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12 Cool Commuter Bikes for $500 or Less!

Big Shot Bikes

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Dream up your perfect bike, then design it! Big Shot Bikes' custom bike builder tool lets you make your own sweet single-speed steed, which means you can handpick from five comfy handlebar styles, three chromoly (a high carbon steel) frame sizes, and eight colors for nearly every part of the fab fixie. Make your own signature model and then rock the one-of-kind two-wheeler everywhere you go, increasing your street cred by the mile. One caveat: Fixed-gear bikes aren't ideal for climbing, so be sure to opt for routes that are flat as a pancake. ($429; bigshotbikes.com)

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700c Schwinn Women's Fifth Avenue Hybrid Bike

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Fifth Avenue is synonymous with quality, style, and luxury, and this sleek, seven-speed Schwinn with smooth shifting is all that—minus the high price. Its classic, almost vintage-looking silhouette makes this durable steel-frame city ride sophisticated (can't you just picture Audrey Hepburn on it?). Expect extra comfort thanks to the upright riding position and generous padding in the seat. ($229; walmart.com)

Novara Mia Women's Bike

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This 24-speed hybrid sings it's so smooth. Comfortable doesn't begin to describe the memory foam saddle and low step-through aluminum frame that makes it super easy to hop on or off. Plus, the fully upright position will make your morning pedal to the office feel like a leisure ride on a boardwalk, even if you're in the middle of an urban jungle. ($449; rei.com)

Specialized Globe Work 1 Step Through

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Add a basket, racks, fenders, whatever you need (or can dream up) to this totally-customizable Specialized road bike. Consider this basic aluminum frame, complete with a low top tube, laid-back handlebar, and cushy saddle, your blank canvas that's ready to be pimped out as you see fit. No need to steer clear of hills on this one—the eight-speed hub knows how to climb. ($460; specialized.com)

Liv/giant Escape 3 W

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The Escape lives up to its sweet-sounding name with its vibrant-colored frame that reminds you of the turquoise waters in the desktop photo of your dream beach getaway. The comfy, sporty position plus 24-speed shifting system lets you pick up the pace to simulate that perfect balmy breeze. Every ride will feel like a vacation. ($420; LivgiantUSA.com)

Trek 7.1 FX WSD

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This two-wheel deal isn't just about saving money on gas and being eco-conscious—it also guarantees a good workout since it's both an FX fitness bike and Trek's most popular town ride. Marrying a sturdy aluminum-frame with road bike speed and urban prowess, you're ready to rock and roll. ($470; trekbikes.com)

Schwinn 700c Ladies' Errand Hybrid Bike

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Who says you need to wear pants to pedal? Nothing will complement your pretty spring dress more than this cool, seven-speed, retro-inspired hybrid bike with a low-swooping, step-through frame that eliminates the need to high-kick your leg over to take a seat. Bonus: The built-in rear carrier is perfect for lugging groceries and other items you pick up along the way. ($229; walmart.com)

Raleigh's Alysa FT0

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The phrase “spin city” has a new meaning with this seven-speed steed that's great for commuting, tooling around town, or squeezing in a quick workout. You'll find yourself sitting pretty in the saddle of this urban aluminum road bike often since it easily adjusts to your mood (take it easy or hard) and outfit (linen pants vs. Lycra bike shorts). ($500; raleighusa.com)

Liv/giant Simple Three W

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Best for short—say a mile or two—commutes, this easy-going cruiser will get you to your destination in true fashion. Sharp-looking and ultra-modern, the aluminum bike features a plush saddle, chain guard to keep your clothes clean, three-speed shifting system, hassle-free gears, and wide balloon tires to ensure a smooth, stylish ride. ($475; LivgiantUSA.com)

Schwinn Women's Trailway 28"

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This elegant city commuter is undeniably cute with its curving top tube that will surely flatter your own womanly figure. Hit the streets or the paved trails in and around your 'hood on this seemingly dainty 21-speed aluminum bike that's way tougher than it looks. ($250; target.com)

Raleigh Detour 3.5

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You may be tempted to take the long way on this aptly named, aluminum, 21-speed bike just to spend a little extra time in its cozy saddle. Or you might opt to take an off-road shortcut since this hybrid's slightly fatter tires can handle less-than-smooth terrain too. Hills won't be a problem either, which makes it the perfect go-anywhere bike. ($400; raleighusa.com)

Trek Pure Lowstep

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At first glance, the Pure Lowstep looks like it rolled right out of another decade, but this old-school-style bike is anything but out-of-date. On the one hand, yes, it's girlie—we dare you to match the easy-on, easy-off aluminum step-through frame, which comes in four cool colors (metallic black, mint pearl, violet, and candy orange), to your nail polish. On the other, it's burly, with robust wheels and a strong seven-speed drivetrain that add extra power so you can really test your engine. ($490; trekbikes.com)