15–16 Jun 2024 114 days to go! #CyclingShow Tickets

An introductory insight into starting cycling in 2024 from National Cycling Show ambassador Ryan Drayton

The days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner, there has likely never been a better time to get into cycling than right now. Whether you are in pursuit of fitness gains, social group rides, mental health benefits or reducing your outgoings by commuting to work/school, it’s safe to say that we are in a buyers market and that there are a multitude of amazing offers from online vendors, high street retailers and second hand private sellers.

Let me walk you through it..

In 2020 something rather big happened which stood the world still, everyone stayed at home, got restless, bought a bike and went for a bike ride. The cycling industry went mad and the whole world pretty much sold out of bikes. Manufacturers experienced a global supply chain issue because of the widespread shutdown of parts and materials available, then the backlog of preordered bikes began. Shops couldn’t get any stock and the price of second hand bikes went through the roof. A lot of people just made do with whatever they had or could get hold of, some waited 10+ months for a preordered bike to arrive while some of us struggled to get parts as simple as inner tubes with which to fix their bikes.

Fast forward to today and it looks like this.

Retailers took hundreds of thousands of pre orders for bikes to meet the demand and then finally manufacturing resumed, gradually allowing the orders to be met. The problem became apparent when everyone went back to work. Shops were filling up with multiples of bikes with no-one to buy or ride them, online vendors were cancelling pre orders leaving the manufactures sitting on excess stock and then no-one had the free time to ride their new bikes anymore by being back at work and trying to catch up with some kind of normality.

This brings about the buyers market.

The second hand market is bustling with quality, hardly used bikes which were ridden a handful of times in some cases. Prices are at an all time low and the choice and variation is remarkable, like I said, all the bikes were sold and now this is where they can be found for bargain prices.

The new bike market is still trying to stabilise with high street shops overstocked and offering amazing deals on many models. Some online direct to customer brands have been so desperate to untie some money, that they have been seen offering vast discounts and even buy one get one free incentives on some models.

What the means for you..

If you’ve been thinking of treating yourself to a new bike then now is a perfect opportunity to seize your chance.

Ok so you’re in the market, ask yourself a few questions.

Bikes have come a long way in the last 20 years, there are many more formats and styles of bikes to try and navigate through and it can appear very confusing and overwhelming.

Things to consider:

-Where do you want to ride your bike?

Bikes are built for purpose, wether it be a solid, durable commuter bike, a hybrid style bike capable of relaxed weekend adventures on tarmac and trails, a new rocket ship road bike with the latest aero advantages, an aggressive full suspension mountain bike for bikepark lashings, hard tail mtb for days exploring the forests with friends, a gravel bike for big off road riding days with cycle groups capable of riding most everywhere or the format specific race bike of your liking, TT,CX,XC,DH you name it, there is a bike for that now.

-Ask yourself how much you want to spend.

I appreciate that’s probably an easy one, as little as possible for the best you can get, right? Let’s be realistic, if you aren’t super picky on what you want or need, then look closely at the second hand market. One could easily pick up a lightly used second hand bike in great mechanical working order for an absolute bargain, for example It’s achiveable to pick up a 2k bike for under a grand, or a 5k bike for 2.5k. It’s also fair to say that any new sub grand bike is built to a price, so the performance of the components, overall comfort and quality of such a bike is limited. Sometimes it’s more financially economical to buy a lightly used, originally more expensive bike for an affordable price than buy a new bike at the same value, but with an inferior finished quality. Keep in mind a used bike does not come with the warranty cover offered by manufacturers to the original buyer. If you want a bike with all the warranty cover it has to be new and have your name on the original bill of sale, just a heads up. If you are already pretty serious about cycling and know what you want/need then its fair to assume you’re in the new bike market place already.

-In either case, do your homework.

Talk to your local friendly bike shops, swing your leg over as many bikes as you can to build a picture in your head of what you are after. Talk to the mechanic! They are usually hiding out the back swinging the spanners and creating magic on peoples bikes, they will 99/100 times give you an honest opinion on what you ask them and offer some invaluable knowledge and advice, take it. Go to open days/test days if you are looking at an E-bike, as attractive as the price or paint job may be you’ll never know how it feels unless you ride one. Anyone with the money can spend it on a crazy expensive bike, that is no guarantee that you’ll fall in love with it straight out of the box. With that in mind, there are 100 ways to build a bike and only one optimum way to build it for the rider. There are many customisable variables factored into bikes which can drastically change the way it rides and makes your body respond after a few hours in the saddle, don’t be afraid to ask for advice, I’ve personally saved quite a few bike relationship issues over the years and seen owners fall in love with what they believed to be the wrong bike for them, it was rarely ever a bike problem but either an avoidable lack of initial homework or a set up issue that needed rectifying.

-Think about sizes.

Frames come in different sizes for different size people, each brand has its own slight variant on size so don’t expect a 56cm from an Italian brand to be the same as a 56cm US brand. Wheel size options are increasing every few years. As a quick rule, smaller wheel sizes suit smaller riders and larger wheel sizes better suit taller riders. Road and gravel bikes can be seen with 650 wheels on XS frame sets with 700c being the standard common format. Mtb wheel sets are pretty stable with 27.5″ or 29″ wheels these days, the earlier suiting the heavier/smaller, more aggressive riders because of their overall strength and durability and the latter suiting the more XC and taller riders because of their roll over potential on mixed terrain and their peddling efficiency.

-Key take aways.

Do your homework.

Ask for advice.

Join cycling groups if you’re thinking of getting into it.

Try before you buy where possible.

Speak to the mechanics.

Ride bikes, get outside, have fun.

If you have any cycling related enquiries that you’d like honest impartial advice addressing, feel free to email me at [email protected] or like and follow me on my new business Instagram page @Phantom_bikerepair

For advice on adapted cycling please follow my main personal account on Instagram @Phantom.size10