Commuter bikes are a wonderful way of both commuting and exercising and it goes without saying that architects have a certain affinity for bikes.
Not only you can easily shed those extra few pounds once you get into the habit – it’s cheap, comfortable, easy on you and the environment.
If you’ve always wanted to explore the mountain trails, there are few other efficient ways than biking where you can enjoy the scenic view at your own pace!
However, with a huge number of commuter bikes on sale, you can easily become overwhelmed on taking the call on which commuter bike to go in for.
Fortunately, we have just the solution to your quandary – we present eight of the best commuter bikes under $500 on sale today, which are all very different. Yet, they’re all reliable and dependable for years to come.
Without waiting further, let’s dig right into the reviews of possibly the best commuter bikes for architects everywhere!
Best Commuter Bikes Under $500
Table of Contents
The first bike which makes it to the top eight is a wonderful mix of hard terrain biking as well as regular commuter biking capabilities, coming with a 3×7 Shimano Tourney groupset of gears and Avid disc brakes for the ultimate stopping power. The durable and reliable high-quality aluminum construction makes it one of the best all-round bikes on the list.
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This bike promises to be a lot of things and delivers on a number of fronts. Coming to the gears, the Shimano 3×7 groupset can handle nearly any terrain you may throw at it. The frame and fork of the bike come with a lifetime warranty – you can appreciate the quality of the components they use. It also ships with 700x40c tires which are much fatter than the 2022 models.
Each and every component of the bike focuses on just one thing: rider comfort. From the super comfortable seat to the handles which are sized just right – whether it’s on the road to the office, or out on mountain trails. Shimano gearing and an uber comfortable seat, with adjustable suspension – this bike shows a lot of promise for years of trouble-free use.
For those seeking an incredibly lightweight and effective biking experience, you should definitely consider the Schwinn Phocus 1600. There is a Women’s variant with slight changes reviewed a bit later as well. High-profile alloy wheels, dual pivot caliper road brakes, and an alloy crank for the widest gear range are highlights – however, the carbon fiber frame steals the show.
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A carbon fiber road fork, with a 16-speed derailleur by none other than the veritable Shimano, and an integrated shift/brake lever combo – what else could one need? This bike is meant for those looking at hours of trouble-free commuting, hence it skips the disc brakes and instead gives you a more accessible bike on the whole.
Schwinn has been on the market for well over a hundred years now – their products have managed to stand the test of time. High-quality components, with a prime focus on rider commute comfort and a reasonable price for the bike all complete a fairly value-for-money package. The bike weighs 31 pounds – not the lightest, but certainly lighter than competitors.
The Schwinn Discover Men and Women Hybrid Bikes are a wonderful bike to have for all seasons and all purposes. They’re not purposefully built for, say off roading or commuting, but they are built well enough to handle all of those tasks (moderately) with ease. The sleek fenders up front and custom suspension fork give it a versatility you don’t come across every day.
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This one is more popular among men, mostly due to its sharp styling and a very straight-set upright riding position. The cushioning on the saddle can give you the illusion of riding on roads even in the country on biking trails. The fenders are not simply cosmetic – they’re useful while riding the bike, too. It also comes with a very useful luggage carrier on the rear.
The handlebars are adjustable by the rider according to height. The bike has a standard 18 inch frame, useful for most people. The Promax aluminum brakes get you back to zero speed quicker than most disc brakes, even – Promax brakes are that good. You can easily touch speeds upwards of 15 MPH without much effort in this bike.
Buying Guide For The Best Commuter Bike
Now that we’re done with the product reviews, we move on to a very important part of today’s coverage of the best commuter bikes – how do you decide which one to buy?
Below, we outline the most important factors you should keep in mind before going in for a particular commuter bike. Make sure you go through them carefully – this is a long-term purchase, after all.
Intended usage of the bike
If you’re going to use the bike exclusively for the urban commute, you should probably go in for bikes that don’t have too many suspension bits. Instead, look for light frames, light allows and the ability to accessorize the bike well. Further, you can go in for larger sizes of tires that are thinner, since lack of grip is unlikely to be an issue.
However, if you intend to offroad, make sure your brakes are high quality, the handlebars are ergonomic, and the bike can handle rough terrain – particularly via specific suspension components and multiple gears. If you’re unsure about gears but want to offroad, bikes such as the Pure Cycles suggested above are a safe bet.
Even under $500, there are many subcategories. There are pure commuters, there are semi-offroaders, and there are cruiser bikes for those who just want to relax while they bike. Hence, make sure you decide on a budget beforehand and get as many high-quality components with the stock bike as you can – accessories can run your budget alarmingly high.
The design is a very subjective and personal choice, but there are a number of standard styles. For instance, you can go in for alloys or steel spoke wheels. You can also decide to go in for a straight or a slightly angular frame for sharper styling. Further, styling differs between cycles intended for men and women, in order to accommodate for body shape differences.
Many bikes above come with a number of customization options – so make sure you get the specification that suits your personal aesthetic tastes in the best manner.
You might have noticed that in our reviews, the bikes either have Shimano gearing or no gearing at all. It’s because they’ve been around long enough to practically invent the market for bikes with gears. Other brands do exist, and some are equally good – but getting spares for Shimano parts is exponentially easier than for other brands.
Be careful about the presence of gears, however – sometimes, in the process of switching gears, you might lose focus on the road. Hence, if you’re completely new to bikes with gears, we advise you to take a few lessons or ask for tips from bikers you know before buying a bike with gears.
Above all, however, make sure the bike you get is comfortable over your intended distance of commute every day. An uncomfortable bike or riding posture can wreak havoc on your vertebrae and the neck.
This wraps up our review of the eight best commuter bikes for sale for under $500 today. These bikes all have their own virtues and concerns, but all of them are guaranteed to deliver years of trouble-free riding. Some come from well-known brands like Schwinn, and others from new players like Pure Cycles who take a minimalist approach to the trusty bike.
The key takeaway should be to go for something which goes well with your expectations and tastes. If you want to customize it well – you should check whether the bike is customizable or not. If not, make sure it comes with high-quality and reliable components out of the showroom.
If you follow the guidelines we’ve described above on the factors you need to consider while buying a commuter bike, you’re very likely to end up with a trouble-free, stylish, and comfortable bike. Ride safe, and happy shopping!