City bike


Blue Dutch bike in Cambridge

What is a city bike?

City bikes are low maintenance machines designed for relaxed cycling wearing normal clothes (as opposed to cycling gear) in wet weather or dry.

These bikes have an upright riding posture, due to their swept back handlebars and short top tube. They are designed to require very little maintenance, so they come with hub gears. Many come with hub brakes for improved braking in the wet. City bikes are usually supplied with the things the British cycling industry calls accessories. Expect factory-fitted mudguards, chainguard and pannier rack. Many city bikes also come with dynamo lights.

City bike frames have traditionally been made from steel which gives a smooth ride. Some modern ones are made of aluminium and come with suspension forks.

Other names for city bikes

In the UK, city bikes are also known as Dutch bikes. Previously they were known as roadsters.

What type of journey a city bike suitable for?

City bikes are suitable for short, flat journeys on paved surfaces such as roads and paths. They are designed for use with normal clothes, for carrying cycle luggage such as panniers and for riding in all weathers.

Typical components

Frame: steel, long wheelbase Read about wheelbase
Wheels: 700c with steel or aluminium rims Read about wheel size
Tyres: medium width
Handlebar: North road Read about North road handlebars
Brakes: drum Read about dual pivot caliper brakes
Gears: hub
Mudguards: factory fitted Read about mudguards
Chainguard: full, factory fitted Read about chainguards
Lights: dynamo, factory fitted
Rack: factory fitted Read about racks
Lock: immobiliser, factory fitted



  • Suitable for rainy weather
  • Suitable for carrying cycle luggage such as panniers
  • Particularly suitable for riding while wearing ordinary clothing
  • Low maintenance
  • Easily secured because there are no quick releases
  • Hub gears are very easy to use
  • Possible to change gear when the bike is stopped, if fitted with hub gears
  • Ideal for less confident cyclists


  • Slow going uphill, due to the combination of upright posture, frame flex and long wheelbase
  • Tiring on long journeys, due to heavy weight and low efficiency
  • Maintenance and repair tasks, though needed less often on a city bike, are more difficult on hub gears and hub brakes
  • Difficult to lift or carry, due to heavy weight


Other types of bike