The 6 Best Bikes for City Riding That Make For a Fun (and Cost-Effective) Commute

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Let’s be honest: public transportation has never made for a compelling commute. Whether it’s an hour-long train ride or a quick ride on a crowded bus, it’s just never as comfortable or seamless as we want it to be. This is why it's prime time to invest in a city bike that's ideal for commuting, so we're rounding up the best ones that will make your to-and-fro time a breeze.

Biking is a convenient mode of transportation and a great workout. Fitness is one of the health pillars in Blue Zones, or the areas around the world where people live longer than the average life expectancy. "The bicycle gives people an easy, competitive lift at nearly zero cost, providing affordable adventures, a more intimate view of street spaces, and more interaction with one’s community leading to broadening social connections," says Dan Burden, Blue Zones' director of innovation and inspiration. He adds that biking can help to boost the immune system, and "connects a person to the calming effects of a nature bath." Plus it's a low-impact form of cardio.

Experts In This Article
  • Loren Copsey, Loren Copsey is a bicycle enthusiast and co-founder of The Daily Rider, a bicycle shop based in Washington, DC.

Of course, there are as many different bike options out there as there are advantages to cycling, which can make shopping for one overwhelming. Loren Copsey, owner of The Daily Rider in Washington D.C., says that taking a test ride in a similar condition to what you'd be riding on is key. Keep scrolling for a few favorites that just may fit your needs.

The best bikes for commuting—and enjoying the ride along the way

Photo: Dahon
Dahon Mariner D8 Folding Bike — $869.00

Dahon may be one of the most famous folding bike makers on the market, and the eight-speed Mariner D8 is one of the most affordable options you’ll find. While folding bikes tend to look and feel a bit strange, this bike is surprisingly comfortable, even over the bumpiest of city terrain. You can also choose to shift up or down as needed depending on where you’re going and what you’re going over.

Photo: Rad Power Bikes
Rad Power Bikes RadMission Electric Hybrid Bike — $1,199.00

If you’re ready to invest a little more in an easy, breezy commute, meet Rad Power Bikes’ take on an electric, hybrid bike. This baby features both a twist-grip throttle and a four-level pedal assist so you can commute your way. That could mean taking on the hills on your way to work, or fully letting your RadMission do all the work for you. Cruise at up to 20 miles per hour. Make sure you also invest in a helmet (duh), and a kickstand (the bike doesn’t come with one).

This bike requires a little bit of assembly, but the instructions are clear and the whole process should only take you about an hour from start to finish.

Photo: State Bicycle
State Bicycle 4130 All-Road Model — $1,290.00

This is easily one of the best bikes for the price on the market. Whether you’re looking to go on an outdoor adventure, or just down the street, the 4130 can handle gravel, commuting, and touring. It’s also highly customizable, with both 700c or more rugged 650b wheel options, as well as an 11-speed drivetrain. As a smaller human, I particularly appreciate that the frame can accommodate riders as petite as 5’1” (of course, if you’re over six-feet, it’ll work just fine, too). While the Chromoly steel frame is extremely tough and durable, the bike isn’t terribly heavy, weighing in at around 22 pounds. The 4130 All-Road is available in two frame colors and four sizes, and starts at under $800.

It’s also worth noting that State Bicycle Co is supporting the #25MilesForJustice campaign, calling on riders to log 25 miles in memory of George Floyd and donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Photo: Priority Bicycles
Priority Bicycles Embark E-Bike — $3,299.00

If you’re ready to drop some serious cash on an electric bike, Priority has a beautifully designed option that will let you ride in style. While many e-bikes look and feel bulky, the Embark motor sits beautifully on the frame of the bike, and because it’s fully sealed, you don’t have to worry about it falling victim to the elements. The Gates Carbon Drive belt drive is made of rubber and stays in a fixed position, which means fewer moving parts, less opportunity for rust, and a longer lifetime.

Moreover, thanks to its continuous variable transmission (CVT) gear control, shifting from one gear to another is quite seamless—in fact, this is the same transmission system found in a number of cars. The motor will provide pedal assist for 50 miles on a standard charge, and helps you save serious energy when going uphill. With its $4,000 price tag, this bike may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking to say goodbye to your car or other modes of transportation, it might be an option worth examining.

Schwinn Wayfarer Adult Bike Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser — $340.00

This seven-speed bike comes at budget-friendly price point and a limited lifetime warranty. Designed for folks 5’4” to 6’2″, this ride is for you if you want a no-fuss way to cover a shorter commute.

Charge City Bike — $1,799.00

This new direct-to-consumer bike line is made all the more attractive by the fact that there’s effectively no wait time—considering that most other two-wheeled options are sold out or on backorder, the Charge becomes even more desirable. The City Bike is likely the best option for most riders, and is ideal for on-roading to your office. The bike assembles in less than 20 minutes and is capable of getting you 50 miles on a single charge, and all for less than $1,500. Riders as petite as 5’1” and as tall as six feet can ride comfortably on the frame, though my 6’2” partner has also managed nicely. The folding handlebars and pedals also help with easy storage, especially in cramped city apartments.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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