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With everything in nature seemingly on fire, eco-friendly transportation is a must. I've done my part by finding some of the best bikes for daily commuting.
Isn't it challenging to find a daily commuter that is value-for-money, lightweight, and has impressive components that'll endure the test of time? On top of all those considerations, you also need to start thinking about the style of bike that'll keep up and support your everyday commuting.
These ten bikes are among some of the best options for everyday use:
- Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1
- Carrera Subway 1
- B'Twin Tilt 500
- Specialized Sirrus 2.0
- Gazelle Ultimate T10+ HMB
- Priority Continuum Onyx
- Aventon Level
- Surly Cross-Check
- Mongoose Envoy
- Lekker Amsterdam M2 Series 8-speed
I know that my little list of findings doesn't do much to help you choose your bike partner. That's why I've ensured to include bikes of different categories and classes and educate on each bike's characteristics and capabilities. The real help is in the meat of each entry.
Even with my decades of cycling experience, I made sure to dive deep into the essential aspects that make each bike roll. I reviewed customer feedback, followed expert opinions, and relied on trusted hands-on sources such as Bicycling and Cyclingweekly.
10 Best Bikes For Daily Commuting
As I've mentioned, there are many alluring options when going for a daily commuter. This great diversity is why you'll find varied options at all price points. Affordability, reliability, maintenance requirement, components, and weight are some driving factors that made me decide on these bikes.
1. Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1
Although Rei might charge more than its competition, they continue to bring bikes of the highest quality. Their in-house Co-op Cycles line seems to b growing to produce hybrid bikes that steamroll over their opponents.
The Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1 has a fluid SR Suntour Nex HLO 63-millimeter travel front suspension, unlike the minimalist rigid fork of the CTY 1.1. The SR Suntour Nex HLO is incredibly durable and will absorb many wrist-jarring bumps on the road.
The CTY 2.1 uses a cartridge-style bottom bracket instead of the Shimano bottom bracket of the previous generation. This integrated bottom bracket style maintains the affordable cost of the CTY 1.1 while ensuring that you have a convenient piece that will last you many years.
Rei's latest in-brand introduction is ridiculously responsive. The locking front suspension adds comfort without the hassle of the unstable shocks you find on cheaper bikes–or even some bikes just under $1000.
A smooth-operating 8-speed Shimano HG41 11-34t rear cog marries in-class with the Shimano 48/38/28 crankset. You won't be getting K2 low gear combinations, but it should be a spread you'll be more than happy with in your daily ventures.
If you are fortunate enough to live near a Rei physical retail shop, try to collect the bike in-store and use their fit and adjustment service. You want a bike that's made for your specific dimensions if you're going to be on it every day. Rei also offers free tuning on the bike.
The Shimano groupset and Shimano M315 hydraulic disc brakes add confidence during the rigor of daily commutes. Having the 700x40c tires gives another welcome comfort level for most roads you will be riding over.
The Kenda Kick-Back tires have enough gnarl to provide stability, security, and comfort. They might not roll the fastest on the tarmac as maybe tires with side gnarling and a road-focused center path would. Like any other tire, regardless of grit, don't try to ride over a wet boardwalk or wood with these.
Lastly, The 31-pound CTY 2.1 has an easy-to-adjust Selle Royal Shadow Plus saddle with gel on a sturdy 6061 aluminum seat post. Despite being a hardtail hybrid, the memory foam seat provides such phenomenal support that your posterior can hardly decipher the difference.
Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1 Specification
2. Carrera Subway 1
Equipped with the old reliable Shimano TX800 8-speed drivetrain, the Carrera Subway 1 weathers many commutes while maintaining the fluidity and premium-build of all Shimano groupsets.
The Subway 1 is an excellent bike for those who can't afford to "spec out" on the Subway 2. The significant loss buyers of this option will miss out on is with the brakes. The Subway 1 uses mechanical disc brakes instead of the all-powerful hydraulic brakes on the elder-sibling option.
The Subway 2 also upgrades its Shimano Tourney 8-speed gears to a sweet 9-speed, but the gap in gearing isn't enough to convince me to spend those extra dollars for an upgrade. The rigid suspension aluminum frame isn't one for long rides because of the stiff geometry.
You'll also find the now little-seen 27.5x1.95 inch Kenda tires with puncture protection on the Subway 1. They are not the best performers, but they have good traction.
The Tektro M280 mechanical disc brakes offer performance that's out of their price bracket, even in environments that aren't so dry. If you keep up with your bike maintenance, you should feel safe for many rides.
A Prowheel 46/30t chainset coupled with the Shimano HG31 11-34t freewheel rear cog allows you to climb up slopes you wouldn't want to tackle with a single-speed while offering an option to rest your feet and cruise.
Carrera's Subway 1 also has specific frames for both men and women. The quick-release customizable wheels might not wholly make up for the shabby pedals, but they allow the attachment of fenders to keep water and mud splashes at bay.
The 30-pound bike isn't the lightest on the market for being around $400, but it is one of the few that mixes in some quality material without breaking the bank.
Carrera Subway 1 Specifications
3. B'Twin Tilt 500
The Tilt 500 is the only folding bike on this list for a good reason. The Shimano 7-speed drivetrain is quite versatile for a small and affordable bike. Dissimilar to other folding bikes with 20-inch wheels, the manual version of the Tilt 500 can effortlessly tackle roads of different steepness.
Having a folding bike as a daily commuter is helpful for those working in small offices because of the relatively small space that a folding bike takes up—however, the 30.7" x 26" x 15" folded size of this bike makes it not as compact as other high-end folding bikes.
Because of being Decathlon's mid-range folding bike, the almost 29-pound Tilt 500 loses points for being a hefty package. The steel V-brakes aren't the best for riding in wet weather, given that you will encounter a rainy day or two using the bike as a daily commuter.
The bike's quick-folding mechanism offers the convenience that hybrid bikes lack. The bike's adjustable saddle and handlebars cater to a broader fit range and come with mudguards, integrated chainguard build, light, and reflectors that help with the sometimes cheap-feeling saddle and paddles.
However, and I'm going big on that conjunctive adverb, I'd only advise to get the bike when it is on sale for around $299 and not when the listing changes to $449. That's because it's difficult to wholeheartedly promote a lesser-quality folding bike when I've had an experience with Brompton and Montague folding bikes.
Brompton is probably not even on the same plane of existence for most people because of its reality-splitting price. If you can spend the total $449 price of the Tilt 500, I suggest you hold up and save a bit more so you can get the $879 Montague Boston, the $850 Tern Link D8, or the $800 Dahon Archer P8 folding bikes.
Tern and Montague have proven themselves reliable brands even with their lower-end offerings. I wouldn't spend more than $300 on any obscure-brand folding bike because they are usually not worth the hassle.
B'Twin Tilt 500 Specifications
4. Specialized Sirrus 2.0
I cannot recommend the Sirrus 2.0 enough as the most bang-for-buck entry-level commuter bike. Kitted with Shimano Acera 8-speed shift levers, Shimano Tourney front derailleurs, crankset, Shimano Acera rear derailleurs, and some stunningly enduring Shimano Altus cassette–the bike's groupset motivates its entry.
Some riders might find the fitness-optimized geometry of the aluminum frame and flat bars a bit too uncomfortable for casual riders that need a commuting steed. The 700x32c RoadSport Reflect tires that come standard can be upgraded to wider 700x42c tires for those who enjoy the extra cushion while riding.
Hiding behind a nonobtrusive chainguard, the KMC X8 chain is precise and provides sleek transitioning without losing power. Specialized is aptly named because the entire bike is built to last while bringing all the value we have come to expect from the company.
The 2021 Sirrus 2.0 currently retails for $775, and you'd expect a bike setting its line up as premium would quickly begin to unravel and be weighed down by its low-quality components. Fortunately, the Sirrus 2.0 manages to stay around the 26-pound neighborhood. Which isn't light any means for learned riders, but it's not leaden for what it brings to the feast.
To expand a little more on the groupset situation, the cassette is Shimano Altus 11-32t partnered with a Tourney 46/30t crankset with a chainguard. This bike won't make the best fitness companion when you begin to push yourself, but it will make a supportive life partner.
Sirrus 2.0 also comes ready to be able to mount racks and mudguards, which adds to its utilitarianism without seeming like a child's plaything when these extras are mounted. It's not the best that Specialized offers, but it's good enough for your daily needs.
Specialized Sirrus 2.0 Specifications
5. Gazelle Ultimate T10+ HMB
In the past, it has been challenging to recommend e-bikes as daily drivers, but the shortcomings of electric bikes are becoming increasingly less restricting. What Gazelle's electric bike line is offering attempts to address some significant issues with this market.
With a 500 Wh battery made part of the downtube, the Ultimate T10+ HMB can do around 35 miles on its tour range setting before requiring a charge, which should be enough for most of your daily needs.
Unlike other cheaper electric bikes, the T10+ HMB lets you squeeze out that power as much as possible to allow up to 55 miles on its eco setting and 20 miles on its turbo setting for extra oomph.
The bike's above-average 85 Nm Bosch Performace Line speed motor is neatly built into the bottom bracket and doesn't seem to struggle as much on steeper routes. A 10-speed Shimano Deore gear system provides that extra push for the hills on said routes.
Now, I've been naughty by not mentioning the price of the T10+ because I was skeptical to even consider it because of its $4,199 ask.
Gazelle Ultimate T10+ HMB Specifications
6. Priority Continuum Onyx
You'll find the Continuum Onyx on many lists because it is a great bike for your daily commutes and because of its beautiful and versatile minimalist design. The bike's aluminum frame adds rigidity to the build without contributing unnecessarily to the 30-something pound weight.
Although the bike isn't the lightest on the market at its premium price point, the Gates Carbon Drive belt system manufactured with Centertrack CDN does add a considerable amount of weight, but it is what makes the bike need such little maintenance.
A belt-drive system removes the need to regularly clean your chain and has all the sensitive bits that attach externally to the hub hidden internally routed. The Continuum Onyx is the ideal workhorse for people riding in gloomier climates.
Not to mention that the bike comes with a ridiculous amount of extra bits, from the dynamo-powered front and rear lights to the color-matching fenders. The alloy kickstand is also a welcomed plus.
Finally, the thicker saddle does add extra cushioning and almost makes up for the relatively thin 700x32c wheels. Priority's option of Tekro or Promax hydraulic disc brakes is another premium for all the stopping power you'll need without needing a lot of forearm strength.
Priority Continuum Onyx Specifications
7. Aventon Level
Aventon Level is another well-thought-out electric bike. Like the Gazelle Ultimate T10+, the Level's removable Lithium 672 Wh battery is integrated into the downtube. The bike doesn't have range modes, with 40 miles being the longest estimated range, even with the bigger battery.
Even with the 6061 double-butted aluminum frame, the 62-pound bike is one of the heaviest commuters on my list. However, the space has been used so that if the bike didn't have the included fenders and racks, it could be mistaken for a speed bike from afar.
Depending on your local electric bike regulations, you can take the Level up to 28 mph with its 5-level pedal-assist or keep it at a cool 20 mph on just the throttle. Although the price is quite daunting, many of the Level's builds feel super-premium, from the front coil spring suspension with lockout to the 9/16" alloy pedals.
The motor peaks at 750W for those demanding hills but sustains 500W for regular riding. It is a brushless rear hub motor for the most efficient transferral of power while looking slick. You can commute by bike to the office or use it on your grocery run.
Aventon Level Specifications
8. Surly Cross-Check
Surly's Cross-Check is built to be with you for many years. The steel frame is more flexible and durable than aluminum, reduces vibrations felt during riding, and requires less maintenance, especially if there's water and other compounding elements during your daily rides.
However, hiding the thousand-dollar-range paywall of this bike behind the steel frame doesn't quite justify the deed. You not only trade-off weight, the frame weighing over 6-pounds alone, but you also subscribe to some subpar components.
Using Tekro M730 rim brakes on a daily commuter might be great for lovers of the "good old days," but it isn't the best in terms of practicality and braking power. Rim brakes might be cheaper to maintain and replace, but the bike industry has evolved to use hydraulic disc brakes for a reason.
But, it does help that you can replace the Kenda Kwest 700x35c tires with wider tires, up to 42 mm, for a more comfortable ride. The ability to add front and rear racks is welcomed, but I would trade convenience for a few better components in a heartbeat.
Surly Cross-Check Specifications
9. Mongoose Envoy
If you are new to cargo bikes, the Mongoose Envoy is just the bike to welcome you into the mix. Although electric cargo bikes are more typical and valuable, the Envoy fights to be considered a serious option.
Mongoose mixes some in-house components in the eclectic groupset, but they do appear to keep up with the other entry-level Shimano, Sunrace, and Prowheel bits.
You can see the attempt to keep prices as low as possible, but the $1,049.99 price isn't fantastic. That's because you can get a basic electric cargo bike for around the same amount or more polished ones like the RadWagon 4 for $1,999.
This cargo bike is made to take a beating, and you will get you from A-to-B guaranteed, even if you have to haul your behind with the 8-speed gearing system. The gearing range might not be as high as on other thousand-dollar bikes, but with the Shimano EF500, at least the shifting is dependable and smooth.
Also, with the Sunrace 11-34T rear cog and Prowheel 42/32/22t crank, you won't be out of options as a casual rider. You might need to work harder on steeper routes, but you won't need to jump off your bike and push.
The handling on the bike is also quite good, even when you load the included panniers. The rear rack is also stable enough to hold a baby seat without worry.
Mongoose Envoy Specifications
10. Lekker Amsterdam M2 Series 8-speed
The Amsterdam 8-speed is another beautiful Gates belt drive system added to my list. The almost maintenance-free belt drive system is ideal for harsh environments and great for smooth transitioning without any worry of chain shenanigans.
This Lekker bike protects its component so well that it doesn't seem too wildly priced at $1,598. Hopefully, you can get it during one of their sales. As I write this review, the Amsterdam 8 sells for $1,398.
The main two things that relegated this bike as just a quick last-minute mention is how the components are put together.
The Tektro HD-M285 brake caliper is a nightmare to remove when changing tires because of its placement and the bike is a schlep for DIY repair because you need big-people tools to remove the wheels instead of the Allen keys that you find in your standard bike tool kit.
At around 29 pounds, the bike is also not the lightest thing to carry up and down stairs, but if you don't mind any of the quibbles I've mentioned, you should also check this one out.