29th May 2021
National Bike Week arrives from 30th May – 5th June and is an annual celebration of cycling across the UK, promoting the benefits it offers for fitness, health and wellbeing.
Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or getting on the saddle for the first time, the Mailbox’s resident experts at Ribble have shared their top tips on ensuring your bike fits perfectly into your lifestyle.
I’m new to cycling, how do I choose the right bike for me?
Bikes fall into three major categories – Road, Mountain Bike and Hybrid. The names imply the purpose those bikes are designed for, with a hybrid being a combination of both. Understanding what each bike helps you to achieve is the best place to start. As its name suggests, a road bike is designed entirely around riding on the road. These are also what many refer to as a ‘racer’ or ‘racing’ bike. They have looped handlebars, skinny tyres and the most ‘aggressive’ riding position. If you are looking to get fit and will be spending your time on local roads, these will be the best way to go.
R872 Disc, starting from £1,199.
HT AL, starting from £1,399.
Hybrid bikes are a mixture of the two above types, the design takes advantages from road and mountain bikes to make for a great all-rounder. Perfect for commuters or leisure riders, Hybrids are ideal for urban environments with a comfy, upright position and flat handlebars. The tyres are wider and grippier than on road bikes, so you will still have plenty of confidence to ride towpath or bridlepath as well
Hybrid AL, starting from £899.
Models covering more than one specification.
There are plenty of models with all different types of specifications within these categories, including designs that further blur the lines between road, mountain, and hybrid. If, for example, you know you want a drop handlebar commuter with slightly wider tyres for rougher surfaces, you may consider our all-road range: the CGR. Literally standing for Cross, Gravel, Road; these have all the utility of a hybrid but are designed around drop handlebars and road bike gearing.
CGR AL, starting from £999.
What about E-bikes?
All the above also have their own e-bike equivalents. Now that you know which type of bike is right for you, should you be going electric?
The purpose of an e-bike is to make your riding easier. With electrical assistance you can have the bike do all the work for you, or use it to take the sting out of any climb. They are excellent for commuting, making your ride to work speedy and painless. All e-bikes can boost you to 20kmph (15.5mph) allowing you to get to the office in plenty of time without having to peddle too hard!Equally, you may have friends that are already into their cycling and you’re worried about keeping up. Having the ability to add 250 watts to your output means you can enjoy riding with your mates.
The system we use is a pedal assist, so there will still be some effort on your part. These are still an amazing way to get fit, they just allow you to go further for longer!
Now that you have established what type of bike is for you, we can start to dive into the specification and what to look out for. In the past few years, disc brakes have become the norm – each of our electric, mountain, hybrid and all-road bikes come equipped with these as standard, as well as being available on our road bikes.
There are two different types of disc brakes: hydraulic and cable. There are plenty of differences between the two but in effect, hydraulic is a better way to brake than cable. These will offer you the best braking response and better modulation over your braking for maximum control and confidence. At Ribble, the only cable operated disc brake we have falls under the ‘Tiagra’ spec. Everything else is hydraulic!
Rim brakes are still certainly worth considering. They do not offer as effective stopping power but come in cheaper and lighter. As you are braking on the surface that is touching the ground, the braking can become increasingly unresponsive in bad weather. However, if you are a fair-weather cyclist, largely restricted to road riding, you can save yourself some money by going for rim brakes.
Bikes are made from all sorts of materials. You may find yourself with a choice between them, as we offer a wide range of frame materials for certain models. All of these have their unique qualities and come in at different price points.
The most common frame material is aluminium – light and cost effective, but not the most comfortable. If you haven’t been on a bike for a while, this is a sensible place to start, as it will tick a lot of boxes without damaging your wallet too much.
Endurance AL Disc, starting from £999.
Carbon fibre is the most popular choice among cyclists. It is the lightest frame material by a good margin and because it is made from a mould, it can be shaped and manipulated to make for aerodynamic shapes. This material makes for the fastest bikes available and is comfortable to ride to boot.
Endurance SL Disc, starting from £1,899.
You may well have thought that steel bikes are a thing of the past, but they remain popular to this day. A huge part of its appeal is reliability, if it gets knocked or dinged it can always be fixed. It is a heavy material, but the 725 Reynolds steel tubing we use is enormously comfortable. It is more expensive than aluminium but will last you for years of use
Endurance 725 Disc, starting from £1,299.
Finally, there is titanium. I will prefix the following by saying that, in comparison, this is a very expensive material. It can always be picked out for its unique, raw silver finish. It makes for a plush, luxury ride-feel, not offered by any of the other materials available. It will also outlive all of us, so if you are wanting a bike for life this would be the one. It is lighter than steel so is quicker on the road too.
Endurance Ti Disc, starting from £2,299.
Now you should have the type of bike you want, whether e-bike or not, in the right frame material for you, with the best brakes for your situation.
For more information, visit the team at the Ribble showroom on Level 2 for expert advice on finding the right bike for you.