How to choose the right bicycle

Choosing a bike by design 

Choosing the right bicycle can be somewhat daunting given the vast array choices available to us.

In choosing a bicycle we should try to find the right one according to what we will use it for and our abilities. The main reasons are:

  1. Comfort
  2. Safety
  3. Enjoyment
  4. Practicality
  5. Intended Use

Road racing bikes

The Tour de France, Giro de Italia, La Vuelta, cycling’s most famous Tours. Paris Roubaix, Milan-San-Remo; two of cyclings most famous Monument races. All of these races inspire many of us towards competition and racing, to emulate our heroes.

Racing bicycles are sexy, agile and fast. Typically, they are characterised as Aero, All-rounder/Climbing and Endurance.

  1. Aero: as the name implies, these designs are very aerodynamic and built to cut through the wind. They are a little heavier but the trade-off in speed gained from its aero attributes often makes it the faster bike.
  2. All-rounder/Climbing: The lightest bike, extremely agile and fast accelerating. They are ideal for those longer climbs. Lately, Manufacturers have been focussing upon blending Climbing and Aero for the best All-rounders.
  3. Endurance: Great for Touring and long-distance rides but also for general fitness without the aggressive position.

Road bikes of a racing nature are fit for purpose but also harder to master. There is a valid case to be made, therefore, that road racing bikes are not for everyone. Too many are steered towards racing bikes because they like how they look or like to imagine themselves as racers.

Taking the Trek brand as an example – their Emonda, Madone, Domane and Checkpoint are, as they themselves describe, Performance bikes. Racing bikes. They are designed for speed. They will brake very effectively but you need to know how to do that on bikes that have the agility that they possess.

Don’t buy any of these bike types if they are too aggressively designed for you and you can’t brake effectively riding them or suffer discomfort from their forced riding positions. They demand a greater level of skill than other designs. They are more demanding of our bodies.

City, Cruiser and Hybrids

City, Cruiser and Hybrid bike designs that, especially with disc brakes, are much easier to learn to ride, are more comfortable due to the more upright seating position and brake easily – your weight is not as far forward so your Centre of Gravity is somewhat different. The very vast majority of bicycles in Europe and Asia are bikes like these.

These bikes are easier to ride for commuters, for keeping fit, for recreational use.

Anyone who has been to Gent, Copenhagen or Amsterdam will know what I mean. City bikes are designed for comfort, easy to brake effectively, have a different CoG.

E-Bikes

E-bikes are gaining in popularity rapidly. Their technology has come a long way and their weight has been reduced to be much more manageable. An e-bike version is available for all types of bicycle, from racing, to MTB to city bike.

If you live in a hilly area with daunting climbs or want to arrive to work with not a bead of sweat on you, these are the bikes for the job. That’s not to say you cannot get a really good workout on one, quite the contrary, you can, but you have the option to make things a little easier for when you need to.

Here in the UK, the amount of assist an E-Bike is permitted to have allows for speeds up to 15mph which is plenty for general use.

MTB and Gravel

Mountain biking is a very popular form of cycling that takes us into nature for our adventures. We can embrace fresh air and great scenery while being off-road.

Like road bikes, MTB bikes have different designs specific to they type of riding you want to do.

  1. XC/Trail: These bikes can be Hardtail (only front suspension) or Dual Suspension and have front shocks with up to 120mm.
  2. Enduro/Downhill: These bikes are best suited to steep downhill courses and have longer front suspension travel, circa 140-160mm.

Gravel bikes are new to the scene, they combine road biking and MTB. More suited to trails that are easier to navigate than mountain bikes, they have become extremely popular in a very short space of time.

If you wanted a bike for off-road use but with the geometry of an Endurance road bike and a Touring bike, coupled with a Racing bikes agility, then this could be the one for you.

Blog brought to you by…

We hope that this Blog has been of some interest to you and provided some help in choosing your next bike. Obviously, please consult the Experts at your local bike shop for advice since there is a whole lot more to this discussion that what has been written here.

Brought to you by The Quick Loan Shop

If you require financial assistance in making a purchase for a new bike, please have a look at our 3 to 12 month loans.