Build a Commuter Bike

Sep 6, 2011
Outside Magazine
Commuter Bike

Single speed commuter.    Photo: velopax/Flickr

Strip an old steel road bike to the frame. Work with a shop to equip it with a single-speed drivetrain using the rear wheel listed below, then top it all off with the following components.

1. Wheels: Paul Dorn, co-author of The Bike to Work Guide, recommends a beefy rear wheel to support the extra load (laptop, books, lunch). Have the shop lace up a Miche Primato hub (from $111; to a Sun ME14A rim ($31; Retread the bike's existing front wheel.

2. Pedals: Opt for sturdy two-sided BMX pedals like the Diamondback Sounds ($40; If you wear cleats, the Shimano PD-M324 ($85, has a clipless attachment on the flip side.

3. Handlebars: Get a riser bar so you'll be more upright and visible in traffic (from $13;

4. Lights: The main idea is to be seen. Knog offers some of the best, easiest-to-mount LED lights (from $16;

5. Lock: Low-profile commuters get stolen just as frequently as flashy rides. Improve your odds with the cut-resistant TiGr lock (see our review). ($125;