The Best Commuter Bikes of 2023: Start and End Your Day on the Right Pedal

Man commuting to work


Commuting to and from work is a commitment with incredible benefits. Depending on where you live, it can save on gas and the headache of rush hour. Not to mention, it's more environmentally friendly and great exercise. For your daily bike commute, you're going to want the best commuter bike.

Which bike you choose depends on the type of terrain on your route. If it is mostly flat streets, you may opt for a city bike. Alternatively, if there are a lot of hills, an electric bike can help you reach the top. Another thing to consider is where your commuter bike will be stored. If there is no place for commuter bikes to be locked up or if you are limited on space, a folding bike is a great option. We've researched and developed a list of the best commuter bikes on the market to help you find a bike that suits your needs.

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The Best Commuter Bikes - Our Top Picks

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Best Commuter Bike Overall - KOOTU Carbon Road Bike

Kootu Carbon Road Bike

SPECS

  • Frame material: Carbon fiber
  • Weight: 20.3 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 11 speed
  • Brake type: Caliper

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For best overall, we recommend the KOOTU Carbon Road bike because it has an ultra-light carbon fiber frame so you can scoot around the town as quickly as you'd like. It has shifters on the left and right sides, so your bike responds to uphill and downhill action rapidly. The caliper brakes help you slow down, even when you’re traveling at a high speed.

The seat has a slender shape, but it is still supportive. Since it's a road bike, it does have upright handlebars with dual brake levers on each side. You'll lean forward when riding this commuter bike for optimal speed and aerodynamics. The setup and maintenance process is easy because special tools are not required.

What We Like

  • Fast acceleration
  • Lightweight
  • Carbon fiber frame absorbs shock
  • Maintenance doesn't require specialty tools
  • Upright handlebars reduce air resistance

What We Don't Like

  • Seat may not be comfortable for longer commutes
  • Cannot be taken off-road

BUY: Kootu Carbon Road Bike

Best Budget Commuter Bike - Vilano Diverse 3.0

Vilano Diverse 3.0

SPECS

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 26.5 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 24 speed
  • Brake type: Disc

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In comparison to other commuter bikes, the Vilano Diverse 3.0 is a great value for its features. We really like that it has 24 gears, so even at a lower price point, it can handle more diverse routes. It has an aluminum frame so it's pretty light and the frame comes with mounting points for a water bottle and a rear rack if you need extra storage. We consider this a city bike since it comes with road tires and cannot be used off the pavement.

You can access the disc brakes or gears from the flat handlebars. These keep you upright while you ride, which may affect your speed. However, for riders who have a longer commute, this position may be more comfortable. The bike does need to be assembled and the manufacturer makes it very clear that you will need time and specialized tools to do so. With a little bit of patience and determination, the setup is worth the time if you want a more moderately priced commuter bike.

What We Like

  • Upright riding position
  • Light and durable frame
  • 24 gears

What We Don't Like

  • Set-up may take more time and you need specialized tools
  • Upright position may slow you down

BUY: Vilano Diverse 3.0

Best Electric Commuter Bike - Charge City Electric Bike

Charge City Electric Bike

SPECS

  • Frame material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 45 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 7 speed
  • Brake type: Disc

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The Charge City Electric Bike is an excellent option if you want to have a more relaxing ride. Unlike other commuter bikes, it's electric so you don't have to worry about breaking a sweat on your way to work. The thumb throttle is easy to access from the flat handlebars, and it goes up to 20 mph. After charging with the included charger, you can travel as far as 50 miles before your next charge. We really like that there are five levels of pedal assist, so you can go at your speed of choice.

Aside from the obvious perks of it being an electric city bike, it comes with a rack and front and rear lights. The tires are durable and puncture resistant and the fenders protect the rider from any undesirable elements that may fly up from the street. There is also a tire pressure indicator on the valve caps if you need to check the tire pressure.

What We Like

  • Folding handlebars and pedals
  • Built-in racks
  • Tire pressure indicator
  • Front and rear lights
  • Comes with a kickstand

What We Don't Like

  • Battery needs replaced every few years
  • Takes a few hours to charge
  • Expensive

BUY: Charge City Electric Bike

Best Commuter Road Bike - YAALO Urban Commuter Road Bike

YAALO Urban Commuter Road Bike

SPECS

  • Frame material: Carbon Steel
  • Weight: N/A
  • Gears/Speeds: 7 speed
  • Brake type: Linear pull

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We love the YAALO Urban Commuter Road bike’s light, rust-proof carbon steel frame. The tires are wear-resistant with an anti-skid design that helps them to grip tightly to the road. It has a hollow rim that helps you feel stable even at higher speeds. The weight is not specified, but it is described as lightweight and carbon steel-framed commuter bikes are typically on the lighter side.

It has a bearing shaft on the bottom bracket, which is used to reduce friction between the moving parts. Less friction means that you'll have a more comfortable and smooth ride. It's also dustproof, so you don't have to worry about frequent cleaning and maintenance. The flat handlebars keep the rider in an upright position on the seat, although the seat doesn't provide much cushion so it may not be suitable if you have a longer ride.

What We Like

  • Unique retro style
  • Wear-resistant tires
  • Comes with a bicycle bell
  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like

  • Only one size offered
  • Seat may be uncomfortable for a longer commute

BUY: YAALO Urban Commuter Road Bike

Best Commuter Hybrid Bike - Marin Kentfield 2 700C Hybrid

Marin Kentfield 2 700C Hybrid

SPECS

  • Frame material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 10 speed
  • Brake type: Disc

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The Marin Kentfield 2 700C Hybrid is a great mix between comfort and efficiency. This hybrid bike has an aluminum frame with a standard horizontal top or step-through design so it is light and easy to mount. The seat keeps you upright, similar to a mountain bike, so you can keep an eye on the road. Even though there are only 10 gears, they allow a wider range than other commuter bikes so you can cover more ground.

Did we mention it's also stylish? It's got a retro-modern flair to it and comes in a unique tan color, which is also outlined on the tires. It has black accents and a BMX-inspired straight-blade fork, complete with disc brake mounts.

What We Like

  • 2 frame design choices
  • 10 gears with a wide range
  • Low price
  • 700C road bike tires for speed

What We Don't Like

  • Straight-blade forks tend to absorb less shock than curved forks
  • Only large and extra large size options available

BUY: Marin Kentfield 2 700C Hybrid

Best Commuter Bike for Beginners - Schwinn GTX 2

Schwinn GTX 2

SPECS

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 21 speed
  • Brake type: Disc

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If you're a beginner commuter, the Schwinn GTX 2 is a great commuter bike to start with. It's a hybrid bike, so that means it's more comfortable than road bikes. The seat is a bit more cushioned and the suspension absorbs any bumps that may come up. It's a great bike if you need something you can ride in versatile conditions.

It has 21 gears that shift smoothly and quickly with access right on the flat handlebars. If you need to stop, the mechanical disc brakes are reliable even in rain and dust. It comes with multi-terrain tires and double-wall alloy rims, so this is a great choice if your route takes you off-roading.

What We Like

  • Multi-purpose tires can be used off-road
  • Brakes reliable on dusty paths or in the rain
  • Step-through frame for easy mounting
  • Comfortable seat

What We Don't Like

  • Only one color available
  • Doesn't have any storage
  • Cables are not hidden so they may be an eyesore

BUY: Schwinn GTX 2

Best Folding Commuter Bike - Brompton C Line Explore Mid

Brompton C Line Explore Mid

SPECS

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 6 speed
  • Brake type: Rim, caliper

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The Brompton C Line Explore Mid folds into a compact commuter bike, but it still has all the bells and whistles. The steel frame is durable and this city bike is still relatively light at only 27 pounds. Since it folds, the design is quite different from other commuter bikes so that may be something to get used to. It measures 25.3 inches by 23 inches by 10.6 inches when folded, so it can fit in the trunk of a car or come with you on the bus and not get any side eyes from other passengers. A folding bike is also ideal if you're limited on space at home or at work.

The tires are puncture resistant and we love that they added reflective sidewalls in case you get yourself in a situation with low visibility. There are also fenders and rubberized flaps to help cut down on road spray. You'll have a neutral riding position on this one, so your commute is comfortable. It is a bit pricey, but worth the spend if you need a bike that can fit in smaller spaces.

What We Like

  • Front carrier can fit luggage (Brompton brand only)
  • Can fold to fit in a car trunk if needed
  • Comes with a tire pump

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller frame
  • Fewer gears than other commuter bikes
  • Steel frame may rust over time

BUY: Brompton C Line Explore Mid

Best Upright Commuter Bike - sixthreezero EVRYjourney

Sixthreezero EVRYjourney

SPECS

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Weight: 42 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 7 speed
  • Brake type: Linear pull

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The sixthreezero EVRYjourney hybrid bike is a comfortable choice. The frame is designed to help keep your body properly aligned so your back, shoulders, and wrists don't get sore. The wide handlebars help keep you upright, so you may consider this bike if you have a longer commute. The pedals are specifically positioned to give you full leg extension as well, which can help with soreness in your hips, knees, and ankles.

The steel frame is matte black and has a low swoop, so riders can get on and off easily. If your route is on the hilly side, one downfall might be that it only has seven gears. This commuter bike has linear-pull brakes that are low maintenance and have supreme stopping power.

What We Like

  • Rear rack for storage
  • Great for comfortable commute
  • Wide handlebars
  • Matte black, clean look

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier than other commuter bikes
  • Cables are not hidden so they may be an eyesore

BUY: sixthreezero EVRYjourney

Best Lightweight Commuter Bike - Salsa Journeyer Sora 650b

Salsa Journeyer Sora 650b

SPECS

  • Frame material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Weight: 23.94 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 18 gear
  • Brake type: Disc

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We love the Salsa Journeyer Sora 650b because it weighs only 23.94 pounds, so it is both portable and aerodynamic. This is a superb option because it can be ridden on more versatile terrain than other commuter bikes. We also like that it has the upright handles of a road bike, but it can be utilized off-road. The frame is made of lightweight and durable aluminum, and it comes with water, tool, and accessory mounts if you need to add them down the road (pun intended).

This bike comes with 650b tires (standard mountain bike size), but if your commute changes, it's compatible with 700c wheels and tires (standard road bike size). If you're on the road or a dusty path, the mechanical disc brakes are still reliable and keep you safe. It doesn't come with pedals, which is a bummer, especially since it has a higher price point than other commuter bikes.

What We Like

  • Can change to road bike tires if you need to (not included)
  • 18 gears
  • Upright handlebars

What We Don't Like

  • Pedals not included
  • Expensive

BUY: Salsa Journeyer Sora 650b

Most Comfortable Commuter Bike - Schwinn Sanctuary 7 Cruiser

Schwinn Sanctuary 7 Cruiser

SPECS

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Weight: 38.8 lbs.
  • Gears/Speeds: 7 speed
  • Brake type: Linear pull

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If you're in no rush to get to work and searching for a comfortable and leisurely ride, the Schwinn Sanctuary 7 Cruiser is our recommendation. This commuter bike performs well in flat, easy-going terrain and has a back rack for storage. The linear-pull brakes can be accessed easily from the wide handlebars for a reliable stop. There are seven gears you can change using the twist shifter near the brake levers.

It has a cruiser seat, which is notorious for being wide and cushioned. Aside from the support it offers, it also includes a spring to help absorb bumps on the road. The tires are 2.1 inches wide, which helps you feel extra stable.

What We Like

  • Cushioned seat
  • Springs to absorb shock
  • Wide tires for stability
  • Step through frame for easy mounting

What We Don't Like

  • Not good for hilly routes
  • Can't go off-road
  • Only one color available

BUY: Schwinn Sanctuary 7 Cruiser

What To Look For in a Commuter Bike


Frame Material

Each type of material has its pros and cons. Aluminum is the frame material we see the most often because it's light, corrosion-resistant, and affordable. It has a high level of stiffness which is why it's a frequently used material and it can be lighter than carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is more long-lasting than aluminum and does not rust, but it is notably not as strong as aluminum. However, it has a dampening effect that soaks up some of the harshness, making your route more smooth. Steel is not as strong as carbon fiber or aluminum, but if you're on a gravel path it absorbs some vibration so you have less arm fatigue. Steel also lasts longer and if you are attached to your bike, the frame can be welded and repaired if needed.

Weight

Typically anywhere between 20 to 30 pounds is ideal for a commuter bike. If you need to add weight by carrying bags and accessories, you may want a bike on the lighter side. If you want a quick commute, a lighter commuter bike will get you there more quickly than a heavier one. You also might want one that weighs less if you have to carry it up and down stairs every day.

Suspension Type

Commuter bikes rarely have suspension because they are generally used for paved routes. Since the suspension is designed to absorb shock and roads are more smooth, it's not something we see often because of the extra price and weight it adds. If you're worried about a smoother and softer ride, look for commuter bike brands with wider tires to take the edge off bigger bumps.

FAQs About Commuter Bikes


Are commuter bikes comfortable?

For the most part, yes. Hybrids are a more comfortable choice than road bikes because they have straight handlebars and a wider saddle so you feel comfortable throughout your ride. The tires are also wide and durable, which provides a smooth and steady commute. However, some people prefer the speed and forward-leaning position that road bikes have.

How many gears do you need on a commuter bike?

Commuter bikes come with a few gear options. If you're using it as a city bike and the roads are paved and flat, one gear is typically enough. However, if there are mild climbs, heavy winds, or if you're carrying a backpack then three gears will assist you better than one. If your route is hilly, seven gears will help you get up those hills (along with a good set of lungs). If your commuter bike will be used off-road, 9 to 11 gears are recommended.

Are commuter bikes worth it?

Absolutely, as long as you have a safe route and a reliable and comfortable ride. It's a great way to incorporate exercise, especially if your job requires you to sit at a desk for most of the day. It can also boost your mental health if you get frustrated or stressed sitting in traffic. Not to mention, riding a bike cuts down on your carbon footprint.

What is the difference between a commuter bike and a hybrid bike?

Hybrid bikes are a type of commuter bike. They sometimes have features such as luggage racks and mudguards, so they may be heavier than other bikes. They have a more upright position for the rider since they are usually used in cities where there are other hazards and traffic. A hybrid bike is generally used for a mix of terrains, from roads to mountains. Since its functions are versatile, it doesn't specialize in any area. Some models come with features similar to a road bike, but if you aren't concerned with speed and need something comfortable with storage options, hybrids are a safe bet.

About the Author

Rachael Gonzalez

Rachael Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for ACTIVE. She spent five years in education before she joined the ACTIVE team in 2022. In this role, she is still able to make a positive impact on others by writing about something she loves: health and wellness.

See More from Rachael

Rachael Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for ACTIVE. She spent five years in education before she joined the ACTIVE team in 2022. In this role, she is still able to make a positive impact on others by writing about something she loves: health and wellness.

See More from Rachael

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