The Best Utility Bikes of 2014

Multitalented steeds for all kinds of rolling adventures.

—Aaron Gulley

(Inga Hendrickson)

Multitalented steeds for all kinds of rolling adventures.

—Aaron Gulley

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

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(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

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(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

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


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

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)

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