Which Commuter Bike is Right for You?
Be green, save green, and get lean. So you wanna ride to work? You're on the right track.
Whether for exercise, the environment, stress relief, or simply to enjoy the outdoors, biking to work is a great way to begin and end a stressful workday. The biggest factor in choosing the correct bicycle is the commute itself. Visualize your ideal path and share your thoughts with us to find the ideal bicycle:
- How often do you plan on commuting? Every day for years, or just once or twice a week?
- How long is the commute, and how much time do you have to commute?
- Is the road straight and flat, or are there hills and patchy pavement to overcome?
These bikes are okay for short to moderate commutes (less than 5 miles) or those where rough and bumpy terrain will be encountered. We suggest a hardtail (front suspension) mountain bicycle priced from $400 to $900, depending upon the following factors: your budget, potential for theft, and frequency and length of your commute. Ideal for:
- Commutes where the terrain feels like a battleground
- Rides that have dirt or lots of railroad tracks to cross
- Shorter commutes where speed isn't the primary concern
The perfect ride if you're looking to zoom around pavement real fast. The Specialized Sirrus Sport Disc, Vita Sport Disc, and the Giant Escape City are great choices. Ideal for:
- Pretty much all commute situations where speed is of the essence
- High traffic areas where visibility is important
Road bikes are the ideal choice for longer commutes (more than 15 miles) with smooth and relatively congestion-free roads or very hilly commutes. We suggest touring road bicycles, which can handle potholes, railroad crossings, and even off-road paths - all while being able to hold pannier bags both front and rear. Ideal for:
- Longer rides (more than 10 miles) where speed is essential
- Hilly commutes
- Congestion-free commutes
Why spend so much money on a bicycle?
Look, it's not like you're spending money on a prettier paint job. Spending more money on your bicycle will get you a better bicycle, simple as that. Consider for a second what we're talking about here. We're not talking about an additional $5,000 for the upgraded engine. We're talking fifty, maybe a couple of hundred dollars more for something you'll be enjoying for leisure, exercise, and transportation for years.
So what makes a better bicycle? It comes down to three main things: the frame, the parts, and the suspension. Better frames are lighter and more responsive because more man-hours are spent shaving off unwanted material, creating stronger and cleaner welds, mixing additives like Specialized's M4 frames, and processing like Giant's Fluid Form technology.
Better parts make up the majority of price differences between bicycles. By better parts we mean wheels, cranks, derailleurs, shifters, brakes, headsets, etc.
- Better parts are made of different quality metals. So the parts will last longer and withstand more abuse.
- Precision is increased with each step in components. Bearings will run smoother, shifting will feel crisper, and brakes will stop quicker.
- An insane amount of R&D is allotted to making cooler and more efficient parts each year, such as disc brakes, tubeless tires, and carbon wheelsets. Of course, the most recent innovations are found in the higher priced goodies, trickling down each year to lower price points.
- Better parts miraculously get lighter without losing strength.
Finally, better suspension characteristics make your ride more efficient, comfortable, and safe using a combination of springs, air shocks, and materials like carbon. For example, seatpost suspension puts your butt in constant float; with it, you'll barely feel the subtle bumps in the road. And front suspension not only gives you more comfort, but relieves stress on your parts as well.