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Buying a bike

If you’ve never ridden a bike before or not had one for many years, it’s important to choose the right one to fit your needs.

Working out what style of bike to buy can be daunting when there are so many different types on the market: 

  • Mountain bikes have wide knobbly tyres, suspension and lots of gears so they cope well with off-road paths and tracks, although they are also good for general use.
  • City bikes or urban comfort bikes have smoother treaded tyres and are comfortable and easy to ride, making them ideal for commuting. Some have a more upright riding position for better visibility, plus low-maintenance hub gears and brakes.
  • Hybrid bikes look similar to a mountain bike but have narrower road tyres to make them faster on tarmac. This type of bike is often the best for general-purpose usage.
  • Racing bikes have very skinny tyres and are built for pure speed on tarmac or track. Expect to pay at least £400 for a new one.
  • Touring bikes are similar to racing bikes, but designed for long-distance comfort with the ability to carry panniers.
  • Folding bikes are compact and designed to take up as little space as possible when you’re not using them, making them ideal for commuting and for journeys that combine cycling with the bus, train or Park & Ride services. 

A user-friendly guide to these different types of bike can be found at

When buying a bike, we advise you to choose one of York’s reputable, independent cycle shops. They will be happy to help you find something suited to your height, your build and your lifestyle. If you are buying a bike for someone else, particularly a young person, you will need their inside leg measurement (with shoes on) so that you get the right sized bike for their height.

Many retailers offer a free check up around six weeks after purchase so fine adjustments can be made once you're comfortable with your new bike.


Check you've got the right accessories so you and your bike stay safe and secure. More