The Complete Cycling Turbo Trainer Buyer’s Guide

The Complete Cycling Turbo Trainer Buyer’s Guide

Where do you even start when it comes to purchasing big ticket items such as a turbo trainer? There are so many individual factors, brands, and models to take into consideration that it can become an overwhelming task.

Not to worry though, we’ve gone out and done some research to make this whole process that little bit easier. Below you’ll find a bulk of information concerning turbos, some of the different types available, and some example models that may interest you.

What is a Turbo Trainer?

Before we get to the nitty gritty of turbo trainers, it’s worth saying that there are two options for indoor cycling training apparatus; rollers and trainers.

Rollers require you to ride on three cylinders (drums), which are joined to axels inside a frame. Two drums are situated at the back, with the third drums at the front. The rear wheel turns the back drums, which pulls a rubber belt that rotates the front drum. These take a little more finesse than trainers, as there is no form of clamping, and you are much more responsible for keeping the bike upright. However, this almost has the feel of being on the bike.

A turbo trainer keeps the bike stationary, as your rear wheel will be clamped to the frame. They provide resistance using a roller with a flywheel, this resistance is created using a few different methods

  • Magnetic
  • Fluid
  • Fan/ Air
  • Direct Drive

This article will be concerned with turbo trainers, but keep your eyes peeled for a separate piece covering rollers.

Why Use a Turbo Trainer?

Excluding BMXs, Turbos can be used with almost any kind of bike, even mountain bikes can be fitted by replacing the back tire with a slicker one. They allow you to ride in the comfort of your own home and are great for finding solace in cycling during the winter months, however there are a few other reasons you may want to use a turbo trainer:

– They’re an effective method of training; many professional cyclists implement them in their training regime
– It may be too dark when you’d like to ride
– You’re time constrained
– Great for warming up before a race!
– You can avoid busy roads

Tips for Setting Up a Turbo Trainer

Before you go putting the thing together, find somewhere sensible to set up. Ideally you want to be away from other people, as some trainers can get a little noisy. Also, you’ll want to be able to get in the zone. Secondly, the turbo needs to be on a flat surface. This is because you’re about to be doing a lot of moving, and the last thing you need is to topple over mid-session.

For a few more tips concerning the set up of your turbo trainer, see the below video from the beloved cycling channel GCN!

Tips for Using a Turbo Trainer

This follow up video from GCN has all the information you’ll need for training indoors:

Additionally to the tips you received from this video; as is the expectation for an indoor workout, it’s about to get very hot. You’ll want to keep some essentials near you to keep the whole session as stress free as possible:
– Water. A lot of water
– Some snacks, e.g. fruit/ flapjack
– A towel
– Music or TV (as cycling without moving can be a little boring)
– Stopwatch/ timer

Types of Turbo Trainers

As discussed in the introduction, there are a few different types of turbo trainers. This difference is usually denoted by the method through which resistance is created, although there are a few other types that are categorised by their technological prowess. Below you’ll find a list of these types, with a few recommendations for models you could consider.

Magnetic

A magnetic turbo trainer creates turning resistance on the back wheel through the force of a magnetic field. The resistance is usually controlled using a handlebar mounted manual lever. These Turbos are quieter than other variations but are limited in the levels of resistance they can provide.

Minoura B60-R

Minoura Turbo Trainer
Price: £149.99
Resistance: 7 Levels Adjustable through a handlebar mounted remote.
Wheel Sizes: 24”, 26”, 27”, and 700c
Frame: Steel
Weight: 5.5kg
Includes: Instructions Manual and Special Quick Release Skewer, 1 Year Warranty
Power Generated: 425w at 40kph/ 662w at 60kph

This is a great entry-level turbo trainer, at a comparatively low cost. The frame is a lightweight steel, that weighs around 5.5kg, and provides a wide and stable footprint. The resistance is controlled through the handlebar mounted trigger, through which you have access to 7 levels. The Turbo is basic compared to others on the market, but the B60-R is a grand improvement on the old Minoura B60-D.

Find on Amazon!

Fluid/ Liquid

These turbos use a propeller that spins inside a fluid chamber to create resistance. These provide a smoother resistance change than magnetic turbos and are controlled using the gear system on your bike.

Kinetic Smart New Rock and Roll Turbo Trainer 2

Kinetic Turbo Trainer
Price: £329.99
Resistance: Progressive Fluid Resistance
Wheel Sizes: 22” to 29”
Frame: Powdercoated Steel with Aluminium Parts
Weight: 19kg
Interface: Bluetooth Smart
Includes: Kinetic InRide Hardware, Kinetic Skewer, FREE 1-month subscription for Kinetic Fit Power-Training app, Unconditional Lifetime Warranty
Power Generated: Up to 3000+w

So, we’ve been a bit cheeky with listing this under fluid trainers. It does indeed use fluid to create resistance, but this is technically also a smart trainer. These are defined by their use of technology to collect data and stats on your workouts.
The Kinetic Rock and Roll Turbo Trainer 2 takes full advantage of this new tech and can connect via Bluetooth to smart phones, tablets, and laptops to work with apps such as Kinetic Fit, Zwift, and TrainerRoad.

This turbo is also the only free moving fluid trainer in the world, giving you a more realistic indoor training experience through tilts and shifts, and one hell of a core workout. It’s a little heavier than other turbos out there, but the frame is foldable for easy storage and portability. If that’s not enough for you; it also comes fully assembled.

Find on Amazon!

Air/ Fan/ Wind

Resistance is created through a fan/ blades spinning in the air for these types of turbo trainers. These have a reputation for creating a lot of noise, and so have become least popular amongst cyclists, but the price makes up for it.

CycleOps Wind Trainer

CycleOps Turbo Trainer
Price: £125.99
Resistance: Progressive Wind Resistance
Wheel Sizes: 650b, 700c, 26”, 27”, and 29” (up to 2.0 tyre)
Includes: FREE Race Day DVD (Race/ Training Tips), Life Time Manufacturer’s Warranty, Quick Release Skewer

As with any turbo that creates resistance using a fan, this is a noisy bit of kit. However, the CycleOps Wind Trainer boasts a wide range of resistance levels and a ‘road-like’ feel. The frame is foldable and can be adjusted for uneven surfaces.

It is designed to fit common road and mountain bike frames, but the use of a trainer tyre is recommended. If you aren’t bothered by the noise, the price of this equipment and the experience it gives you really does make this a fantastic beginner’s turbo trainer.

Find on Amazon!

Virtual Reality

These trainers are some of the most expensive, this is because they link up with your computer for you to be able to race virtual routes with other cyclists from around the globe. The resistance in these models is controlled through your computer, according to the course you choose to ride. They are some of the most advanced and realistic trainers on the market.

Elite Realpower CT Reality Turbo Trainer

Elite Turbo Trainer
Price: £1047.99 – 1499.99
Resistance: Electromagnetic
Frame: Steel
Interface: Bluetooth Smart
Includes: Handlebar Mountable Computer Console, USB Dongle, Gel Block Front Wheel Riser
Power Generated: 500w at 15kph

Yes, this is an expensive turbo trainer. But what do you expect when it comes to virtual integration? The resistance is computer controlled and depends on the virtual course you wish to ride on. 18 courses can be accessed across a few DVDs, which are included with the turbo. Although, it’s not just the technological features that make it. The electromagnetic breaking system uses an advanced magnetic power that varies in viscosity according to the electrical current passed through it. The provides resistance to the blades being rotated as you pedal.

The handlebar mounted computer console allows you to control the software without leaving your saddle and is connected to your device using a USB dongle. Your time, distance, gradient, cadence, wattage, and heart rate are all displayed in real-time on your device, allowing for a much more strategic training session. You are also able to create your own courses, download GPS routes, and even race against yourself. The possibilities with this piece of kit are seemingly endless.

There have been a few grievances concerning the models size (a full effort can cause the turbo to move), and the feet sliding during all out training, but this are incomparable to the whole world of opportunities this turbo provides.

Find on Amazon!

Smart Trainers

These turbos are defined by their ability to connect wirelessly to smartphones, tablets, and computers using Bluetooth. You can do a quick search of your preferred application store to find free and paid apps that are designed to control the resistance and record data.

Wahoo Fitness Kickr Snap

Wahoo Turbo Trainer
Price: £515.00
Frame: High Strength Steel
Resistance: Electromagnetic
Wheel Sizes: 650c RD, 26” MTB, 700c RD, 650b MTB, 29” MTB
Weight: 20kg
Interface: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ and ANT+FE-C
Includes: Front Wheel Riser Block, Power Cord, Power Brick, Quick Release Skewer, Quickstart Guide

This is a relatively low-priced turbo, considering the amount of tech involved. Some users have said that the model is noisy, but this doesn’t seem a likely story, as electromagnetic turbos are usually among the quietest. The feet are adjustable for uneven surfaces, and the legs fold away so the trainer can be nicely stored. There may be a slight lag in virtual races, as the power is measured behind the flywheel in this turbo’s case. However, it should still record data to a high standard. Plus, not many other companies include the riser block with the trainer.

Find on Amazon!

Direct Drive

This type of trainer removes the rear wheel from the equation. The cassette on your bike connects directly onto the turbo and avoids the wear and tear on tyres that other models exacerbate. Your session will also be a lot quieter, as less friction is created in the process.

Tacx Flux Direct Drive Smart Trainer

Tacx Turbo Trainer
Price: £617.95
Resistance: Electromagnetic
Weight: 24kg
Interface: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ and ANT+FE-C
Includes: Front Wheel Riser Block, Power Cord, Power Brick, Quick Release Skewer, Quickstart Guide
Suitable Cassettes: Various Shimano, SRAM & Campagnolo
Compatible with: Tacx Utility, Zwift, Kinomap, Skuga, Trainer road, FulGaz, The Sufferfest, Cycleops Virtual Training, BKOOL indoor, Golden Cheetah, Maximum Trainer, Perfpro & VeloReality

If what you really need from a turbo trainer is silence, then this is the one for you. Direct Drives are incredibly quiet compared to the alternatives, and this is coupled with an electromagnetic breaking system (which also happen to be very quiet). There is also the added benefit that they don’t slowly destroy all your tyres.

It also happens that this trainer has the capability to connect to your laptops, smart phones, and tablets wirelessly to collect your training data. This data includes speed, cadence, and power readouts. You are also able to use this trainer with several cycling ‘virtual reality’ programs out there, but make sure the graphics card on your computer can handle that sort of thing.

Find on Amazon!

How do you decide which turbo trainer is best for you?

There are a few factors to take into consideration when making a buying decision such as this one:

Budget
Turbo trainers are an expensive piece of kit, and constantly improving features and technology are driving up prices all over the place. So, it’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to choosing a model.

Usage
To help you determine which brand/ model is best for you, try and think of what you actually need from the trainer. If you’re a beginner to intermediate cyclist, you won’t need to choose one with all the bells and whistles. But if you’re looking to optimize your training sessions through the analysis of quantitative data, you may need to fork out a few more bucks for a smart trainer.

Noise
If you live with your family, or your walls and particularly thin, then the noise a trainer produces is definitely a factor to consider. Although, this won’t affect the price of your purchase too much, as it’s easy to find relatively low cost magnetic turbos.

Portability
Believe it or not, not all trainers are made to be portable. Some of the larger, more complicated, options are made to stay where you set them up. If you need to take your trainer everywhere you go (which makes us greatly appreciate your commitment to the sport), then it’s best to do your research beforehand.

Frame Design and Mounting System
It’s very likely that any turbo trainer you set your eyes on will be able to work with your bike. However, it never does any harm to check the product websites for a full spec on what is and isn’t compatible.

That’s probably enough chat about turbo trainers for now, although you should keep your eyes peeled for upcoming articles concerning Virtual Reality Games for trainers, and rollers!!! In the mean time, check out our list of inspirational cycling quotes to get you motivated for the coming year!

50 Incredible Cycling Quotes to Motivate You

50 Incredible Cycling Quotes to Motivate You

We’re lucky to live in a time where cycling is quickly rising in popularity. Where there is a place for everyone in the sport; from the professionals pushing the limits of their body, to those of us commuting by bike.It is the freedom of two wheels that keeps us going back.

“Ride a bike. Ride a bike. Ride a bike” – Cycling Quote by Fausto Coppi

That motivation to push harder, go faster, get better. And as you’ll see from this plethora of cycling quotes we’ve put together, there is a tremendous amount of inspiration to be found in the simple act of pedalling. From Einstein to Cavendish, inspiration and motivation comes from all corners and greatness.

 

The Greatest Cycling Quotes

“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride” – Eddy Merckx

“The race is won by the rider who can suffer the most” – Eddy Merckx

“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades” – Eddy Merckx

Cycling Quotes

“When my legs hurt, I say: “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!” – Jens Voigt 

“If you go (with a break), you can either win or not win. If you don’t go for it, you definitely won’t win” – Jens Voigt 

“It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond

“I have always struggled to achieve excellence. One thing that cycling has taught me is that if you can achieve something without a struggle it’s not going to be satisfying”  Greg LeMond

JFK Cycling Quotes

John F. Kennedy

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike” – John F. Kennedy

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring” – Desmond Tutu

“It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic gold medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport” – Scott Martin

“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it” – Doug Bradbury

“To me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining or the sun is shining or whatever: as long as I’m riding a bike I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world” – Mark Cavendish

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking” – Arthur Conan Doyle

“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels” – Heinz Stucke

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”  John Howard

“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love.”  Johan Museeuw

“As long as I breathe, I attack.”  Bernard Hinault

Cycling Quotes

“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.”  Mark Twain

“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”  Charles M. Schultz

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.”  H.G. Wells

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.”  James E. Starrs

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”  William Saroyan

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”  Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein Cycling Quotes

Albert Einstein

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.” Albert Einstein, in reference to the Theory of Relativity.

“Think of bicycles as ridable art that can just about save the world.”  Grant Petersen

“A bicycle is the finest mode of transport known to man.”  Adam Hart-Davis

“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.”  Bill Nye

“When you ride a bike and you get your heart rate up and you’re out, after 30 or 40 minutes your mind tends to expand; it tends to relax.”  [former] US President George W. Bush

“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity”  Lord Charles Beresford

“Every time you miss your childhood, ride on a bicycle!” Mehmet Murat ildan

“Bicycle means simplicity and simplicity means happiness”  Mehmet Murat ildan

“Nature loves bicycle because no harm to nature comes from the bicycle!” – Mehmet Murat ildan

Nature Cycling Quotes

“My biggest fear is not crashing on a bike… It’s sitting in a chair at 90 and saying, ‘I wish I had done more.” – Graeme Obree

“Truly, the bicycle is the most influential piece of product design ever.”  Hugh Pearman

“Riding bicycles will not only benefit the individual doing it, but the world at large.” Udo E. Simonis

“Cycling has encountered more enemies than any other form of exercise.” 19th-century author Louis Baudry de Saunier

“I have the impression that cycling is no longer a game but rather an employment… a job.”  Bernard Hinault

“There’s a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you’re self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn’t so easy in a car, and you can’t cover as much ground walking”  David Byrne

“Cycling is good for people in all ways: their health, their well-being, and it does no damage to the environment” – Jeremy Corbyn

Nature Cycling Quotes

“I’m in control, liberated and free, when I’m on my bike.” – Erin O’Connor

“When your legs scream stop and your lungs are bursting, that’s when it starts. That’s the hurt locker. Winners love it there.” – Chris McCormack

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” – Charles M. Schulz

“Cyclers see considerable more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to.”  Dr. K. K. Doty

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”  John Howard

“A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness.”  James E. Starrs

“Death may have no master, but the bicycle is, most emphatically, not its slave.”  James E Starts

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.”  H.G. Wells

“When you’re turning the crankset, you’re riding the bike. When you’re coasting, you’re just along for the ride.”  Ned Overend

“A raggedy ride beats a dressed up walk.”  Simon Peat

“Life may not be about your bike, but it sure can help you get through it.” Hallman

 

We hope you can find some motivation in these cycling quotes, or in the very least that they might get you back out on the bike. Share your favourites with us on Facebook and Twitter!

50 Amazing Cycling Gifts for 2018 – Gifts for Cyclists in your Life

50 Amazing Cycling Gifts for 2018 – Gifts for Cyclists in your Life

Are you in need of a cycling gift for that passionate two wheeled loving person in your life?

I continue to see my Christmas days and birthdays filled with cycling gifts, but that’s okay with me. I’ve put together the longest list on the internet (I think) of the presents I would personally love, and know any biker would too.

(more…)

Cycling for Beginners Guide: How to Start Biking in 2018

Cycling for Beginners Guide: How to Start Biking in 2018

This guide will give you the boost you need to start biking as a beginner.

It covers why you should cycle, a rundown of bike types, and exact bike clothing options to make you look and act the part.

Cycling for beginners shouldn’t be daunting; it shouldn’t be intimidating; simply a fresh of breath air and excitement.

I can’t wait to show you how to start biking! 🙂

Why biking exercise is good for you and your health

I had never committed to any exercise yet alone biking exercise, and after that I just couldn’t stop. There are many benefits including weight loss and better state of mind.

I absolutely love it.

It’s opened so many opportunities up and my body is eternally grateful.

In the first section of the cycling for beginners guide I’m going to take you through two things:

  1. Why cycling is amazing and good for your health
  2. How it will transform your life 

Step one no doubt sounds familiar, but step two may have you thinking differently about cycling as a beginner. I’ll go into detail on both parts and get you pumped to begin your journey.

Trust me,

you won’t need any more persuading after you’ve finished reading this chapter!

The many health benefits to cycling and how it can help weight loss

There are a lot of reasons you should cycle, but your health should be top priority (there’s lots of good health tips and tricks on top of cycling you can check). My health meteorically increased when I started cycling. No more getting out of breath by simply walking up the stairs and no more feeling guilty about eating cake.

Here are some of the core cycling health benefits you’ll gain by starting out:

  • Keeping slim comes pretty quickly with cycling. You can burn a lot of calories fast and without exerting yourself too hard making it a huge help when trying to lose weight. For instance Strava recorded 750 burnt calories from a little over 2 hours of riding.

 

  • Cycling has been said to reduce not only obesity but alleviate high blood pressure. Causes of high blood pressure can include heavy alcohol consumption and too much salt.

 

  • Another health benefit is combatting depression and mental health – promoting more positive thoughts. Not only is the bike exercise good for state of mind, the social connections you’ll get from the world’s best sports community will be worth it. You can find cycling forums on our brands feature post.

 

  • You’ll get strong legs. I wouldn’t worry about becoming leg heavy when it comes to muscle, but if you find yourself doing an insane amount of cycling, perhaps incorporate some upper body workouts too.

 

  • Not just a benefit to weight loss, cycling is good for you and your joints too. Unlike hard impact exercise like running, cycling is better on your bones meaning by the time you get to 100, you may still be pedalling.

 

health benefits of cycling

Other reasons why cycling is good for you

It’s not just your health that cycling is good for. Turning those pedals will improve your everyday.

It may not be so obvious but these next set of points have been a cycling benefit to me when I first started out.

I am certain they will be for you too.

Community

The community is close knit and unbiased to age. It’s one I’ve been part of for a while now and every cyclist I bump into shares the same enthusiasm and passion.

I began in a Gloucestershire cycling club where I met many young cyclists who all enjoyed cycling’s benefits. From getting lost in the cotswolds through to struggling up small climbs; I had a blast when I was a beginner cyclist.

No doubt the cycling community is active near you. If you join social rides, local cycling clubs, attend sportives, or just hang around your local independent bike shop, you’ll meet some amazing cycling folk.

Get stuck in and experience the social benefits of cycling as a beginner.

Independence and cost-saving

Are you a city worker, or perhaps you’re commuting to college or university? Either way, if you use public transport or drive a car you should think about swapping it for a bike ride.

Not only will you double down on health benefits of cycling your bank balance will be better off too.

Want to know my weekly commute petrol costs?

It costs me £15 a week to get A to B and I only get in 10 minutes quicker. That’s why I switched to the bike although I do occasionally drive if the weather is bad. So cycling is good for you and your wallet!

It’s finding the balance – nobody is expecting you to go full bike! Small and steady steps are the way to making your beginner cycling benefits life-long habits.

Sustainability

Have a conscience? I’m not going to preach about this cycling benefit as I for one am not a saint when it comes to sustainability. There’s a hell of a lot more I could and should be doing. But riding your bike is a starting point.

Pollution is pretty bad right now and if like me you live in a city, you know what it’s like to constantly be in.

Biking can make a difference to your city. Know how to start biking can help reduce this.

Sense of adventure

Hitting the Spanish hills on a mountain bike got me passionate. With no map and no expectation, every corner; every single struggle heightened the euphoria that came with exploring.

To get a different perspective and one that’s much closer to the environment never gets old. And knowing that cycling is good for my health, my mind and my body, made it all that more amazing.

I’ve taken friends and family out in lesser environments and I always get the same reaction. They too wondered why cycling is good for you and your health. The beginner cyclist’s reaction of happiness and pure motivation will never get tiring. If you never experience that, then you are sincerely missing out.

How to choose a bike that works for you

Choosing a bicycle as a beginner can be an arduous task.

“Do I need this, do I need that” etc.

If you’re brand new to cycling, there are several bike types that are designed for different purposes. Again, another factor that makes it just that bit harder to choose a bike that works for you.

In the second part of this series I’ll take you through what bike types there are, what they are good for and how to make it work for your budget.

Whilst you can slave away at details, this course is designed for the beginner and as such we’ll keep it informative to the level you need.

Choosing your bike type 

road bike

Road bikes

I’m a road bike rider. They take a little bit to get used to if you haven’t ridden one before. Thin tyres and low handlebars.

The tyres are suitable for tarmac surfaces and predominantly smooth ones at that. The handlebars are like horns and drop low, but still allow you to sit up and ride if you want to. This makes for good versatility in riding position.

I’ve found i’m usually sitting up more than on the drops on my road bike – so it’s down to what you do and what you prefer.

You can get them with disc brakes (more expensive and very sharp) or with brakes you’re probably more familiar with when you grew up as a child.

Beginner road bikes tend to be aluminium (no bad thing) which makes for a sturdy ride, but once you get to the 4 figures you’ll start seeing full carbon bikes which need a little more balance and stability from the rider.

It’s always worth trying to test ride one before you purchase. Most independent bike shops will be happy for you to have a spin before you buy your first bike.

Road bikes are suitable for commuting, weekend road rides, and road racing

New prices start from around £300

hybrid bike

Hybrids

Choosing a hybrid bike is a good idea for a starter not too confident in the abilities.

I was a hybrid bike owner at first with a Boardman Comp from Halfords. I did however switch to a road bike months later as I started doing longer rides with a cycling club.

Hybrids take the best of road and mountain bikes. The tyres are in between a MTB and a road bike and on more occasions than not, the handlebars are flat. It will probably be something you are more familiar with as a beginner cyclist looking to choose their first bike.

Again, you’ll probably find most hybrid bikes you look at as a beginner bike, to be aluminium. My Boardman was a smooth ride, and I miss it as it’d have been perfect for commuting!

Hybrid bikes are suitable for commuting, short weekend road rides, and mild off-road terrain.

New prices start from around £150

 

Mountain bikes

Choosing a mountain bike for your first beginner bike seems to be popular first riders because of the price tag.

The fat tyres and heavy frame are designed to go on trails more so than tarmac, which makes it difficult and hard-going for anything other than that.

You’ll get suspension on mountain bikes, another tell tale sign this are just for your off-road riding. But there’s no harm in using it to commute back and forth – though I personally suggest a hybrid just for that.

Mountain bikes are suitable for commuting and off-road environments.

New prices start from around £100

Choosing a bike frame material

If we were to put the cost of material to one side and weigh up the pros and cons of both, you’ll gauge what might be right for you.

Even if you have no preference, understanding material and benefits to each is good cycling knowledge to have.

  • Steel can make for a sturdy ride and as it is quite a weighty material, it is durable. It’s a cheap frame material to have and might crop up when you choose your beginner bike.

 

  • Alumnium is another common beginning bike option and you even see it in the upper ranges. It’s ability to be light and tough makes for a good option; although not guaranteed to be the smoothest of cycles.

 

  • Carbon is what I ride. Full carbon starts from around near £1000, so not necessarily the best option if you are choosing a bike on a budget. Carbon is lightweight – if not the lightest of them all- and from what I’ve experienced, lovely to ride!

 

I recommend looking at alumnium frames if you are choosing your first bike, but there’s no harm in going all out and investing for a long-term carbon speedster.

How to choose a bike frame size

The next important thing is to get your cycle size and frame right to make bike exercise more comfortable.

Choosing a bike size is fairly easy – and more so if you go into a shop with a qualified sales assistant.

Incase you want to know your bike size right now, I put together this sizing chart so you can measure yourself against it.

Choosing a bike size or bike frame

Once you have chosen your bike size, there will still be a little bit of work to do.

This involves choosing your saddle height and position, as well as choosing your handlebar height.

If you find yourself cycling a lot, I suggest going to find a bike fitter. But this is another £100 cost you don’t necessarily need as a beginner cyclist. Just sort your frame size to start and then make sure your comfortable for your riding.

Understanding cycling pedals

You’ll see a lot of cyclists clipped in to their bike. Kinda scary right?

Whilst clips seem worrying at first, you get used to them.

As a beginner cyclist, when you choose a bike, they will likely come with flat pedals. These are the pedals most people know and associate with cycling, where you can wear any shoes to push them round.

Clips require cycling shoes that you attach cleats onto. The cleat on the cycling shoe clips into the pedal mechanism and fixes you in. To unclip you simply twist your heel!

Have a look at the image below to get an idea of what cleats look like.

cleet and clip on pedal cycling

Click here if you’re looking to buy cleats and cycling shoes.

Make sure to test your new bike

As I mentioned a little bit earlier in the post, when you are choosing your bike it is good to test ride.

I took my now Cannondale for a trip around Cheltenham when I chose my bike and fell in love with it there and then. But I was lucky as that was the first bike I tried. To be honest, I probably should have tried a few more…

Anyway, most shops will let you have a go to make sure it’s a fit made in heaven.

 

The best beginner cycling gear and clothing for your budget

You want to look good on the bike when you start biking – I mean that’s why you bought a nice bike right?

Cycling clothing and gear has now become affordable and trendy so no matter if your budget as a beginner cyclist is small or massive, you’ll be turning heads.

In this part of the cycling for beginners guide, I’ll be providing you with lots of brilliant cycle clothing and gear suggestions across three budget ranges.

Disclaimer: As a man writing this most products will be unisex or male. All brands I speak of sell women’s clothing equivalents. I am also using affiliate links and receive a small commission for any sales – this has not effected my recommendations and only serves to help maintain the costs of running this website.

beginner cycle clothing

Cycling for beginners clothing

Helmets: Not only crucial for your safety, a helmet can have a bit of style and also vary in ventilation. I’ve had some very hot cheap helmets and you’re best to avoid these from the off. Find a few of my favourites below including the current helmet I use.

Jerseys: These come in both long sleeve and short sleeve. I’m going to throw you over some cool designs I love, and know you will too as a beginner cyclist. Take away the brands and see their other cycle jersey designs because a lot of it comes down to personal preference here. Just know that the brands below fall into different budget categories and are all great quality.

rapha light weight jersey

Shorts:  Cycling shorts are a piece of gear you want to get right. They come with padding to make riding comfortable – a sure must if you plan on doing anything over 10 miles. You can get shorts as standalone, or as a bib shorts which are held up by straps that go up to your shoulders. I only recently went to bib shorts and have never looked back.

Shoes: My beginner cycling shoes were trainers and then I moved to some Shimano cleats. If you’re new and want to practice your bike riding first, then stick to trainers in general. But if you want to clip in, then see my suggestions below. Never clipped in before? Brace yourself for some heart stopping moments as you get to grips. It’s not that hard though; seriously.

Winter clothing

When winter approaches, you are going to want to get some winter beginner cycling gear and clothing. Trust me, you won’t even want to ride 5 minutes in the UK without this stuff. Cycling makes everything feel so much colder! A good thing in the hot conditions though.

Jacket: Getting a jacket is something worth investing in. They’re a little pricey and of course you may not need one until winter comes. There’s a few good jackets I can recommend including the wind jacket I wear myself. May also be worth wearing a winter jersey underneath.

Winter tights (to stay warm!): Shorts will only last you so long. Try a good pair of winter tights to get you through the season. I invested in a pair of Rapha and whilst I got a too small size, they do keep me warm.

Gloves: Never go out in the cold without gloves. It’s a bitter, miserable experience and I’ll never make the mistake again. There are various types of gloves, but as a beginner it’s probably worth getting some all-rounders.

Buff: Versatile and brilliant. As a beginner cyclist, this cloth is essential! Keeps the ears, head and face warm.

Beginner cycling gear

Lights: It’s good to have a red light on the back of your bike even in the summer for when the weather turns. For winter and darker days it’s essential you have a strong front light in order to see where you’re heading and alert on-coming traffic of your whereabouts.

Puncture repairs:  Pretty self explanatory when it comes to cycling for beginners. Having peace of mind knowing you have what is required to fix a puncture means you won’t get into tough spots. Although you’ll need to know how to fix a puncture first off.

Water bottle and cage: A water bottle is somewhat personal I always feel. They all dispense water after all! My ultimate choice for a beginner cycling water bottle is the podium range from Camelbak. They have a unique mechanism and in my opinion look pretty good on the bike. See what you think.

How to start cycling safely

It’s important when cycling as a beginner you follow the road etiqutte and laws.

Here is a quick rundown of some basics you should remember:

  •  Use cycling hand gestures and ensure you are confident in doing so. This makes you more predictable when turning at junctions so motor vehicles can drive safely.
  • Obey the traffic light system. Don’t skip reds even if you think it’s safe to do so. It may seem simple but both beginner and pro cyclists do it.
  • Don’t cycle on motorways; even in the hard shoulder this is illegal.
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