If there was a car that was free to run, emitted no pollution and made you healthier while you drove it, we’d probably be forced to buy one.
An unexpected silver linings of the Covid-19 crisis has been shining a light on the socially distanced wonders of the bicycle. So as we return to relative normality, it’s likely that cycling will play a big part in helping the country get moving.
With that in mind it’s no wonder that bikes are in high demand, and thankfully there's a wide variety of incredible bikes on the market. The first thing to decide: what type of bike you want.
With the improvements in battery technology, e-bikes have never been more compelling. Foldable bikes are perfect for mixing a train journey and small commute. A mountain bike or hybrid is ideal for weekends riding through countryside trails and a road bike is perfect for pure speed junkies.
If you want something to treasure, though, there’s nothing better than a retro steel frame.
We asked the experts at Cyclist Magazine to pick out the best options for each category.
The Foldable Bike: Brompton M6L in House Red.
There’s no denying it, when it comes to folding bikes Brompton simply has it nailed.
The Brompton folds down small enough to fit below most train seats, while still having excellent ride quality when stretched out to normal size.
The M6L in House Red is a nice entry into the Brompton range. It’s not the cheapest the brand sells, but has some obvious perks.
Six gears, rather than a single speed, will offer much needed relief with a little less resistance on steep inclines, while the loud colourway is not only chic but great for visibility.
Add to that the integrated battery powered lights and this bike screams practicality with a shot of style.
The Electric Bike: GoCycle GX
GoCycle was well ahead of the curve on e-bikes, bringing the original low-profile 20” wheel GoCycle to the market in 2009.
Gocycle challenged cycling conventions with a fully enclosed drivetrain, disc brakes, a single-sided fork and rear dropout, and a modal assembly that offered easy storage.
Compact, yet with an innovative and well-integrated hub-based motor system that can compete with the best e-bikes on the market.
With the GX, GoCycle has introduced a central fold, which means after 10-seconds of folding the bike can be made small enough to be hidden in the corner of a flat or stashed at the end of a train carriage.
This is a lot of bike in a very small package.
The Mountain Bike: Trek X-Caliber 7
Trek is a real titan of the bike world, and for good reason. The US bike manufacturer was catapulted to fame as a result of being the brand of choice for seven EPO-enhanced Tour de France victories by a certain disreputable Texan.
It has remained on the forefront of bike design innovation ever since.
The X-Caliber is an entry into Trek’s mountain bike range. The hardtail bike features a RockShox suspension fork with 100mm travel and a lockout to avoid bounce when the terrain is a little flatter.
That’s accompanied by a Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain that ranges from 11-46 cogs, turning even the steepest muddy ramps flat.
£800; Trek Bikes
The Hybrid Bike: Ribble Trail AL
If you feel yourself dreaming of long rides on forest trails, but you also want to tackle the commute on the road, then the Trail AL from the historic British brand Ribble is a sure-fire bet.
With front suspension and clearance for wide tyres running at low pressure, it’s capable of taking on some rather technical terrain.
That’s aided by a 1x Sram NX groupset that offers a huge range and has a clutch within the derailleur to ensure the chain doesn’t bounce off when the trail gets bumpy.
At the same time it has the lightweight build and gearing options to suit a lengthy ride on the road.
With a slick metallic paint job on a smoothly welded compact aluminium frame, it has enough understated style for an urban commute too.
£899; Ribble Cycles
The Road Bike: Specialized Allez
A true classic of the road bike world, the Allez has been updated for decades, and the latest iteration is more impressive than ever.
If you want to ride fast, look good, and maybe even mount a pannier or mudguard on your commute, the Allez is tough to beat.
It uses a super light alloy frame with internal cable routing and an entry-level Shimano groupset. At only £680 there’s plenty of Cycle to Work budget left for extras too.
This could go all the way from commuting to keeping you company on a challenging multi-day cycling holiday.
£680; Evans Cycles
The Retro / Classic Bike: Condor Classico
A true aficionado should trawl ebay and car boot sales for that ideal classic 1960s Colnago frame to build up with the corresponding ever-so rare 1960s Campagnolo components.
For those not keen on the long haul, this Condor Classico is an ideal option.
It uses modern steel alloy tubes, but with the classic lug styling of the golden age of bike building, accompanied with painstakingly intricate engravings along the seatsay and bottom bracket. The classic quill stem is the crowning authentic touch.
You’ll need to find a chrome groupset and wheels, as well as a set of tan wall tyres to complete the look.
The pay-off? A bike that you could hang on your wall – this is art.
£1,199.99; Condor Cycles
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