best bike for city riding

Best Bike For City Riding – An excellent buyer’s guide!

Choosing the best bike for city riding is often times an individual matter. Not everyone thinks that a carbon-clad road racing bike is the best bike for city riding, and that's absolutely okay. However, there are some aspects of city riding on which everyone agrees on. How you use it, a few things that it actually must have, these are all things that don't actually vary that much. You want it to be comfortable, and you want it to be practical as well.

Here are some of the best bikes for city riding we offer for sale online:

Our bikes for city riding

What's out there?

The fact is that there are literally thousands of models out there of cheap beach cruisers that kind of fit the "best bike for urban riding" criteria, but not really. This only makes things harder. An uneducated or uninformed buying decision can cost you quite a bit of money, and not everyone has that money to waste.

best bike for city riding on streets

So, how do you make up your mind? You most likely have some requirements that are easy to guess, but getting a city bike is actually an individual thing. You'll need it to work well for you, and you'll want it to accommodate your needs specifically. The best bike for city riding can be difficult to find.

Well, we're here to help. Below, we'll first take a look at a few tips and tricks on how to actually choose the best bicycle for city commuting. We'll discuss at all the things it must have for comfort, and safety, and we'll touch on a few nice-to-haves. These aren't requirements, but they're a welcome addition in your day-to-day usage. Afterwards, we'll see a few different types of bikes, and why all of them could be considered the best bicycles online for city commuting for some people. At the end, we'll take a look at a bike that fits the bill very well, and might be a great purchase. Let's go!

How do you choose the best bike for city riding?

When you're getting a bike for city riding, you want it to check a couple of boxes. You'll be riding it around the streets quite a bit, and you'll need it to be practical as well. Even though you'll most likely find some options that offer either comfort or practicality, the truth is that finding one that offers both is a bit more difficult. But, before we even start with the options, let's see what the minimum requirements are for the best bike for city riding. The more of these you find in a single bike, the better off you'll be.

best bike for city riding at night

Now, note that we won't be focusing on components specifically. We won't take a look at the best bike helmet for city riding, or the best bike lights for city riding, or even the best bike pedals for city riding. We won't be looking at sex-specific bikes either, so you won't find the best men's bike for city riding, or the best women's bike for city riding. However, we will do our best to tell you what the overall best bike for city riding should have and come with. By the end of our article, you'll know what's the best bike for city riding and you can order it right away!

Comfort

When you're getting the best bike for city riding, you're getting it to ride it often. Maybe it will be your main means of transport to and from work. Maybe you'll use it to buy groceries from a store that's a bit further away. Or, maybe you'll just use it as a recreational item. Regardless of which one it is, you'll want it to be comfortable. Comfort isn't all about a thick and plush saddle, though, there's much more to it.

To begin with, you'll want a frame that's built for an upright seating position. You don't want any unnecessary stress on your back, neck and shoulders. Yes, a racing bike can be comfortable for extended periods of time if fitted properly, but it still puts too much stress on unnecessary points of your body. While we're at the frame, the material is important as well. Carbon fiber is lightweight, but it is too stiff. Aluminum is the common option, but it still doesn't absorb a lot of vibration. Where you want to be is a chromoly frame. They absorb a lot of vibrations, and when balanced out with aluminum components, the overall bike weight isn't a concern.

best bike for city riding man with fixie bike

Other factors that impact comfort are the handlebars, seat and tires. The handlebars are most comfortable if they have a good angle, both in terms of upsweep and backsweep. A good pair of grips helps, too. The seat should be wide and plush. It should also be covered in a material that won't wear out easily. Bikes are made for all kinds of weather, after all. Last but not least, the tires should be wide, and preferably of the "balloon tire" type. These tires have a wide surface contact area, and absorb a lot of bumps and vibrations.

best tire for city riding

Safety

As we mentioned, the best bicycle for city riding is meant to be used on city streets. This means that you'll encounter other cyclists, as well as cars and pedestrians every once in a while. While some consider it's enough that you're visible to others, you also want to be able to see your surroundings, and have a way of notifying people you're coming up to them.

best lights for city riding

The first and most important thing are the lights. Even though this might sound trivial, there's a reason why most laws worldwide actually require that you have a front and rear light, as well as reflectors on your pedals and wheels. A front light is useful so you can see what's ahead of you. Road signs are often reflective, and a good light will let you see them early on, so you can adjust. You will also be able to avoid any potholes if you can see far enough up front. The rear light, on the other hand, is more often used as a way of others seeing you. When a car is coming up behind you, a rear light will let it know you're there, so it can give you enough room when taking over.

best bike for city riding light

The other thing that impacts safety is a bell. This is another thing that's often required by law in a lot of countries. The bell is mounted on the handlebars, and a good one won't require that you take your hands off them to ring it. You'll use the bell not just for cyclists that you want to overtake, but for any pedestrians that might be using your bike lane as a sidewalk. Yes, that's an occurrence that's more common than you might think, and it happens all around the world.

lights for city riding

Lights in the dark

To wrap things up, the best bike for city riding should come with both front and rear lights, and a good bell. And sure, it won't hurt if it has reflectors on the wheels and pedals as well.

Quality and performance

Even though most brands will guarantee quality with their bikes, it's not just about the bike itself. All the components need to be well chosen, and you don't want them failing after a month or two of riding. You'll want the components to be chosen specifically for city riding - you're after the best bike for city riding, after all. A good example would be the tires. We mentioned you'll want wide, balloon tires, but what happens if you get a flat? If you want to minimize the chances of that happening, get something that has tires with puncture protection. There are bikes that come with them stock - make sure you find one like that.

Practicality

The last thing that's key for the best bike for city riding is how practical it is. If you're going to be using this bike as your daily driver, it should be able to help you out with your daily tasks. For example, if you're using it to bike to work, you might want a place to put your laptop or your work documents. Yes, you might throw them in a backpack, but do you want to do that? It takes away from the comfort.

Instead, you'll want to get something that has a basket. Or even better, a basket and a rear rack. This allows for plenty of storage options. The basket can hold your belongings, and you could attach some more items to the rack on the rear. Oh, and another thing that will make things even better is a double kickstand. A single one will have your bike leaning on

bikes for urban riding

one side. With a double kickstand, the bike sits upright while you're loading your basket. This might come in handy when you need to put two bags of groceries in that basket.

best bike for city riding with basket

Last but not least, the best bike for city riding should be useful in all kinds of weather. That includes rain, as well as wet streets. Both of those require fenders.

Well, they do if you want to get to your destination clean and dry. You could buy cheap ones, and put them on (almost) any bike. But what if yours doesn't have mounting brackets? That's why it's best to get a bike that already has fenders when you buy it.

What are our contenders for the best bike for city riding?

As we mentioned, there are hundreds of models out there as well as bikes direct. However, it is a relieving factor that we can easily divide them in categories, depending on things they all have in common. For example, a road racing bike can be easily differentiated from a Dutch cruiser bike, and all road racing bikes have a few things in common. Let's take a look at a few types of bikes, and see where they all stand in the competition for the best bike for city riding. The first type on our list are the aforementioned road bikes.  Also, if you want some in person guidance you can always check out bikes shops near you.

Road bikes

Road bikes are very easy to distinguish from most other bikes. The first giveaway is their curved handlebars that have multiple holding positions. They also have no suspension on the frame or the fork, and the top tube of the frame is most commonly horizontal. Tires on these bikes are often only as thick as your thumb, which makes for some really low rolling resistance. Most mid-range, and all high end bikes are made of carbon fiber, which has some interesting quirks. That is a really lightweight, but stiff material. It's suitable for this kind of riding, and for a few other situations.

best bike for city riding road bike handlebars

Are they a strong contender for the best bike for city riding? We'd say no. To begin with, the curved handlebars are comfortable, but the seating position on a road bike does put quite a bit of strain on your back, shoulders and neck. This can get tiring after some time, and could also become painful. The lack of suspension isn't an issue by itself. Combine it with a stiff aluminum frame, or a carbon fiber one, and you get little to no vibration absorption. You will get plenty of feedback from the road, which isn't too comfortable. The tires are also a no. They require a lot of pressure to keep rolling, and comfort is greatly reduced. There's a big chance of getting a flat with them, too.

Safety and practicality

Mounting a rack, or a front basket, is almost impossible on most road bikes. The handlebars take up all the room where you'd put a basket, and there are no mounts for a rack at the rear. You could put lights or a bell, but on the handlebars, they take up valuable space. You'll need that space for your hands, won't you? This kind of bike is far from the best bike for city riding, honestly.

Mountain bikes

The other common option are mountain bikes. They have a flat or a riser handlebar, which is a bit more comfortable than the one on a road bike. Most entry-level bikes have a suspension fork up front. Higher end ones also have suspension on the frame, and they're known as full suspension bikes. Yes, things might get confusing when looking at mountain bikes and suspension sometimes. Tires are a lot wider than road bikes, and have tread that allows them to grip the surface well, even if that surface isn't asphalt or pavement. Since they're made for off-road use, the tires do have quite a bit of rolling resistance. Frame material is also usually aluminum or carbon fiber.

best bike for city riding tires

How do they stack up in the competition for the best bike for city riding? Not that good, honestly. Even though they are a lot more comfortable than a road bike, there are still better options. The suspension absorbs some of the road's feedback. However, whenever you push on your pedals, some of that force goes into the suspension. Basically, you're wasting energy. Yes, you can often lock the suspension, but if you're only riding in the city, why carry all that weight with you? The tires' rolling resistance will also slow you down. They also seldom have any puncture protection, which could be a problem.

Safety and practicality

The best bike for city riding should also be safe and practical, how does a mountain bike fare? The advantage over a road bike is that you can (almost always) mount a front basket. Most of these bikes also have mounts for a rear rack, too. The fact that you have wide handlebars leaves quite a bit of room for a bell and a light. And there are a few other places that can accommodate an extra front light, and a rear one. They're more suitable for city riding than road bikes, but they aren't the best bike for city riding.

Hybrid or "trekking" bikes

As their name suggests, this is somewhat of a middle ground between a road bike and a mountain bike. These bikes attempt to give you the speed and ease of a road bike, as well as the position and comfort of a mountain bike. Do they succeed? Well, in some aspects. They're actually a mixed bag. To begin with, the tires are thicker than a road bike. However, they still require a lot of pressure and aren't nearly as comfortable as mountain bike tires. Most of them have a suspension fork up front, but it seldom works as good as it does on a mountain bike. The handlebar is the mountain bike "flat" handlebar, which is wider and more comfortable than a road bike. That also gives you a seating position that's more upright.

best bike for city riding hybrid bike

However, this still isn't the best bike for city riding. They're still not as comfortable as they could be. Mounting a front basket is an issue due to the suspension fork, and the tires don't always have puncture protection. Yes, they're fast, they're maneuverable, and they'll easily get your from point A to point B. Will they carry your work documents and all the groceries you bought, as well? Not really. There is still a better choice for the best bike for city riding.

Dutch bikes

Even though you might not have thought of them at first, they're a really strong contender for the "best bike for city riding" title. You'll recognize them by the backswept handlebars, wide, plush seat and upright seating position. All of these make Dutch bikes an incredibly comfortable option. There's no suspension to weigh you down. The tires are wide and plush, and add a lot to the comfort level. They're often made of either aluminum, or steel. We'd suggest going for Chromoly steel, due to the comfort and vibration absorption it has compared to aluminum. This, and a few more things, might make them the best kind of bike for city riding. Check out some more forum discussion on it here.

Fixie Bikes

Fixie bikes are notoriously fast, lightweight, and usually less comfortable then comfort bikes and the rest. They're made with thin tires, have a slouch over ride, and usually feature a flip flop hub. While some prefer the more edgier look of a fixie bike, others may prefer a fatter tire, slightly slower but more comfy overall ride of a Dutch Cruiser bike. We at Peace actually have a fixie coming out soon that aims to solve these problems by fusing cool and edgy with comfort!

How do they stack up?

In terms of the competition for the best bike for city riding, this could very well be the best option. Let's elaborate a bit.

To begin with, their seating position is excellent. They're the only type of bike that puts you in an upright seating position. This puts absolutely no stress whatsoever on your neck, shoulders or back. Regardless of whether you're a flexible teenager or a senior citizen who can't really stretch too much, this is the most comfortable type of bike to ride.

best bike for city riding dutch bike

Next, they often come with all of the safety and practicality features you need. They seldom come without a rear rack and a basket, which ensures plenty of storage space. A bell is also almost always present. The real difference maker with a regular Dutch bike is with the lights, fenders and double kickstand. Sure, all of these things can be bought afterwards. But you're much better off getting a bike that already has them, and not all of them do. Most notably, it's rare to see a bicycle in the USA with a double kickstand.

The tires are also often wide and plush, which adds a lot to the comfort and experience. They have a slick tread, so they won't slow you down like a mountain bike tire would. Oh, and you won't find puncture protection on many Dutch bikes. That's a thing that only the best manufacturers will give you as a stock option.

At the end of the day, we would say that it's safe to suggest that a Dutch-style classic bicycle is the best bike for city riding. However, with that many options on the market, which one do you go for? We would suggest the Peace Bicycles Dreamer. It comes in the classic, step through frame configuration, or as a diamond frame. Let's take a look at how good it actually is.

The Peace Bicycles Dreamer may very well be the best bike for city riding, period

Even though we did mention that Dutch bikes, in general, can be the best bike for city riding, that doesn't apply for all of them. Many of them don't even cover the basics - comfort, safety and practicality.

However, the Peace Dreamer is an excellent choice. It covers all the basics, and it comes with a few other features that really do come in handy. We aren't asking you to just "trust" us on this. We'll elaborate, and you'll see for yourself why this is an amazing choice for the best bike for city riding. Let's see how it takes care of all the requirements.

The frame is just the right type for the best bike for city riding

As we mentioned, the frame must give you a comfortable, upright seating position. Whether you go for the diamond frame, or the step-through, you'll get that with both. You won't be leaning over the handlebars. Instead you'll be sitting up, without too much stress on unnecessary places.
peace dreamer best bike for city riding The material of choice is chromoly steel. Yes, it is heavier than aluminum. But the weight is balanced out by the light components. However, it boasts much better vibration absorption, as well as durability. All of this makes it the right material for the best bike for city riding.

All the safety features are already there

This is something you seldom see with bike manufacturers. Instead of giving you lights and a bell with your bike, they make you buy them aftermarket. Most of them manufacture their own, and expect you to buy them. This is just a way to make a few extra dollars on things you should really be getting with your bike. They're required by law in a lot of places - why not get them with the bike?

Well, with the Peace Bikes, you do get them. You get a front light so you can see at the front. This also lets you be noticed easily by oncoming traffic. You also get a rear light, so traffic coming up from behind knows where you are - always useful. With the Dreamer, you can be sure that you will be noticed, even in the dark.

best bike for city riding rear light

The last piece of the "safety" puzzle on the best bike for city riding is the bell. The bell is how you'll let someone know they're walking on your bike lane.

best bell for city riding

It's also a good way to let a fellow cyclist know you're overtaking them. A bell is an essential component, and having it already on your bike is extremely nice.

It's as practical as they come

We already came to the conclusion that the best bike for city riding must be practical, and the Dreamer does that without requiring that you buy extras.

To begin with, it comes with a rear rack. It's a heavy duty, sturdy one, which allows you to put quite a bit of weight on it. Whether you're carrying your laptop from work, or some groceries you bought, it should accommodate them easily.

best bike for city riding dreamer with rack

There's also an option of getting the Dreamer with a basket as well. The basket is excellent. It's not quite large enough to fit all of your groceries, but you can easily add panniers to your setup. You want to keep your front basket lightweight anyway so that it doesn't cause any disbalance when you're steering. It's the best of both worlds.

best bike for city riding dreamer with basket

Last but not least, you can attach things to the rack, or load up your basket, while the bike is completely upright thanks to the double kickstand. We mentioned this is a really nice thing to have, and not many manufacturers include it. An excellent way to wrap up the "practicality checklist" for the best bike for city riding.

Comfort is second to none - this truly is the best bike for city riding

An all-round bike should be practical and safe, sure. But you won't really enjoy riding it if it isn't comfortable, will you? Fortunately, the Dreamer is excellent in this regard. We mentioned the frame and the seating position, but it's important to add that the handlebars' backsweep also help.

In terms of the components, the saddle is a wide, plush saddle which is comfortable for just about anyone. The material of choice is high quality, so it won't get damaged easily. If you'd still like to replace it, though, you might want to check out this comprehensive buying guide before you get a new one. The grips are thick and comfortable. Riding without cycling gloves should be no issue here.

best bike for city riding comfortable saddle

Last but not least, we have Schwalbe's Fat Frank tires. They do help with the comfort quite a bit. The wide contact area allows for some really good vibration absorption. However, they also have another thing we mentioned above - puncture protection. That's right, they have a Kevlar layer that's nearly impossible to puncture, making sure you won't get a flat in an inconvenient place. This is something that every contender for the best bike to buy for city riding should have. Sure, some of the best road bike tires for city riding might have puncture protection, but they lack the comfort. You need both. Oh, and if you want to learn a bit more about tires and how they impact riding, there's this guide that will surely come in handy.

Wrapping things up - what's the best bike for city riding?

At the end of the day, some might say that choosing the best bike for city riding is an individual thing. And to some extent, it might be. However, it is an undeniable fact that you need comfort, safety and practicality when you're getting the best bike for city riding.

Riding around the city can be dangerous, so you do need a bicycle that's safe. One that has good brakes, front and rear lights, and a bell to let people know you're coming. You'll also want one that's practical, so you can ride it in any weather. You should be able to have a place to put your groceries if you decide to buy something on your way home, or your documents when you're heading to work - a basket or a rear rack is crucial here. And last but not least, you'll want it to be durable, so you don't get stuck on your way home with no way of continuing. Tires with puncture protection are the first step towards this.

While, sure, you can buy most of these things afterwards, it's a much better option to get them with your bike. This way, you'll have less headaches, you'll know the things are meant to work with the bike, which is one less thing to worry about.

Andrej Hadji-Vasilev

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