Bikes Buying Guide

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Bikes Buying Guide

There are several different styles of bike available. We’ve put together this simple buying guide, so you can work out which bike is best for you and your lifestyle.

Boss Blackdawn 26ins Mens 21 Speed Dual Suspension Double Disc Bike Townsend Crystal 20ins 6 Speed Girls Rigid Bike Townsend Glitterbug 14ins Wheel Bike

Mountain Bikes: Generally used for riding off road and on rough tracks. To help with riding off road they have strong frames, thicker knobbly tyres for added grip and a wide range of gears to make light work of rough terrain. Mountain bikes can also be used for commuting and general riding because of their relatively upright riding position. However, the chunky tyres do slow the bike down on tarmac, so commuters usually go for City bikes or Hybrids.

BMX Bikes: Not just kids bikes! They are usually single speed and designed for tricks more than distance. They can come with a rotor (which allows the handlebar to be turned through 360 degrees without twisting up the brake cables) stunt pegs for tricks, and a range of different wheels. BMX bikes are a big hit with teenagers of all sizes!

Racing Bikes: This type of bike is designed for speed rather than comfort. They have skinny tyres to reduce rolling resistance and a lightweight frame to improve speed. Racing bikes are also known as road bikes.

City and Hybrid Bikes: Designed with features often associated with mountain bikes but also have larger wheels with smoother tread to cover more ground with less effort. Many hybrid bikes are designed for the more urban minded commuter and may include features like mudguards and a rear carrier, like a basket. Other hybrid bikes are designed to comfortably cope with country tracks and grassy towpaths, as well as the city street.

Folding Bikes: These space saving beauties are perfect for city commuting in combination with buses or trains. Also great for taking on holiday in the car.

Trail and Jump bikes: A modern variation of the typical mountain bike. They tend to have smaller frames and fewer gears than traditional mountain bikes, designed for riding over obstacles. Also very popular with teens.

Bike Sizing Advice
There is no rule that says that you must buy a bike of a particular size for a child of a specific age as all children are different heights, we have put together this general guide for you. However, as mentioned this is purely a guideline so an inside leg measurement range is also often used. (see individual model for inside leg range – note inside leg measurement is measured to floor)

12" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 3yrs plus
14" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 4 yrs plus
16" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 4 -6 yrs
20" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 6 – 9 yrs
24" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 9 plus (and often small adults)
26"+ Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 11+ (Classed as adult cycles)

Jargon Buster
Bike components are what are fitted to it to make it go and stop - and make it comfortable for the rider. Read on to know your gears from your wheels and much more…

Front suspension – this means the bikes has front suspension forks, this helps to absorb impact from travelling over uneven surfaces.
Dual suspension – means the bikes has both front suspension forks and suspension frame providing the ultimate package for shock absorption but it comes at a price, the suspension is great for downhill rides but uphill it makes peddling harder.

Wheels – All good bikes will have aluminium alloy wheel rims - they are lighter, don’t rust and the brakes work much more efficiently than with steel rims.

Gears – Gears range from 3 speed to 27 speed and can work in a number of ways;

Non Index Shifters – Not used very much now, these are simple levers sitting on top of the handlebars - push them one way to go up a gear, push the other way to go down often having to ‘feel’ for the right gear rather than the ‘click’ index type.

Twist shift, Rotational shift and Gripshift - With these, you twist a section of the handlebar grip to change gear, like a motorbike throttle.

Thumb shifters and Trigger shifters - Also known as "STI" these use two buttons or levers on the handlebars, usually one for your thumb and one for your index finger. Push with your thumb to go up a gear, push with your index finger to go down a gear.

Brakes – Are either mounted on the wheel rims or wheel hubs.

Calliper Brakes - These look like pincers - pulling the cable makes them clamp onto the rim. They are not as powerful as V-type brakes and are mainly found on smaller children’s bikes.

‘V’-Brakes - V-type brakes have long arms fitted to the frame or fork and one cable which pull across the top of the tyre. When the brake is used the brake pads squeeze against the wheel rim.

Disc Brakes - These have a steel disc at the hub, which is clamped by a small calliper when the brake is operated. Disc brakes are very strong and because they are further from the tyres they are less affected by mud and water. Discs are popular on mountain bikes because they are so powerful but they do add weight.

Other Parts - Other parts include the saddle, handlebars, bike frame, etc. These parts are generally offered in either steel or aluminium.
Steel tends to be cheaper but offers good strength, durability and performance.
Alloy tends to cost slightly more, but is lighter in weight and does not rust. Another feature of alloy frames is that it can be more easily moulded into different shapes and so often gives a greater variety of frame design.