The 10 Best College Bikes for Students on Urban, Rural, & Beach Campuses [INFOGRAPHIC]

Looking for a bike to get around campus? We've weighed the options to give you the best types of bikes for each type of campus terrain, plus our favorite examples of each.

This fall, millions of college students will return to campus ready to study and soak in all of the social and cultural benefits that college life has to offer. And, for many of these students, the question of the best way to get around from class to class and activity to activity will be foremost on their minds. Should you walk and get your daily steps in? Should you bring a car and drive from place to place? Or is biking the best option?

Many college campuses, as it turns out, are perfectly designed for the cyclist life. Bikes not only get you around quickly and efficiently, giving them a leg up on walking, but they’re also much more environmentally-friendly than cars and can, in some cases, be a faster option than driving. 

Still, with so many different styles and brands to choose from, you might be wondering what the best bike is for your needs and for the terrain of your campus. If so, you’re in luck! In this guide we’ve highlighted 10 of the best, most affordable bikes out there, organized by which type of bike is best for your college or university’s terrain. Plus, we’ve given a detailed explanation of the benefits and drawbacks of each kind of bicycle.

Let’s get started!

Best bikes for urban college campuses

Fixed-gear bikes

If you know anything about bikes, you’ve probably heard of fixed-gears. They’re notorious for being the bike of hipsters and cycling snobs alike. But, there’s a reason why they’re so popular: fixed-gear bikes are about as simple as it gets, with no gears, no derailleur or drive train, and simple brakes. 

Because they don’t have all those extra bells and whistles, they’re incredibly lightweight which is great for city riders who need to haul their bikes up and down stairs. There is a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to ride one of these bikes, but many cyclists find that the simplicity and the efficiency of the fixed-gear bike are well worth it.

A great example of a fixed gear bike for urban college students would be the Fyxation Pixel

Here are some specs on the bike:

Price: Starting at $329

Shipping: Free on all orders over $50

Assembly: Ships through Fed-Ex and comes 95% assembled. Can also be delivered to your local shop for pickup and assembly free of charge.

Features: Maybe the coolest feature of this Fyxation bike is that it has a flip-flop hub, meaning you can switch between riding fixed-gear and single-speed whenever you want. It has a dual-braking system with front and rear brakes controlled by a grip on the handlebars. The handlebars themselves are narrow rise bars which make it easy to ride in a relaxed, upright position preventing strain on your back. Plus, as a fixie, it’s super light. Choose from four different sizes and five different color configurations.

Savings: Save $10 on your order when you sign up for their mailing list. Plus, check out their Clearance section for sales on bikes and accessories.

Single-speed bikes

Single-speed bikes aren’t that far off from fixed-gear bikes, but they have one distinct advantage over fixed-gears: cruising. On a fixed-gear bike you either have to continuously pedal or lift your feet off the pedals and let them go on their own. With a single-speed, you have the option to stop pedaling and cruise whenever you want. 

Plus, much like a fixed-gear, they’re a bare bones bike option with only the basics, meaning they’re incredibly lightweight, super efficient, and an all-around great choice for urban riders. It’s good to note, however, that because they only operate on one speed, uphill climbs can be a bit of a challenge.

For our urban single-speed, we went with the Pure Cycles Coaster.

Price: Starting at $249

Shipping: Free on all orders over $50

Assembly: DIY for free or for $99 you can have it shipped to a bike mechanic near you to assemble for pickup or delivery (metropolitan areas only).

Features: This Pure Cycles bike is incredibly light at just 26 lbs, which means lugging it into and out of your dorm or apartment will be a snap. It has swept-back bars as opposed to flat bars or drop bars, which means you can ride upright with comfort and ease. As a single-speed, it’s an incredibly simple design featuring an easy braking system in which all you have to do is pedal backwards. The Pure Cycle Coaster comes in small, medium, and large sizes, so it should fit most people.

Savings: Students registered with UNiDAYS get a 10% discount on your order. If you or a family member are currently in the military or have been, you can receive a 10% discount on your bike. Check out their Sale page for discounts on clothing and accessories.

Folding bikes

There’s one more bike type that’s great for city cyclists. Everyone knows that one of the worst, most anxiety-inducing parts of riding in the city is locking up your bike. Bicycle theft is a major issue on many college campuses, and has even been the most common crime on campus at schools including University of Arizona and Stanford. When you add in the fact that your campus is in the middle of a city, your chances of having your bike stolen increase exponentially. 

That’s where a folding bike can come in handy. Folding bikes are not only great for urban commuting, but they can also be easily folded down so you can bring them inside with you wherever you go. The less time your bike spends locked up unattended, the less likely it is that you’ll find it gone when you come back. 

The TOKYO Citizen Bike in particular is a great choice for city cyclists who want a folding bike:

Price: Starting at $219

Shipping: Free in the continental US

Assembly: Arrives pre-assembled by Citizen Bike

Features: This Citizen Bike is incredibly compact, with 16" wheels and weighing in just 30 lbs. which means it’s easy to carry up and down stairs. As a folding bike, you can pack it up in a few seconds with no tools required. It comes with six speeds and a grip shifter, making it easy to tackle uphills and varied terrain. The seat is adjustable by ten-inches so it’s a great fit for people of many different sizes. It also comes with a kickstand and has a freewheel setup which means you can coast on this bike.

Savings: Get a free pair of Citizen Bikes socks with every order. You can also get major discounts on accessories with your purchase including 20% off their accessory bag combo, 50% off their storage bag, and 50% off a rear rack.

Best bikes for beach college campuses

Cruisers

Cruisers are a classic bike style that are perfect for rides to and from the beach. They’re meant for the leisure rider, so folks who want to go fast might want to look elsewhere. However, they’re incredibly sturdy bikes with thick tires and heavy frames to keep you steady and grounded on the boardwalk or while biking around campus. 

Plus, cruisers often come in bright colors and visually pleasing vintage styles. If you want a bike that can get you from A to B, and you want to look stylish while riding, cruisers are a great choice.

Our two cruiser picks for beachy college campuses include the Cruiser Republic Ladies Beach Cruiser:

... Or the Cobra Beach Cruiser:

Price: Starting at $270

Shipping: Free in the US. Typically ships in one to three business days.

Assembly: Does not come assembled. To activate the warranty, you must have the bike assembled professionally.

Features: This cruiser features thick wheels, a low-profile frame, and wide-set handlebars for easy riding. It’s a single speed bike which means you don’t need to mess around with speeds, but you also don’t have to pedal continuously like you do with a fixed gear. Cruiser Republic’s cruisers come with special added accessories including reflectors, a kickstand, padded handlebars, a chain guard, and fenders. Each style comes in multiple colors, however their bikes are one size fits all and come in men’s and women’s varieties.

Savings: Get a coupon code for 10% off when you sign up for their mailing list. Check out their sales page for discounts on bikes and accessories as well. And, for some feel good points, a portion of each of their sales goes to Billy’s Bikes 4 Honduras, a charity that sends bikes to kids in Honduras.

Another great bike option for college students is the Sole Hoover Coastal Cruiser.

Price: Starting at $275

Shipping: Free in the US

Assembly: Comes 90% assembled with the tools you need to complete assembly.

Features: This Sole cruiser is a classic beach bike featuring thick balloon tires for added speed. It’s a simple machine, with a single speed and brakes that engage when you backpedal. The bike is one size fits all which means, according to their standards, folks from five feet and up should be able to ride comfortably. All of the components are rust-resistant, and it’s got a high-quality gloss paint job which means you can store it outside without worrying about damage. Sole Bicycles offers a 30-day trial on all of their bikes, so if you’re not satisfied after 30 days you can return it for a refund.

Savings: Students get 15% off on your bike when you sign up for UNiDAYS. Get 10% off your order when your register for their mailing list. You can also get an added discount when you purchase two bikes.

Best bikes for hilly college campuses

Road bikes

Road bikes marry all the great things about other commuter bikes like fixed-gears and single-speeds, like slim tires and lightweight frames, with the added boost of a drivetrain. Having multiple gears means that you can downshift to help you get up steep inclines or add on resistance for speedier riding on flat and declined surfaces. That makes them great both for campuses with lots of hills and places where you need to ride longer distances.

Our first road bike pick for college students is the 6KU Troy 16-Speed Classic Road Bike.

Price: Starting at $299.99 (price is listed as a sale of 40% off)

Shipping: Free on orders over $50

Assembly: Comes partially disassembled and can be assembled with common hand tools.

Features: The 6KU Troy is a visually stunning vintage-style road bike with front and rear stainless-steel fenders plus a leather Velo Urban saddle and matching brown EVA handlebar tape. It features a 16-speed Shimano gear shifter which means you can downshift to easily glide up hills. The frame is made with a lightweight chromoly steel making the weight surprisingly light for a road bike, maxing out at 28 lbs for their largest bike. The Troy comes in three different sizes and you can choose from three different color configurations as well. They offer a hassle-free 30-day return policy, so if you’re not satisfied you can return it to them for a full refund.

Savings: Check out their Sale page to find discounts on parts and accessories.

Another good road bike option is the Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Roebling

Price: $519.99

Shipping: Free

Assembly: All bikes are sent to a local dealer or bike shop for assembly. Brooklyn Bicycle Co. covers shipping and assembly costs.

Features: Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s Roebling is a perfect commuter bike that’s also well-equipped to take on hilly terrain. It comes with a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain to help push you through those tough inclines. It’s a hybrid bike and comes with puncture resistant tires, so you don’t need to worry about getting a flat on rough terrain. The Roebling is surprisingly lightweight for a hybrid, coming in at a maximum of 30 lbs. You can customize your Roebling with mounts for front and rear racks, plus it comes in two different colors and five different sizes so you can find just the right fit.

Savings: Although they don’t offer any specific deals or savings, the fact that they pay for shipping and assembly is definitely a draw!

Best bikes for suburban and small town college campuses

Hybrid bikes

Hybrids are the perfect option for folks who live in places where you might ride on pavement, off-road, or both. They have thicker, sturdier tires than your average road bike, meaning you can take them on surfaces other than pavement without worrying about popping a tire or doing damage to your bike. 

They’re a great blend of a commuter bike and a mountain bike, plus they typically come with multiple speeds, meaning folks in hilly towns would definitely benefit from buying one of these.

First up, the sixthreezero Pave ‘N Trail Hybrid.

Price: Starting at $399

Shipping: Free shipping on all orders

Assembly: Arrives not assembled, but for $99 you can have it shipped to your local bike shop, assembled, and delivered to you.

Features: The sixthreezero Pave ‘N Trail is a classic hybrid bike that’s well equipped to handle, well, paved roads and trails. They recommend this particular bike for folks who mostly travel on roads, but may occasionally want to do some trail riding around town. It comes with a 21-speed shifter meaning you can tackle uphills and downhills with equivalent ease. All sixthreezero bikes are fitted to you - enter your height and weight at checkout and they’ll design a bike that’s just your size. They also offer a 365-day trial program, so if you’re not satisfied after that time, they’ll refund you, pay the return shipping, and won’t charge any restocking fees.

Savings: Join the Journey Club to get route inspiration as well as advanced notice of sales.

Electric bikes

Electric bicycles have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Most electric bikes these days combine your own power with an electric motor, making for an incredibly efficient ride that strikes a perfect balance. They’re especially great for places where you have a longer commute, particularly if you’re not someone who likes to expend a lot of energy getting from place to place. 

Electric bikes are a great energy-efficient alternative to cars and allow you tons of flexibility when it comes to getting around campus.

The Pure Cycles Volta is a great electric bike, especially due to its long range and variety of customizable features.

Price: Starting at $1,999

Shipping: Free on all orders over $50

Assembly: DIY for free or for $99 you can have it shipped to a bike mechanic near you to assemble for pickup or delivery (metropolitan areas only).

Features: This Pure Cycle bike is everything you could want from an electric bike. It has a range of up to 40 miles on a single charge. The Volta features regenerative braking, which means every time you brake, it stores kinetic energy and feeds it back into the motor, increasing your range by up to 20 percent. Riders can choose between a single-speed belt or an eight speed chain depending on your preferences and the type of terrain you typically encounter. It also comes with a bunch of cool features like a built-in front rack, automatic headlights and taillights, a key fob starter, anti-theft GPS, and an activity tracker to see how far and how fast you’ve gone. The Volta comes in three colors and one size that works for folks from 5’-6’4”.

Savings: Students registered with UNiDAYS get a 10% discount on your order. If you or a family member are currently in the military or have been, you can receive a 10% discount on your bike. Check out their Sale page for discounts on clothing and accessories.

Best bikes for rural and mountain college campuses

Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes are a great option for folks who live in areas with lots of trails and for those who want to take their bikes out for an adventure. They feature thick, knobby tires that give you the right amount of grip to cover rough terrain with ease. 

The main drawback is that they tend to be pretty slow, so you may not want one of these if you’ve got long distances to travel around campus. But, if you’re looking for a bike that can go off-road with ease and can get you to class too, mountain bikes are a great option.

The Trek Bikes Marlin 4 is our pick for a college mountain bike.

Price: Starting at $449.99

Shipping: Free shipping on bikes. You can also have it shipped to a local Trek retailer for free pick-up or pay $50 to have your local retailer assemble it and deliver it to you.

Assembly: Does not come assembled, however if you deliver it to a local retailer they’ll assemble it for your free of charge.

Features: Trek is one of the leading names in mountain bikes, and the Marlin 4 is no exception. Trek recommends this bike for newer mountain bike users who are interested in trail riding, but also want to be able to bike around campus efficiently. It features knobby tires that offer great traction for off-roading, but won’t slow you down too much on roads. There are 21 speeds on the Marlin 4, making it great for hilly towns and campuses, plus it’s got mounts for a rack so you can pick up groceries or other items while you’re biking around town. This bike comes in two different colors and you can select from seven different sizes as well.

Savings: Sign up for their mailing list to get special offers. Plus, check out their Clearance section for deals on accessories and parts.

Follow this guide to help you find the perfect bike for your college commute, no matter what type of terrain your campus has. Whether it’s the efficiency of a single-speed, the sturdiness of a hybrid, or the speed of an electric, the right bicycle is out there waiting for you.

Want more awesome guides like this one? Stay up to date with the Knoji blog for more information and advice on how to save on everyday purchases. Plus, Knoji has answered thousands of questions for you about your favorite retailers and their discounts - including student discounts!

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