If you live in NYC, you understand the importance of getting from Point A to Point B by cycling, but which bikes are best for the city?
Biking around NYC is the primary mode of transport for so many New Yorkers, as it can be a lot more practical and affordable than owning a car. However, cycling around a city as huge and hectic as New York requires a specific kind of bike that is suitable for urban riding.
The best bikes for NYC are:
- Cannondale Bad Boy 3
- Specialized CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc
- Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1
- State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black
- Brooklyn Lorimer
- Brompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike
- Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2
- Mongoose Envoy, and the Tern GSD S10
Taking the subway, relying on taxis, or driving your own car in NYC is often more trouble than it’s worth. There is no better way to get around the city than to hop on a bike for your daily commute. You can zip around traffic and take full advantage of side alley shortcuts - often enabling you to get to where you need to go faster than on any other type of transport. With that said, you need to consider exactly how you want to ride your bike. Are you looking for something that will enable you to optimize your commute to work? An efficient bicycle that can help you speed up your deliveries? Or simply a bike that is suitable for cruising around Central Park? Whatever your riding intentions are in NYC, you will find that there is a perfect bike for cycling the city.As you weigh out your options, you need to consider exactly how you want to ride your bike, what your budget is, and whether you want something that is solely for commuting on paved roads - or a bike that can handle adverse terrain. To help you understand this further, we are going to take you through the best bikes for NYC.
After extensively researching cycling forums, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the best bikes for NYC. My research has indicated that you should select an option that is suitable to your riding style and how you specifically want to use your bike in the city.
Cannondale Bad Boy 3 (Best Overall)
Ever since Cannondale came back on the scene, they have been slowly rising towards the top of the industry. The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is a go-to option for a lot of New Yorkers, as it ticks so many boxes for urban riding.
This is an urban commuter bike that offers riders speed and durability in one package. The design of the Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is quite similar to a standard hybrid road bike - with a bbq black paint job that makes this bike look as cool to look at as it is fun to ride.
The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is particularly popular among NYC riders that want to make cycling through the city as fast and efficient as possible. Cannondale designed the frame with SmartForm C2 Alloy, which is safeguarded by an integrated urban armor bumper to make this commuter bike resistant to impact.
The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is also equipped with a Shimano 16-speed drivetrain, which gives you plenty of gears to optimize your ride performance based on grade. In addition, Cannondale also built this commuter bike with Shimano hydraulic disc breaks so that you have excellent and reliable stopping power. The one feature you do not want to overlook when shopping for a bike in NYC is the importance of having good breaks, which Shiman certainly delivers.
Overall, this is an amazing commuter bike that can be used by riders of all experience levels and for a variety of different types of urban cycling. Lastly, the Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is being sold for a very solid price of just $1,200. The only real drawback of this Cannondale commuter bike is that it is only available in one color - bbq black.
Specialized CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc (Best Value for Money)
Specialized is often regarded for its high-end bikes which are used for competitive cycling and racing. However, the Specialized CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc commuter bike is a perfect option that is affordable and reliable for any NYC rider.
This bike was initially released in 2019, but it continues to be a very popular commuter bike among urban riders. The balanced specs and solid performance of the CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc make it perfect for rides to work and for casual cycling around the city.
While this commuter bike does have solid speed, it cannot quite match up with the Cannondale Bad Boy 3. Instead, what the CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc offers is a ride that is both comfortable and efficient.
A key reason behind this is the shock absorbers that will make riding through the city more gentle and less aggressive. While you should primarily be riding on paved roads in NYC, having to feel every bump and crack in the road can become a nuisance.
The shock absorbers also make the Specialized CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc commuter bike more versatile compared to standard road bikes. If you need to detour on unpaved roads or hit a gravel or dirt bike path, the CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc will be able to handle it.
A lot of riders also praise this Specialized commuter bike for its reliability in adverse weather. As soon as autumn and winter come rolling in, you need to take extra precautions when cycling by making sure that you are riding a bike that is suitable for wet and icy roads. Urban riders have had no issues riding the CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc through ice and even light snow conditions.
Regardless, if you need to break suddenly, the top-notch hydraulic disc breaks that this Specialized bike comes with are as dependable as they come. The CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc is also equipped with an A1 urban frame. Although this is a bit heavier than carbon fiber, as an NYC rider, it is well worth it to have a bike that strikes a balance between a lightweight and durable frame.
One of the best things about the Specialized CrossTrail Hydraulic Disc is how affordable it is, as you can pick up one of these commuter bikes for a mere $670.
Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 (Best Budget-friendly Bike)
If you are an intro-level rider with a small budget, there is really a no better option for NYC than REI’s store brand Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1. This is a bike that offers a lot at a very reasonable price, which is why so many urban riders are hopping on these REI bikes.
To start, the bike is equipped with a reliable 6061 aluminum frame and fork, which is lightweight, durable, and guaranteed to give you a smooth ride. The derailleurs, bottom bracket, and crankset are all designed with Shimano parts throughout - making this a budget bike that is loaded with high-end parts.
I also really enjoyed that REI built the Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 with a 24-speed drivetrain. As you cycle through NYC, you can effortlessly transition between a lot of gear options to adapt to any changes in grade that you encounter.
In addition, you can roll over cracks and bumps with the large size 700x40c tires, which are puncture proof, so that your chances of running into a flat during your rides are significantly lowered. The only thing that might make your ride a bit bumpy is that the Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 does not have front or rear suspension, but that is generally expected with hybrid road bikes.
If you are an NYC commuter that needs to haul around gear, you will be delighted to know that REI designed the Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 with an easily compatible fender and rack mount.
While this commuter bike ticks a lot of boxes, it is worth mentioning that it does not have hydraulic disc breaks. Instead, the Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 is equipped with mechanical disc breaks, which should suffice for NYC riding, given that the downhill grade should not be too intense within the city.
For the price tag that REI has put on this bike, you really can’t complain about the specs. While the Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 commuter bike from REI is usually around $600, you can often find it on sale for as little as $450, which is an absolute steal for the performance that you get.
State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black (Best Fixed-Gear Bike)
Speed is the name of the game with the State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black fixed gear bike. This bike is straight to the point, and that is exactly why it is so popular among urban riders.
Fixies are a classic bike option for so many New Yorkers, as they have a minimalistic aesthetic and are 1-dimensional for getting around the city. Your Point A to Point B commute is going to be lightning fast with the State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black. The slim and narrow design of this fixed gear bike enables you to have excellent maneuverability and agility so that you can get around traffic swiftly and efficiently.
State Bicycle designed The Matte Black with a steel frame - giving this fixed gear bike top-notch durability. With that said, a lot of urban riders think that steel is not a good material for bikes due to its increased weight. This is not an issue with the State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black, as even with a steel frame, this bike weighs just a mere 20lbs.
If you are the type of rider that likes to jump between modes of transport or carry your bike in to work with you, this fixed-gear bike is light enough to where you can easily bring it with you wherever you go.
If you enjoy riding a simplistic bike, the 4130 The Matte Black is going to catch your attention. However, if you like having additional features to make your NYC commute more practical, State Bicycle allows you to customize your bike online before you buy it.
The handlebars, lights, pedals, and water bottle cage (among other things) can all be customized so that your Matte Black fixed gear bike matches your riding style. Adding customizations does make the price shoot up quite a bit, though.
Much like with any fixie, the State Bicycle 4130 The Matte Black has some key qualities that make it stand out amongst the competition. Given the minimalistic and simplistic design of this bike, you can expect maintenance and repairs to be a lot less frequent and much cheaper when they do arise.
This can make taking care of your bike long-term a lot less tedious and more affordable, as the only thing that you really need to do to keep your bike running is lube the chain occasionally and keep air in the tires.
In addition, if you live in New York, you know that bike security is absolutely paramount. Having a lock on your bike is a must, but luckily fixed-gear bikes tend to be less attractive to thieves, so the chances of you getting your bike stolen are less likely in general.
Naturally, fixed-gear bikes are not for everyone. Having only one gear at your disposal implies that you have to put in more work in certain situations - especially once hills are involved. If you do not mind riding a fixie, The Matte Black is a fantastic bike for an NYC rider and you can pick one up for just $460.
Brooklyn Lorimer (Best Versatile Commuter Bike)
No NYC bike list would be complete without mentioning the Brooklyn Bicycle Co, as they design and manufacture a lot of their bikes specifically for urban riders in New York. Although there are a lot of great bikes from Brooklyn’s very own bike brand, their Lorimer is the best fit for most NYC riders.
The Brooklyn Bicycle Co designed this bike to be well-rounded for commuting and for fitness riding. Whether you need a reliable way of getting to work or an excuse to get out of the house to work up a sweat, the Brooklyn Lorimer has got you covered.
This commuter bike features 9 different speeds, which is all that you really need to cycle NYC given that city is pretty much flat through and through. However, the solid variety of gear options does make this a great bike to ride outside of the city as well.
I also really enjoyed that the Brooklyn Bicycle Co built this bike to be versatile for a variety of different types of terrain. NYC is full of cracks and bumps which can hinder your riding performance and comfort level when riding. The Lorimer is capable of handling light rugged terrain so that you can ride just about anywhere.
If you happen to roll over any sharp or jagged objects, the puncture-proof tires should ensure that you do not run into any flats in the city. The Brooklyn Bicycle Co also designed the Lorimer with Shimano parts, which can be found in the drivetrain and shifters.
A lot of NYC cyclists rely on their bikes for more than just their commutes, which includes running the bulk of their errands. If that is the case, you are going to want to have a bike that you can attach racks to. The Lorimer is incredibly easy to add features to, as it is loaded with mounting points for accessories.
All in all, the Lorimer cannot boast the best specs or performance, but it is hands down the most versatile bike on the list for casual riders who just want to hop on and off. Lastly, the Brooklyn Bicycle Co sells the Lorimer with a lifetime warranty for both the frame and fork. For a reasonable price of $680, you get a lot of great features with this commuter bike.
Brompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike (Best Folding Bike)
Mid-sized folding bikes often get a few weird stares from pedestrians but if you can overlook the quirky design and aesthetic, these are actually some of the best bikes for NYC riding. All New Yorkers understand the struggle of dealing with tight spaces, which is exactly why having a bike that is easy to fold is a huge selling point for people.
Although there are a lot of great foldable bikes on the market right now, the one that caught my attention was the Brompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike. These bikes are handmade in London and they are great for casual commuting around the city. You can optimize your daily routine and speed up your errands when riding the Brompton C Line Explore Mid Folding Bike.
One of the best characteristics of this folding bike is how easy it is to ride. The second that you hop on one, pedaling feels incredibly natural and intuitive - making it a perfect option for any rider that is new to cycling. In addition, to these being user-friendly bikes, they are also super comfortable, which is why you see a lot of middle-aged New Yorkers riding these.
Aside from this being a reliable and fun bike to ride, one of the main selling points is that you can fold it. Instead of having to lock your bike up outside or haul a bulky piece of metal painfully up several flights of stairs, you can fold the Brompton C Line Explore and bring it into the office with you or up to your home.
The only real downside to this bike is that it can be challenging to maintain. This foldable bike has a lot of moving parts, which can complicate repairs and add to the price tag. If you are capable of regularly maintaining your bike or are well-versed in bike mechanics, you can mitigate a lot of the repairs.
Given that this bike is handmade with quality parts and materials, you can expect the price tag to be quite high, which is why Brompton has its Line Explore Mid Folding Bike on sale for $1,755.
Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 (Best E-Bike)
E-bikes have been a total game-changer for NYC cyclists, as they enable you to handle your commutes with increased efficiency, speed, and comfort. The Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 is a go-to e-bike among urban cyclists, as it offers riders practicality for commutes and enjoyment for leisure cycling.
The Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 is an e-bike that stands out given that it was created specifically for urban riding. It features a unique design that was inspired by the frame shape of a classic BMX bike but with a modernized seating position for extra comfort.
This pedal-assisted bike from Cannondale is extremely high-tech and comes with a bulk load of features that you will not find on other e-bikes. While you are in motion, you can check to see exactly how fast you are riding and how many miles you have covered.
You can change the different modes for the pedal assist easily by pushing a button that is conveniently located on the handlebars. The pedal assist system is capable of getting you up to speeds of over 12 miles per hour. The 250Wh battery has plenty of juice for NYC commuting and you can count on getting just over 30 miles until it needs to be charged.
One characteristic that I really enjoyed about the Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 is that it does not have the typical appearance of an e-bike. Although the frame is a bit bulky compared to other commuter bikes, Cannondale’s clever design conceals a lot of the components that power the machine. The battery is hidden away in the downtube and the motor is in the rear hub - making the Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 look a lot more like a standard transit bike.
If you are tired of riding around NYC with a backpack on, Cannondale is going to make your commutes and errands a lot nicer thanks to the front rack, which is perfect for transporting groceries and gear with you wherever you go. With that said, if you want a more simplistic look, the rack can be easily removed to simplify the aesthetic of the bike.
E-bikes tend to have high price tags, which is why they are generally not realistic options for a lot of budget shoppers. However, the Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ 2 is actually on sale for a pretty reasonable price of $2,175.
Mongoose Envoy (Best Affordable Cargo Bike)
The problem with a lot of commuter bikes is that they are not always set up to transport cargo. Whether you need to carry packages or pack groceries, it can be challenging to fit everything into one backpack.
If you want a bike that can carry all of your goods on your commutes, you need a solid cargo bike. However, cargo bikes can easily cost around $5,000 (or even more), which is out of the price range of a lot of shoppers.
That is why Mongoose designed the Envoy - a cargo bike that ticks all of the boxes but at a mere $1,050. The Envoy is hands down one of the most affordable cargo bikes on the market and the reason that Mongoose was able to pull this off is that the bike was designed without a motor.
This bike is equipped with a durable Tectonic T1 aluminum cargo frame, which is essential for any rider that wants to haul around gear and goods. The aesthetic of the Envoy is clean and minimalistic due to the internal routing for the housing and cables - making it not only look better but also helps you avoid potential repairs from things getting snagged.
Mongoose did not hold back on adding quality parts to the Envoy which is why you will find a Shimano 3x8 drivetrain and Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters in the design. The bike also comes equipped with fenders and panniers, so you do not have to add these essential accessories after you buy it. The panniers are very easy to remove so that you can quickly take off accessories when they are not needed.
Many cargo bike riders may complain that the Envoy should have a motor, as hauling stuff without electronic assistance is challenging. While the lack of a motor will certainly require extra power from the rider, it is also the reason that this cargo bike is so affordable - making it an absolute steal for any rider looking for this type of bike on a budget.
Tern GSD S10 (Best E-Cargo Bike)
If you want a bike that will let you conquer all of NYC without breaking a sweat, there is really no better option than the Tern GSD S10. This is an e-bike that has received a massive amount of praise due to its incredible battery life which can last as much as 120 miles.
The Tern GSD S10 is powered by a Bosh motor and dual battery system at 400/900 Wh. The frame of this cargo bike is incredibly durable, as it is designed to hold up to 400lbs - enabling you to transport a lot of goods with you on your daily NYC commutes.
With the impressive motor power, you can reach speeds of up to 21mph with the pedal assist. There is also enough room in the cargo rack for you to transport another human, as well as whatever you load into your panniers.
Stopping power is very reliable on the Tern GSD S10 thanks to the Magura hydraulic disc breaks, which is a much-needed feature for a bike of this weight and speed capacity in NYC.
If you are still not sold on this top-of-the-line e-bike, the compact size and 20-inch wheels will enable you to get around corners, alleys, and in-between traffic very easily. The small size of the Tern GSD S10 also makes it great for storage in between your commutes.
All in all, this is a fantastic e-bike with so many shining qualities. For New Yorkers looking to replace public transport or their car altogether, look no further, as the Tern GSD S10 has got you covered. With all of these specs in mind, you can expect the price tag of this e-cargo bike to be quite high, as it is available for $5,900.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson