A Beginners Guide to Buying a Bike

Cycling first resurfaced in the 1980s having been the preserve of a quiet and obsessive bunch. It quietly became more and more desirable to use a bike as a means of transportation, leisure and at the far end, adrenaline pumping fun.

Nowadays there is a bike for practically every purpose – there are road bikes, mountain bikes, cross country bikes, BMXs, folding commuter bikes, electric bikes and a whole host of others besides. The choice is quite simply staggering and can be rather daunting for a first time buyer. First buyers must not despair, for help is at hand.

There are many websites and shops that are more than happy to provide advice on what bike would be necessary for you – the first thing to consider is the terrain that you’re going to be tackling on your bike. This is an extremely important factor as it will determine what type of bike is most suited to you. If you are going to using the bike purely for your daily commute, then a hybrid with slick tyres and a comfortable frame and seat is the bike for you.

If you wish to do some leisurely riding on the country side roads as well, then a hybrid would suit you just fine. For a bit of added comfort, opt for one with front suspension to help smooth out some of the bumps. If you are planning to stick to the roads and little else then one of these bikes would be ideal, however, if you wish to get out onto rougher country trails and into the woods, then a mountain bike may be what you’re after. With a strong frame and chunkier, wider tyres these bikes are ideal for traversing forest paths and country cycle lanes.

Those who consider themselves to be initiated into the cycling world and who wish to upgrade their bike to a new model should consider what they want that bike to do. In the mountain biking world, there are so many different types of bike with different attributes designed to tackle fairly unique disciplines.

Buying one expensive bike which is not suited to what you wish to do could end up with you spending more money than you had originally intended. If you wish to do jumps buy a dirt jumper, if you wish to do cross country and a bit of down hilling buy an all mountain rig. Essentially, before buying a bike you should have a good idea of what you want that bike to do, as there is a world of difference between having the perfect bike for the job and just picking the first one you see.

Jamie Price is a writer for the Halfords Advice Centre, providing answers to questions on anything from bikes and camping to car accessories.

Like many cyclists, I've been riding since I was very young and despite now being less-young, I love it just as much. I've done my time on road bikes, have cycled throughout the UK, including Lands End to John O' Groats (yes, uphill!) and now have fun on a mountain bike, in the hills and doing charity bike rides.