10 Great Budget Commuter Bikes (Under $1000 & $500 Picks)

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When it comes to finding a suitable commuter for you at the right price, it can be challenging. There’s a massive market to look through, and knowing what’s good value for money is difficult. In this article, I want to tell you about some bikes that I think are some of the best bicycles you can buy on the market currently when you’re shopping in the range of $500 or $1000. I also want to talk about picking the right bike for you and what to look out for when you’re buying a commuter bike.

Best Under $1000
Priority Brilliant L Train Priority Brilliant L Train
4.9

Unlike the Priority Ace with a single-speed belt-drive, it has a three-speed internally geared hub but still with the advantage of the carbon belt drive system.

What makes a Great commuter bike?

When it comes to getting a suitable commuter, I look firstly at design. Does it have mounts for panniers? Is it going to be comfortable to ride? Is it able to handle potholes? Then I am starting thinking about the level of equipment on the bike. Are the gears good? What’s the frame made of? Are those tires puncture-proof? We also have to think about if it is a good value for money? Is it worth what you’re going to spend on it, and will it last the test of time and a few brutal winters?

Every bike can be a good bike if it’s designed for the job you want it to do, but to be a great bike, it needs to exceed the job and make it easy to do.

How do we rate the bikes?

I believe the best way to rate a bike is to look at;

  • Design
  • Frame 
  • Gearing
  • Wheels
  • Accessories
  • Unique points

Once you put this all together, you get an excellent overview of what you can expect from the bike and what makes it stand out from the rest. So let’s start taking a look at some bikes.

Best Budget Commuter Bikes (Under $1000 & $500 Picks)

5 Best Budget Commuter Bikes Under $500

  • Best Overall Under $500: sixthreezero EVRYjourney
  • Runner-Up Under $500: Priority Ace
  • Best Off-Road Under $500:  Vilano Diverse 3.0
  • Best For Rough Roads Under $500: Schwinn Discover
  • Best Electric Under $500: ANCHEER 500W Electric

Best Overall Under $500: sixthreezero EVRYjourney

  • City Design 
  • Aluminum 
  • Choice of gearing
  • Small wheels, big tires
  • Rear Rack, Mudguards
  • Warranty Options

Now, this is a proper commuter here. The style of the frame is very Dutch City and comes in either a men’s or women’s version. The difference between the two is the fact you have a lower top tube you can step through. It’s a strong aluminum frame, and you can choose what color you want it in and when your order how much gearing you want. It runs smaller wheels and bigger tires or cornering ability and comfort. It comes with a rear rack and mudguards, and if you want a lifetime warranty, they offer this at an extra cost. 

A very incredible commuter with eye-catching looks and upgrade options.

Runner-Up Under $500: Priority Ace

  • Flat Bar Road Bike Design
  • Chromoly Road Racing Style 
  • Single Speed / Fixed Belt Drive
  • Aluminium Aero Deep Dish Wheelset
  • Flip Flop Hub
  • Carbon Belt Drive System

I love this bike, and what a place to start this list. Firstly it looks incredible. It’s simple but beautiful. It looks sporty and fast and looks like it costs a lot more than it does. It has a Chromoly Steel frame, and it’s been kept simple. It runs a Flip Flop hub meaning it can be single speed or fixed, but it is limited to one gear. I love the Aero Wheelset, and the WTB Thick slicks are great tires. Unlike many other bikes, it runs a Carbon belt drive system which gives it incredible durability but does mean the frame is limited to only this.

Great value for the money city commuter, probably wouldn’t suit anywhere hilly.

Best Off-Road Under $500:  Vilano Diverse 3.0

Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Road Bike Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Road Bike
4.3

This bike is an actual city slicker with some off-road clout to it, and for that reason, it's on this list.

Hybrid City Design Aluminium Heavy Duty 24 Gearing System Strong Aluminium Wheelset Disk Brakes I like the Vilano Diverse, it has an outstanding hybrid city bike design, but a lot of time has been taken into making it a safe and robust bike. The aluminum frame is solid, and everything has been kept very simple. It has a 24-speed gearing system which could get you up a mountain quickly. Unlike the other bikes we have spoken about, these wheels are more mountain bike wheels than city bike wheels, and it sports disk brakes. I would feel confident in making a quick stop on this bike and prefer a bike with disk brakes to rim brakes. This bike is an actual city slicker with some off-road clout to it, and for that reason, it’s on this list.
  • Hybrid City Design
  • Aluminium Heavy Duty
  • 24 Gearing System 
  • Strong Aluminium Wheelset
  • Disk Brakes

I like the Vilano Diverse, it has an outstanding hybrid city bike design, but a lot of time has been taken into making it a safe and robust bike. The aluminum frame is solid, and everything has been kept very simple. It has a 24-speed gearing system which could get you up a mountain quickly. Unlike the other bikes we have spoken about, these wheels are more mountain bike wheels than city bike wheels, and it sports disk brakes. I would feel confident in making a quick stop on this bike and prefer a bike with disk brakes to rim brakes.

This bike is an actual city slicker with some off-road clout to it, and for that reason, it’s on this list.

Best For Rough Roads Under $500: Schwinn Discover

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
4.4

It will go anywhere with lightweight wheels and off-road tires, and I would highly recommend it for roads that might not be well maintained.

  • Hybrid All-Terrain Design
  • Aluminium Heavy Duty
  • 21 Speed SRAM / Shimano 
  • Lightweight Aero Aluminium Wheelset
  • Rear Rack, Mudguards
  • Suspension Fork

Now, this bike is completely different compared to the Priority Ace. It is very rugged and is much more of a hybrid bicycle than a commuter. It will be heavier but has much more when it comes to moving it about, but it does have a 21-speed gearing system and a suspension fork to make light work of it. It’s got Mudguards and a rear rack as standard, which many bikes don’t. It will go anywhere with lightweight wheels and off-road tires, and I would highly recommend it for roads that might not be well maintained. It even has a suspension seat post, but it is a bit let down but not having rim brakes and not disk brakes.

An excellent bicycle for your money would highly suit anyone who is on a rough road commute.

Best Electric Under $500: ANCHEER 500W Electric

ANCHEER Electric Commuter Bike 500W ANCHEER Electric Commuter Bike 500W
4.5

It's a hybrid, electric commuter design made for comfort, as it can cover around 20 miles on a single charge.

  • Hybrid Design
  • Aluminium Heavy Duty
  • Hub Automatic Gearing 
  • 14 Inch Wheelset
  • Front light
  • Folding bike

The first Electric bike on this list. It’s a hybrid commuter design made for comfort. It sports a 500w electric bike motor which automatically gears itself for you. It even comes with an application and Bluetooth Connection. It will go up to 20mph, which is very fast, and to make sure you slow down quickly, it has disk brakes. It can cover 20 miles on a single charge and also comes with a front light. It’s pretty heavy with battery weight, but it will make your life easy with all that power. One of the best things about this bike is it will fold up for trains and buses.

A lot of power but a short-range, great bike and very fun.


5 Best Budget Commuter Bikes Under $1000

  • Best Overall Under $1000: Priority Brilliant L Train
  • Runner-Up Under $1000: PUBLIC V7 (Men) & C7 (Women)
  • Best Dutch Style Under $1000:  PUBLIC C7
  • Best Lightweight Design Under $1000: Brooklyn Bicycle Franklin 8 Speed
  • Best Electric Under $1000: Ride1UP ROADSTER V2 Electric

Best Overall Under $1000: Priority Brilliant L Train

Best Under $1000
Priority Brilliant L Train Priority Brilliant L Train
4.9

Unlike the Priority Ace with a single-speed belt-drive, it has a three-speed internally geared hub but still with the advantage of the carbon belt drive system.

  • Flat bar Road Bike
  • Lightweight Chromoly 
  • 3 Speed Belt Drive Hub 
  • Road Wheelset
  • Mudguards and Mounts for Panniers
  • Carbon Belt Drive

For me, this is one of my favorite bikes on the list; it’s very similar to the Priority Ace but with some upgrades. Firstly I love the Road bike style with the Flat Bars. The Chromoly frame will be solid and light. It has excellent gearing. Unlike the Priority Ace with a single-speed belt-drive, it has a three-speed internally geared hub but still with the advantage of the carbon belt drive system. It has mounts for the accessories and another excellent feature for an extra $100 you can upgrade to Hydraulic disc brakes, which I definitely think is worth the extra.

An excellent bike with some striking looks and the gear to back it up.

Runner-Up Under $1000: PUBLIC V7

Runner-Up for Men
PUBLIC V7 Commuter Bike PUBLIC V7 Commuter Bike
4.7

It has a solid wheelset and comes equipped with large tires and Mudguards again and the mounts if you want to add a pannier onto it. 

  • Men’s Shopper
  • Lightweight Steel
  • Basic Gearing 
  • Strong Wheelset
  • Mudguards and Mounts for Panniers
  • Dutch Shopper Style

The Public V7 is the Men’s version of the C7. As you can see, the frame is designed differently with a taller top tube, whereas you would have to fling your leg over. Again it’s a very beautifully designed steel frame. It has the same gearing as the C7 and, although basic, will get you up some steep climbs. It has a solid wheelset and comes equipped with large tires and Mudguards again and the mounts if you want to add a pannier onto it. I love the chopper-style handlebars, and it’s a cool-looking bike.

I like this bike. It’s got great style and is so practical, definitely one for a commute.

Best Dutch Style Under $1000:  PUBLIC C7

Runner-Up for Women
PUBLIC C7 Commuter Bike PUBLIC C7 Commuter Bike
4.8

Bikes like the C7 are sort after, very comfortable to ride, and hold their value over years and years.

  • Ladies Shopper
  • Lightweight Steel
  • Basic Gearing 
  • Strong Wheelset
  • Mudguards and Mounts for Panniers
  • Dutch Shopper Style

Bikes like the Public C7 are very sort after. A classic Dutch shopper is very hard to find for a reasonable price. This is an excellent example of a good value-for-money Dutch Shopper. It’s a solid Steel bike and has been made for women. The bike offers the ability to simply step through instead of having to fling your leg over. The gearing is basic but provides enough to get up a steep hill. The big wheels and tires will make for smooth rolling on city streets. It comes with mudguards as standard, which are beautifully color-coded. It has all the mounts for panniers and a basket for the front and does scream European. 

Bikes like the C7 are sort after, very comfortable to ride, and hold their value over years and years.

Best Lightweight Design Under $1000: Brooklyn Bicycle Franklin 8 Speed

Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Franklin 8 Speed Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Franklin 8 Speed
4.5

It has Shimano 8 Speed gearing, which will give you a good range and very silky shifting.

  • Step-Through Shopper
  • Lightweight Steel 
  • 8 Speed Shimano
  • All-Terrain Wheels and Tyres
  • Mudguards, Mounts for Panniers, and rear reflector
  • Unisex Classic Shopper

The Brooklyn bike Franklin is a Unisex shopper bike; it has some smooth styling with a super relaxed geometry, big tires, and a steel frame. This bike will probably produce one of the smoothest rides possible. It has Shimano 8 Speed gearing, which will give you a good range and very silky shifting. It comes with mudguards that sport a reflector and all the necessary mounts for you to add panniers. 

It’s a lovely bike and great if you are looking for a bike to share with the family.

Best Electric Under $1000: Ride1UP ROADSTER V2 Electric

Ride1UP Roadster v2 Electric Bike Ride1UP Roadster v2 Electric Bike
4.8

It will give you 20 to 30 miles range and assist your pedaling up to 24mph, which is extremely quick.

  • Electric Flat Bar Road Commuter
  • Modern Road Bike Aluminum Frame
  • Electric Assisted Auto Gearing
  • Road Wheels and Tyres
  • 500w Electric Hidden Motor
  • Assistance up to 24mph

What a beautiful-looking bike. That was the first thing I thought when I saw the Roadster V2. If you’re planning to get to work fast and with not a single drop of sweat, this is the bike to do it on. It’s made for road and city riding, off-road you won’t have many capabilities. It will give you 20 to 30 miles range and assist your pedaling up to 24mph, which is extremely quick. 

If you are running late, this bike will get you there fast, and you won’t drop a bead of sweat.


Types of Commuter bikes

There are many different types of commuter bikes on the market, and it’s essential to understand which ones will suit you and help you get to work quickly and efficiently. On the surface, they can look very similar, but they all do a very different job in getting you to work.

Road, Off-Road, and Hybrid

You will find with many commuters the first difference is road, off-road, and Hybrid. Road is essentially a bike made just for the streets. It will have smaller tires, rigid forks, rim brakes, sometimes drop bars instead of flat bars and will be the fastest and lightest commuters you will find. Next, you have an Off-Road. These commuters will have big chunky knobbly tires, flat bars, disk brakes, and sometimes even have suspension. Then you have a Hybrid. These will be between on and off-road. They usually have flat bars, no suspension, either rim or disk brakes, and tires. They will be large, like the off-road tires, but without the knobbly tread pattern.

Gearing

Commuters often have the most comprehensive range of gearing when it comes to bikes. Some bikes will be Single Speed. This is where you have one gear and the ability to freewheel (Stop Pedaling). Then you have Fixed or Fixe. This term is used when you have a single gear but are not able to freewheel. Moving on from that, we have standard gearing. This is the most common. You will have one or two derailleurs that select the gears, and the gearing is open to the elements. This kind of gearing offers the greatest range and is very easy to service. Finally, you have internal hub gears. Internal hub gears are in the center of the rear wheel enclosed internally and typically offer a smaller range than standard gearing and are much harder to service. Still, they are much more durable than any of the other gearing options.

Chain or Belt

Chains are what you usually see on most commuters, but you come across belt drive bikes every so often. There’s a massive difference between these which is worth knowing. Chains require replacing often and are very open to the elements, but they are very efficient and easy to replace. Chains can move around and shift through a derailleur. Belts are made of either Kevlar or a carbon compound. They usually sit where the chain would. They are much more durable than chains, but they can’t move and shift like a chain, so they will only work with internal hub gearing, single-speed, or fixed. Most bikes will either be one or the other, and very few can interchange.

Disk or Rim brakes

You will find many bikes on the market, and most will offer disk or rim brakes. I think for cities, rim brakes are perfect, but disk brakes are much more powerful when it comes to any off-road riding. Rim brakes are much cheap, but it’s best not to put a price on stopping quickly.

Pros and Cons of Bike Types

Road Commuter

Pros

  • Fast
  • Easy to maintain
  • Typically only a single gear
  • Cheap to buy
  • Easy to carry up to the office

Cons

  • Not good on poorly maintained roads
  • Won’t work off-road
  • Feel all the road
  • Geared models can be expensive
  • Easy to get punctures
  • Normally Rim Brakes

Pros

  • Fast
  • Easy to maintain
  • Typically only a single gear
  • Cheap to buy
  • Easy to carry up to the office

Cons

  • Not good on poorly maintained roads
  • Won’t work off-road
  • Feel all the road
  • Geared models can be expensive
  • Easy to get punctures
  • Normally Rim Brakes

Hybrid

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
4.4

It will go anywhere with lightweight wheels and off-road tires, and I would highly recommend it for roads that might not be well maintained.

Pros

  • Most can go on and off-road
  • Comfortable
  • Normally geared
  • Cheap to buy
  • Tires are more puncture-proof
  • Disk or Rim Brakes

Cons

  • It Will only be ok off-road
  • Won’t be very fast on the road
  • Quite heavy

Off-Road Bikes

Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Road Bike Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Road Bike
4.3

This bike is an actual city slicker with some off-road clout to it, and for that reason, it's on this list.

Pros

  • Goes anywhere
  • Rugged
  • Usually, a high range of gears
  • Disk Brakes normally

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Sluggish on Roads
  • Maintenance is more expensive

Shopper Style Bikes

Runner-Up for Women
PUBLIC C7 Commuter Bike PUBLIC C7 Commuter Bike
4.8

Bikes like the C7 are sort after, very comfortable to ride, and hold their value over years and years.

Pros

  • Mixed Terrain
  • Holds Value
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Sluggish
  • Usually, a very low range of gears
  • Rim Brakes Normally

How to shop for a budget commuter bike

Shopping for the right bike is challenging, and when I’m looking for the right bike for my commute, there are a few characteristics that I look for, and they really depend on my environment. 

What kind of bike do you need?

Although most bikes will work in every situation, it’s more about them working well, so the first thing I think about is if the bicycle supports the terrain I will be on. For example, living in the City, I would be picking a road-style bike with smaller tires as this would be quicker and require much less effort to ride around the streets. If I had to ride on some roads with bad terrain, I’d consider using a Hybrid bike with large flat tires, and if I was riding off-road id use a bike with suspension and large knobbly tires.

Gearing

When it comes to gears picking the correct setup is essential. If you live in a flat city, you will, by all means, get away with a single-speed or a fixed commuter bike. If you live in a hilly region or are not used to cycling much, I would highly recommend a geared bike. When it comes to speeds, it can get a little complicated. 24 speed, although offering the most options, doesn’t always mean the most range of gears, but anything over 20 will generally provide enough for a beginner. When you get 3-speed gearing, it will only offer a low, medium, and high. 

Comfort

When it comes to commuting, another thing you need to think about is comfort. You will find all the different styles of bikes will offer different levels of comfort also. The Road style bikes, although fast, you will feel every bump in the road. The Hybrid with bigger tires will take a lot of the impact and be much more forgiving, and the Off-Road bikes will soak up all the lumps on your travels. Also, you have to think about geometry. Bikes with higher handlebars like Dutch shoppers will be much more forgiving on your back compared to a Road style bike. Finally, saddles, although interchangeable when you see a more oversized saddle, you can typically assume it’s going to give you much more support than a bike with a smaller racing saddle.

Verdict

When it comes to picking the right bike, you want to focus on what will be best for the environment you will be riding it in. Pick something you would be proud to ride and enjoy the miles.

Continue Reading:
1. Best Fixed Gear & Single Speed Bikes
2. Best Budget Commuter Bikes

Robbie Ferri

A Personal Trainer and Ultra Cyclist living in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK. From Ultra Cycling World Records to Bikepacking Races and a huge amount of time on the gym floor training myself and clients my experience when it comes to Health and Fitness is vast.