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Buying a Bike

Posted on 21st Jan 2013 @ 9:43 AM

Bikes are as varied as the terrain you ride them on and choosing the right bike be a daunting task with some many options now on the market. Below we highlight so of the general characteristic between the three main styles of bike available to help you make your choice and get a bike fit for purpose.

Mountain bikes:

Generally, mountain bikes have built-in suspension, multiple gears and wide grippy tyres.  For many years the most popular style of bike sold in the UK. The gearing on a mountain bike is aimed at tackling constantly changes terrains and designed so you can make quick gear changes to keep cycling.

A lighter aluminium frame is a good choice for a mountain bike and a hardtail with front suspension is the most versatile options where you can get a good blend of function, performance and value for money. Full suspension bikes are built and designed for downhill riding and are less efficient when ridden on the flat or climbing.

Traditionally, mountain bikes have been with 26” wheels but recently 29” wheels have entered the market as they offer better rolling capabilities over bumps or through dips. Obviously, a 29er is a bigger wheeled bike but the bike is bigger than a 26” and may not be as agile and easy to handle as a 26” MTB.

Important not to buy a mountain bike with a frame that is too big. You need a stand over with approx 3” to 5” clearance between the top tube and your crotch while standing flat footed on the ground.   You can get a good guide to your ideal mountain bike frame size by multiplying your inside measurement by 0.59. Depending on the size of your upper body the best fit may be within 1" (2 or 3 cms) on either side of this measurement.

Road bikes:

Road bikes are all about aerodynamics and going faster and further on the road. Having drop handlebars, thinner tyres and lighter wheels than mountain bikes the give a smooth ride and efficient ride on the road. Road bikes are typically geared for easy climbs and descents, so larger front cogs than a mountain bike.

Like mountain bikes, a lighter frame is better and depending on your budget you can quickly benefit from carbon frames and / or forks.  Carbon fibre gives extra stiffness and is very.

The regular wheel size for a road bike is 700C (approx 28”).

Road bikes are normally measured in centimetres instead of inches, so you will need to convert your inside leg measurement to centimetres by multiplying the inches by 2.54. Again, it is good to have 3” to 5” stand over clearance on the top tube. You can get a good guide to your ideal road frame size by multiplying your inside leg measurement by 0.69. Depending on the size of your upper body the best fit may be within 1" (2 or 3 cms) on either side of this measurement.

In recent years sport fitness bike have evolved from road bikes where riders are looking for road bike performance with a more upright riding position, so less pressure on the lower back. These are pretty much a road bike with a flat bar, instead of a traditional road bike drop bar.

Hybrid bikes:

Hybrid bikes are aimed at leisure or commuter cyclist with a more relaxed, balanced approach to cycling.  These bicycles are designed to allow you to ride comfortably with higher handlebars and a wider saddle.

Some hybrid bikes have front suspension forks to help soak up the bumps. Tyres are available different tread patterns such as semi slicks for on road or slightly thicker grippy treads for light off road riding.

The most common wheel size for a hybrid is 700C and the wheels larger and the tyres narrower than a mountain bike so they roll easier and faster on tarmac with less resistance. 

You can get a good guide to your most suitable frame size by multiplying your inside leg measurement by 0.65. Depending on the size of your upper body the best fit may be within 1" (2 or 3 cms) on either side of this measurement.

City hybrid bikes are a perfect blend of classic looks and cutting edge technology. Equipped with full length mudguards, carrier and chain guard. Some models have internal hub gears for clean and simple cycling. Great durable “fit for purpose” bikes ideal for commuting and leisurely family rides. Look out for gel comfort saddles, adjustable stems and suspension seat posts for extra comfort.

Urban hybrid bikes are, probably, the most suitable type of bike for the UK adult leisure cyclist. Sleek agile lightweight bikes designed to be easy rolling for about town, towpath and cycle trials riding. A more upright and relaxed riding position than MTB's so less pressure on the lower back. Comfort parts throughout such as saddles, grips and adjustable stems to personalise your riding position. Easily upgraded to include mudguards and carriers.

Looking for a new bike? Take a look at www.bikesdirect365.com for great deals and savings.

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