Introduction- How to Choose a Bike For the City?
Guest Contribution by Victor Nicholson
Modern megacities are like anthills – everywhere, there is vanity, rush, everyone is in a hurry, and they want to get somewhere. In earlier times, the main transport modes of cities would include the tram, and then the metro. Nowadays, there is also the option of riding a bicycle in many cities.
Large cities have undergone a process of redesign to incorporate more bike paths each year. The city bike, like no other, now feels like the king of the roads, in its element and power. It is about this transport that we will discuss today, and the pertinent question – which bike to choose for the city?
What is a city bike, and why is it needed? At first glance, the answer seems quite simple. If you type in “what is a city bike” in any search engine, you immediately get an answer like this – a bike designed to travel around the city.
But what makes a bike truly urban? The answer lies in its design.
City Bike Design
Editor’s note: This video outlines some things you should look out for in a commuter bike. Courtesy of Pure Cycles:
The bike is designed specifically for a comfortable, convenient, and, most importantly, safe ride around the city. Such a bicycle is easy to identify:
- by the design of the frame – so that it is comfortable to ride a bicycle in any clothes;
- the presence of wings – to protect against splashes when passing puddles after rain;
- footrest or kickstand – for quick and easy parking in the urban jungle;
- large weight – due to the specifics of the frame design, the weight of a city bike can reach 20 kilograms (44 lbs);
- the presence of a lantern ‘ strong lamp – for movement at night;
- a casing for the chain – to protect clothing from touching it;
- a comfortable soft chair – for moving around the city without discomfort on the ischial bones;
- large wheels – usually with medium tires for driving on asphalt surfaces;
- a small number of speeds – a city bike may well get by with one, but if there are many slopes or slides in the city, it is much more convenient if there are several, for example, seven;
- trunk – so that you can place a briefcase or purchases from the store.
Since the back is straight, the arms will not strain. Separately, it is worth noting that the landing is vertical and differs markedly from a landing on a mountain bike or other types of bikes. On it, you seem to “float” through the city’s streets, having good visibility not only of what is in front of you but also of what surrounds you, whether it be beautiful views of parks, or tempting collections with discounts from shop windows.
Any bike’s design starts off with a frame, and the city bike is no exception. If you add a soft and comfortable saddle to this, you can immediately understand why city bikes are so often compared to a sofa on wheels.
It can be: trapezoidal or rhomboid, which is more typical for the male, open or low, which, due to the design with the absence of a top tube, tends to be more popular for female riders.
Open frame bikes are much easier to get on when wearing skirts, dresses, or coats, with no need to lift and throw your leg up to climb the bike. That is why many prefer this design, due to its functionality and simplicity. It is worth noting that such frames weigh a little more.
The next step is to decide on the material from which the frame will be made. Some of the following materials are available on bikes online to choose from:
- Ordinary steel: Low cost, but it rusts over time, is extremely heavy, and is not the most durable.
- Carbon steel: Low cost, rust resistant, and strong, but heavy.
- Chrome molybdenum steel: Stronger and lighter than carbon steel, but is more expensive and quite heavy.
- Aluminum: Has the ideal ratio of weight and price, does not rust and is sufficiently strong, but tends to be a little pricey.
- Titanium: Strong, lightweight, durable, and resistant to impact and corrosion; however it comes at an extremely high price and is unsuitable for repair.
- Carbon: Lightweight, high strength, no rust; however, it is extremely expensive and fragile with point impacts (typical for professional sports).
In a nutshell, the higher carbon content, the more expensive the frame material would be. For urban bikes, a blend of different steels and aluminum are typical.
Besides your budget, there are a number of other factors to ponder when choosing a bike for the city. Make sure to consider your riding needs and the bike’s design and features too, so that you would not end up with a less than optimal purchase!
Images: Pixabay/ Velotaf and Unsplash/ KBO Bike
Victor Nicholson is an outdoor enthusiast, camper, fisherman, and hunter. With 20 years of experience exploring incredible Australian landscapes and nature, he has honed his ability to evaluate and recommend the right equipment for various outdoor activities.