Are you about to buy a bike but don’t know where to start? The first thing to do is to get the best information because yes, even the bikes have one size, different sizes and it is not true that they are all the same. So whether you need a racing model, a city model or a bicycle for out-of-town trips, here’s all you need to know to choose your bike.
How to choose your bike
Cycling is good for your health, everyone knows this, but perhaps not everyone knows that to pedal well and do a proper physical activity is also necessary to rely on the right model and choose the bicycle of a suitable size and with the right characteristics. In this way no muscle in the body, or even the back, will feel tired making incorrect movements and you can enjoy the many benefits that cycling offers, whether you decide to use the bike for sport, or that you use it as a means of transport to all intents and purposes.
If it is true that all bicycles, or almost all, pedal at the same time, it is not the same for the model. In fact, there are several models; large or small, racing or city, it does not matter, in any case the bike should be chosen well, following precise criteria and paying attention and care.
But which bike to buy? This is the most difficult question for those who have to make this purchase, perhaps for the first time. Racing bike, hybrid bike or Mountain Bike? Answering this question is relatively simple: just know what kind of use you want to make of the bike.
If you use the bike to travel along beaten tracks, it is useless to rely on a Mountain Bike; the best solution in this case is a road bike, hybrid or with a light frame, which may have wheels wide enough to travel safely on dirt roads. If, on the other hand, your objective is to use the bicycle for sporting activities, the ideal choice is a Mountain Bike or a racing bike. But let’s take a closer look at these models.
This model was born as a mountain bike and is equipped with frame, wheels, handlebars and wide tires. Depending on the model, it can have six rear and three front changes and is generally sold with various accessories such as the pump to inflate it and the lever needed to remove the tire.
It is true that it was born as a mountain bike, but the Mountain Bike can also be used to pedal in the city as a normal sports bike. What is important is to add, as per the law of the road, warning lights and reflectors on the pedals.
If you want to use the Mountain Bike for physical activity on specific routes, it is also good to add lights and mudguards, to prevent the mud from getting between the chain and the crankcase, or between the wheel and the mudguard, blocking and hindering movements.
This bike has a sturdy frame, a sprung saddle, mudguards and a handlebar high enough to allow you to ride in an upright position. These bicycles are generally equipped with luggage racks and basket containers, very useful if you use the bike to move and shop in the city.
This type of bike is generally used for short daily trips and is not equipped with changes like the Mountain Bike. The city bike can also be used for short sports excursions, as long as they are short. As there are no changes, it is impossible to calibrate effort and performance on this bike through ascents and descents.
The city bike is also the one that can be modified most according to your needs, especially if you have to face, from time to time, small excursions or trips. On these models you can add the carrier, both at the front and at the rear, depending on your needs, or the front or rear bags for any luggage.
In general, city bikes are also equipped to hold a second water bottle and, some models, also have a front bag made specifically to hold the topographic maps. Depending on the case, it is also possible to replace the classic handlebar with the racing handlebar, which facilitates you with more positions, and also apply a “triple multiplier” to have a third ratio available in the front.
Another alternative, if you are sporty but like light bikes, is the hybrid solution. This type of bike was born as a racing bike adapted for long journeys. It has a quite heavy frame and offers a good driving stability, perfect for a picnic out of town but also to move around the city.
General tips for choosing the right bike
There are also a number of good standards to take into account when buying a bicycle. That is what they are:
- The handlebars: always check that they are comfortable and adjusted to the position that is most comfortable for you. If you are not convinced, try it out.
- The child seat: it must always be approved, offer the right support to the spine and have the safety strap and leg protector. It’s best to choose a rigid model.
- Pay attention to the accessories, sometimes included in the price: the pump, the water bottle holder and the water bottle and the spare inner tube.
The bicycle trolley
In the Nordic countries it is used a lot, while in Italy it is not very common among those who travel on two wheels. Let’s talk about the bicycle trolley, light and easy to tow, which is applied directly behind the bike and is covered by a tent. In northern European countries it is very often used to carry shopping bags or as a means of transport for children.
It must be said that the safety of our roads, which in many places are not equipped with cycle paths, does not allow the use of this means of transport that, especially if it is used to transport children, would not be completely safe.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BIKE SIZE
Now to the more technical aspects of the choice of bicycle. Even if you are not an expert in the field, in fact, to make a smart purchase and invest your money in the best way you need to have a general overview of the technical characteristics of the bike and what are the aspects to be taken into account.
But let’s get it in order. The first basic parameter is height, combined of course with the frame size. If you make a mistake in choosing the size of the frame, for example, you will be uncomfortable when pedalling and you may also run into unpleasant physical problems such as back pain and muscular pains of various kinds.
To be sure to make a targeted and intelligent purchase and choose the best frame to our needs is always better to ask for a parare at the store. You will be asked first of all what use you intend to make of the bike and how intensively you intend to use it.
To have a general idea, before asking for an expert’s opinion, it is good to know that, generally, the size of bicycles follows closely, it is just the case to say, the size indicators that we normally know for clothing: Small, Medium, Large. The bike should therefore be chosen according to the height of the cyclist and each corresponds to his size. Let’s take a few practical examples to clarify the concept.
If the height is between 140 and 150 cm, the size to be taken into consideration is the Extra Small, which generally corresponds to bicycles for children, while if the height varies from 150 to 165 cm the most suitable size is the Small. If the rider’s height is between 165 and 175 cm, a Medium size should be considered, while if the height is between 175 and 180 cm, the Large size is the right size. The XL model is reserved for those who have a height between 180 and 200 cm.
A further test for measuring the ergonomics of the bike is the so-called “horse size”. In other words, the distance between the ground and the rider’s groin is considered. Obtaining this measurement is quite easy. First of all, you have to stand up against a wall and place any book between your legs. Once this is done, you will have to push the book against the groin and, metre by metre, take the measurement at the top of the book.
If you are going to buy a road bike it will be enough to multiply by 0.66 the measure you have obtained, while if you want to buy a mountain bike, you must multiply the number by 0.58. The result obtained, of course, is in cm and, dividing by 2.54, you will easily get the result in inches.
If you are in the shop to carefully examine all the features of the bike, do not forget the saddle. The saddle must be adjusted to a precise size, to make it easier to ride and not to tire your back and muscles. To know at which height it would be better to adjust the saddle just multiply by 0.885 the measurement obtained for the horse and the calculation should be applied from the saddle to the center of the crank.