What to Look for in a Bike for a College Campus

When it comes to getting around campus, a bicycle is an excellent (and sometimes the only) choice for busy commuting college students. Riding a bike cuts out the worry of gas expenses and parking catastrophes and gets you where you need to go faster than your feet can. Who needs extra stress when you already have a full schedule on your hands? No one. That’s who.

You might wonder what a time-strapped, cash-strapped college student should be looking for in a bike to ride around campus. We’re here to point you in the right direction.

What are you riding on?
Consider the terrain of and around your campus. This will affect what kind of bike is right for you.
For most college campuses, an all-purpose bike designed for city riding is going to be your best bet. Your bike should be maneuverable and not too heavy. The bike should have a durable and simple construction that is easy to maintain.

Mountain bikes are a good solution for rocky terrain in a rural area. But be aware that these specialized bikes tend to be heavier and come equipped with features unnecessary for getting around a college campus that probably add a lot to the price.

Road bikes are also a decent choice for speed and long distances. However, these bikes can get expensive fast. Additionally, road bikes are more difficult to maneuver. While there are models that would be just fine on college campuses, many of these bikes are more appropriate for long-distance riding.

How much do you need to spend?
You really don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a reliable and durable bike for commuting to and around campus. But keep in mind, going for a bike that is too cheaply made will only put you in a bad position, requiring you to quickly buy another bike. Spending between $200-400 on a bike should get you a quality bike great for cruising from the library to the student union.

Fixed-Gear or Freewheel?
Fixed gear bikes, or “fixies,” feature a simple design that is very easy to maintain. This style also provides a better workout because you’re always moving. You get to feel the bike as you ride; as you move, it moves. Freewheel bikes are nice for cruising around. You can rest on the pedals as you ride. You can decide whether you prefer to do the work it takes to ride a fixie or the leisure with which you can ride a bike with a freewheel. Lucky for you, though, our bikes have a flip-flop hub, which means you can easily and quickly switch between fixed-gear and freewheel. All you need to do is take the rear tire out and flip it around.

How many gears?
Single-speed bikes are very easy to ride. They’re great for mostly flat college campuses. It might take some work to get up steeper hills with these bikes, but it can be done. Seven-speed bikes are excellent for any kind of campus. Climbing inclines is easy to do on a bike with more gears, which makes these bikes ideal for hilly campuses. The higher gears also help downhill speeds when you’re in a hurry. We’ve just introduced a three-speed coaster that is the perfect compromise between too few and too many gears.

If you shop smart and consider what you’re working with, you’re sure to find a bike perfect for your needs. With a little maintenance—like keeping your bike lubricated and your tires filled—you will be able to enjoy your bike while you’re at school and long after. Don’t forget to buy a bike lock if you intend to leave your bike out during class!