The 10 Best Affordable City Commuting Bikes [Ease Of Use]

image of businessman rolling down his pants legs after riding to work.

Sure, you can pedal to work on any ole bike.

But when you don’t show up for work because your ride broke down, your boss becomes unhappy.

We want you to have a happy boss. So my team and I put together a list of bikes that we think would be ideal for getting you to work or school on time and in style.

There are road bikes for you speed demons, hybrid bikes for the budget conscious and mountain bikes for those of you who never met a mud puddle you didn’t like.

I even found an electric bike. I mean, heck, electric cars are all the rage, right?

If you want more background information, you can read about the benefits of commuting or read our special buying guide designed just for commuters.

NameType
SE Bikes "Lager"Road
Pure Fix "Original"Road
Critical Cycles "Harper"Road
Kent Retro 3-SpeedHybrid
Schwinn GTX 2Hybrid
Schwinn DiscoverHybrid
Gama BikesHybrid
Vilano Blackjack 3.0Mountain
Diamondback Overdrive 29erMountain
Ancheer ElectricElectric

Road Style

cyclist in helmet and suit carries road bike

SE Bikes Lager

image of blue se lager bike

The Lage from SE Bikes is a single speed, fixed gear bicycle that allows riders to easily switch between single speed to fixed gear. This is great for commuters who like the versatility of changing from one day to the next.

This on is made steel primarily but is still relatively light. Also, all components of the bike are made of alloy. This will help its durability – some others have plastic parts that break easily.

The tires are relatively wide for a road machine (still narrower than on a hybrid) which means that you don’t have to worry as much about bumps or potholes on your ride to work

Users love that this bicycle doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. It’s a good looking, simple machine that will get you through your commute without those frustrating fail points that haunt other, more complicated, machines. This is a huge plus if you are looking for a reliable ride.

One potential drawback is that this once can be very difficult for some owners to put together. The included Owner’s Manual skimps on instructions, and first-time owners may be completely overwhelmed by this. Still, you can easily get help with this online or at your local bike shop for a small fee. They can do a better job at it than most of us, anyways!

Click Here To See The SE Lager On Amazon

Pure Fix Original

cherry red pure fix

The Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie from Pure Cycles is another great commuter that allows you to flip between single-speed and fixed-gear with ease.

The Pure Fix Original is made of steel but is still relatively lightweight. It feels strong and sturdy according to most users. This durability is great for commuters that want a reliable, trouble-free ride.

This bike only has front brakes,  which is more than enough for riding a fixie. But if you want the extra stopping power, you can add rear brakes  (they even sell brake kits).

You’ll appreciate the elegant and simple design with only the features that an urban cyclist would need. Nothing superfluous, but it still an eye-catching machine.

Most say it is pretty easy to assemble, and there is a video available from Pure Cycles that will help you visualize the process a bit more:

However, you may want to skip the video and take it to your local bike store to be assembled. Not only will this ensure that it is put together properly, but it will also activate your lifetime frame warranty with Pure Cycles. Professional assembly is required to use your 1-year component warranty as well.

Some users found that the seat was not comfortable enough for daily use and long rides and ended up swapping the original seat out for a more comfortable one. That happens a lot with bicycles, so it isn’t a “deal-killer.”

The neatest thing is the multiple color variations. If style is important to you, this is the cycle you must check out. 

It’s a fun, fast ride that gets you there in style.

Click Here To See The Pure Cycles Original

Critical Cycles Harper

green critical cycles

Critical Cycles makes the Harper specifically with urban commuters in mind. Like the other single speed road bikes, it can be ridden freewheel or fixed wheel.

This machine is designed to be durable and super safe. It has both front and rear brakes that will help you stay in control. The tires are more shock resistant and thicker than standard road bike tires so that they won’t be punctured as easily.

Still, even with those features, some users have had problems pop up with this bike due to its cheap construction. It’s a great design to start exploring the commuting lifestyle on, but you may find that it starts to get more problems over time and may need to be replaced.

Many of these same users still said they would buy it again if something were to happen to it. It’s one you fall in love with and look forward to riding every day.

Click Here To See The Critical Cycles Up Close

Hybrid Style

image of hipster surfing phone next to hybrid bike

Kent Retro 3-speed

image of kent bike with internal gearing

This 700C Men’s Retro 3 Speed Hybrid is the ideal machine for commuting and even comes equipped with a luggage carrier to make your ride easier whether you have a backpack, briefcase, or groceries.

This 3-speed bike offers some versatility in your riding speed and conditions. It also has full fenders that will help keep you dry. The upright position is great for comfortable rides, even if you have a long distance to ride.

It is relatively lightweight and has an aluminum frame. Equipped with front and rear brakes you have ample stopping power for any urban situation. The seat is very comfortable, and the bike itself gives a very smooth ride on most urban terrain that you’ll find on the usual commute.

Some users mentioned that the fenders are very thin and may break easily. Additionally, a few of the other components are weak.

Still, it has internal gears that make up for this. The gears can be set and then left alone. There isn’t much maintenance that will need to be done with them.

The biggest downside is that the men’s only comes in 18″ (5’7″ to 5’11” rider) and the woman’s style in a 15″ (5’4″ to 5’9″ rider)

Click Here To Check Out The Kent Commuter

Schwinn GTX 2

red schwinn gtx 2.0

The GTX 2 21-speed dual sports bike is from Schwinn, one of the most popular names in the cycling world, and this is a quality urban bike for someone looking to cruise around.

It is equipped with 700c tires that make for a comfortable ride in an upright position. The suspension fork in this hybrid is great for commuters, and the 21-speed selections give you options for any situation you find yourself riding in.

The 21-speed gearing is overkill for most city riders. You likely won’t have the hills that will require the super-low gearing, and the chance that you’ll max out between stoplights is rare. I typically suggest leaving it in the second gear and just shifting through the gears on the rear.

The frame is made of aluminum, and the crank and rims are both made from alloys. Overall, it’s a light bike. The front brakes are very responsible; the back brakes take some finagling to use. A professional adjustment at your local shop might help with that.

Click Here To See The Schwinn GTX 2.0

Schwinn Discover

image of black, men's, schwinn discover

This next one is also from Schwinn. The Discover Men’s Hybrid is another affordable hybrid that is great for commuters looking to start their journey in the realm of cycling. This good looking bicycle is fashionable and rides great.

This one has an aluminum frame which makes it very light, but it looks like it has a steel frame. It’s the perfect blend of an urban commuter and a mountain machine: It can ride fast, smooth, and isn’t too heavy to deal with on a daily basis.

Users loved how easy it is to peddle it and how smoothly the shifters function. It’s a quiet machine that gives you a speedy, smooth ride, no matter where you’re going.

One problem that some users had with this bike was how high the seat is. It’s a high seat, to begin with, and it also has shocks under the seat. You could take these out to make it lower, but the shocks help make your ride more comfortable and more smooth, so you probably wouldn’t want to do this. This is not a dealbreaker, but it’s worth mentioning this potential issue.

Compounding the seat height is that this bike only comes in one size. For this one’ I’d suggest being at least 5’9″ to ride it comfortably and it should go up to about 6’1″. The ladies version should work for about 5’4″ to 5’9″ rider.

Click Here To See The Schwinn Discover

Gama

image of green commuter from gama bikes

Perfect for Taller riders!

If you have read the past to reviews and come u feeling a little short, this one is for you.

The men’s comes in a 21″ frame which should be great for those from 5’11” to 6’3.”

The women’s comes in a 17″ frame which should be about right for those from 5’9″ to 6’0″.

The Men’s Metropole 8 Speed Hybrid Urban Commuter from Gama is another good looking machine that will have you turning heads while you pedal past. The lightweight aluminum alloy frame makes it fast on the roads and light to carry when necessary.

It is equipped with an 8-speed drivetrain that provides the stability of a six speed but also lets you get an extra boost when you need it. This versatility is great for new commuters who are still learning their bikes.

Additionally, while the overall construction of the is solid, some people had problems with the tires that the bike initially came with.

Some users receiving inner tubes that went flat. When assembling your wheels, look at the rim and check for slipped rim strips that have exposed the inner spokes. Make sure those are covered, and you should be good.

I think they probably just need to work on better shipping boxes.

Click Here To See The Color Options On The Gama Models

Mountain Style

Vilano Blackjack 3.0

image of black and red vilano mtb

The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er  MTB is a high-quality option for commuters that features double wall rims, a suspension fork, an 8-speed shifter, and durable disc brakes.

The one is very durable, and the front suspension will make even a bumpy commute feel like a smooth ride. With 8-speeds and integrated brakes, you can stop and go without any issues. The heavier duty tires will also prevent you from getting flats or damage from potholes or bumps.

The alloy frame is incredibly durable and lightweight. It will last you through many rides, but also not be as difficult to carry up and down stairs as some of the other bicycles.

One of the neat things is that it can work under dedicated pedal power (pure human) or pedal-assist (human + motor). So you can combine a little bit of human effort with a little (or a lot!) of human effort and watch your distance and speed soar! (Electric assist truly makes you feel super-human)

Two other things you should be aware of about is that it will need to be tuned out-of-the-box, and the standard seat is not very comfortable. If you have a long commute, you may want to replace this with a softer seat that will provide more support on your ride.

Click Here To Check Pricing On The Vilano BlackJack

Diamondback Overdrive 29

image of black overdrive from diamondback

The Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail is a great mountain bike that rides smoothly – both on and off road! For those who have commutes that cover different types of terrain, this is a fantastic choice.

The shifting is incredibly smooth, and the tires can handle any rough roads or bumps that you might encounter. While the front suspension fork is a bit weak for true mountain biking, it’s great for a smooth commute! The shocks will help you have a better feeling ride, though you will want to replace the uncomfortable seat.

Because of the gearing (and wider tires!) on this (and other) mountain bikes, you will not be able to go very fast on flat land. The gears are built for hilly terrain, so don’t expect to go as fast as you would be able to on a true road setup.

Click Here To Go Into Overdrive With This Bike!

Pedal Easily With Electric!

Ancheer Electric

image of black electric bike prebuilt

The Ancheer Bicycle is an electric bike powered by a 250W brushless motor which can accelerate up to 15 MPH. It can go up to 50 miles on each charge which means that this bicycle is capable of replacing a car. It even has cruise control!

This sturdy, aluminum electric bike is lightweight and has parts made to fit with cycling standards. This means that you can get it serviced at your local shop – there’s no need to go to a specialty store if you have a problem with your frame or your rims.

Assembly for is super easy. There are only two parts that need to be attached to the pre-assembled parts.

Charging is very easy, and it charges in 4 to 6 hours, meaning that you can get a full charge before it is time to head home.

This one of the few electric bicycles that has seen hundreds of miles and still has its users in love with it. The only downside is that it does not have as intense of warranty as other companies. (And, they may be hard to reach at times, based on some user’s experiences.)

Electrify Your Commute!

What Is The Right Bike For Urban Commuting?

No matter which machine you choose to help you on your commute, remember that you can always have it put together professionally.

While many city bicycles can be put together at home, having it put together and serviced by a professional or experienced cyclist will ensure that you have the best experience on your bike. After all, to take full advantage of the benefits of a bike for commuting, you need it to be in good shape.

Choosing to ride a bicycle to work and school as a primary means of transportation becomes more common every year, but not everyone is convinced that making this change is worth the investment of time and resources.

Saves Money Compared To Driving

According to AAA, it costs an average of $8,946 per year to maintain a car. A bike costs 30x less at $308 on average per year to maintain.

When you calculate the cost of a lease, gas, parking, and car maintenance, there’s no doubt that riding to work or school can save you a lot of money. In many cases, even if you buy a cheap bike and have to replace it every year, you’ll still spend less on bicycles than on car care.

In addition to saving you money, entire economies can save money when more people commute by bike. The city of Copenhagen released data indicating that they saved an average of $0.42 per mile biked thanks to commuters. This kind of economic savings trickles down to help everyone save money.

Incredible Health Benefits

Put simply, going by bike instead of by car can add years to your life.

Not only does cycling build exercise into your busy day, but it also has other health benefits that your body will thank you for in the future:

  • Builds strength
  • Burns calories
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Improves Lifespan
  • Lowers stress levels

These are just a few of the key health benefits that cycling can add to your life. Traveling by bike saves your money and your body.

Can Be Faster Than Driving
Often, new commuters are shocked to find that they can get to work faster when cycling than when driving a car. If you commute less than five miles on a daily basis but often deal with traffic, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will save time by cycling. Another benefit is that regardless of the traffic situation, your ride will usually take the same amount of time each day. You can’t say that for driving in a car when you are at the mercy of the weather, construction, and accidents.

Is It Safe?

One concern that people have when thinking about bicycling is safety. There’s a wide assumption out there that cycling is inherently dangerous, and cycling to work is just asking for injury or worse.

But that’s not entirely true. Cycling, like any other form of transportation, does have its risks. But as more and more people cycle, it becomes safer to do so! Drivers, pedestrians, and bikes learn how to work with each other much better as time goes on, and this helps keep everyone safer.

What To Look For In A Commuter Bike:

If you’re just beginning your journey to start commuting to work, you might be wondering what is the best commuting bike. No matter what type of bike you get, you will want to consider the following characteristics:

Durability

A good commuter bike needs to be durable. After all, you will be relying on this bike to get you to and from work every day for years to come. If it breaks down often or needs daily maintenance, it is probably not a good choice to use as a commuter bicycle.

Distance and Terrain

Are you going to be biking three miles a day or nine miles a day? This difference is quite large in that the time that it will take you and also in what bike will be able to handle this commute.

Any commute less than three miles can be handled by any bike. For longer bikes, you’ll want a more comfortable, more durable bike that can stand up to the challenges put in play by this distance.

Additionally, consider what kind of terrain you will be riding through. If the commute is less than three miles, terrain consideration is not very important, and you could even get away with riding a single speed bike. If you live in a hilly region, you’ll probably want between five and nine gears.

Simplicity

You’re looking to commute, not cycle the Tour de France. If you’re not into cycling as a sport, you don’t need to get a sports machine with all the bells and whistles.

What you need is a simple cycle that has simple features perfect for your daily journey.

Lightweight Design

Because you’ll be storing your bike in your building, locking it up outside, and maybe even taking it on a bus with you for longer trips, you will want it to be lightweight. Not only will this make the bike easier to use, but it will also make it more convenient to use and store.

Affordable Value

One of the biggest benefits of traveling by bike is the amount of money that you can save by cycling instead of driving by car.

But if you buy a bike that is too expensive (or requires too much costly, regular maintenance), that saved money will immediately go into upkeep.  Instead, buying a bicycle that is affordable and blends cost with durability is the better choice.

Don’t Forget A Lock!

If you’re going to be riding to work or school, you might be locking your bike to a rack or lamppost outside. You need to lock it – no matter what. Even if you live in a small town full of nice people, you should put a lock on your bike.

You never know who will come along, so locking your bike is a surefire way to ensure that your investment – and your ride home – isn’t going to disappear while you’re away.

Storing Inside?

If you plan to store your bike inside at work at school, check with building management that it is OK before doing so. Then, consider where you will store it. You might even want to consider getting a foldable bike so that you can keep it with you!

Even if you are storing your bike inside, don’t forget to get a lock. A U-lock or cable lock secured to something structural that cannot be easily broken is your best bet to keep your bike where you leave it.

Overview Of 4 Different Types For Commuters

Every commute is different, so what’s perfect for you might not be perfect for someone else. There are four main types of bikes that commuters consider to be great options. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each type before looking at some of the best commuter setups on the market.

Single Speed Road Bikes

Road bikes are meant to go quickly on smooth, paved surfaces. Single speed road cycles have only one gear and are less expensive than those with more gears. If riding on hilly terrain, you will need more strength to climb with a single speed.

These are very light and can go very fast, so your commute won’t take long. They also need relatively few repairs since they only have one gear and will not need regular tuning, which can save you time or money. Single speed road bikes are very popular with New Yorkers for these reasons!

However, these are not great for hilly terrain if you are not in shape, and you should be careful when riding them over potholes or bumps. They have thin tires that can easily be damaged by these kinds of bumps.

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes have narrow wheels like a road bicycle but a more upright position that is closer in design to a mountain bike.

Within hybrids, you will find a lot of variety, but there are quite a few hybrids that stand out for commuters. These offer more wheel durability as well as more comfort thanks to higher-quality shocks.

One potential issue of using a hybrid is that it might be slower on a long distance commute. This is because these are not as aerodynamic as road cycles. And while they do take on some aspects of durable mountain bikes, some hybrids can also be damaged by potholes and bumps while cycling.

Mountain Bikes

If you want to be sure that your bike will stand up to your commute terrain, then choosing a mountain bike is a great choice.

The frame on a mountain bike is incredibly durable, and the knobby tires will transverse rough terrain with ease. These same tires, however, might not go as fast on pavement as the thinner tires of a road bike.

T A suspension fork with the lockout is a great choice for commuters. I would avoid a full-suspension frame from road riding as they have too much bounce and are frustrating for daily urban riding.

Mountain bikes can be quite heavy and need to be maintained. Many are made with cheap parts, and this can lead to constant repairs. Additionally, mountain bikes are very appealing to thieves. Make sure to buy a lock, too.

Electric Bikes

If you want to get a commuter that could even replace the need for a car, then an electric bike might be for you. These bikes have a motor that helps move the bike along through more than just your pedaling effort.

While they are heavy and will require a robust bike lock to keep them secured, they can help commuters who are worried about their fitness make it up any hills and to work without getting incredibly sweaty.

Since these bikes are heavy and have some electronic parts that will need maintenance, they are not for everyone. You will also need to remember to charge the battery often, especially if you have a long commute.