There are a lot of different kinds of bikes out there. From mountain bikes to racing bikes, from BMX to cruiser; the list goes on and on. But not all of them are good for commuting or urban cycling in cities like New York City where traffic is crazy and parking can be hard to find.
That’s why you must think about what kind of bike will work best for you before buying one! Here are nine characteristics of what makes a good commuter and urban bicycle so that you don’t have too much trouble deciding on one!
1. What Makes a Good Commuter and Urban Bicycle?
First of all, a commuter or urban bike should be comfortable. You’re going to be sitting on it for a while! So make sure that the seat is high enough and ergonomic. The handlebars should also be adjustable so you can move them up and down if need be when your back starts to hurt from sitting straight up rather than leaning forward.
The brake levers should be easy to reach, especially if you’re wearing gloves when it’s cold out. And the number of gears will depend on where you live! If you live in Seattle or Portland, then you’ll probably want a single-speed bike that doesn’t have too many gears because the weather is fairly sunny most days of the year. If you live in the middle of Chicago, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have some rainstorms or snowstorms throughout the year.
Some cities like NYC and San Francisco may not get very cold in the winter, but they do get windy and foggy! So you mustn’t only think about what’s comfortable for you, but also about where you live and whether or not your bike needs to be weatherproof.
2. What You Should Watch Out For When Buying an Urban or Commuter Bike?
Along with buying a bike that fits your comfort level, there are three other things that you should think about when buying an urban or commuter bike: gearing, brakes, and frame.
The number of gears is important because you want to be able to change your speed depending on the terrain that you’re going over. If you plan on taking your bike up and down hills frequently, then you should go with one or more multiple gears so that you can get more speed while climbing hills and not struggle as much when going down them.
If you’re planning on biking in the city, then you should buy a bike with upright handlebars and at least one handbrake – usually either back or front – so that it’s easy to come to a stop if need be. Lots of cities have laws against having your feet on the ground while the bike is in motion, so it’s important to have a handbrake.
The other thing that you should look for when it comes to brakes is whether or not your brakes are linked (which means that if you apply pressure on one brake then both of them will be applied) or independent (if you apply pressure on one brake, then only that brake will be applied, not the other one). Linked brakes are more intuitive and easy to engage while cycling.
3. How to Tell If You Should Buy a City or Commuter Bike?
If you’re not exactly sure what kind of bike is best for commuting or urban cycling in your city, then there are three different ways that you can tell.
The first way is to measure the distance between the center of your crank and the center of your wheel axle (this means where your pedals are). If it’s an inch or less, then you should get a city bike because city bikes tend to be shorter in length than mountain or racing bikes.
If it’s more than an inch, then you should get a mountain bike or road bike because they are longer.
The second way is to measure the distance between your seat and the top of your saddle (also called the seat post). If it’s about half an inch, then you should get a city bike. But if it’s less than a quarter-inch, then you should get a mountain bike or road bike.
The last way is to measure the distance between your seat and the bottom of your saddle. If it’s an inch or less, then you should get a city bike. But if it’s more than an inch, then you should get a mountain bike or road bike.
So if you’re not sure what kind of bike would be the best for your city, just look at how much space there is between your crank and wheel axle, the distance between your seat and the top of your saddle, or the bottom of your saddle. You should also consider how often you’ll go on trails or hills. If it’s frequent, then you should get a mountain bike or road bike. If not, then a city bike will be best!
4. How Far You Should Ride Your Commuter or Urban Bicycle Each Day
If you’re biking to work every day, there are six different ways that you can tell how far you should go each day.
The first way is to look at how long it takes you to bike the distance from your home to your workplace. If it typically takes about an hour, then you should aim for a total of at least two hours of biking every day – so that you have time to stop and smell the roses along the way!
The second way is to look at how long each of your commutes is. You want to aim for at least an hour of biking every day, so if you commute 30 minutes one way you should go roughly twice that distance – 60 minutes – total.
If you don’t have a car and plan on biking everywhere, then the third way is to look at how much biking you do each week. If you typically bike six to twelve miles every day, then that’s a good amount of biking to aim for every day – so if your commute is much shorter or longer than that, adjust accordingly.
The fourth way is to look at how long it takes you to bike the distance from your home to work and back again. There are four hours in total, so you should aim for at least two of those hours to be spent biking – but if your commute is much shorter or longer than that, adjust accordingly.
The fifth way is to look at how far you’d have to go each day if you were biking the distance between your home and work every day. There are six hours in total, so you should aim for at least two of those hours on your commute – but if your commute is much shorter or longer than that, adjust accordingly.
The last way to find out how far you should go each day is to look at the distance that you need to cover daily, then divide it by the number of hours that you have to ride your bike. There are six hours in total, so if you need to go 60 miles a day then you should aim for ten miles an hour – but adjust this accordingly, because there may not be roads where you live or have to deal with hills on the way.
So if it typically takes you an hour to get to work and you’d like to bike for at least two hours every day, then aim for biking about 15 miles each day. If it typically takes you 30 minutes to get to work and you bike six miles each way on your commute, then aim for about 12.5 miles every day.
If you don’t have a car and plan on biking everywhere, then aim for about six to twelve miles every day. If you bike the distance from your home to work and back again in four hours, aim for two hours of biking every day – but adjust it if necessary!
5. What Kind of Tires You Should Get on a City Bicycle
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are six different kinds of tires.
The first kind is balloon tires which make your ride very comfortable and smooth – unless you run into a bump in the road. This can be annoying because they’re slow and often heavy.
Another type of tire is the semi-pneumatic tire, which is like a balloon tire except that it has the added benefit of being puncture-proof – great for city riding!
The third type of tire is called an airless or solid rubber tire and is like a bike version of a car’s tires. These make your ride very bumpy and uncomfortable and they’re not recommended for city biking.
The fourth type of tire is the tube-type tire, which is also called a standard tire. These are one of the most common kinds of tires on bikes and are good for both street riding and commuting, but can still be unpredictable outside.
The fifth kind of tire is the tubeless tire, which is just like a solid rubber tire except that it doesn’t need an inner tube because of its shape and design. These are bumpy, unpredictable, and not recommended for city biking.
The last kind of tire is the Kevlar-belted tire which makes your ride very smooth and comfortable – but they’re also expensive!
If you want to make your city ride as smooth as possible, then get a semi-pneumatic or tube-type tire. If you want to make your ride as bumpy as possible, then get an airless or solid rubber tire – but say goodbye to comfort!
6. What Kind of Seatpost You Should Get on a City Bicycle
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are four different kinds of seatposts.
The first kind is the Seatpost with springs, which makes your ride very comfortable and smooth, but you might need some maintenance now and then.
The second type is the Seatpost with no springs, which makes your ride bumpy but cheap.
The third type is the Seatpost with a spring and a suspension system, which makes your ride smooth, bumpy, comfortable – pick two – and expensive!
The last type of Seatpost is called a carbon post and it is for mountain bikes only – these are not recommended for city biking.
If you want a smooth bike ride, get a Seatpost with springs. If you want a bumpy ride, get a Seatpost with no springs. If you don’t have enough money to buy the post with springs and suspension system, then just get one without any spring or suspension system!
7. How to Calculate the Right Frame Size for Your City Bicycle
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are four different frame sizes.
The first frame size is the extra small which is very uncomfortable and bumpy – it’s also not recommended for city riding.
The second frame size is small which means you have a really low center of gravity, but you might feel cramped if you are tall.
The third frame size is medium which means that you will have a good center of gravity, but it might be uncomfortable depending on your height. The large would probably be comfortable for most people and would also be good with lots of weight in the front rack.
The last frame size is extra large and it’s just like the small but with more legroom.
If you’re short, then try the extra small. If you’re tall, then try the extra-large. If you fall into that in-between area of medium height, then try the medium!
8. How to Calculate Your Appropriate Handlebar Height for Your City Bicycle
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are four different handlebar heights.
The first handlebar height is called the low bar which means that your center of gravity will be in front. This might not be so good if you have a heavy load on the front rack, but it would make you feel more aerodynamic.
The second handlebar height is called the high bar which means that your center of gravity will be behind you, but this might make you feel unstable on the bike.
The third handlebar height is called the mountain bike bar which is too low for most people and makes it almost impossible to ride with a heavy load in front – but it’s good for aerodynamics.
The last handlebar height is called the drop bar and it makes your center of gravity super high, but this might make you feel like you’re about to fall off while standing still!
If you want a low center of gravity, then get the low bar. If you want a high center of gravity, then get the drop bar. If you want to feel like you’re about to fall off, then go ahead and get the mountain bike bar!
9. What Kind of Pedals You Should Get on a City Bicycle
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are four different kinds of pedals. The first kind is called flat pedals which means that your feet will sit parallel to the ground.
The second kind is called platform pedals and this means that your feet will be perpendicular to the ground – it’s easier to stop with these types of pedals but harder to pedal with them. The third kind is called toe clips and straps and that just means that there are hooks on the front of your pedals with a strap that goes across your foot.
The last kind is called clipless which means that you have to clip something into the pedal – this makes it possible to spin and pedal super fast!
If you like stopping, then get platform pedals. If you like spinning and pedaling fast, then get clipless pedals. If you have trouble with pedaling, then get toe clips and straps. If you don’t have any clue what this means, then just get flat pedals!
So now you know the nine characteristics of a good city bicycle so that you can calculate your frame size, handlebar height, pedal type, Seatpost size, and more!
If you’re biking to work or anywhere else for that matter, there are four different frame sizes, handlebar heights, pedal types, and more. So use this information wisely so that you can choose the best commuter bicycle for your needs!