Best Commuter Bikes in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 13, 2020
Commuter bikes allow you to commute with more comfort and confidence than most bikes and, from some perspectives, all cars. The best commuter bikes can do so much more than take you from point A to point B though, which are precisely the bikes you'll find within this selection. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Frame
Wheels
Brakes
Gearing
Extras
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The WTB Slick 700x32c tyres will be able to minimise rolling resistance, providing cornering grip and dispersing water. The brake levers have been designed ergonomic and sensitive. Made from 4130 chromoly, the bike is responsive and flexible yet strong and durable too.

CONS

The SRAM™ gearing and shifting require consistent maintenance work. 

OUR VERDICT

The FabricBike Commuter will accommodate riders that refuse to settle. This is not the bike you purchase when all you need is two wheels taking you from home to work. This is the bike you purchase when you want to have it all.

detailed parameters
Frame

4130 chromoly steel frame 

Wheels

700c wheels with slick tyres

Brakes

Front and rear mechanical disc brakes

Gearing

SRAM™ gearing and shifting, 8 speeds 

Extras

Adjustable saddle height, adjustable handlebar, non-slip grips 

Weight

13.75 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS
The paintwork is durable and will not start chipping and fading away anytime soon. The 1.35-inch tyres from Kenda are reinforced, making them good at resisting puncturing and pretty long-lasting too. The ample padding on the saddle will absorb bumps.
CONS

The seat height locking mechanism requires regular re-tightening. 

OUR VERDICT

The Ecosmo Folding Bicycle will not cost you much yet will not keep you tied to the perfect city roads too. While we would not recommend hitting the trails on this bike, everything else is fair game, from farm pathways and canal towpaths to bumpy country roads.

detailed parameters
Frame

Alluminium alloy frame (foldable)

Wheels

20" wheels with road tyres

Brakes

Front and rear V-brakes

Gearing

Shimano™ gearing and shifting, 7 speeds

Extras

Adjustable saddle height, adjustable handlebar, kickstand, mudguards, safety reflectors, rear rack, non-slip grips 

Weight

12 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS
The LED light is bright and the horn is loud, enabling safe riding during the night. The shock-absorbing design will keep you comfortable hitting countryside roads. The bike's battery only takes ~3 hours to go from 0 to 100%. 
CONS

The tyres wear out pretty quickly. 

OUR VERDICT

The TOEU Electric Bike will allow you to reach 25 km/h without pedalling (they're nonexistent here). The bike will give you somewhere between 20 and 30 kilometres on one charge. When folded, the bike measures only 104 x 22 x 62 centimetres, so it is pretty easy to carry.

detailed parameters
Frame

Alluminium alloy frame (foldable)

Wheels

12" wheels with road tyres

Brakes

Front and rear mechanical disc brakes 

Gearing

1 speed

Extras

350W brushless electric motor, Li-ion 36V/4.4Ah battery, adjustable saddle height, adjustable handlebar, non-slip grips, front and rear lights, kickstand, mudguards

Weight

12 kg

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS
The patented brackets are using quick-secure fastening clips to fold the bike to only 82 x 32 x 62cm centimetres. The lock mechanism makes sure the frameset remains rigid, not folding during the ride. The double-welded brackets and quick-release clips enable easy assembly. 
CONS

Some find the paintwork quite shoddy. 

OUR VERDICT

The Ecosmo 20-Inch Folding Bicycle is unisex. You can adjust the seat height-wise and the handlebars too, fitting short and tall riders alike. The aluminium alloy frame is lightweight yet plenty tough and durable. The non-slip grips are soft but firm too.

detailed parameters
Frame

Alluminium alloy frame (foldable)

Wheels

20" wheels with road tyres

Brakes

Front and rear V-brakes

Gearing

Shimano™ gearing and shifting, 7 speeds

Extras

Adjustable saddle height, adjustable handlebar, kickstand, mudguards, safety reflectors, rear rack, non-slip grips 

Weight

12 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Featuring internal cable routing, the bike looks clean and neat. The double-walled wheels with sealed cartridge bearings and double-butted stainless spokes will survive any beating. The quick-release calipers will stop the bike in its tracks without delay. 

CONS

The saddle is stiff. 

OUR VERDICT

The FabricBike City Classic Road Bike pairs vintage aesthetics with modern tech, adopting refined diamond geometry and that classic outline that makes the bicycle look mature and charming and matching them with high-end materials and sophisticated components.

detailed parameters
Frame

High-tensile steel frame

Wheels

700c wheels with road tyres

Brakes

Front and rear V-brakes

Gearing

Shimano™ gearing and shifting, 7 speeds

Extras

Adjustable saddle height, adjustable handlebar, kickstand, mudguards, safety reflectors, rear rack, storage basket, non-slip grips

Weight

11.85 kg

Warranty

1 year

FabricBike Commuter

The Hybrid Approach

Some bikes are unitaskers, good at what they were designed to do but not much else. The FabricBike Commuter is different from that group. Sure, with "commuter" right there in the name, the model's adapted to the city first. Nevertheless, this hybrid urban bike is pretty versatile, able to accommodate not only commuting but also exploring the local roads and achieving fitness goals. To start with, standard commuters do not come endowed with flat upright handlebars. Aside from complementing this more aggressive frame design that separates the bike from boring city bicycles, the 'bars also facilitate comfortable and speedy riding.

Needless to say, the handlebars are connected to the stem that's connected to the frame, the model's biggest selling point. Unlike most commuters, the bike's frameset is made from chromoly, the low-alloy steel that borrows its name from “chromium” and “molybdenum”, hence "chromoly". When this material's butted and shaped, removing excess weight, you receive this lightweight yet strong and durable frame that's responsive and lends the bike great flex, all whilst maintaining its form. The frame will be able to absorb more road vibrations and keep the ride smooth and enjoyable, even when the terrain gets bumpy.

Review of FabricBike Commuter Hybrid Road Urban Bike

Minimal Rolling Resistance and Cornering Grip

The frame sells this product before all parts, we've established that. Still, the WTB Slick 700x32c tyres contribute big-time too, minimising rolling resistance and giving you excellent cornering grip and water dispersion. Switching gears, the WTB saddle is cushioned with broad sit bone support, so you can spend hours riding without experiencing any discomfort down there. When you feel like exploring fierce city streets, the SRAM™ gearing and shifting with 8 speeds will do you good, letting you switch between challenging steep slopes to conquering sudden inclines without losing composure.

Now, when the going gets tough, Tektro M28 low-maintenance mechanical brakes will guarantee precise all-weather stopping power, which means you can go ahead and accelerate even atop slippery roads without worrying about not being able to bring the bike to an abrupt halt. Plus, the brake levers are ergonomic and responsive, not forcing you to squeeze them to produce any results.

Bottom line, with SRAM changes, its hybrid behaviour, and the toughest frameset, the FabricBike Commuter will allow you to dodge the traffic, climb up and down, cycle from home to work, cruise to the beach with mates, and find the hidden spots around the city.

FabricBike Commuter Hybrid Road Urban Bike in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ECOSMO Lightweight Alloy Folding City Bike Bicycle

Looking Quite Boss

The Ecosmo Folding Bicycle starts with its folding construction but we'll begin this review elsewhere. More often than not, folding bikes have the dullest presence, looking like someone has bred Transformers rejects and multiple broken wheelchairs from the nearby scrapyard. Now, this bicycle is not winning any style awards too but, with its slim yet defined frameset, sleek paintwork, and tyres matching black with red, the bike looks boss.

Also, besides adding appearance points, the 1.35-inch Kenda road tyres have been reinforced to make them resistant against puncturing and wearing out, so you won't be replacing them come next season. The matte black finish is pretty tough too, meaning that you won't be seeing scratches the first time you drop the bike.

Setting the wheels and the tyres aside, commuter bikes make the saddle more important than MTBs and electric bikes, hence the sprung seat and the ample padding absorbing bumps and keeping you comfortable even when you get off the beaten track and start exploring different cycle paths, from country roads and farm pathways to canal towpaths. The height locking mechanism on the seat will require re-tightening from time to time though but this is where maintenance concerns both begin and end.

Review of ECOSMO Lightweight Alloy Folding City Bike Bicycle

Safe Nighttime Riding

Sometimes, these bikes are forgetting all these extra details that do not matter as much as the frameset, tyres, and brakes but, when added up, make a huge difference. This is not what we're dealing with here though. The saddle height is adjustable, we've already addressed that. The handlebars are adjustable too, nothing to write home about but glad it is there.

Continuing with the list, the kickstand here is pretty comfortable, allowing you to position the bike upright without leaning against walls. Also, the manufacturers did not forget safety reflectors, so you'll be able to ride during nighttime without worrying about being invisible to drivers and causing any accidents. From the maintenance perspective, the mudguards are quite ample too, which means you won't be cleaning the entire bike every time the road gets dirty.

Before wrapping this one up, the bicycle is shipped 95% assembled, you'll only need to fit the pedals, handlebars, and the seat. Sometimes, the brakes and the gearing might require minor adjustments too.

To sum up, the Ecosmo Folding Bicycle is not as modest and humble as most folding city bikes, both from the performance and appearance standpoints.

ECOSMO Lightweight Alloy Folding City Bike Bicycle in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

TOEU Electric Bike

Commuters' Needs First

Electric bikes have arrived and they're not going anywhere. In fact, research suggests that somewhere around 130 million e-bikes will be sold globally only within the next three years. On that note, let's talk about the TOEU Electric Bike. Sure, this is not the most capable vehicle available today, you'd be ill-advised to expect that from the ~250-quid price tag. The bike has been designed to accommodate commuters' needs and, from where we're standing, this model does not disappoint. According to the people behind this product, the dolphin-esque shape gives the bike an improved aesthetic, which's subjective but its unique and interesting outline is not subjective at all, we can say that much.

What's also not subjective is that the model's performance is impressive compared to most e-bikes within this price range. The 350-watt brushless electric motor will allow you to 25 km/h within ~5 seconds, nothing short of impressive relative to the product's price and size.

The maximum driving distance with e-bikes will always depend on road conditions, the load the bike is carrying, and how much pedalling you're willing to add. Well, pedalling is not something you'll have at your disposal here because the bike is designed without them, an odd choice but, again, the product was engineered to aid commuters, not biking enthusiasts. Because the pedals have been removed, the maximum possible gradient stretches only 20 degrees.

Review of TOEU Electric Bike Urban Commuter Folding E-bike

The Light and the Horn Too

More often than not, this e-bike will give you around 20 kilometres, sometimes 25. Its load capacity caps at 120 kilogrammes, nothing to complain about considering that the bike weighs only 12 kilogrammes itself and its size barely reaches 105 x 50 x 95 centimetres. The battery will take somewhere between 2 and 4 hours to go from 0 to 100%, depending on the voltage/current.

Besides everything that pertains to the electric part, the bike comes equipped with an LED light and a pretty loud horn, enabling safe nighttime riding. Its sealing lands at IP54, protecting the model's electric components from drizzles but not quite from downpours.

The 12-inch wheels are what you'd expect from the bike's electric build and small size except that the tyres are not as durable as one would hope, wearing out sooner rather than later.

Aside from that, provided getting from point A to point B with comfort and efficiency is everything you need and the distance between these points is not 20+ kilometres, this electric commuter bike is an offer that's hard to beat.

TOEU Electric Bike Urban Commuter Folding E-bike in the use

 

ECOSMO 20" Lightweight Alloy Folding

A Companion For Life

The Ecosmo 20-Inch Folding Bicycle is an excellent companion, reliable, dependable, and low-maintenance. Also, the company's bikes look good, something that we cannot say about most folding bicycles. The outline is sleek, the frameset is not stubby, and the paintwork is more than presentable. The only issue here is that this paintwork is pretty shoddy from the longevity perspective, so the presentable part will start going away quite soon.

Still, the bike is packing fantastic features, starting with the lightweight yet strong aluminium alloy frame that will easily handle consistent abuse. The 20-inch wheels are pretty good at that too, including the road tyres that as not as gentle as most city tyres, so you won't have to replace them anytime soon. The spokes on the wheels are secured, so even some drops and falls here and there will not force you to do any maintenance work.

Before everything else though, what defines this bike is the folding part, which, incidentally, is also where this product shines the most. The company's patented brackets, using quick-secure fastening clips, allow you to fold the bicycle to a fraction of the original size in seconds. At the same time, the patented lock mechanism keeps the frameset stiff, preventing folding during riding. Folding mechanism aside, the bike's shipped ~99% assembled, all you have to do is attach the double-welded brackets and quick-release clips on the frame, handlebars, and the seat post, assembling and disassembling the bike within seconds.

Review of ECOSMO 20" Lightweight Alloy Folding City Bicycle Bike

Minimal Challenges

From the performance angle, the bike's plenty versatile, thanks to the Shimano™ gearing and shifting that allows you to choose between 7 speeds and go from climbing steep hills to descending with confidence.

Apart from that, the bike's not that different from what you're used to, including the height-adjustable set and handlebars to the light reflectors making you visible to drivers at night. We will not be talking about mudguards and the standard rack that will let you haul groceries and so on, there's nothing remarkable about them. The non-slip grips though, whilst not necessarily remarkable, are soft and pleasant to the touch yet secure enough to keep the grip firm.

Without going into unnecessary details, the Ecosmo 20-Inch Folding Bicycle will present minimal challenges, from riding to folding to carrying/transporting. The bike is easy to fold, easy to unfold, easy to store, and easy to maintain.

ECOSMO 20" Lightweight Alloy Folding City Bicycle Bike in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

FabricBike City Classic

Refined Diamond Geometry

The FabricBike City Classic Road Bike pairs old-school design solutions with modern tech. First things first, the classic frameset featuring refined diamond geometry improves aerodynamics and keeps different riders comfortable tackling any terrain. Plus, the frameset makes the bicycle look brilliant, nothing like modern bikes that are swarming with wires, different buttons, gadgets, knick-knacks, etc. No, the bike looks reserved, mature, subtle yet charming. Incorporating internal cable routing, the bicycle has this clean and neat presence, all whilst retaining the tried-and-tested horizontal top tube that ensures comfortable and elegant upright riding with the lightest, most responsive feel.

Again though, the bike is not banking on classic solutions alone. To begin with, you have the Shimano™ gearing and shifting, adopting seven speed positions and comfortable enough to accommodate different hand sizes and secure light and responsive performance. Now, to be frank, before the gearing, the model's construction is much more about the high-tensile steel frame and the lightweight and polished aluminium double-walled wheels, featuring high-quality hubs (including sealed cartridge bearings and an alloy cassette body) and double-butted stainless spokes. These components make the bike lightweight (weighing less than 12 kilogrammes) but also tough and durable, from surviving bumpy roads to resisting the elements.

Review of FabricBike City Classic Hybrid Urban Commuter Road Bike

Efficient from Spokes to Pedals

Pivoting from the wheelset, we start approaching the brakeset, also made from polished high-strength aluminium and incorporating quick-release calipers to bring the bike to an immediate halt when necessary. Meanwhile, the sealed bearings will reduce rolling resistance so that you're able to glide over most surfaces.

The classic saddle looks fragile yet its construction is anything but, made from waterproof and eco-friendly leather to provide added resilience and to raise comfort levels. We like the saddle almost as much as we like the platform pedals, featuring two rubber layers to minimise slipping and fitted with light reflectors to add to the reflectors on the spokes and make you even more visible in low-light conditions.

You can make an argument that the fenders protecting you from mud splashes and puddles are worth mentioning too and so are the braze-ons and the storage basket but even without them the FabricBike City Classic Road Bike is the easiest decision you can make if you value vintage aesthetics yet are not willing to compromise modern performance for them.

FabricBike City Classic Hybrid Urban Commuter Road Bike in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Commuter Bike?

Cars are great except when they're not. The planet is polluted enough so, when possible, commuting via biking is an excellent alternative to driving. Biking is much more engaging than driving across the same roads. You can choose different routes, explore new areas, check out new roads.

Bikes do not depreciate (value-wise) as much as cars. They do not lose 10% of their value the moment you drive off the lot. Needless to say, they're also more affordable. You can buy an excellent new commuter bike for 200-400 pounds, whereas a half-decent used car will cost you 15 times more than that.

Some believe that bicycles are not as safe as cars but as long as you equip them (or choose the ones that are already fitted with these components) with horns, lights, and safety reflectors, accident chances become practically nonexistent.

Some commuter bikes are pretty versatile but they will not allow you to attack cross-country paths and traverse challenging trails with as much confidence as you'd have on a hardtail mountain bike, so you can look into these too. Also, do not forget about the helmet, better be safe than sorry.

What Features to Compare

Frame

Commuter bikes are not as demanding as MTBs when it comes to the frame's strength and durability. However, they're as demanding (and even more sometimes) in terms of weight. You do not want to be hauling 20 kilogrammes to work with you, so the right bicycle for commuting should not weigh above 15 kilogrammes. Still, nobody likes fragile framesets, which means that the challenge here is to find something that's both lightweight and sturdy. The most expensive commuting models are made from high-tensile steel and different high-strength alloys but even your average bike with an aluminium alloy frame will usually do as long as the weight does not start going above 15 kilos.

Wheelset

Technically speaking, bicycles can exist without the frameset, though that's when you start stretching the "bicycle" definition. Without wheels though? Nope. The wheels are important but from different angles compared to MTBs. Mountain bikes are all about grip and traction, whereas commuters' wheels and tyres have to be able to minimise rolling resistance yet remain resistant against wearing out. Double-walled wheels and double-butted spokes are preferable to the alternative, though you'll have to pay more for them.

Brakes

Bikes and brakes, brakes and bikes. One's not complete without the other, one cannot survive without the other. City roads can be unforgiving, so do not even think about looking at the bicycles that come without both front and rear brakes. Also, they have to be sensitive and responsive enough so that you can stop immediately when necessary, avoiding accidents.

Gearing

Because these bikes are not designed to accommodate variable terrains, the gearing is usually limited to 7-8 speeds, allowing you to handle sudden inclines and enabling smooth switching. Anything more than that is unnecessary.

Everything Else

Bikes these days are seldom complete without height-adjustable seats and handlebars, so talking about them is pretty pointless. Light reflectors though? MTBs can survive without them but you better make sure that the commuter bike you're looking to purchase has those in spades. Without them, you're risking serious accidents riding at night. With commuters, kickstands become more important as you stop for a coffee in the town and have to make sure you're able to position the bike upright anywhere. Rear racks and storage baskets are optional but, again, much more prevalent with bikes designed for commuting than they are with mountain bikes.

Why Bike Commuting Beats Driving

Reducing Expenses

The average automobile will cost you ~7,000 pounds to cover ~25,000 kilometres or somewhere around 0.3 pounds per 1 kilometre. Needless to say, these numbers are averages, going up and down with different vehicles. This is without factoring in the resources you spend on maintenance and everyday upkeep. As you'd imagine, you're not paying for gasoline/electricity with bicycles (unless we're talking about e-bikes but even then the costs are not comparable) and they're much less demanding maintenance-wise, so you'll be spending far less time and money on a bicycle than on a car.

Receiving Health Benefits

Do we even need to outline them? Getting outside, using lungs, muscles, and everything that entails riding bicycles is a much healthier alternative to driving. Some exercise benefits do not require any advertisement. That being said, riding bikes also makes people happier, releasing chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. You're also absorbing vitamin D from the sun when you're outside, which's conducive towards improving the quality of your sleep. What's also interesting is that riding bikes has been linked with improving the riders' sex life, which is not the worst bonus, right?

Having Fun

Yes, driving can be plenty fun too. The adrenaline rush you experience when you're going 200 kilometres per hour is hard to put into words. The issue here is that you're not really going 200 km/h, are you? More often than not, you're stuck in traffic and even when you're not, there's nothing fun about slowly cruising the city roads. You're not really feeling any difference going uphill and downhill at these speeds in a car too, except that you have to apply more or less pressure to the accelerator. With bikes, you're not fighting traffic. You can go anywhere, from taking different routes when commuting to exploring country roads, canal towpaths, farm pathways, and more.

Parking With Ease

Finding available parking space somewhere in the city centre sounds about as realistic as meeting the meeting Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, in the middle of that centre. Is that the case with bikes? Not really. Bike racks are everywhere and because bikes take less space than cars, you can always find an available parking spot without circling around the parking lot.

Exploiting Consistency

Because road repairs, different accidents, breakdowns, and strikes are unpredictable, you never know when the streets that are not usually swarming with traffic might become blocked. You can be late to an important meeting even though you've made the responsible decision to leave home early. When you're riding a bicycle, you know that these issues will not prevent you from reaching the desired destination. Remember - slow and steady wins the race.

Helping Society

Again, this is not something that might come as a surprise to most readers but something that we have to outline. The pollution is getting worse and worse, so when you choose to ride a bike rather than drive a car, you stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution.

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Publish Date: 2020-05-13 16:16:06