These are the workhorses of the bike world, but that doesn't mean they can't look good, too. The following four bikes will schlep your groceries, your kids, and your gear as you pedal throughout the summer. You'll save gas, stay in shape, and hopefully come away with a nice tan.
Metrofiets Cargo ($3,695)
BEST FOR: Serious Payloads
The Cargo is handmade to your specifications, and you can opt for hardwood decking or a bench seat and seat belts for the tykes. It’s much less unwieldy than it looks, thanks to lightweight steel tubing, modern amenities like disc brakes, and the undersize 24-inch front wheel, which makes for a fairly small turning radius and manageable handling.
Jamis Commuter 4 ($1,050)
BEST FOR: Neatniks
With full-coverage fenders and chainguards, the sturdy aluminum Commuter 4 will keep you pants clean on all but the wettest roads. Also user-friendly and awesome: the Nuvinci 360 internal rear hub, which uses a twist-knob controller that provides a seamless gearing range approximately equivalent to that of a standard two-ring road bike’s.
Pure Fix Cycles Alfa ($325)
BEST FOR: Customization
The market is flooded with stylish, inexpensive singlespeeds. Which is great, except that a lot of them are poorly built and come spec’d with crappy components. The Pure Fix, on the other hand, is a cyclist’s bike, with a TIG-welded steel frame and beefy 28-millimeter Kenda tires. You get a flip-flop rear hub (for switching between a freewheel and a fixed gear) and lots of choices for optional add-ons—toe straps and grips, lights, U-lock—meaning your bike can show up fully decked out and ready to go.
Specializied Globe Daily 3 Step Through ($880)
BEST FOR: Keeping It Classy
In Europe, frames like these—with a sloping top tube—are considered workhorses, not womanly. This bike is built for comfort, too, with a bump-quashing fork and an upright position that’s more executive chair than aero tunnel. The Daily 3’s lightweight aluminum tubing and modern geometry ensure that it handles nimbly in spite of its old-school looks. An internal seven-speed hub keeps the drivetrain smooth even in the elements, and we love the antique-looking steel fenders.