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The best commuter bikes 2021

4 Aug 2021
Verdict:

Wanting to cycle to work? Here are some great commuter bikes to get you rolling on the road along with what to look for before you buy

Transporting people about their everyday lives, commuter bikes are the workhorses of the cycling world. Stepping in to take the place of a car or public transport on the journey to work – which is more important than ever – they have the potential to preserve the environment, improve cities and boost public health.

But with designs and prices varying wildly, knowing which is right for you and how much you should spend can be tricky.

Luckily there’s no need to go crazy, practical hybrid bikes don’t demand the same prices as flashy racers. Spend £400 or more and you should get something that’s happy to be used daily. Just think of the money you’ll be saving on a travel card or petrol.

Just don’t forget the extras. Some bikes come equipped with mudguards and racks, saving you money over buying them as aftermarket accessories.

Finally, where will your commute take you? If it’s across parks or along towpaths, get something with rugged tyres and confident geometry.

Solely on the road? Go for a light bike with racy wheels and you’ll save time and effort.

Here are 10 of the best commuter bikes

1. Pinnacle Neon 2

Evans’ house brand tends to offer good value, and this racey Neon 3 hybrid is no exception. With a low-slung frame, its medium weight is supported by nimble 700x32c tyres, making for a machine nippier than more sedate hybrids.

Using Shimano’s 2x11-speed 105 groupset, this provides the kind of gearing more normally found on a racing bike, meaning the Neon is tailored to faster riding. However, this speedy nature is tempered somewhat by the Pinnacle’s moderately upright riding position, broad flat handlebar, and relaxed geometry.

Generally well equipped, Shimano's MT-200 hydraulic disc brakes will cut down on maintenance while improving stopping power.

Buy now from Evans Cycles for £775

2. Specialized Sirrus 1.0


The popular Specialized Sirrus is one of the UK’s best selling hybrids. With an upright position, medium-width tyres, and wide range of gears it fits the bill of what most people are looking for in a commuter bike.

Comfy to ride, the ergonomic finishing kit is good for journeys long or short, while tougher than average tyres cut down the number of unscheduled pit stops.

A great entry-level bike, if you’ve more dosh it’s worth considering the higher-spec disc brake-equipped model to cut down on maintenance.


3. Ridgeback Avenida 7

Only available with a step-through frame the Ridgeback Avenida is a fantastically self-contained package. Based around the reliable Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub gear system it comes fitted out with mudguards, a rack, and dynamo lights.

Upright to start with, an adjustable quill stem means getting the backswept bars into a comfy position is easy.

The broad saddle is backed up by a bouncy suspension seatpost. Helping you arrive smart is a chain guard while helping you stow away the bike is an integrated kickstand.

Read our guides to the best commuter backpacks, best lightweight folding bikes for commuting and best bike bells

Buy now from Freewheel for £750

4. Vitus Mach 3 VR

This flat handlebar 700c wheel bike is both shockingly cheap and shockingly quick. With a lightweight frame, but broad 38c tyres, it requires little effort to get moving, but remains capable over multiple surfaces.

Equipped with Shimano’s Claris R2000 8-speed drivetrain, this includes the pricey and lovely looking chainset. Providing gears that shift rapidly and are tuned for purposeful riding, the bike is brought to an equally speedy stop by cable-actuated TRP disc brakes.

With all your standard fixings for racks and guards, it’s ready to be loaded up ahead of the commute, or happy being taken for weekends away touring. A great flat teal paint job and tan-wall tyres don’t hurt its score either.

Buy now from Chain Reaction for £580

5. Ribble Hybrid AL

Firstly, a discussion on the frame colour. Ribble has really knocked it out the park here, that forest green - almost British Racing green - is nothing but class.

More than just a pretty picture, however, Ribble's Hybrid AL is a spot-on city slicker that comes equipped with discs, comfortable geometry and radically wide 47c 650b WTB tyres that have been nicked from a more adventurous bicycle. 

Also pretty rad is the wide-ratio Sram NX 1x11 groupset that rarely misses a beat while the Mavic Askium wheelset is bombproof while also remaining pretty nippy, too.

Buy now from Ribble from £899

6. Vitus Dee Vr City Bike Nexus


Vitus score a second entry on our list. This is partly because they make excellent value bikes, and partly because in these COVID-affect times, there one of the few makers that seems to have models in stock. Either way, the Dee Vr City is an awesome bike. 

Anyone who’s hopped aboard one of Transport for London’s rental bikes will be acquainted with the joys of Shimano’s Nexus 3-speed hub. Providing a trio of perfectly space ratios, this internal unit requires almost zero maintenance. Leaving you without the hassle and expense of regularly replacing chains and cassettes, Shimano’s equally wonderful MT400 hydraulic disc brakes are almost equally low on hassle.

Given the tiny price, the Vitus would score highly if these were its only highlights. Instead, it manages to also cram in a great aluminium frame and a pair of puncture-resistant 47c Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres. A fun-to-ride bike that can be treated appallingly without complaining, it’s a set of mudguards away from being pretty much our ideal city runaround. 

Buy now from Wiggle for £429.99

7. Boardman HYB 8.8

We start with a trusty Boardman, bikes named after the former Olympic and time-trial World Champion which have become a staple option for commuters and urban dwellers.

An alloy frame and carbon fork help keep the overall weight down to a respectable 10.4kg which ensures a pretty nippy ride uphill while the carbon fork absorbs a lot of road judder and helps towards a more dialled ride when heading downhill.

The 1x Shimano Deore groupset is offset with a massive 46t on the cassette to ensure suitability for even the hilliest areas, which can also be said for the hydraulic disc brakes.

Finally, Boardman has specced this bike a set of Schwable Citizen tyres for ensured puncture protection, grip and comfort.

Buy now from Halfords for £800

8. Trek FX Sport 5

A posh bike for fast commuting, the Trek FX Sport 5 takes much of the brand’s road bike technology and translates it to a flat handlebar design.

The OCLV carbon frame features an IsoSpeed decoupler for a smooth ride, while the Shimano 2x10 drivetrain provides gears tailored to fast riding.

Mid-width tyres also do nothing to hold back the Trek’s progress, while disc brakes provide all-weather stopping and keep servicing to a minimum.

Hidden mudguard and rack mounts keep the whole package looking svelte.

Buy now from Trek Bikes for £1,950

9. Cannondale Bad Boy 3

Designed for the mean streets, with its radical single-leg fork the Cannondale Bad Boy has an unmistakable look. Not just for show, this super stiff design also makes changing punctures easy as there’s no need to remove the wheel.

Rolling on compact 650b hoops these lend a nimble ride, and are happy being mistreated.

Complemented by a burly parts list including an excellent saddle, multi-surface capable WTB Byway tyres, and hydraulic disc brakes the Cannondale is an urban assault vehicle.

10. Canyon Commuter 

Smuggling in a bunch of lust-worthy components, the direct to consumer Canyon Commuter represents top value.

Taking care of the gearing a clutch-equipped Shimano Deore derailleur shunts through 10-speeds, while up front a single chainring is shrouded by a chain guard to keep your outfit looking neat, a trait furthered by the included mudguards.

The light aluminium frame is easy to get rolling and a breeze to carry up stairs. Equipped with Schwalbe G-one tyres these lend multi-terrain ability, letting you travel wherever takes your fancy. There’s even a set of lights included to get you home after dark.

Buy now from Canyon for 799€

Read our guides to the best commuter backpacks, best lightweight folding bikes for commuting and best bike bells