The Five Best 2018 Commuter Bikes for Under £1,000
October 17th, 2017
October 17th, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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The term "commuter bike" is a pretty broad term, especially considering everyone's commute is rather different. For those experienced cyclists who will spend an hour commuting on a bike, you might want to consider a road bike, but for everyone else performing short journeys, you'll probably want something comfortable that's within your budget. Here's a selection of bikes that I feel will fit most people's journeys:
We can’t talk about commuting without talking about Brompton. This is the original, and arguable the best, tiny folding bicycle, which folds down to a package no bigger than a suitcase, which is great if you want to cycle to a train station and take it on-board to your next destination, or for simply nipping around town and keeping it in the cupboard under the stairs. They do come a bit out of our budget, starting at £1,075, however, they can be found for under a grand - for example, like this lime green Brompton “Black Edition” at JE James. It’s only a two-speed, but that’s more than adequate for short or flat commutes, and it can even fit under your desk when you arrive.
Trek have a great range of commuter bikes, ranging from hybrids (a cross between a road bike and mountain bike, as pictured) all the way up to cyclocross bikes and electric bikes. Pictured is the FS X4. The FS is said to be the most popular bicycle on the Cycle To Work scheme, and it’s not hard to see why when you take note of the fact that the FX range starts from £400 with rim-brakes, and £450 with disc brakes (on the FX 2) and comes in a whole range of incremental options. There is also the option for Women’s Specific bikes, some with dropped top-tubes (a step-through manner of getting on the bike) and some as standard. These bikes benefit from a relaxed riding position with flat handlebars, and they have plenty of bolts to attach your water bottle and front and rear pannier racks. They are also available in the popular Evans Cycles high street chain.
Specialized are a big player, and have always made exceptionally good bikes. Though their prices have increased on their high-end sporting market, their fitness bikes have stayed within a good budget. This alloy hybrid, pictured, is the Men’s Sirrus Elite, complete with disc brakes and a nice cherry red paint-job, retailing at £900. Other more stealthy black versions are available, as are Women’s Specific models with more feminine coulour-ways (I say that, but they’re not pink with flowers, they are simply more flamboyant than the men’s, see our cover photo, above, for the Women’s Sirrus in a green/turquoise fade!). The Sirrus range starts from £425 with rim-brakes, and £525 with disc-brakes. Though most stores in your local area will sell Specialized, if you live near a Specialized Concept Store, you may find a broader range to view and size up.
Cube are good for providing budget bikes in all of their genres, and the commuter and urban category is no exception. Though they have a number of styles on offer, from laid-back town cruisers to e-bikes, The Editor has got to be my favourite. Having a Gates belt drive and 11-speed gears sourced in the rear wheel, thanks to a Shimano Alfine hub, this bike has all the clean lines of a fixed-wheel courier bike, but with 11 gears to choose from. Internal gearing and a belt instead of a chain means a heck of a lot less servicing and maintenance too; you won’t need to lubricate chains or worry about leaving the bike out in the rain. In fact, it’s possibly the best option if you commute on mucky first paths, as your gears will always be sheltered and in good working order. At a RRP of £1,399, it’s not really within our budget here, but you can find them online for £1150 if you’re willing to stretch your budget a little. If you can’t dip over £1,000 the Hyde is your budget hybrid option.
Last, but not least, being British we should include our old friends at Raleigh, my favourite being The Propaganda, pictured here. Not only does it offer a touch of vintage panache to your commute, but it’s a bargain at £400. I’m not sure the handlebars are my favourite style, especially with the brakes situated in the centre and slightly set away from where your hands should rest, but these can be changed, and it has a real “ye olde” charm to it. It would be great for anyone with prior cycling experience who wants a cheap, but good-looking bike that can take a bit of abuse on short city commutes. For everyone else, Raleigh do a hybrid called The Strada, which comes with or without front suspension and tends to retail around the £400 mark as well. They also make very reasonably prices road bikes too, if you need to put in longer miles.