Road / Paved Trail Cycling
Ride the open roads or explore the local paved trails.If you think you will only be riding on paved surfaces and wont be venturing off-road, then choose any variation of a pavement-specific bicycle. These bikes are available in a wide range of styles, so narrow down your selection by choosing bikes that best fill your needs by having the right combination of performance, versatility, and comfort.
» Fitness / Flat-bar Road Bike
These bikes combine many of the characteristics and benefits of road bikes with a more upright riding position, which for some people offers a more comfortable and relaxed ride. They have narrow, smooth-rolling tires for an efficient ride and are built on relatively lightweight frames. The upright riding position allows for good visibility and awareness while you ride crowded streets or bike paths. Because of this blend of performance and comfort, these bikes are perfect for riding the Razorback Greenway.So if youre going to be primarily riding paved trails, look at something like the Giant Escape series for men and the Liv Alight series for women. These are our most popular greenway bikes and are great for leisurely rides with the kids or for longer, more fitness-oriented cycling.
Price range: $360 $700
» Road Bikes
» Comfort Bikes
Price range: $340 $600
Electric Bike: Best If You Want A Hand Up The Hills
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
With assistance from a powerful motor, electric bikes or ebikes are great if youre a commuter who needs to arrive at work in a less sweaty state, or if youre less confident about your fitness.
Laws vary from country to country and, in the US, can vary from state to state. However, in the UK electric bikes limited to 15.5mph / 25km/h can be used on the road without a helmet or licence they are bikes as far as the law is concerned because you still need to pedal to activate the electric assistance .
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
More powerful ebikes are also available, but in some countries, including the UK, these are classed as mopeds or motorbikes and therefore need to conform to the same rules .
Most ebikes are designed to be comfortable and easy to live with thanks to flat bars, mudguards and luggage capacity. Often theres a significant price and weight premium over an equivalent regular bike for the battery, motor and control electronics. However, as the technology develops, both prices and weights are coming down some models even look remarkably like unassisted bikes.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
The world of electric mountain bikes also known as eMTBs is also a rapidly expanding one, allowing riders who might have needed to swear off their dirt riding activities to keep enjoying the countryside for longer than they might have imagined.
Pros: Easy to ride, comfortable, fun
Choose Your Battery Size
The battery and charger are matched with the motor.
The common voltages are 36-volt, 48-volt, 52-volt, and 72-volt.
The size of the battery is differentiated by Amp Hours, . Physically larger batteries have a higher aH because it has more cells.
Greater range can be achieved with a bigger battery as well as being able to power larger motors. Another option is using dual batteries which effectively doubles the range of the bike or you can carry an extra, which can be swapped out while the other is charging.
Each of those options, however, will make the bike heavier and create more bulk. The battery itself can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, if it is manufactured with quality, name brand cells.
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Finding Your Preferred Bike Riding Style
If you’re buying a bike to ride with a group of friends buy something similar to what they ride. Unless you’re super fit, you won’t be able to keep up with road bikes if you’re on a mountain bike or cruiser. And a road bike can’t handle trail riding like a machine made for it. If you enjoyed a 3-speed as a child, you may find this a fun bike again. If you disliked the road bike you bought a few years ago perhaps a mountain bike would be better.
As you learn about the different bicycles available and think about where and how you’ll ride, you’ll start getting a clear picture of the best bike for you. Here’s a quick primer of the different types that are available.
Determine How You Will Use Your Bike For Maximum Enjoyment
Before you commit to buying a bike, its important to determine what type of riding youll be doing. Are you looking for speed? Do you want to join a group? Will you mainly ride on sealed roads or do you want to race through forest trails and rugged terrain? Are you planning on longer or shorter commutes? Do you want to be able to attach a basket, rack, child seat or panniers to your bicycle? Are you looking to compete in events such as road racing or triathlons?
If you know your answers to these questions youll be able to use the bicycle type descriptions we outline later in this article to help you narrow down your choices.
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Price: How Much Should I Pay For My Road Bike
Too many people purchase bikes with only the price in mind. We, however, believe thats not the way to do it.
- Occasional riders From $300. If you use your cheap road bike for just commuting twice a week, then you can get a road bike around $300. Just keep an eye out for reliable brands.
- Beginners around $500 $1,500. If you are just starting training or want to use your road bike for commuting, you should look at something in this price scale. Youll get solid, entry-level components that will give you that proper road bike feeling.
- Trainers $1,000 $2,500. These road bikes have typically mid- to high-level components which are more expensive but last longer and offer much better performance. Bike frames in this range are made from lightweight aluminum or in the higher end carbon.
- Experts / Competitors From $2,500 and above. These bikes are designed to be a lightweight, reliable, and awesome performance. You can get a lightweight carbon frame with top-notch components.
We make these suggestions in this road bicycle buying guide because we have seen too many people buy bikes in the wrong price bracket.
Buying too cheap of a road bike can cost you a fortune when trying to fix and maintain it, and possibly ride poorly.
When buying something top end may give you the best performance, but if you are just starting out you might not care anyway.
Hierarchy Of Sram Shimano And Campagnolo
Searching around road bike buying guides might give you the feeling that components and groupsets are very hard to understand. However, they arent! There are two main component manufacturers and their hierarchy for road bikes are described below.
This is an updated list and you can see the freshest info here for Shimano and for SRAM.
- Shimano road bike groupsets listed from the beginning to the best components is Shimano Tourney -> Claris -> Sora -> Tiagra -> 105 -> Ultegra -> Ultegra Di2 -> Dura-Ace -> Dura-Ace Di2.
- Entry-level components are: Tourney, Claris, Sora, and Tiagra
- Performance components are 105 and Ultegrea
- Pro series is Dura-Ace
Both Ultegra and Dura-Ace are available in electronic shifting versions called Di2.
- For SRAM, this is the list in ascending quality order: Apex for entry-level Rival and Force for Performance and Red is pro level. The electronic shifting system is called eTap.
- Campagnolo is a less frequent choice but they offer their own groupset hierarchy. Here they are from worst to best: Centaur for entry-level, for performance level Potenza and Chorus, and for pro Record and Super Record.
Their electronic groupset is called EPS
Note that Campagnolos entry-level components are similar to Shimano and SRAM mid-level components.
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What Sizes Do Kids Bikes Come In
Kids bikes come in these different sizes which are based on the wheel size of the bike: 12 inch, 14 inch, 16 inch, 18 inch, 20 inch, 24 inch, and now even 26 inch. The wheel size is based on the diameter of the tire and as each tire size gets larger, so does the size of the bicycle frame. These different wheel and frame sizes help companies design bicycles that will fit kids of all ages. The most common sizes are: 12 inch, 14 inch, 16 inch, 20 inch, and 24 inch. You will learn later on why wheel size is NOT the best way to choose a bicycle for your child.
Why Kids Bike Sizing Is Challenging
When purchasing a kids bike, you should never choose a bike size based on an age range that is listed on a sizing chart. There are 2 main reasons for this:
Kids the same age can be taller, shorter, and have different leg lengths than the average size kid.
Kids bike sizing can vary greatly between different brands
What, how can this be? This is because the same size bike can have very different geometries, especially when you find brands like Guardian Bikes that design bikes specifically for kids.
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Tips For Caring For An E
The charging setup differs slightly from e-bike to e-bike. Many let you remove the battery to charge it indoors, for example. If you commute with your bike, then it might make sense to invest in a second charger to keep at work. Note, too, that cold temperatures can sap battery power, so storing the battery indoors during the winter is wise.
Other than the battery, basic maintenance on an e-bike is pretty similar to that on a conventional bike. So basic bike-maintenance tips apply:
- Always do a preride inspection, checking the ABCs .
Where Can You Ride E
The universal answer to where one can ride any type of e-bike is on the street. After that, though, things are less clear because laws and regulations are still evolving.
The other key thing to keep in mind about e-bike access is you need to research local rules and regulations for your class of e-bike for the places you plan to ride it.
Understanding e-bike access rules starts with an understanding of e-bike classes:
- Class 1: The motor kicks in only while youre actively pedaling, and the motor assist stops when you reach 20 mph.
- Class 2 : Has a pedal-assist mode up to 20 mph it also offers a throttle-only mode.
- Class 3: Works like Class 1 , but the motor wont stop assisting until you reach 28 mph.
Class 1 e-bikes are the most universally accepted. Thats one reason why they are also the most popular choice. But class 1 bikes arent allowed on all bike paths, especially ones where the speed limit is 15 mph. Some mountain-bike trail systems also forbid all classes of e-bikes, though access is generally beginning to open up for class 1 e-bikes.
Class 2 e-bikes are banned in many places. Any mountain bike trail where motor-powered vehicles are prohibited also wont allow class 2 e-bikes. City streets and off-road vehicle areas are your only sure bet for class 2 access.
People for Bikes, an advocacy group for cycling publishes a state-by-state e-bike guide to help you sort through e-bike regulations around the country.
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How Much Riding Will You Do And What Is Your Fitness Level
This might be an unknown right now, but it is something that needs to be considered.
Bikes built with higher-grade components last longer before needing replacement parts or an upgrade.
More money upfront will give a greater return on investment with less maintenance. Better bikes keep their resell value if you decide to upgrade down the road. Higher quality bikes also have lighter and stronger frames and are built with components which are stronger and will last longer. Yes, they cost more initially, but in exchange, you will get smoother shifting, quicker stops, more adjustability, and overall longer life for the bike.
If you are already a cyclist and have been off the bike for a while, then you may want a little help up the hills. Riding bikes is fun and it can also be an intense workout. Having a motor, even a small one, can help reduce the pain of getting your legs back. One great feature of e-bikes it that you do not have to use the motor all the time.
You can choose the level of help you get with what is called pedal assist. Pedal-assist has multiple levels from zero to maximum assist. One way to utilize this is to ride as far as possible without using the motor, then use assistance for the last leg home. You get to decide how much and when to use it.
Touring Bike: Best For Carrying Luggage And Travelling Far
While a hybrid bike is best suited to the city, a touring bike is designed to take on everything from a commute to a continent-crossing adventure.
They tend to have the same fast-rolling 700c wheels as road and hybrid bikes, but with fatter tyres that allow you to take on a mixture of terrain in comfort.
Hardcore touring bikes designed for super-heavy loads will sometimes opt for 26in wheels because spares availability is often better when in far-flung regions.
The more relaxed riding position and more stable geometry of a touring bike mean that you can take on almost anything, whether it be a mountain pass when fully loaded with supplies or a quick spin to work.
If you need a highly versatile all-rounder then you should take a look at our guide to the best touring bikes, whether youre going to familiar places or off the beaten track.
Pros: Tough, lots of load-carrying capacity, still fairly quick
Cons: Not quite race-bike quick
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What Is A Downhill Mountain Bike
As the name suggests, these bikes are about doing one thing going down steep and technical tracks very, very quickly.
Downhill mountain bikes have 180-200mm of travel at either end, often using coil-sprung suspension thats optimised for pure traction and support.
To put up with the huge forces the bikes are put under, the forks have legs that extend above the head tube and are then braced together, known as a double-crown or triple-clamp fork.
Do You Need A New Or A Used Bike
Every once in awhile, when you think about buying a vehicle, the thought about buying a used one at a lower price seems tempting. Correct me if Im wrong, but buying a used bike is an excellent way to budget, especially when you want to a rugged bike for adventure riding.
When wanting to buy a used bike, you must have a lot of questions wavering in your mind. How many kilometers has the bike been ridden? How many times has it been repaired? Is regular servicing of the bike required? And such. To avoid a heated conversation between you and the seller, heres what you need to know.
Learning about the drivetrain of the bike is critical. Its the system thats responsible for moving the bike forward without compromising on balance and speed. The drivetrain consists of the cranks, chain, rear cogs, front cogs, derailleurs, and the shifters. However old the bikes condition is, the drivetrain should be able to shift gears without resistance.
As a beginner, knowing how soon certain parts of the drivetrain need to replaced is a good way to figure out how much money youd be spending. If its anywhere close to buying a brand-new bike, then buying a used bike and going through the extra hard-work is of no value.
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How To Avoid The Danger Of Bicycle Shaped Objects
You may have heard the term Bicycle Shaped Object before. A BSO is a cheap and low quality bike which saves you money upfront but costs you more money and hassle in the long run. I have fallen into the trap of purchasing one of these BSOs in the past and Ill never do so again.
As a poor uni student I was pinching my pennies and I didnt want to fork out several hundred dollars on a new bike when I could get one delivered to my front door from an online bike store for about $250. The bike worked well at first, but after a couple of months of Northern European winter it was beginning to fall apart. The cheap parts were rusting, brake cables were loose and flat tyres were frequent. In the end I had the BSO for about four months before buying a really good second hand bike with new parts, from a local dealership. Lesson learned: dont go cheap, its not worth it.
At Bike Chaser we always recommend a visit to your local bike shop. They will be able to help you with the right advice and service you need to make an informed decision. Generic discount stores and department stores also sell bicycles, however most of these products will fall into the BSO category.
Dont Forget To Pick The Suspension System
The suspension system adds, whether front or back, offer a smooth ride, regardless of the terrain youre riding on. But each type has its own pros and cons based on the type of bike you want.
Heres what you need to know about picking an accurate suspension system along with your bike:
Front suspension: Most hybrid and mountain bikes offer only front suspension. Its a more durable alternative for effortless and smooth rides. So if youre riding down rugged terrain or cruising on a flat surface, having a front suspension can maintain consistent speed and cadence. Another one of its great advantages is that they require minimal maintenance and are affordable than say full suspension .
So if youre your mountain bike to be able to handle bumps and potholes along the way, opting for front suspension bikes is essential.
Full suspension: Full suspension is when you have both front and back suspension. This means the bike absorbs shock from both the front and rear end, whether youre on a dirt trail or pavement. Full suspension bike force does add weight on both the bike and pedaling force, but it offers better comfort when riding on an uneven road.
Full suspension bikes are known to reduce vibration when riding on challenging terrain. This increases pedaling balance and stability when you want it the most. Also, it offers less pedaling force which means less pressure on the leg muscles.
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