Choosing a commuter isn’t as straightforward as buying a bike for road racing or riding single track. Bicycle Commuters have a variety of choices. Read on to find the perfect bike for your needs.
Before you begin. Consider how long your commute will be, how much stuff you’ll need to haul and if the bike will have a safe storage area once you get to work. How much are you willing to spend and how much maintenance do you want to perform? Also consider your physical condition and any back or knee problems that might interfere with biking.
New vs. Used. A bicycle is an investment. Whether you buy new or used, you should focus on finding a bike that’s comfortable and fits you well. Consider the perks of buying from your local shop, where things like a bike fit, tune-up and deals on accessories are often included in the purchase. New or used, you should invest in a solid, well-built frame. You can always upgrade wheels and components later.
Pros: An affordable and comfortable option, mountain bikes are rugged and durable with room for fenders. Some can accommodate racks and panniers and bicycle trailers like the Maya Cycle. Good in snow and ice.
Cons: Knobby tires and 26-inch-wheels increase rolling resistance. Replace them with slicks for a faster ride. These bikes also tend to be very heavy.
Consider this bike if: You’re a first-time bicycle commuter, have a short distance to travel or are on a tight budget.
Pros: Bikes are lightweight and typically the fastest option.
Cons: The frame geometry puts you in a more bent over position that can strain the body and make it tougher to see the road. Most bikes don’t have room for fenders, panniers or racks. Thin tires and wheels aren’t as durable as other choices.
Buy this bike if: You dabble with commuting by bike, but want a bike for long and fast weekend road rides. You should also have a safe place to store it.
Pros: Touring bikes come equipped for panniers, racks and fenders and are Maya Cycle bike trailer friendly. They’re also comfortable over a long distance. Drop bars help increase speed, especially on windy days.
Cons: These bikes can be expensive. Many are custom built and difficult to find.
Buy this bike if: You’re a dedicated commuter, have a long commute or are looking for a more comfortable option.
Hybrid/ Commuter Bike
Pros: A more upright position and the option for a suspension fork make this bicycle more comfortable than a road bike. Larger 700c wheels make it faster than a mountain bike. You can ride on gravel or dirt and the wheels are strong and durable. There is often room for racks, fenders and panniers as well as a Maya Cycle bike trailer.
Cons: A more upright position makes riding into the wind more difficult and means lower speeds than a road or touring bike.
Buy this if: You enjoy a casual bike ride through the park as much as you do commuting.
Cyclocross: A cross between a mountain and a road bike, a cyclocross bike has drop handlebars for speed, but knobby, wider tires and increased durability to handle a variety of conditions. Many have room for fenders.
Fixed gear or Singlespeed: One gear makes maintenance a snap and reduces the bike’s weight, but you should consider the terrain first.
Comfort: A relaxed, upright position and wide 26-inch wheels offer a comfortable, albeit slow, ride.
Electric Assist: If you live a hilly area, this bike’s battery will give you a boost.
Folding: Perfect for frequent travelers or commuters whose route includes a train or bus. Simply fold up the bike and carry it with you.