How to buy a bike

What you need to know when shopping for that new set of wheels
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

03.Frame

ONLINE_BuyingBikeGuide_Tape

Fit

Getting a frame that fits you well is one of the most important things when choosing a bike, as the frame size will affect its feel and comfort. Despite various specialist fitting services on the market these days, following a few basic principles around sizing should suffice for the general commuter. Most of your weight on the bike should be carried by your feet and bottom, not by your hands.

Height

Most bike size measurements are based on the seat tube length (the vertical bar from the pedal cranks to the saddle). Make sure you can stand over the bike with some clearance.

For optimum saddle height, place your heel on the pedal – when it’s at the bottom of the stroke, your leg should be straight. When you move your foot into the normal pedalling position, you’ll have a slight bend in the knee.

Stretch
The length of the top tube (seat to handlebars) is also key as it determines how far you’ll have to stretch. There’s no simple guide but comfort is crucial – you don’t want to be too stretched out or too bunched up.


Materials 

What the frame is made out of will also impact your ride. 

Steel 
Common on classic bikes such as the Dutch step-through 
Pros: Absorbs bumps; strong 
Cons: Rusts easily; can be heavy 

Aluminium 
Common on city-style bikes 
Pros: Lighter than steel; doesn’t rust 
Cons: Doesn’t absorb bumps 

Carbon fibre 
Not common on city-style bikes 
Pros: Light; absorbs bumps 
Cons: Expensive 
 

Sign up to our free
e-Newsletter

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

 
Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments