For many of us, college is the first time in our lives when we first truly experience what it’s like to live on our own.
Because you’re on your own during college, you need to be self-sufficient and that should account for traveling as well.
To make the traveling aspect of daily college life more comfortable, you will require a good bike.
In this article, I will take a look at some of the best bikes for college. I will also discuss specific factors that make a particular bike a good fit for the average college student.
I’m going to review the following 10 best bicycles for college students:
- 6KU Fixie Urban Track Bike (MY FAVORITE)
- sixthreezero EVRYjourney Men’s Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle
- Raleigh Bikes Venture 3.0 Comfort Bike
- Pure Cycles Urban Coaster Bicycle
- Pure Cycles Pure Fix Original Bike
- Thruster Urban Fixie Bike
- Schwinn Volare 1200 Men’s Road Bike
- Tommaso Monza Endurance Road Bike
- 6KU Fixie Urban Road Bike
- State Bicycle Co. Fixie Bike
Read more: College Bikes Buyers Guide
Reviews of the Best Bikes for College Students
For more about which characteristics are found in good bikes for college students, let’s turn our attention to specific products and see how well they can work for you.
The Fixie Urban Track Bike is another affordable bike for college students, though I would argue that it features an even more appealing cost-efficiency proposition.
In exchange for the relatively affordable amount you are asked to spend on this bicycle, you are getting a high-performance machine.
You can again choose between fixed or free-wheel riding, so pick the one you’re most comfortable with and stick with it for a smooth experience.
The seat, as you’ll see, is positioned in a way that you should be able to maintain a comfortable riding position for an extended period of time. As long as you pick the right-sized bike, you will also have no trouble reaching the handlebars and controlling them completely.
Depending on your preference, you can also quickly remove either the front or rear brakes so that you can exercise more control over this bike.
On top of all that, the 6061 double-butted aluminum alloy is also very durable. It also doesn’t add a ton of weight to the bike. The type of aluminum used in this bicycle features quality that is comparable to carbon fiber and even titanium.
For me, putting this bike on the list for the best bikes for college is an absolute no brainer.
The paint used on this bicycle can chip away if it gets scratched, but it’s a very minor issue that you can easily deal with especially given the value proposition presented by this item.
Full 6KU Bike Review
For more in-depth information about this bike, read my full 6KU bike review in this post.
There’s beauty in simplicity. If you need proof of that, just look at the EVRYjourney Men’s Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle from Sixthreezero.
The designers kept it simple when it came time to put this bicycle together. I find that the matte black shines beautifully across the frame of the bike while also permeating its finer points.
Even if you don’t often pay close attention to the bike’s design, you will likely appreciate this look and understand why I added this bike to the list of the best bikes for college.
Beyond the effortlessly stylish look, the EVRYjourney also features the 7-speed Shimano external hub. Most of the time, you can keep the gears low and cruise in comfort. In those situations when you’re in a hurry though, you have the option of hiking the gears up.
According to the manufacturers, this particular bike can comfortably seat riders ranging in height from 5’6” all the way up to 6’4” but I’m not sure if that’s the case. The cockpit can get snug if you’re taller and that can make the riding experience uncomfortable.
It’s not a major issue, but you may encounter some difficulty trying to put this bicycle together, as we mentioned in another review.
The instructions included can be confusing especially for those who don’t have a ton of experience working on bikes.
Once you get past that though, you should be able to get plenty of great mileage out of this stylish cruiser.
It’s right there in the name, the Venture 3.0 Comfort Bike from Raleigh Bikes really does excel at making you feel at ease while you’re riding.
Raleigh Bikes’ designers made it a point to include as many comfort-focused features as they could in this creation. Whether it’s the handlebars, the pedals, or the saddle, you will notice that they are designed to make the riding experience easier for you.
Even if you have to go on a longer trip because you have errands to run, this bicycle will keep you comfortable.
Hopefully, the roads to and from your school are smooth and problem-free. If they aren’t, you can still bank on this bicycle countering the bumps you meet.
Four different size options are available for buyers to choose from. They cover everyone in the height range from 5’3” all the way up 6’4” and unlike the bike above, even taller riders will remain comfortable on this two-wheeler.
You will also find it easier to put this bike together because it already arrives mostly assembled.
Maneuvering this bicycle will prove to be a challenge though. This is one of the heavier comfort bikes and that can make it difficult to control at times.
The Urban Coaster from Pure Cycles is the closest thing you’ll see to a bicycle built for cruising around town.
The bike frame has been designed in a way that you can cruise comfortably. You can remain seated in an upright position for the duration of the ride and still have complete control over the bicycle.
Because this bicycle is very lightweight, you don’t have to yank it around forcefully to get it in the direction you want to go to.
Installed on this bicycle are some coaster brakes. The coaster brakes make sense on this bicycle because it comes to a full stop easily.
However, coaster brakes can be somewhat problematic if you aren’t completely used to them. If you get confused and panic while riding this bike, you may get into a minor accident if you are unable to disengage the coaster brakes right away.
I was caught off guard by them a few times. It’s just hard to get used to brakes that aren’t typically featured on adult bikes.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time assembling this bike because it will reach your dorm or your home already 90 percent completed.
Just remember that this bicycle is only useful for cruising around. If you suddenly have to kick things into gear, this bike is going to frustrate you.
If there’s such a thing as a heavy-duty cruising bike, the Pure Fix Original Bike from Pure Cycles maybe the closest thing to it.
Similar to other cruisers, you can easily drive this two-wheeler around town with no issue. It doesn’t constantly keep you in an upright seated position like some of the other bicycles listed previously, but you can still ride in comfort.
I like the wheels included and think they are suitably thick. They will protect against any bumps in the road.
As for the frame, it’s made out of high-tensile steel. Even if you happen to fall off a few times and the bike ends up on the rough road, it should remain mostly intact.
The downside to the presence of the high-tensile steel is that it adds a significant amount of weight to the bicycle. Because of that, it’s harder to move it around compared to some of the other options that are on the market.
This bike will reach you 90 percent assembled like the Urban Coaster listed above, but you may have trouble completing it if you are not used to the process. It’s best to take it to a bike shop and have them assemble it.
The bikes we have already reviewed can all be described as affordable. The Thruster Urban Fixie Bike is on another level though in terms of being budget-friendly.
This particular two-wheeler is sold at a very reasonable price. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another adult bike that is available for that kind of price.
So, are you actually getting a good bike for that price?
Let’s start with the bike frame. It’s simply designed in a good way and it’s very sturdy as well. The frame can compare favorably to what you’ll see on other more expensive bikes.
Durability really is the strong suit of this bicycle. The moving parts on this item are very durable and even the chains are adequately protected.
Thanks to the hub installed on this bicycle, you can choose between fixed or single-speed mode. Pick which one you’re more comfortable with and just keep going with it.
As you might expect from a bicycle in this price range, it does also have some flaws. For one, it’s on the heavier side and that can make it difficult for you to exercise complete control over it. This bike is also not as comfortable to ride as many of the other options you’ll see.
Overall though, I still think this bike can give you a pretty solid deal.
We’re keeping it going with the more affordable bikes and the next item on the list is the Volare 1200 Men’s Road Bike from Schwinn.
Compared to some of the other bicycles that I’ve already highlighted in this article, the Volare emphasizes comfort a bit less and focuses more on performance.
Whether it’s leisurely cruising or speeding along roads to get to the other side of town, you can just make quick adjustments to this Schwinn bike and have your needs met.
Aluminum alloy is featured throughout this bicycle. I’ve already touched on the qualities of aluminum that make it such a good material to use on bikes and they are prominent once again here.
Thanks to the way the frame has been designed, it is also easy to take full control of this bicycle.
You may not find it fun to use this bicycle for a long time though. The seat installed is unusually hard. The lower half of your body may feel numb if you sit on it for a while.
The Monza Endurance Road Bike is the outlier of this article for a very obvious reason. Unlike the other options mentioned before and the two other bikes coming after this one, the Tommaso Monza is probably out of the price range of most college students.
The average college student would need to save up for quite a while to afford this bicycle.
So, is this bike worth that high price tag?
In terms of comfort and compatibility, it’s really hard to argue against this bike being the best fit for you regardless of your body type. It will fit your body like a glove and you’ll never have to feel cramped or stretched out while using out.
As you would expect from a bike this expensive, the manufacturers have also not skimped on including premium components. There’s an HTC carbon fork included that reduces road-induced vibrations while the 2 x 10 Shimano Tiagra Groupset and Shimano Tiagra STI Shifters significantly improve the bike’s overall performance.
Still, it’s hard to get past the high price tag and quite frankly, it doesn’t help that you will have to spend extra to get it professionally assembled if you don’t want to void warranties.
The appeal presented by this bicycle is obvious, but I can see why many students would pass on it.
Some people prefer to express their sense of style through the type of vehicle they drive. If you want to do that with your bike, 6KU will help you.
If you decide to get this 6KU bike, you will be given multiple color options to choose from. There are numerous variants that feature black paired up with a brighter color and you can also go with a bolder option if you so desire.
I’ve got to say, the color schemes all look great.
Aside from the available color options, I also want to draw attention to the fact that this bike uses high-tensile steel in its frame. Yes, that material does bring in a significant amount of weight, but it also helps improve the bike’s durability.
To avoid going overboard with the weight, the manufacturers have fashioned many of the bike components out of aluminum.
You’re not going to be disappointed with the overall performance of this bike, but the wheels can be problematic. They tend to lose air quickly and you’ll be forced to fill them up very often.
The last item I’m reviewing in this article is the Fixie Bike from State Bicycle Co.
This is the type of bike that will appeal more to a certain type of rider thanks to the presence of those VANS waffle-pattern grips.
Functionally, the grips are comfortable and easy to work with, but the reason I wanted to highlight them is because they add a certain cool factor to this two-wheeler.
The color options available are also quite eye-catching. You can definitely express yourself a bit more using this bicycle.
Performance-wise, the bike is solid if unspectacular. You can switch between riding styles again if you want to and the brakes catch quickly to prevent any nasty spills.
The weight introduced by the steel frame does work against the maneuverability of the bike though.
You can also expect not to run into similar bikes often if you end up getting this often because the manufacturers only produce a limited quantity of each model. Being part of a somewhat exclusive is pretty cool as well.
Factors to Consider for Finding the Best Bike for College
Because we’re talking about bikes that are going to be used by college students, I’m going to tweak my criteria just a bit. To be more specific, I’ll put more emphasis on certain factors that matter more to college-age kids looking for bicycles to use such as comfort and design.
Before we get to the list of the best bikes for college, let’s discuss something important to know for anyone shopping for a new bike.
Finding the Bike Frame That Fits You Best
As always, the most important consideration before you purchase any type of bike is how it fits you.
Without taking the time to first check if the bicycle fits your body correctly, you are opening yourself up to possible injuries. You will also subject your body to hours of unnecessary discomfort by using an ill-fitting bike.
Because one of the bike types that will work best for college students is the road bike, that’s the size chart we’ll be referring to.
Riders who range in height from 4’10” to 5’2” will be most comfortable using a bike with a frame that’s around 18 inches. Students who fall within the height range of 5’2” to 5’6” will need a bike that’s at 19 inches.
College kids who are around 5’3” to 5’6” will want to look for a bike sporting a 20-inch frame. Those who are 5’9” to 6’0” in height can feel more at ease atop a 22-inch bike.
Bicycles with 23-inch frames are best for students in the height range of 6’0” to 6’3” and the 24-inch bikes are suitable for riders who are on the taller side at 6’3” to 6’6” because they feature quite a bit of room.
Looking cool is still an important part of the student life. To choose the best bike for college, it has to feature a great look or at the very least, a sensible design.
Basically, you just want to avoid anything that stands out for all the wrong reasons. If the bike looks good to your eyes or is capable of easily blending in, then it should not cramp your style in any noticeable way.
The Right Type of Bike
Bikes are designed for specific terrain. Mountain bikes are obviously best for rugged terrain, while road bikes or hybrid bikes are best for daily commutes.
If you can find a cruiser or a comfort bike, that would be ideal for the traveling you will have to do as a college student. You can take that type of bike out on the road easily and they are at their best when operated at a moderate speed.
According to Consumer Reports, comfort bikes enable cyclists to enjoy a more upright riding position. (1)
Those bikes also feature seats with thicker cushioning. You also don’t have to struggle with them as much even if you’re biking uphill. That could turn out to be a very useful feature depending on which school you go to.
Comfort bikes are also preferred because they are generally more affordable compared to the other options.
In the absence of a comfort bike, you should still find a standard road bike to be more than suitable for covering your needs as a college student.
The material composition of your bicycle can have a huge impact on its performance.
In an ideal world, all the best bikes for college would be made out of titanium. The material mentioned above is exceptionally light and remarkably durable. If your bike is made out of titanium, you can count on it lasting for a long time in your possession.
Unfortunately, titanium is not cheap. Most bikes that utilize this material could very well be out of the price range of the average college student.
If titanium bikes are not an option, you can still go and get one made out of aluminum. Aluminum is also on the lighter side and it features surprising strength. Numerous high quality bikes are fashioned out of aluminum. You can choose one of those and be confident that you’ll be safe and comfortable during your commutes.
Steel is an option as well because of its durability. It typically adds more weight to bikes than aluminum though.
Since you’re not using your bike to conquer any type of difficult terrain, you don’t have to worry about getting special wheels. Any standard-sized 700c wheels should work well for you. If the 700c wheels are too big, go for the smaller 650c wheels.
Flat handlebars are ideal because they enable you to ride in a more natural position. Students attending colleges and universities located uphill will want a bike with an easy gearset. That will ensure that the morning commutes go well.
After getting the chance to test out the different items listed as the best bikes for college, I’m going with the 6KU Fixie Urban Track Bike as my personal favorite.
The reason why this bike stands out for me from the other bikes is that it’s easily affordable, highly functional, and looks great too!
The chipped paint issue can be a bit of a bother, but you can easily live with it given everything else that this 6KU bicycle offers.
Some of the other items in this article may feature marginally better performance or looks, and a few may even be cheaper. Still, none of them can beat the value proposition you’re getting from the 6KU Fixie Urban Track Bike.
TIP: Here you find all the articles I wrote about cycling. Guides, tips, reviews and much more.
1. Bike Buying Guide, retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/bikes/buying-guide/index.htm