The best budget commuter bikes, from hybrid to electric

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Whether you live in a big city or small town, biking is one of the most efficient ways to get around. Not to mention, it’s more sustainable, cost-efficient and a great way to get some fresh air during the ongoing pandemic.

But when it comes to choosing a bike, you may not know where to start. If you’re new to the bike scene, you could end up with something that doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle. From road bikes to touring bikes, there are so many budget commuter bikes to consider.

To avoid that mistake, the experts at REI recommend choosing a bike based on your needs and riding surface.

If you love off-roading and crossing dirt trails, mountain bikes may be your better option. They’re usually lightweight and have a lot of suspension for maneuvering gracefully in rough and rugged terrain. On the other hand, cruiser bikes are perfect for trotting through the neighborhood. These are type of bikes you may see at boardwalks or at your local beach. They’re perfect for short-distances and have a distinct wide frame.

The most common type of bike for commuters are hybrid bikes. They’re great if you’re looking for something to become your primary mode of transportation because they’re a combination of a road and mountain bike, and are ideal for “general-purpose riding“. You can take them on paved roads, bike paths and a range of natural surfaces.

Whatever type you choose, in most cases a quality bike can cost hundreds — even thousands — of dollars. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best commuter-friendly bike options out there for your style. Don’t worry if you’re biking on a budget — we also included more affordable alternatives in each category, too.

1. Best Hybrid: Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for Men and Women, $351.75, (Orig. $409.99)

Credit: Amazon

Why it’s great: Made by one of the most popular biking companies, this Schiwnn Hybrid bike is a fan-favorite and No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. It’s comfy to take on a ride to the park or great to use for your daily work commute. Additionally, it has a 21 speed-grift shifter that helps make uphill pedaling easier. Plus, the adjustable stem allows you to change the height of the handlebars to maximize comfort.

Cheaper Alternative: Hyper 700c Urban Bike, $178

2. Best Electric Bike: Hyper E-Ride Electric Mountain Bike, $648

Credit: Walmart

Why it’s great: For pedaling longer distances, an E-bike like this one from Hyper is great to have on hand. Not only is it sleek, but it also runs a top speed of 20 MPH and lasts up to 20 miles. Additionally, it comes with three different pedal assist settings to help make uphill riding and difficult terrain easier to manage.

Cheaper Alternative: NAKTO 26″ 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle, $599

3. Best Mountain Bike: Marlin 5, $639.99

Credit: Trek Bicycle

Why it’s great: Although pricey, this Marlin 5 Trek bike is great for anyone looking to get into true mountain biking. You can use it for adventurous trail riding or your weekday commutes. Like all Marlin bikes, this model has a very sleek appearance, thanks to the lightweight Alpha Silver aluminum frame and integrated cargo rack.

Cheaper Alternative: Huffy Incline 26-inch 18-Speed Mountain Bike, $159 (Orig. $199.99)

4. Best Folding Bike: EuroMini Folding-Bicycles EuroMini ZiZZO Campo 2019, $278.71 (Orig. $299.99)

Credit: Amazon

Why it’s great: At 28.5 pounds, this EuroMini folding bike is super lightweight and easy to store. It comes with 20-inch rims and has two 2-inch tires that are perfect for riding across multiple terrains. As a bonus, the bike folds within 30 seconds and can hold up to 240 pounds.

Cheaper Alternative: Goplus 20′-inch 7-Speed Folding Bicycle Bike, $239.99 (Orig. $369.99)

5. Best Cruiser Bike: SixThreeZero Around the Block New Cruiser Bike, $399.99

Credit: SixThreeZero

Why it’s great: SixThreeZero usually produces some of the most stylish cruiser bikes on the market, and this 7-speed model is no different. Described as “a modern take on the classic beach cruiser,” this bike is great for casual rides and short trips of up to 15 miles on paved surfaces. It’s also great for people with back pain and those who prefer a comfy and upright riding position.

Cheaper Alternative: Huffy 26-inch Cranbrook Comfort Cruiser Bike, $98

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