How to buy a bike

What you need to know when shopping for that new set of wheels
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Choose a bike that will most closely match the majority of the riding you will do. One of the most common mistakes people make when buying a bike is getting one that tries to do everything, says Iain Treloar from Bicycle Network

For new riders, an upright style is recommended as it’s more comfortable and gives you more awareness of the road, says city cycling expert and director of BikeWise Jo Jones. While it’s common to see the speedy drop-handlebar road bikes around, they’re not designed for stopping and starting and the low riding position makes it much harder to keep an eye on the traffic.

Within the upright commuter bike range, there are various styles to choose from. Test ride a few styles so you can decide which best suits you.  

City/commuter bike 
These often come with accessories such as a rack, mud guards and lights. This may be cost effective, as accessories can add about $200. 


Flat bar road bike 
Similar to a drop-handlebar road bike but with flat handlebars, these are suited to a longer and speedier commute. 
  • Least upright for commuter bikes 
  • Speedier than many similar bikes 

Sit up & beg/step-through bike 
Suited to someone commuting about five kilometres and wanting a relaxed ride. 
  • Low/no top bar, so you can "step through"
  • Very upright  
  • Slower end of commuter bikes 
  • Comfortable  


Folding bikes
Good if you’re commuting by train and only want to ride part of the way. See CHOICE’s article on folding bikes. 

Electric bikes 
Either pedal assist (helps rider pedal) or throttle-powered (no pedalling required). These are good for longer distances or hills. See CHOICE’s article on electric bikes.  

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