Looking for a new bike but don’t know where to start? Choosing which bike will be best for you can seem like an overwhelming task, the number of options can seem endless but we’re here to help. There are a few key questions you need to think about that will make your decision much easier and ensure you end up with the right bike.
Where do you want to ride?
Each style of bike is designed for a specific type of riding, so the first question you’ll need to think about is where you want to ride. There are generally three main categories bikes will fall into, Off-Road which includes bikes for single track and dirt trails, On-Road comprising paved roads and paths and X-Road a mix of dirt and pavement.
What will you be using the bike for?
Are you looking to escape on the weekend? Complete your daily commute? Ride with the kids? Get fit? Push your limits in a race or roll to the coffee shop in style?
Who will you be riding with?
If you’re going to be regularly riding with other people it’s important to look at what types of bikes they’re riding and often buying something similar will be your best option. A mountain bike won’t be able to keep up with a road bike on the pavement and a road bike isn’t suited to tackling mountain trails.
What’s your budget?
Figuring out how much you have to spend is an important consideration in your decision process. Generally recreational bikes will range from $400 - $1000 and performance road and mountain bikes will start at $1000+ It’s always important to remember as the old saying goes you get what you pay for. However there’s always a sweet spot where quality tends to taper off and the price still goes up. This is a great place to get the best bang for buck if it’s in your budget. Often you’ll see these mountain bikes equipped with Shimano SLX components and road bikes equipped with Shimano 105 componentry.
One size doesn’t fit all.
Sizing is critical to ensuring you’re comfortable and enjoy your bike. This is predominantly determined by your height however inseam, torso length and flexibility are also key factors. We have size charts on the specific product pages of our website which will help guide you, however it can be a good idea to have our expert staff help with this process. It’s important to remember that you may be a different size on a different brands or model. Once you’ve determined your correct size it’s vital that it is correctly adjusted for you, the main thing being seat height although other adjustments including handlebar position may be needed.
Types of bikes.
Most BMX bikes will fall into one of two categories, either race or freestyle. Race BMX’s are designed for racing on purpose built BMX tracks and are aimed at being light weight with low rolling resistance for maximum speed. Freestyle BMXs are designed for riding at skateparks, dirt jumps or street features and are designed with strength as their key characteristic. Neither style of BMX are great for riding longer distances as their seats are designed to be low and out of the way for jumping, along with only having one gear making long riding difficult.
Classic & Vintage
Growing hugely in popularity in recent years there’s something about classic & vintage bikes that will never go out of fashion. Many based on the popular Dutch style bikes they are great for short inner city riding where hills and distances are limited. Classic bikes will often have a similar very comfortable upright riding position to that of a hybrid, however are generally heavier due to many being constructed of steel and featuring extra accessories like mudguards, racks, baskets and stands along with limited gearing.
The classic Beach Cruiser is popular for its style and fun, comfortable riding position. They are best suited to short, paved, flat terrain where speed isn’t a priority due to their limited gearing, large balloon tyres and weight.
Cyclocross & Gravel
Cyclocross bikes are purpose built for the winter sport of cyclocross. Its origins date back to the early 1900s in Europe where road racers would compete over winter to stay fit. Riders complete many laps of a 2.5 – 3.5km course featuring muddy grass, steep hills, pavement and other obstacles. Cyclocross bikes are similar to road bikes however feature slightly wider tyres with more tread, extra tyre clearance and cantilever or disc brakes to prevent mud build up, stronger frames, lower gearing and a more upright riding position. Their lightweight and versatility has made them extremely popular for uses other than just cyclocross racing as they’re the perfect compromise between a road and mountain bike including commuting, gravel and adventure riding. Gravel bikes vary slightly from cyclocross bikes in their geometry, weight and frame mounts.
The difference between a gravel or adventure and a cyclocross bike comes down to a few key aspects. Firstly geometry, a gravel bike will feature less aggressive geometry for comfortable all day riding and a wider gear ratio. Most cyclocross bikes won’t have rack and mudguard eyelets and lastly gravel bikes will feature a wider multi purpose tyre.
Electric bikes or E-Bikes are a normal bicycle with assistance provided via an electric motor in the bottom bracket and a rechargeable battery. They are distinctly different from a motorbike as there is no throttle and the motor will only provide assistance when you pedal. If you stop pedaling the motor will also stop providing assistance. Under legal restrictions in Australia power output is limited to 250 watts and speed limited to 25 km/h. As they are classified as a normal bicycle no registration, license or insurance are required. E-Bikes have recently grown hugely in popularity thanks to new technology especially for commuting use, along with mountain and road specific options.
Flat Bar Road
As their name suggests flat bar road bikes are based on a road bike with a flat handlebar similar to a mountain bike. This provides a more upright seating position with much of the speed and efficiency benefits of a road bike. They’re a great choice for commuting or fitness use on paved surfaces.
Folding bikes are uniquely designed so their frame, handlebars and pedals fold in seconds providing a perfect solution for travelling on a train, bus or when storage is limited. They’re most suitable for short commutes on paved surfaces due to their smaller 20” wheels and limited gearing.
Originally a cross between a road and mountain bike, hybrids are one of the most comfortable styles of bikes known for their upright riding position. They are the perfect bike for recreational fitness and a mix of paved and light gravel bike path use when speed isn’t of importance. Because of their upright riding position they’re a popular choice for people who have back issues.
Kids love riding bikes and learning to ride is one of the most significant events in a child’s life. Bikes provide children with independence and confidence while helping develop balance and coordination. The main difference from an adults bike and most important factor when purchasing a kid’s bikes is sizing. Children’s bikes don’t have different frame sizes as adults bikes do. Instead they have a variety of wheel sizes ranging from 12” – 24” suitable for children from 18 months to 12 years old.
One of the most popular styles of bikes, mountain bikes come in a huge variety of designs. They fall into three main categories dictated by their suspension: Rigid mountain bikes feature no suspension, hardtails only have front suspension and dual suspension bikes have both front and rear suspension. The amount of suspension varies depending on how technical the intended terrain and discipline is. Recreational bikes can start from 60mm of travel, cross country bikes will generally have 100mm of travel all the way up to downhill mountain bikes with 200mm of travel.
Famous for their curved drop handlebars, skinny tyres and light weight, road bikes are built with speed as one of the key design considerations. Road bikes will generally fall into one of three main varieties, race, endurance and aero. Race or competition bikes have aggressive geometry to keep the rider low and out of the wind with nimble handling. Frames are lightweight and stiff for maximum power transfer while gear ratios are higher to produce more speed. Endurance bikes have more relaxed geometry and riding position, putting the rider more upright. Frame compliance is increased to improve comfort and gear ratios are increased. Aero bikes are similar to a race/competition bikes however they are designed to provide minimal aerodynamic drag similar to a time trail bike. They are ideal for going as fast as possible on flat terrain.
Triathlon & Time Trial
Specifically designed for competition use, triathlon and time trial bikes feature an aerodynamic design and unique handlebar extensions to go as fast as possible in a straight line at the detriment to handling, weight, comfort and quick braking. It’s important to note that Time Trail bikes must comply with a strict set of rules and measurements for competition, however this does not apply to triathlon bikes. Most athletes competing in Triathlons or Time Trails will use a regular road bike for most of their training.
Still unsure which bike? Give us a call or drop into one of our stores and ask our friendly staff for a helping hand. Years of experience and a deep passion for cycling make our talented staff the best people to ask for help to pair you with a bike that is the perfect fit for your needs.