Choosing the Right Bike

Choosing the right bike can be difficult with so much choice available, but it can make the difference between cycling being a comfortable, enjoyable pastime and it being an uncomfortable, off-putting experience that you may not want to repeat.

Thousands of bikes are sold in Scotland every year. Many of these, however, get ridden rarely, if ever. Why? One of the main things that stops people from regularly using their bicycles and enjoying the benefits of cycling is that they are using the wrong bike for the purpose.

Below you can find some advice on buying a bike that will suit you.

1/ How much to spend.

“Enough that the bicycle will allow me to do what I need it to in comfort and safety.”

If you are looking to buy a first bike, or a bike to enjoy gentle leisure or fitness riding, then you should expect to spend around £300. If you will be using your bike regularly, such as for commuting, or will need performance or load carrying capacity such as for mountain biking on rugged terrain, club cycling or cycle-touring you will need to spend more to ensure the reliability, strength or light weight required.
As with all sporting equipment, bicycles can cost many thousands of pounds, but unless you require cutting edge performance they don’t have to.


2/ What type of bicycle do I need?

Bicycles vary in design because different styles of cycling require different features.

Short journeys:
Bicycles with comfortable, upright riding positions and large, shock absorbing tyres will be a better choice for short journeys (under 3 or 4 miles at a time for most people). Some manufacturers now make bikes specifically oriented towards comfort. While they are slower to ride and the upright position is less efficient for longer distances, they are extremely easy to ride, especially for beginners and returning cyclists.

Fitness cycling:
Covering longer distances and sport cycling, issues such as aerodynamics and rolling resistance become more important. If you will be commuting to work for example and want to cover your journey quickly or with minimum effort then a road bike or road oriented hybrid will probably suit best.

Off-road cycling:
For the smoother terrain, hybrids provide limited off-road capabilities and enough tyre clearance to cope with muddy puddles and poor drainage. If you don’t need full off-road capabilities then bikes like this will roll easier on tarmac sections and hard, smooth paths. For rough forest roads, muddy tracks or areas where extra traction, braking or steering control are required, a mountain bike will be the best choice.


3/ Where do I buy?

By buying through a specialist cycle shop with a range of quality brands, you can be assured that the staff are more likely to understand your needs and advise accordingly. If you can use a local shop, getting back for your bike’s free service or routine maintenance will become easier.