Find out things you should consider when choosing a bike, Auckland bike rides, and resources for cycling in Auckland.
Selecting the bike that suits you can be an exciting challenge. There are many bike options available.
To help find a bike that suits your needs and feels just right, answer these questions:
- How far are you likely to ride?
- What sort of riding will you be doing – recreational, commuting, off-road exploring, long-distance touring, racing, or everyday riding to the shops and local areas?
- Where will you be riding – suburban streets, paved cycle paths, gravel roads, off-road trails, or mountain bike trails?
- How much money are you looking to spend?
- Are you going to be carrying anything while biking i.e. do you want to fit a basket, racks, pannier bags, kick-stand or baby seat?
- Is there a particular style, look, or colour that appeals to you?
Borrow a bike from a friend, hire a bike to try out, and/or talk to your local bike shop.
Many bike shops will let you try before you buy and can help work out any other accessories that might be suitable. This way you can get a feel for different style bikes and find a bike that suits you.
There are a range of bikes for different purposes and some are right for one particular purpose only, whereas others are more versatile.
As the name suggests, road bikes are designed for riding on the road and are suitable for commuting to work, racing, triathlons, and lightweight touring.
Road bikes are generally very light, have smooth, slim tyres, dropped handlebars (down-turned, curved handlebars), and a range of gears.
They are designed and built to maximise aerodynamics and minimise weight. They provide good speed-handling and sprinting ability, but may not be the most comfortable choice for everyone.
Mountain bikes are specifically designed to handle rough terrain, but are versatile enough to be used on- and off-road.
Their design often incorporates suspension to tackle rough paths, easy gears for steep climbs, and wide tyres with knobbly tread to maintain grip.
These features can add comfort and ease but slow the bike down when riding on a road.
Hybrid bikes combine features of both road bikes and mountain bikes. They also feature a more upright riding position than a road bike to make cycling more comfortable. They can be used on bike trails, in parks, and on city streets.
They are ideal for adding accessories such as mudguards, racks, panniers and baskets.
Step-through bikes do not have the cross-bar typical on most bikes, so you can ‘step-through’ without having to swing your leg over the seat to get on.
As with hybrid bikes, step-through bikes have a more upright riding position and can be used on bike trails, in parks, and on city streets. They can also be made more versatile by adding accessories.
This style of bike is best for cruising shorter distances.
Folding bikes are portable, easy to use and to store. These lightweight, multipurpose bikes are good for commuting, taking on holiday, going to the shops, or visiting the local café.
They are great for combining cycling with other transport options as they can be taken on trains, buses, and ferries, or put in the car boot to help you get to places easily.
Electric bikes (e-Bikes)
E-bikes have a battery and small motor to provide extra help in getting places. This tends to make them heavier but can help you travel further, exert less energy on hills, and arrive feeling fresh.
They are available in almost any style and can either assist when pedalling or using the throttle.
A specialist bike shop can provide more advice about power, weight, speeds etc.
Lifestyle, classic, urban, and cruiser bikes
Urban bicycles are used widely in Europe and are gaining in popularity in New Zealand.
They’re perfect for commuting, leisure, or riding to the local café on the weekend. They feature an upright riding position and are ideal for adding baskets, racks, mudguards, and panniers.
Cruiser bikes are all about moving in style, allowing for a relaxed ride, at low speeds on easy terrain.
Fixed-gear (fixie) bikes
Fixie bikes are bikes reduced to the bare essentials. Often similar to road bikes, fixies have one gear and no free wheel, meaning that when the wheels turn, so do the pedals.
Often there are no other brakes so they are not recommended for novice cyclists.
If you just like the look, fixie-styled bikes with free wheel, brakes, and gears are also available.
BMX and trick bikes
BMX (or bicycle motorcross) bikes are designed for off-road racing and stunt riding.
Built to be robust they have one gear, smaller wheels, and lower seats so not ideal for long-distance riding.
Pegs can also be attached to the axles for performing tricks.
Cargo and other bikes
There are many other types of bikes that are gaining popularity, and a bike can be found to suit almost any purpose.
Cargo bikes allow you to carry a lot of baggage (sometimes with electrical assistance).
Tandem bikes allow for two people to ride together.
Choosing the right size and fit
Getting the right size is one of the most important aspects in choosing a bike. Comfort, handling, aerodynamics, and efficiency all rely on the right fit.
Bike frames come in different sizes while seats and handlebars can be changed or adjusted for fit.
If you purchase a new bike from a bike shop they should adjust it to fit your body.
Watch our cycling in Auckland video series, where you’ll meet some everyday Aucklanders who ride bikes and hear about their tips and tricks for cycling in Auckland.
They’ll share their favourite riding locations, tell you about the type of bike they ride, how they look after their bike, and the type of things they take with them.
Cycling resources and organisations
For more information on cycling and details of cycling groups and organisations, visit these websites:
- Bike Wise
- NZ Transport Agency Cycling information
- Cycling New Zealand
- Bike Auckland
- Cycling Advocates Network
- Frocks on Bikes
- ACC SportSmart 10-point action plan
- Auckland Cycle Touring Association (ACTA)
- Auckland Central Cycle Club
- Auckland Mountain Bike Club
- Manukau City Veterans Cycle Club
- Counties Manukau Cycling Club
- Pohutukawa Coast Bike Club
- Department of Cycling - Waitakere Cycling Club
- West Coast Riders Club
- North Harbour Cycling Club
- Tumeke Cycle Space
- Recycling Bicycles for Refugees