Best Low Maintenance Bicycles for Commuters [Top 3]
When commuting, an easily maintainable bike will often be an important factor to consider when looking into which one may suit your needs the most. Because at the end of the day, who wants to spend endless hours or run up a small fortune just to keep their bike running?
But rest assured as there are many bikes on the market that fit this exact criteria and will be rider friendly to maintain due to their simplicity and durability!
What Regular Maintenance Should Be Done on a Bicycle?
Regular maintenance that should be carried out on any bicycle will include: washing, this is paramount for getting the most out of your bike as dirt from the road can corrode and damage working parts, namely your chainset and cassette. Washing your bike is also a great opportunity to check for damage and wear, for example making sure that your frame has not cracked.
During the process of washing it’s also very important to remember to degrease working parts such as your chain and cassette, remembering to coat the chain with lube once you’ve dried it. Lube will help protect your chain and keep it running smoothly for longer, this also applies to your cassette.
A very important part of maintenance includes checking the wear of your brakes as your safety is paramount: compromised stoppage distance is not something that you want to contend with. You will need to check the brake pads (applies to both calliper and disc brakes) to see if they are worn down completely and need replacing. Regarding rim brakes, you will also need to check for wear on the braking surface of the wheel (this will make the surface look slightly concave) whereas for the disc brakes you will just need to check the rotors for wear.
If you do happen to use hydraulic disc brakes on your bike then it’s also worth noting that you will need to ensure that you are leak free and do not have any air bubbles. If you do happen to have air bubbles trapped in the system your brakes will feel spongy and therefore need bleeding to correct this.
Another equally important part of your bike that needs maintaining are your tyres. It’s very important to check the wear of your tyres; if the tread looks bald / threadless then there’s a good chance that they need replacing. Similarly, the tyres also need inspecting for any debris such as glass or thorns to ensure that they are good to go for your morning commute and won’t cause a puncture down the line.
What is a Low Maintenance Bicycle?
A low maintenance bike is ideally one that is simple in design and preferably has a mechanical groupset (electronic gearing is a lot more complex and specialist and therefore high maintenance).
It will be a bike that is also easier to look after, not requiring as much complex TLC, therefore potentially including mudguards in order to keep the bike cleaner to prevent dirt from wearing away parts like the chainset.
A low maintenance bike would not include any parts that need specialist tools as this can be an expensive item to attain as well as being a more tricky task to carry out, for example hydraulic brakes, though very effective, need specialist equipment to maintain and bleed. Equally, having sealed bearings on your commuting bike definitely reduces the maintenance level and improves the longevity of your bearings as they are closed off and not free to the elements.
Low Maintenance Bicycle Features:
- belt drive instead of chain
- internal gear hubs (don’t get dirty)
- tubeless tyres or puncture-proof tyres
- caliper brakes
Benefits of a Low Maintenance Bicycle for Everyday Riders
The benefits expected from riding a low maintenance bicycle everyday will be that it’s definitely cheaper. You will also save a lot more time fixing mechanical issues and / or sourcing the parts needed for your bike.
Additionally, any regular rider cruising around on a low maintenance bike will notice that they are often more reliable than their other bikes more high tech bikes due to the simplicity of the in the design: there’s less parts to go wrong, the parts used are also made to be low maintenance and often are more durable.
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What to Look for in a Low Maintenance Bike?
When looking for a low maintenance bike there are some important and useful parts in the specification to look out for: I would highly recommend tubeless tyres as they are pretty much puncture free. If you do not fancy the hassle of tubeless (because when they go wrong it’s messy), you can also buy slime coated innertubes which do a similar job but the mess is contained within the innertube.
A belt-drive system is also preferable on a low maintenance bike as they are pretty clean, easy to maintain and in the long run are far cheaper than having to replace your whole drive chain because wear. The belt drive system is a lot more durable and reliable, especially as you won’t risk a chain snapping mid commute.
If you were looking specifically for a belt-drive bicycles for riding to work then I would highly suggest diverting your attention to our best belt drives bikes for commuters piece which will help narrow down your search.
Best Low Maintenance Bikes for Commuters [Top 3]
Although the price puts the Trek District 4 Equipped at the higher end of the commuting bikes market, it is a great low maintenance commuting bike as it has the straight forward Gates belt drive; not a standard chain. This is great because it saves on time as well as money, more so unlike a normal chain, it won’t stretch either. Therefore you can get thousands of miles out of this system without having to replace it!
Similarly, this Trek bicycle also has a Shimano Alfine internal hub which means the gear shifts occur within an enclosed area within the hub, meaning the area is not exposed to corrosion and debris. Hopefully leading to a longer lasting and more crisp gear shift.
Another great addition to the bike is the dynamo lights that run while you pedal, therefore you don’t have to worry about remembering to attach and / or charge your own lights, keeping you safe and seen at all times.
However, the tyres are not tubeless ready, therefore you would have to replace both of the tyres and set the tyres up as tubeless yourself which of course adds to the maintenance time and cost. Equally the bike has disc brakes which are more tricky to maintain as they need specific brake pads and care.
If you like the sound of the belt drive system but are unsure as to whether it’s right for you, make sure you read through our pros and cons to belt driven bicycles for a more indepth examination into whether or not they are the ideal low maintenance bike for you.
- Single speed
- Puncture resistant tyres
- USA: $549
The Priority Classic Plus is a quirky single speed low maintenance bike which is affordable and basic in design. This bike also uses the Gates belt drive system which is cheaper and longer lasting than the conventional chain and drive chain setup, therefore allowing for less maintenance.
This simple bike also has just the one Promax dual pivot front caliper rim brake which is accompanied by a rear coaster brake, meaning there’s less to worry about maintenance wise, however not everyone will feel comfortable not having both conventional brakes present. But, this does mean less maintenance is needed on the brakes and replacements will be more basic and therefore cheaper.
Additionally, the bike also comes with its own brand of tyres which claim to be puncture resistant: if effective these tyres will save a lot of time regarding tyre maintenance and changing your inner tubes after a flat tyre. Unfortunately, they do not appear to be tubeless ready which would’ve added extra puncture protection.
- Single chainring and sprocket
- Front and rear caliper brakes
The Quella Nero Fixed bike is a great yet affordable low maintenance bike as it’s very simple in design. This bike is a fixed gear bicycle with a single chainring and sprocket combination. As standard the gearing that comes on this bike is a great ratio: not too high or low with a 48 tooth chainring and a 16 tooth sprocket. Therefore the maintenance will be minimal.
Because this bike is a fixie it’s nice and cheap to maintain, none of the parts are specialist meaning they will be available pretty much anywhere: on the internet or in a local bike shop which is great from a maintenance perspective.
The Quella Nero also has two Radius alloy caliper brakes both front and rear which are a lot more straightforward to maintain and to find replacement brake pads for, this will definitely make the brakes far easier and cheaper to maintain than bikes with disc brakes. However, in the rain, rim brakes are less effective and can wear down a lot quicker due to debris being easily picked up from the road.
But fixies are not without their own setbacks, so if you are not sure if a fixie is the right low maintenance commuting bike for you, then I’d highly recommend having a read through our fixies pros and cons article to ensure it’s the correct bicycle for you and your needs.
If you are still unsure as to what bicycle may suit your commuting needs and feel you may not mind a slightly higher maintenance bicycle, then you may find something more suited to your needs within our piece about the best bikes for riding to work.
- Best Low Maintenance Bicycles for Commuters [Top 3] - September 25, 2021
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