How to Choose A Suitable Bicycle and Precautions to be Noted?
Should I buy a road bike, mountain bike, folding bike, single-speed bike, or city bike? How do I choose a bike that suits me?
Published: Dec 01, 2021
How to Choose A Suitable Bicycle?
Many people choose bicycles based on the recommendation of family or friends, or because they follow a favorite team, and choose the same model. But bicycles are like cars, with different designs for different usage needs, so no single model will be suitable to meet all your different needs.
What are different types of bicycles, or bikes?
- Road Bike
- Mountain Bike
- Touring Bike
- Folding Bike
- Fixed Gear/ Track Bike
- Recumbent Bike
- Hybrid Bike
- Cyclocross Bike
- Electric Bike
Consider your usual riding route
If you will be doing high-intensity fitness workouts, or will be cycling up mountains, or taking long coastal or around-the-island rides, you will need to consider the type of multi-speed gear changer to get. The various road conditions you will encounter will determine the weight of bike you should get, and whether you should get a road bike or mountain bike. For commuting around town, or for holiday rides and sports events on a relatively flat route, city bikes and single-speed bikes are good options. City bikes are suitable for riding in urban areas, as they provide excellent riding comfort. Road bikes are suitable for mountain climbing and long-distance riding. Choose the appropriate type of bike for your intended form of riding.
Different bike designs:
- Mountain bike: Has a transmission which changes gears for greater power or speed; is equipped with shock absorbers to meet the needs of overcoming road conditions.
- Urban recreational bike or utility bike: A bicycle designed for practical transportation such as frequent, short, moderately paced rides through relatively flat urban areas. They can adjust the seats and handlebars for comfort and good riding posture.
- Electric bike: An environmentally friendly electric vehicle driven by half electric power and half manpower.
- Lady's bike: A bicycle with a step-through frame to accommodate long skirts. They often have higher positioned handlebars, a storage basket in the front, a heavier body weight, and lower center of gravity.
- Youth bikes: Slightly smaller bikes designed specifically for youths.
- Children's bikes: Has size and safety features specially designed for children, such as a fully covered chain for protection. They can be equipped with removable auxiliary training wheels.
Bicycles produced by various manufacturers will have different sizes. The size of the frame is the key to comfort! When buying, you have to choose the height of the frame to match the height of the rider. The size of the frame generally refers to the length of the frame riser, (measured from the axis of the large gear wheel to the upper edge of the seat tube ring.) The longer the riser, the longer the body length of the frame. You can also determine if the size of the frame is suitable for your body by sitting on the seat cushion and placing the ball of one foot on the center of the pedal while the pedal is at its lowest position. With your leg extended straight down, your toe should point slightly upward, at about a 15-degree angle to the ground.
Frame type and material?
There are two types of frames: solid frames and full-suspension frames. Hard-frame bicycles are more labor-saving, lighter, and cheaper to ride. Full suspension bikes have a built-in suspension system, making them more comfortable when crossing bumpy mountain roads. Full suspension bikes can be sluggish to ride, so are not suitable for long distances, and their price is higher. The frame is the core of the bicycle. A good bicycle frame will be lightweight, and have sufficient strength and rigidity. A lighter weight bicycle is generally preferred as it will take less effort to pedal, so will give a faster ride. The stronger the frame the less chance there will be of the bike breaking or bending under high-intensity riding. The rigidity of the bike assures that the power transmission from the pedals to the frame to the tires will be smooth. This will give a smooth feeling while riding and assure good safety.
- Aluminum alloy frame: An aluminum alloy frame is light and highly rigid, so is very sensitive. It will convey every bit of vibration from the ground to the rider at the expense of comfort. This type of bicycle is moderately priced and suitable for the general public.
- Carbon fiber frame: The characteristics of carbon fiber are high rigidity, lightweight, good acceleration, stable ride feeling, good long-distance cruising, and good comfort. However, the price of this type of bicycle is relatively high, and the frame is delicate. It is not suitable for installing recks or attachments, cannot be clamped by a ring tube, and is sensitive to bumps and scratches from sharp objects. Therefore, this type of bicycle is mainly suitable for professional riders.
- Titanium alloy frame: Titanium alloy frames have some of the benefits of both aluminum alloy and carbon fiber. They have elasticity and strength similar to carbon fiber, and enjoy the lightness and rigidity of aluminum alloy, but these benefits come at a price much higher than these other materials.
- Alloy steel frame (commonly known as steel frame): Steel is the most traditional frame material for bicycles. A variety of modern alloy steels can achieve good results in rigidity, elasticity, transmission, and stability. The disadvantage is that the weight is heavy and there is less resistance to corrosion. Steel frames are generally not recommended for most bicycle use.
Related equipment that should be prepared and paid attention to when riding:
- Water bottle and bottle cage: Installed on the bike to facilitate water replenishment. A water bottle is recommended for long-distance travel.
- Front lights: Used in dim weather, at night, or in tunnels. They can also be used as flashlights. Most of them use dry batteries. These kinds of bike lights are mostly used to warn incoming cars. Due to their insufficient brightness, they should not be used as lighting equipment. It is generally recommended that large separate lights be used for long-distance travel.
- Rear lights: Used in dim weather, at night, or in tunnels to warn vehicles coming from behind.
- Storage bag: If there is a luggage rack at the rear of the bicycle, a storage bag can be placed on it to act as a lightweight suitcase for storing personal belongings.
- Safety helmet: To protect the rider from head injury in case of accidental falls or impact. A good helmet will have four adjustable straps to adjust to the proper fit.
- Gloves: The palms of a good pair of riding gloves will be made of leather to give a firm, anti-slip grip. Gloves can absorb shock while riding and prevent injuries caused by accidental falls. Special clothing, shoes, sweatshirts, and sweatpants are designed for lightness and comfort.
- Mobile phone: It is advisable to carry your mobile phone with you for contact or assistance in case of emergency.
Other matters needing attention and inspection
Pre-departure and regular inspection items:
- Handlebars: Check that they are straight.
- Brake: Check that the brakes are sensitive and adjusted properly. Check whether the brake pads are worn out, and whether the both sides make equal contact. If they are worn or only one side makes contact, they should be replaced or adjusted.
- Tires: Check if the tire tread is worn. Check that the tire pressure is normal. If the pressure is insufficient, it is easy to inflate with a hand pump.
- Wheel rim: Check that the rotation is smooth with no waving from side to side.
- Seat cushion: Check that the height is adjusted to the proper position and locked. The seat cushion surface should be parallel to the ground.
- Pedals: Check that they turn smoothly and are not loose, bent or damaged.
- Gear system: While turning the pedals, run the gears through their full range, one gear at a time, to see that they change smoothly. If they do not change properly, adjust or repair them.
- Chain: It must be kept in a lubricated and clean state, and the tightness of the chain should not exceed half an inch, and anti-rust oil should be sprayed regularly. After riding, the chain should be placed to the smallest chainring to prevent the chain from loosening due to elastic fatigue.
- Front lights and rear lights: Whether the brightness of the front and rear lights is distinguishable within 15 meters, and whether the light surface is clean, affects the brightness.
What Are the Precautions for Riding?
Correct riding skills
Principles of correct riding
- Hold your hands on the handlebars, in the correct position at all times.
- Except for gesture signals with your hands, never take your hands off the handlebars.
- Step on the foot pedals with the balls of your feet.
- Become familiar with basic bicycle control actions such as shifting and braking. Develop a habit to simultaneously brake both the front and rear wheels. Begin braking well in advance of a stop to avoid emergency braking.
- Before coming to an uphill section, try to complete the gear shift in advance to avoid putting force on the gears while changing gears. To avoid damage, do not force the gears if you need to shift while climbing up a steep slope.
- Before riding, do warm-up exercises and stretching exercises for your neck, waist, legs, and even the joints of your hands and feet. This will reduce the chance of injuries and muscle soreness.
- Observe traffic rules, road signs, and stop lights, and never ride on the sidewalk or in the opposite direction against traffic.
- When driving up to an intersection, remember to stop, watch, listen, and slow down at the same time.
- Try not to ride at night, in the rain, or when visibility is poor.
- Ride as close as possible to the slow lane or the right side of the road.
- Weaving back and forth and making sudden turns is dangerous should always be avoided.
- A bicycle is designed to be ridden by one person. Do not carry people and objects that obstruct your vision or the sight of others.
- When multiple riders are riding together, limit passing as much as possible and avoid riding side by side. Travel in a single line with a distance of at least a bikes length between riders.
- Signal gestures: When turning left (right), straighten your left (right) arm out to the side with your palm facing forward. To signal slowing down or stopping, put your left arm down to your left side at about a 45 degree angle with your palm facing to the back.
Published: Dec 01, 2021