Discover the Best Commuter Bike Under $500 On The Market

Commuter Bike

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If you’re on the lookout for the best commuter bike, we’re selected the top picks you can buy right now. If deciding on a hybrid bike to use for transportation everyday, you need a model that’s secure, safe, and reliable, just like a heavy-duty mountain bike.

We rate the Tommaso Sorrento Shimano Tourney Hybrid Fitness Bike as the best overall. This bike features a durable aluminum frame to absorb shocks along the way and maximize the bike’s durability.

You can also add racks and fenders to the bike so you can customize it to suit your needs. It also features Shimano Tourney shifters to provide smooth, reliable shifting in a range of conditions.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  rating price
Best OverallTommaso Sorrento Shimano Tourney Hybrid Fitness Bike Tommaso Sorrento Shimano Tourney Hybrid Fitness Bike
  • Gear: 21
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
10
Best Runner UpFX 1 Trek FX1
  • Gear: 21
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
10
Sixthreezero Around The Block Men's 7-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle Sixthreezero Around The Block Men’s 7-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
  • Gear: 7
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
9
Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women
  • Gear: 21
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
9
Vilano Forza 3.0 Aluminum Carbon Road Bike Vilano Forza 3.0 Aluminum Carbon Road Bike
  • Gear: 24
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
9
Hiland Road Hybrid Bike Hiland Road Hybrid Bike
  • Gear: 24
  • Frame Materials: Aluminum
9
Best for a BudgetSixthreezero Around The Block Women's Single-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle Sixthreezero Around The Block Women’s Single-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
  • Gear: 7
  • Frame Materials: Steel
9

Discover the Best Commuter Bike Under $500 in 2020

We’ve searched the Internet to research a list of the top commuter bikes based on the gears and frame material. You must have a wide range of gears if you’re commuting to and from work, so you can adjust the bike’s speeds to your environment. 

Plus, lightweight, durable material for the frame ensures that you’ll be able to reach top speeds without anything holding you back.

Tommaso Sorrento Shimano Tourney Hybrid Fitness Bike—Best Overall

This Tommaso Sorrento hybrid bike is a great choice for commuting everyday. It comes equipped with top-quality, durable materials, including a lightweight aluminum frame. Also, the SST steel fork is designed with aluminum, helping to maximize durability. 

You can adapt this hybrid fitness bike to your lifestyle, thanks to the ability to add a variety of racks and fenders, making this bike the best overall for a perfect commute. In fact, it’s also comfortable for long-distance rides. This is primarily thanks to the compact frame geometry and flat handlebars that offer increased power and comfort within a sleek package.

Shifting is smooth with the Tommaso Sorrento. The Shimano Tourney shifters provide excellent shifting in all riding conditions, including in the rain and on off-road trails. 

Most importantly, this commuter bike is built for performance and durability. The powerful 21 speeds allow you to tailor this bike to your style and environmental conditions. It also features a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12 x 28T Tourney cassette. The combination of these materials makes the bike perfect for riding on gravel, uphill, and transitioning from flats to bumpy surfaces.

Pros

  • The bike can handle a variety of surfaces
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Smooth and reliable shifting

Cons

  • Not as lightweight as other hybrid bikes

Trek FX 1—Best Runner Up

FX 1

The FX 1 commuter bike by Trek Bikes has similar features to the model above. Put simply, it’s built for speed and fitness. Its lightweight aluminum frame allows you to reach your maximum speed and trust that the bike remains stable during your daily commutes. 

This commuter bicycle uses high-performance Shimano parts, along with the shifter. The Shimano Altus EF500—a 7-speed shifter—is smooth, quiet, and reliable. When riding the FX 1 on the road, you’ll notice the shifter makes hills disappear as well as inclines more manageable. In fact, the style of this shifter is one of the main reasons cyclists choose these hybrid bikes over others.

The FX 1 comes with high-quality rims that do more than simply mount tires. In fact, they’re sturdy enough for shifting, torque, and avoid warping, even after prolonged braking. Plus, the alloy material makes them highly durable and long-lasting. Furthermore, the high spoke count allows more weight on the tires, which includes cargo and during turns.

These hybrid bikes excel with the quality of its tires. The FX series uses Bontrager H2 tires that are 28 inches in diameter and 1 and ⅜ inches wide. This width isn’t recommended for mountain biking or riding downhill, but they do perform extremely well on smooth roads, which is ideal for daily commutes. They can pick up speed quickly, too.

Pros

  • Tires help to pick up speed quickly
  • High-quality rims that are sturdy for shifting and more
  • 7-speed shifter is smooth, reliable, and quiet

Cons

  • Tire width doesn’t make the bike suitable for off-road trails

Sixthreezero Around The Block Men’s 7-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle—Best for Stopping Power

Sale
Sixthreezero Around The Block Men's 7-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
2,119 Reviews
Sixthreezero Around The Block Men's 7-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
  • Men's 7-speed cruiser bike with classic style and exceptional performance for leisure, commuting, and exercise
  • 7-speed Shimano external hub for a wide range of riding; front and rear handbrakes for smooth stops
  • 26-inch wheels with large waffle-tread tires for a cushioned ride; seat and handlebar geometry puts you in a comfortable upright, heads-up position
  • Cushioned dual-spring bike seat and high-density foam handgrips for comfort
  • Fits riders from 5 feet to 6 feet 4 inches tall; comes 85 percent assembled

The best commuter bike under $500 doesn’t always have to have the most speeds. The Sixthreezero cruiser bicycle is designed for men and features seven speeds, which is plenty for commuting to work on smooth pavements and gravy. In fact, you can also use this model for leisure and exercising.

The bike’s front and rear hand brakes offer smooth and reliable stops, which are also easy to use for convenient stops. For further comfort, the geometry of the seat and handlebar puts you in a comfortable, upright position, so you can ride for longer without any irritation or discomfort.

Although these hybrid bikes aren’t suitable for off-road trails and major bumps, it provides a smooth cycle when you travel along bump-free surfaces. But this 7-speed model can also tackle small hills.

It comes with many features that help to improve your confidence and comfort during your cycles. For example, the cushioned dual-spring seat provides plenty of ergonomic support while also reducing the chances of aches and pains during long commutes. Not to mention that the seat is designed to last.

Furthermore, the high-density foam hand grips provide plenty of grip and comfort, so your hands won’t hurt after you after long, intense rides.

Pros

  • Front and rear hand brakes are user-friendly 
  • Cushioned seat for comfort and support
  • Can tackle small hills

Cons

  • Bike frame isn’t suitable for riders below 5’6″

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women—Best for Suspension

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women
1,833 Reviews
Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women
  • Schwinn suspension fork, alloy crank, City rise adjustable stem with back sweep handlebar
  • 21-speed SRAM grip shifter and rear derailleur mean that pedaling up a hill is easier; Alloy twist shifter compatible 4 finger brake levers
  • Promax alloy linear pull brakes, gear carrier, Adjust the angle (rise) of the alloy Ahead stem
  • Swept-back upright handlebars, padded seat, aluminum frame is lighter and yet durable, fenders keep dirt off the rider
  • Fenders keep dirt off the rider and Rear carrier for convenient city riding

The Schwinn Discover commuter bicycle is appropriate for both men and women. The main highlight of this hybrid bike is that it has a Schwinn suspension fork that cushions any shocks and impacts from rough rides, as well as minimizing vibrations.

To maximize your comfort while riding, the back sweep handlebar provides of these hybrid bikes an ergonomic design. Plus, the seat is cushioned for plenty of support and comfort. It’s a great maintenance-free bike, too. In particular, the fenders keep dirt off of you during muddy commutes, and the rear carrier is convenient for riding through cities and to work.

Pedaling uphill is possible, thanks to the 21-speed SRAM grip shifter and Shimano rear derailleur. These features mean that you can tackle large hills easier, making this commuter bike versatile for off-road trails and fitness, as well as biking to and from work everyday. 

Like many of the other hybrid bikes and this list, it comes equipped with an aluminum frame. This material is great for maximizing your comfort during cycles as it provides additional suspension, as well as the Schwinn suspension fork. Plus, the aluminum frame is rust-free and durable, enabling this bike to last for many years to come.

Pros

  • Handlebar provides a comfortable, ergonomic design
  • Schwinn suspension fork minimizes vibrations
  • 21 speeds add more variety of a range of environmental conditions

Cons

  • Some reported that the plastic fenders are poor quality

Vilano Forza 3.0 Aluminum Carbon Road Bike—Best for Speed

The Vilano Forza 3.0 road bike comes with 24 speeds, enabling it to handle a range of environments and surfaces. In particular, this range of speeds allows you to ride up and down hills without any issues. For such a great price, this carbon road bike has so many features to offer.

It also features excellent tires that make riding more fun and safe. Equipped with fully-functional tires, these protect the inner tube, offer fast and smooth rides, and have high-pressure psi for a slightly aero-type ride.

You can ride the Vilano Forza 3.0 hybrid bikes on a range of surfaces and far distances. In particular, the carbon fiber fork takes a lot of the shock out of riding this bike, including on rougher roads. As a result, this bike provides a smooth ride and easy shifting that’s reliable.

The bike’s aluminum frame makes it a durable and lightweight road bike. Also, this material guarantees that you can ride the bike every day without any issues of reliability. It’s also easy to carry the bike around, too, making it highly suitable if you plan to carry the bike on and off public transport.

Finally, you can ride the Vilano Forza 3.0 road bike fast and far, partly thanks to the upright seated position. This allows you to remain in a comfortable, ergonomic position to avoid any injuries.

Pros

  • 24 speeds make it versatile
  • Tires offer fast and smooth rides
  • Can handle rough roads with ease

Cons

  • Some reported that the seat isn’t very comfortable

Hiland Road Hybrid Bike—Best for Additional Features

When looking for the best commuter bike under $500, it’s ideal if it has a large variety of speeds. Fortunately, this Hiland Road bike comes with 24 speeds. As a result, you can travel in a wider range of conditions, including smooth pavements and up and down tough hills.

We love that this road hybrid bike comes with a range of features. For example, the kickstand allows you to place the bike anywhere with plenty of support. You can also accessorize with racks, fenders, lights, and more, making this hybrid bike versatile and ideal for daily commutes.

To keep you safe on your rides, the Hiland Road hybrid bike features high-performance tires that also provide a good riding experience. In particular, these 28-inch tires maintain a fast speed for a longer time than smaller tires. Plus, the tires offer excellent traction, which is great for cycling in the rain or on rough terrain, further improving your comfort.

Also, this hybrid bike features 180 mm front and 160 mm rear mechanical disc brakes to ensure safe driving and precise braking in any terrain and weather. Therefore, you’ll remain in full control in every situation in one of these hybrid bikes.

Pros

  • Suitable for adding a range of features
  • 28-inch tires maintain a fast speed for long
  • Mechanical disc brakes provide safe stopping power

Cons

  • Some reported that the bike is heavier than it looks

Sixthreezero Around The Block Women’s Single-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle—Best for a Budget

Finally, this Sixthreezero cruiser bicycle features a steel frame, which makes it budget-friendly. Also, this frame allows you to have a more maximum load weight, compared to other materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber.

It features 7 speeds, which provides a wide range of riding, including leisure and long-distance commutes. In fact, you can ride up and down hills with minimal issues. With this number of speeds available, you can tailor the bike to your riding preferences if you prefer to make cycling more intense for a tough workout.

Pros

  • The steel frame is highly durable
  • 7 speeds are great for versatility
  • Curved design for ergonomics

Cons

  • Steel frame doesn’t provide shock absorption
road bike with rear rack

Buying Guide

We appreciate that selecting one from the above commuter bikes isn’t an easy option. Therefore, we’ve listed the top features to consider during your buying guide, so you can select the right model for your riding style, budget, and environmental conditions.

Wheel Size

Deciding on the right wheel size for your bike doesn’t have to be a complicated task. There are typically three sizes to choose from: 26, 27.5, and 29 inches. 

26 Inches

This size is the smallest and lightweight of the three options, which helps you to reach a faster speed on smoother surfaces, compared to 27.5- and 29-inch wheels. Plus, the smaller size means that the wheel can be stronger, which is highly important for downhill riders cycling down mountain sides. Although, we would recommend riding a mountain bike for such road.

Also, the smaller dimensions are ideal if you’re a shorter rider as it perfectly fits a shorter commuter bike, compared to the other sizes.

27.5 inches

Alternatively, if you’re hoping to cycle faster, 27.5-inch wheels hold more speed, so you won’t have to put in as much effort with each pedal. Once you reach your desired speed, the commuter bike can keep going with fewer pedals, making cycling a bit more of a breeze.

Also, a larger wheel provides better traction as there’s more rubber touching the ground at one time, helping to maintain a secure grip on rugged trails.

29 Inches

Finally, this size is the biggest of the bunch and keeps a top speed much better than 26 or 27.5-inch wheels because they have less rolling friction. As the wheel is larger, they have more ground contact, further improving the traction, thus, making this tire size ideal for riding on mud, or in the rain or snow.

More: Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 Review

best hybrid bike to have for long distances

Gears

You might be wondering why the above selection of commuter bikes have such a large variety of gears. Choosing the right number of gears for you mainly depends on the surfaces you’ll spend most of your time riding on. 

For example, a bike with up to seven gears can handle smooth surfaces, such as pavements, with ease. Most towards the higher end of this range can tackle small hills, too, but they’ll struggle with steep climbs.

Alternatively, if you want your commuter bike or hybrid bike to be more versatile and handle smooth surfaces as well as steep hills, you’ll need a larger range of gears. Having more gears also means you can travel back downhill with ease and safely, which puts you in more control.

More: Discover The Best Road Bikes Under $1000 Has to Offer

wider tires on the best hybrid bikes

Bike Suspension

Next, you should decide what suspension system you want to have on your commuter or hybrid bike: hardtail or full suspension. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both, so your final decision will depend on the conditions you ride in and your budget.

Hardtail

This type of suspension system doesn’t offer as much cushioning, so your ride won’t be as smooth when you’re exposed to off-road trails (choose one of the road bikes models for such riding experience). However, some cyclists prefer this as you get to explore the complete adventure of cycling. Plus, you have to put in more work with your legs, thus making the workout more intense.

As you receive half the suspension benefits of a full-suspension bike, there are less components involved, making the bike more lightweight. This is clearly beneficial when you’re riding uphill as you don’t have to put as much effort in. Plus, you can reach a higher maximum speed with less weight to carry.

Full-Suspension

On the other hand, you may wish to have more comfort and cushioning during your commutes. If this is the case, a full suspension system should be your go-to. But bear in mind that these models are more expensive since they have more benefits to them.

With a suspension system to the rear of the bike as well as the front, it’s easier to handle around corners, steep climbs, and descents. Plus, the bike is more controllable in muddy, rooty, and rocky sections. This is ideal if you’re looking for more support. Also, many cyclists find that this suspension system is beneficial if they experience aches and pains already without having to experience even more on the body with adventurous rides.

We briefly mentioned that full suspension bikes, be it road bikes or mountain bikes, are more expensive than a hardtail. Although it will come with more benefits, if you’ll only be cycling on really smooth pavements and avoiding steep hills, you might not benefit from this extra cost.

the best hybrid bikes

Brake Type

There are two brake types for commuter bikes: hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes. Deciding between the two depends on your budget and the environmental conditions you’ll typically cycle in.

Hydraulic Brakes

This brake type is smooth and responsive, allowing you to receive more stopping power with minimal force. In fact, this type of disc brakes is ideal if you don’t have much strength in your hands and fingers, making it suitable for a variety of cyclists.

On the other hand, you should bear in mind that these benefits come at a price and aren’t appealing if you’re on a tight budget or are a beginner. Plus, hydraulic disc brakes are complex and difficult to adjust, requiring experience and plenty of maintenance. 

Mechanical Brakes

Alternatively, you may wish to choose mechanical disc brakes, which are seen as the least desirable option, but still have many benefits to them.

First, they’re simple to use and easy to maintain, especially when compared to hydraulic brakes. They’re also inexpensive, making them ideal if you’re on a strict budget. Plus, they’re beginner-friendly and appropriate for entry-level cyclists. Should anything go wrong with the brakes, they’re inexpensive and readily available, so there shouldn’t be an issue with finding a replacement. 

However, mechanical disc brakes are heavier than hydraulic disc brakes, which adds extra weight to the bike, resulting in you having to put in more effort when cycling. When applying the brakes, you need to apply more pressure to bring your bike to a stop. They’re also not as responsive, so you won’t reach a stop as quickly as with hydraulic disc brakes.

More: The Best Bikes for Heavy Riders

one of the best hybrid bikes

Frame Materials

Finally, it’s time to decide on the frame material that’s best for you and your bike from the following: aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium. As the above commuter bikes use either aluminum or steel, we’ve decided to only focus on the advantages and disadvantages of these materials.

Aluminum

This material is the most common for all types of bikes as it is lightweight, yet durable. It won’t crumble at the first site of impact, but remains long-lasting and strong, so you can throw your bike to the ground without it suddenly braking.

It’s also rust-free, allowing you to ride your commuter bike in the rain or store it near open waters without any detrimental effect.

Finally, one of the highlights of an aluminum frame is that it helps to absorb shocks and vibrations from riding on tough terrain, thus helping to make your cycles smoother and more enjoyable.

Steel

Alternatively, steel is a more budget-friendly material for bike frames, making it more beneficial for beginners or those looking for an inexpensive bike. 

But the biggest benefit of this material is that it’s highly durable, making the bike less susceptible to damage. Plus, it can be easily repaired, even more so than aluminum. Another great benefit of a steel-frame bike is that it holds a large maximum weight capacity, making it ideal for adding accessories, such as a basket or fenders.

More: Kestral Talon X Tri 105 Review

hybrid bikes from a local bike shop

The Best Commuter Bikes

We hope you enjoyed finding a commuter bike under $500. This review is intended to share the top models you can buy in 2020 and share a buying guide to helping you choose the best commuter or hybrid bikes for you.

We declare the FX 1 commuter bike by Trek Bikes as the runner up. Many riders claims it to be the best hybrid bikes that’s designed with high-quality materials, such as Shimano components and remains smooth, quiet, and reliable during use. It can also manage inclines well, making this much more than just a bike for commuting.

Alternatively, the unisex Schwinn Discover commuter or hybrid bike minimizes shocks and vibrations, helping to make your regular rides more comfortable and cushioned. It also features a back sweep handlebar for an ergonomic design, as well as a cushioned seat for support. It, too, can handle large hills, thanks to the 21-speed SRAM grip shifter and Shimano rear derailleur. Plus, the added benefit of an aluminum frame makes it durable and lightweight.