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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best commuter bikes 2022 — beat the traffic by cycling to work

Find one of the best commuter bikes for a fuss-free trip into work and back with our top picks

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So you've decided to ride to work... great choice! It's cheap, it’s green and it'll help keep you fit and active. It can also be quicker than many other modes of transport because you can avoid traffic jams and other delays, and it's a lot more fun than sitting in traffic or avoiding eye contact on the tube. With all that said, what are the best commuter bikes to take you there, then? 


You can ride to work on pretty much any bike you like; go on a BMX if you want, or one of the best road bikes out there will more than suffice. But spend some time choosing the most suitable tool for the job and you’ll probably get there quicker and more comfortably.

We’ll run through a few different types of bikes and explain why each one might be the best choice for you.

Flat bar road bikes

A lot of people prefer the vision and control that they get from a bike with a flat handlebar over one with a dropped bar. With a flat bar road bike, you get the fast wheels/tyres of a standard road bike and gearing that allows you to commute quickly.

Road bikes

A road bike is a fast option if you have a long commute, especially if a lot of your ride is on open, out of town roads where you can make its speed and efficiency really count. Also, a road bike is ideal for riding sportives, training rides, or just getting out and seeing the country.

Hybrids

A hybrid combines features of a mountain bike and features of a road bike to give you, theoretically, the best of both worlds: a bike that is pretty quick and also tough and durable. In truth, it’s often difficult to tell where the flat bar road bike category ends and hybrids begin.

Gravel bikes

Gravel bikes are designed for riding off road but the fact that they’re built to be both fast and durable means they can be excellent for everyday commuting, sometimes with some tweaks for the road.

Folding bikes

A folding bike is often the best option for multi-modal commuting. Say you want to ride to the station, take the train, then get off at the other end and ride to the office: a folder could be the ideal bike for you. Most people want something that’s quick and easy to fold and manoeuvrable when packed.

Electric bikes

Electric bikes make a lot of sense for many commuting cyclists, providing a solid alternative to a car for urban transport, and the options are growing, as is the technology.

The best commuter bikes: our top picks

Ribble Endurance AL Disc

Ribble Endurance AL Disc

8
Best commuter bike for speed on a budget
Buy now for £1199 from Ribble
Comfortable ride
Good spec for the money
Accepts full mudguards
Carrying a bit of weight
No rack mounts

If you have a longish commute then a road bike like the Ribble Endurance AL disc is ideal as it brings speed and comfort, it also takes full mudguards which are a must if you are riding whatever the weather.

For just over a grand you are getting an aluminium frame and full carbon fork, a Shimano Tiagra groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, quailty Level finishing kit and set of Mavic Aksium wheels.

Read our guide to the best road bikes under £1,500

We found the geometry to be ideal for commuting putting you in a reasonably aero position for the open road, although the front end is tall enough that you can see clearly when negotiating traffic. The slightly more upright position also reduces pressure on your back and makes it easier to carry a rucksack as there are no rack mounts on the Ribble. 

It's also hugely versatile too, making the ideal winter training bike, club machine or entry level racer when you aren't using it for commuting. 

Triban RC 520 Disc Road Bike

Triban RC 520 Disc Road Bike

9
Best value commuter bike
Buy now for £849.99 from Decathlon
Great value
Plenty of practicality
Easygoing handling
Not hugely responsive

For first time bike buyers after an optimum blend of build and price, or experienced riders after a great value winter bike or commuter, at £849.99 direct from French sports megastore Decathlon, it's hard to look past the Triban RC 520, it really is.

Read our guide to the best Decathlon road bikes 2022

The geometry is relaxed which lends itself well to commuting whether you are mixing with traffic or want a slightly more sedate ride when carrying your kit into and home from work. You can also fit a rear rack to tack the load off your back, and full mudguard capabilities will keep the worst of the weather off of you.

For the money the RC 520 comes with a great spec list including Shimano 105 components and TRP's HY/RD cable/hydraulic disc brakes.

 

Brompton C Line Urban 2022

Brompton C Line Urban

8
Best compact folding commuter bike
Buy now for £1195 from Condor Cycles
Quick and simple folding mechanism
Rapid acceleration from the small wheels
Lively steering takes a bit of getting used to

We couldn't have a commuter bike guide without including a Brompton, the brand behind the iconic folder available in a range of builds, materials and now comes in electric versions too.

Bromptons are acknowledged as having one of the easiest folding mechanisms and compact sizes when folded. This makes them particularly appealing for commuters who combine their ride with public transport (no need to reserve space for a folding bike on the train, and you can take them on the tube), and the addition of two small wheels that allow you to trolley the bike when folded is very useful. All very convenient.

Since we reviewed the S6L back in 2017 the line-ups have had a bit of rebrand with the differing ranges now being called A Line, C Line, P Line and T Line bringing a mixture of steel and titanium frame options.

This C Line Urban build is part of the third tier range using a classic steel frame and fork. It uses a two-speed transmission, comes with mudguards and a front flap to keep your feet dry, plus a carrier mount to accept Brompton's luggage range.

You can also get a model that comes fitted with lights for the ultimate year-round folder. 

Carrera Subway All Weather Edition Men’s Hybrid Bike Best value for money hybrid

Carrera Subway All Weather Edition Men’s Hybrid Bike

9
Cheapest full-sized road.cc-recommended commuter bike
Buy now for £450 from Halfords
Ready-to-go commuter bike
Heated grips fight the winter chill
Wide gear range
Very good hydraulic disc brakes
Mudguards and lights are quite basic

The Carrera Subway has been in Halfords' line-up for years as a mountain bike-styled urban warrior that has offers a lot of bike for not a lot of money. This All Weather Edition model comes out of the box with some very useful winter-riding accessories like mudguards, basic LED lights and heated bar-grips.

It's an excellent flat-bar bike for round-town and recreational riding. It handily straddles the gap between a classic hybrid and a rigid mountain bike, but just stays on the road-friendly side of the line thanks to the Vee Tire Co Speedster tyres. Its handling is nippy but not twitchy and it boasts well-thought-out features like a wide, low gear range and very good brakes. The winter-friendly features are the icing on the cake that'll help keep you going through the cold and wet months. 

According to our reviewer, "If there's a better bike out there for less than £500, I haven't heard about it."

 

Canyon Commuter 5 Best high-end hybrid

Canyon Commuter 5

8
Best flat bar urban commuter bike with hub gears
Buy now for £1149 from Canyon
Fast & fun to ride
Hub gearing
No rear rack mounts

The Canyon Commuter 5 is a fast and fun urban bike that provides all the performance that people who are ready to splash £1,000+ on a commuter are probably looking for. It's not the most forgiving ride, but – ironically – considering how responsive it is, that's actually quite easy to forgive. Perhaps most surprising, though, the Commuter 5 provides all its thrills while also coming with a hub gear.

Just like the MiRiDER above, it also comes with a belt drive which is ideal from a commuting point of view alongide the hub gear. You get longevity, minimal maintenance and it remains clean.

The Canyon is definitely one for those who like a spirited ride, and while it can't take a rack, mudguards are possible. 

Merida Speeder 900

Merida Speeder 900

9
Best urban commuter bike with flat bars
Buy now for £1500 from Cycle Solutions
Great all-round performance
Impressive spec
No rear rack mounts

The Merida Speeder 900 lives up to its name as a supremely fast and efficient flat-bar bike. The combination of its smooth and eager ride, impressive Shimano Ultegra spec and excellent hydraulic disc brakes means that it's a whole lot of fun and not short on quality.

At the heart of the Speeder 900 is 6066 grade aluminium alloy frame and carbon fibre fork that gives road bike performance, but with a flat handlebar. Quick in a straight line and thanks to some well thought out geometry, it's not too shabby in the bends.

Read our guide to 8 of the best urban commuter bikes

Coming in at under 10kg you won't feel hampered if your commute is on the hilly side either.

With room for 35mm tyres, or 32mm with mudguards you won't have to worry about the quality of the roads on your route to work.

If you don't want to carry your your belongings on your back though, the lack of rear rack eyelets might mean you want to look at alternatives.  

Tifosi Rostra Disc Tiagra 2022

Tifosi Rostra Disc Tiagra

8
Best commuter bike for road and gravel riding
Buy now for £1199 from FW Cycles
Mounts for all the essentials
Good ride quality
Polished finish looks cool
Roadie gearing might be a little high for technical off-road riding

If your commute is a mixture of road, by-ways or canal paths then the Tifosi Rostra could be exactly what you are looking for as we found it to be hugely versatile.

Based around an alloy frame and carbon fork with geometry similar to that of an endurance road bike the Rostra is a capable machine on the tarmac, rolling along smoothly on a on a set of slicks up to a maximum width of 32mm tyres with full mudguards fitted.

Gravel bikes v N+1 - is a fat tyre bike the best alternative to a fleet?

When we reviewed it our test model came with a set of 35mm knobbly tyres which certainly opens up the options of routes and terrains.

The handling is well balanced wherever you are riding and the slightly flared handlebar gives extra confidence in the drops on loose surfaces, or wet roads.

Fitted with the latest Tiagra hydraulic groupset Tifosi haven't scrimped on the spec and the external cable and hose routing makes for easy maintenance at the weekend. It'll take a rear rack too.   

Carrera Intercity Folding Bike

Carrera Intercity Disc 9-Speed Folding Bike

9
Best budget folding commuter bike
Buy now for £450 from Halfords
Excellent spec
Great fun to ride
Impressive price
Confident handling
Price
A bit short for riders over 6ft

If you use multiple modes of transport on your commute or have limited storage for a bike then a folder is a great choice, and they don't come much cheaper than this Carrera Intercity Disc.

At a very attractive £450 the Carrera is relatively cheap enough that it could be bought to test the water to see if commuting by bike is for you. It isn't purely for the preserve of the beginner though as we found that it has a very pleasurable bike to ride, and it's nippy too.

Read our guide to the best folding bikes 2022

What helps is that unlike most folders who have just a few gears the Intercity runs a full 9-speed cassette giving a wide range of gears for climbing and to get up some speed making it a bike that's not just limited to getting from A-to-B.

Mudguard and rack mounts also sweeten the deal. 

Sonder Camino AL

Sonder Camino AL Apex 1 Hydraulic

9
Best commuter bike for additional weekend adventures
Buy now for £1249.99 from Alpkit
Semi-internal cabling
Dropper post routing
Fork luggage mounts
Huge tyre clearance
Lovely paint
Confident handling
Price

Alpkit's Sonder Camino AL is a very capable gravel machine that is also well prepped to take on the role of a multi-terrain commuter thanks to big tyre clearance, loads of mounts for racks, bags and mudguards.

The 2022 version of the Camino AL gets an uprated fork to full carbon fibre, and also with eyelets for load lugging. The frame also now has internal cable routing and the fornt end geometry has been slackened off a bit to give more confident handling whether cruising along the local gravel trails or winding your way through the rush hour traffic.

Read our guide to the best gravel and adventure bikes under £2,000

There are various build options available, or you can create your own build around the £449 frameset that we recently reviewed.

 It's the ideal machine for getting you to the workplace and back during the week before heading out on an epic adventure at the weekend.

 

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

Ribble Endurance AL e Sport

8
Best electric commuter bike for long commutes
Buy now for £2199 from Ribble
Well-balanced geometry
Versatile road bike
Easy-to-use motor system
25mm tyre limit with mudguards
Can feel weighty when just above the motor limit

Got a long commute? Then a road bike is the obvious choice, and if you route is hilly or one that can see you get fatigued by the end of the week then how about one with an electric motor.

The Ribble Endurance AL e brings all of the high points of the acoustic Endurance AL mentioned above but with the added bonus of the Ebikemotion X35+ hub mounted motor delivering a 40Nm boost from the 250 watt-hour battery/motor combination on full power.

Read our guide to the 10 best electric road bikes

The range is good (we easily got 80 to 100 miles out of our review model) and the whole system is easy to use.

It's the same as the standard Endurance AL in terms of full mudguard mounts and easy to live with handling and geometry for taking on the daily commute.

There are a couple of off-the-shelf builds available including this Tiagra equipped option, while Ribble also allows you a certain amount of customisation on their website.  

VanMoof S3

VanMoof S3

9
Best urban electric commuter bike
Buy now for £2248 from VanMoof
Very secure
Easy to use
Battery can't be charged away from the bike

This urban styled bike brings with it plenty of integration, including security from a rear wheel Dutch lock to a built in alarm, lights and loads of customisation within the Vanmoof app, and it certainly looks great too with its smooth looks and lack of any oily bits on display.

It has a three-speed hub-gear which can be shifted either manually or automatically, and as far as assistance goes the S3 gets 504wh battery powering a 250W front hub motor which helps you shift the 21kg bike.

For commuting duties it can be fitted with Vanmoof's own mudguards and front and rear racks.

The only compromise against some other e-bikes is that the battery can't be removed for charging.

 

Cube Nuroad FE 2022

Cube Nuroad FE

8
Best commuter bike with additional accessories
Buy now for £935 from Pauls Cycles

Cube's Nuroad range uses the sizing from their cyclo-cross bikes and the geometry from the endurance based Attain range. This gives a quality bike that works across a real mix of terrains without feeling as though it is sacrificing performance or ride quality on any of them.

Tyre clearance is 45mm overall with it easily swallowing 35mm rubber with the mudguards fitted and the Nuroad will take a front and rear rack for carrying your kit to the office.

We found it to be a fun bike to ride behaving well on both the road and the gravel tracks and the gearing is suitably low to offset the weight of the bike and any loads you are carrying.

The Nuroad is another one of those ebikes that gives you lots of options on your commute, plus it makes a fun gravel or road bike when you have some time to yourself.

The range topping models get a carbon fibre frame, but the FE we recommend here looks great value for money with its 6061-T6 aluminium frame and included mudguards, dynamo lights, Claris groupset, kickstand, rear carrier and bell. 

Kinesis GTD V2

Kinesis GTD V2

9
Best commuter bike for comfort
Buy now for £1760 from Winstanleys Bikes
Excellent handling
Highly versatile frameset
Great comfort vs performance ratio

For some of us, commuting makes up the bulk of our weekly mileage with a trip to work and back making for an excellent training session. If that's the case and your commuter is the bike you are going to spend the most time on you're going to want something a little special, something like Kinsesis' titanium GTD.

The latest version of the GTD is the V2 and it's available as a frameset for you to build into your dream machine.

Read our guide to the 10 best titanium road bikes 2022

For commuting compatibility you get full mudguard mounts and the ability to fit a rear rack. You also get three mounting points for a bottle cage with one sitting under the down tube which is ideal for carrying a tool container whether riding to work or touring at the weekend.

It's a beautiful looking machine with a massive amount of little details and when we reviewed it we found it to be stiff, comfortable and a real blast to ride. Tyre clearance is 34mm.  

MiRider One GB3

MiRiDER One GB3

9
Best electric commuter bike for climbing
Buy now for £2495 from Merlin Cycles
Great hill-climber
Nippy throttle
Clean, low maintenance belt drive ideal for a folder
Not the lightest e-folder available

We've already mentioned a couple of folders but if you want a bit of help on the commute something like the MiRiDER One GB3 with its electric motor might be just what you are looking for. 

It has a funky-looking single speed fold-in-half style magnesium frame with integrated but removable battery, mid-frame elastomer suspension and adjustable height handlebars and seatpost. It also gets a three-speed EFneo GTRO gear unit to give some lower gears for the climbs, it's belt drive too so no risk of getting oil on your clothes or hands.

Read our guide to 8 of the best folding e-bikes

In reviewing we found it to feel nippy under acceleration thanks to the 252Wh motor, which should also see a range exceeding 35 miles if you are careful. The built in  display screen keeps you up to date with battery life and other data.

It's not the lightest e-folder out there, but thanks to the motor assistance that's not really a major issue. 

 

How to choose from the best commuter bikes

faq-icon
What is a commuting bike?

The best commuting bike for you will depend as much on you and your riding style as what's on offer in bike shops. A bike for a 15-mile commuting journey on city arterials will probably be very different from one for a two-mile pootle across the park.

A vast range of bike types work well for the office run. The distance, terrain, road surfaces and what else you want to use your bike for all factor in to your choice. In flatter towns, the good old roadster and its modern hybrid descendants are great urban transport.

Want to go a bit faster? Drop-bar options like cyclo-cross bikes, gravel bikes and touring bikes have a good turn of speed combined with wide tyres to ward off pothole damage. Look for rack and mudguard mounts on the frame for all-weather riding, and the capability for on-bike luggage.

faq-icon
What's the best bike for a hilly commute?

If you are planning to ride a standard pedal-powered cycle on a hilly route, then weight is probably going to be the biggest factor regardless of what style of bike it is. That, and gearing which is also really important. Gearing that is as low as you can go would be best for the climbs, while also having a large enough gear for the downhills.

Brakes will be important too, especially if you are riding a bike loaded up with the belongings you need for your daily work. If you have some steep climbs on your route you'll also have some fast descents so going for discs will give you powerful and reliable stopping power in the wet or dry.

E-bikes are an obvious choice for a hilly commute providing it can achieve the range required for you to get to work and back so that you don't have to carry a charger to work with you.

Weight isn't as much of a concern with an e-bike so you can choose something that is suitable for your riding style and budget. 

Read our beginner's guide to electric bikes to see your options.

faq-icon
What is the Cycle to Work scheme?

Many employers offer Cycle to Work programmes that allow you to get a bike tax-free, saving you a lot of money.

> How to save money on a bike with the Cycle to Work scheme

Your employer needs to sign up to a Cycle to Work provider, like Cyclescheme. You join the scheme, choose a bike, do a little bit of online admin and collect the bike from the shop. You then hire the bike with payments taken from your gross monthly salary. At the end of the hire period, you are usually given the opportunity to buy the bike for its market value.

Essentially, this is a cheap way of getting a bike for riding to and from work, and you are free to use it at any other time too.

faq-icon
What are the best ways to carry stuff on my cycling commute?

When riding to and from work you’ll almost certainly need to carry stuff with you, at least occasionally: maybe a laptop, some clothes and shoes to change into if you’re riding in cycling gear, food...

Read our guide to cycling luggage for beginners

Some people are happy carrying this in a bag on their back – either a backpack or a messenger bag – especially if the load is light and/or the journey is short.

For heavier loads and longer journeys you might want the bike to take the strain by fitting a rack and using a rack bag or panniers. If so, many bikes have eyelets designed specifically for taking a rack. If your bike doesn’t have them, you’ll probably be able to use other rack fitting fixtures but bear in mind that disc brakes can sometimes make things awkward.

faq-icon
Should I use mudguards and a rack on my cycle commute?

Some bikes come fitted with mudguards but most don’t. If you’re going to commute by bike in all conditions you might well want to fit some of the best mudguards you can find to stop your tyres spraying you with water from the road.

Many bikes are built with eyelets for fixing mudguards. Again, there’s usually a solution if your bike doesn’t have them, but if you intend to use mudguards, eyelets make life that little bit easier.

If you don't want to carry your belongings in a rucksack (although if this is what you prefer you can always check out our guide to the best cycling rucksacks) then a rack is an ideal solution for you to strap a bag to, or go for panniers which hang over the side. These also allow you to carry extra stuff too, so you can stop off at the shop or gym on the way home.

If your bike doesn't have mounts for a rack there are a huge amount of frame, seatpost and handlebar bags available instead.

faq-icon
What is the best ride position on my commuter bike?

A lot of people like an upright riding position for cycling in town so they get a good view of the traffic, pedestrians, and so on. For that reason they might opt for a flat-barred bike rather than one with a dropped handlebar.

On the other hand, if your commute takes in a lot of open road, a drop-barred bike is likely to be quicker and more efficient.

You need to decide on the best option for your commute.

faq-icon
What features should I look for on a commuting bike?

Some manufacturers offer bikes with other commuter-friendly features. Puncture-resistant tyres are popular. No one ever wants a puncture but it’s particularly bad news if you need to be at the office for an important 9am meeting.

Disc brakes can be useful if you’re going to commute in all weathers because the braking surface is much further away from the road than with rim brakes so you get a more consistent performance in the wet.

Hub gears are often cited as a good choice for commuters because the working parts are sealed away from the rain and spray. That’s true, but derailleur gears will keep working with minimal maintenance as long as you give them a clean and re-lube after riding in wet conditions.

It could be that you’re buying a bike solely for commuting, but it’s more likely that you’ll want to ride it at other times too. That makes things a little more complicated – or interesting, depending on how you look at it!

If you’re going to have just one bike and you want to use it for both commuting and for riding sportives, for instance, you’re probably going to be attracted towards a drop-barred road bike.

If you want a bike you can both commute on and ride on weekends away, you might be attracted by a touring bike.

We all have different commutes and different cycling preferences outside of commuting so there’s not one bike, or even a type of bike, that’s right for everyone.

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!