Bike Style Guide: Urban

It can be difficult to choose which category of bike is best when buying a bike for commuting and riding as a frequent method of transportation. Luckily there is a whole category of urban bicycles that are made to ride in the city streets.

Let’s explore the characteristics and specs of urban bicycles that make them the ideal choice for city bikers.

What is an urban bike?

Urban bikes are made for city riding. They are made to be functional so they can endure frequent rides through city traffic at moderate speeds. Simplicity and durability are the two defining characteristics of a classic urban bike. The city commuter is always in mind when designing an urban bike, so they often come equipped with racks to carry bags for the ride to work or school.

Handlebars and Riding Position

Urban bikes typically have flat style handlebars. These flat handlebars tend to be in a more elevated position than other bikes. This elevated handlebar position creates a more upright riding position, allowing the rider to be able to see better through traffic. The upright riding position that the urban bike provides is more comfortable for the typical shorter rides that a commuter will be doing on a daily basis. 


Because urban bikers will be riding through the city at slow to moderate speeds, urban bikes typically have fewer gears as it is not necessary to have an extensive amount of gears like a road bike. The gearing is often located internally on the rear hub so it is better protected from the wear and tear of city riding. Some urban bikes have only a single speed to keep the bike as simple as possible. The Schwinn Stites has a single-speed drivetrain, but with a flip-flop hub that gives it the capability of freewheeling. 

Specialized Components

Urban bikes tend to come with components that are ideal for the city environment. They are made to be compatible for panniers, fenders, front racks, and other built-ins. There are some urban bikes that have a rear rack for the transport of bags and other items. The Schwinn Wayfarer features a rear rack that makes it easy to carry all your things. Some urban riders purchase panniers, which are saddlebags that can be mounted on bike racks to store items.


The frame of an urban bike is built stronger than that of a flat bar road bike. While the frames of urban bikes still look sleek, they are made to last, like the steel frame of the Schwinn Cutter. They are made to endure city riding and all weather conditions that a typical commuter would experience.

Urban bikes are the obvious choice for those who want to use their bike as their main mode of transportation to work, school, and everywhere in between. Having the right bike will make you want to commute to work more often, which is great for the environment and for your fitness. 

Stay tuned to learn more about all the varieties of bicycles Schwinn has to offer!