What bike should I buy?

Buying a bike can be a bit bewildering! Hybrid, road, gravel, mountain,  electric...which is right for me...how much do I need to spend? 

Some questions to consider when buying a bike...

  • What is my budget?
  • What will I use my bike for?
  • Will I be sticking to roads or riding on more rough surfaces?
  • Do I want a bit of extra help up those hills (an electric bike)?
  • Does my commute also include some public transport (a folding bike might be useful)?

How much do I need to spend on a bike?
Prices can range from £100 to £10,000+ and it's difficult to suggest what the right amount of money is for you.  This wide price range means that you should be able to find something to suit your budget. Generally, as with most things, the more you spend the higher the quality frame and components (gears, brakes etc) you will get.  Don't forget you may be able to get a significant saving, and interest-free purchase by buying through a cycle to work, salary sacrifice scheme (through Vivup here at SFH).

How much do I need to spend on clothing and equipment?
There are only 3 things that are essential to buy, and they can all be purchased with significant savings if you buy them alongside a new bike through a salary sacrifice scheme (Vivup).

  • Lights - £25+
  • Lock - £25+
  • Helmet - £25+

There is no need to spend money on specialist clothing when you start off, but as you become more enthusiastic about cycling you may chose to spend on cycling jackets and gloves. For me, the best value items to keep you warm when cycling in the Winter are a scarf/snood (£5+) and overshoes (a bit like an overcoat for your shoes, £20+).

What type of bike should I buy?
The answer to this question will depend on what you want/need to do on your bike. Here is an overview of types of bike and what they are used for...

Mountain bike
Rugged tyres, sturdy frame. Many come with front suspension which makes riding over rough terrain more comfortable. Heavier than a more road-oriented bike so generally a bit slower and requires more effort when riding on roads.

Road bike
Drop handlebars, lighter frame and components, narrower wheels, no suspension. For many, a bit less comfortable to ride than a mountain or hybrid bike but the fastest bike on roads. 

Hybrid bike
Somewhere between a mountain and road bike. Straight handlebars like a mountain bike but generally the frame looks more like a road bike. Some may have a front suspension. They have a more upright riding position that is generally more comfortable.

Gravel bike
Like a hybrid, they are somewhere between a mountain and road bike. Drop handlebars, a light but sturdy frame, coupled with tyres that a bit wider than you would find on a road bike. More expensive models may have some form of suspension. Often thought of as a 'do-it-all' bike.

Folding bike
The name says it all. A bike that can be folded to create a smaller package. Often used when your commute involves riding as well as travel on a bus or train. Can also be used to fold it down and easily put it in your boot if part of your commute involves a car journey.

Electric bike
An increasingly popular (and increasingly affordable) option. Electric power can be found in any of the bike types listed above.  Benefits include the ability to travel further and generate less sweat on your way to work. More information can be found here.