How To Choose a Road Bike: Buying Guide test
Is your daily commute getting you down? If you’re tired of gridlock and cramped public transport, it might be time to look at cycling to work. Not only is great for your health, but it’s greener too!
In this article, we’ll break down all the different options for commuter bikes, so you can pick the perfect ride and start enjoying travelling to and from work…
What is a Commuter Bike?
What’s The Best Bike For Commuting?
Types of Commuter Bikes
Electric Commuter Bikes
Flat Bar Bikes
Commuter Bike Accessories
Commuter Bike Frames Sizes
What is a commuter bike?
The term commuter bike does not really pick out a specific kind of bike. As you’ll see in this article, there’s a huge range of different options for commuter bikes, depending on both your riding style and the kind of commute you have. Simply put, a commuter bike is whatever bike is comfortable for you.
Of course, a commuter bike does not just need to carry you to and from work – it can be the bike you take to the shops, to the gym or even to the top of a mountain!
What’s the best bike for commuting?
We’ve already established that a commuter bike can basically be any kind of bike you like. That said, there are a number of things to consider when selecting your commuter bike to make sure it is up to the task.
First, where will you be riding this bike?
If you are mainly riding in a city, sharing roads with cars and lots of other cyclists, then you’ll need a bike that handles well in this tight space, like a city bike. On the other hand, if your commute involves going up and down hills, you’ll want something that makes light work of the climbs, so either an electric commuter bike or a road bike would make sense.
Another important consideration – will you need to carry luggage?
If you can just ride with a backpack of stuff, then you’re fine with any bike. But, if you’re planning on using the bike to do shopping, or need to carry more luggage, you’ll probably want to think about getting a bike with pannier racks.
Also, what’s the weather typically like?
If you are going to be riding a lot in the rain, you’ll want to get mudguards to keep yourself from getting soaked by your wheels!
Finally, are you just using the bike for commuting?
For lots of people, a bike is far more than just a way of getting to and from work. It can be a way to get out and enjoy the countryside or an exhilarating speed machine. If you are going to be using your bike for more than just getting around, you could go for something more versatile – this could mean getting a hardtail mountain bike or a gravel bike that you also use to commute.
Types of commuter bikes
City / Urban Bikes:
As the name suggests, city bikes are designed specifically with the urban environment in mind. This makes them the perfect choice for getting around town.
• Handling designed specifically for the challenges of city riding. This means you can take sharp turns and stop suddenly, something that can be tricky on some other bikes.
• City bikes are really versatile. You can ride on a wide range of terrain – from fields to tracks to cycle lanes.
• City bikes can handle moderate inclines and descents – perfect for even a hilly commute.
• Plenty of space for luggage and adding pannier racks.
• City bikes can’t handle really rough terrain – they definitely can’t double as your weekend mountain bike.
• The focus on all round versatility does mean that city bikes sacrifice cutting edge performance. If you’re looking to go really fast, other types of bike will offer more speed.
We stock a couple of great city bikes: The Cube SL Road Pro and the Cube Nuroad Race FE. Note that the FE in this bike’s name stands for ‘fully equipped’ – meaning it includes racks, lights and guards, so there’s no need for you to order these separately.
Product image of Cube Nuroad Pro - Black n Grey 2018
ON SALE Cube Nuroad Pro: Price $1,999.00
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Electric Commuter Bikes:
Electric commuter bikes offer extra power that supports you while riding. This is particularly useful when heading up steep hills.
• The added support of an electric bike is perfect for commuting, as it means you won’t turn up to work panting and sweating after a difficult ride!
• Electric bikes make light work of cycling home with heavy shopping bags. They’re also perfect for cycling home after a heavy workout at the gym as they’ll give your legs a rest!
• The extra parts on an electric bike make them heavier, which can make taking the bike on public transport more cumbersome than with other bikes.
• Electric commuter bikes don’t have full suspension, so are not suited to the kind of terrain where you need front and rear shocks.
Our range has some great electric commuter bikes. See the Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro and Cube Town Sport Hybrid One. A great added feature on both of these bikes is that they include dynamo powered lights – so you never need to worry about running out of battery.
Product image of Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro 500 Trapeze 2020 - Black 'n' White
Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro 500 Trapeze: Price $5,499.00
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Gravel / Adventure Bikes:
Gravel bikes, or adventure bikes, were originally designed to be more versatile and robust road bikes. However, they are becoming an increasingly popular choice with those looking to cycle to work.
• Gravel bikes take much of their design and inspiration from bikes designed for road races. This makes them fast and exciting to ride.
• Given that gravel bikes are optimised for road and gravel track riding, they make light work of city streets and cycle lanes.
• Gravel bikes are great for recreational riding too, so if you plan on using your bike to hit the trails as well as the town, they’re a great all-rounder.
• Because they take their cues from race bikes, there’s not much room for luggage and panniers on a gravel bike.
• Although gravel bikes are tough and versatile, they’re still not mountain bikes – so you can’t hit really wild slopes.
Cube Cross Race - Black 'n' Red 2019
Cube Cross Race: Price $2,299.00
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Mountain bikes are all about off-road performance. Typically, if you’re looking to commute on a mountain bike, then you’ll want a hardtail.
• Most hardtails can be fitted with racks and guards, so are just as good for hitting the shops as the slopes.
• The versatility of a hardtail is really attractive – on working days it’ll carry you to the office no problem, at the weekend you can be exploring off-road and flying up and down hills!
• Mountain bikes have tyres designed for gripping mud. While this is great for slippy trails, this means they do drag more on tarmac, so they require more effort to ride on the street than other bikes.
Cube Aim - Black 'n' Blue 2019
Cube Aim: Price $899.00
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Road bikes are your Tour De France style machines, designed for maximum speed and endurance. If you’re looking to commute on a road bike, you’ll want to choose a frame geometry that is comfortable – so avoid the more aggressive race designs.
• Road bikes are fast! This means that you can make light work of your commute and be home in minutes.
• If you are looking at getting into road cycling, then having a road commute bike is a great way to start – perfect for a weekend peloton.
• Really high spec race bikes are not suitable for commuting. This means that whatever road bike you do choose as a commuter bike, it is probably not going to cut it if you are competing in more experienced road races.
• Drop bars are not as comfortable for city riding as flat bars.
• Road bikes brakes are not optimised for the sudden stops you might need to make while riding in the city.
• Many road bike frames will not be designed with panniers, racks and guards in mind.
We have a huge range of road bikes, including models like the Cube Attain that strike the perfect balance between high performance and commuter practicality.
Cube Attain GTC Race Carbon 'n' Flashyellow 2020
Cube Attain: Price $2,999.00
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Flat Bar Bikes:
Flat bar bikes are road bikes that use the flat handlebar position more typically associated with a mountain bike. This makes them ideal for commuting, as this is a more comfortable position to ride in.
• Flat bar bikes are race bikes at heart, so have exceptional performance on tarmac, so will make light work of any commute.
• The riding position on a flat bar bike is perfect for commuting – it’s easier to reach the brakes and gears than on a road bike.
• Being road bikes, they cannot ride on rougher surfaces, so you are limited to tarmac and smooth roads.
• Flat bike frames are not optimised for adding racks and guards.
The Cube SL Road Pro is a great flat bar bike that would be perfect for commuting.
Cube SL Road
Cube SL Road – Price: $1,399.00
Commuter Bike Accessories
In this section we break down the accessories you can add to your commuter bike.
First, there are the essentials. If you are riding your bike on roads, in the city or anywhere where there is traffic, you must have quality front and rear lights to keep you visible and safe. Be sure to regularly check batteries, and carry spares, to make sure you are never stuck out in the dark without lights.
Cube Nuroad Race FE 2019 Front Light
Cube Nuroad Race FE 2019 Rear Wheel
Cube Nuroad Race FE comes with a front & rear lighting system
Next, there are the storage options. As we have already mentioned, some bike types are better suited than others to carrying luggage. You can either use a rear rack that allows you to keep stuff over the rear wheel, or if you need more storage space you can add panniers on both sides of the bike. If you do opt for panniers, make sure to try and balance the weight equally on both sides of the bike to avoid being lopsided!
Finally, if you will be riding on wet or dirty roads, fitting guards is a must. These protect you from being spattered with everything the tyres kick up as you ride – particularly important if you don’t plan on changing when you get to work!
Commuter Bike Frames
When it comes to bike frames, with a commuter bike it’s all about safety and comfort of ride. This means they might be a little heavier than their race bike counterparts, but equally they can stand up to the knocks and bumps of city streets.
A great choice of frame geometry for commuters are Easy Entry and Trapeze frames. With these designs, the top tube is lowered. This is great for commuting, as it’s easy to get your feet on the ground when stopping at red lights.
Our range of bikes has lots of easy entry and trapeze frames, especially amongst our electric bikes.
Cube Nuride Hybrid Pro 500 Black n Grey 2020
Product image of Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro 500 Trapeze 2020 - Black 'n' White
Left: Cube Nuride Hybrid Pro 500 in an easy entry frame
Right: Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro 500 in a trapeze frame