Sports & Wellness

Picking Up Your Perfect Bike: Coaches' Recommendations

22 Apr 2022

Planning on purchasing a new bike soon? Consult this guide to find out what biking coaches recommend in each biking specialty.


Looking to get active? The National Institute of Health and Care Research says cycling cuts your risk of cardiovascular disease by 24%. There are heaps of other benefits too.

Cycling saves you money on fuel. It is eco-friendly. You burn calories, tone up, and lift your spirits by getting out in nature.

Choosing a bike can be a tricky task. What type of bike is best for you?

Here we have laid our recommendations for choosing a new bike. Whether you glide over tarmac, power through mud, or get fit at home, we can help.

Read on for your guide to getting a bike.

Tips for Buying a Bike

Always test your bicycle in the shop before buying it. Most local bike shops let you do this. Choosing a bike that fits you well is like buying a pair of shoes; comfort trumps style in most cases.

Look for well-made components that last. You may save money upfront with a cheap bike, but you may need to replace things faster.

Aluminium frames are light, cost-effective, and strong enough for most rides. Steel frames are traditional, super-strong, but heavy. Carbon fibre frames are for high-end bikes where every ounce counts.

Remember to adapt your nutrition to give you the energy. Riding a bicycle will burn calories and give you a workout. You need to give your body healthy fuel for those extra miles.

Now let's take a look at the best types of bicycles for you.

Cycling

Road Bike

Road bikes suit, you guessed it, roads. They have slimline tyres, light frames, and drop handlebars. A road bike makes your ride smooth, fast, and efficient.

Less weight means you get more speed for your effort. For acceleration, road bikes beat mountain bikes hands down. If you will be on the tarmac most of the time, a road bike is the best choice.

Drop handlebars curve around and down. If you've watched the Tour de France, you've seen these. They have panel shifters and brakes within easy reach of your fingers.

Thin tyres with light treads mean off-roading is off the cards. For a more robust ride, look to hybrid bikes.

Hybrid Bike

Hybrids are a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes. They give you the best of both worlds. Many new riders get hybrids as their first bike.

Hybrid bikes have flat bars. These give you a more upright riding position that is easy on your back. You will get more wind resistance though.

Many hybrid bikes have front suspension forks to absorb impacts. If you plan to take your hybrid bike on trails, you will be glad you have these. 

Thicker tyres with off-road tread give you grip in mud. These will be slower on tarmac than road bike tyres, but you will still get going fast.

Hybrid bikes are ideal for anyone looking to get active on and off-road.

Cycling

Mountain Bike

Most mountain bikes have full suspension. They absorb impacts at the front and under your seat. Mountain bikes suit rough trails, mud, and steep hills. 

Mountain bikes can have low gear ranges, meaning you can drop into the lowest gear for steep inclines. 

Mountain bikes can be slow on the tarmac. Many have thick, deep-treaded tyres that suit thick mud, not smooth roads. Hybrids or road bikes are better for road riders.

Mountain bikes will get you up the steepest hill. They cruise churned-up fields, and down craggy slopes. Their upright riding position keeps you balanced.

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BMX Bike

BMX bikes are for the trickster in you. You'll see these on skate parks, where riders perform gravity-defying tricks. But the BMX bike is common with other riders, too.

A BMX bike has a tiny frame. This makes it portable and a convenient city bike. BMX bikes have one gear, but for casual riding, this may be enough.

Pegs, those metal tubes on the wheels, let BMX riders ferry their friends around with them. You must have seen this, and we won't debate the safety of such methods of transport here. That said, for some riders, this is handy.

If you want a bike that's easy to store, and can get you from A to B in the city, then a BMX bike can work. 

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Spin Bike

Spin bikes live indoors. They are stationary exercise bikes that are perfect for exercise. They differ from standard exercise bikes in a few big ways.

A spin bike has a heavy flywheel. This means you need to put in the effort to get it moving. But it also means the pedals keep turning when you slack off; there's no easy way out here!

To decelerate, you need to slow your pedal cadence. This makes a spin bike perfect for interval training.

You can adjust the seat and handlebar height. Most spin bikes have a road-bike riding position, letting you develop an efficient posture.

You can pair a spin bike with spin bike videos. Ride trails, uphill roads, and downhills. Your spin bike adjusts the resistance to mimic real rides.

Stretch out with yoga after your ride. Keep those limbs limber!

A spin bike is perfect for those looking to get active inside.

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eBike

The eBike market is booming right now, outselling electric cars in 2020. Their ease of use has boosted their popularity.

The UK Government has regulated eBikes. They have a top legal speed of 15.5mph (20kph) in the UK, but groups have petitioned to increase this to 20mph (32.2mph). But 15.5mph is plenty in our opinion.

eBikes have either hub motors or mid-drive motors. Hub motors sit on the front or back wheel and drive the eBike by direct motion. You can stop pedalling with a hub motor, press the throttle, and away you go.

Mid-drive motors sit in the middle of the frame. These are more efficient and more balanced but are more expensive than hub motors. You need to keep pedalling with mid-drive motors, but they work with your gears.

If you're looking to get active, eBikes tone your core, improve your balance, and get you out and about.

Cycling

Ready to Hit the Road?

We hope our guide helped you choose the right bike for you. Think about comfort, usage, cost, and riding position. No matter which style bike you choose, you will boost your health and get moving.

Our Somerton team are here to help you get active. We can help you hone your lifestyle, meet your goals, and have fun along the way. 

Sign up for our club to access all our health tips, special events, and training advice at Somerton. Our coaches are there for you when you need us.

In the meantime, get on your bike and go for a nice ride!



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