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Best Commuter Bikes 2023 – City Bike Reviews
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Best Commuter Bikes 2023 – City Bike Reviews

City, urban, commuter, cargo, utility, folding, and e-fill in the blank—call it what you will. Your commuter bike has a job to do, and only you know what that job entails. So whether you need to haul a ton of crap, make a quick run for some essentials, need an alternative to public transportation, load up the kids and get out of the house, or get off your ass and grab some fresh air, you need the right bike, and we have it right here.

Wear your protection before hitting the road. Check out our picks for the best bike lights, helmets, and light sets to strap on your next ride.


Best Commuter Bikes

What To Consider

Commute Type

Just as there is no one type of commute or commuter, there is no singular type of commuter bike. It used to be a typical city bike could be described as having upright geometry, flat pedals, minimal gearing, skinny tires, and a comfortable seat (not as oversize as that of a cruiser bike, not as narrow as a road saddle). But thanks to new technology and a greater demand to live a two-wheeled lifestyle, the category is sprawling.

Depending on the size of the city in which you dwell, the types of roads—or off-roads—on which you’ll spend most of your time (and how long that time may be in a given day), how much or how little cargo you plan to haul, the size of your budget, whether or not your commute is multimodal, what your idea of “maintenance” means, how quickly you need to get from A to B, and even your fitness level, it’s essential to choose the right bike for the job.

Answer these questions to find it:

Best Commuter Bikes 2023 – City Bike Reviews

Budget

As with most things we buy, our final decision is based not only on what we want but also on what we can afford—and somewhere in the middle is the best option for the money and the riding you do. So while a $6,000 custom commuter bike might make you starry-eyed, there are plenty of sub-$1,000 possibilities that fit your needs. And while a $500 city bike is easier on the wallet, it might not offer the best features for longer commutes or those with mixed terrain. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of where you stand. One of these bikes should meet your needs and your budget.

How We Tested

Our experienced testers spent many hours and miles using these bikes for their intended purpose. We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to run errands, put their passenger-hauling capability to work, ridden them in annoying traffic, loaded them up with groceries and beer, tested how easily the folding bikes fold (and ride), and run the e-bikes’ batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge.

We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, and aesthetic appeal to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to get from point A to point B quickly, efficiently, comfortably, and in style.


Best Overall

Cannondale Bad Boy 3

Bad Boy 3

Best Overall

Cannondale Bad Boy 3

Pros
  • Rigid Cannondale Lefty fork
  • Dependable Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
Cons
  • Only comes in bbq black

Key Specs

Frame Steel
Weight 26 lbs., 12.8 oz.
Sizes S to XL

The Bad Boy is Cannondale’s fast-riding city and urban commuter. Sporting the brand’s signature Lefty fork, the Bad Boy 3 stands out from the crowd while also featuring a fully blacked-out look designed to blend in. It’s an exciting mix, but works perfectly for the Bad Boy. Other features include a Shimano Altus 2×8-speed drivetrain that provides a wide gear range, powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and 650b wheels that blend durability and speed.


Co-op Cycles is REI’s house brand of bikes that offer some of the best value on the market. For $600 you get a lightweight aluminum frame and fork, Shimano 24-speed drivetrain, a nice Selle Royal saddle, and fast rolling 700x40c tires. The CTY 1.1 is offered in two colors and four sizes for the standard frame style, and three sizes in a step-through variant. If you want a fantastic deal and a well-featured bike, this is your ticket.


To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Schwinn collaborated with frame builders at Detroit Bikes to recreate a limited-edition cruiser inspired by one of its most iconic models: the 1965 Schwinn Collegiate Deluxe.

The Michigan-made chromoly frame is available in both step-through and straight top tube variations with the original Campus Green paint job. It comes with a comfortable seat, shiny fenders, a kickstand, and—to celebrate the anniversary—a book on the history of Schwinn bikes. The 8-speed, grip-shift drivetrain offers a range of gears for cruising and climbing. Wide, 38mm tires keep you rolling smoothly down the bike path or boardwalk so you’ll feel as cool as you look on this stately emerald ride.
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Aventon hit a homerun with the Level 2. It has excellent performance, is spec’d smartly, comes out of the box almost 100% ready for commuting use, and is priced well. We recommend the Level to any commuter or recreationally oriented rider looking for great value, performance, and function in an e-bike. The Aventon Level checks off almost every one of the necessary boxes in what I look for in a purpose-built commuter bike. This bike forces Aventon’s competition to get on their level.

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Best Cheap E-Bike Commuter

Aventon Pace 350.2

Pace 350.2

Best Cheap E-Bike Commuter

Aventon Pace 350.2

Pros
  • Class 2 motor (it has a throttle!)
  • Five levels of pedal assist
Cons
  • Mechanical disc brakes not as powerful as hydraulics

Key Specs

Frame Aluminum
Weight 49 lbs.
Sizes S/M, M/L

The $1,000 price level is where e-bikes can get sketchy: Lithium-ion battery technology is still pricey, so corners must be cut elsewhere to keep costs down. At $1,199, the Aventon Pace 350.2 is one such bike, but our test revealed it’s not too cheap to be quality. The Class 2 e-bike tops out at 20 mph, whether you get there by pedal-assist or a throttle.

There’s a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain and five levels of e-assist, giving you various pedaling options. You don’t get lights or fenders, but the Pace 350.2 felt viable for daily commuting. Want to go a little faster? The Aventon Pace 500 tops out at 28 mph.
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From across the street you might easily mistake the Loft 7D for a 1970’s vintage Schwinn or Raleigh, but when you get up close you will see it is a thoroughly modern around town bike. Electra combined retro styling and modern parts into one heck of a package. The springer saddle is comfortable, the mustache bars put your hands in the proper position, and the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain shifts smoothly. On top of that, the Loft 7D comes with fenders and a chainguard. The Loft 7D is also available in a step-through frame option.


The powerful and straightforward, RadCity 5 Plus is a city bike with commuter potential. Strapped with a 750w geared hub motor, this e-bike moves along at a comfortable 20 mph with a throttle to help you get up to speed or the top of punchy hills. Its range is pretty far at up to 50 miles per charge, and including fenders, a rack, and integrated lights is a nice bonus. Plus, the 27.5 x 2-inch-wide proprietary tires, along with a front-suspension fork, provide comfort on pavement and bumpy bike paths. This is an excellent e-bike that combines utility with the sleekness needed for the city.


Best Fixie

Priority Bicycles Priority Ace

Priority Ace

Best Fixie

Priority Bicycles Priority Ace

Key Specs

Frame Steel
Weight 24 lbs. (Clubs), 22 lbs. (Spades)
Sizes S to XL

The Ace is Priority’s fixie with a touch of class. It’s designed for commuters who like a little pep in their daily ride but aren’t fans of bike maintenance. Recreational-focused riders will do fine with the easier gear ratio and budget-friendly parts of the $499 Ace of Clubs (which also comes in a Pantone limited edition for a fifty bucks more). Performance-minded riders will appreciate the Ace of Spades for its carbon fork and seatpost, and higher gear ratio.

Both models feature a flip-flop hub with a cassette body and fixed thread that lets you easily swap between fixed and freewheel cogs with a standard bottom bracket tool. And all adult Priority models use a quieter, cleaner, less-mess Gates belt drive instead of a traditional chain and cassette. A 680mm-wide, flat handlebar and 28mm WTB ThickSlick tires round out this clean-looking, stylish city fixie.

preview for 2021 Priority ACE | TESTED

Best Off-Road Mixte

Marin Bikes Larkspur 1

Larkspur 1

Best Off-Road Mixte

Marin Bikes Larkspur 1

Key Specs

Frame Steel
Weight 45 lbs.
Sizes S to L

The Larkspur 1 is a comfortable, cruisy, mixte-inspired bike that delivers big doses of fun. It’s built around a tough steel frame and fork that’s not scared of rough paths or pub crawls. The hydraulic disc brakes, 1x drivetrain, and Vee Tire wide knobby tires on 27.5-inch wheels are borrowed from mountain bikes and add to the Larkspur’s go-anywhere capability.

Most people will probably use it as a townie, and it’s great at that, too. Its step-through frame lets you rest at stoplights with your feet on the ground.


Brooklyn touts the Lorimer as a “versatile commuter bike that’s just as ideal for running errands as it is for working up a sweat on city streets.” It has a Shimano Acera 3×8 drivetrain (a user-friendly, entry-level mountain bike group often found on hybrids and commuter bikes), puncture-resistant 700x32mm tires, and a springy, double-butted chromoly steel frame and steel fork.

Comfort features include a wide, squishy saddle that fits more rear-end real estate; easy-to-use, integrated Shimano EZ Fire Plus shifters and brake levers; and Brooklyn Bicycle Co.-branded parts like a flat bar, flat alloy pedals, and comfy ergo grips. You won’t find fenders, racks, or a kickstand on this bike—then again, you won’t find these features on most bikes at this price—but all the eyelets exist should you choose to add stuff later. It’s a cool, reliable commuter that won’t shy away from unforeseen challenges and that’s happiest on pavement, hard-packed gravel paths, and park loops.
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With one of the lowest step-through frames in the business, the Roll 2.0 Low-Entry is ideal for anyone who’s ever been apprehensive about swinging a leg over a top tube or being able to touch their feet to the ground at the last second. Beefy 650b x 2.3-inch tires roll smoothly on the road but come to your rescue when the pavement gets sketchy, or a gravel detour piques your curiosity.

Its upright geometry puts you in a position that takes the strain off your neck and back and lets you take in the sights around you, but isn’t ideal for steep climbs up winding mountains. Nor is the Shimano 7-speed drivetrain, but that’s not what this bike is for. It’s also not for going fast. But for what it is—a budget cruiser bike with mounts to add a rear rack, and a head tube tall enough to hang a pretty deep basket off the BMX-style handlebar—the Roll 2.0 Low-Entry can double as a daily cruiser and around-town grocery-getter.
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This subtle and stylish cruiser is also a capable commuter or fitness bike. Its geometry sits somewhere between upright and aggressive, meaning it’s comfortable for a full day of errands but puts you in a slightly forward position to run those errands quickly. The aluminum frame and 27.5-inch wheels with fat, street-style tires offer a plush ride on both paved and unpaved surfaces. The top-of-the-line EQ model features fenders and a front cargo rack.

From the moment you start pedaling the Treadwell EQ DLX, the Cannondale wheel sensor (developed with Garmin) begins recording data such as speed, distance, time, calories burned, and ride routes that you can view in real-time or later using the Cannondale app.


With a sealed, 12-speed Pinion Gearbox (inspired by an automotive transmission system), Gates Carbon Drive belt, full-coverage aluminum fenders, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, the Priority 600 is an all-season, all-weather—not to mention low-maintenance—commuter. Head- and taillights are powered by the Dynamo hub, which also has USB-charging capabilities, and 360-degree reflective decals on the aluminum frame help the rider see and be seen. WTB Horizon 650b Road Plus tires can easily transition from smooth pavement to gravel bike paths.
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The Acme is fast like a road bike, sturdy like a mountain bike, and smooth like a Cadillac. It’s as capable for slow, solo cruises as it is for fast fitness days. From top to bottom, front to back, every part on this modest commuter bike is handpicked for quality: Alex rims, Cane Creek headset, Gates belt drive, Kenda tires, Shimano shifters, SRAM brakes, Spot-brand leather saddle, and grips. Yet, like a movie star who stays out of the limelight, the Acme doesn’t need to flaunt itself to prove itself.

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This long-tail hauler isn’t equipped with a motor like many cargo bikes are, which is how it can be offered at such an affordable price (e-cargo models can run anywhere from double the price of the Envoy up to six grand or more). You’ll have to put your work in on climbs, though, especially if you’re carrying cargo. But rest assured, the 8-speed Sunrace cassette with an easy-spinning 34-tooth cog combined with a 42/32/22 chainring up front will still get you where you need to go—just not as quickly. If you plan to use this bike for its intended purpose—hauling stuff—make sure your typical routes aren’t littered with steep climbs.

You also get fenders and a set of roomy, removable panniers (with a convenient carrying handle) with your purchase, and Mongoose outfits the Envoy with components from its in-house brand Xposure, another way it keeps cost down.
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The Vado 4.0 is one of the best commuter bikes on the market. Exceptionally well-designed, the Vado 4.0 has an SRAM NX, 11-speed drivetrain, powerful SRAM Level brakes, and an SR Suntour Mobie A32 suspension fork for a smooth feel. Power settings are adjustable via an easy-to-manage phone app, plus all of the needed accessories for commuting—rack, fenders, and lights—come standard. While the Vado is a pricier than some other bikes in the class, it has a refined feel, a strong global dealer network in case of motor issues, and is a thrilling e-bike to ride.

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This latest version of the original Boost, which made its debut in 2016 and impressed us with its immense utility and bold design, improves on that model without changing ride quality. It goes faster, too—the Bosch Performance Speed Cargo motor gets you up to 28 mph in turbo mode.

You can haul up to 130 pounds on the rear rack and 45 on the front, and the Boost is compatible with a ton of useful accessories, including a variety of front trays, Yepp baby seats (for two), and different rail systems for your little ones to hold onto. A Bosch PowerPack 500Wh battery sits cleanly on the frame and will provide up to about 75 miles of riding—a range you can double with a second battery. The whole package rolls on 2.6-inch tires wrapped around 24-inch wheels.


With a 150-mile maximum range (dual 400Wh and 500Wh batteries), room to carry two kids, rear panniers with a 62-liter capacity, a sturdy front tray, and a claimed cargo limit of almost 400 pounds, this step-through e-bike can truly last all day and haul a helluva lot of stuff. It’s got the power to carry that stop up steep hills, plus its cockpit is adjustable to accommodate riders between 4’11” and 6’5″. Thanks to its 20-inch wheels and compact design, the 20mph max pedal-assist GSD’s wheelbase is no longer than a standard bike.
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This shiny-red, confident-looking commuter is as fast as it looks, with mid-upright geometry that complements its 28mph max speed. The aluminum-framed Gazelle Ultimate is powered by the latest Bosch Performance Line Speed mid-drive motor (with 75Nm of torque) and has a 500Wh battery, nicely integrated into the down tube, that lasts up to 55 miles on one charge (25 miles on turbo). A Shimano XT rear derailleur moves the bike through its 10 gears to provide you with all you need to zip uphill and fly on flats at a steady cadence. The 1.75-inch Schwalbe Energizer Plus tires—which are smoother down the center and grippier on the sides—are fairly narrow for a speed bike, but the Suntour 80mm-travel suspension fork makes up for any lost bump-absorption a wider tire might provide.

Other awesome features: an adjustable stem that lets you fine-tune the angle of the handlebar to suit your comfort, integrated lock and lights, internally routed cables and wires, and a rear rack with a bungee for strapping down small stuff (think jacket, not 30-pack).

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Best Foldable Commuter E-Bike

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Folding Bike – Mid

Electric C Line Explore Folding Bike - Mid

Best Foldable Commuter E-Bike

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Folding Bike – Mid

Key Specs

Frame Steel
Weight 38 lbs., 5 oz.
Sizes One-size

The plucky, smart, and wholly British Brompton Electric feels slick, like it came out of Q’s spy shop in a Bond film. Like any other Brompton, it folds in three places and becomes very small very quickly—we got it down to 3 cubic feet of aluminum and rubber in 30 unhurried seconds. But unlike other Bromptons, this one has a 350-watt hub motor that propels it up to just over 15 mph. And it does burnouts.

With the battery off, the bike weighs just 5 pounds more than a regular Brompton and folds to the same size, so the battery hasn’t ruined its capability as a folding bike. You won’t find an e-bike more portable that’s this good to ride.


preview for Tested