City Crushers: 10 Best Commuter Bicycles

Jan 17, 2018

Category: Gear

Commuting by bike might be the secret to a happy work life that gets better with each passing weekday, and for those in the know, they understand that a little pumping in the morning can have long lasting benefits. When taking the leap out of the car and onto the saddle the first question most will ask is what is the right bike for them.

Bicycles come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, with each claiming to be the perfect fit for a certain situation. When selecting a bike for commuting, it is important to find the right balance of features, style, and price to meet your specific needs. There will be many choices that influence body posture, ride quality, and the overall usability of the package, each adding or subtracting from the experience of your urban slashing. Remember that the perfect bike for you is the one you want to ride, so take a look at our list of top commuters and see if you find any of these whips cruising through your nightly dreams.

State Bicycle Keansburg Deluxe

Commuting by bike does not mean you have to drop an entire paycheck on a ride that is ready to get you where you need to be. State Bicycle Company is a rider-developed manufacturer and their Keansburg Deluxe stays true to their real-life experiences. A simple yet sturdy steel frame supplies the structure for the Keansburg, with a chain guard and full coverage fender set color matched for that high end look. Keep it basic with the single speed and coaster brake combo or take a load off with the optional three-speed internal Shimano hub and grip shifter. Minimal front and rear cargo racks sport a chrome finish to complement the collection of silver components, giving unity to the bold color scheme. Leather looking grips and saddle add to the top shelf image portrayed by the Keansburg, and a frame mounted bottle opener assures strangers you’re just as fun as you are dapper.

Gearing: 1×1, 1×3 internal hub
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: S(48), M(53), L(58)

Purchase: $470

Felt Verza Cafe 24 Deluxe

For some, enjoying the ride is about taking their time and soaking in the neighborhood while traveling to their destination. If strapping down a bag, grabbing a coffee to go, and leisurely strolling to work sounds like your type of morning grind, then the Felt Verza Cafe 24 Deluxe is calling your name. The hydroformed aluminum frame provides a lightweight yet rigid platform for nimble handling characteristics and ease of maneuvering if carrying the bike is ever necessary. Relaxed frame geometry and a riser stem set the tone for a very comfortable riding posture, and the padded saddle assures your buns will stay happy all the way to your office chair. When selecting one of 24 possible combinations, twist grip shifters make gear changes a snap, and Shimano derailleurs do the dirty work of aligning the chain. Color matched full coverage aluminum fenders deter road grime and a color matched rear cargo rack is ready to accept panniers or other the freight hauling accessories of your choice. Felt also added a kickstand so you’ll always have a place to park and even a cup holder, though there is no guarantee you won’t be wearing your coffee if you have a bumpy commute.

Gearing: 3×8
Frame: Aluminum
Sizing: 17-inch, 19-inch, 21-inch

Purchase: $650

Fairdale Weekender Archer

Some of us will never be able to shake our inner child’s desire to launch off curbs and hop over every bump in the road, and there is really no reason why we should stop. Thankfully, Fairdale Bikes were born out of this desire to never grow up and their line of BMX inspired bikes for big kids are built to take the abuse. Near the pinnacle of their offerings sits the Weekender Archer, a solid steel-framed, disc-brake city sled that has the soul of a wanderer and the spirit of hellion. The robust, unassuming frame is packed full of features that make this bike bulletproof, like an integrated headset and English style bottom bracket, both technologies made popular by their ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Each of the Weekender’s bearing systems are sealed, so you can rest easy knowing the wearable surfaces are protected from the elements. The Archer’s namesake comes from Fairdale’s proprietary Archer V2 handlebar which were designed to be both comfortable and stable in a variety of conditions. A SRAM one-by drivetrain puts the wheels in motion with a clutched X5 derailleur keeping the chain from dropping over rough terrain. With a slew of braze-ons to support the mounting of fenders, racks, or any other bolt on accessory, the Weekender is poised and ready to take on whatever your day has to throw at it.

Gearing: 1×9
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: S(52), M(55), L(58)

Purchase: $850+

Raleigh Port Townsend

Looking good is half the battle of commuting for some, but not for those on the Raleigh Port Townsend. The Reynolds steel frame and fork are the backbone of this model, which provide the perfect blend of flex and rigidity for a lifetime of bouncing down dilapidated city streets. Riser handlebars with a comfy back sweep enable an upright posture, perfect for being seen on urban corridors. Shimano’s Sora drivetrain supplies an ample spread of gear ratios at the rear 9-speed cassette and their Rapid Fire shifter clicks through each cog seamlessly, ensuring you’ll always find the right amount of resistance for any incline. Lightweight aluminum wheels are wrapped in lush 32c Kenda tires to soften the blow of rough roads and color matched full-coverage fenders keep the bike looking fresh while keeping your outfit even fresher. Faux leather grips and saddle boost the handmade appeal, while the included front cargo rack tacks on an additional level of practicality, making the Townsend equal parts beauty and brain.

Gearing: 2×9
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: 50, 51, 54, 57, 59

Purchase: $850

Surly Flat Bar Cross-Check

Simplicity and functionality rule the city streets when it comes to commuting by bike, and Surly has long embodied this no BS attitude. Riffing of their immensely popular cyclocross chassis, the Surly Flat Bar Cross-Check is the grocery getting, bar hopping, everyday commuter dressed in performance trim. The steel frame’s geometry blends agile maneuverability with all day comfort in a way that allows the Cross-Check to feel equally at home on the local single track as it does squeezing through the backup of cars on Main street. Semi-horizontal dropouts allow swapping out the standard 9-speed rear cluster for a single speed set up, if so inclined, and Gnot-rite rear axle spacing allows for a variety of hub widths. The chain-stays are engineered to fit tires up to 42c, allowing the room for the extra wide and cushy Knard knobbies you’ll find stock on the Cross-Check. Surly also teamed up with MSW to equip the bike with the stout, durable Pork Chop rear rack so you’ll be ready to pick up a six pack on your way home from the bike shop.

Gearing: 1×9
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64

Purchase: $875

All-City Pony Express

Buying a complete bike does not have to mean that every component choice is locked in for the life of the two-wheeler, because like their human counterparts, bikes go through changes too. All-City Cycles is built on the idea that ‘fast is forever’ and their Pony Express is a bike that has the ability to adapt to a changing rider over time. Centered around their proprietary butted steel tubing, the frame of the Pony Express is built to provide decades of street shredding fun. SRAM supplies the one-by-ten drivetrain with a wide array of usable gears while keeping it easy with a single shifter on the riser bars, though the frame’s semi-horizontal dropouts are ready to accept any gear combination. No extra frills are included with the Pony Express, but all the usual braze-on mounts for fenders, racks, and bottle cages are included. If you are looking for a bike to add a little bit of personal flair to, the Pony Express is ready and waiting for to become your customized creation.

Gearing: 1×10
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61

Purchase: $1,000

Trek Lync 5

Being one of the biggest names on the road, Trek has long been known for high end race bikes made from innovative materials. At their core, the Wisconsin based manufacturer knows that the road to the big tour starts at home, and the Lync 5 is their offering for those in need of two wheeled transit for their daily life. Beautifully drawn aluminum tubing is the basis for the Lync, a material selected for its excellent balance of toughness and weight savings. An integrated light system is neatly tucked into the head tube and chain stay and is powered by a removable, USB rechargeable battery. Full coverage fenders provide protection for the elements and a rear rack is ready to accept panniers of any variety. A super clean internally gear hub is propelled by a carbon belt drive, meaning you’ll never get your pants greased by a chain. Reflective Trek logos on the frame are the final touch in making the Lync ready for city crushing at any hour.

Gearing: 1×8, internal geared hub, belt drive
Frame: Aluminum
Sizing: 15-inch, 17.5-inch, 20-inch, 22.5-inch, 25-inch

Purchase: $1,470

Brompton NYC Edition

Living and working in a city can make it very apparent that there is not a whole lot of extra room to spare in the urban jungle. Those in cities like London or New York will attest to this, and the Brompton NYC Edition folding bicycle is the perfect fit for those locals. Being one of the most copied folding bike designs on the market, Brompton bikes employ a long list of innovative designs that make commuting in congested areas easier. Hinges on the top tube, at the bottom bracket, and on the handlebar stem allow for this bike to fold down to just over three cubic feet, while an extra set of small wheels allow the bike to roll when folded. The NYC edition is available in either two or six speed external rear gear sets, depending on how many hills you will need to climb on your regular route. A thin saddle and Ergon grips provide supple contact points for hip and hands, and a highly adjustable seat post allow the one size fits all frame to be dialed in just right for any height cyclist. Full coverage fenders keep muck off the bike and rider while integrated lights powered by USB rechargeable batteries light the way. Reflective adornments on the frame and added roll-top bag will also throw a little light back at driver to let them know you’re there.

Gearing: 1×2, 1×6
Frame: Chromoly Steel, folding hinge
Sizing: OS

Purchase: $1,755+

Specialized AWOL Expert

Having the option to get a little more out of your weekday stead can be nice, but the AWOL Expert from Specialized will pave the way for you to do a lot more than just commute with your everyday workhorse. An adventure touring bike by classification, the AWOL’s chromoly steel tube frame and fork set the stage for all day riding comfort that can be appreciated during even the shortest slash across town, and will always be ready for longer weekend getaways . A generous swath of gear choices are easily selected with Shimano Tiagra integrated brake levers, and the three ring crankset supplies an ultra low 30:36 first gear ratio for those near vertical slow churn climbs. Full duty cargo racks provide heaps of space to attach or mount any style of gear hauling accessories, ensuring you’ll never have to wear a bag if you don’t want to, and full coverage fenders will keep your luggage splash free on wet days. Mounted to these racks are a set of integrated head and tail lights powered by a dynamo front hub, so you’ll never be left in the dark. The hub also generates enough power to supply the Plug 3 USB charger mounted in the steerer tube with enough juice to recharge any mobile device on the go.

Gearing: 3×10
Frame: Chromoly Steel
Sizing: XS(54), S(56), M(58), L(60), XL(62)

Purchase: $2,500

HaiBike SDURO Trekking 9.5

Some call it cheating, but to anyone that has spent time on an electric bike, they call it fun. For those looking to get a little extra help on their way to the office, or those looking to arrive sweat free, the HaiBike SDURO Trekking 9.5 is the whip that works just as hard as you do. Being one of the largest players in the electric bike sector, HaiBike knows what it takes to make an appealing ride. The sloping top tube aluminum frame is designed to easy to mount and comfortable enough to ride all day. Up front an SR Suntour suspension fork provides some relief from pothole ridden roads, but can be locked out for those looking to conserve all of their pedaling energy. Bosch provides the extra juice with their 350 watt mid-drive motor and 500 watt•hour battery, both beautifully integrated to the bikes aesthetics. A rear cargo rack is ready to accept any size briefcase and full coverage fenders keep your slacks from getting sloppy. Front and rear lights are powered by the bikes large battery so you can be seen anytime you are on the bike.

Gearing: 1×11, Bosch middrive
Frame: Aluminum
Sizing: S(48), M(52), L(56), XL(60), XXL(64)

Purchase: $4,200

Road Warrior: 13 Bike Commuter Essentials

Ok so you have some idea of what kind of bike you want to mash across town on – but what kind of gear will you need? Take a look at our rundown of the best bike commuter essentials out there.

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