Bike Suggestions -short, hilly commute

Welcome to your Monday on a Thursday post! Our Monday post was a little late because we celebrated our co-founder’s birthday way too hard and let’s face it, getting old sucks.

Today’s post is about helping out a fellow commuter choose a bike, here is the message that we received:

Hi i’m looking for a new bike and need a few recommendations.

I commute to work it’s only 2.5 miles but it includes a 7% grade hill. Down on the way to work and up the way home.

I’m a teacher and I often wear dressed to work. I need a bike that can handle the hill and is still a low enough crossbar that I can wear dresses. I currently have a 8 speed cruiser but it’s just too heavy for the uphill trip.

I don’t want to spend a lot but it seems women’s bikes are more expensive than men’s”

We posted the question on our Facebook page and we got one lonely response, I guess everyone is too busy commenting on Facebook posts regarding the President’s executive orders.

Anyhow, here is what I recommended: The KHS Ultrasport 1.0

The KHS Ultrasport comes in “Women’s colors”, low top tube, lots of gears and it is fairly reasonably priced. KHS is one of those brands that are underrated, we really like their bikes.

Let us know your suggestions, that is if you are not too busy commenting on posts about Donnie.


  1. Clark

    I commute in a city with many 200-500ft elevation changes (grades in that 7% range in places), and I take a different approach than the KHS. What I find is that a more traditional road bike rider position generates more power, and is thus more comfortable on the climbs. So any bike with an upright rider position, like the KHS, gets dinged in my book if for use on a hilly commute. You’ll get up the hill, but you’ll plod along. And the suspension fork adds weight but offers no benefit to most commute riding.

    If the reader feels strongly about standover, then something like a Soma Buena Vista mixte would fit the bill – but note that these frames often get built up to tone down the “road bike” geometry. For that commute, I would do the opposite, and I’d build the Buena Vista for an aggressive, but still comfortable, rider position. This means no swept bar and perhaps a regular road bike bar.

    But any comfortable road bike with well appointed mount points and braze ons also fits the bill – scan Craigslist for women’s size Fuji, Raliegh, and Jamis road bikes, steel, in your size (but ignore the upright ones). If standover is not a concern, a Soma Smoothie would also be high on my list, after I added wide tires, fenders, and a rack. Look through some pictures:

    Summary: for comfort in the hills, you want power, and for power, avoid geometry that puts you in an upright stance. In my experience, anyway!

  2. Doug Cornelius

    With a hill that steep and a moderate distance, something with a big gear is the answer. I would look for an even smaller ratio than the KHS.

    Maybe the SE Big Mountain 29″ 2.0. Its a 42/32/22T up front and 14-34T on the cassette.

  3. The Bike Geek (Post author)

    The SE Big Mountain is also a good choice, at $219.99 is super affordable.

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