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The Best Commuter Bikes Of 2010

by Justin Thomas •

The Best Electric Bikes For Commuters

The sales of commuters bikes in the U.S. have grown quickly in the last couple years. Commuter bikes are those that include features useful for commuting to work or around town — like fenders, chain guards, storage racks, comfortable seats, lights and puncture-resistant tires. You may also be interested our reviews of folding bikes and electric commuter bikes and women’s commuter bikes.

Update: See our article Best Commuters Bikes For 2011.

Let’s take a look at some the best commuter bikes of 2010:

Raleigh Detour Deluxe 2010 Commuter Bike

Raleigh Detour 2008

The Detour Deluxe is designed specifically for commuters — it comes standard with a rack, fenders, a headlight and a comfortable seat. The aluminum frame is lightweight but strong enough to carry cargo around town.

The Basta Pilot light system is a nice addition for the commuter. Both the headlight and taillight is powered by the generator in the hub of the bike. The lights can be set to automatic. When you hit a dark patch the lights will automatically flip on and when you come out into the light again they’ll turn back off.

The Raleigh Detour Deluxe Commuter Bike is available from REI for around $740.

Electra Townie Euro 24D Commuter Bike

Electra Townie Euro Commuter Bike

The Electra Townie Euro is a comfortable bike with many practical features for commuters.

It includes dynamo-powered halogen headlight, a battery-powered LED rear light, kickstand and an alloy rear rack with strap.

The bike’s geometry places pedals well ahead of the seatpost, resulting in leg movement that many people find more stable than other designs.

The tires have a Kevlar puncture-resistant casing and reflective sidewalls. Nice!

It’s available from REI for $700.

Giant Twist Freedom Commuter Bike

The new Giant Twist commuter bike from Giant features their “hybrid technology”. Basically, the bike intelligently adjusts to your pedaling power, making for a very smooth ride (you can read about all the details in this PDF).

The Giant Twist has two lithium-ion battery EnergyPaks for extended range. Giant says the charge lasts up to 70 miles in Economy mode, and the bike take four hours to recharge.

The entire range of Giant Electric Bikes are available from Bob’s Bicycles. They range in price from $1624 to $2,249.

Schwinn World Avenue One Commuter Bike

Schwinn World GS Commuting Bike

The Schwinn World Avenue is an affordable commuter bike that is built for comfortable urban riding. It has a large saddle, and a seat post with built-in suspension. The World Avenue also comes with Planet Bike fenders and rear carrier, a full chain guard, a kickstand and a bell.

The World Avenue is priced around $500 from Amazon.

Huffy Commuter Bike

Huffy Commuter Bike

If you’re looking for an inexpensive commuter bike, Huffy sell this commuter bike under $150. The bike comes standard with fenders and a rear rack. However, at this price level, bike components tend to be cheaply made, so owners may find that they need to pay for repairs and replacements quite soon. But if you are on a budget, and need an entry-level commuter bike, you might consider this one.

The Huffy Commuter bike is available from Sears for about $180.

The Kona Ute Cargo Bike

Kona's Ute Commuter Bike

The Kona Ute is a good choice if you’ll be carrying cargo around town.

The Ute features a huge rack which is capable of carrying four panniers. This bike’s geometry is designed to make carrying groceries on your bike a breeze. It has an extended utility frame made out of butted 7005 aluminum for heavy load-carrying ability. It also comes with some nice additions like fenders and quality handlebar grips.

The Ute is available at Bike Sale.

Felt Cafe 8 Deluxe Commuter Bike

Felt Cafe Deluxe 8 Commuter Bike

The Felt Cafe 8 Deluxe is a lightweight commuter bike, that Felt describes as “a real-world answer to bicycle commuting and any local store runs.” It’s priced around $600.

Biria Lite 3 Speed Trekking and Commuter Bike

Biria Commuter Bicycle

Biria bikes are designed in Germany. The Biria Trekking Lite is a quality commuter bike for under $500.

This three-speed bike has Shimano Nexus internal gear hub. This means there is no external derailleur for shifting — it’s all internal for low maintenance and ease-of-use. The Trekking Lite includes a chainguard, kickstand, rack and fenders.

It’s available from BikeMania for $490.

More Commuter Bikes

You can also find a good range of commuter bikes at the Commuter Bike Store.

Comments 77

  1. Handlebars level with the seat is a compromise between an aggressive position for mroe power and a more upright position for comfort. It’s a fairly common setup for brevet riders, tourers, and other forms of long distance riding.

    As far as saddles are concerned, a Brooks B-17 or Selle An-Atomica would serve you well. They’re both expensive, but they’ll last you a lifetime and will end up being infinitely more comfortable than a gel-filled blob.

    Keep in mind that bike positioning affects saddle shape as well, so if you go upright you want a wider saddle, and as you’re more hunched over you want a narrower saddle. The B-17 is right in the middle, which is why it’s a good match for a bike with the saddle at the same height as the handlebars.

    HT mountain bikes make decent commuters but generally they’re far from ideal ones. The bottom bracket is higher than necessary, and they often come with cheap suspension forks that don’t really do much for the rider. On the other hand they tend to be relatively sturdy and can handle some weight, and V-brakes are simple and powerful.

  2. John I would get a hard-tail mountain bike then buy a nice comfy saddle that will make your ride smooth. It won’t be as fast as a road bike but with now rear shocks you won’t be too much slower…

  3. Mostly flat with some hills. You may be right about the handlebar/saddle height being even in order to make for a quicker commute.

    I really appreciate the feedback!

  4. @John

    I’d have a hard look at relatively laid-back cyclocross bikes, like the Soma Double-Cross or Surly Cross Check, or a touring bike like a Surly Long Haul Trucker. Is your commute flat? Hilly?

    28 miles round trip is a solid commute, so you’re going to want something reasonably fast. Drop bars are a good call if wind is ever a factor.

    Ultimately the most important thing to keep in mind is fit. The bike has to fit you well. I tend to suggest more upright bikes to most people, but given the length of your commute you probably want to look at something where the handlebars and saddle are about at an even height, provided you don’t want to spend your entire day commuting.

    Finally, one consideration is an e-bike. Then it really doesn’t matter what the bike looks like or how much it weighs… you can always juice the throttle 🙂

  5. My office is about 14 miles away from my home. I was looking at road bikes, but those comfy seats on the commuters seem like the way to go. I have to take a combination of dirt trails and paved paths to get to work. I like to ride and will be riding on weekends, not just to work and back. Does anyone have recommendations as to what kind of bike to get? Commuter? Mountain?

    The Schwinn World Avenue looked good. Just wanted a second opinion. Thanks.

  6. I bought my husband the Detour Deluxe for $769 online. He works about 3 miles from home so he wanted something to get thim there comfortably. He rides to work 4 times a week and he loves his bike!

  7. I bought a Fuji 2.0 commuter on Craig s List for $80.00 bucks.
    New crank, brakes, cables, chain, tires.lights, rack’s, bags.
    About $380.00 total. Awesome bike. Wouldn’t trade for anything.
    It’s a real cruiser. Put more than a Thousand Miles. Not one problem.
    Spend what you feel good about. It’s different for everyone.
    For me, I never by new, and I could if I wanted to. I love making a deal.

  8. I have found this article very informative. Choosing the best bicycle can really be confusing because of the countless brands, models, and types of bicycle available in the market.

    In my search for other websites that provide useful information about cycling, I have also found this website http://www.reviewsdigital.org/mycycling.html for helping other people provide several information about cycling.

    Thank you for this article.

  9. Raleigh C30 i bought a few years back, 2003 i think…
    Sticker price of a whopping $350. It is a gorgeous bike, well crafted, and has all the right parts in the right places. I’m not a pro or anything, but i am a college student who uses it to commute. 350 is much less than these, and it is an amazing bike. Not a single bad review online, etc. The only thing i had to buy for it were fenders. I’m thinking about a rack but i don’t know how much id use it anyway. Both are cheap upgrades regardless.
    Whoever was paying more than $100 a month for car insurance was getting robbed at knife point. 21 year old male, clean record, liability, $45 a month. Ill keep my car, and ride my bike. A car is sort of a required item, what if you or a loved one needs to go to the hospital? C’mon honey ill buck you on the handlebars…

  10. @Justin,
    Just curious how you came up with this list? Is it based on consumer reviews? Or one writer’s opinion? I’m looking for a commuter bike and $500 as a starting price is not too expensive, at least not in my opinion. Quality will suffer at bikes below this price point. That said, some bikes these days are outrageously expensive and no one needs such luxury, just as no one really needs a Cadillac. But since there are so many choices out there I’m wondering how this list was created and if these are truly the best choices…

    For example, you chose the Kona Ute Cargo bike but left off the Surly Big Dummy, which is a similar bike. Did you not include the Surly because it is much more expensive or because it is less known or because it is not as popular or well liked? Once again, how did you come up with this list?

    Some concrete evidence to support your claims would be much appreciated. I’m not trying to dog on your article, just curious how you came up with this list.

  11. FIXED GEAR IS THE TRUE URBAN CYCLIST ETIQUETTE.
    I have been commuting for 8 years. Mainly because I don’t have money.
    Not for being green, trendy, or metrosexual… It’s just practical.
    Rain, Snow, Sun (sucks in Dallas heat!), and Ice (just kidding…. no ice)
    Oh, I have a car… but gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, cost $$$$.
    I use a Bianchi Pista (Chrome) with a flip-flop wheel. Fixed gear on one side and single speed freewheel on the other.. I have never taken it off the fixed gear. I absolutely love it. Its SIMPLE, LIGHT, FAST, and easy to control the speed thru town. I did put a hood brake on it for emergeny stops. This bike has never made a sound. It is silent and solid as a rock. I put a little over 30 miles a day on it.

    1. @n8, there’s a reason they’re called track bikes, and that’s not because they belong on the road. In most countries they’re not legal for street use in the first place. That’s great if you love your fixie but unless you know what you’re doing (and even then) it’s a really poor choice for most commuters. Single speed is another matter.

  12. This review got some quite expensive bikes! Even i can afford it but there are so many cheap (<$200) ones and good ones on craiglist. Spent 10 hours doing some research i probably save $200 from $350 to $150. My requirements are

    1. Tough: there are two steep hills on my route. my first Diamondback outlook (2nd hand, almost new, $150) is falling apart after 1 month of commute because of its cheap and weak crankset. Solution: replace with high-quality crankset. Shimano is my first choice but its mid-level costs ~$200 new. I found several bikes with complete mid-level shimano components on Craiglist for $500 including space-helmet & boot, can’t save on 2nd hand here)
    I only got 4 months of biking experience and started learning two days ago because i am shopping for my 2nd bike in 4 months. Cheap bike costs me $$$. Learning and self-help will get my $$$ back. Enjoy!

    james

  13. Cost also depends on mechanical aptitude of the rider. A person who knows how to check over and fix minor wear and tear, or replace parts (or assemble a bike from a frame and fork set) can often score used or secondhand bikes in decent condition. I used for a few years a Schinn hybrid someone gave me for free. It had beat parts but frame and fork were solid. I swapped the rims, replaced the chain, added my own handlebars and seat etc. — which really, most riders will have to do anyhow for better fit or as your riding style evolves. I later sold it — after putting on new tires and an old light I didn’t use anymore — to an acquaintance for like 50 bucks or less. My current faves are a fixed gear I built up on a slavaged Ross signature series with full fenders, and an old GT I bought from a fellow bike-recycler in town for like 30 bucks. It had a busted back wheel and bottom bracket. I replaced the rims meself from my spare parts bin, switched shifters and bars, added street slicks. Al gratis. I got it working but then bought a new bb from the shop to play it safe. So cost of bike plus cost of bb, installation gratis from shop owner who is a friend (befriend a good bike shop, or the owner, or two).

    Also my single speed mountainbike, with street tires and a rigid fork. I did a lot of work on this and it’s worth more than I started with, but I started by buying a Aluminum Trek 4500 from a guy in my ‘hood for like a hundred bucks — maybe 200? Even without losing the gears and suspension fork it woulda made an okay commuter with street tires.

    In short, there are lots of options. Most used bikes, if in good condition, won’t need to be rebuilt; just maybe new tires and chain and greasing. If you get a used bike for a hundred bucks, or 50, or 25, it’s probably better built than that Huffy. Hey, I’d like a 3,000$ custom bike, but I don’t need one. On the other hand I don’t need to spend six or seven hundred bucks to get a decent bike either. In fact, a decent commuting bike, locked outside a store or office, is more liable to get ripped off if its shiny and new. A used one, in decent shape, will be cheaper and less flashy and jusrt as durable.

    Don’t let prices discourage you.

    – Elvis

  14. I have been commuting for about three years. I bought a brand new bicycle and paid about $500 and it was worth it. You get what you pay for that’s for sure I am looking to buy a new bike just because I love the idea of having an extra reliable ride. All the bikes in the review are beautiful but one thing that I noticed is that not many of them have shocks which is very important to me. I love commuter bicycles but I just don’t understand why not many of them have this feature can anyone tell me the reason?

  15. I have been a bike-to-work commuter in South Florida for ten years, and I have gone through a number of bikes, including a pre-hybrid era converted Trek mountain bike and a Specialized Sirrus I really adore. But I must say it is the Kona Ute that really changed my cycling life. I always found the back-and-forth commuting to work (five miles each way) no problem with a couple of pannier bags and a rear rack, but there was really only enough space for my clothes, shoes, and a laptop. Basically, I could only use the bike for commuting and not much else. The Kona Ute is amazing because not only is it comfortable and surprisingly fast on that five mile morning ride, but I can carry a ton of stuff, including my daughter on back with some stoker bars I’ve rigged. So, my bike use as been extended beyond merely commuting to work. I am now able to shop for groceries as well as take my daughter to school. I bought a second pannier bag. Each can hold four to five grocery bags, and a lot of stuff (cases of beer or soda) can be strapped onto the long, wooden rack on top. Basically, without making much of a conscious effort, I’ve almost totally elimated the use of our second car. I feel really good about this. I feel fitter because I’m riding more, and I have not used my car in about a month. I feel less stressed because now I essentially experience no traffic. Think Gulf Oil Spill. . . I can’t praise the Kona Ute enough, and all cargo bikes in general. If your commute is under seven miles each way, then definately consider the Ute. It is so darn useful, so practical. I wish it had been invented years ago.

  16. Check out the Malvern Stars commuter XCU 7.0 and XCU 9.0 they are argubly the hottest bikes on the commuter market. They are built for comfort and there fast and bombproof, reliable SRAM components and puncture-resistant tyres mean you”ll be ready for battle. It has one of the toughest wheelsets you can find too

  17. Have you tried the Fuji Absolute 3? I’m considering getting one to use (mostly) as a commuter bike.

  18. While I do agree that a person can (with some effort and knowledge) obtain a good quality, used bicycle for $200-$300 (plus another $100-$250 for fenders, rack and proper lighting), I feel that anyone who contends $500 is too much for a new bicycle (particlularly one that is funcional as a commuter) has little awareness of price/quality/functionality in this day and age. Yes, you can go to Wal-mart and get a piece of junk for $250, but why make such a compromise (for a trivial savings) on primary transportation. As it has been mentioned, transit passes easily overwhelm the purchase of a bicycle in a relatively short time period, and cars can’t even begin to compete for value.
    As a commuter, I want functionality, a degree of quality (I prefer not to have to fidget to keep it tuned up, and have no tolerance for creaks and rattles), reliability (see quality comment), and enjoyment. Yes, I enjoy riding, and a decent bicycle is enjoyable to ride.

    While the guide above touched on a few possibilities, many, many other options exist, and yes, you will spend more than $500 for a new bike of any quality, from a shop.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/fisher_fast_city/waubesa/
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/
    Pick yer poison: http://www.swobo.com/bikes/collection/
    The list really is endless… my point is that there are numerous options for a given price point.
    For those who aren’t afraid to pick up a wrench and use it, http://www.bikesdirect.com offers some of the best deals going for good quality (taiwanese manufactured- like Giant, Trek, et al – not Chinese). Of particular note:
    http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott_wt5.htm
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_cross_cx2.htm
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/cafe_express8.htm

    Anyone on an extremely tight budget is best advised to avoid Wal-mart bikes and get something of decent quality from e-bay or craigslist (that presumes you know what to look for).

    The key is to get something you will enjoy using, and that serves a functional purpose.

    Cheers!

  19. Used…used…used…I have lived in over 10 cities in the last ten years and have yet to find one that doesn’t have a)a used bike shop happy to set up a commuter or 2) a bike/junk shop where all the parts are available and for next to nothing…why is everyone so set on getting an off the shelf setup up…there are literally millions of reasonable bikes out there languishing in junk piles ready to be ridden (with a bit of work).

  20. You should check out Gazelle bikes, awesome city/commuter bikes from the World’s # 1 commuting country, The Netherlands.

  21. I gave up my car 8 or 9 months ago & a friend gave me a Huffy Avenue he had bought from a guy for $5.oo on a corner who needed some money. This is a girls bike & I was emberrased to ride for the first 3 months, but now I really like it & would consider another girls bike if I cannot find a mans bike that fits right. Huffy has been great about parts and service, i don’t know when i’ve had that good of service.

  22. For all those who think that $500 is too expensive for a commuter bike, stop thinking of a bike as a toy.

    Somehow 10 large constitutes a cheap car, but 1/20th of that for a bike is too much? As a previous poster said, do the math. By not driving or taking the bus you’ll save yourself that $500 pretty quickly.

    For year round commuting in a 4-season climate, I’m not sure I would seriously consider a bicycle under about $700. Consider you’ll want something very reliable with good lighting and reasonably well made components. You won’t find those things cheaply. If you do, you’ll spend more on the long run maintaining and replacing said bike.

    Of course, as other posters have said, you can go used and build a reliable commuter out of an old MTB very cheaply. It won’t be sexy, but it’s much smarter money than buying a new bike that’s gonna fall apart.

    1. I agree about the Ute. I bought one a few months ago. See my long, praising comment below.

  23. Wow $800 for one of these is pretty steep for my budget but I’m not gonna lie, those are some really sexy looking bikes. Style rides.

  24. performance and nashbar currently have some decent looking single speeds for around 200, theyd still need a few add ons like fenders but may be worth looking into… i havent test ridden anything yet myself though

  25. I think there is misplaced criticism with the bike industry by do-it-yourselfers. Both sides are right on target for their desired outcome. But we need to stop criticizing commercial commuter bikes that are finally being designed for their highest purpose of function vs. mountain bikes for recreation, for example. Yes, compare them to a brand new $500 car… you can’t, because that car does not exist. Compare them to a $500 dollar clunker car if you must, and your argument over the cost of these new bikes is incredibly weakened by your short memory of how much an unreliable old car “really” will cost you. I support the bike industries shift and my only hope is that this is not a fad… it’s just too damn necessary now. Build your own or buy one – two sides of the same coin.

    Scott

  26. I bought an old Schwinn Collegiate at a garage sale, took it to my local bike shop and had the old rubber components replaced and added a double rear basket set. All for under $200 bucks. Runs great and this sucker is heavy duty enough to last me the rest of my life and beyond. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to keep it from being stolen!

  27. Fully kitting an old French bike like a Motobecane can be a nightmare (non-standard stem quill and clamp diameters specifically). Expect to pay a couple hundred for a new bar, brake levers, shifters, saddle, fenders, etc and the labor to install/adjust them. Then fresh puncture resistant tires would be another $30-$50 each. It adds up, but it might add up to a really perfect bike for you. I’m not too familiar with the Trek Allant, but I am really familiar with the KHS Urban Xpress (standard one, not the elite/comp, etc..), add a luggage-carrier, mudguards, and you have an excellent multi-purpose city/country/touring/etc bike.

  28. Ive been looking at the Trek Allant,…seems like a nice bike,…and around $530, anyone here own this bike ?

    I have an Ol’ 1981 Motobecane Super Mirage, that I bought new ,.dont know how cost effective it would be to make it more comfy,…bars, saddle, fenders,….with new bars, id need all new break levers,..and prob shifters too,…….

  29. I think if your not able to tune a bike yourself then go for the expensive one from a bike shop, they will take care of all maintenance. But if your like me and don’t want to spend a small fortune on a bike go to a sporting goods store or department store for a deal. After all if your able to work on your own bike you should know what your looking for and also what your looking at.

  30. If you want a really good commuter – check out the Electra Townie Models. I just bought the Townie 7D and I love it. You can check out a full review on my blog. The main difference between the Townie and any other bike is that the Townie bike design has a different angle between the foot pedals and seat making for a more upright sitting position, which is more comfortable and easier on your back.

  31. you always are paying to the name of the brand and the wheel set. The kona dew is a perfect commuter bike. Invest in good lights and an expensive lock!

  32. No folders on the list? Folding bikes are the ultimate commuter bike, especially if any part of your trip involves public transportation or locking your bike in dodgy areas. My single speed 20″ Dahon boardwalk is a great commuter. It weighs 25lbs and folds in seconds and I got it used on craigslist for $130. You can get the fancy version with more speeds new for less than $350.

  33. If you all knew how to fix cars then you wouldn’t be talking shit about clunkers. There are some clunkers out there which their owners didn’t take proper care of. The price of these bikes are expensive but if you know how to take care of it then it will take care of you.

    1. I agree with your comment about clunkers 100%! If people had a F ing clue about basic maintenance and at least SOME mechanical ability, they would not be clunkers, they would be classics like mine. The debate about bike prices can be solved quickly and accurately with the old phrase ” you get what you pay for”. Enough said.

  34. Colette, it sounds like just about in the same boat. Depending on the time of year I take home somewhere between $450-$650 every-two-weeks. $500 IS a chunk of change. But I have to ask, how are you commuting now? If its by car or bus you are spending more than you would be if you invested in a sturdy bike.

    A $500-$1500 bike is the most cost effective way to travel average urban/semi urban commuting distances (besides walking of course).

    When I want to buy something that costs more than $200 or so, I get a personal loan. Thats how I got my computer I’m typing on right now. Some credit unions are issuing “Bike Loans” now. One in town gives an 8% (a lot better than the 13% I’m paying for this computer loan) for up to $1500/3 years when you have direct deposit and a checking account. Ask your bank if they could offer something similar. $1000 is hard for me, is hard for you, but $35 a month isn’t so bad.

  35. In terms of price– I’ve been wanting a bicycle for commuting purposes for over three years. While a lot of people don’t think $500 is a lot of money, for me it’s more than I’d earn (after taxes) in two weeks of work. With rent, utilities, food, prescriptions, I just don’t have the money to make it happen.

    So instead of arguing about the appropriate price range for commuter bikes, let’s just keep in mind that everyone is in a different place financially, and that the best commuter bike is one that gets you there.

  36. Yeah, a lot of money. But a decent quality bike makes riding a pleasure. My wife was a tried and true Huffy fan. In need of a new bike I purchased a Giant hybrid for her. Her fear of shifting was gone in one mile of riding, no grinding just click to the next gear, if that doesn’t feel right just click back. Easy and quick shifts, good braking, comfortable position and handling – the light finally came on for her. Now she can ride a bike solely for pleasure and actually enjoy every aspect of the ride.

  37. Santos chromo 26 Rholoff or the alu version is probably best bike ever made. Cycle 2 continents and only deal with a flat tire here and there…

  38. I just picked up 1974 Raliegh Sports for my commuter. I got it off Craigslist for 230 bucks. It was my Fathers day gift. This thing is as solid as it gets. If 500 is too much definatly check Craigslist, ebay, or even go to a garage sale.

  39. My Dad split the cost of my first real bike. My first week’s pay at my first job, plus Dad’s help got me a $150.00 Viscount 32 years ago; when I was 15. Today I can buy a Huffy for $150 or I can pay $500 for pretty good quality bike.

    I don’t think anyone can complain about that. When I went away to school in New Orleans (land of the stolen bike) my roommate bought a used ten speed with a rear rack for $35 that he kept for 3 years. He put a piece of cardboard in the rear rack to act as a fender. My Viscount was stolen. I hope the fork broke on the SOB.

    1. Adjusting for inflation:
      A $150 new bike in 1978 is a $502 new bike today.
      (And a $150 bike today would have cost $45 then. Would you have trusted the components on a $45 new bicycle back then?)

  40. Jamis Commuter 2 at $600 is a great bike. Silver. Swept back handlebars. 8 speeds. No front derailer. Double rims. Puncture-resistant tires.

    Definitely get the Wahl fold-up wire basket. One is okay. And the most expensive affortable rack. Bell and mirror are great too. Hand-size Cateye front light. Flush mount rear light.

    Also highly recommend the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 wireless cyclometer. Because it tells the temperature. Which helps to avoid overheating.

    Also like the idea of State drivers license number under the crank. Use black automotive touch-up paint which has a ballpoint pen mode. Get it right the first time! Practice first on something else. Sand first too. Then seal the paint in with automotive clear-coat. To make it difficult to sand off.

    Smooth tires are best. But still wondering about knobbies for winter? Perhaps even with a second set of rims. To use just in case? But don’t really know how winter riding works in Chicago.

  41. I just re-read all the comments, I don’t see anyone scoffing at anyone for riding a low-price bike.

    Low (initial) price bikes are great, they get people on two wheels and hopefully fall in love with it. Low cost bikes can be heartbreakers though. You ride that bike, fall in love with biking, put some wear and tear on it, take it to a bike shop to get serviced and then you find out that servicing it will be more expensive than the initial purchase or that the low-cost-bike manufacturer used some strange proprietary or no-longer-available-in-the-US market components.

    This isn’t scoffing, this is a reality, I’ve worked in bike shops for nearly 10 years now.

    I would much rather have someone spend $150 on a used-on-Craigslist ’80’s/’90’s Japanese or Taiwanese (Diamond Back, Trek, Specialized, Giant, GT, etc…) mountain bike than $300 on any type of new bike.

    Those over-built Japanese and Taiwanese bikes are easily upgraded/maintained, easily mount mudguards and luggage carriers and can easily be modified with more comfortable handlebar/stem situations.

    A trend I’ve noticed for new low-(initial)-cost bikes is throwing all sorts of weirdo gadgetry on them (suspension forks/frames/seatposts, disc brakes, odd shifting systems, plastic parts that should be metal, etc…). Generally, flash, flash that breaks down, malfunctions and is often very difficult or impossible to repair or replace.

    If you don’t want to spend a lot on a bike its a much better bet to get a 10-30 year old Bike shop brand bike on Craigslist and get it serviced/upgraded.

    Oh, and for the record I *DO* look down on people for the type of car they drive. If they drive a new car that gets less than 30mpg I say they are crazy, disrespectful, rude and foolish.

    1. Funny I haven’t had a low cost department store bike ever break down on me. I currently ride a cheap ($109.99) Chinese folding bike that I bought nearly two years ago, and replaced the shifter sometime during Summer of last year was because I pushed down on it hard while downshifting, and broke it. In other words, it was my fault.

      Sure a costlier bike is nicer, and has better parts, so if you have the $500-$1,000 to invest in one, then please “knock yourself out”.

      1. Ed, I’ve got too many horror stories for me to tell here. Suffice it to say I”m happy for your luck. I have seen many department store bikes fail, especially the brakes.

      2. Go talk to a bike mechanic for a day at your local shop and let them regale you with tales about the durability of cheap bikes, especially how much they like to work on them.

    2. I love riding a bike to work the 36 mile round trip really relaxes me and helps to clear my mind. But I don’t do it to save the planet or save gas. I have a car that does not get 30 miles to the gallon and I don’t feel the least bit crazy, disrespectful, rude or foolish. I think spending time on a bike is a great way to buy insurance for my heart and a long life. I paid cash for my car 12 years ago and now have more money to buy used bikes and trips around the world to ride them. This idea that everyone should go into debt to drive a car to save the world from CO2 is a joke. Most will not believe this but ALL Cars in the USA are GREEN cars do to the fact that they have a catalytic converter.

      Don’t believe the hype ……. but do get out of your cage and ride a bike….. and if you can’t ride a bike at least drive safe and watch for the people who are riding out there on the road. Peace out.

      1. Seriously! I agree with your comments! I have FOUR cars and trucks! They are ALL green when I’m not driving them! I ride my bikes, all 12 of them,(maybe its 15 or 20, I haven’t counted lately) because I like to ride my bikes. They range from 12 dollars(goodwill) to 3500 dollars. I love them all. I ride ride to work for all of the reasons you stated and more. Attempting to project some wholistic salvation for commuting on bicycles is a crock. People who ride bikes to work, ride because they love it. People who ride bikes because they HAVE to are usually the people whining that they can hardly wait to buy a car!

  42. While it is an investment, there are people who are just looking to try out bikes as an alternative to their cars. Yes, it is possible that they will love it and have to spend money to upgrade in a year, but there are probably going to be a greater number who ride the bike for a couple of months and give it up. Having a lower end model to entice those individuals to try it out is a good thing.
    It’s odd to me that people who wouldn’t dream of looking down on someone for the type of car they drive are so quick to point out cheaper bikes and scoff. Not everyone is in the same situation or has the same needs as you do.

  43. I agree that a budget friendly bike for a poor starving collage student or someone who simply doesn’t want to put $500 towards a bike (right away) is nothing to stick your nose up at. It’s preference in one shape or an other, and I love my Huffy thank you.

  44. I for one don’t think any of the bikes displayed on this web page are unnecessarily expensive. They are well made products to serve a purpose, but I don’t agree with those who heckle anyone who chooses to ride a low cost, department store bike because of finances, or just because they want to. I see students, and people who work, commute everyday on their Huffys, Pacifics, or Next bikes, and seem to be happy, and grateful that they have a means of transportation.

  45. I just bought the Felt Cafe 24 and LOVE IT!! It is super light weight, comfortable, and stylin’!

    At first I too suffered from some sticker shock over the price. I havent owned a bike since middle school. I shopped around and compared several bikes that are actually listed here, checked out a local bike swap, slept on it and finally decided that it would be money well spent and invested. It is was a lot of money on my budget but well worth it. I am saving money on gas and wear and tear on my car too. This bike will last me for years!

  46. Yes, you could purchase a dodgy used car in this price range but:

    How much would gasoline cost?
    How much would registration and plates cost?
    How much would insurance cost?
    How much would parking cost?
    How much would maintenance cost?

    (what about the hidden costs? Such as environmental impact costs, sedentary transportation physical/emotional costs, the very real tax-drain that is subsidized personal automobile ownership on the whole etc…)

    I had a car for 2 years back in the mid 90’s and in total the thing cost me (directly) about 8 grand (only $1600 was spent on the physical car itself).

    A good bike needs minimal maintenance and very little subsidization from the state. The SMARTEST transportation investment anyone (well, okay, 90%+ of the population) can make is to buy a GOOD bike and use it daily.

  47. I could buy a functional car for around the city for the price of some of these bikes.

    1. Go ahead and try it. All the “functional” cars my friends have bought in the hundreds cost them so much in a year they might as well have bought a brand new one.

  48. I tend to agree somewhat with John’s “too expensive” comment, actually. While style is, and should be, always a consideration in choosing a bicycle, that should not necessarily translate to spending a big wad of cash. Bikes are simple gadgets in the big scheme of things and so should be cheap.

    I think that the fact that material and shipping costs have gone up is making the $500 mark harder and harder to reach these days.

    My wife picked up a beautiful commuter bike last summer, complete with painted fenders, quality gearing and brakes, and an nice rack on the back for $550.

    I like to think of investment in a quality bicycle as an investment in my, and my (future) grandkid’s health and prosperity.

    …an investment of $500-600, mind you ; )

  49. Not too expensive. This is actually where it starts for “fully equipped” commuter bikes.

    These bikes are not toys or sporting equipment, they are designed to be transportation.

    I don’t know where you live, but an all-year/all-zone bus pass for me would be $946 (although, I would only need the 2-zone, so I’d only have to pay $825 a year).

    When I was 17 I made the mistake of buying a car. It was $1600. I paid $160/mo in insurance (I was a teenage boy), about $80-$100/mo in gas and about $1500 in repairs/maintenance in the 2 years I owned it before it gave-up-the-ghost.

    So, do the math, its over $8000 I spent on that car in two years.

    Sure, I could’ve bought a car for more money that was hopefully more fuel efficient and less likely to need repairs, but then the insurance could’ve been higher or the initial cost could’ve been higher. What is the cheapest I could’ve purchased/owned an operated a car for two years? $4000?

    For $4000 I could’ve had a custom made bicycle made with all the proper equipment such as mudguards, luggage carriers, lighting equipment, etc… (what Americans call “accessories”) and still have money left over. Then the best part is, I would still have that bike 2 years later, or 6, or 12, or 20, etc…

    Only the rich can afford cheap shoes.

    If I could “afford” that car as a teenager in the ’90s making $4.25 an hour at Subway most anybody that uses the car or bus to commute can afford it now.

    Sure, cars can come in handy. I’m a member of a pay-by-the-hour car sharing service, but since I’ve built up my Xtracycle I haven’t had to use it.

    1. Sveden, sorry I can’t agree with you! I have been commuting for many years and you don’t need to spend over $500! I spent $80 on a good used 1982 Norco Pinnacle did abit of maintenance (new handle bars, bottom bracket and chain, new tires, added fenders, lights, rack and bags, total cost around $300. I have owned this old bike for over 5 years.

      Inexpensive commuting is possible. Please remember, many people bicyle commute not because it is the “in thing” but because they have no other affordable means of transportation. Also, many like myself supporting a family on a single income can’t justify spending more than $500.

      1. for a new bike, less than $500 is getting you nowhere. huffy’s galore!

        for a used bike where you are possess enough knowlege and courage to do the work yourself, (which is not a great amount of knowlege/ courage but oft more than the general public possesses) you can definitely buy a bike for less than $500 and ride for years.

    1. Obviously you missed the Huffy at $150. But honestly you should realize that you can buy cheap or durable. The choice is yours.

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