A Guide to Buying the Right Bike
Whether you are interested in taking up cycling as a new hobby, or simply want to use two wheels as a form of exercise, the vast array of different bikes available can make choosing the most appropriate option for you a tricky decision. Here, we’ll run through some of the key genres of bike that you may consider for recreational cycling or commuting, and how you can go about getting your hands on one.
How to buy?
The options on how to purchase a bike have grown rapidly in recent years. Traditional bike shops offer face to face service, a hands-on experience and advice. Like any network of specialist retailers- there is variety in terms of expertise, price range and quality. The last 5 to 10 years have seen several bicycle manufacturers focus on selling direct to their customers, through e-commerce. The benefits of direct sales range from more competitive pricing, due to the costs saved from supporting a dealer network, through to guidance and advice straight from the brand.
The buying process is remote, with a purchase just a click away, followed by the bike being delivered directly to you- with no hassle returns, should the bike not be to your liking. You do miss out on that face to face advice, and being able to see the product first hand before buying- but online tools are at hand to help with sizing recommendations- meaning you can be confident you are buying the right bike. Direct sales model brands typically have Service Centres in every major market, on hand to answer your questions and take care of post purchase servicing, locally. These Service Centres also host demo events through the year, allowing customers to try before buying.
Where am I riding?
The first thing to think about is the terrain you’re riding on and where you’re riding to. Are there lots of hills? How far is it? Will it be on road, or off road? Maybe even a mix of the two? Are the roads and paths very bumpy, or relatively smooth? Is there safe storage at my destination? Do I need to carry the bike up any stairs, or put it on the roof of a car?
What works where?
Up next is a breakdown of some of the main types of bikes available, and some insights as to the kind of riding which they perform best at.
These are distinguished by their narrow, slick tyres and drop handlebars that curve down and back on themselves. Offering the lowest rolling resistance and lightest weight, they are perfectly suited to longer distances at higher speeds. The agile handling and more forward riding position mean they may not be the ideal choice for those wanting a more stable bike with good visibility in traffic.
Featuring larger volume tyres, and a more knobbly tread profile, teamed up with some suspension to help absorb bumps and further increase traction – these are the perfect option if you plan on riding predominantly off road. While certainly useable on roads too, the increased resistance from the larger tyres and extra weight mean they are less efficient than others on smooth terrain.
With a name derived from being part road bike, part mountain bike, a hybrid offers a nice blend of efficient on-road riding and some capability off-road. Lightweight variants with relatively smooth and narrow tyres are perfect for mostly road use. Their flat handlebars offer improved comfort and visibility over a Road bike, too. Trekking options with a small front suspension fork and wider semi slick tyres are perfect if you want to spend time off-road, but still retain good rolling efficiency on the roads.
Similar in many ways to a hybrid, but with some optimisations for City riding and commuting. Usually featuring fenders, luggage racks, low maintenance parts and sometimes integrated lights, these are a great, ready-to-ride option for city living.
With an inbuilt electric motor assisting every pedal stroke, e-bikes offer you the chance to ride further, faster or over hills and terrain (things you may have previously dismissed). With electric versions available in all of the types of bikes listed above, these ultimately make cycling more accessible to more riders regardless of location, terrain or fitness level.
You might be interested in:
Join the campaign
Hundreds of thousands of people already enjoy riding their bikes, we are inviting you to join them. Make a pledge to give cycling a go, or offer your support to others, so more people can discover why #BikeIsBest.
I PLEDGE TO INVITE THREE FRIENDS TO JOIN #BIKEISBEST
I PLEDGE TO RIDE MY BIKE TWICE A WEEK
I PLEDGE TO FIND A BIKE AND RIDE IT