The $500 Commuter Bike Built for Abuse

The bike also supports a great cause: for every MiiR sold, another bike goes to a person in need.
The bike also supports a great cause: for every MiiR sold, another bike goes to a person in need.

What It Is: A durable steel road bike with a single-speed drivetrain. The flip-flop rear hub can be run as fixed gear or freewheel (coasting). And bar-top brake levers let you ride in a more relaxed position. MiiR also supports a great cause: For every bike sold, the company gives a bike to someone in need. MiiR works with both domestic nonprofits, like Free Bikes for Kids, and international partners, such as World Bicycle Relief.

Why We Like It: It feels good knowing that buying a MiiR results in a free bike that could change someone's life, but the Payette is a worthy ride in its own right. The 36-spoke wheels with puncture-resistant tires are ideal for the rigors of rough city streets. And despite the sturdy frame and wheel construction, the Payette is still light enough to carry up and down a flight of stairs. The single-speed gearing felt perfectly tuned for our relatively flat New York City testing grounds. It cruised down avenues at our usual pace and was still able to climb the occasional hill or bridge. Our favorite touch in the Payette build was the classically styled (and comfortable) saddle with a faux-leather top and rivets across the back.

Nitpick: If you're used to riding on the hoods of a drop handlebar, this bike will take some adjustment — there are no brake hoods. Riding with your hands on the bar tops will feel more narrow, and riding in the drops will be a more aggressive stretch for your back. A quick test ride around the block will tell you if it's a problem or not, and MiiR also offers a flat bar version of the Payette.

[$500; miir.com