Thought it was about time I talked about something a little different, and as it's my blog, I think I can do that! :D
Now I’m not talking about big hairy (or bald) blokes on Harley Davidsons wearing a shed load of leather. I’m talking about REAL bikes. Those with pedals! Biking is more popular than ever now in the UK, with more people becoming health conscious and looking for fun ways to keep fit, or just simply to go out and see some countryside.
Now whether you’re into BMX biking and pulling a few stunts, mountain biking to test yourself on some rugged terrain or road biking long distances, there is a type of biking for all personalities. Personally I am a mountain biker and love finding new spots to test my bike and me. There are some amazing spots around the Lake District, just make sure you take a map or know exactly where you are going, I’ve been lost a fair few times up there and it can get a little scary! There is zero mobile signal there at present as well so just make sure you’re always with someone else and that someone also knows your rough whereabouts should you not return on time.
2015 has seen some very smart bikes come onto the market. Carrera have some very good bikes, that aren’t too expensive. They have a decent range on the Halfords website, http://www.halfords.com/. A good friend of mine bought a Carrera Vulcan this year for less than £400, and he is very impressed with it. The Carrera Kraken is also a very decent budget bike. Another very good company in this kind of price range is Dawes. For under £300 you have a very good choice of sport bike, in particular the XC21 or the Discovery Sport 1 bikes. Dawes have a very good reputation and have been around for more than 100 years, so you’re getting a bike with very good heritage. If you’re after a sports bike with a bit more panache then take a look at either a Cannondale Bad Boy 4 or a Giant ToughRoad SLR 2. The Giant is a particularly good bike but will set you back in the region of £700. A few steps above these bikes you have something bikes like the Specialized Enduro Comp 650b (I own one of those). You’re getting full suspension with a very sturdy but manoeuvrable body. They have recently had a price drop to less than £2K so worth a look if you want to be spending that kind of money.
If road biking is your thing then you are probably the sort of person that can afford a decent one. These bikes have to be very lightweight, yet strong and extremely comfortable if you want to be travelling distance of more than 100 miles. Even entry-level bikes are expensive! A very good manufacturer to look at is Fuji, and in particular their Transonic range. I haven’t ridden myself but my mate, who is in the know about these types of things, waxes lyrical about them and he is a very serious road biker who does trips of up to 1000 miles. He has cycled to Spain before so I would trust his judgment over most! He also recommends the Fuji Norcom bike. Diamondback are also a very prominent leader in this field and do some very good triathlon style bikes. If you have around £6K to spend then look at the Fuji SL!
BMX biking is as popular now as ever and the BMX bike market is very competitive. One company that has been making strides in recent years is DK. They have a big range of freestyle and also racing BMX bikes and are known to be exceptionally good value for money. Their Cygnus range are very cool looking bikes and the build quality is very high indeed. You get a lot of bang for your buck and a very sexy BMX! The Helio range is a little more of a retro style, so if looking cool is your thing with your retro sneakers then take a look at one in that style. Another great brand to look out for is Mongoose. They have been around for over 40 years, since the beginning of BMX biking and are still one of the major players. The top of the range Chamber is one hell of a BMX bike.
Looking to Buy?
If you are on the look out to buy a bike then it is worth noting that bikes depreciate in value very quickly, even more so than cars, so once you’ve bought that bike, there is no way you can sell it for anywhere near the price that you paid for it. That is why the second-hand bike market is booming, with sites like www.for-sale.co.uk/bikes around it is easy to find good deals so I would definitely look into those guys. Like anything second-hand, make sure you know what to look out for in case there is anything wrong with the bike, so do a little bit of reading first or ask someone that knows their stuff!