Useful Tips

How to choose the right bike: tips for beginners

A bicycle is not only an affordable means of transportation that helps you keep fit, for some it’s a hobby and a way to travel, but someone doesn’t imagine their life without it. The bike does not need refueling and expensive maintenance, it allows you to bypass traffic jams and not suffer in search of a parking space, and you can ride on it not only on paved city roads. About which bike is better to choose for yourself and what you should pay attention to at the same time, read our article.

What type of bike to choose?

The following main types of bicycles are conventionally distinguished:

  • city ​​or road
  • highway
  • stunt or BMX,
  • mountain or MTB.

Subtypes or intermediate varieties are also sometimes distinguished: cruiser, tourist, hybrid, etc.

To choose the type of bike, you need to decide where and how you are going to ride it. This will not only find the best model, but also save on purchase.

City bike (also known as a road bike) is designed to move around the city; its main advantages are comfort and practicality. The steering wheel is located above the saddle and is adjustable in height, so the driver’s landing is straight (like on a chair). The saddle is wide and soft. Half of the models have a low arched frame to make it comfortable to sit and ride in casual clothes, including in skirts and dresses.

Speeds can be from 1 (single speed) to 8, but usually 3 (for a leisurely ride around the city this is more than enough). Protective wings and chain protection are necessary so as not to stain clothes, there is a footrest and bell. On a city bike, small loads can be transported, so a trunk or basket is often included. This type of bike is designed to ride on smooth roads, including a level dirt road or a well-trodden path. Riding along bumpy tracks or dashingly skipping borders on it is not worth it, because in most models there is no depreciation (and if there is, then only the front). It is also not designed to overcome steep climbs - in addition to being physically difficult for you, it is also fraught with breakdowns (due to the high load on the chain and sprocket). Most of the models can be bought, keeping within the minimum budget.

A cruiser can be classified as a subclass of city bikes.

There are no significant differences from the city, except that the appearance - the design of the motorcycle was taken as the basis. A special shape of the frame, a sweeping curved steering wheel, and a necessarily wide and comfortable saddle stand out. Often, the main argument in favor of choosing a cruiser is the appearance. This bike is best for walking.

Road bikes designed for cycling, because the entire design of such a bicycle is designed for high-speed riding on a smooth asphalt surface.

The “lamb horns” steering wheel provides grip options for long trips and the possibility of an extended landing (the body is parallel to the frame to improve aerodynamics), the thinnest and lightest frame, 28-inch wheel diameter, narrow smooth high-pressure tires, complete absence of shock absorption.

Mountain biking or mountain biking (MTB) is currently the most popular type, which is largely due to its versatility. Originally designed for off-road driving, but also in the city it is no less convenient, especially if you ride not only on smooth roads.

It’s more difficult to get high speed on MTB, compared to tourist and highway, but its wide tires allow you to drive on asphalt, dirt, grass, stones, sand, etc. Moreover, the presence of one or, especially, two shock absorbers significantly increases ride comfort on rough road. Thanks to the gearshift system on the mountain bike, you can go up a steep climb without exerting extra effort, and a sturdy frame reduces the likelihood of serious damage to the bicycle in the event of an accidental fall.

Touring bicycles were created by tourists for tourists, so their purpose is to travel long distances with large luggage. The choice of characteristics depends on where and how much loaded you are going to travel, and also, more important: speed, maneuverability or the level of comfort of cargo transportation. If you plan to travel with heavy cargo for a long time on a flat road, then it is better to choose the "classic tourist" - a frame with an extended wheelbase and elongated rear feathers. When the rear wheel is far enough away, the luggage is convenient to fasten and it does not interfere with pedaling, jolting on obstacles is not so noticeable, and the muscles get less tired during a long trip. Low center of gravity improves handling when driving with load. The disadvantages of this design are loss of maneuverability and slow entry into turns.

If you are going to travel in mountainous and rough terrain, it makes sense to consider models more similar to mountain models or adapt a mountain bike accordingly. When the wheels are closer to each other, and the front fork with a smaller angle of inclination, handling will become higher, but carrying bulk cargo may not be so convenient (with short feathers it will be more difficult to fasten and easier to touch with your foot). By placing the saddle closer to the pedals, you can accelerate faster and easier to take lifts, but this will give more load on the muscles with a long ride.

The most common is a direct bicycle wheel, but it can also be in the form of "ram's horns." The latter allows you to change the grip and position, thanks to this you can ride for a long time at high speed and tire less of your arms and back. The choice of wheel size is more a matter of taste, but a bike with a smaller diameter is more compact and more convenient for transportation. When choosing a braking system, you need to understand that braking with a load requires more effort, the most reliable option is a hydraulic disk. "Tourists" have a lot of gears, including for lifting uphill and accelerating in a straight line, double or reinforced wheel rims and many additional elements useful on the road (front racks, flashlights, bottle holders, etc.).

A hybrid bike is an intermediate option between mountain and city. Most often this type includes MTB with a lightweight frame and tires of reduced thickness.

The kit may include fenders, luggage racks and other accessories typical of road bikes. This is the best option if you ride not only on bike paths and smooth asphalt, but also on rough terrain of parks, often overcome curbs and similar bumps, or drive on roads whose quality leaves much to be desired. Hybrids typically have one front shock absorber. It will be more difficult to overcome sand or mud. At the same time, it is not difficult for a hybrid to climb a hill - its number of gears is not inferior to a mountain bike.

A stunt bike or BMX is purchased by those who need not a vehicle, but a sports accessory for extreme skiing. Typical features of models of this class: a low powerful frame made of a particularly durable alloy, a seat located significantly below the steering wheel, wide rims and tires, only one speed.

There are no shock absorbers in such bicycles (pros prefer to get rid of them at all), and the hand brake allows you to block only one wheel. Riding BMX is usually only within specially equipped areas or in places where the terrain contributes to jumping and other tricks.

All other types of bicycles are modified versions of the main types. Usually they are highly specialized or imply the presence of certain skills. For example, Downhill (downhill) - a kind of mountain bike for downhill from the mountains, and dirt bike Is a variation of a stunt bike for professionals.

Manufacturer dimensional grids

First of all, when choosing a bicycle, you need to look at the dimensional grid of a particular company. Such tables should be made by the bicycle manufacturer. Often the necessary information can be found when searching in online stores. If the manufacturer did not provide such information, then you can choose a bike on a universal grid.

Indirect definition

There is also a calculation method for determining the size, which will be useful for buying through an online store. To correctly place an order for a bicycle, you will need to measure your height from the groin to the floor and multiply the resulting measurement in centimeters by a factor of 0.66 for a road bike, or 0.57 for a mountain bike. The result of the calculation is the size in centimeters. To translate the result into inches, just divide the value by 2.54.

Test drive

If you can ride your favorite bike, be sure to try the new car. When buying in the market or in the store, place the bike between your legs, touching the back of the nose of the saddle. In this position, there should be at least 10 cm of free space between your groin and frame, i.e. approximately the width of the palm of your hand. Riding a bicycle with a frame too high is dangerous, because in case of danger, you jump without hesitation from the saddle and hit the crotch on the upper tube of the frame.

General recommendations when choosing a bike by size:

  1. For sports, high-speed riding, it is better to buy a larger bike.
  2. It is easier for older people, overweight people to ride a bicycle with a smaller frame.
  3. If you perform tricks, then choose a bike with a low frame, two sizes smaller than the calculated size.
  4. Do not buy a “universal” bike that you think will suit you 185 cm tall and your wife if she is much lower than you - 160 cm.
  5. You do not need to take a small size and hope that everything can be adjusted by pulling out the seatpost and raising the steering wheel. Very often, the thin-walled frames of small bicycles break with an overly extended pin.

Weight choice

If you, considering your heavy weight, want to buy high-speed transport of large size, because large models have stronger frames, then in no case do this. It will be difficult for you to ride a high bike, you will quickly get tired, and you will not reach high speeds on it anyway. It is better to buy a bike that is suitable for obese people, namely a mountain or city bike or a handsome cruiser. You will ride one of them in a more upright position, and your back will not be strained.

If your weight exceeds 80 kg, do not purchase models with a falling back frame and a long seatpost.

Bicycle for baby

Children grow fast, and many parents want to buy a bike for growth. However, to seat the baby on a large bike is traumatic. The child will fidget around the seat, trying to reach the pedals, and may fall or hit the high frame. In addition, large brake levers are installed on models for older children. Riding on such a serious transport, your child may not reach the levers or he will not have enough strength to press them. And when it will be necessary to avoid a collision, the baby will not be able to stop.

Most precisely for children's growth, you can pick up children's bicycles imported. There are much more such instances than domestic models. You can make the right choice only by comparing the height of the child with the diameter of the wheels of the purchase. And the landing height and the distance to the steering wheel can be changed by raising or lowering the saddle and steering wheel.

I go out alone on the road

I go out alone on the road,
Through the fog, the siliceous path glistens ...

Everything in the world is cyclical: exchange rates, ebbs and flows, fashion trends. Phenomena and things, replacing each other in an endless cycle, go away, in order to return one day. A fashion for vehicles is no exception. Nowadays, the bike is gaining wild popularity again.

When I was eight or ten years old, everyone around (as it seemed to me) pedaled. Boys in the yard, participants in the Tour de France, flashed in the news on TV Rubin, lean pensioners on the "Tourists" - in a word, everyone, who, as they say, is not lazy, rode on two wheels.

Ask, probably, anyone who is already thirty or thirty years old with what kind of bikes were during our childhood, and I am almost sure that the answer will not be long in coming. I think you will hear painfully familiar names: “Kama”, “Cross”, “Schoolboy”, “Salute”, “Vela”, “Sura”, “Ural” and, in fact, “Tourist” - the legendary roadster of that era. Tell me, have I missed anything?

As you can see, the problem of choice was not particularly acute: what was on the windows of city shops was bought. The trouble has always been with availability.

What is today? Without hesitation, you can visit the mall closest to you, from the doors of which you will ride on horseback. I hasten to warn my readers until disaster strikes: this is the cheapest way that only migrant workers resort to in order to save the same amount.

Personally, I have witnessed at least two cases where the Auchan bike literally fell apart in half under its negligent owner, unable to withstand a simple trip over rough terrain.

So, if you do not want to become a victim of your own avaricious indiscretion, go to a specialized sports store. We reliably know that the popular networks of resellers of goods for outdoor activities are present in most major cities of Russia, so do not hesitate for a second and go straight there.

Our great compatriot poet supposedly foresaw a problem that today you may encounter when buying a “steel horse”. Despite the wide range of models and types of this vehicle, presented in the networks of sports shops, the problem of choice still occupies the top line of the hit parade: to find “freedom and peace” in all this variety is not easy.

If everything is more or less clear with dealers, then with the modifications and the degree of complexity of the two-wheeled equipment offered at retail, things are worse: the choice is huge, from which it is incomprehensible to make a start when making a decision. When I, thinking of buying myself a bike instead of a car, a year ago I found myself among the rows of bikes smelling of engine oil, I was confused and, as a result, left empty-handed.

At that time, the problem was solved somehow by itself: the next day, going to visit one of my friends, I saw a shining countryman who I fell in love with at first sight. And I ordered myself exactly the same on the same day (as it turned out, I still miscalculated, and soon you will find out why).

Avaricious pays twice, stupid - thrice

If your plans include something more than sighing over the desired equipment in the showroom, then let's find out about the main points that you have to consider in order not to make annoying mistakes, albeit at a relatively bargain price.

1. Decide on purchase goals. In order not to fall asleep already at this stage, start with yourself, or rather, with your character, to understand what kind of rider you are. Think about where and how you will ride, because it is much easier to share your thoughts with a store consultant than to kill a few hours studying the functional capabilities of a particular type of bike.

Speaking of types. Bicycles are conditionally divided into four categories:

  • Mountain. The two main varieties of this group are bicycles with one (hardtail) and two (two-suspension) shock absorbers, which allows the rider to move off-road with relative comfort.
  • Road. This is a bike for a quiet ride around the city. Suitable, for example, to get to your favorite bakery for croissants or to show off on the promenade on a sunny summer day. For bragging, by the way, the best option for buying is a cruiser (aka chopper), which got its name due to the outward resemblance to a biker motorcycle.
  • Highway (here, in principle, one can also include track bicycles intended for riding on special tracks - cycle tracks). Such bicycles do not have shock absorbers, which allows you to unload the muscles of the rider's hands and gain a fairly high speed on a flat road. Perhaps this is one of the best options for moving in a big city, where traffic takes place on asphalt.
  • Hybrid They are also called tourist bikes. The design of such a bike is a cross between mountain and highway options. As a rule, a hybrid has a considerable number of speeds, combining the ability to tolerate rolling in a straight line and the ability to comfortably move over rough terrain.

2. Estimate the budget you are counting on. It is important to understand that a bicycle of the initial price category is able to bring the owner no less joy than an apparatus comparable in value to a motorcycle.

If your goal is to unwind after a busy day, and not to conquer the jumps on the forest, then you are most likely to use a bicycle for cross-country discipline. В народе он называется «хардтейл» (от англ. h ard — «жёсткий» и t ail — «задняя часть», буквально — «хвост»), или «кантрийник».

3. Выберите магазин. Это важно, так как некоторые специализируются на каком-то конкретном типе велосипедов, предлагая своим клиентам дополнительные услуги, такие как ремонт, настройка узлов и так далее.

4. Определитесь с количеством скоростей. As a rule, 20–27 speeds are more than enough for you to roll from a mountain or uphill in an urban setting - just that much is available on an average hardtail. By the way, due to the possibility of fixing the front fork of the shock absorber, this type of bike is perfect for city residents: it will be equally fun to drive in the city limits and beyond.

5. Choose frame size. This will help you in any specialized store, but just in case I inform you: if your height is less than 180 cm - your size is M. If about 180 cm, then L (my height is 179 cm, frame L). And if 190 cm and above, then XL, respectively.

6. Look for opportunities for a test drive. In general, this is fundamental. You can shovel a mountain of any special literature and not climb out of online communities and forums dedicated to one or another cycling discipline. But the best option, albeit somewhat overhead, would be to ride on each bike to understand your feelings about the trip. The owner of one certain type will almost certainly incline you towards his own preference, which is unacceptable in our situation.

Let me give you a personal example, which was briefly described at the beginning of the article. Let me remind you: a year ago I was fascinated by the view of the countryman seen from one of my comrades. The bike turned out to be really good, with powerful hydraulic brakes, medium "premium" components and a nice color.

Having skated on it for almost three months and having gained courage and some skill, I began to actively jump from the curbs and drop into the small jumps that fall in the city on my way. Gradually, my bike began to break, which led to repeated repairs on trifles, as well as the replacement of several nodes that had become unusable. Having shared my sadness with a bicycle workshop employee, I realized that a year ago I made the wrong choice.

Given the above, I urge our readers to learn from the mistakes of others and start from the end: do not be too lazy to walk to the bike store and chat with sales consultants. Most likely, you will not be denied a test drive: these days it is absolutely normal practice.

Go in for sports, pedal and remember: safety is above all!

Women's bicycles

Girls should choose a bike by height in the same way as men, namely by size of frames. Only if the girl is going to ride in a skirt, then you need to give preference to an understated frame. The steering wheel on a women's bicycle should be narrow, not straight and preferably with thin handles.

It can be concluded that cruise bikes are perfect for ladies, but it’s up to them to decide.
The design of modern cruisers for women is thought out to the smallest details: a beautiful frame with smooth bends, comfortable luggage baskets, wide saddles decorated with patterns, coloring in bright colors.

City bike

The main advantage of this is that it is convenient for them to use as a vehicle. It is staffed as much as possible in production. It has a flag, a trunk, protection on a chain, a taillight and a headlight, wings for riding on wet roads.

In the streets of European countries, every second person rides a city bike. A fully prepared bike of this type will allow you to go on business, to work, to bring products from the store in any weather. At the same time, you will save money on travel by public transport and do a good physical workout.

City bicycles are good for traveling on a hard, rolled road, but not suitable for riding on sand and dirt.

Bicycles of this class are the most comfortable for a leisurely ride. They have the most beautiful, original design frames, a long wheelbase, wide soft tires, a soft saddle sofa, a large curved steering wheel. On such a great you will sit just like on a Harley.

Having a lot of weight, the cruiser bike accelerates slowly, but having gained speed, it rolls confidently, smoothing out all the bumps in the road. When stopping at a traffic light, you do not need to jump from such a bicycle, you just have to put your foot up, like on a motorcycle. Some models even have a cup holder.

Folding bicycle

When folded, it can be transported in public transport or in the trunk of your car. A ride on it will replace a long trip to the garage for a car. With the bike folded, you can go into the elevator, with it they let into a cafe, shop, office. This is a good bike for physical workout, which is especially useful after sedentary office work.

The cross-country ability of a folding bike with small wheels is low, so it will be difficult for you to overcome broken paving slabs, pits on the road, curbs and especially loose crushed stone or washed-out ground.

Road bike

Designed to develop high speed on an asphalt road. This is helped by the features of the roadway device: the frame is welded from thin pipes, lightweight mite brakes are installed, there is a steering wheel with a lower grip, a simple seat without packing and springs is fixed, thin wheels are delivered, cameras are pumped up to a pressure of 8 atmospheres.

It is difficult to ride on a dirt road on a dirt road, and it is almost impossible to drive through mud and sand.

Mountain Bike (MTB)

A classic mountain bike has only a shock absorbing front fork; it does not have a rear suspension. It is great for the most popular skiing style - cross country. It will easily pass along any road in the forest, through fields and hills, thanks to wide tires, a sturdy frame and a strong steering wheel.

MTB is the most versatile vehicle on which you can drive both off-road and on asphalt.

Hybrid (Cross Bike)

Unlike the mountain one, it has full-sized wheels with a diameter of 28 inches with narrow tires. Large narrow wheels on these models are installed to move on asphalt along with road racers. On the other hand, a short-stroke fork and a wide straight handlebar, as options from a mountain bike, are preserved on the cross bicycles. In fact, such great ones are a mixture of MTB and road racing, so they are called hybrids.

The hybrid is designed for fast city driving, as it is as maneuverable as a mountain bike, and accelerates almost as fast as a road bike. For serious off-road, when driving in mud and sand, it is not suitable as a mountain alternative.

Double suspension

Bikes with two shock absorbers are much more comfortable than hardtail, thanks to the rear shock absorption. When riding on gravel, stones can not get out of the seat and continue to pedal. Two-suspensions are better controlled when descending from the non-rolled slopes of hills and mountains.

Double-suspension for skiing in the style of cross-country, all-mountain, trail. The last two styles are popular with European athletes, in which they arrange long races along the paths in the mountains. More expensive and technologically advanced two-suspension: with carbon frames, pneumatic disc brakes, with a stroke of shock absorbers 160-210 mm, are used in the most extreme disciplines, such as downhill and freeride.

On a flat road, cycling with a rear shock absorber is more difficult to move than on a hardtail. The front shock absorber does not swing the frame so much when pedaling, as the rear shock, which significantly springs when the pedal is depressed.

When choosing a bike, ignore suspiciously cheap models with a complex, awkward-shaped frame and a complete set: with two-suspension with disc brakes, steering wheel horns. Such non-standard items are built from the cheapest parts, they are very heavy, and first of all they are going to attract the attention of buyers. Save your money - do not pay twice.