Commuter Bike Buying Guide

The following is brought to you in association with our friends at Halfords.

Whether you’re tired of sitting in traffic or just fancy getting some exercise on the way to work, then a commuter bike is an easy solution to both problems. Commuter bikes will allow you to beat the jams, get your heart rate up and save some serious cash, so here’s our guide to choosing the right one for you.

Of course through the CV19 pandemic, commuting by bike is also the perfect way to socially distance yourself from others, whilst doing your bit to keep cars off the road.

What is a commuter bike?

Pretty much any bike that you ride to work can be classed as a commuter bike, but there are a few models out there that are designed specifically for people who cycle in urban areas, potentially do some of the journey on public transport, or riders who have bags, briefcases or a spare change of clothes that need to be factored in. Some of the best-selling commuter bikes include:

Folding Bikes: Using innovative design and engineering, folding bikes do exactly that, going from fully-functioning commuter bikes to an easy-to-store shape that can be hidden under a desk or stowed in the luggage section on the bus or train. Folding bikes often feature light, reduced-size frames and wheels to keep the overall weight of the bike down, but may still retain normal height seats and handlebars to remain comfortable to ride.

Hybrid bikes are particularly popular with commuters thanks to the fact that they borrow aspects from both road and mountain bikes, making them comfortable to ride on the way to work, but still capable of handling a muddy path on leisure rides. Perfect for those people who want a bike to do a bit of everything!

Road and Mountain Bikes: Road and mountain bikes are more suited to specific terrains. Road bikes like to stay … well … on the road. They are lightweight and perfect for ripping up the tarmac. Mountain bikes are designed to be used on less stable terrain, so if part of your route is off road a mountain bike may be a good solution.

Electric Bikes: E-bikes are becoming very popular for commuters thanks to the “assisted pedalling” feature that comes with having a battery and motor attached to your bike. This is especially handy on hills, with the motor doing all the hard work for you as you pedal. This means you can ride harder and longer at evenings and weekends, but it also means you can have an effort-free commute if there are a few hills between you and your workplace.

Commuter bike features

Weight: If you’re cycling to work, you’ll likely need to store your bike both at work and at home. If this involves carrying it upstairs, storing it in a bike shed or locker or taking it on a bus or train, then you’ll be thankful for a bike that is light to carry.

Folding: Again, if you don’t have a great deal of space at each end of your commute or need to factor in public transport, then a folding bike may be the best choice.

Bags and panniers: If you take a laptop to work or need a rain jacket at hand to keep your clothes dry, then you might want to get a bike with a rear rack or panniers. These options are more comfortable than a backpack and they’re stored nicely out of the way on the wheels, so they won’t affect the bike’s centre of gravity.

Buying a Bike

If you are in the market for a new bike, make sure you are getting the best deal available.

A good first step is to find out if your employer has a Cycle to Work scheme in place, and if they don’t you can always ask them to set one up! Cycle to Work schemes allow you to save some serious cash when it comes to buying a new bike, through a salary sacrifice arrangement.

You should also check out our offers to find out how you could save on the cost of a new bike and accessories. Everyone loves a bargain!

And don’t forget, a new bike doesn’t have to be ‘new’. There are loads of perfectly good second hand bikes available to buy, some of which may have been recycled through a local community cycling company. Check out our advice on buying a second hand bike.