Saddle up: how to choose the right bike for your ride

All bikes are not created equal. Here's our beginner's guide to choosing the right steed for your chosen road (or trail, or mountain)

Whoa there! Before you swing your leg over the nearest bike and pedal off into the sunset, you’ll need to take a few moments to decide what bike is right for you. There are a huge array of different types out there to fit the type of riding you might want to do (gravel riding, anyone?). Sure, they’ve all got two wheels and handlebars, but aside from that, they couldn’t be more different.

Whether it’s a svelte road bike that you saw one of your heroes riding in Le Tour last year, a commute-­friendly folding bike that will go on the train with you, or a gnarly, knobbly­-tyred bike to shred the hills, you want to make sure it does the job right.

Luckily for you, we’ve split our selection of steeds into three easy­-to-­grasp categories: road, off-road and all­-rounders. So take a good, hard think about the sort of riding you want to do (or already do) and dive right in.

And, to help you get the most out of your new wheels, we’ve got suggestions for where to take your new pride and joy so it doesn’t just get pulled out of the garage twice a year for a guilty lap of the local park.

2. Time Trial / Triathlon bike

Who's this for?

If you’re already race­-fit and looking to shave time off the bike leg of your triathlons, you’ll need a time trial machine built for all­-out speed and aerodynamics. It might not be comfy (especially to start with), but it’ll be plenty fast.

Best buy: Focus Izalco Chrono Max 2.0 | £3500 (RM20,700), sigmasport.co.uk

This slippery carbon fibre speed machine comes with all the aerodynamic tweaks needed to minimise that pesky drag. Its specially shaped tubing cuts through the air, while the aggressive riding position brings the rider down out of the wind. On top of that it's equipped with Shimano's Ultegra Di2 electronic shift­-by­-wire gearset with programmable shift buttons on the end of the aerobars, providing ultra-smooth and accurate gear changes.

Alternatively...

There are endless varieties of bike, and the more serious road and trail tools above may not suit your laid-back style. Try one of these instead...

Electric bike

KTM e­Race P27.5 | £2250 (RM13,300), bikingdirect.co.uk

Electric bikes aren’t just the preserve of too-­lazy-­to-­pedal commuters. KTM’s offroader will help you race up the hills so you can throw yourself down them again all the sooner.

Fat bike

On­One Fatty | £1000 (RM5900), on­one.co.uk

With ridiculous 4in­-wide tyres, ‘fat bikes’ like this one are designed to float over sand and snow, but they’re just as much of a hoot tearing down muddy trails and letting those balloon tyres soak up the bumps. Not so fast up the hills, mind you.

BMX

United Supreme Expert 2015 | £380 (RM2300), evanscycles.com

United have improved on last year's Supreme model by building the ultimate street rider's bike. With an eye-catching red paintjob, you can guarantee you'll be turning people green with envy, whilst you're tearing up the streets on one of the most unique feeling bikes out there.

All-rounders

1. Cyclocross

Who's this for?

If you like the road bike riding position but also want to get muddy without having to find room for a fleet of bikes, cyclocross is for you. Like toughened road bikes with knobbly tyres and better brakes, they’re fast, versatile and more that a little bonkers.

Best buy: Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6 | £1260 (RM7500), freeborn.co.uk

Crafted from light and strong ‘Kinesium’ 6000 series aluminium, the Pro 6 is the vanguard of the new breed of cyclocross bikes built specifically to use the extra stopping power and mud­-dodging properties of disc brakes. Fitted with a carbon fibre fork and Shimano 105 components it’s like a road bike on steroids.

2. Hybrid/touring bike

Who's this for?

A hybrid/city bike is for road-going souls who don’t necessarily love the full­-on road-racing drop handlebars. If you’re looking for a more upright riding position and doing lots of road miles, these light and quick bikes are for you.

Best buy: Hoy Shizuoka from | £600 (RM3600), evanscycles.com

The hybrid bike from Chris Hoy’s range keeps things simple with a single chainring at the front and a total of eight gears. Coupled with a lightweight aluminium frame and powerful hydraulic disc brakes, it’s the perfect low maintenance commuting machine with a sporty edge.

Singlespeed

Fuji Feather | £380 (RM2300), evanscycles.com

Singlespeeds are all about mechanical simplicity and acceleration from the lights. This eye-­catching single-geared bike with a classic steel frame is great for city streets, and unlike some it comes with a full set of brakes to keep you out of trouble.

Cargo bike

Riese & Muller Load | £3900 (RM23,000), practicalcycles.co.uk

This odd looking bike is built to hump up to 200kg in style, but when you’re fully laden you might need some help up hills. Luckily it has a leg-­saving Bosch hybrid drive electric assistance system to take up the strain.