Top-Rated Commuter Bikes that are Cheap

With rising gas prices today it just makes sense to start looking at low-cost transportation solutions, and commuter bikes are a great option. If you’re thinking of investing in a bike like this you’re going to want to spend some time learning what makes a great commuter bike and what you can afford on your budget.

Pure Cycles 68862Pure Cycles 68862700 x 28C tiresLightweightView on Amazon
Schwinn S5492BSchwinn S5492B700c Wheels16-speedView on Amazon
Tommaso SienaTommaso Siena700x40c tiresSST Steel ForkView on Amazon
Retrospec Bicycles KinneyRetrospec Bicycles KinneyKenda Kwest semi slick tires14-speed gearingView on Amazon
Vilano Forza 3.0Vilano Forza 3.0Kenda 700c x 23cCarbon Fiber ForkView on Amazon
Golden Cycles Fixed Gear BikeGolden Cycles Fixed Gear Bike700c x 25 TiresFront & Rear BrakesView on Amazon
6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed700 x 25C Kenda TiresEasy removable brakesView on Amazon
The bike has to ride smoothly, have the right options, and be durable enough to last under daily use.

There are multiple forms of a commuter bike, given that all a commuter bike is a bike used to manage your daily commute. The details of your bike are going to depend on how far you have to go, and what the terrain in your city is like.

These factors will determine what kind of seating you need, how many gears, what sorts of tires would be best, and just how much abuse your bike will need to be able to handle. Below I’ve put together a guide of the seven best commuter bicycles I’ve found for under $500.

Let’s face it, when you’re shopping for anything there comes a point where the dollar amount stops representing real value and starts representing the brand name of the item you’re purchasing. There isn’t any difference in this when you’re shopping for a commuter bike.

While you could spend thousands on a bicycle to get you to work and back, I’ve found multiple reliable models for under $500, and I’ve found that’s all you need to spend to get one that will last. The important thing when shopping for a commuter bike is knowing what you need the bike to do.

How do I choose a commuter bike?

There are many factors you need to consider when buying a commuter bike. These factors include the environment you’ll be writing in and what features you’ll need on your bike as a result. The first step is determining how far you’ll be riding each day, and what sort of terrain you’ll be riding over.

Rough terrain requires different tires than smooth city roads. The amount of comfort you desire is going to factor in as well since it will determine things like the style of seat you get.

Hilly terrain will require different gearing than riding over smooth level asphalt. If you intend on carrying any cargo, you’re also going to need racks on the front, back, or both.

The next thing to consider is what kind of accessories you want on or with your bike. Nighttime riding requires lights on the front and back of your bike that are visible out to 200 yards, as well as reflective gear to wear while riding.

Mirrors on the handlebars are essential for safety, and many styles of the bike have matching mirrors available. An essential thing for those living in rainy climates is the mud flap. This flap will ensure that your clothes remain clean and dry, even with the ties picking up mud and water off the road.

As a bonus, they’ll also keep your drive train free from debris so it’ll last longer and need maintenance less.

A List of the Best Commuter Bikes Under $500

Pure Cycles 68862

This bike represents a combination of top-notch biking technology blended with an eye for simplicity. It rides smoothly and maintains speed easily thanks to the fixed-gear design.

Its design is basic on classic urban geometry utilizing straight fork design made of high strength tensile steel that’s been Tig-welded for long-lasting durability. It provides a comfortable ride thanks to the Pure Cycles Drome saddle and its precision-designed dual-pivot brakes make it stop easily.

There are multiple sizes available to fit riders ranging from 4’ 11 – 6’ 6” in height, so there’s sure to be one that easily fits you. When you’re looking for an engrossing and comfortable riding experience, it’s time to look into Pure Fix.

First Impressions

When I first received this bike I wasn’t prepared for how comfortable it would be to ride. There’s very little about this bike that I didn’t like, and I found that it was going to quickly become a favorite for my easy ride back and forth to work.

I did find that the fixed-gear design was slightly lacking anytime I went outside my usual route, this isn’t a bike meant for rough and varied terrain. If your commute is flat, however, it’s sure to get you where you want to go. I passed this bike down to my son when I realized I was enjoying biking enough to want to start exercising, but it was perfect for him.


  • Lightweight Design
  • Tig-welded for durability
  • 40mm wheels


  • Available in seven sizes
  • A flip-flop rear hub for free-wheeling experience

Schwinn S5492B

This bicycle is perfectly designed for biking on the road or a path. It was developed to be both responsive and light-weight, taking advantage of Schwinn’s technology with carbon fiber and aluminum frames.

14 gears mean you can tackle whatever the road brings you, rapidly shifting between gears using an integrated shift/brake lever. The saddle fits almost any rider thanks to the adjustable design, and the brakes ensure you can stop on a dime. Straps and toe-clips are included for the high-performance biker.

First Impressions

This bike is everything it promised and more, a fast and comfortable ride that’s able to keep up with even the most vigorous rider. I loved how light it was as it made it easy to pick up and carry to my desk when I got to the office.

When I needed to catch a bus it was a cinch to load it into the bike rack with no trouble. The tires on this bike are certainly meant for the road, but that’s something you can change out if you need something more robust. For myself, I found it perfect and continue to use it still.


  • Aluminum Road Frame
  • Carbon Fiber Road Fork


  • Double-wall rims for strength
  • Quick-release design for tires
  • Wide gear range

Tommaso Siena

Tommaso is a company that’s been renowned for its dedication to producing bikes that are top quality and accessible to everyone. Everyone who works for the company has a passion for cycling and feels that anyone should be able to engage in this hobby regardless of their budget constraints.

This bike is made from 100% precision-designed Tommaso parts and focuses on getting all the details right for the perfect ride. It comes equipped with 700x40c tires that are perfect for hitting the most rugged terrain due to being reinforced with a 28 spoke rim.

High-performance BB5 Disc Brakes make sure you can stop in any weather or terrain, especially when combined with 21 gears to give you the perfect combination of power and speed.

First Impressions

This bike was purchased for my husband, who was focused on getting out and riding the trails like he used to do as a kid. I knew that he needed a bike that would put up with his abuse and keep him moving when he went off-road.

We haven’t been the slightest bit disappointed with this selection, and have found that it is perfectly capable of meeting the challenges he throws at it. He’s been raving about it since he got it and is sometimes gone entire weekend riding.


  • Aluminum Compact Frame
  • SST Steel Fork


  • Drilled for easy mounting of racks
  • Great for commuting or touring
  • Wide tires for versatile terrain coverage

Retrospec Bicycles Kinney

This road bike is built by hand by skilled craftsman providing a high strength frame that will keep you going on your daily commute. The tires included making it perfect for commuting through town on asphalt, while the design of the tires makes sure you keep your grip when passing through puddles.

Whether you’re crossing campus or heading through the city park this bike will be the perfect transport.

First Impressions

While I opted for the Schwinn this bike caught my attention at first. It was perfect for my in-town commute, especially as it sees me pass through the park as a sort of nature jaunt/short-cut to my destination.

The tires are perfect for dealing with the rainy environment I live in, and the seating was surprisingly comfortable. With 14 gears I could have taken this bike to work every day, or shot out on country roads towards more distant locales. In every way, it’s an exceptional bike for the in-town commuter.


  • Diamond Style Frame
  • 14 Gears
  • Semi-Slick Tires


  • Fenders To Protect From The Elements
  • Forged Alloy Crankset with Double Wall Alloy Rims

Vilano Forza 3.0

This lightweight bike is perfectly designed for anyone who’s looking for long-distance biking, though it’s suitable for commute biking as well. 24 speeds mean you’ll be able to tackle the most demanding inclines with ease, while the tires will give you the best combination of traction and durability on city roads.

Shimano caliper brakes ensure that you’ll be able to stop quickly and easily to avoid any in-town mishaps. A favorite of over-the-road biking organizations, it’s sure to have the durability you need to meet even the most rigorous commute.

First Impressions

This was another favorite on my list, and one I very nearly went with. The 24 gear design was more than I needed for my city, but it was certainly appealing if I intended on biking elsewhere. Another factor that made me opt to select a different bike was the lack of fenders.

This bike is not intended to be taken out on days of inclement weather. Be sure to check with the manufacturer if you’re under 5’6 or over 6’, as this bike doesn’t adjust well for different sizes.


  • 24 Speed
  • Durable Aluminum Construction
  • 700x23c tires


  • 12K Carbon Fork
  • Precision Shimano Engineering

Golden Cycles Fixed Gear Bike

Golden cycles have been providing top-notch bikes for riders of every experience level for years. Their focus on affordability, speed, and style combines with their precision-engineered single-speed design for the perfect bike.

Both front and rear brakes are included in this model ensuring you can easily glide to a stop without any issue. If you love exploring the countryside or zipping through city streets this is the bike for you. The construction includes precision tig-welds and a flip-flop hub for when you want to freewheel it through the city.

First Impressions

I loved this bike, the bright blue of the tires spoke to me and made me less concerned about being spotted on the road. I knew that their precision engineering would see me having a safe and reliable ride that would get me where I needed to go.

In the end, it came down to the single gear again. I wanted a bike that had multiple gears in the event I wanted to do out of town riding, the reputation and price-point of Golden Cycles equipment did give me pause though. It’d be an excellent bike for the right person.


  • 700×25 Tires
  • BMX Platform Pedals
  • Alloy Custom Riser Bars


  • High-Visibility Rims
  • Durable Frame

6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed

This bike was designed with durability and affordability in mind, and we made sure to deliver. Riser bars are used instead of drop bars to make it easy to navigate through urban terrain.

The lightness of the design makes it easy to lift and drop into a rack on a bus or other vehicle. This bike is perfect for recreational riding or getting out and commuting to your job every day.

First Impressions

My old bike didn’t have half the quality of this precision-engineered beauty, and it’s worth more than it appears on the surface. The paint job is beautiful, though it’s an enamel that chips somewhat easily. The brakes on this bike are very effective, ensuring that you can ride safely.

Coming in at under $500 it’s affordable and high quality, making it a great choice for the budget-conscious cycler. It was really easy to assemble out of the box, and my daughter has taken it for her own, using it to get back and forth to work on.


  • 6061 Smooth Welding
  • Flip-Flop Hub
  • 30mm Deep V Alloy Wheels


  • Breaks are easy to remove/replace

These seven bikes are some of the best options available on the market today for commuter bikes, especially at the indicated price range. The rising cost of gas and living in urban environments means that finding price cuts on our day to day living is essential.

Switching over to using a bicycle to commute eliminates the cost of gas, insurance, and even gym memberships since you’ll be getting a daily workout on your way to your destination.

When I finally decided on the Schwinn model I knew that I had selected a batch of excellent bikes. This one in particular suited my needs perfectly and has been essential to my day to day living since.

My car sits mostly unused in my garage as I continue to utilize my bike for grocery shopping, doctor appointments, and of course my day to day commute to work. If you’re considering becoming a bicycling commuter any of these bikes will do the job for you! I hope this guide will help you decide on the right one for you!

About the author

Derek Wilcox