Saturday, July 4, 2009

"What's the Best Commuter Bike"

I see this question all the times on cycling forums. Or various renditions of it, people are very concerned about having a proper commuting bicycle, so they do some research and they end up with information overload. There are dozens of types of bikes, and as many manufacturers, then they start looking at components and it gets worse. The truth is you can commute on any bike, will it be perfect? probably not, but the best bike for you is the one you will ride.

I have personally commuted on a road bike, a mountain bike, a triathlon bike and a couple of touring bikes. My present ride is a touring bike and I like it. But that is me. So if you are new to commuting and have a bike, use it. The will to ride is far more important than what you ride. As you ride more you may decide what you have doesn't work for you, then is the time to go to the bike shop. Going before you have some experience is like taking an exam without reading the material, you don't have the information you need to answer the questions.

If you don't have a bike, it is different, hard to ride without one. So take your time and shop around, do not jump at the first thing the bike shop employee recommends, ride several bikes and find the one that feels best. Try to find something you are comfortable on, you won't ride a bike that doesn't feel good to ride. Other basic things you need to look at are fenders, or the option to mount them, mounts for a rear rack and a decently wide tire for comfort, things like suspension are not critical for a commuter, a wide tire does quite a bit to cushion your ride and doesn't weigh as much.

Your first bike is unlikely to be your last, as you gain experience certain likes and dislikes will become apparent, ask any cyclist what the perfect number of bikes is and they will respond N+1, N being the current number of bikes they posses. So don't try and find the perfect do all bike, it doesn't exist. Find the one you will enjoy riding and just ride.


  1. My current commute bike is a '65 Schwinn Deluxe Racer. I'm loving the more upright position and the extra weight hasn't been a problem, even though it's a 13mi ride. I'm finding that comfort is more important than speed, in having a good commute. It also has a basket and I may add a rack.

    The N+1 one is funny... and true. I'm considering dropping so bucks for a Dutch bike. Go all they way.

  2. mmm apparently once you go Dutch you never go back ;), I am also panning for a nice commuter hybrid bike, I wont get it as I cant afford the money atm but hey I can wish right :P

    and you are right, comfort, especially for a commuter is top importance, carrying capacity is second!