Which Bike Should I Buy?

Which bike you choose depends on what you want it for. If it's going to be your first or only bike, then pick a sensible everyday cycle. If you want to be sporty, get a road bike. If you want to get dirty, go for a mountain bike. If you're going to take your bike on the train, go for a folder.

Look to spend at least £250. The price of a bike is basically the sum of its components plus a small profit for the maker/dealer. As the price goes up, you get better-quality gears, tyres, wheels and frame, and your bike will be more reliable and last for longer.

An ideal everyday bike will cost between £400 and £600. At that price, you're looking at a fully equipped bike with highly puncture-resistant tyres and hub gears or high-quality derailleur gears. If it's an everyday bike, it should have a rack, mudguards and lights as part of the price.

The order should be: set your budget; decide the type of bike you want; list the accessories you want (rack, lock, lights); visit a local bike shop to see if they can match your needs. Like car dealers, bike shops are tied to specific brands, so if one shop hasn't got the bike you set your heart on, don't compromise — look elsewhere!

If you can't afford a brand new high-quality bike, then buy second-hand from Re-cycle. If you're buying second-hand from elsewhere, ask a cycle mechanic to check it before you ride it.

A note of caution: bikes can be addictive. Many cyclists have a stable of four or five bikes to choose from, depending on what they're doing or their mood. You have been warned!

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