It’s important to get the right bike for the type of cycling you intend to do. There are all sorts of different bikes, and the more you invest the better quality components you’ll get and the less maintenance it’s likely to need.
Buying your bike from a cycle shop also guarantees that the bike is set up correctly before you use it.
Our ‘Get Cycling’ Guide is packed full of useful features, hints and tips for cycling in and around Bristol – including the pros and cons of the different bike types.
Types of bikes available
Hybrid bikes: good everyday option
- A mix between the speed of a road bike and the strength of a mountain bike
- Lightweight and sturdy with smooth tyres
- Perfect for cycling in traffic and commuting
Folding bikes: great for mixing modes of transport
- Smaller wheels and fewer gears
- Can be folded down and easily tucked under desks
- Easier and lighter to carry
- Great for short hops and for mixing commuting by bike with public transport
Electrically assisted bikes: great for longer commutes
- Power kicks in automatically or on demand depending on the model chosen
- Needs charging up, so there will be running costs
- Great for cyclists who need help up hills or have longer daily commutes
Road bikes or racers: great for urban commuting
- Lightweight with skinny tyres
- Drop handlebars
- Hi-tech versions perfect for road racing
- Lower spec versions great for urban commuting
- Sturdier versions, called touring bikes, are perfect for long distances
Mountain bikes: great for off-road trails
- Sturdy frames, knobbly tyres and highly effective breaks
- Some have front suspension, some back suspension, some both
- Perfect for off-road such as forest trails
- If using slick tyres they are comfortable on roads
Choosing the right size
The perfect size for you will depend on the type of bike and kind of riding. There are no standard guidelines so try your bike before you buy to make sure you’re choosing the right type of bike and frame size. Ask the retailer for help when in doubt.
Female cyclists must take into consideration that there are female-specific bikes. The frames don’t have a crossbar to make it easier to get on and off wearing a skirt. Frames also tend to be shorter and the saddles are wider at the back and narrower at the front.
Don’t forget you’ll need a few accessories, such as a lock and a pump. Find out more on our Get Equipped pages.