Commuter Bike vs. Road Bike – Debating the Daily Use Options

This article delves deeply into the debate between commuter bikes and road bikes to discover the best bike for you and your journey.
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Last updatedLast updated: July 17, 2022
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Biking is one of the most versatile, environmentally friendly, and affordable modes of transportation available. But did you know that there is more than one kind of bike? Of course, there are different models and brands and entirely various categories of bikes. They include flat bar road bikes, rugged hybrid bikes, urban bikes, folding bikes, and even e-bikes. But let’s start with just the first two categories – commuter bike vs. road bike. 

Whether it’s your first one or a replacement, buying a new bicycle is a big decision. Many distinct and amazing bikes are available, each with different models and additions. This is a lot that can make your choice overwhelming. Today we’re looking at bikes that are great for the average rider. Both commuter bikes and road bikes will get you where you need to go. They’ll get you there in two quite diverse ways. These bikes are typically the first option to consider for those who want to travel the world with ease and simplicity. 

Why Choose Commuter Bikes?

Commuter Bike vs. Road Bike – Debating the Daily Use Options

Commuter bikes are geared directly at riders looking to use bicycles for daily work and study travel.

Commuter bikes are designed for comfort and durability. They’re also called urban bikes, city bikes, upright bikes, cruiser bikes, among many other names. Designed for comfort and long rides, these are called commuter bikes for an exceptionally good reason. These are built for the daily commutes to work, exercise, socialize, and school. This makes the daily commute to work even easier. There are even biking bankers Trusted Source Those biking Bankers: Active commuters to the World Bank | Harvard Health Gary Reid, a public sector management specialist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., commutes by bicycle 14.5 miles one-way (29 miles round-trip) from his home in McLean, Virginia, to the Bank headquarters, which is a just couple of blocks from the White House. www.health.harvard.edu that in at the world bank in Washington, D.C. That regularly commute to work.

Having a bicycle built for comfort and ergonomics makes a difference. With straight handlebars that provide better grip, improved wrist support, posture assistance, it encourages a comfortable position. The suspension system adds to the comfort by absorbing any shock. Combined with heavy and wide tires, any bumps in the road are barely noticeable. 

With the time that you spend going to and from work and biking, it can improve your learning capabilities. Physical activity, such as biking, improves one’s ability to learn a second language. In an increasingly globalized and connected world, that’s another benefit to regular biking. With a commuter bike, it’s designed for your lifestyle. 

Pros and Cons

There are many positives and some negatives when looking at a commuter bike. Check out the pros and cons below. 

Pros Cons
  • Wider saddle 
  • Comfortable design
  • Ergonomic 
  • Suspension system available 
  • Simple to use 
  • Flat handlebars
  • Upright riding position 
  • Wider heavier tires
  • Better grip 
  • Durable
  • A smooth riding experience
  • Heavyweight 
  • Slower speeds
  • Less aerodynamic 

Why Choose Road Bikes?

Road bikes are designed for bikers that want to go fast. Designed for speed, these bikes are meant to keep you going forward fast. Whether you’re racing casually against your neighbors or performing professionally in a triathlon, these bikes are designed to be fast. 

Road bikes are also known as racing bikes, paved road bikes, racing bicycles, and speedsters. They are meant to be fast. With multiple gears, some up to 27 different gears, it increases adaptability. This bike can adjust regardless of the incline or decline of the road, path, or hill. Even the wheels are designed to limit drag. Using a wider circumference and wheels, they can cover more distance in less time. 

Commuter Bike vs. Road Bike – Debating the Daily Use Options

The term road bicycle is used to describe bicycles built for traveling at speed on paved roads.

Road bikes provide an impressive number of features. There are many different road bikes perfect for both professionals and beginners that need a faster and lighter bicycle. 

Pros and Cons

There are benefits and negatives to choosing road bikes. Although their features are strong for speed, they lack in other areas. 

Pros Cons
  • High speed 
  • Light weight 
  • Drop or curved handlebars
  • Aerodynamic 
  • Effective seating position 
  • Limits drag
  • Large circumference wheels 
  • Smaller seat
  • Smaller tires
  • A bumpy ride
  • No suspension 
  • Limited accessories

Commuter vs. Road Bike: Which Is Better for You?

Which bike is better to choose? That’s a tricky question that we can’t directly answer for you. When it comes to commuter bike vs. road bike, there are two vastly different bikes to consider. Both have their excellent merits and specializations. 

  • For the daily commuter, a commuter bike is better. With improved comfort, it’s easy to bike for extended periods regularly. 
  • For the speed rider, a road bike is wonderful. With increased speed and agility, this bike has the makings of a race winner. 

If you’re not sure which one you are, then delve deeper into the options. If you’re still unsure throughout this review, check out a local bike shop. Sit on the bike. See which feels more comfortable for the type of rider you are. Typically, if this is your first bike purchase, commuter bikes are better for beginners because of the comfort. 

Commuter Bike vs. Road Bike – Debating the Daily Use Options

Commuter bike and road bike (from left to right)

When it comes to deciding between a city bike vs. road bike, you may be surprised how they compare. Each bike has its design, build, frame, wheels, speed, and durability that specialize it further. These will help you not only decide between the two bicycle categories but also narrow down to what you prioritize in a bike. It makes finding and choosing one much more straightforward. Below are just a few of their unique features. 

Design

To the unknowing eye, a bike is a bike. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s a great deal of versatility in every designed bicycle. Each bike is built for something slightly different. Road bikes are built for efficiency and speed; commuter bikes are designed for longer commutes. 

Design is an umbrella term that includes everything that goes into the look and logistics of a bike. This feature isn’t just logistics but also subjective in a way. It goes hand in hand with looks. 

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in this case, it’s in the hands of the bike holder. As a tool, a bike doesn’t just have to be functional and specialized. This can be all that plus aesthetically pleasing. 

Build Technology

This term means the processes and methods used to build each of these bikes. The bike geometry of the commuter vs. road bikes is vital to note. The differences are substantial. 

The build of the bike is essential if you’d like to add any additions or accessories. Adding accessories such as rear guards, folding bike baskets, and the always popular front bike racks is one way to specialize your ride. 

You don’t have to choose generic when it comes to your transportation. Each build is done for a reason. Make that reason work with your daily life.

Frame 

Both bike frames are set to put the rider in specific positions. Riding bikes provide more aerodynamic positions that help to increase speed and limit drag. Commuter bikes have a much more comfortable and relaxed sitting position that improves comfort and endurance. 

For example, the Micargi Mixe V7 City Bike is a commuter bike that exemplifies comfort with a frame designed for short riders or riders with mobility and flexibility concerns. Having a position like this laid-back seat, straight handlebars commuter bikes prioritize comfort.

Depending on the commuter bike vs. road bike, body position does have an impact on the rider’s posture, comfort, and of course, the overall ride. 

Wheels

Each of these bikes has similar wheels when compared to cars, trucks, or tanks. But when it comes to bikes, these categories have vastly different wheels. 

Commuter bikes tend to have wider, heavier wheels to assist in shock absorption and comfort. Road bikes are more likely to have thinner, lighter wheels to improve speed. 

In a bike like the Micargi Men Avant 1.0, the forged alloy threadless stem and alloy cage pedals combine to create this lightweight 700C 6061 aluminum frame

Speeds

Depending on where you need to go with your bike, its ability for speed or lack thereof is important to consider. If you’ll be riding in races or other high-speed runs, a road bike is perfect. This isn’t just for those in a professional biking circuit or those training for a triathlon. Road bikes are fantastic for anyone that is using bicycling for exercise or health. 

Commuter Bike vs. Road Bike – Debating the Daily Use Options

Commuter bikes are not designed to break any land-speed records, while road bikes drive fast enough.

If you’re not the adrenaline junkie looking for speed and need something more suited to daily life, a commuter bike is the better option. These provide the perfect speed levels for getting there but prioritize comfort and safety. 

Durability

Regardless of which one you choose, durability should be a priority. There are ways to maintain a bike that will prolong its life. 

There are many ways to do this, as shown by Harvard University Trusted Source Bike Education Library | Harvard Transportation & Parking CommuterChoice bike safety and maintenance workshop series with MassBike. www.transportation.harvard.edu . Their maintenance workshop series answers all the questions related to ‘how do I fix or maintain my bike?’ available online. 

This bike is an investment for you and your lifestyle. Make sure it is designed to last for as long as it can. That way, maintaining has that much more of a positive impact. 

Weight

The weight of a bike can limit where it’s feasible to use. This impacts speed, useability, and the smoothness of the ride. 

On the one hand, the weight of the bike is important for its speed. A heavier bike tends to go much slower, like in the case of commuter bikes. At the same time, a lighter bike, such as a road bike, can go much faster. 

If there are any issues or accidents, such as a broken chain, a flat tire, or a collision, a lightweight frame is easier to carry around if necessary.
 

Price 

Price doesn’t need to be a deterrent to buying a bike, but it is a significant factor. There are several options for both commuter bikes and road bikes that are affordable

The average bike rider saves nearly $2 per km by riding a bike instead of driving a car, as researched by the center for active transportation Trusted Source Active Transportation in Canada: a resource and planning guide | Publications - Government of Canada This guide is a resource tool for transportation planners and related professionals (e.g., city or town planners, town engineers, etc.) to accommodate, promote and support active transportation in current and long-range planning and development. publications.gc.ca . This is an immense amount of savings when you’re commuting every day to a specific location. 

Let’s say that work is only a km away from home. If you commute for the average 5-day work week, you will save $40 a month. That’s enough for 10 more Starbucks venti lattes over the month. 

Commuter vs. Road Bike: Quick Overview

As we discussed earlier, commuter bikes are built for ergonomics, while road bikes are built for efficiency. Although those are rather similar phrasing, it leads to a vastly different product. 

Commuter bike Road bike
  • Wider heavier wheels
  • Heavy frame 
  • Suspension system 
  • Comfortable rider position 
  • Thinner lighter wheels
  • Lightweight frame
  • No suspension 
  • Aerodynamic rider position

Final Thoughts

Getting around easily is a priority. Any of these options will get you where you need to go. That’s not the part that needs consideration. What’s important is finding the best bike for you as an individual. Commuter bikes are geared towards good commutes. If you’re using a bike for everyday transportation, then a commuter bike will be the best bet. With exceptional comfort and ergonomic design, it’s the best for commuters and casual riders. 

Rider bikes are geared towards riders with a need for speed; they are a perfect option for those that need to go short distances with a lot of speed. This includes courier, delivery bikers, newspaper delivery, mail delivery, professionals, bike racers, among many others. 

Regardless of how you ride, commuter bike vs road bike, make sure you enjoy the ride!

References

1.
Those biking Bankers: Active commuters to the World Bank | Harvard Health
Gary Reid, a public sector management specialist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., commutes by bicycle 14.5 miles one-way (29 miles round-trip) from his home in McLean, Virginia, to the Bank headquarters, which is a just couple of blocks from the White House.
2.
Bike Education Library | Harvard Transportation & Parking
CommuterChoice bike safety and maintenance workshop series with MassBike.
3.
Active Transportation in Canada: a resource and planning guide | Publications - Government of Canada
This guide is a resource tool for transportation planners and related professionals (e.g., city or town planners, town engineers, etc.) to accommodate, promote and support active transportation in current and long-range planning and development.
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