Buy an everyday bike

Photo 04-01-2018, 14 42 50

By ‘everyday bike’ we’re referring to a bike that will get you from A to B as a means of transport. Ideally it will have mudguards to keep your dry in the rain, and some means of carrying the things you need. In this category we’re including hybrids, traditional bikes, roadsters, and Dutch bikes, though most of the examples below are hybrids.

Why ‘hybrid’? A hybrid takes the best bits of a mountain bike (comfort, flat bars, comparatively upright position), and combine them with the best bits of a road bike (speed, fast 700c wheels, lighter components).

What you can get will depend on your budget:

£0

A bike for free? There are a number of options.

  • The bike you already have in your shed / garage / elsewhere. Most bikes will get you from A to B, they just might not get there very quickly. If it needs fixing ask a friend for help, look at some YouTube videos, or take it into your local bike shop.
  • Why not ask friends and family if they have an unwanted bike sitting around taking up space? It’s worth a Facebook post at least. You won’t know until you try.

£1 to £100

At this price level your best bet will be secondhand. It might be tempting to look for a new bike at this price (and they do exist), but I’m afraid it will ultimately disappoint. It will be heavy and the components will be cheap and won’t last. Most people who cycle will tell you isn’t really worth it. So, some options:

  • See whether you have a bike recycling scheme locally where used bikes are refurbished. They can be brilliant if you have one near you.
  • Second hand bargains definitely exist under £100. see our ‘Second hand buying guide‘ for general tips. Brands to try could include Ridgeback, Claude Butler, Raleigh, Giant, Dawes, to name a few.

£100 to £200

At this price level there are various options.

We recommend Decathlon as being a good place to try if you can actually get hold of a bike during the current time. Their basic hybrid bike bike, the Riverside 100 is £150, or the slightly upgraded Riverside 120 is £180. See all their hybrid bikes here.

But again, secondhand is probably a better choice.

£200 to £300

It is possible to buy a new hybrid bike at this price – or at least it was before the current pandemic. Our top tip was going to be the Dawes Windermere, a 6 speed bike available for £270. It is now very hard to find such bikes actually available in stock.

Again Decathlon is a good place to try, with the Riverside 500 being £280, or the Hoprider 100 £300.

£300 up

At this price your options become more numerous. Again, your local bike shop would probably have had something available at this price before the pandemic. It is worth enquiring and doing some hunting around online, but ordering for a month or two ahead might be the best you can do. Some possibilities (prices at time of writing):

£500 up

Bikes we would have recommended at this level include the basic Boardman hybrid bikes available from Halfords, but at the time of writing they don’t have stock available (check out the bikes Halfords do have in stock here).

What to look out for

Will you be using the bike in all weathers? If so mudguards are a must if you don’t want to arrive at your destination in a damp state.

Will you need to carry anything? If so a rear rack could be useful, allowing you to attach panniers, or bungee on small items of luggage. A basket might be an alternative.

Frame materials. Many older bikes are steel, but these days aluminium is more likely. If you’re just riding around town it isn’t worth worrying too much about the specifics, although cheap steel frames will be very heavy.

Gears. The importance of gears depends on where you’ll ride. A single-speed bike will be fine if you live somewhere flat and have no plans to explore further afield, but in general a bike with gears is a good idea. Numbers of gears don’t matter too much – you probably won’t use all of them. That said, if you live somewhere really hilly having some good low gears will make your life far easier. Derailleur gears (multiple cogs) can take some getting used to – you can’t change gear whilst stopped – and are most common. Hub gears tend to cost more, but make riding more straightforward in that everything is simpler, and you can change gear whilst stationary.

If you like an upright riding position a Dutch bike is worth considering. In the UK they tend to cost more, but it is worth keeping an eye on second-hand listings.

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Some of the best maps, apps, and sources of local knowledge

Cycling during COVID-19

We live in challenging times, but cycling is fun, healthy, and a great way to get around

Moneysaving cycling tips

Moneysaving tips to help you ride a bike for less

Buy a mountain bike

If you live somewhere where the routes you will be using aren’t in brilliant condition, then a mountain bike might be your best bet

Buy a folding bike

Bikes that fold up to store easily, to go on the train, or fit in the boot of your car

A guide to buying a secondhand bike

Options for finding a brilliant used bike

How to buy a bike

A guide to getting going. Types of bikes, where to buy, how much to spend

Start here: Welcome to Budget Cycling

How to save money cycling