Cycling is a great way to keep fit and is really enjoyable too. Whether you've never bought one before or need a smart new upgrade, our quick bike and cycling helmet buying tips should help you to make the right choices.
Choose your bike according to the type of riding you intend to do. For example, if you intend to use your bike to commute to work and that involves cycling long distances, make sure you choose a bike that's light, fast, comfortable to ride and has multiple gears to cope with hills. If, on the other hand, you intend to cycle off-road, you'll need to choose a bike with good suspension to absorb the bumps.
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Choosing The Right Bike For You
Mountain bikes are primarily designed for off-road use (treks, trails or road). Within mountain bikes there are different suspension options. Suspension will absorb much of the bumps off and on road, making your ride smoother. There are three types of mountain bike: Rigid have no suspension; Hard Tail have front suspension and are rigid at the back; Full Suspension have front and rear suspension. Suspension is really good over bumps, but can weigh a bit more than rigid. Rigid bikes are lightest in weight, hard tail slightly heavier at the front, and full suspension a bit heavier throughout. Mountain bikes are fitted with lightweight alloy wheels, with grippy tyres great for off road use. Mountain bikes have a very wide range of gears to cope with off road hills up and down.
Road Bikes Town/City Bikes
Road bikes are designed for where most of us ride: on the road to and from school/work, shopping, visiting friends. Also known as Town and City bikes, they provide a comfortable sitting position with a softer saddle and hand grips making the bike easy to use everyday. These make ideal commuting bikes. They are fitted with a wide range of gears, suitable for road and tracks.
Hybrids are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. These have a strong frame similar to a mountain bike, but designed to work really well on road. They have smoother tyres so they are faster than Mountain bikes, can still be used off road although they are less suitable here. Hybrids are fitted with a wide range of gears to cope with the hills.
Racing bikes are the ones with the curved drop handlebars and look like the bikes on the Tour do France. These are the lightest and fastest of all the bikes, designed for on road use. If you're looking to maximise your speed and distance, these are the bikes to look for.
Small lightweight frames and wheels make for the distinctive BMX bike shape. These bikes are designed for stunts and fun riding, even racing on special BMX tracks. The top bikes come with special handlebars that can be spun 360 degrees. BMX bikes have one gear, are very strong and easy to set-up and maintain.
These are bikes sized for children - please use the size table below as a guide to which bike is right for your child. Most children's cycles include stabilisers to help them ride when they're very young. It is common that both stabilisers do not touch the floor as this helps children learn to balance.
E-bikes or electric bikes usually use an electric motor to assist you with the pedaling. This uses less effort than pedaling a normal bicycle. These come with rechargeable batteries that can be charged from the mains. These are great for commuting or even leisure cycling for those that do not enjoy hard pedaling.
The original and often still the main material for a cycle frame, steel is extremely strong and durable but weights more than other materials.
Aluminium alloy frames are designed to utilise the materials best feature: lightweight and strong. An alloy frame will typically weigh less than a steel frame, making for a more enjoyable ride.
The most modern of material, carbon fibre frames are the cutting edge of cycle frame technology. They offer the ultimate in strength to weight - this means they are extremely lightweight, strong enough to ride hard and help to make the cycle fast.
These have no suspension, and make the lightest bikes.
These have suspension on the front forks of the bike for improved steering/comfort over rough terrain. High Specification modles also feature suspension lock-out, this allows you to lock the suspension (creating a rigid fork) which helps you not to loose power when riding on smooth surfaces or up-hill.
These bikes have both front and rear suspension and smooth out rough terrain really well. They work best downhill, helping the rider enjoy the decent and maintain greater control over rough surfaces.
V-Brakes are high performance brakes and operate against the wheel rim and are in the shape of a V. When you grip the brake lever, the V shape is squeezed together, pressing the brake blocks against the wheel rim. When set-up, V-brakes offer considerable stopping power and are lighter than disk brakes.
Cable Disk Brakes
Disk brakes offer superb stopping power, as they are in the centre of the wheel they are kept away from puddles and dirt to aid effective braking. Also if you are on a long down hill disc brakes keep heat away from the tyre. Disk brakes require no set-up, making them virtually maintenance free. They typically weigh slightly more than V-brakes.
Hydraulic Disk Brakes
Hydraulic Disk Brakes are the ultimate in stopping power on a bike. These have all the advantages of cable disk brakes, but offer even greater stopping power and control. Most riders new to these brakes are amazed at how good is the stopping power and how easy they are to use. Typically hydraulic disk brakes are lighter than cable disk brakes. They replace the brake cable with hydraulic fluid is used which creates a smoother action and increased performance. Hydraulic brakes are also virtually maintenance free.
Gears make riding a bike easier - you change gear to allow you to pedal up hill easier, and still be able to pedal down the other side. Changing gear is easy: it's either one click of a twist grip on the handlbars, or one click of a handlebar mounted changer. One the gears are set-up, this one click changes one gear at a time, every time. Just remember when changing gear to keep pedaling but ease off the pressure to allow the gear change to take place, and you'll be off in no time.
SRAM Shift (Rotational)
Simple accurate and fast - rotate part of the handgrip to change gear. One click equals one gear change.
Easy to use for fast, accurate changes - click one finger or thumb trigger to change one gear.
The tyres fitted to our bikes are ideally suited to the type of riding terrain. Mountain bikes have wide knobbly tyres for grip off road whilst road bikes have smoother tyres for easier faster riding on road. Depending on the bike size, the wheel diameter will be 12in, 14in, 16in, 20in, 24in, 26in and a special road wheel called 700c. All the tyres are made to the highest quality industry standard.
Our bikes arrive flat packed from our suppliers and are 85% assembled. You will need to fit the front wheel, handlebars, stem and pedals. All of the instructions and tools you need to complete the assembly are supplied. Brakes and gears may need adjustment or further set up for optimum performance.
Bike Size Guide
The best way to measure someone for a bicycle is to use their inside leg measurement. This is the measurement from the top of your inside leg to the floor.
Don't forget the range of measurement covers seat adjustment.
Standard Bike Size Guide
|Wheel Size||Age Range (years)||Inside Leg (inches)|
|10"||1 - 3||14 - 17|
|12"||2 - 4||17 - 18|
|14"||3 - 5||18 - 19|
|16"||4 - 6||18 - 20½|
|18"||5 - 7||19 - 22|
|20"||6 - 8||20½ - 23½|
|24"||7 - 12 (Adult up to 5')||22 - 29|
|26"||11 - Adult 5'+||29+|
Age range is included as a guide only.
BMX Size Guide
|Wheel Size||Age Range (years)||Inside Leg (inches)|
|16"||5 - 7||19 - 22|
|18"||6 - 11||20½ - 27½|
|20" Full Size BMX||7 - Adult||22½|
Folding Bike Size Guide
As a general rule folding bikes are one size fits all catering for people from heights of 4' 10" - 6' 4" (148cm - 193cm).
Cycle Helmet Guide
Cycle helmets are easy to wear; they are light, well vented and cool. They offer protection to you and additional visibility to other road users.
We strongly recommend you wear a cycle helmet. Cycle helmets come with plenty of ventilation slots. These help keep your head cool. Some helmets feature
a peak to help keep the sun and rain off your face.
To find and fit the correct helmet, follow these simple steps:
1. Measure your head size
Measure your head, or your child's head. Use a tape to measure round the widest part of the head, just above the eyebrows and the ears, as shown in the diagram. Select your helmet based on its size range.
2. Adjust the internal fit
Your helmet will be supplied with a method to adjust the size to fit you. The adjustment may be different foam pads, or a band round the back of the head that you can alter.
The helmet must sit level on the head and forward. Leave a gap of no more than two finger widths above the eyebrows.
4. Side Straps
Adjust the side straps so the V shape meets just below the ear. It is easier to remove the helmet to make the adjustments.
Adjust the buckle so it sits centrally under the chin. Tighten the chin strap so no more than two fingers can be slid underneath.
6. Final steps
Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows? If so, unbuckle, shorten the front strap by moving the slider forward. Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again. Does your helmet rock forward into your eyes? If so, unbuckle, tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again. Roll the rubber band down to the buckle. All four straps must go through the rubber band and be close to the buckle to prevent the buckle from slipping.
Cycle Helmet Safety
To ensure that your helmet offers you maximum protection, make sure that;
- • You replace any helmet that has been involved in a crash or is damaged
- • The helmet fits now. Buy a helmet that fits your head now, not a helmet to "grow in to." Replace any helmet that has been outgrown.
- • The helmet is comfortable. If it feels small, put in the thinner sizing pads or purchase a larger helmet. Ideally, select a helmet brand and size that fits well prior to many adjustments. If you buy a helmet that you find comfortable and attractive, you or your child are more likely to wear it.
- • The helmet covers your forehead. The chin strap must be tight and properly adjusted. The helmet should not rock forward or backward on your head. If it does, adjust it following the steps above.
Helmet Safety Certification
Our helmets are tested and conform to the following standards:
Adult Helmets - BS EN 1078
Child's Helmets - BS EN 1080