City Living: The 6 Best Commuter Bikes
By M. W. Byrne,
Hi Consumption, 19 December 2014.

Commuting is a necessary evil, but it needn’t be a complete waste of time. Rather than spending every day stuck in your car, idling away with every traffic jam, you could be shedding pounds and weaving through the morass on a commuter bike, not a care in the world. While they might not be as much fun as a motorcycle, getting the right commuter bike has its own sense of freedom, allowing you to be environmentally responsible and not bogged down by clogged roadways.

Finding a quality commuter bike is all about you. Do you want something built for speed to give you a little extra rush each day, or do you want something electric that only needs the barest of effort? Do you ride in a densely urban area rife with potholes or is everyday an uphill battle against mountainous terrain? Whatever obstacles you face as you go to the job, getting one of the 6 best commuter bikes will help save you from the rat race.

1. fBIKE Direct 6 Speed Folding Bike


Pro: Compacts easily
Con: Heavy for a folding bike

Hide-A-Bike: Not every business is hip to the green movement and many don’t want their entryway cluttered with bikes like an elementary school. If you work in one of these places, it might be necessary for you to take your two-wheeled transport inside, which can be troublesome. Individuals for whom space comes at a premium will enjoy the fBike, which is one of the finest folding commuter bikes ever created. The wheels are only 20 inches with Kenda tires that can be smashed down to nigh suitcase size in seconds. It has 6 speeds so you aren’t losing much in the way of versatility, so long as your trip doesn’t involve enormous changes in terrain. At a slight 31 pounds it is easy for anyone to carry, though a little dense as far as folding bikes go. The seat and handlebars will work for anyone up to 6 foot 3, though anyone around 6 feet should try it first. Naturally the smaller wheels aren’t meant for much off-roading but it can take gravel paths like a champ. Moreover, the company backs their product 100% so any issues are quickly and easily resolved. [Purchase: US$249]

2. Diamondback Insight 2


Pro: Capable of handling a myriad of terrain
Con: Thin tires

The Inbetweener: Hybrid commuter bikes live in the nebulous world between the road bike and the mountain bike, bringing the best of both worlds to a single apparatus. The Diamondback Insight 2 has combined the smoothness of a roadster with the sturdiness of a mountain climber, while also managing to add a sense of sportiness and fun that will make you want to take this out on the weekend as much as hop on it from day to day. It uses 24 gears to give you the ability to climb hills as well as coast along straightaways with ease. The aluminium frame can handle plenty of abuse while the gel seat keeps your tailbone from taking a beating. Most of the moving parts - from the derailleurs to the crankset - are Shimano so they’ll work smoothly and run forever without wearing you out. The wheels are pure road bike and there isn’t a built-in suspension, so while it can climb hills, it can’t really mount up with the true rough riders. [Purchase: US$420]

3. Currie Technologies Men’s eZip Eco-Ride-2


Pro: Very comfortable
Con: Heavy

Lazy Days: Just because you buy a commuter bike doesn’t mean you want to do all that peddling nonsense, and just because you don’t want to make much of an effort doesn’t mean you should be forced to pay an arm and a leg. The Eco Ride is made for people who want to roll into work without damaging the environment or breaking a sweat. The 450-watt DC magnetic motor coupled with a Shimano drive train make a bombproof combination that can get up to 15 mph. The range of the motor is about 22 miles, though that is at the absolute outside so be careful if you intend on biking hither and yon without recharging. You can pick a pedal assisted throttle for a greater bicycle feel or make it more like a scooter with the twist and go system for full throttle. The aluminium frame is made with comfort in mind so you’ll have a relatively smooth commute that is easy on the body. [Purchase: US$620]

4. BMC Alpenchallenge AC01


Pro: Heavy-duty brakes
Con: Low handlebars

Speed Freak: Forget sipping on a cup of coffee. Adrenaline is the must-have wake-up juice that you need. The BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 is a road runner that hedges toward hybrid thanks to its triple butted aluminium frame and carbon fork. Make no mistake, it isn’t a true mountain lion but rather a speedster who longs for action. The lower handlebars force your body to curve down to cut out wind resistance while the glut of Shimano gear shows how serious the AC01 is about giving you the best bits and pieces on the road. The rims are slightly broader than your average road bike for improved traction while the 8 speed drivetrain offers the capacity to climb without too much pumping. You will be able to handle the most rutted bike paths without fear and downhill like a bullet. The brakes are truly top notch since going fast means nothing if you end up flying into traffic. [Purchase: US$1,500]

5. Raleigh RXS


Pro: Wider wheels
Con: Rides a little rough

Rugged Rider: Not everyone has the luxury of living in a place where all the streets are paved with gold. Some commuters have a tough road ahead of them everyday and they need a bike that can handle it without breaking apart or leaving the rider jostled and jolted. For these brave souls there is the Raleigh RXS. It is made for cyclocross, but that also makes it the commuter bike for anyone who needs to cross shattered pavement on their way to work. The bar tape cuts down on the impact while the 23mm wheels improve traction even on dirt. You’ll be able to corner like a fiend thanks to the stability that this bike offers. It doesn’t lack for speed, but is built for solidity and endurance, making it a little heavier and harder to crank out the mph. [Purchase: US$1,550]

6. Budnitz No. 1 Titanium


Pro: Short wheel base
Con: Very slim build

The Weaver: This commuter bicycle is a work of art that can turn heads, but it’s more than just a pretty frame. The seatpost, stem, badges, handlebars, and body are all titanium which gives you plenty of stiffness for fast twitch manoeuvring between cars or sliding around pedestrians. It absorbs shock for a smoother ride day after day with an aggressive build that can handle a decent amount of speed without feeling out of control. The wheelbase is slightly narrower which makes it better for going around and through obstacles without making it feel uncomfortable or crowded. The wheels are fairly narrow so you won’t get much traction outside of an urban setting, but inside a city it is as functional as it is gorgeous. [Purchase: US$2,595+]

[Source: Hi Consumption. Edited. Some links added.]

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