Choosing a Bike

Bikes have come a long way since the humble penny farthing. There are a wide variety of bikes that all perform different tasks.It is essential that you ask yourself  exactly what you want your bike to do; do not fall into the trap of getting a certain type of bike just because it is fashionable or cool.

Mountain bike

choosing a bike 2These bikes have big knobbly tyres, lots of gears and suspension. They are designed to perform off road on rough terrain. If you wanted to get a bike to commute to work or school this would not be a sensible choice, it would be rather like driving a tractor on the motorway. If however you wanted to speed down a mountainside or discover your local forest/off road cycle trail, they may be a sensible choice. Prices range from £100- £3,000 or more! £400 will get you a reasonably competent mountain bike that will be good for a beginner.

Road/racing bike

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Road or racing bikes are recognisable by their light frames, narrow tyres and drop handlebars. They would be an ideal choice if you wanted to race with a local club or cover long distances at speed but are not suitable for any off road riding. Road bikes come in a variety of gearing option from single speeds to 27 speeds and offer multiple hand positions on the curvy bars. Prices range from £300-£5,000 or more. £600 will get you a reasonable club bike.

Hybrid bikes. 

choosing a bike 4Hybrids are designed with mixed riding in mind; they are a combination of the best points of both mountain bikes and road/racing bikes. Most Hybrids have larger diameter wheels and plenty of gears; they give a comfortable upright ride. Hybrid bikes generally have space for mudguards and all the necessary fixings to fix a rear rack, very useful for carrying luggage. Hybrids would be an ideal choice for a commuter or someone wanting a ‘do it all’ bike. Prices range from £250-£1,000.

Folding bikes.

choosing a bike 5Folding bikes are a great solution for people who want to take their cycle on public transport.

A folding bike folds to the size of a large bag and can be taken on any train or bus.  This makes them useful to cycle to the train station or to place in the boot of a car. Folding bikes usually have a limited number of gears and small wheels. They are not designed to travel long distances but can be very versatile. Prices range from £250-£1,000.

BMX bikes

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BMX bikes are designed to perform tricks and to race around an off-road course. BMX bikes are very strong with small wheels and a single gear. They are not designed to travel long distances on a road or in a forest. Prices range from £100-£500.



Cargo bikes

These bikes are designed to carry a large amount of luggage over difficult terrain.  They tend to be very strong and have a rack to the rear and sometimes a basket to the front.  These bikes are designed to be comfortable and can be used as a real alternative to a car for shopping etc.  Prices range from £300-£500.

Electric assist bikes

Electric bikes tend to be quite expensive and heavy and are usually designed around a hybrid bike frame. Some of the newer electric bikes use very sophisticated motors and batteries cutting down the weight and allowing a greater range. Electric bikes work by allowing the rider to cycle normally but using the electric motor to help up hills or to help combat rider fatigue. Prices range from £500-£1,000.

Tandem bikes

Do you want to be very sociable? Tandem bikes are designed for two people.  You can either have a mountain bike style tandem or a road version.  Prices range from £500-£2500.

Tag-along bikes

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These are not really bikes as they do not have a front wheel.  These devices are great for getting out and about with children.  The tag-along attaches to the rear of a ‘normal’ bike and allows your little ones to help with the pedalling! Prices range from £120-£150.

The Stockton-on-Tees Active Travel Hub