Best Commuter Bikes Under $200

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Getting about and getting stuff done – for the intensely practical side of you, a commuter bike is a perfect companion.

The practical aspects of commuter bikes are great. Load the racks and clip-in your satchel – you can hit your to-do list out of the park as you get your errands done on this trusty ride.

The bike you choose should be the one that gives maximum performance at the tasks that matter to you. If the optimal comfort, a place for all your stuff, and minimal maintenance is your requirement, then choose from the list of Best Commuter Bikes Under 200.

Commuter bikes give you the edge of comfort and convenience when you have to negotiate a whole lot of traffic. Put into scope your commute to work, a class across town, or a strip of the road you ride along every day. Commuter bikes are perfectly suited for sudden stops, quick pedaling and gear-shifting within the city.

Flip through the list of commuter bikes and pick the one that speaks to you.

7 Best Commuter Bikes & Reviews

1. Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike

A chic single-speed is not something you settle for. It is a specialized machine that is perfect for getting around on your usual route. The single-speed fixed gear is not a limitation. It’s rather a factor that sets your mind at rest as you cruise forth without having to switch between gears. Tires from Kenda are less prone to flat tires and the tough structure ensures that they uphold the overall suspension and shock absorption that the Harper is known for. For this reason alone, you can look to have a comfortable ride even on sandy, bumpy, or pebbled lanes. This makes Retrospect Harper the perfect budget commuter bike for cities and towns.

Further, do note that this Harper bike can switch between being a single-speed bike to a fixed-gear ride. The adjustment of the rear wheel is minimal and you can do it yourself.

The looks of the Retrospec Harper will surely win your heart if you are a retro-style aficionado. The cross-bar is straight and the handlebars have a mild upward turn to keep the arms free of any strain. Combine these facets with the fact that you are able to get a smooth ride, get excellent brakes on a machine that is priced reasonably low, and you have a winner with the Retrospec Harper.

Pros

  • Stunning choice of colors – sage green, graphite and orange
  • Tool kit for assembly included
  • Switch between free-wheel or fixed-gear with ease

Cons

  • Good to have a Philips screwdriver which is not included

Verdict: The assembly of this commuter bike is straightforward. However, check out a video or read through a few guidelines to make sure the pedal cranks, brake pads and brake wiring are installed correctly.

2. Retrospec Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike

There can’t be too much of a good thing – especially a variant of an economical but high-performing commuter bike. The Critical Cycles variant of Harper single-speed is the complete package with a steel frame, freestyle pedals, and Promax brakes. Bike makers playfully refer to the wheel rims as ‘deep dishes’ because the tire gets seated firmly into the deep-V shape of the rim. This gives greater control for the entire apparatus and you can ride with confidence.

The slight upward turn of the handlebars allows a better grip for the rider. The important thing to remember about buying a bicycle is that it’s a rather personal piece of machinery. This is why you have to choose a size and style variant that is in keeping with your daily needs and height. The Retrospec Critical Cycles SS Commuter Bike comes in a range of sizes from X-Small to X-Large.

There are some things to watch out for. For instance, it bears up a lighter rider than other commuter bikes in this price range. At a limit of 220 pounds, this structure is better suited for women than men. That said, it sports the standard 700 x 28 c tires that give ample ground clearance and comfort to women on the taller side.

Pros

  • Strong, steel body smacks of durability
  • Excellent shock absorption
  • Flip between single speed and free-wheel at will

Cons

  • Pedals and brakes need proper installation for a smooth ride
  • Not suited for uphill rides

Verdict: The best part about the steely, tig-welded frame is that it requires little maintenance. But when some looking-after is required, Retrospec includes the tool kit and the instructions required for you to keep this machine at its optimum performance.

3. SXL Expressway Aluminum Urban Single Speed

When getting from point A to point B with the least hassle and greatest efficiency is your single-minded concern, SXL fulfills that admirably. The stunning looks of the Expressway bike start with the matte finish in black or gray. The aluminum body looks stark and conveys power with great ease. The frame can support 700x32c but the box set comes with 700x25c tires. The strength of the silhouette is in its internal cabling because no wiring interferes with the clean lines of the body and the slightly-raised handlebars. You are obliged to stoop forward slightly.

Before choosing this bike, measure yourself for actual height and inseam length. The stand-over heights of 29.6”, 31.2”, and 32.6” correspond to Small, Medium, and Large sizes of this intuitively-designed bike.  This gives a frame size that can be used by someone as tall as 6 feet 4 inches comfortably. The lower limit of the Small size is 5 feet 1 inch. To attach the mud-protecting front and rear fenders, this model has eyelets provided both at the front and back.

The selling point of the aluminum frame and fork is the lightness of the body and the ground clearance. It ultimately gives the excellent rider experience while cruising through rush-hour traffic, turning corners, and negotiating slanted paths.

Pros

  • Stunning looks with clean finishing
  • The 46T alloy crankset and Joytech Flip Flop hub are top-notch
  • Single-speed setup allows rider to enjoy the ride better

Cons

  • Brake pads are ineffective – can be replaced

Verdict: If you wish to focus on the ride and the surroundings without worrying about shifting gears, the SXL Single-speed is ideal for you. It offers a hassle-free riding experience and is buttery-smooth to handle. It’s light in weight too.

4. Kent Springdale Women’s Hybrid Bicycle

Looking for a light frame that stays in control? Your search for a versatile bicycle ends with Kent women’s hybrid bike. Among all the city traffic, you need a bike that stays true to the brakes and switches between speeds with ease.

That is just what Kent’s 21-speed bike does. The derailleur from Shimano is sharp and faithful. You switch gears with a simple movement of your hands while pedaling forward. The suspension fork on an aluminum frame offers comfort while using not a single ounce of extra metal. In-city biking is comfortable on this bike. But then, so is long-distance riding as the seat is cushioned well and offers support for long rides. It has the standard-issue 700c wheels with alloy rims that keep the wheels light but functional. Gripping these wheels with keen control are the linear-pull brakes that snap into action as you pull on the levers.

But the most welcome feature of this Kent model is the light weight and the ease of installation. Even for a beginner, the installation of the bike is pretty simple and straightforward. A Phillips screwdriver and Allen wrench will do the trick.  You can definitely do this on your own – no need to go for professional installation.

Pros

  • Suited for both long rides and short errands
  • Sharp braking action
  • Add racks, bottle clips as needed

Cons

  • Too many stickers interfere with the bike’s looks

Verdict: Pick this bike and you are sure of getting all the essentials – faithful brakes, light shifters, and a body that does not compromise on comfort. The suspension and the seat give you cushioning where it’s needed.

5. Hiland Single-Speed Fixie Urban Commuter Bicycle for Women

The convenience of utility in Hiland’s Fixie urban commuter bike is that it is simple, low-maintenance, and delivers on the performance front. Manufactured by American Golden Wheel, Hiland bikes are known for their ability and high performance.

All the boho-chic lovers who have grown up riding are sure to appreciate the minimalist design of this fixie bike that comes at frame sizes of 50 cm, 54 cm, and 58 cm. Included in the box are pedals, tools, an instruction manual, and reflectors. The box-set of this fixed-gear comes at 85% assembly – another matter that lovers of biking would enjoy because they can put it together using the tools provided. However, if you would like to avoid the hassle of doing this yourself as a first-time biker, you can opt for professional assembly. The mechanic will tell you upfront how much time it would take to put together and the cost of the service.

Standard 700x25c tires make this a good commuter bike that is less prone to flat tires than other road bikes. You have the option of locking the wheel or going on a free-wheel zip. As you become a more seasoned rider, you can do your periodic tuning and this bicycle with its minimal adjustments will run as good as new.

The unique combination of an aluminum stem and steel frame make this model lighter than other commuter bikes at 26 pounds. Carry it with ease and set it down for another zip.

Pros

  • Good looks and minimalist design
  • Potential for customization

Cons

  • Brakes need tuning

Verdict: It is a budget-friendly and great-looking bike that is also very light and durable. Possibilities of upgrading the bike are plenty, so you can become a serious biker by stages.

6. New York Bicycle Co. U-1 700c 7 Speed Commuter Bicycle

The 7-speed from New York Bicycle company uses 38 mm tires that stand tall and the steel frame is as maintenance-free as it is tough and durable. 700c with the ample thickness on the tires offers extra grip and increases the friction on smooth roads.

This bike does not have the front derailleur meaning the stress of shifting gears is minimized. However, the Shimano drivetrain still allows you to adapt your ride quality and pedaling according to the terrain you negotiate. The 7-speed drivetrain is stress-free to operate and conveys power shift with a single motion of the finger.

The no-nonsense looks combined with the minimal maintenance that U-1 demands make it an ideal bike for regular users on their daily commutes. Steel in the frame absorbs and smoothens many rough, pebbled paths for the rider. Additional ride-control and mileage for the rider comes from a comfortable seat. You can also adjust the handlebars according to your height.

For those of you who can’t wait to take the bike out for a spin immediately on purchase, there is the option of paying for the fully-assembled version. The expert-assembly also makes it easy for you to get started and understand the calibrations at which it works best. With a little more attention to detail, you can save this extra cost by getting the boxset that comes almost 90% assembled. With detailed instructions for assembly and the customer service representatives of New York Bicycle Company to assist with specific queries, this is another great option.

Pros

  • Front derailleur eliminated – fewer gears
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • No color options available

Verdict: Go for this stylish but simple bicycle which is a steal at this price. Enjoy great speeds despite the fewer gears. The corrosion-resistant frame and the light body make this bike perfect for city commuting.

7. Outroad Road Bike Single-Speed

What if you could commute on a regular basis on a bike that cruises on roads with no discomfort and gives a great performance at a single speed? Oh yes, you get it at a bargain price too. For that matter, no one says that a bike that helps you get around with minimal maintenance has to cost a bomb. Fulfilling all the needs of steel sturdy body, alloy wheels, and Snap-On/Snap-Off brakes, Outroad’s single speed bike helps you get from point A to point B with cool efficiency.

Yes, there are not many color choices, and the seat is rather hard. If you go everywhere on this bike, you might want to add a cushy seat cover or exchange the seat for a comfier saddle. But there is something to be said of getting used to the budget fixings of this bike and making the most of them. Where the bike does not skimp is on the steel body that remains solid even if you bring in more additions or swaps.

Users of this bike have reported the need for tuning the handlebars and brakes. Fortunately, if you’re handy with the screws and cables, you know exactly where each one goes, and you can calibrate the tightness of the brake levers and mounts as it feels right to you. Once tuned, the brakes afford excellent stoppage with accuracy as soon as you clamp them on.

Pros

  • Suspension offers smoothness
  • Steel frame and fork are durable
  • Alloy wheels and 700 x 25c tires minimize skidding

Cons

  • Seat is uncomfortable
  • No color choices

Verdict: This is a cool bike that needs some getting used to. You can certainly bank on the solidity of the frame and the lightness of the geometry which tells you that the design has no compromises in it. You might want to get rid of the stickers and replace the seat for greater comfort.

A Guide – How to pick, What to consider, and Where to drive them

When out in the market to choose a commuter bike, you want to make sure that you get something you are quite comfortable on.

The seat-post

It’s not just about the seat saddle and whether it is cushy. In fact, a seat can be quite comfortable even if it is not cushioned. The seat mount and height matter more than the layers of padding. Frankly, many riders prefer a harder seat as opposed to a softer one.

Reach over – don’t stretch over

When women (who have shorter arm length than men on an average) look for commuter bikes, they need handlebars that are closer. Handlebars curved inward and slightly upward are a great comfort on the shoulders and arms.  This is why many intuitively-designed unisex bikes are great for women commuters.

Tire size and thickness

When you know you’ll spend a considerable amount of time negotiating traffic on a self-powered bike, you need to give all your power to the pedaling – and not to guard against skidding. The size of the wheel and thickness of the tire give you grip – and in essence control over the ride. Your muscles don’t strain so much when you are stable and the bike’s geometry aids balance.

Think 700c tires. This diameter offers enough ground clearance. Now for thickness. Narrower tubes zip around faster. But thicker tires grip the surface better. Go for 28 c or 32 c. The key is to know how important gaining speed is to you.

Well, those are the specs. Reading through the list of bikes can help you decide which specs work for you. But even before you do that, consider your needs.

Where are you headed?

Most commuter bikes are designed for paved roads with nearly-smooth surfaces. A gravel path doesn’t offer the same performance on all commuter bikes. Instead, a hybrid might suit a pebbled/gravelly path better. Knowing where your commute will be can help you choose better

How long is the ride?

The commute can be along winding paths and many corners. Or perhaps you will face a lot of traffic and need to stop every now and then. These factors show you the kind of braking, suspension, and gear shifting you need.

If you snake ahead on a relatively low-traffic zone, you don’t even need many gears and single-speed might suit you just fine.

The length of the ride matters because the longer you spend on any bike, the more tired and less comfortable you get. The experts say the ride quality changes with each additional 3-mile length.

What kind of ride quality do you look for?

It helps to address the question: do you ride to save money on fuel? Or do you ride for fitness or recreation? If speed is what you look for, it makes sense to invest in a front and rear derailleur. If you only wish to cruise along at a leisurely pace, you can save money on those specific components. If you prize ride efficiency, having the drivetrain of the best quality is a non-negotiable factor.

In the world of confusing names, you might wonder if a hybrid is a commuter bike or not. Let’s clarify here that a hybrid bike is one that combines the features of a commuter bike with others. In effect, a hybrid can be a commuter bike too, among other things. But a commuter bike suits a city’s road conditions, not to mention the features necessitated by traffic conditions, better than a cruiser bike. And since you’re apt to spend a long time on the bike, a commuter bike has to deliver on the comfort factor as well.

A commuter bike should let you ride comfortably. Comfort doesn’t always come with the best suspension. A combination of factors including tire diameter, rim quality, seat suspension, and the frame and fork system together contribute to the smoothness of the ride.

Choose your bicycle according to the type of rider you are. Figure out what matters to you and take into account the many reviews.

Final Verdict

Budget-friendly with no compromise on the looks – the go-to for all in-city commuters is the Retrospec – both variants. The sturdy body meets stylish looks. Despite the pocket-friendly price range, the shock absorption is admirable and offers the prized comfort for the neck, back, and arms that all regular bikers look for.

If you were to save on a few more dollars but enjoy more flexibility in joggling the specifications to gain even better performance, SXL delivers on every point, including performance on inclines. Most users go out of their way to say that they enjoy handling this uber-light bike and admire the value for investment it provides. The other factor that sets it apart from others is the customer service and after-sales care shown to users by SXL. The selling point of the new bike maker, SXL, is in providing affordability on fixie bikes.

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