You have to get through rush hour traffic to work in the morning and quickly drop off your offspring at kindergarten on the way. At lunchtime you dash to the market and in the afternoon you take the kids on a picnic to the park or the open-air swimming pool. In the evening you like to sit in the beer garden or enjoy a theatre performance. And your bike is always with you.
For many people today, their bicycle is the most important means of transport in everyday life. The advantages that a bicycle brings along are simply convincing. A bike is climate-friendly, it costs much less than a car. Especially in 2020, many people would rather get on a bike than be exposed to the germ pool in public transport. Cyclists couldn't care less about traffic jams and insufficient parking. A little exercise on the way to work is much more pleasant than the concert of horns on the city freeway. And there's a bike that's ideally suited for just those everyday rides.
"A very normal bike!" - this then usually means a city bike or urban bike. These bikes most resemble their ancestors, the wire bikes people used in everyday life before cars became affordable for everyone. Today, many bikes are highly specialized sports machines. They're blazing-fast road bikes or weighty mountain-bike growlers.But as a means of urban transportation, a city bike is just about the very best.
It comes with a thoroughly practical, comfortable and safe equipment. Therefore, it sweetens not only your everyday life, even smaller bike trips in the spare time it makes with pleasure. A city bike feels at home wherever your daily life takes place. This does not necessarily have to be a big city, even in a small town or in the countryside you can get around with such a bike, as long as the area is not too hilly and the roads are reasonably paved. But city bike, urban bike...what's the difference? Just read on, our buying guide will tell you whether a city bike is the right bike for you, or whether you should perhaps buy a stylish urban bike instead.
What is a city bike - Things to know about city bikes
As an all-purpose bike, a modern city bike is well thought out down to the smallest detail, with components that are perfect for its intended use. Here you'll find all the information you need about what a city bike has and can do.
What is a city bike, what is an urban bike?
A city bike is not always an urban bike, but an urban bike is always a city bike. Although both types of bike are made for the city and their intended use is similar, there are differences. These are not necessarily found in the construction, they are mainly noticeable in the equipment. However, it's not possible to make a hair-trigger distinction for most city bikes. Here you will find a short overview:
- A city bike is a bike for the city. It is designed for absolute comfort. It is also designed to be practical for everyday use. Therefore, it has a soft saddle, ergonomic handlebars and full equipment with mudguards, bell, lighting system and luggage rack.
- An urban bike is also a bike for the city. However, there can be no talk of practical full equipment here. An urban bike is clean, straightforward and reduced in appearance. You won't find any roadworthy equipment on an urban bike, even mudguards and luggage racks are usually omitted. Of course, you can retrofit all bicycle accessories. However, the clean look of these bikes is becoming increasingly popular in the big city, and the look comes with some added benefits: The fewer components you walk around with, the lighter and cheaper your bike will be. Plus, less can break, with little maintenance coming your way.
- There are a great many E-city bikes and urban e-bikes on the market. Here, an electric drive is added to the cozy comfort features. Thanks to the motor support, a city e-bike is a real car replacement and a good alternative to public transport.
- Also fixies and singlespeed bikes belong to the urban bikes. They have little to no equipment, so no gears, no lights, sometimes not even brakes.
- Instead of a city bike, many ride a slightly sportier touring bike in the city. Here comes to the practical equipment some off-road capability, which then pays off on smaller bike tours.
- A Holland bike is actually a completely normal city bike, but it is easily recognizable by the typical handlebars that curve far back. Holland bikes are firstly considered particularly comfortable, secondly they spread a lot of holiday flair.
- A retro bike exudes pure nostalgic chic. Here, not only are frame shapes recreated that were "in"50, 70 or 100 years ago, often replicas of historic components are also installed, which of course have been technically updated beforehand. Fittingly, the nostalgia bikes then also often shine in the most beautiful candy colors.
- also a cargo bike is a bike for the city. Here, in addition to a powerful electric motor, there is a load box, a loading area or a long, reinforced luggage rack.
Further down you'll find even more detailed information on the distinguishing features of city bikes and urban bikes.
A completely relaxed geometry
City bikes and urban bikes usually have a very upright riding position. Not only is this back-friendly, it ensures that there is little weight on your arms and hands. This means that you can pedal without getting tired or suffering from back pain. Plus, you'll have good all-around visibility and won't miss a thing in heavy city traffic. If you also wear a bicycle helmet in an eye-catching colour, you will be seen by all other road users. So, the riding posture is not only very comfortable, it is also for your health and safety.
What is a city bike, what is an urban bike? What is a fixie?
While a city bike is practical, an urban bike is mainly chic.
- Urban bikes are emblematic of the modern city lifestyle, making them much more than a vehicle. They are a statement. Or better: an under statement. A reduced exterior meets concise functionality. Often there are not even decals with a type designation. The term that often comes up in connection with urban bikes is clean (engl.:"clean"). The bike comes across as clean, even the cockpit is clean, i.e. tidy and not overloaded with numerous levers. These visual economy measures can also translate into a low price. But that's not always the case. As befits understatement, you don't immediately see it on these bikes if they have few features, but those features are among the best the market has to offer. Depending on the manufacturer, urban bikes are occasionally defined differently. Then bikes with an unusual look are called urban bikes, and you will find beauties like retro bikes in this division.
- A city bike, on the other hand, is equipped to handle any eventuality. For bad weather fronts, it has mudguards. For traffic controls, it comes with all the mandatory safety features. For shopping and work documents, it has one or two luggage racks. Minimalist is different, but it doesn't get more practical!
- A fixie or single-speed doesn't have much to offer except a frame and wheels. The idea of fitting a bike with as little equipment as possible originally came from New York bike messengers. So that they didn't have to lock and unlock their bikes all the time, the bikes were supposed to be as unattractive to thieves as possible and look like they weren't worth stealing. Stupidly, this resulted in absolute cult bikes,you should definitely lock your fixie! There aren't even brakes on a real fixie. The bikes are then without freewheel, braked by spirited back pedaling.
E-bikes for the city
You can buy any bike in an E version these days, and city bikes are no exception, of course. There is a huge selection of city e-bikes. Here you will find rather the "small" drives of popular manufacturers such as Bosch or Shimano, they have little torque and also smaller batteries. But they are cheap and light. However, these drives are responsible for the fact that urban e-bikes rarely live up to their name. Thanks to the many parts that make an e-bike an e-bike, there is usually nothing left of the clean look. But as drives and motors get smaller and smaller, and controls have shrunk to fit inside the frame, more and more e-bikes are becoming urban bikes worthy of the name as new model years come out.
City bikes are not lightweights, but urban bikes are. Therefore, while on a city bike the equipment is all about comfort, reliability and safety, on an urban bike it tends not to be there at all. Just take a look at the specifications, there you will find what the bike comes with and which components have been omitted.
- Which circuit needs a city bike or urban bike?
If an urban bike has gears, they should be as light as possible, unobtrusive and not bring too many gears. A single-speed bike or fixie has no gears.
Citybikes often have straightforward hub gears. Here you can easily adjust the gears via a twist grip on the handlebar and select up to 14 gears depending on the model. Hub gears are particularly durable and require little maintenance.
Of course, you can also ride a chain derailleur on a city bike. If you live in a city with a lot of climbs or want to take your bike off-road every now and then, a derailleur might be a better choice for you. It will allow you to adapt your bike to the environment better than a hub gear will.
On city bikes, you'll find NuVinci step-less shifters.
all the time.
Many city bikes have a toothed belt instead of a bicycle chain, which transfers power from the crank to the rear wheel. Belt drives aren't exactly bargains, but they are (almost) maintenance-free and subject to very little wear and tear.
- The best brakes for a city bike
More and more bikes have disc brakes, and city bikes are no different. The stopping power of disc brakes is simply unmatched, which makes them especially safe when used in busy traffic. Disc brakes don't cause abrasion on the rims, so your wheels last longer. There are mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes, with hydraulic brakes the braking force can be dosed particularly well, but these brakes must be bled at some point. <however, rim="" brakes="" are="" cheaper="" and="" lighter,="" they="" also="" easier="" to="" maintain.="" that="" is="" why="" often="" found="" on="" less="" expensive="" models.="" <p="">Many city bikes have a coaster brake, even e-bikes for the city you can buy with coaster.
While sporty bikes roll along on really fat or really skinny tires, city bikes and urban bikes stand on tires of the medium widths of 35mm to 42mm. You can often fit tires of different widths on your bike. Wider tires require more pedaling, because the rolling resistance is higher. On the other hand they have more grip and dampen better. Narrow tires are easier to ride, but they have less grip on the ground.
You can find out which tyres are best suited to your bike by taking a closer look at the surfaces your bike will be rolling over. Is there a lot of cobblestones, dirt roads or gravel? Then wide tires are better. Do you ride mostly on smooth asphalt? Then efficient, narrow tyres are ideal.
Most city tires have little tread, just enough to provide good grip on the road in all weather conditions. If you want to use your bike year-round, you can get winter tires. Just like on cars, a special tread and rubber compound ensures a secure grip in icy temperatures.
There's probably no luggage rack on your new urban bike, but there are attachment eyes for it. A city bike usually has a luggage rack, and may even come with two, a rear luggage rack and a front luggage rack or front rack on the handlebars. Many city bikes have one of the handy click systems MIK by Basil or KlickFIX pre-installed on the rack. You can then attach a bicycle basket there.
You've probably figured it out, an urban bike you'll probably have to lean against a lamppost, a city bike has a side stand.
You'll need mudguards especially in bad weather. They keep rainwater from getting kicked up by your tires and then landing right on your back and face. City bikes have fixed mudguards. On an urban bike, people like to ride plugged-in Ass Savers and Mud Guards.
A lighting is mandatory, but you can choose to have fixed bike lights with dynamo, parking lights, dusk sensor and daytime running lights, or you can prefer battery-powered plug-in lights.
Mounting points for various attachments
While a city bike usually comes from the factory with everything you could possibly want, an urban bike is mostly without. Without luggage rack, without side stand, without bell, without everything. But to make sure you can set up your bike just the way you want it, the mounting eyelets for all your bike gear are there, and you can add racks, front racks, fenders, or even a lighting system after the fact.
Citybikes for men and women
While there are fewer and fewer dedicated women's bikes in other bike categories, city bikes still exist as classic women's bikes and as men's bikes.
A wave-shaped bike is traditionally considered a ladies' bike.It has a low entry that is not blocked by a horizontal top tube. It is therefore particularly comfortable to get on. If you want to mount a child seat on the carrier, a bike with a low step-through is highly recommended. Waver frames can also be best ridden with a skirt or dress, which is why they used to be women's bikes!
A diamond frame is considered particularly robust and therefore very sporty. Here the top tube reaches just below the saddle, which makes getting on a wobbly affair for many. A bike with a diamond frame is a classic men's bike.
A trapezoid frame is right in the middle between "women's bike" and "men's bike." Here the top tube is welded centrally between the bottom bracket and saddle. It is equally suitable for ladies and men. Many trekking bikes have a trapezoidal frame.
Generally, the division intobikes for women and men is disappearing more and more. Regardless of your gender, you can simply ride the bike that you like and that best suits your cycling life. However, it is important that the frame size fits you well.
That's why you should determine the right bike size before you click "buy" online. Check out our blog for a buying guide that will help you determine the correct frame size.
Is everything on your bike?
As with anything that rides on public roads, the StVO requires safety equipment on bicycles. This includes reflectors on the wheels and pedals, a white light at the front and a red reflector with a red rear light. You'll also need a bell. Without these parts you should not be caught. Also, the StVO requires two independent brakes<
Thus, an urban bike is a stylish bike for the city, while a city bike is a comfortable, practical two-wheeler with full equipment.
Is a city bike the right bike for you?
If you value stylish design, you'll be happy with an urban bike. Even if you don't want to worry about maintaining numerous bike components, you should shop at our Urban Bikes. It is important to you that your bike is robust and reliable, a few excellent components are more important to you than a wobbly complete set? Then you should buy an urban bike, especially if your budget is limited. The many parts that such a bike just doesn't have are then a huge advantage.
If you like to ride comfortably, a city bike is perfect for you. Especially if no two days in your life are the same and your bike needs to be flexible to adapt, a city bike offers a variety of uses. The equipment makes the bike independent of the weather and usable all year round. Especially if you use your bike for leisure time, work, school and university, you are independent with a city bike and can transport a lot. If you rarely get on your bike, one of the many cheaper models will suffice.
The comfortable tires make both types of bikes rideable on many surfaces.
Your everyday life will be especially effortless if you treat yourself to a city bike with a motor, i.e. an E-bike.
The features at a glance:
- All-round talent for the city with comfort tyres
- Rugged construction
- affordable models available
- Suitable for year-round cycling, commuting, everyday riding
- Varying surfaces can be ridden on from asphalt to cobblestones
- also allows for smaller bike trips and excursions
How does a city bike ride?
An urban bike rides rather sporty, while a city bike is completely designed for riding comfort. The frame geometries differ accordingly, an urban bike usually puts you in a slightly more stretched riding posture. On a city bike you ride very upright.
Most of the frames are made of aluminum, but there are also absolutely indestructible steel frames and every now and then an ultra-light urban bike made of carbon.
The tires on which your bike stands also affects the handling, as we have already explained above. The wide tires make for a nice smooth ride. In addition to padding that allows for thicker wheels, there are also often suspension comfort saddles. Suspension forks are not common on these bikes.
Of course, the weight of a bike depends on the type and number of components and the frame material. An average city bike weighs 12 to 15 kilos, an urban bike a little less, while an e-bike weighs significantly more.
Urban bikes and city bikes offer a relaxed riding experience. Depending on equipment, weight, geometry and tires, they offer either more comfort or a sportier riding experience.
The riding experience at a glance:
- well cushioned
- dynamic to comfortable
What are the benefits of a city bike?
You've probably already gleaned the advantages of city bikes from the previous sections: They are comfortable, versatile, suitable for everyday use and a real eye-catcher.
City bikes are great for dodging heavy car traffic and avoiding the crowds of public transport. Parking fees, fluctuating gas prices and construction sites are of little interest to urban cyclists. Picture this: While everyone else is annoyed in traffic jams, you're pedaling from A to B, smiling and relaxed.
A bicycle is not only cost effective, it is also the most environmentally friendly means of transport ever. Because it tends to use smaller-sized gears and braking systems, it can use better quality components.
Bikes are also more environmentally friendly.
Work, leisure, trips, shopping, some training - an urban bike is very versatile, just like a city bike. With a city bike, you combine exercise in the fresh air with the paths of your everyday life.
City bikes and urban bikes belong to the more affordable bike groups. Here, entry-level models are already available for little money. For comparison: For a set of expensive MTB-Fully wheels with tires you pay similar amounts as for a whole city bike.
Even transporting a lot of luggage is child's play! Child seat, briefcase and picnic basket - no problem on the city bike, especially if you have one or two racks.
The advantages at a glance:
- universally applicable
- Independence in everyday life
- offer a lot of comfort
- are robust and durable
- many transportation options
- Attachment possibilities for a comfortable full equipment
- favorable purchase price
How much does a city bike cost?
You can spend quite a bit on a high-quality everyday bike, but there are also plenty of affordable entry-level models. If you want to get the assistance of a motor, of course, it gets a little more expensive. But even as e-citybikes, they're still usually affordable.
The entry level of urban bikes and city bikes goes from about 400 to 700 euros.Here you get decent bikes that are great for short rides around town. The frames are mostly made of aluminum. Here rim brakes are installed and you get simple gears. The bikes are a little heavier than higher quality bikes. If you only get on your bike every now and then and you don't mind if a spare part is due after all, a bike like this is a good choice.
From 700 euros and up to 1700 euros you can buy the mid-range. The gears are getting better, they shift easier and more precise. In the middle segment disc brakes are mostly installed, at the upper end you can already expect hydraulic disc brakes. You get good to very good lighting systems and also the quality of the tires is improving. This makes itself felt with less puncture susceptibility and better grip in the wet. Also not unimportant: the bikes have better saddles, ergonomic handlebars and comfortable grips as the price goes up. Even though these components would be quick to replace, it's nice to have some real feel-good stuff right out of the box, isn't it
Top urban bikes you can expect from a purchase price of 1700 euros. There are excellent gears and hydraulic disc brakes from the best and most well-known manufacturers in this price range. The bikes are lightweight, plus they allow for much sportier riding than cheaper bikes. You can find some bikes here that are actually already gravel bikes or sporty hardtails, plus there are already E-bikes here.
Happily, the most expensive bike isn't necessarily always the best choice. Even for little money you can get urban bikes and city bikes that are fun to ride and get you reliably through your everyday life. With the purchase price, however, the durability usually increases, the ease of use and the riding comfort improve. But also the safety increases with the purchase price, which is a very important aspect in the city. A good lighting, good brakes or a grippy tires pay off in dicey situations especially.
The costs at a glance:
- Beginner variants from 400 to about 700 euros
- From 700 to 1700 euros the city bike middle class ranges
- From around 1700 euros you get the best the city bike market has to offer
Urban bike, gravel bike, mountain bike, road bike, trekking bike and touring bike
What exactly is the difference between a city bike and other types of bikes?
City bike - Mountain bike
A city bike is meant for the city, a mountain bike is for off-road. While you can definitely ride a mountain bike in the city, the reverse is a rather bad look. Off-road, a city bike is completely out of place.
City bike - road bike
A road bike is a highly specialized piece of sports equipment, while a city bike is somewhere between everyday and leisure time at home. Road bikes are fast, narrow and light, whereas even a low-key equipped urban bike is a real clunker. It's a lot like mountain biking: you can ride a road bike around town, but you absolutely cannot reach the speeds that are standard for a road bike.
City Bike - Gravel Bike
With a Gravel Bike pretty much all routes are passable, it is therefore also usable in the city. In addition, a Gravel often has racks, fenders and Co., so it is a real alternative to the classic city bike. If you like to be a bit sportier on the road and a dropbar appeals to you, you can take a look at our gravel bikes.
City Bike - Cross Bike or Fitness Bike
Urban bikes and cross bikes or fitness bikes are very similar. A cross bike has no specific area of use, it can be ridden in the city and off-road. The geometry is kept a little sportier, the equipment is usually just as reduced. Fitness bikes, however, tend to have more extensive gears so they can handle off-road well.
Since there are many mounting points, you can increase the equipment until your cross bike has become a real city bike.
City bike - touring bike or trekking bike
A touring bike or trekking bike is a real alternative to a city bike. Here, the good riding comfort and the versatile application possibilities absolutely coincide. Many touring bikes are mainly ridden in the city, because they are robust and durable, which makes them absolutely reliable in everyday life. Since they are made for extended rides in all weather conditions, they are perfect for year-round use. If you want to leave the city behind and go for a ride in the countryside, a touring bike is also a perfect travel bike.
What should you look for when buying a city bike?
Citybikes and urban bikes are very popular types of bike, so the choice is correspondingly large. What's more, since they can be had for very little money, many city dwellers begin their lives as everyday cyclists on a city bike and gradually work their way into other cycling disciplines.
With a few simple questions, you can quickly find the right city bike:
- How often do you plan to ride your bike
You ride your bike rather rarely and then only in nice weather. Then you can buy a bike of the entry-level class from 400 to 700 euros. Even if you don't really need your bike, these bikes are a good choice. If you need your bike urgently, a higher quality urban bike from mid-range is simply more reliable.
- How long should the tours last?
The longer the trails, the more it pays to invest a little more when buying a bike. With the purchase price increases not only the quality, also the ride comfort is better. On more expensive bikes, for example, there are gel saddles that you can sit on comfortably for a long time, and high-quality gears expand the range of uses.
- Where do you want to ride, what are the surfaces like?
If your town has a lot of cobblestones, make sure you have wide tires and good suspension. If there are streetcar tracks where you live, the widest tires possible are recommended, as they will prevent the tire from "threading" into the tracks if you're lucky. In a city with lots of inclines, lots of gears are very helpful.
- What equipment do you really need?
How many gears make sense? Do you need disc brakes? Do you want coaster brakes? Do you need a luggage rack? Plug-in lights or fixed lighting system? Not only can you save a lot of money by downsizing your bike. It will also affect the weight of your bike and the maintenance you'll have to do.
- What's the right frame size?
Larger children's bikes and youth bikes are often mini-sized city bikes. Manufacturers then offer them as youth bikes and as small adult bikes. XXL bikes for particularly large or heavy cyclists are often city bikes or urban bikes. So you have a lot of choice in frame sizes. Some manufacturers have specifications like you know from buying clothes, i.e. from S to XXL. The frame size can also be measured in centimeters, or you can find inch specifications. Check out our blog for a guide to help you first determine your leg length and then determine the correct frame size for your online purchase.
In summary, an urban bike is a particularly cool bike, while a city bike is incomparably practical and comfortable. Both are best suited as an eco-friendly means of transportation in the city.
Buy an urban bike or city bike from the best manufacturer
We have many different bikes in stock for you. So that the quality and the price-performance ratio are right, we work together with well-known bike manufacturers. So we can offer you particularly cheap bikes or top bikes with all the bells and whistles and many equipment variants. Trek, 6KU, Creme Cycles, Orbea, All-City, Rondo, Bombtrack, Cannondale or Giant build and supply our urban bikes.
Don't know which type of bike is best for you yet? Here on BMO, you can easily compare. We explain what mountain bikes, gravel bikes, trekking bikes, dirt bikes, race bikes, and E-bikes can do. Plus, we'll help you buy a cool kids bike for your little one. Just read our buying guides and you'll know which bike you'll be happy with!
Please note that we cannot provide any binding information on the current legal situation. All information is therefore without guarantee!