Whether you’re wanting to pop to the shop, head on countryside or get seriously fit, there’s a bike for you.
There’s never been a better time to cycle. With roads being more quiet than usual and the sun shining for all it’s worth, the UK has turned into a biking utopia. Even notoriously congested cities like London have become more cycle-friendly recently. Earlier this month, Sadiq Khan announced plans to transform parts of the capital into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.
But choosing a bike isn’t as easy as it was when you were a kid. Back in the day, you chose one in your favourite colour and away you went. Now, you’ve got to decide between gears or fixie, basket or panniers, city slicker or steady peddle.
To save you the hassle, we’ve gathered together 10 of the best bikes to suit every budget, commute need and weekend capris.
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The best bike for weekend jaunts
This is your more affordable, cheerful and practical bike – perfect for those sunny weekend rides to the markets or bakeries. Thanks to the sturdy basket that lets you store your goods. It may look like a classic vintage model, but it’s way cheaper than most and you can get it delivered to your home. It may be a little heavier than other models, but it’s stable. Oh, and it has a pannier rack already attached so you could, in theory, carry quite a lot.
The best bike for commuting
When it comes to choosing a commuter bike, you want something relatively light, speedy and able to carry your gym kit. This bike from Brick Lane Bikes is all of that. It’s built to ride every day – whatever the weather or distance, which is why it’s kitted out with full-length mudguards and has a front rack to save your back from having to carry a heavy rucksack. Weighing in at a wispy 10kg, it’s light enough to carry up the stairs. As for the price, a lot of work places now offer a Cycle To Work scheme which can save you up to 35% on bikes. Fortunately, Brick Lane Bikes are official partners with loads of the cycle schemes such as Bike2Work, NHS cycle scheme and Salary Plus.
The best bike for customising style
Why have a boring black bike when you could have a bright pink frame, green tyres, a yellow chain, red pedals and white handlebars? Fine, you don’t have to have an entirely technicolour ride, but the award winning Custom OG is all about customising your bike in the colours you love. So, you could have an all-orange number or simply add a discreet hint of colour with blue tyres. Build your dream bike with up to nine colours and then the Mango crew will build it and ship it right to your door.
The best bike for hills
If you really dislike peddling or live in a hilly place (such as Brighton or south London), an electric bike might be your best bet. It can go up to 80 miles on a single charge (3.5 hours) with nine different speeds. It also has an aluminium frame, which makes it much lighter than most electric bikes. So, sit back, relax and let the battery do the leg work.
The best bike for fitness
Get fitter, faster – that’s the motto of this Liv Thrive 1 bike. This is the bike for those fast sprints and long road rides. The flat bar absorbs road clatter, while making it perfect for longer rides throughout the countryside. This bike is for anyone looking to get serious about their riding, but who wants to ride the same bike to the office, the hill sprints and the long Sunday sessions.
The best bike for triathlons
So you’re serious about cycling, huh? It’s only natural then to put your pedals to the test by training for a triathlon. This bike is a great entry-level model, although it’ll appease seasoned racers as much as total novices. Triathlon bikes look different to your bog standard frames because they’re designed to put you in a forward “aero” position – the idea being that you can move faster. While you don’t need a triathlon bike in order to compete in a triathlon or Ironman, you will ride faster on a bike that is designed for the event. Think about how serious you are and how often you intend to compete. If cycling is your thing, then it might be worth the investment.
The best bike for city strolls
Who doesn’t love a fixie? They look cool, you can go fast and, well, that’s all that you really want from a city bike. This is the lightest bike in this list at only 9.5kg so you’ll be able to lift it above your head should the occasion call for such a move. You’ve got three choices of handlebar (riser, bullhorn or drop bar), an aluminium frame and wheels, with a design apparently inspired by Barcelona.
The best bike for long journeys
Bromptons are iconic – and not just because they’re a funny shape. These fold away into hardly anything, making them the perfect bikes if you take a commuter train to work. Cycle to the station, pack up your bike, store between your legs on the train, then fold out and cycle away at the other end. Once you get to work, fold it up and store under your desk rather than leaving it to the elements outside. Or, pack up your bike and take it with you on holiday - no car rack required.
The best bike for a stylish ride
This champagne of bikes truly is a piece of art. Everything about it screams Japanese-style minimalism and elegance – from the slightly smaller wheels to the neutral colour and delicate saddle. It’s lightweight, has nine gears and can be fitted with mudguards, racks and other accessories.
The best bike for home spinning
You’ve heard of Peloton – you probably also know that one costs £1,990. That’s an eye-watering amount for a bike that doesn’t go anywhere. Echelon’s bike however, is nearly £700 cheaper, comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and an app packed with loads of cycling and non-cycling workouts. If you love spin, but fancy doing it in your own house rather than in a studio, this is for you. After all, if your spin studio costs £15 a session, you need to ride less than twice a week for a year to have made back your money.
IMAGE: Getty, courtesy of brands
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Miranda Larbi is a freelance fitness and wellness journalist, and qualified personal trainer. When she’s not finding new vegan places to eat, she can be found training for the next marathon or cycling across London on an old Dutchie.