During my early days in college, it was hard for me to get to school and back until I got a new bike. I've not forgotten some of the pains I'll go through to access a taxi to get around the campus, especially during the morning rush. I may not recall how the idea to get the bicycle came, but it was the best thing ever to happen to me. I had fun, saved some bucks, and also enjoyed the health benefits of biking.
From my experience, the best bike for a college student is one that is affordable, reliable, and easy to maintain. There are many models out there, but picking the right one may be difficult, especially if you're not familiar with them. With this in mind, my team and I have researched some of the highest rated brands on sale so that you can choose the one that is good for you.
But, before you check our list, there are things you need to consider when buying these bicycles. You'll also get some help from our bicycle riding and maintenance tips. So, if you're still looking for a cheaper way to move to and from school, search no more, we've got you covered.
What to Consider While Buying a Bike for College Students?
Since our needs are different, the manufacturers are also producing bikes depending on the things we want. So far, we have road bikes, adventure, bikes, comfort bikes, hybrid bikes, touring bikes, and lots more. Your concern as a student is buying a bike that matches your interests and activities in the school.
If you prefer spending hours on the city roads, road bikes would be an ideal option since they're light and have better aerodynamics. However, they're expensive and a little challenging to maintain when compared with other bike types.
Hybrid bikes are also great for exercises but not as good as road bikes. They're more durable and more comfortable to ride. Another excellent alternative is the mountain bike because of their affordability and ability to perform in any weather condition or steep terrain. So, do your research about your riding lifestyle and then pick a model that suits it.
The primary material for bike frames is steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. The structure determines its durability, strength, and market value.
- Steel – They're perfect for commuting because of their ability to bear heavy loads. Steel frames are cheap, durable, but dense and prone to rust.
- Aluminum –these types are lighter and less likely to corrode than steel. You'll quickly find them on most road and mountain bikes because of their excellent load-bearing capacity as well as swiftness on bike paths.
- Carbon fiber –When it comes to speed, durability, and lightness, carbon frames take the lead. However, they are not as good as aluminum and steel in terms of load-carrying capacity.
Frame Style and Size
Bikes have different frame designs, but it's essential to get one with charming appeal and also deliver great comfort when riding. Most sellers have a fitness guide for you to check and know your ideal size. However, try to measure your torso and overall height to determine the right one to buy.
Almost all students would want to convey their textbooks in a bag to school daily. So, it's crucial to get a bike with racks and panniers to keep your load. Make sure that you don't load the bike beyond its weight limit.
Like frames, handlebars are available in different types. They determine your biking position, performance, and comfort. It's preferable to buy one with an adjustable handlebar since they allow you to customize the height as well as the distance to the seat. You may feel comfortable if the handles are a little higher than the stem, but you'll spend more energy pedaling.
Some of the most popular handlebar types include riser, drop, flat, and ache. Most new riders prefer flat bars because they allow you to enjoy an upright position and can access the brake levers easily than drop bars.
You should always feel comfortable on the seat irrespective of how long you're riding. If buying from a local shop, it's essential to inspect the Saddle by sitting on it. Although this method may not help those who're buying from online stores, you can read the reviews from real-life users to have a sense of its comfortability. If you love everything about the bike except the Saddle, you can still go ahead with the purchase then, replace it with the one you prefer.
Your campus terrain or biking styles will determine your ideal gearing system. Bikes with multiple gears are challenging to maintain but more natural to ride across difficult terrains.
Since your main reasons for getting the bike is to transport yourself to school and back, you'll need some features that'll aid your movements. There is no way you wouldn't want to convey loads, so, the bike should have eyelets to allow you to install bag carrying frames. Also, if you're living in the rain prone areas, you'll need models with fenders which helps to keep your clothes from dirt.
Most bike manufacturers prefer caliper brakes because of their excellent stopping power and ease of maintenance. You'll experience a little delay after gripping the brake levers, especially when riding a wet surface. Having this in mind, you'll want to explore the worlds of disc brakes. These mostly feature in mountain bikes, and they are compelling even on slippery roads. However, it's heavy, expensive, and difficult to remove for maintenance.
Wheels are also available in different sizes depending on the bike type. Road bikes feature thin wheels which are lighter and more comfortable to ride. Their tires may puncture easily and are often difficult to fix.
On the other hand, mountain bikes feature sturdy tires, but the extra weight will reduce your speed. Most commuter bikes are equipped with hybrid wheels since they're durable, reliable, and stable than both road and mountain types.
Most new bikes are expensive for some students. But, you can save a lot if you're buying a used item provided it's still in good shape. Also, you need to be very precise about the owner to avoid the temptation of purchasing stolen property.
However, used items will deteriorate faster and are expensive to maintain. So, we've selected some of the budget-friendly options on sale such that you wouldn't spend too much to get a valuable bike.
How Did We Pick These Products?
Over the past five years, my team and I have used different bikes from different brands. So, we can share some real-life experiences with you right here on Gearbikes Review. Since we wanted to deliver a review that is devoid of bias, we engaged some volunteers to get their opinion about these products. Then we listed 20 bikes that are mostly preferred by college students.
Our next task was to compare the features and overall performances of these bikes. So, we checked their frame, gearing, saddle, handlebar style, and much more. Then we spent some time online going through the comments from the buyers on Amazon. Since these items are for students, we visited some schools to get feedback from those who're using bicycles as a means of transportation.
After a lot of research and consultation, we selected our top 10 bike models that every college student will love.
Our Top 10 Products
Bike Riding Tips for College Students
Generally, riding a bike to and from school is an enjoyable experience, but you'll need some safety tips to keep yourself or the new bicycle from harm. They are:
- Wearing a Helmet – This will protect your head from injury or death if you fall while riding. Try to choose one with good quality and also fit your head size. As a rule of thumb, never mount the bike without putting on a helmet.
- Biking shoes –It helps to improve your performance by minimizing energy loss between your legs and the pedals.
- Pedal straps – fixing this on your bike will keep your feet secure and prevent it from slipping when pedalling.
- Reflectors – the headlight isn't enough to protect you from other road users when biking in the night. So, you'll need both front and rear lights. You should also wear reflective materials.
Care and Maintenance Tips
- Inspect the parts – Check all the components of the bike to ensure that they're in good condition before setting out. If the bolts and nuts are loose, tighten it. Also, replace any worn piece without delay.
- Lock –Your bike might get stolen if left unlocked in the campus or other public places. Buying a lock will prevent persons from running away with it. Most locks can notify you by sounding an alarm when someone touches it.
- Get a rain gear –If you're living in places with a torrential downpour, you'll want to stay clean and dry, so, you'll need waterproof wear that'll protect you from the rain.
- Ride with spare parts –You'll never know when your bike might breakdown, so you need to always stay on alert. With this in mind, never leave for a ride without repair tools and spare parts. Some of these items include pump, tube, Allen wrench, patch kit and much more.
A lot of things might interest you when looking for the best bike for a college student, yet, never leave out comfort, durability, budget, and style. When riding daily to school, you'll want a ride that still feels light even with loads. So, when considering weight, aluminum is often the option to choose. If the terrain is rough, you'll want bikes with many gears and responsive brakes.
While still keeping budget and performance in mind, the Schwinn Discover is always our most exceptional choice. It's from aluminum with a robust front suspension fork that absorbs the road shocks, keeping your hand muscles safe. So far, it's the perfect bike on the market for both male and female students.
If you're concerned about storage or how to package and transport your bike after graduation, the Schwinn Loop Folding model is the choice to make. You might want the 6KU for enjoying both freewheel and fixed gear riding. Note that, none of our products is perfect since you'll need to upgrade some parts to make it function to your taste.
However, all the models we've reviewed are great to give you a lasting memory in school. Everything depends on your preference and budget, so, take your time to read our reviews, then make a proper choice.