Whatever you want to get out of the sport of cycling, there is a bike that will suit your purposes. However, if you are sensible, steer clear of a particular type simply because you think it looks flash.
This is particularly true of those who watch 10 minutes of the Tour de France and splash the cash on the most expensive road racer that they can find.
In short, practicality should be the main influence in making your purchase. Nevertheless, here is an introduction to the different machines you will find on the market; the choice is yours.
Characterised by drop handlebars and narrow rims, these lightweight machines are synonymous with the professional image of the sport. Designed for those who have a need for speed.
Many sport the drop handlebars of the racer, but the less glamorous longer frame together with lower gearing give away the more functional aspects of this bike. High load bearing capabilities make this the packhorse of the bike community.
More than any other type of bike, this has done more to raise the profile of cycling both as a leisure activity and an efficient way to get from A to B.
The smaller wheels and chunky tyres are a dead giveaway, offering greater shock absorption over rough terrain, while lower gearing means those gradients are going to take less of a toll on both legs and lungs.
Also referred to as a cross bike, these are designed as the name suggests to combine the best attributes of both the road racer and the mountain bike.
So you’ll get more of the speed of the former; more of the comfort of the latter, making the Hybrid the bike of choice for those who want to get the most for their money, seven days a week, whether travelling to work or enjoying a weekend in the saddle.
You won’t find much kudos attached to one of these; in fact, the bike snobs may subject the rider to the odd snigger or two. Nevertheless, that’s a small price to pay if space to store the bike either at home or in the office is at a premium.
Apart from a lack of glamour, folding bikes have limited gears and small wheels which means they are designed for short, leisurely trips over surfaces that won’t test the resolve of either man or machine.
So-called because of the position of the rider, they offer relief for those who suffer back or joint pain. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this type of bike is definitely the one for you.
However they do take some getting used to, and if you are planning to pick up any speed, it is wise to ride a model fitted with a windscreen.
The most sociable form of cycling, ideal for taking a more leisurely approach to touring. They’ve come a long way, too, in terms of design – both road racing and mountain bike versions are available.
However, by definition, it means that both riders have to be working as a team, so they do take some getting used to.
Remember, too, when purchasing that the frame has to be the right size for both of you.