If you are in the market for a new commuter bike this autumn and are overwhelmed by the options available, then look no further. We’ve rounded up the five best commuter bike styles below to help you decide what type of bike you need to get around for any journey.
E-bikes have come a long way in recent years and are only increasing in popularity. E-bikes are an excellent option for all types of cyclists. They make cycling more accessible with their pedal-assist feature, making cycling uphill much easier and less sweaty than a traditional bike.
For the more experienced cyclist, e-bikes offer the opportunity to cover greater distances than possible on any other type of bike. E-bikes weigh more and can be more expensive, but as technology develops, they are becoming more affordable and a worthwhile investment.
- Exercise to suit your fitness level
- Travel further with less physical effort
- Sweat-free commutes
- Tackle longer, steeper hills that you might not manage on a traditional bike
- Can be a significant upfront investment
- Noticeably heavier than other bicycle styles
- Can include specialised parts if a repair is needed
- Must be recharged
2. Folding Bikes
Folding bikes are fantastic for commuters who only have a short distance to cover or complete part of their journey on public transport. Folding bikes are light, nimble and great fun to ride.
They fold up into neat little packages and are fantastic for cyclists who don’t have much space to store a bike at home or work, and there is no need to use a bike store – folding bikes are small enough to fit under a desk.
- Quick and easy to fold/unfold on the go
- Perfect if you complete part of your journey on the bus or train
- Easy to store at home or work
- Fun and agile to ride
- Smaller wheel size can be less efficient over long distances
- Often not as comfortable as other bikes
- Harder to carry anything heavy
- Requires bespoke parts to repair
3. Hybrid Bikes
A hybrid bike offers the benefits of road and off-road cycling without being too specialised. Hybrids are great all-rounders that perform well on any surface type. They are also fantastic for novice cyclist who isn’t yet sure what type of cycling they will enjoy.
- Performs well on-road and off-road
- Good for beginners
- Easy to ride
- Ideal for carrying workwear (often has pannier racks)
- Not suitable for more demanding road or off-road riding
- Slower than the average road bike
- Jack of all trades – but master of none?
- Tend to be heavy with entry-level components
4. Cargo Bikes
If you need to consider more than getting just yourself from A to B on your commute and need to incorporate a school run, a cargo bike is worth considering.
They are not the fastest machines, but they solve the problem of getting everyone where they need to be without using a car. Many cargo bikes now come with an electronic assist to help counteract the extra weight; you’ll also have plenty of room for the food shop.
Cargo bikes come at no small cost, but if you’re replacing journeys that would otherwise be done by car, you can soon recover costs.
- Multipurpose and versatile
- A convenient way to travel around town
- Electric versions available
- Involves a learning curve to master
- Need specialised storage at work/home to keep a cargo bike
- They are heavy and large to manoeuvre
- Comes at a premium cost
5. Road Bikes
Road bikes are lightweight and built for speed. If you commute mostly along flat roads, then a road bike is the fastest option to get you around.
Sturdy and reliable, despite their fragile appearance and also relatively easy to maintain. Road bikes tend to be more expensive than other types of commuter bikes for what you get, but if you are looking for speed above everything else, a road bike could be for you.
- They are speedy
- Easy to maintain
- Great for road commutes
- Often sold barebones – all accessories come separately (even pedals)
- Can be uncomfortable – Built for speed, not comfort
- Attractive to thieves due to their value
- Hard to manoeuvre in heavy traffic/slow speeds
6. Second-Hand Bikes
If you want to save a few pennies and perhaps be a little greener, you might look for a second-hand bike online to complete your commute. While many second-hand bikes are excellent value, some might not have been looked after properly and cost more in the long run if you are not careful.
Make sure you ask any seller questions about how long they have owned the bike and whether it has been serviced. You’ll also need to ensure the bike is the right size for you, as the wrong size bike could make for an uncomfortable ride.
Consider buying second-hand bicycles from a bike shop instead of an individual to ensure a qualified cycle mechanic has checked the bike to ensure it’s in good, ridable condition. However – there are great bargains to be found on sites such as eBay and Gumtree.
- Many bargains to be found
- Can be a fun project to build/repair
- Potential of hidden faults/cracks
- No warranty
- ‘Lucky dip’ aspect
We hope this guide has helped you identify the best type of commuter bike. When choosing a bike to commute to work on, you need to consider the most practical and comfortable choice for your journey and style of riding and consider the road surface, distance and what you need to carry. Ultimately, it will depend on your own personal preferences and commuting terrain!