How to choose a bike?

The question of choosing a bike for a professional athlete-cyclist and a beginner-amateur is different. And if the first is ready to solve it, relying on his skills, the experience of an athlete, knowledge of the technical part and a clear definition of the range of tasks, then the second, who does not have such a solid baggage, seeks an answer and help, asking how to choose a bike. And someone else's personal experience is of little use here: a bicycle, like good shoes, can bring a lot of pleasure or ruin your health. And this means that you will have to choose a two-wheeled vehicle yourself, using the advice of an experienced seller and, we dare to hope, our advice.

Make up your mind! We will decide later

So, we will assume that the bicycle for you was something from childhood, and for many years you smiled indulgently, letting preschoolers on three-wheeled toys pass on the sidewalks or overtaking a person creeping along the sidewalk in your own car (bike paths - a pipe dream in Russia) of a cyclist. And then came a wonderful moment in every sense when movement on two wheels became so desirable that there was already a place to park a bicycle in the garage. It remains to choose and buy! Before you go to the store and lay out the nth (but definitely rather big - accept right away) amount, define a few points for yourself.

First, assess your options and plans objectively. There are no restrictions for cycling, including medical ones (except, of course, when any physical activity is contraindicated)! You just need to approach this issue responsibly and honestly. Are you going to ride a bike to work, use it as a delivery vehicle to a suburb or a low-civilized area (and we have all the objects just a step away from the regional centers), whether you want to travel long distances, to conquer mountain paths or speeds; do you want to take a leisurely exercise in the park; how often will you take your two-wheeled friend for a walk, where you will determine his place of residence; how physically prepared you are for stress, which of them you should avoid... When you decide, the list may be short and very extensive. We will pedal from him.

Second, determine the maximum amount you are willing to shell out for a bike. Maximum - because it does not exist in the store. Of course, it all depends on the tasks, but be prepared for the fact that the bike that suits you can be very expensive. However, buying into the words of sellers who assure you that without these specific bells and whistles for immeasurable money a two-wheeled vehicle does not go, but stands or even backs away, is at least imprudent. A bicycle can cost as much as a middle-class car - do you need it? In the vast majority of cases, it is not necessary, so the rule “more expensive is better” does not work here. As well as the principle "if there is no difference, why pay more?" - because there is still a difference. The golden mean is the most correct decision. In addition, when planning to buy a bicycle, do not forget that it will require a variety of accessories and components, at least a repair kit, a repair kit, a pump, a bicycle helmet, a bicycle bag, a bottle holder... The list can be long, so the line "other" in the budget lay in advance.

Shall we go? Are we going to rush? or What type of bike to choose

Half done: you decided to buy a bike and determined how much you can spend on it. The only thing left is to choose a two-wheeled vehicle. Glory to the global Internet! Store catalogs can be browsed without getting up from your chair. And get lost in the diversity: besides naturally supposed bicycles for children and adults, women and men, they offer mountain, road, city, hybrid, BMX, niner, double suspension, hardtails, rigid... In a word, a huge bike park of models and brands. At this stage, the most important thing is not to lose your head, because you want everything at once, and the unusual design and construction (you must have watched the Strida!) Attract attention and dreams. Therefore, remember about the compiled list of tasks and opportunities and choose only within the framework of the group that answers them.

Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes - the most popular type of bicycles in Russia and the CIS countries. Well-off Europeans are very surprised to see mountain bikes crossing city sidewalks and highways. However, our streets are almost indistinguishable from the rough terrain with which the term "extreme" is associated in Europe. Broken roads, high curbs and curbs, poor-quality asphalt road, turning into soil or gravel, unexpected excavations, self-dug ditches, uneven paving slabs - why not off-road? If the picture around you is just as joyful, a mountain bike is ideal for city walks or trips out of town. Naturally, it will pull both rural roads and forest paths.

This is what a modern mountain bike looks like:

Mountain bike

Here is the Coupe 1.0 from CRONUS. By the way, we advise you to take a walk on their website - these are "strong middle peasants" in bicycle production that have recently entered the Russian market. make fairly high-quality bikes, but they are still poorly promoted. Using this brand as an example, we will consider in this article what bikes are and how they differ.

Externally, mountain bikes attract attention with an aggressively sporty design, wide tires with deep treads, short sports fenders, and a straight short handlebar. They look always "all-terrain", for which potential owners are bought. However, it is worth noting that some, mostly cheap, models are only an imitation of a mountain bike in terms of design, and in fact are rather unassuming city bikes with a set of disadvantages that deprive them of comfort.

For mountain bikes, a multi-speed transmission is mandatory, for real mountain bikes (almost off-road vehicles) - at least a front shock absorber. And for an aggressive environment, a mountain full-suspension is best suited - a bicycle with front and rear shock absorbers, which allows you to keep the cyclist's arms and butt points relatively alive when riding and jumping over rocks, ditches, curbs... However, this type of mountain bike is expensive, and the fact that is offered in our stores at a price of up to thirty thousand rubles - an awkward imitation without the effect of depreciation. So it is worth considering two-suspension only if you are going to ride on really extreme roads, or rather, in their absence.

Mountain bikes are a large group that combines different types of bicycles.

More recently, folding mountain bikes have begun to appear on the market, which combine all the advantages of a conventional mountain bike plus the compactness of a folding one. Due to the fact that the bike can be folded, it is convenient to store it in the apartment, transport it in the trunk of a regular car and in an elevator. These bicycles are inspired by the Paratrooper bicycles, designed for the Marines.

By adapting these bikes for normal use, manufacturers entered the mass market.

An example of a CRONUS Soldier 2.5 folding mountain bike

The first bicycle that began to conquer the mass market in Russia in the mountain folding category was the CRONUS Soldier. Now they have about 6 different models, including the 29er, and they still hold the palm in terms of price-performance ratio. Also, quite a few Chinese counterparts with flashy names such as Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW have appeared on the market. But we dare to assure you that the quality there is Chinese in the worst sense of the word, and loud names have nothing to do with real car manufacturers, they are just fakes, often not even on an aluminum, but on a steel frame.

Niner is a mountain bike with 29 "wheels (the rest are mostly 26-28"), giving out good speed on flat roads and providing increased flotation on difficult terrain, such as sand or loose soil. In addition, for tall people, the 29er is a more convenient solution, although the frame sizes there are the same as in classic mountain bikes.

Example of a niner: CRONUS Holts 2.0 29 ″ 2015.

Full suspension is a bicycle that has not only a suspension fork in the front, but also a suspension system and a shock absorber in the rear. This makes riding such a bike more comfortable. The disadvantages include the fact that when pedaling, part of your energy is spent on swinging the suspension, so it is more difficult to climb on these bikes. It is also worth considering the fact that cheap and at the same time good two-suspension systems do not exist in nature. This is due to the fact that technologically the double suspension has a more complex and, therefore, more expensive frame design. Therefore, if we compare a two-suspension and a hardtail for the same price, then the hardtail will always win in terms of the equipment level. Do not get fooled by cheap double suspensions, they still have a rear shock that practically does not work, and the presence of a rear suspension will only add weight.

Example of medium double suspension: CRONUS Fly

Cross country bike - essentially the same versatile mountain bike, indispensable for rough terrain, country roads and forest off-road. In order to lighten the frame as much as possible, many manufacturers make it out of carbon (carbon fiber). As a rule, such bicycles are already used for professional purposes and are also expensive.

Downhill is a bike for descending steep mountain slopes, already pro-sports and has a huge margin of safety.


City bikes

City bicyclesare a great alternative to car and public transport in the bustle of the city. If you want to get without traffic jams and quickly get to work and back, take leisurely bike rides in the park or embankments, go to the store for small-sized purchases - this is your choice. City bicycles are very comfortable, they fit lower than mountain bikes, the handlebars are more comfortable, and you don't have to bend over to it - the back remains straight. Wheels vary in size - from twenty-inch, remarkable maneuverability, to twenty-six inches in diameter, sometimes more (twenty-eight in some models). City bicycles develop a low speed, however, they are not required of such speed - it is safer to go slower in the city. This bike will not withstand sports loads, it is not suitable for traveling on hills, and although it is equipped with a gearshift system, its maximum is gentle ups and downs, for example, overpasses. City bicycles are often equipped with a set of accessories, so that the buyer only has to sit down and ride. Well, maybe adjust the saddle to your height or pump up the cameras.

If we continue to consider the same CRONUS, then a typical example of a city bike will be the 2015 Macho 310 model:

City bike

If you looking for which bike to choose for the city, then stop on the city bike. This type of bicycle is the most popular in both European provinces and Asian cities, in a word, it is the choice of those who need unpretentious, cheap and convenient transport, and not sports entertainment. The trunk, the basket on the steering wheel, the bag on the frame look organic and do not interfere with the movement. This type of bicycles is akin to skateboards or roller skates - urbanistic and extreme, accordingly - spectacular. If you have a soul for a sports show, you should go to these diamond-shaped frames and small wheels.

BMX bike

Hard, soft and coupe, or Amortization issues

You have more or less decided on the type of bike and its tasks. “I want mountain, red and with handles on the steering wheel!”. It will not work, citizens: we continue our acquaintance with the bikes further, because the first question of the consultant will confuse you. And, accordingly, it will give you the opportunity to find a place for their noodles on your ears. And the bike is still a personal companion, and you need to choose it for yourself, as the other half - as if forever, but keeping in mind the possibility in a year or two to change to a more suitable one. So where to look next? Let's move on to the technical part - equipment.

Shock absorbers are the foundation of comfort. All bicycles can be conditionally divided according to this criterion into three groups: full-suspension, hardtails and rigid. The first implies the presence of a shock absorber both front and rear, and is included only in the mountain bike family.Full suspensionprovides comfort when driving on uncomfortable tracks, shock absorbers soften the reaction to road bumps, jumps and impacts. The frame of such bikes attracts attention by the design, however, the shock absorbers are more difficult to maintain, make the design heavier and somewhat less reliable. Full suspensions are usually used for either downhill or very rough terrain. These are expensive bikes, and what is sometimes offered in stores as an entry-level two-suspension for up to ten thousand rubles is a two-suspension in name only. The shock absorbers of such a bicycle understand very approximately and perform their function, and it would be better if they did not: it is heavy, large, shaking and uncomfortable, with low-level equipment, few people will think of it as a gift. Real two-suspension systems are expensive, and in Russia numbers from thirty thousand are written on their price tags. For amateur skiing and driving on ordinary, albeit Russian, roads, most bicycle neophytes should not bother with two-suspension systems - the amortization functionality will be unclaimed. On long trips, the double suspension is a pleasant transport, but it will not work to load a backpack on it: the trunk is not provided, and if you twist and install, the weight will take on small. But in order to understand whether you need a double suspension or not, you need to roll at least 50 km on it along your usual track.

Full suspension mountain bike

Hardtailstoday are the most common group of bicycles of almost any type. Mountain, city and touring are often equipped with a single front suspension fork. This helps to soften the impact of the front wheel and improve the bike's off-road performance. However, the hardtail is not designed for high-speed tasks, it is more difficult to accelerate on it than on a bicycle without suspensions, besides, it is objectively heavier. For skirts, this is the best option. The slightly lowered, sloped frame is a unisex style that is equally comfortable for men and women. Such frames are less demanding on the cyclist's height and are less traumatic, therefore men increasingly prefer this option.

It is worth remembering for every cyclist: wheels are a consumable material. The spokes bend and break, the rims break, the chambers break... It all depends on the conditions and riding style. Therefore, you should not choose an assembled bike focusing on the wheels. However, double (if you're lucky - and triple) rims made of aluminum alloys are always good. They hold punches well. Of course, this refers to impacts on stones, curbs, roots, edges of potholes, because no rim can withstand a collision with a brick wall at high speed. Many people love tires! Tires with deep tread, spikes, wide and thick, reminiscent of the wheels of an all-terrain vehicle... So, you can buy a bicycle with any tires, but depending on the route it will be better to change them: for highways you need small and almost smooth tires, for example.

The trunk, fenders, saddle, pedals are accessories. Budget models and city bicycles are often equipped with cheap toys, which you still have to change to more suitable ones. This is especially true of the saddle - incorrectly selected, it can poison life and cause significant harm to health. And you can only check if the saddle suits you on the road. Five kilometers of the way will show who to board what. The most common mistake of a neophyte is to immediately change the stock saddle to a soft and wide one. It is not at all a fact that this will be comfortable for you, because the structure of the pelvis is individual. In a word, try it first, and quality accessories will come with a roll.

We choose, we are chosen... or How to choose a bike by height

You now have at least some idea of ​​all the variety of modern bicycles, and you will not be confused by the consultant's questions. Do you know what you want? Have you chosen a model? It remains to choose your bike. And it must be measured. The most important parameter for choosing a bike is the size of the frame. These inch values ​​can be completely detrimental to riding pleasure if they don't match the height of the rider. Frame size is a little less important for female models and options with a lowered top tube, but still the standard is approximately as follows: 14, 15 and 16 inches - a teenage version, designed for people up to 160 cm tall; 17 and 18 inches - medium height, up to 180 cm, 19, 20, 21 and 22 inches - bicycles for tall. Double-hangers are measured in halves: 15.5 inches for short, 17.5 inches for medium height, 19.5 inches for tall people, 21.5 inches for very tall people. These approximate definitions are due to the low double suspension frames.

Different manufacturers write different frame sizes, and it never occurs to anyone to measure them with a ruler. It is much more correct and safer to choose the bike you like by height - just try it on like clothes. The difference is huge between a summer trip and a daily trial, and the choice is yours - you have the best idea of ​​what deeds you will perform on an iron horse.

Purchase a bicycle from a specialist shop that has its own service. A beautiful bike with bright stickers bought in the market or in a supermarket can start to fall apart right away, and spare parts for a miracle of an unknown industry cannot be found, although they are almost all universal. Chasing brands is not worth it: there are not so many promoted brands in Russia, and you may come across a good one, but little-known in our country. Ask your dealer about the service center that will serve you. Do not listen to friends and acquaintances praising some manufacturers and scolding others. There are different classes of bicycles, and comparing a model for 4 thousand rubles with a model for a hundred thousand more is an empty matter.

Large stores and manufacturers' websites will help you finally figure out the type of bike, your preferences and budget. Just go through the catalog, look at prices, looks, descriptions. Don't read the reviews - half of the reviews on the Internet are written by the sellers themselves. Some sites have handy filters to make it easier for you to flourish. For example, something like this:

The main thing is to tune in to the bicycle wave and step on the pedals. Four wheels will not provide such pleasure!