The 10 Best city bikes
Light and nippy, but sturdy enough to withstand a regular commute. Our bike expert picks the finest urban bicycles
Eighteen gears is more than you’ll need on all but the hilliest commutes and you’ll struggle to find something that better combines comfort, speed and looks than the performance hybrid from Chris Boardman’s well-rated range. His road and mountain bikes are also good value.
Foffa’s online bike builder is fun even if you’re just browsing. It boasts 11 million combinations of parts, from pedals to bar tape, based around its classic steel frames. When you’re happy with your look, hit buy for an affordable bespoke ride. Men’s and geared frames are also available.
From £575, foffabikes.com
Belt up for a ride to the future, where the bike chain may have no place. Belt drives mean no grease, no stretch, no noise, no need to clean as often. The Revolution, a zippy, affordable offering, is single speed but hub-gear belt drives are increasingly common, too.
Brompton remains the standard bearer for fold-ups and an articulated British triumph of design and function. The new SL2 is among the lightest models (10.9kg) offering a sporty riding position and just two gears to save further pounds (enough for most needs).
There’s a lovely geometric simplicity to the Hob, sister to Charge’s ubiquitous Plug. Now available with three gears, it’s a relatively light and nippy women’s bike that comes with mudguards but little else by way of fuss.
You can’t blame Britain’s bike heroes for cashing in on a boom. First came Boardman, now Victoria Pendleton has a range of affordable women’s bikes (Sir Chris Hoy is next). The new white, seven-speed Somerby has an upright look, and, today only, a free Halfords wicker basket online.
Classic boy’s bike that looks like it’s rolled straight out of Amsterdam, which is where the husband-and-wife team behind the London firm Bobbin found inspiration for their line of upright rides. The Daytripper has three gears and bags of style. Also great for girls who don’t want a ladies’ frame.
Mountain bikes are not designed for urban commutes but if you can only have one bike and like the occasional off-road foray at weekends, this entry-level offering from Evans has suspension forks that lock out for road use.
Invest in British cycling heritage with this decidedly modern single-speed racer from Eastway, a new brand named after the historic track now buried under the Olympic Park. Perfect for commuting roadies who want something nippy for the city, it’s light, smart and very fast.
It shouldn’t be possible to get a bike for under £300 that looks or rides as well as the rugged single-speed Vee from Vitus, a French brand represented by Irish road legend Sean Kelly. With heft tyres and big wheels, it’ll eat up pot-holes and a weekend trails without hesitation.
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