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Best commuter bikes: Folding, hybrid, e-bikes and more to get you to work on two wheels

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best commuter bike guide
(Image credit: Orbea)

The best commuter bikes can come in all shapes and sizes, from folding bikes that you can take on the train, to flat-bar hybrid bikes you can attach all manner of accessories to, or pedal-assist e-bikes that can help you get to work without breaking a sweat.

While the pandemic led to more people working from home, it also prompted many to stop using public transport and make their own way to work and into town for their errands. Now that we're heading back to some form of normality, with most offices reopened, commuting can once again be a thing to enjoy rather than loathe.

Whether you were a pre-COVID cycle commuter, or you're new to getting to work on two wheels, choosing the best commuter bike for your needs will depend on various things such as the length of your commute, the surfaces you encounter, whether or not it involves public transport, and the type of riding you enjoy most. A bike that makes a great option for you might be useless to someone else, and vice versa.

Once you know what your criteria are, you can work from there to find your ideal commuter bike. To save you some time, we've rounded up our pick of the best commuter bikes, however there are plenty more on the market to choose from. So if you know you're going to be doubling up with public transport, or you need something that can be stowed easily in a cupboard or under a desk, perhaps check out our best folding bikes guide once you're done here.

Likewise, if your commute involves some steep hills, covers a lot of mileage, or you just need to arrive to work without needing to change out of sweaty clothes, be sure to consult our more comprehensive list of the best electric bikes.

If you're new to cycle commuting, we've put together a handy commuter bike accessories checklist, so you can grab yourself one of the best commuter helmets for safe cycling, and best bike locks to deter thieves.

Read on for a round-up of some of the best commuter bikes, or jump to the bottom for a rundown of how to choose a commuter bike.

Best commuter bikes

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Vitus Mach 3 VRS

A commuter bike for the fast and furious

Gears: 2 x 9
Claimed weight: 11.24kg (M)
Sizes available: XS-XXL
Price: £749.99 / $799.99 / €1,049.99 / AU$1,299.99
Reasons to buy
+6061 alloy frame+Shimano Sora groupset +Mounts galore+Lively handling+Decent weight
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly unconventional looks may be divisive

Coming out of Wiggle/Chain Reaction Cycles' in-house brand Vitus, the Mach 3 VRS is a flat-barred road bike, said to be for the "urban adventurer". Marketing speak aside, the Mach 3 VRS has dropped chainstays and rolls on 38mm Vee G-Sport skinwall tyres, so it will be a comfortable ride, even over rough roads. The 6061 ATC aluminium frame is heavily hydroformed for sharp handling and efficient pedalling, even when loaded up with panniers. 

The frame sees internal cable-routing and heaps of mounting points for mudguards, racks and water bottles, and the fork even has a tapered steerer tube for increased front-end stiffness. Vitus has specced a Shimano Sora R3000 9-speed drivetrain and hydraulic stoppers for confident braking, regardless of the weather.

Best commuter bike: Tern GSD S10

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Tern GSD S10

The best commuter bike for heavy-haulers

Gears: 1 x 10
Claimed weight: 27.06kg
Sizes available: One Size
Price: £4,200 / $5,099 / €4,999 / AU$7,795
Reasons to buy
+200kg carrying capacity+Bosch Cargo Line motor with 85Nm of torque+Four-piston brakes+Folding handlebar
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy but motor helps offset the weight-One size only

While Tern is best known for its folding bikes, the GSD S10 doesn't fold in half, but the handlebars do fold to make it a bit smaller for storage. It also uses a Bosch Cargo Line motor with 400 per cent assist support, essentially turning it into a pedal-assisted pick-up truck. 

With a max load of 200kg, the low-slung aluminium frame can haul kids, groceries, cases of beer, and whatever else you want without sacrificing stability. The included 400Wh battery is said to have a range between 50-110km, depending on how much stuff you're carrying, and can be upgraded to a 900Wh power pack for additional range. 

The bike rolls on 20in wheels and the frame uses stout tubing and boost hub spacing. Between the 1x10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and 85Nm of torque on offer from the Bosch drive unit, you should be able to push the GSD up any hill, fully loaded. When you crest said hill and start to gain speed going down the other side, the four-piston Magura MT5 brakes and 180mm rotors will easily bring you to a safe stop.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Brompton Electric M2L

The best commuter bike for those who use more than one type of transport

Gears: 1 x 6
Claimed weight: 18.31kg
Sizes available: One-size fits all
Price: £2,875 / $1,590 / €3,495 / AU$N/A
Reasons to buy
+Super compact when folded +Lightweight for an e-bike +Elastomer vibration-dampening+Removable battery
Reasons to avoid
-Front-wheel drive systems can be a handful to control-No luggage rack as standard

Brompton bikes have long been considered the gold standard in folding bikes for their reliability, handling, and how compact they are when folded away. This electric version takes everything we know and love about these quirky little bikes, and adds a 250-watt front-hub-based pedal-assist motor, complete with a removable 300Wh battery pack.

With a claimed range between 30-70km, the Brompton Electric is said to tip the scales at just over 18kg – which isn't bad for a folding e-bike. Beyond the drive system, everything about the bike is the same as a standard Brompton, including the  the customisable handlebar shapes.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Specialized Sirrus X 3.0

A commuter with Body Geometry touch-points

Gears: 1 x 9
Claimed weight: 11.4Kg
Sizes available: XXS-XL
Price: £699 / $1,100 / €899 / AU$1,300
Reasons to buy
+High-end aluminium frame +Gravel-capable with 700x42mm tyres+Hydraulic disc brakes
Reasons to avoid
-Frame lacks stiffness-Gear shifts can be a bit clunky

Made with Specialized's high-end A1 aluminium, the Sirrus X is a lightweight, capable, hybrid bike that borrows plenty of technology from its more performance-driven family members. Based around upright geometry, the dropped chainstays, 27.2mm seatpost and 42mm tyres do well to absorb impacts, while the Body Geometry touch-points are specially designed to maximise comfort. 

The Sirrus X is equipped with a MicroShift Advent 1x9 drivetrain, and the rear derailleur has a clutch to hold the chain taut, even over the bumpiest of road surfaces. With an 11-42T cassette at the back, the 40T narrow-wide chainring will not only help you ascend any grade, but also prevent the chain from falling off.

Best commuter bike: Orbea Gain F40

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Orbea Gain F40

The best commuter bike for subtle electric assistance

Gears: 1 x 9
Claimed weight: 13kg
Sizes available: XS-XL
Price: £1,799 / $TBC / €1,899 / AU$TBC
Reasons to buy
+Ebikemotion drive system +Clutched Shimano derailleur 
Reasons to avoid
-Battery can’t be removed for charging or be replaced

The Orbea Gain F40 is one inconspicuous-looking electric bike. Using the ebikemotion drive system, the battery is hidden inside the frame, which looks identical to a standard bike frame except for the power button on the top tube. The button itself uses the iWoc ONE interface, which not only toggles the power but displays the remaining charge and the level of assistance. The rear-hub-based drive unit offers up to 40Nm of torque and 250 watts of pedal assist, and better still, there is no drag when the battery is switched off. 

The frame is made from Orbea 6000 series aluminium and features rack and fender mounts, while at the front is a carbon fork, which sheds weight and improves front-end stiffness and comfort. The Gain 40 is a flat-barred spec, featuring a 1 x 9 Shimano Altus drivetrain, including the Shadow derailleur with a clutch for improving chain retention. Orbea has also opted for Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes for confident, all-weather braking.

Kona Dew Deluxe Urban Bike

(Image credit: Kona)

Kona Dew Deluxe Urban Bike

A practical commuter bike for rough roads

Gears: 1 x 11
Claimed weight: N/A
Sizes available: S-XL
Price: £899 / $1,099 / €849 / AU$1,199
Reasons to buy
+Road plus 650b wheels and tyres +Comes complete with mudguards+Mounts galore+Sizeable gearing+Kickstand
Reasons to avoid
-Lighter hues prone to showing up dirt and grime

The Kona Dew Deluxe Urban Bike is an incredibly versatile and practical option for anyone looking to do most of their travelling on two wheels. It comes complete with mudguards, and sports 47mm WTB Horizon Comp tyres on 650B wheels, delivering a comfortable and smooth ride even on some of the rougher roads found in towns and cities.

It comes equipped with a 1x11 Shimano Deore drivetrain, including a massive 11-51T cassette paired with a 38T chainring at the front, making for some incredibly spinny gears for getting you up the biggest hills. Hydraulic Tektro disc brakes provide ample stopping power, while the 6061 aluminium frame carries copious mounting points for racks, bottle cages and even a top tube bag.

Meanwhile, at the rear you'll find a kickstand, making the Kona Dew Deluxe a top choice if you're planning to load up on groceries, or need to cart a lot of cargo to and from work.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Cannondale Quick 4 Disc

Lightweight urban bike that lights up like a Christmas tree

Gears: 1 x 9
Claimed weight: 11.6kg
Sizes available: S-XXL
Price: £700 / $875 / €899 / AU$N/A
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight frame +Micro Suspension+Reflective logos+XXL for taller riders
Reasons to avoid
-No XS option

The Cannondale Quick 4 Disc is a versatile flat-bar road bike that is perfect for running errands, or as a tool to help you get fit. Made from Cannondale's SmartForm C3 alloy, there are loads of rack and fender mounts, and the rear end sees the brand's SAVE micro-suspension. 

All of the cables on the Quick are hidden out of harm's way inside the frame, and the Tektro hydraulic brakes provide superior power and modulation to their rim-brake counterparts, with less maintenance. Cannondale has specced the Quick 4 with a MicroShift nine-speed drivetrain, complete with a clutched rear derailleur. The ultra-wide-range 11-42T rear block is mated with a 38T wide-narrow chainring for ultimate chain security and plenty of gear range.

And to keep you lit up in low-visibility conditions, all the logos on the bike are reflective, and both tyres feature a reflective stripe on the sidewall.

Rondo Booz ST Urban Bike

(Image credit: Rondo)

Rondo Booz ST

The best commuter bike for the rough route home

Gears: 1 x 11
Claimed weight: 10.7kg
Sizes available: S-XL
Price: £1,799.99 / $1,899 / €1,649 / AU$2,299
Reasons to buy
+Road plus 650b wheels and tyres +Hydraulic disc brakes+SRAM Apex 1x11 groupset+Adjustable geometry
Reasons to avoid
-One of the pricier options on our list

Rondo calls the Booz a "pure-blooded steel urban racer", and we'd say this is a pretty accurate assessment. With a chromoly frame, the bike is nimble and will not only stand up to the abuse from commuting but also to when you decide to get a bit rowdy on your ride home. 

It's outfitted with a SRAM Apex 1x11 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, which will provide consistent braking, no matter the weather. The bike rolls on 650b 'road plus' 47c WTB Horizon tyres, which make light work of rougher tarmac. The Rondo has front and rear thru-axles and features the brand's TwinTip fork, which allows you to tweak the geometry to achieve the desired handling characteristics.

How to choose a commuter bike

Which bikes are low-maintenance?

Moving parts need to be maintained, and bikes have a lot of moving parts that can wear out and/or fail. Unless your destination has some sort of bike-parking facility, it's more than likely that your bike will spend extended periods locked to a rack at the mercy of other commuters, passers-by, and the elements – so on a commuter bike, the fewer moving parts, the better.

First and foremost, we would recommend avoiding suspension forks on commuter bikes. While they will be listed as a stand-out feature as you scroll through a bike's description, the forks specced on commuter bikes are usually cheap and don't offer much in the way of shock absorption. They are heavier and more expensive than a rigid fork, and are in danger of seizing over time anyway without regular maintenance.

Gears, shifters and derailleurs are also moving parts that need to be maintained. If you live somewhere flat and can get away with a single-speed, you have fewer parts to fail or look after. Internally geared hubs are a great solution, but they do add to the weight and price tag. If you think you will need gears, look for grip shifters instead of trigger shifters; again, they are simpler and have fewer moving parts.

Are e-bikes worth it?

E-bikes have made commuting more accessible to the masses because the bike will offer a bit of extra oomph to help you get to your destination faster, or up over that big hill at the end of your street. The drive unit and battery add weight and cost to a commuter bike and can be hard on drivetrain components, too. The additional power also adds another level of utility to your bike, though, meaning that you can carry much heavier loads – or zip around without breaking a sweat.

How much does a decent bike cost?

Price is always a bit of a contentious topic when it comes to commuter bikes, because most people don't want to drop a big wad on a bike that's likely to have a tough life. Still, if you buy a super-cheap bike, don't be surprised when parts break. 

At the same time, spending a couple of grand on a commuter bike is probably overkill – unless you're looking at an e-bike because the drive unit and battery add a significant cost.

As a ball-park figure, spending between £500 and £800 can get you a decent quality commuter hybrid bike with disc brakes, decent gearing and good quality finishing kit. Just be sure to keep it well maintained and get it serviced regularly.

Which frame material is best?

Steel, aluminium and carbon fibre will be the main three materials you will come across when looking at commuter bikes. Steel is tough, and usually relatively inexpensive, but it's also subject to corrosion. Aluminium is lighter, durable and not subject to corrosion, but it's also more expensive and can have a harsh ride quality. Carbon is the premium frame material of all bikes, but for commuters, we would recommend you steer clear. While it's light and stiff, it's comparatively fragile and could be damaged by locks, racks or other commuters.