CHOOSING THE RIGHT BIKE AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT cont'd

Mountain biking can take you where cars, (yes cars), road bikes and city bikes cannot take. Off the beaten track, the single tracks in the forests, in the mountains, etc. they are designed for balance, stability, manoeuvrability and comfort with front and sometimes rear suspension. The idea is that the wheels stay on the ground and the frame moves up and down keeping you on the ground for better control and traction. There is nothing quiet like the feeling than having labored blood, sweat and tears to the top of a mountain to see the view..

City bikes and trekking bikes may appear similar but there are some differences to take note of before buying on looks.

A city or urban bike generally have a more upright riding position and anything from a 3 speed hub gearing mechanism to a 5 or 6 speed and one speed up front. Narrow tyres, not as narrow as road bikes, but significantly narrower than mountain tyres.

Trekking bikes are designed for longer cycling, various terrains and more hilly routes so their bikes will have slightly wider tyres, more gearing, sometimes 7 or 8 speed at the back and two or three up front to make those hilly sections more easier to climb. The wider tyres to grip better on those gravel, dirt roads..

Road bikes are designed for speed and being aerodynamic.  They are not the most comfortable bikes to ride for leisure.  Their tyres are very narrow to reduce drag and resistance on the roads to maximise speed.

 

Remember, all the bikes we have discussed here can be used for pretty much all the different riding available but not always better suited for it, so choosing a bike really comes down to the type of riding you want to do…..

 

In our next section we will discuss bike sizing. It is an integral part of bike choosing. Choosing the wrong size can lead to uncomfortable rides, back ache, neck ache, stiff limbs and loss of feeling in ones hands.

 

We will end off with bike sizing and why its the most important part of choosing a bike

 

The chart below is probably the most simplest and easiest way to get to the right size bike.

MTB chart

 

Rider height

Leg inseam                                               

Suggested Frame Size

Feet/Inches

Centimeters

Inches

Centimeters

Inches

Size

4`10”-5`1”

148-158 cm

24-29”

61-73 cm

< 14″

XS

5`1″-5`5″

158-168 cm

25-30”

63-76 cm

15” / 16″

S

5`5″-5`9″

168-178 cm

26-31”

66-78 cm

16” / 17″

M

5`9″-6`0″

178-185 cm

27`-32`

68-81 cm

17″ / 18″

L

6`0″-6`3″

185-193 cm

28`-33`

71-83 cm

18″ / 19″

XL

6`1″-6`6″

193-198 cm

29`-34`

73-86 cm

19″ +

XXL

 

 

To get the inseam measurement take your shoes off and stand against a wall with a thick seamed book or ruler by your crotch, then take a tape measure and measure from the top of the book or ruler to the ground, that will give you an exact as can be measurement.

Road bike chart:

Rider height

Suggested frame size

Feet/Inches

Centimeters

Centimeters

Size

4`10”-5`0”

148-152 cm

47-48 cm

XXS

5`0″-5`3″

152-160 cm

49-50 cm

XS

5`3″-5`6″

160-168 cm

51-52-53 cm

S

5`6″-5`9″

168-175 cm

54-55 cm

M

5`9″-6`0″

175-183 cm

56-57-58 cm

L

6`0″-6`3″

183-191 cm

58-59-60 cm

XL

6`3″-6`6″

191-198 cm

61-62-63 cm

XXL

 

 

Another method is to measure your inseam and then multiply the formula pertaining to the type of bike, so

Inseam x bike formula = frame size

Road bike formula: 0.70

Mountain bike formula: 0.685

Hybrids formula: 0.685

Being a recreational cyclist you don’t need to be perfectly sized down to the exact cm. you can use the above charts as a pretty reliable way to determine your size.

Remember with mountain biking if you are going to be doing regular cycling around you can get sized accordingly, if you are going to be doing a lot of single track and off roading you may go a size down, better handling.

On that, ever wonder why mountain bikes have three wheel sizes these days when for so many years it was the good old 26”.

There came a time when Gary Fisher started toying with the 29” wheel. The theory was simple, the bigger the wheel the more easily it rides over rocks and other obstacles that might “throw” a 26” wheel. In time other brands started following suit, but with it problems started appearing. The 29” was sluggish on singletrack trails, had more flex, making it slower and less responsive. It did’nt take long until the 650B or 27.5” wheel came out. This offered the best of both worlds. Covered more ground, was rigid and responsive.

In time the 29” wheels have become more popular for endurance and multistage events where gravel and jeep track routes are the norm, the 27.5” are popular with single track racing and cycling, in fact all types.. and the 26” whilst becoming less and less popular still has its place in free riding,downhill racing and of course just for regular cycling around.

 till next time........

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