The Best Bikes for City Slickers: How to Commute in Style

Three great options for getting where you need to go.

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bike commuting

Photo courtesy of becgreen.ca

Defining “the best bike” is never easy. Depending on your size, shape and purpose, the top machine might be vastly different to someone else’s hot pick. Back in the day, the best mode of transport for an upmarket commuter was the Penny Farthing, with its enlarged front wheel and curved handlebars. However, while this was the top dog back then, it’s now seen as a relic compared to the hubless and spokeless concepts of the future.

Essentially, when you’re choosing a bike, you need to find one that’s suited to your environment and that’s why we’ve decided to take a look at three of the best city bikes for 2016. If you read our article on how to ride your bike every day, you’ll know that riding to work is great if you want to improve your productivity. According to a 2014 survey of 2,500 cyclists, those who used a city bike to commute to work were more likely to be fitter, more alert and take fewer sick days.

With this being the case, owning a city bike is naturally a great way to win the good graces of your boss. However, if you don’t have the right bike with the right features, you could lose all of those benefits as you find yourself struggling to work on a faulty machine. So, with this in mind, here’s a look at three bikes you should be looking at if you’re looking to pedal your way to a more successful career.

The Racer – Raleigh Furley

city bike

For those that need a little more speed on their daily commute, the Raleigh Furley is a slick option. Although the Furley looks every bit like something Chris Froome would ride to victory in the Tour de France, it’s actually a lot more versatile.

While the drop bars and disc brakes on the Furley are similar to the Froome’s Pinarello Dogma F8, the single-speed drivetrain is markedly different. Indeed, one of the reasons Froome has triumphed on the Tour de France and why the bookies are backing him in 2017 is his bike’s complex drivetrain.

Although Froome’s current 7/10 odds have been calculated using a range of factors, the Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 11-speed drivetrain is one of his secret weapons. Indeed, because Froome uses stripped-down shifters, it gives him slightly less weight and more control over his gear changes, the end result is slightly faster times which have helped give him better betting odds than the likes of Nairo Quintana (4/1) and Alberto Contador (8/1),

Unfortunately, complex drivetrain mechanics like Froome’s come at a cost. For this reason, the Furley incorporates a single-speed drivetrain. By doing this, Raleigh has created a system that’s efficient and reliable. Moreover, when you combine this system with a dropped seating position, you get a bike that’s perfect for the Froome-esque commuter.

The Hybrid – Carrera Crossfire 2

hybrid bike

In the cycling world, hybrid bikes abide by this “best of both worlds” philosophy by combining the most advantageous elements of a road bike and a mountain bike.

This often means riders will be afforded the rigidity and traction offered by a mountain bike’s tyres (between 28mm and 42 mm) and seating position (mainly upright). However, it also means riders will often benefit from lightweight carbon frames and a gear system that helps generate a lot of torque (and therefore speed) on a variety of surfaces.

One of the best options for casual cyclists who want a combination of quality and affordability is the Carrera Crossfire 2. Costing just under £450, this machine has an aluminium frame and an upright seating position which is great for those with back problems. It also uses Suntour NVX fork suspension system which provides 75mm of resistance so you can easily tackle various terrains while maintaining maximum comfort.

Essentially, a hybrid bike is perfect for those who want a reliable ride during the week, but something that’s just as capable of tearing up the country tracks on the weekend. If that’s you, then the Carrera Crossfire 2 is a great choice.

The Folder – Tern Link B7

folding bike

Ever since machines such as the Brompton M6L-X hit major cities like London, daily riders have been gripped by the world of folding bikes.

One thing you need to remember if you’re sizing up a folding bike is that it will have smaller wheels. This reduction in size is to ensure the bike remains portable, but it does mean potholes can become an issue. Fortunately, most cycle routes in major cities are relatively smooth so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Like the Tour de France bike used by Froome, the Tern Link B7 uses Shimano gears (Shimano 7 Speed 14-28T). However, instead of 11 settings, this bike has seven gears which should be enough for most city conditions. As for the frame, you won’t find any lightweight carbon on the Tern, but you will find an alloy frame that has just the right combination of strength and stability for daily commuters.

Naturally, the reason these bikes are popular is their ability to fold themselves down into a portable product. Although not quite as slick as a Brompton, the £325 Tern can be folded in just 10 seconds which makes it an affordable alternative to the more expensive products on the market.

While you probably won’t be racing through the streets like Chris Froome on our three hot picks, each product does have a range of benefits for the average rider. Whether you want something you can take with you on the train or that will switch between the city and the country, the bikes in our list should give you everything you need to get out there and pedal like a pro.

City Cycling Guide - Bicycle Commuting

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