Best commuter bike accessories: Gear to improve your ride to work

Best commuter bike accessories

Commuters in London

Bike bags

The best commuter bike accessories will help get you and your work essentials into the office in comfort. They'll also add all-weather reliability and help keep you safe on your ride.

For example, many commuters will carry a backpack. The best cycling backpacks are a handy way to keep all your work materials with you that leaves your hands unencumbered and makes off-bike travel easier. But a single pannier or a pair of panniers is a good alternative that you may find more comfortable and stable when riding.

Turning to safety equipment, it's sensible to run bike lights to increase your road presence even during the day and, of course, they're essential at night, dusk or dawn. Even if you plan to ride only during the day, it's easy to get delayed and find you're ending your commute when it's getting dark.

A helmet is another essential piece of safety kit. As well as providing protection in an accident, many of the best commuter helmets include lights, which will further increase your visibility to other road users. 

Mudguards will make a damp or wet commute much more comfortable. Many of the best hybrid bikes come equipped with mudguards (and often a rack for luggage), but if yours doesn't we have some suggestions.

Quality commuter cycling shoes will be more comfortable and efficient to ride in than standard shoes and, finally, you'll need a bike lock to keep your bike secure once you arrive at work.

There are more details below for each of these items, as well as some products we'd be happy to buy in each case.

What are the best commuter bike accessories?


Most commuters need to carry items with them into work, whether that's a laptop, spare clothes, or some of the other items further down this page that they might need during their commute.

Many commuters choose to wear a backpack, as you don't need to fix it to the bike or remove it once you reach your destination and it's easier to carry around. Our picks of the best cycling backpacks are designed with cyclists in mind. They will be the right size to help you to carry your kit comfortably, they are weatherproof and are stable, so that you're not encumbered with a bouncing pack.

Bike bags

The alternative to a backpack is to carry extra stuff on the bike. This has the advantage that you're not encumbered by your load, it's carries lower down and your back shouldn't get so hot. On the flip side, it's more hassle to remove a bag from a bike and it will usually be more awkward to carry around off-bike.

Although many of the best commuter bikes come ready-fitted with a rack, you'll need to buy luggage. That might be a rack bag, a saddle bag or a bar bag. Bikepacking bags are also an option. Panniers are a popular choice as they have plenty of capacity, are weatherproof, are easy to clip to the rack and fairly easy to carry too.


For the winter months, lights are a necessity as you'll probably be commuting in dim light conditions and poor weather. In summer you may feel that there is no need for lights. However, even during the day, daytime running lights can make a cyclist far more visible to other road users. The best bike lights will have different modes to cover all riding conditions, just make sure they are charged and ready for the morning ride. 

For urban commutes on lit roads, a lower output front light like the Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL would probably be adequate. If you are going to be riding on unlit roads, you probably need a light with higher peak output though, like the Bontrager Ion Pro RT.

You also need a quality rear light. We've reviewed the Lezyne KTV Pro Drive 75 but you can often save some money by buying a front and rear light set.  

They're expensive but the Garmin Varia series lights include a rear-facing radar that alerts you to approaching traffic. The Garmin Varia RCT715 adds an action camera to record events as you ride.

Commuter helmets

Depending on your local laws, wearing a helmet might not be compulsory. Regardless, we would always recommend wearing one no matter the distance of your ride. It is irrefutable that, even in the event of a slow-speed crash, a helmet will provide potentially life-saving protection. 

You can buy commuter helmets which offer a more casual aesthetic and may include more city riding features such as built-in lights and reflective panels to aid rider visibility. If your commute is longer a road bike helmet with more ventilation may be more comfortable though.  

Commuter helmet choices include the Kask Moebius and the custom 3D printed Hexr. If you're looking for a more road-oriented helmet, the Lazer Vento lets you add a rear light to the fit adjuster, while the Giro Aether Spherical is consistently rated for its safety, airflow and comfort.


While they aren't necessarily an essential commuter item, full mudguards (or fenders, for our readers across the pond) make a huge difference to riding enjoyment in poor weather conditions. By keeping the dirt, grime and spray off you and your bike, rider comfort is greatly increased and wear on expensive drivetrain components and the need for cleaning are reduced. They may look a little dorky, but after the first commute in the rain without a wet bottom, or having to hose down your salt-covered drivetrain, you won’t look back.

Mudguards come in many different forms, and you really get what you pay for. Full mudguards are the way to go if you have the mounting points and SKS Bluemels or Kinesis Fend Off are great options. If you don’t have mudguard mounts on your bike, Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards will fit on most bikes.  

If you are looking for more choice, check out our road bike mudguard guide to learn everything you need to know about mudguards. 


Deciding what shoes and pedals to use and shoes to wear while commuting really depends on your journey. The best commuter cycling shoes will give you a firm, comfortable grip on your pedals, with a sole that's stiff enough for efficient pedalling but still easy to walk in.

There's a decision to make whether you prefer a flat pedal or clipless pedal for riding. While flat pedals make putting a foot down easier, pedalling may not be as efficient as using clipless pedals for a more secure connection to the bike.

While some commuter cycling shoes are designed with soles that only work with flat pedals, others give you the choice of either using flat pedals or removing an insert from the sole to fit cleats for clipless pedals.


Bike thieves are an unfortunate reality so equipping yourself with the best bike lock will help ensure that your bike will still be where you left it. D-locks are generally the best way to go thanks to their compact size and security features although they can be somewhat limiting when it comes to choosing your anchoring point. There are other options such as chains and compact folding mechanisms.

It's worth looking at the Sold Secure rating of a lock and choosing one appropriate to the security needed where your bike will be locked up. Diamond is the highest level, then gold, silver, then bronze.

The Hiplok D1000 and Abus Granit D-locks have received high marks in our reviews, as have the Hiplok Gold and Abus City Chain if you prefer a chain lock. 

Paul has been on two wheels since he was in his teens and he's spent much of the time since writing about bikes and the associated tech. He's a road cyclist at heart but his adventurous curiosity means Paul has been riding gravel since well before it was cool, adapting his cyclo-cross bike to ride all-day off-road epics and putting road kit to the ultimate test along the way.