- Buyer's Guide
Best Commuter Gear for Cyclists in 2021
From tough slogs to casual rides, commuting by bike can be challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. But regardless of how far you need to go, a quality setup of top-notch commuter gear will help make your rides as smooth as possible. So what should you look for in great cycling commuter gear? Many elements come together to make your commute efficient, from what you wear to what you carry and how you stay safe and visible.
Cycling commuter apparel
Cycling clothing needs to embrace active use in a range of conditions. As such, keep an eye out for features like breathability, moisture wicking, inbuilt stretch, and resistance against wind and water. These will be vital for keeping you comfortable during commutes come rain or shine.
Safety and visibility
Staying safe and visible is crucial during commutes. Commuter gear setups should include a reliable helmet for valuable protection against potential impacts, as well as items to help keep you as visible as possible. Quality front and rear lights won’t only light up the road for your own visibility but will make other road users aware of your presence too. Reflective detailing on your apparel and cycling bag will also provide enhanced visibility.
Hydration and nutrition
Daily commutes can be grueling, so having hydration and nutrition at the ready is important. A durable water bottle that provides easy liquid flow and convenient snack options such as energy bars are easy additions to your commuter setup. These will help you keep going when the going gets tough, while remaining straightforward to carry either on the bike or in a bag.
Bikes are valuable investment pieces and unfortunately attractive to opportunistic thieves. While you can’t always keep your bike within sight, you can help deter potential thieves with a rugged bike lock. Of course, if you’ve got options to store your bike somewhere secure (perhaps within a dedicated bike store in your workplace), it’s a good idea to make use of these too.
Now let’s delve into some of the best commuter gear for cyclists below…
The most important commuter gear for cyclists? A dependable helmet. The Specialized Align II MIPS Helmet offers a solid balance of features and affordability. The key feature is the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), which provides increased protection against rotational forces from angled impacts. Additional features include a Headset SX dial fit system and 4th Dimension Cooling System, allowing you to dial in a fit that’s right for you while enjoying cooling ventilation on the go.
Looking for cycling safety with functional features and eye-catching style? The Thousand Chapter MIPS Helmet delivers it all. You get the benefit of integrated MIPS technology, an included 30-lumen taillight with easy magnetic attachment to the helmet, a visor for glare protection, ventilation vents, a secret PopLock to secure your helmet, and a dial fit system for a tailored fit. All in signature Thousand styling and available in a range of colorways.
lululemon’s Commission Short provides a chic blend of urban style and cycle-ready practicality. Available in 7″ and 9″ options, the short is made with Warpstreme™ fabric which is breathable, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant, and offers four-way stretch. lululemon’s ABC™ technology keeps you cycling and moving in comfort, while the chino style allows you to transition into off-bike settings with ease.
Built for performance, the Mission Workshop Stahl short has a variety of technical features to keep your commute comfy. The fabric is water repellent, quick-drying, and offers four-way stretch. A fully gusseted crotch enhances comfort on the move, while a zippered pocket provides secure storage for small quick-access items.
Designed with long-lasting durability, wearer comfort and understated style in mind, the Sigr Riksväg 99 Cycling Chinos are a chic option for both on and off the bike. Integrated stretch allows freedom of movement, while reflective details on the back pockets and the leg bottoms help keep you visible in low-light conditions. With their versatile style and cycle-friendly comfort, these are a savvy pick for seamless transitions from the bike saddle to the office.
Finding jeans that work well on and off the bike can be tough. But Osloh’s Denim Traffic Jean is an appealing option that fuses style, durability, and comfort. Features such as the quilted poly chamois reinforced seat and crotch and the quilted reinforced chain side leg panel offer comfort and commute-ready toughness. And the relaxed straight fit suits a range of casual work and downtime settings alike.
As the name suggests, DUER All-Weather Denim is designed to handle whatever weather your commute has in store. A waterproof and windproof membrane provides protection against the elements, while the jean remains breathable for active wear. Available in slim and relaxed options, the jean also integrates stretch fabric and DUER’s seat gusset for freedom of movement. Add in odor resistance and reflective details and you get a hard-working pant ready for the daily grind.
Staying cool and visible is the name of the game with Rapha’s Commuter Reflective T-Shirt. This lightweight t-shirt is designed for warm weather cycling and is made with 105gsm polyester that’s breathable and moisture-wicking. Reflective details on the front and back provide enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. Stretch side panels keep the fit close but comfy and the t-shirt also includes an antibacterial treatment for odor resistance.
The Mission Pro Tech Tee is made to maximize moisture wicking. It does this through an Italian open-knit dimensional-mesh construction, increasing surface area to enhance breathability and quick drying. Two different yarns create a differential to pull moisture away, helping keep you cooler during your commute. The t-shirt features a longer back for extra coverage and is versatile as a base layer or standalone t-shirt.
The chances are pretty high that at some point you’ll need to endure a wet commute. Rapha’s Commuter Jacket offers lightweight yet tough protection to keep rain and snow out. Features such as a hydrophobic membrane, waterproof zipper, sealed seams, an elasticated hem and cuffs, and a stowable hood help you stay dry on the go. A mesh back yoke enhances breathability, while a reflective gradient dot print on the rear is specifically positioned to sit beneath a backpack and within line of sight of motorists.
Chrome Industries offer up sleek, dependable weather protection with versatile urban style courtesy of the Storm Cobra 3.0. The waterproof yet breathable shell features taped seams, zippered underarm vents when you need a little extra cooling, and a helmet-compatible hood. A two-way front zipper offers flexible wear, while zippered front and back pockets provide safe storage for smaller essentials.
Chrome’s 5 Panel Hat blends casual urban style with cycle-friendly features including 360° reflective material and side perforations to increase ventilation. The buckle closure also enables an adjustable fit, while the lightweight build is comfy enough for day-long wear.
Want the style of a traditional Italian cycling cap with enhanced breathability and ventilation? That’s exactly what the Mission Pro Cycling Cap offers. The breathable mesh is lightweight and quick-drying for maximized ventilation. And the sleek design fits under a helmet while also offering a wide antimicrobial headband to block the sun and help you stay comfortable.
Glare can be a problem in all seasons but with Ray-Ban’s RB4179 Polarized Sunglasses you can enjoy significantly reduced glare and eye strain. Additionally, the sunglasses feature a hydroleophobic coating on the lenses for resistance against liquids, dirt, and grease. The biomaterial construction features a semicrystalline thermoplastic that’s light yet durable and comfortable, making these a savvy addition to your commuting setup.
You never know when a puncture might strike. But this puncture repair kit is portable enough to carry every day while helping you stay prepared. It includes six round patches, one oval patch, one emery paper, and one tube of CFC-free cement to repair a variety of punctures.
Secure yet accessible hydration is important on shorter and longer commutes alike. CamelBak’s Podium Bike Bottle is designed to fit within a range of water bottle cages and offers an easily squeezable design with a high flow, self-sealing cap for hassle-free hydration. The bottle is BPA, BPS and BPF free and all of the parts can be separated to allow for convenient cleaning.
Cycling can be tiring work but Clif Bars offer a compact energy boost to keep your fuel levels up while you’re pedaling hard. This 16-pack provides an assortment of flavors to tempt your taste buds too, with 70% organic ingredients. Small enough to stash in a pocket, these energy bars are a good grab-and-go snack when you’re in a rush during the morning or need to keep energy levels up en route or at your destination.
Bike lights are a key tool in your commuter gear arsenal to stay visible on the move. And the Bontrager Flare R City Rear Bike Light is a great option thanks to its wide beam spread and 35-lumen output for day and night visibility from over 900m away. A choice of day and night modes help you adapt to different environments, while micro USB charging makes it easy to keep the light juiced.
Looking for striking style, commute-ready durability, and a long, loud ring in a bike bell? Look no further than the Spurcycle Original Bike Bell. Practical and stylish, the bell rings three times longer than standard bells to increase awareness. With Raw and Black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) finishes available, you can also pick the ideal partner for your riding setup style.
If you need a dependable front light, the Bontrager Ion Pro RT Front Bike Light is a bright choice. The Cree® LED offers up to 1300 lumens, while five modes give you flexible options to suit different riding conditions. The adjustable hard mount fits bars 25.4-35mm and the micro USB charging provides straightforward charging at work or home.
Keeping your bike as secure as possible is important when you can’t have eyes on it. The Kryptonite New-U New York Standard provides peace of mind as a heavy-duty anti-theft tool. The hardened max-performance steel shackle features hardened double deadbolts and a pick and drill-resistant disc-style cylinder. The ‘Pass-Thru’ crossbar design resists twist and cut attacks too, providing confidence for your daily commutes.
Your commuter gear needs a trusty carry option to keep it tidy and secure both on and off the bike. And CamelBak’s H.A.W.G.® Commute 30 Backpack provides a great range of features including convenient clamshell access, separate laptop storage, a Command Center™ Harness for quick access to small essentials, and an Air Support™ Back Panel for maximized ventilation. The pack’s 360° reflective detailing helps keep you visible, while carry options for a helmet and bike light round out this capable commuting companion.
For more great backpack options, read our 10 Best Commuter Backpacks for Cycling Buyer’s Guide.
If messengers are more your style, Chrome’s iconic Citizen Messenger is a dependable choice. And the Night version provides welcome low-light visibility with a reflective panel and trims. The weatherproof tarp liner helps protect your commuter gear against the elements and Chrome’s quick-release buckle with integrated bottle opener gives added functionality to this tough and trusty biking bag.