While many people find bike riding a fun and enjoyable pastime, far fewer, at least in many places in the United States, actually commute by bike. Commuting by bike has its own challenges but is, in this humble writer’s opinion, an excellent way to get to work that doesn’t pollute, is far less expensive than driving, is good exercise, and much faster than walking.
Of course the number of bike commuters varies heavily by location, but compared to some other nations, the percentage of bicycling commuters here in the States is much, much lower. This lower demand for solid workhorse city bikes helps to explain why they are priced quite a bit higher here than in Europe. However, as the title of this post indicates, it is possible to get a great city bike for less than $1000 even here, in these highway loving United States. To gain a better understanding of how these city bikes perform as commuting bikes, I took a close look at two of them...
Based on reader recommendations, the two bikes that were selected for review were the Linus Dutchi 8 ($879) and the PUBLIC C7i ($679). I road each bike exclusively, for all my commuting needs, for a week. This gave a chance for each bike to perform under similar weather conditions, in similar traffic, and on the same commute. The Linus accessories of Pipette ($46) and Rear Wire Basket ($45) were used on both bikes to hold work essentials. The review was conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, and the typical daily commute was 3-5 miles. Both bikes and accessories were returned once the review ended.
Right off the bat, before I ever rode either bike, there was a difference between the two. The PUBLIC bike was shipped directly to my home and required very minimal assembly. The included instructions were helpful, and the most challenging thing about the process was really getting the bike into my apartment and out of the box. The Linus was delivered assembled from a local Linus Dealer, Houndstooth Road, after being adjusted in store. Linus bikes must be purchased through their dealers, and while you can also purchase PUBLIC bikes from local dealers, they also sell them in their own stores in California and their online shop. The level of service from my local dealer was wonderful, but for those with no local bike shop, being able to buy a great bike online is a nice convenience to have.
While I could talk about specs here, or geek out over the Shimano Nexus 8 speed and Tektro dual pivot caliper brakes on the Linus or the Shimano Nexus 7 speed and internally geared hub of the PUBLIC, this is information that is easily available on their respective websites, and is probably not what you came here to read. In a nutshell, after reading many scribbled post & during ride (at stoplights of course) notes, the bottom line is this: they are both good bikes, but the riding experience was not the same.
This reviewer prefers the Chromoly frame, brakes, handlebars, and saddle of the Linus, but admits that this bike is several hundred dollars more than the PUBLIC. Like in many things, you often do get what you pay for, and it’s not all that surprising that one ride, the more expensive of the two, and the one with the Chromoly frame, consistently was smoother. Budgets are real, and if you have $2,000 to spend on your city bike, your options open up even further, but if you want to spend less than $1,000, both of these bikes perform well and are solid choices for budget-minded city bike seekers.
For more on city bikes, and city bike shopping tips in particular, check out this post.
What’s your city bike of choice? Hearing from our readers about the city bikes they love helped inform us of which to try for ourselves, and we’re always keen to continue learning more from the experience of others in our community of cycling commuters!
Pros: Classic city bike design, 4130 Chromoly frame and fork, Shimano NEXUS 8-speed internally geared hub, Tektro dual pivot caliper brakes w/quick release, rear rack and bell included.
Cons: Bell broke after a fall on the bike. At 32 lbs the bike is heavy (like all city bikes) to lift up stairs.
Pros: Classic city bike design in a bright color, Shimano NEXUS 7-speed internally geared hub, on the lighter side for city bikes at 30 lbs.
Cons: Hi-tensile steel frame, reviewer found included handlebars and saddle uncomfortable for upright riding. Brakes did not perform as well in wet environment as the Linus.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.