AdvertisementSkip this ad »
  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Best Utility Bikes

    Multitalented steeds for all kinds of rolling adventures.

    —Aaron Gulley

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Novara Arkham

    BEST FOR: Commuting

    We love the Gates Carbon Belt Drive—a replacement for the standard chain—for its durability, its quiet operation, and the lack of grease to stain our slacks. The aluminum frame is powered by a simple, internal three-speed hub, which, unlike 
a derailleur, will run smoothly even if knocked hard on a bike rack. And it's loaded with niceties usually reserved for more expensive bikes, including mechanical disc brakes, full fenders, and a storage rack ($850). 31.4 lbs

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Virtue Truck

    BEST FOR: Replacing Your Minivan

    With a 20-inch wheel up front and a 26-incher in the rear, the Truck ($600) takes its cues from ice-cream men in the developing world. The design allows for stability and up to 55 pounds of hauling capacity on each of the dual racks. A seven-speed drivetrain gives you enough gears for even heavy loads, and full-length fenders ward off the elements. You’ll never again have to worry about whether to take the car or the bike. 40 lbs

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Vassago Fisticuff

    BEST FOR: Simplifying Your Life

    Is it a mountain bike with drop bars? A road bike with fat tires? A hard-wearing urban utility machine? Yes, yes, and definitely yes. The Fisticuff ($1,900 as tested) is a do-everything steel machine that will replace a slew of bikes in your stable. Ours came with just one gear for ultimate simplicity, yet we had no issue keeping pace with hardtail mountain bikes. Testers also loved the wide flare of the Salsa Woodchipper bars for all the hand positions and steering control. 20 lbs

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Next Up:2014 Urban Cycling Essentials

    Niner RLT 9

    BEST FOR: Gravel, Fire Roads, Light Rails

    Of all the bikes launched this season to serve the growing gravel-racing movement (see page 98), the aluminum RLT ($3,000) is hands down our favorite—and not just because of the Fresh Mint paint job. Niner infused it with mountain-bike DNA, so it felt snappy on shorter climbs and stable on the gravel singletrack in east Tucson, Arizona. The house-brand carbon fork took the edge off the rough, and the NoTubes Iron Cross wheels provided surprising grip mounted with 35-millimeter tires. 19.2 lbs