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How do I Choose the Best Commuter Bicycle?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
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If you are thinking about saving on gas and improving your health by commuting by bicycle, you should start by selecting the right commuter bicycle for your needs. Several different brands and varieties exist from which to choose, so investing in a commuter bicycle may seem daunting at first. But depending on what your particular needs are, choosing a good bike can be simple and fun.

The first step in deciding which commuter bicycle is right for you is deciding what kind of riding you will be doing. How long is your daily commute? Will you be carrying cargo? How much? Do you value comfort over speed, or vice versa? These questions and more can become overwhelming quickly. Luckily, most models of commuter bicycle available today are built with these very questions in mind.

If comfort is your priority, look for a commuter bicycle with a more upright riding position that will keep pressure off your wrists and arms. This will keep your back straighter, causing less stress on that part of your body. Many bicycles in this category come with adjustable stems to raise or lower the height of the handlebar, and several more models come with ergonomic seats to keep pressure off of sensitive parts of your body.

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For the commuter looking for a faster ride to work, a road bike may be a better choice. A road bike is not technically a commuter bike, but is instead built to be lightweight and fast. Hence, a road bike will be geared much harder than a commuter bike, which will have lower, easier gears for tackling those uphill sections of the commute. But if fitness and speed is your goal, a more aggressive riding position and lighter bike may be the answer. Look into a road bike, but be careful: road bikes can get pretty pricey.

Most models of commuter bicycle today come standard with rack mounts, and some even come with racks pre-installed. When choosing your commuter bicycle, make sure the frame has tabs to accommodate a storage rack so you can strap your briefcase or purse to it. Don't go flimsy: make sure your rack is solid and has a weight capacity appropriate for what you will be carrying.

The storage rack on a commuter bicycle has another unintended benefit: because it is positioned over the rear wheel, it acts as a fender that keeps dirt and rain from splattering the back side of your pants and shirt. However, if you choose not to install a rack on your bike, be sure to invest in a fender. They are typically inexpensive and easy to install.

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