Having the correct bike for your own use is very important, but it can be a very hard decision and a confusing one, with all the options out on the market now.
It feels like a lot to consider when choosing the right bike, but once you have the basis of your needs, the final decision will be easier. Let’s chat about what you need to consider.
What is your budget?
Before starting your research, you’ll need to know what you can and want to pay, as this could help narrow your market a little bit.
What type of riding will you be doing?
There are so many reasons to be buying a bike, so make sure you know what you want out of it, here are some disciplines.
- Road riding is used for getting fit, club rides, racing and exploring different countries.
- Leisure riding i.e., cycling to the shops, or meeting up with friends, to name a few reasons.
- Commuting can be a tough game, so you need a bike that is comfortable and potentially able to take racks and mudguards.
- Off-road cycling comes with the option of many different bikes including but not limited to, gravel bikes, cyclo-cross bikes, and mountain bikes.
After you have decided what kind of riding you need a bike for, you can look into the different style bikes within the area you’re looking. You could also consider the most versatile bike, for example – a cyclo-cross bike can be ridden on gravel rides and as a road bike, so if you’re not 100% sure what discipline you’ll enjoy most, it might be a good idea to get one bike that will allow you to test a few things out.
Fitness levels and flexibility
Now, let's consider your fitness levels and ability to fold yourself in half, to get on an aggressive ‘road race’ bike… is that achievable while being comfortable?
If you're not as flexible as you used to be (or you simply can’t turn yourself inside out), or you have/have had an injury which impairs your flexibility, then you’ll need something with a more relaxed geometry. Brands such as Trek and Specialized make ‘race’ bikes with endurance geometry and they still come with a slick colour, for the aesthetically pleasing motivation that everyone requires to get on their bike. These bikes can also be raced, like any bike to some extent, so if you fancy giving racing a go then you still can.
However, if you require a little extra assistance up hills, whether that be on your commute or on your club run, you can get an Electric-assist bike – they come highly recommended and with various options to suit your requirements.
Let's look at some of the types of bikes available:
- Hybrid Road Bikes – a slightly comfier geometry, often with flat bars but lightweight, regularly used for commuting because they often come with rack mounts and mudguard eyelets.
- Hybrid Classic Bikes – often used as shopping bikes, a bike to get you to/from the gym or to take you on a little adventure along the tow path. Heavier by nature, but a solid bike for getting around.
- Road Bikes – a very large range of bikes these days, custom builds, aero bikes, lightweight bikes, carbon, or titanium are just a few of the options available. Mostly used if the owner is an avid cyclist, using it to stay fit and often part of a club or racing.
- Mountain Bikes – there are so many options within this category, to name a few; downhill, full suspension, hardtail and enduro – usually chosen for the thrill of getting muddy and flying along the off-road/woodland trails.
- Gravel/CX Bikes – these are more versatile and can be used off-road and road use, by swapping out the wheels. Regularly used as ‘winter’ bikes, race bikes and to take the rider off-road on some gravel/field routes.
- Electric Bikes – again, these now come in a few styles. Electric-assist Road bikes, for those who need an extra hand on the hills, full electric bikes for those who need to get around quickly with ease or E-cargo bikes if you need to transport items.
These are just a few disciplines and ideas of bikes to get you started on your search. Remember, don’t jump at the first bike you see, it’s always good to shop around and test bikes out when possible. It's also a good idea to consider buying one second-hand for many reasons, check out our 'Buying a Used Bike and Why It's Ideal' blog for advice on nailing the market.
At Cycle Exchange we have a variety of the above bikes for sale, viewing and testing, which might help you decide what type of bike you’re looking for; it always helps to see something in person. Check out our current bikes in stock here.
Good luck on your search!
Happy Cycling CE Legends!