Bike commuting is a trend that seems to be rising in recent years. In some countries, this practice is already widespread, while in others people are slowly adhering to it.
Have you thought about taking your bike to work? Some people dismiss the idea right away because it sounds a bit crazy to them, or maybe they just enjoy the comfort of their car. But if you think about it, it certainly has some advantages. You are helping the environment, staying healthy and you also won’t get caught in traffic jams.
Another dilemma you may have is, which type of bike should you choose? You’ve got road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and even others like BMX or cruiser bikes.
Hybrid bikes are a great and versatile choice. They have some of the advantages of mountain bikes, like an upright sitting position and straight handlebars, and even suspension, in some cases, but have a lighter build like road bikes. Let’s take a look at 3 of the best hybrid bikes you can get for under $500.
The Cadent 1 designed by Raleigh is a great beginner bike for daily commutes or just for driving around the city or the countryside. It is like a basic version of their Cadent 4, but has solid specs and is a great all-around bike in its own right.
The combination of the 6061 aluminum frame and a Cro-Mo fork provides very good riding comfort and makes this a very lightweight bike, at only 26 pounds. It does not have any suspension, meaning it thrives in the city but is not suited for mountain biking.
You’ll have no trouble shifting between the 21 gears with the Shimano Tourney 7spd shifter. You’ll also be able to stop the bike in an instant with the featured Tektro Alloy Mini V-Brake brakes. The brakes and the shifter together give you great control over the bike.
The tires are a standard 700x35c, not too thin and not too bulky. The black-colored frame and sober lines give the bike a sleek look overall.
The bike comes in 4 different sizes, 15″, 17″, 19″ and 21″, making it suitable for both men and women. Even short persons will probably find the 15″ a good fit.
The bike will need some assembly after arrival. Even persons with no experience can get it done in about 2 hours, according to Raleigh. However, if you are not confident you can get it done or don’t want to risk damaging your bike as soon as you’ve received it, you can take it to the local bike mechanic and he’ll get the job done in about 30 minutes.
The Giordano G7 is another great bike for city riding. This one is the men’s model, with a vivid blue frame that comes in 18″ and 21″ sizes. The women’s model is a lighter blue and is available only in 17″ size.
The handcrafted aluminum frame together with the 50mm alloy fork makes it a very solid and stable bike. It is lightweight but slightly heavier than the Cadent, at 40 pounds.
A Shimano shifter allows you to switch between 21 gears. The tires on the G7 are also 700x35c. The brakes are an Alloy Linear Pull model, which is another version of Shimano’s “V-brakes”. These are actually excellent, making it one of the best aspects of the bike.
Another thing that stands out in the Giordano G7 is the 27.2 x 350mm alloy suspension seat post. This can provide you some extra comfort if you go for a bumpy ride. However, it does not provide the control and traction of a full suspension, so it is also not adequate for mountain biking.
The bike assembly is not for beginners, however. Even though most of the components are already relatively well tuned and there might not be much work left, there are no assembly instructions available. So unless you already know your way around, you’ll have to take the bike to a specialist.
The Diverse 3.0 is a pleasant surprise delivered by Vilano, providing almost unbeatable value for the price. It can take you around the city on a regular basis and behaves well even in rough weather conditions.
Both the fork and the frame are made of 6061 aluminum alloy, which makes this bike very lightweight, at only 26 pounds. Its black design is classic and sleek, possibly tending more toward a mountain bike design.
The Shimano EF 51 3/8 speed shifters provide a total of 24 speeds, an upgrade relative to its competition. The all-weather disc brakes allow you to stop the bike quickly at any time, no matter the weather conditions.
The wheels size is also a standard 700x35c here, and the included tires are made by Kenda, so you can expect good quality there.
The pedals are probably an area where Vilano decided to cut some corners, as their quality is slightly below par. Still, they’ll do their job, and at such a value for the money, you’d expect that not all parts of this bike would be perfect. You can always replace the pedals if you feel the need for it.
Another thing that is good to see is that most of the bike is already assembled from the get-go, perhaps more than with other bikes. You can probably finish the process in about 30 minutes. However, as always, Vilano recommends taking the bike to a mechanic to ensure everything is done properly.
We’ve taken a look at 3 of the best hybrid bikes available for under $500. All three are great options for beginners, but the Vilano Diverse 3.0 is the one that stood out. The build quality and features are excellent and almost unique for the price. It is comfortable, solid, lightweight, and does well in rough weather conditions.
Its two contenders were also great commuter bikes. The Cadent 1 provides a comfortable experience, with an aluminum frame and Cro-Mo fork is also very lightweight and is very reliable, just as you would expect from a Raleigh bike. The Giordano G7 takes a slightly different approach, with a heavier model and a bolder blue design, and you can expect a comfortable ride thanks to the suspension seat post.