Bikes buyer's guide

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Bikes buyer's guide
By James Gadd 27 November 2017 No comments

Want to get out on two wheels but don’t know what sort of bike you need? You’re in the right place.

We use our bikes for everything. Jobs like getting around, getting the shopping, getting fit and getting airborne all put very different demands on our bikes, and that’s why there are so many different types of bike. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the main kinds of bikes that you might come across.

Road bikes

Road bikes are easy to recognise. They’ve got curved ‘drop’ handlebars and skinny slick tyres. As you can probably guess, road bikes are designed mostly for riding on roads, and they do this well. You can get where you’re going quickly and efficiently. If you’re going to be riding over longer distances and on roads, this is the bike to go for.

Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes are at the opposite end of the spectrum. They’re designed to be ridden off-road, so you’ll see wide, flat handlebars for control and fat, knobbly tyres for grip on loose terrain. Mountain bikes also normally come with a suspension fork, and sometimes rear suspension too. They’re not very fast on tarmac, but they really come alive when you get out onto the trails.

Hybrid bikes

Hybrid bikes fill the space between road and mountain bikes. They've got flat handlebars, but the tyres aren't quite as fat or as knobbly as a mountain bike. It's not unusual to find hybrids with front suspension to smooth out the bumps, but they don't have the same amount of squish as mountain bikes.

You'll also find practical things like mounts for racks (to attach panniers for carrying your stuff) or mudguards (to keep the road muck off you) on most hybrids. Some hybrids are designed for efficiency on the road, with skinny tyres and road bike gearing, while some are designed for bike path cruising, with thicker tyres and suspension. Either way, they're great all-rounders and are right at home in the city.


Fixies, or fixie bikes, are perfect for fuss-free riding around town. With just one gear, there’s hardly anything to maintain, and they’re really simple, reliable, and stylish! Perfect if you’re just looking to jump on and ride.

Folding bikes

As the name suggests, folding bikes can be folded up when you get to your destination. This means you can take them on public transport or stow them under your desk at work.

Cyclocross bikes

Cyclocross bikes are similar to road bikes, but are traditionally designed for racing off road. They've got drop handlebars, but come with thicker tyres with a tread for grip on loose surfaces. You'll also find disc brakes, which stop you consistently in all conditions. Because of their rugged frames and the extra clearance for big tyres, a CX bike can be a great commuter, and modern ones often include mounts for racks and mudguards.

Remember, these are just some of the main kinds of bikes. If you’ve got a style of riding in mind, there’s probably a bike to match it out there somewhere. Need some help? Get in touch with one of our stores.