You need a bike that has enough quality to be reliable and durable. $5-800 should get you a decent bike. If this sounds like a large sum of money, compare it with the cost of public transport over 5 years, combined with gym or swimming pool fees.
The best style of bike for urban commuting depends on the distance and the terrain.
For flatter cities and shorter rides, a utility bike like a Breezer is clean and simple.
For longer rides you need something a bit sportier. The flat-bar road bikes such as Specialized Sirrus, Jamis Coda or Trek fx are ideal for most commutes.
If your commute included rough tracks, snow and other difficult surfaces, a non suspension MTB may be better.
Suggest you check out the flat bar road bike first of all.
Whichever style, you really do need threaded eyelets for a luggage rack and full length fenders.
Budget for uprated Kevlar reinforced tyres, rack, fenders, lights, luggage, repair kit, gloves and helmet and lock!!.
A good local bike shop (LBS) can advise on the correct fit and will adjust and tune the bike as well as post sales servicing.
Last edited by MichaelW; 08-25-06 at 04:27 AM.