7 Considerations When Choosing The Right Bike Setup For Your Lifestyle
Riding a bike is the ultimate example of how easy something is once you learn it. What could be simpler than riding a bike? It’s all muscle memory, so how could anyone get it wrong once they’re learned? What people fail to realise is how complex and variable bike riding can be, and bike construction for that matter. What kind of framework do you get for a road bike? Is there a difference between a road bike that is designed for cycling competitions and one that is made for city riding? Do bike accessories affect the ride at all?
We aim to answer these questions in this article on the considerations when choosing the right bike for your lifestyle.
The frame of a bike is arguably the most important part of the bike, as it holds all the pieces together. What it’s made for is also important, as different bikes have different functions and not all will suit the same thing that suits the others. For instance, a road bike is designed to be sturdy but fairly light, to ensure that it won’t break but it won’t slow down the rider, and a mountain bike is heavy and solid to ensure than the rider isn’t thrown off by one of the many small bumps and sticks in the path on the mountain they chose to ride on.
The handlebars of your bike also play a major role in your riding, as they decide your seating position.
Curled around handlebars are often seen on road bikes so that the rider can lower their wind resistance and not have to work as hard when pedalling. Upright seating positions and straight backs are usually found on mountain bikes, because a straight back is more able to resist shocks to the body. Selecting your handlebars will select your seating position, so choose wisely.
Your wheels will be the things that decide how much strength your bike has, as wheels are distinct from tyres in this regard. If so far you have a mountain bike frame with mountain bike handlebars, it’s safe to say that road wheels won’t suit your bike. They have thinner spokes because they’re not designed to withstand the shock of mountain biking. All the same, mountain bike wheels will add unnecessary weight to your road bike and slow you down.
Some people prefer to have one gear on their bikes, for getting around flat areas of town. Others prefer to have 7 gears on one side and 4 on the other, which gives them 28 possible combinations. It’s all about how you ride it and how hard you ride it. Mountain biking? Lots of gears. Cruising around the city? One gear.
Here’s where we start to get some more visually-obvious differences. Tyres are less subtle in their differences, as the more knobbly a tyre is the more grip it’s trying to get on a contact surface, meaning that mountain bike tyres and covered in rubber blocks and things, and road bike tyres are smooth and thin. The thickness of the tyre also has an affect on the weight of the bike, so take that into consideration when building your bike.
Finally we arrive at the less crucial aspect of the build.
Optional extras are things like water bottle mounting stations or smartphone platforms on the handlebars. These will add weight, so if you’re building a time trial bike you probably won’t need them, but they’re applicable in almost every other riding scenario.
Lights are actually crucial to riding, as a lot of riding is done in the early morning or after dark, and being able to see on your bike is just as important as being able to see in your car. Get a reflector for the back of your bike for car headlights, no matter what you use it for, and get a small headlight for the handlebars. It’s worth it to have the peace of mind.
With these tips, you’re ready to build your bike! Your setup should match your lifestyle, and now that you understand how the setup aspect works a bit more, it’s a lot easier to get out there and get riding.