Join Date: Jun 2014
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I commute every single day, multiple times a day and only by my bicycle, so I can tell you that finding the right bicycle is very important. I used to commute on an old steel retro schwinn from the 80s. It was a great, fun bike, but when I upgraded to my aluminum frame and carbon fork XDS road bike, it made a huge difference. Since other folks are talking about weight, I'll chime in. Weight makes a big difference when you're riding every day. Sure, you can have a heavier bike and pedal harder, but a lighter bike is going to help you strain less during commutes. Ask an avid runner about shoes and they'll will emphatically tell you that shoes makes a huge difference. It's the same for bicycles.
If you're 5'8, here is your sizing chart:
Road Bike: 52-54 cm (I'd go 54)
Hybrid: 52 cm
If you're looking for a great bicycle within a budget, check out XDS Bike Co. They have great bikes and ship for free. Their hybrid section is growing and has bicycles for all price ranges and qualities.
I recommend this one because I've ridden it and loved it:
Cross 300: Cross 300 - Hybrid Series | XDS Bike Co
But this is a very affordable bicycle that will do the trick:
Traveler | XDS Bike Co
They don't have the specs up, but I'm sure they will soon.
Anyway, I hope some of this was helpful. I'm a huge advocate for commuting by bicycle, so I'm excited you're getting on board. I don't think you need to spend tons of money, so check out XDS and use the money you save to get all the commuting equipment you want!
Cheers and good luck!