing less than 14kg this isn’t the heaviest bike you could commute on.
Ultimately, the perfect commuter bike will be the bike that you’re the most comfortable on. Always make sure you get the right sized bike and set up your saddle and cockpit so that you’re well positioned and in control of the bike. Budget does play a crucial role as the more you can spend the better performance parts you’ll be able to have, but this is not always necessary on a commuter bike. Choose a bike that will be enjoyable on your route and make sure that you test them in store to ensure that it feels as good as it looks.
Regardless of the bike you choose, whether it’s any of the ones listed above or a completely different bike, make sure that you invest in a good quality lock to prevent bike theft. There’s nothing worse than having your means of transport stolen due to flimsy security, always look for Sold Secure Bicycle Gold if you’re leaving your bike anywhere unattended for any period of time. Want security without the weight penalty? Check out Litelok – the world’s lighted Gold Secure bike lock!