Commuter Bikes Buyer's Guide

Whether you're tired of sitting in traffic or just fancy getting some exercise, a commuter bike is a great choice for travelling to and from work. Commuter bikes allow you to beat the jams, get your heart rate up, and save some serious cash, so here's our guide to choosing the best commuter bike for you.

What is a commuter bike?

A commuter bike is simply one you ride to work. Some bikes, such as hybrids, folding bikes and road bikes are better suited to the task, but any bike can be used to commute if you choose to.

Riding a bike to work is better for your health, wellbeing, and wallet. Choose the right bike to commute to work and you’ll be able to beat the traffic every day and arrive at work feeling energised.

In this commuter bike buyer’s guide, we provide details on what to look for when buying a bike for riding to work. When you’ve decided on the fundamentals, you’ll be ready for the fun of buying your bike. Visit your nearest Halfords, or browse online to find the UK’s largest selection of bikes suitable for commuting on sale anywhere.

What is a commuter bike?

Commuter bikes aren’t a style, it’s used as a description. Any bike can be a commuter bike if it takes you from home to work and back again. However, some bikes are better suited to the task than others.

The most important aspect is to find a bike that suits your riding style, preferences, and the route you ride to work. Spending some time investigating the options will help you to find the best bike for your budget.

At Halfords, we’re here to help so we’ve provided some essential questions below to help you narrow down your search.

How to choose the best commuter bike

Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before shopping for a new commuter bike:

Where will you be riding your bike? When buying a commuter bike, think about the type of terrain you’ll be tackling on your route to work. Is it flat or hilly? Is it all city streets, or do you ride through the country roads? Do you want something nippy with narrow handlebars to give you more options in traffic? Is it all on the roads, or is some of it on shared paths or even gravel tracks? These questions will help you make decisions about the type of bike, tyres, frame, forks (suspension or not) and more that you need to manage your trip to and from work.

Do you need mudguards? Will you be riding in all weathers? Mudguards provide protection from the muck on the roads, ensuring you arrive at work looking as good as you did when you left the house. If you want to fit mudguards, check your bike has the correct mounting points beforehand.

Do you want to carry bags and panniers? Are you happy to travel with a rucksack or would you prefer fixed bike panniers? Panniers and travel bags make it easy to transport essential items while commuting, such as laptops, mobiles, and your work clothes. You’ll have to fit a pannier rack to your bike to safely carry luggage, so choose one with mounting points.

Do you want a fixed frame or a folding bike? If you want the ultimate in commuter convenience, a folding bike could be for you. Folding bikes pack down to an easy-to-carry and store package that’s perfect for riders with a journey that involves other modes of transport. Narrow handlebars make it easy to safely navigate through traffic, while smaller wheels improve handling and response.

Where will you store your bike? Do you have secure bike storage at home and at work? If not, a folding bike is an ideal solution as these compact commuters can be safely stashed in a cupboard, under a desk or behind a seat instead of being locked outside.

Do you need to lift or carry your bike? Will you be carrying your bike on and off public transport? In and out of your place of work? Up and down stairs? In and out of a lift?

Do you want to ride your bike for pleasure? Cycling is an incredible form of exercise and enjoyment. If you want to use your bike for more than riding to work, then factor that into your plans.

Buying your new commuter bike with the Cycle2Work Scheme

The Cycle2Work scheme is a fantastic way to save money on the cost of a new commuter bike and essential accessories. If your business is signed up to the scheme, you can buy a bike and accessories tax-free, spreading the cost of your new bike over a year.

There are limits on the total amount you can spend, and you’ll need your organisation to agree. You can find more information on the Cycle2Work scheme below.

If you don’t qualify for the Cycle2Work scheme, we offer a range of payment options for customers, including access to financing options for those that qualify.

Discover the Cycle2Work Scheme

Folding bikes

Folding bikes are ideal for commuters that want the ultimate in function and flexibility. They can go from a competent commuter bike that’s ideal for the city streets, to a small and easy-to-transport package in minutes. Folding bikes have small wheels, skinny tyres and lightweight alloy or steel frames. They’re convenient and comfortable, but best used for shorter rides without too many climbs.

You can learn more about the features and benefits of folding bikes in our buyer's guide.

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Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a combination of the best parts of road bikes and the best parts of mountain bikes. Lightweight frames and flat handlebars deliver a comfortable, heads-up riding position meaning you’ll eat up the miles, with enough gears to cruise up hills and back down them. Most Hybrid bikes will also come with the fixing points you need to attach mudguards and panniers and some other essential commuting accessories.

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Road bikes

Road bikes are built for speed, with an aerodynamic riding position and usually thinner tyres helping you get where you are going faster than ever before. A road bike is a great commuter choice for cyclists who cover long distances, challenging terrain or who want a bike for training as well as tackling the commute. Road bikes are lightweight, with a wide selection of gears. Some road bikes even come with fittings for panniers and mudguards, making them suitable for year-round rides to work.

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Adventure bikes

Adventure bikes look like road bikes but have a more relaxed geometry than road bikes and are designed to cope with a mix of road and off-road such as canal towpaths and bridleways. As such they can be a brilliant commuting option that allows you to access traffic-free routes.

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Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes aren’t a traditional commuter choice, but if your journey to work is entirely off-road, then there is no reason why not. Mountain bikes have durable frames, and hard-wearing components to soak up some of the rougher terrain. Many of our mountain bikes have mounting points for mudguards or racks, although you won’t find them on most full-suspension bikes.

If you spend more time tackling rocks than roads, then check out our range of mountain bikes for some adventure inspiration.

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Electric Bikes

E-bikes, or electric bikes, provide pedal assistance, helping to make even the toughest commutes that little bit easier. E-bikes use an integrated battery to power a motor attached to your bike that provides additional power until you hit 15.5mph. The battery and motor add weight to the bike, but when you’re on the road you won’t feel it. You just need to remember to keep your battery charged up.

The benefits of e-bikes are massive. You’ll be able to roll into work relaxed, all while reducing your carbon footprint. Commuting by e-bike will reduce your stress levels, and the power assistance means you’re less likely to break a sweat, meaning you won’t need a shower.

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The Best Commuter Bikes


Folding Bikes


Carrera Intercity Folding Bike -Grey

The Carrera Intercity folding bike is a high-quality folding bike that’ll be comfortable for every commute. Shimano gears and tough alloy wheels will help you roll over rough roads and tough terrain.

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Folding Bike Bag

A bike bag provides the best way to pack, store and transport your folding friend. You’ll be protected from mud, dirt and grime and your bike will be safe inside.

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Electric Bikes


Carrera Crosscity Electric Bike

The Crosscity is a robust and reliable commuter that packs in some added pedal assistance. Its 313Wh battery will power the motor for up to 30 miles from a single charge. That should be enough power for the lengthiest of commutes!

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Hybrid Bikes


Carrera Subway 1 Hybrid Bike

The Carrera Subway 1 hybrid bike is a commuter classic. The Subway features an advanced memory foam saddle that provides unrivalled comfort. The alloy frame is tough, and the easy-to-use Shimano 2x8 gearing provides enough for commutes and a durable alloy frame will last a lifetime of work journeys.

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High-Quality Bike Build

If you don't have the time or tools to put your new commuter bike together, then let Halfords do the hard work for you! For bikes £350 and over, one of our expert technicians will build your new bike for no additional charge and even get rid of the packaging for you! For those less than £350, we’ll complete a full bike build and safety check for only £10.

It's also worth bearing our CycleCare services in mind too. Depending on the service level you opt for, we'll repair or replace worn out parts, keeping your bike in top shape well into the future. You can also bring your bike to your local Halfords store for unlimited free safety checks at any time.

Find your nearest Halfords Store