Great commuting bikes often go unsung and unnoticed. The necessary combination of comfort, durability, and utility, is an un-sexy trio of traits resulting in completely functional, but not terribly fun or attractive bikes. For this reason, it's unfair to call the Sub Speed 10 a mere commuter or city bike. This urban-focused rig from Scott excels in bike lanes, but it's such a joy to ride that you'll find yourself adding miles to your spin home.
The Scott Sub Speed 10's foundation is a rock solid aluminum frame fork capable of sprinting through a yellow light as well as carrying 40 pounds of groceries, or beer, on a rear rack (we used the Blackburn Central). Despite standing up to the daily abuses of city riding — think potholes and getting knocked around at bike racks — the Sub Speed still glided over damaged roads and muted vibrations of cracked, rough pavement. This comfort, a requirement for a daily rider, comes in part from the fat 37mm tires. Though they're about 50 percent wider than your average road bike tire, the smooth tread doesn't seem to slow the bike.
The durability also extends to the Sub Speed 10's drivetrain, a Shimano internal rear hub with a Gates belt drive. This system ensures the rider never has to adjust the shifting or oil a chain. High spoke-count wheels stayed true through those potholes and frequent grocery runs. And the matching fenders kept us dry without fuss. The mechanical disc brakes might need a very occasional adjustment, but after an initial tightening, we never touched the brake cables again during our months-long test.
The last piece that sets the Scott apart from its competition is the curb appeal. And we weren't alone in noticing the appearance. The clean frame lines, complementary fenders, and smart paint turned heads at (nearly) every stoplight. Of course, looks would mean nothing if this bike didn't perform. Our test saw dozens of commutes, leisure rides through Brooklyn's Prospect Park, weekly trips to the grocery store, and any other errands run faster on two wheels. Once we got comfortable on the Scott (it runs a little small, so we swapped in a longer stem), we began looking for any excuse to ride it, because that's the allure of a beautiful bike that does all you ask and more. [$1,200; scott-sports.com]