Choosing The Right Bike For You
Bikes have come a long way, even in the last ten years the technology has leaped ahead. It can leave you feeling slightly overwhelmed when you step into the shop/browse online. Knowing what the main use of your bike will be and your budget is a great place to start and will help narrow down your options.
So what types of bikes are out there?
Like the name suggests, the hybrid is a bit of everything. They sit somewhere between road and mountain bikes but can come a wide variety. Some have suspension, some have disc brakes etc but the vast majority will have flat handle bars.
Suitable on gentle trails and road
Comfortable seating position
Wide price bracket
Slower than road bikes
Not suitable for all off road terrain
Road bikes are made for speed. Easy to recognise from the dropped handle bars and skinny tyres. You can go vintage with a steel frame, it will be heavier but sturdy and the aesthetics can be cracking. If speed is your priority go for a Carbon Fibre frame. They are unbelievably light but can require a fair budget. If this is your first road bike you can get a decent aluminium frame for £300 (less for 2nd hand).
Not suitable off road
Position can take time to get use to
Aka Dutch Bike, these ooze city chic and will be the majority of what you see in cities like Amsterdam. They have an upright comfortable position and storage aplenty.
No need for lycra
Not well adapted to hills
Made for the off road trails, they have suspension galore, bright paint jobs and plenty of gears. They are generally heavier than hybrids or road bikes and will be slower on roads but the wide tyres and front and rear suspension will make rubble trails easy going.
Gadgets (dropper seats etc)
Slow on roads
Adapted bike is a broad and vague term but generally refers to any bike that has an adjustment from the classic bike to make it accessible. There are recumbent, hand crank, trike etc. If a classic bike seems unsuitable don't write off cycling altogether, its likely there is something that could work great and give you freedom on the roads or trails. Check out Edinburgh ABC to find out more.
Funding support/community groups available
Less common in shops
A bit like hybrids, Gravels are a combination of road and mountain bikes. They have kept the dropped bars but have tyres with more grip and can have some suspension built in. They are fairly new in the cycling world but the popularity has rocketed. If you like mud and bunny hops, Gravel riding could be for you.
Adaptable to road and trail
Less rugged than mountain bikes
Slower than road bikes
We've tried to cover the main types but the list is by no means exhaustive. There are touring bikes, folding bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, fixies, track bikes, BMX etc...
When buying your bike always request a test ride and, if buying second hand, carry out an M-check to make sure it is safe to ride.
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