What bike is right for you?

There are many considerations to be taken into account when an individual is considering purchasing a bicycle. If a person has had a long experience in riding bicycles and are aware of all the conditions and products available, then they have the experience to make a judged decision, which is wonderful. But what about the other people? This is where I hope this article will assist you.

Types of bikes:
1.  Hybrid: 

As the name suggest, this is a bicycle that is a cross between a road bike with flat bars and an off road bike.

The seating position on this bicycle is so that you have your eyes on the road at all times. It also comes equipped with a slightly larger tyre than a road racing bicycle or a flat bar road bike. The characteristics of this bicycle are that while you can ride it efficiently on the road, it also has the ability to be ridden on dirt, grass and more difficult terrain.

This type of bicycle has a suspension fork, sometimes a suspension seat pole and in most cases a triple chain ring. The triple chain ring gives you a low range of gears for steep hills or riding across uneven terrain at slower speeds while maintaining your correct pedalling rpm. The bicycle also maintains a relatively high speed efficiency rating.

Hybrid bicycles come in two categories- ‘comfort’ and ‘sports’. The style you select should be based on things such as distance to travel and your physiological capacity (how fit you are). This is a great design of bicycle if your ride takes you along roads, across grassed areas and cycle ways as part of your journey. It is capable of having racks and guards fitted to carry bags etc. The price range for a truly technical quality bicycle is $550-$1200.

2. Flat bar road bike:

Flat bar road bikes, as the name suggests, is a bicycle that is designed to be ridden on sealed surfaces. Like the hybrid bicycle it puts you in an upright position so as your eyes are always looking ahead at the road.  The tyres on these bicycles are a little less wide than the hybrid bicycle and use a slightly higher pressure. The wheel base is slightly shorter and through these design characteristics gives you a little higher speed for the same amount of effort on a hybrid bicycle. This has a lot to do with the wheels being a little lighter and the less rolling resistance. The bike loses the ability to be ridden on grass and dirt roads as well as the hybrid does. It is capable of having racks and guards fitted.

The price range is $500-$2500.

3. Mountain bikes:

As the name suggests, this is a bicycle that is designed for riding in the mountains, or along dirt trails. While these bicycles may be used for riding to work, they are not designed to be speed efficient out of their range of design. As such I would suggest that you do not purchase one to ride to work on. If you happen to have one and you wish to ride it to work, speak to your local bicycle shop and get them to suggest how you can make the bike a little safer on the road and get some suggestions about how to make the bike a little more comfortable. These are capable of having racks and guards fitted in some cases.

The price range is $500-$12000.

4. Road bike (racing bike):

I know a lot of cyclists that ride racing bikes for fitness and recreation, who, through having a good understanding of bicycles, do not ride their racing bikes to work. However, if you are an experienced cyclist who rides a racing bike, you probably will not be reading this article.

If on the other hand you do come from an athletic background and physically you are capable of riding a bicycle 30-40k to work then this type of bicycle could be a consideration. Some road bike models are capable of having guards and racks fitted.

Price range: $750.00+.


General points to take into consideration:

Learn to go fast slowly. A bicycle is like any other vehicle. Get used to how the bike rides, points and stops. Like when you get into a different car you have to spend a little time getting familiar with that vehicle.

Build your fitness up slowly. Initially, unless the bicycle is your only form of transport and depending on your fitness level, give yourself time to recover from your previous effort. Try riding every second day for a few weeks to build up your level of performance.

A bicycle is an ergonomic machine. The bicycle has to be set up to suit your size, physical shape, terrain that you are going to ride over. It is of the upmost importance that you go about this the correct way. Go to your local specialist bicycle retailer, create a relationship and get fitted to the correct bicycle. They will ensure that you are correctly educated, informed, and instruct you on the correct use of the bicycle.

Don’t even consider being penny smart and pound foolish.

If you feel that you are not getting the help or attention you require then try a different outlet. It is my experience that most specialist retailers are there to assist their customers every step of the way.

 The different types of bicycles that I have mentioned above all have various models designed to suit particular applications in each field that they cover.

This article is meant to be a general introduction to the different types of bicycles available to suit different situations. Be realistic in selecting the type of bicycle you wish to use. Do not get your ambitions mixed up with your capabilities. If you wish to commute on a bicycle, remember that you have to be comfortable and you have to be safe. 

Graham Blackman
Graham Blackman

Having been involved in the bicycle industry for most of his life and owning of three Bicycles stores across Sydney, Australia there are very few people that have the knowledge of which bicycle to purchase, and how to use it, like Graham Blackman does.

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