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Riding a bike is fun any day of the week, so why not join the commuters who choose two wheels to get to work each day?
And whilst it’s all good fun, cycling to work has other benefits. It’s great for your health, the bank balance and the environment.
But if you are new to commuting, what bike should you choose to ride to work?
What type of Bicycle is Best for Commuting?
Ultimately any bicycle can be used as a commuter bike, yes, that’s right – any bicycle. That said, the daily rigours of riding to work may mean that one type of bike would be better suited than another.
As a beginner to cycle commuting, it pays to consider a few factors to help understand what type of bike you should get.
Choosing a Bike: Top Tips
1. Go for a bike that fits the length, terrain and surface of the commute
If you’re planning to cycle to work, you will need to know how to get there, but it’s also worth considering how long it will take and what sort of roads it will be on. Taking the time to think about this will help narrow the down a list of potential commuter bikes.
As an example, choosing a road bike with skinny tyres and drop handlebars isn’t sensible if work is a short ride down muddy canal towpaths or an unmade cycle route.
A road bike would make sense, however, if the ride is all on the tarmac and of a good distance – say 30 minutes, or more, of riding.
For new cycle commuters, hybrid bikes are an excellent middle ground. They blend the efficiency of a road bike and the ruggedness of a mountain bike. Hybrid bikes are often equipped with wide tyres, a suspension fork and neutral, upright riding positions.
2. Consider what bike is best to cycle to work with gear
Depending on your line of work, you may need to cycle to work with a few items – a change of clothes and some lunch, perhaps a laptop and other tools for the day.
It is easy to ride with personal items in a cycling backpack, but a good commuter bike has a pannier rack or one that can be mounted in future. Add a pannier bag to the rack and it takes the weight of belongings off the riders’ shoulders and onto the bike, making it more comfortable to cycle.
3. Select a bike with mudguards (at the very least one with the ability to fit them)
Cycling in the rain isn’t as bad as you might expect, but do it day-in-day-out, and your patience might start to wear. All the best commuter bikes have mudguards to protect the rider from rain, road spray or, mud flicked up by the bicycle’s wheels.
4. Overall, comfort is paramount
Finding comfort on any bike is essential, let alone a commuter bike. Comfort is not only for the days when the wind is at your back and the sun has his hat on but as a commuter cyclist, especially a beginner one, it pays to be comfortable on cold, wet Monday mornings too.
It’s not just about bags of suspension or a cushioned saddle either – the most crucial thing is to ride a bike that is the right size. Riding a bike that fits your height and inseam measurements will help you ride smoothly, efficiently and safely.
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Best Commuter Bikes for Beginners [Top 3]
Here are three commuter bikes for beginners under £1000 from some of the best bicycle brands.
1. Pinnacle Lithium 1 Hybrid Bike
With 21 gears, simple flat handlebars and chunky, go-anywhere tyres, the Lithium 1 from Pinnacle is an excellent choice for new commuters – irrespective of where and how far they plan to ride.
The 3×7 gearing helps if the office sits at the top of a large hill – the trigger mechanism to change gears is easy to use. The flat handlebars aid an upright position for navigating traffic safely in busy urban areas. The 40c tyres will take muddy or well-rutted routes in their stride.
Like most hybrid bikes, the Lithium 1 will accept a pannier rack and mudguards.
2. Triban RC 120 Road Bike
The second bike in our list of top commuter bikes for beginners is the Triban RC 120 road bike. This bike is an excellent option for commuting medium to long distances on well-surfaced roads. Fitted with disc brakes, the RC 120 is well suited to riding in all weather. The gearing system helps the rider get up to a decent lick and the lower gears aid in climbing hills.
Whilst it is a road bike with skinny tyres and drop handlebars, the riding position was designed with newer riders in mind. There are also five different sizes to help riders of all heights find the perfect fit.
Proper full-length mudguards (front and rear) and a pannier rack (again front and rear) can be fitted to the bike when time and finances allow.
3. Gazelle Espirit
Dutch bikes, a subsect of hybrid bikes, are the ultimate commuting machines. The bikes have a robust construction and are usually made from steel to cope with the daily rough and tumble of commuting.
Most models come with an arms-length specification list of extras – think mudguards, a pannier rack, lights and even a lock. They’re also incredibly comfortable to cycle, with the rider adopting an upright, eyes-up position.
Gazelle’s Espirit is an excellent example of a Dutch bike, featuring all of the above and would suit new commuters riding short distances in town.
Two other features offer further appeal, especially for new commuters. The bike’s chain is encased, reducing the chance of a greasy trouser incident. It also helps preserve the life of the chain, easing maintenance worries. And finally, the bike has lights that are powered by an onboard dynamo system – ride day and night without ever having to worry about charging your lights.