How to Choose a City Bike

The right bike depends on the use you make of it… or that you will make. Because if you take taste, your city bike bought for small occasional trips will quickly become your favorite way to ride every day or over longer distances.

Choose a City Bike

Better to provide comfort-compromise performance a little above the immediate perceived need to avoid a new purchase six months later. Do not aim too high either: the good city bike does not give in sports performance.

A Dutch or VTC?

The city bike does not respond to a single genre. In its many variations, it can be classified into two broad categories.The first in an exclusively urban form, the Dutch, or gooseneck frame, girder and low crossover. The second is shaped a little boilerplate generally meets the designation of VTC (all bike paths).

The first category, the more or less curved line is easier to ride: no need to lift up the leg. With this type of bike that involves maintaining a rectified best seen traffic. It’s very nice for short trips but we tired more quickly: the transmission of the effort is not optimal. And when standing upright, wind resistance is maximum.
Disadvantages erased in the second category, that of the VTC: it takes the classic triangular frame with a more or less inclined horizontal bar, and reduces the disadvantages of the first category while remaining perfectly suited to urban driving.

If you regularly make trips of more than 3 km, or with good ribs, or if you want to push a small acceleration from time to time, the VTC will be more ergonomic geometry.

The right size

Executives inclined crossbar offer a good compromise stiffness-spanning. But above all a good look at the frame size. We must ask the toe to the floor to stop without contortion of the basin, and not having to fully extend the leg at the low point of pedaling.

A good brand will offer three or four frame sizes. To choose, try several bikes (check that the tires are properly inflated and tail lights are installed properly). You take a little time to try than to regret a purchase that you committed over several years. And order the right size rather than taking the one he has in store for you right away.

Steel or aluminum?

Should we take a frame of steel or aluminum? The best steel dampens small shocks and vibrations, it is aging rather well. An aluminum frame is lighter but stiffer. A damaged aluminum frame is more difficult to repair. It is less resistant to shock and vibration than steel, but more corrosion by salt water. The front suspension is not essential, except perhaps with aluminum coating on the bad, but then it partially offsets the weight gain.

Do not forget that the framework represents less than a third of the bike weight, and better bike comfortable, sturdy and well equipped, as too light. And the only criterion for weight does not figure in kilograms, he is reduced to the question: Can I easily lift the wheel to hang in the air in a train or a bicycle storage?

Small and large wheels

For cyclists of small size, bicycle wheels 26 inches in diameter (ATV standard) or optionally 650 mm, is suitable. But it is a rare choice in urban biking or VTC, rather equipped with 700mm wheels. More than your waist (directly linked to the framework) can choose between large or small wheels depends mostly on other criteria. Small wheels have the advantage of the strength (the rays are shorter) and handling (hence their interest in ATVs), but the disadvantage of being more sensitive to bumps in the road – it’s pretty net with tiny wheels of a folding bike.

With a large-diameter curve of the tire is flattened, and therefore forms an angle with the floor more reduced, the contact ground surface is longer and better absorbs unevenness. The 700mm wheel also allows a better grip, and it ensures good stability.

The comfort depends largely on the width of the tires that should not be too thin, too wide while they increase ground friction coefficient. Choose tires between 35mm and 38 mm wide.

Details that matter

So that the bike is suited to your body and to your practice, yet a detail: the adjustable stem in height and tilt. It is unfortunately too often an option, while the steering adjustment plays a lot to find the comfortable position.

On a VTC so you’ll better efficiency but beware: the models are not always well equipped appreciable accessories in daily use in the city (see elsewhere).

Avoid: the super-short rear fender that does not protect much, or basket with light suspension handlebar, which does not support charge in relation to its volume.
Not to mention the most essential accessories : lighting. Favour fixed optics (removable sold with the bike are often low-end) if possible with a power dynamo in the wheel hub, totally insensitive to the weather.

Finally do not hesitate to change the saddle (and replace its quick coupler by a bolt). A good saddle will do much more for your comfort a suspension. We often suggest a pattern recessed in its central part, the male physiques as women have everything to gain. But it is difficult to define the best saddle: it is as personal as choosing the right shoes.

And how much does that cost ?

Hard to find in below 450 € according to the criteria given above. But it is totally useless to go flirt with the 1,000 €. Let’s say that between 500 € and 600 € is already an interesting choice. And be aware that the further down in price, more attention must be paid to details.