Choosing a bicycle

There’s a huge amount of choice out there and different types of bikes for different types of cycling – whether it’s everyday cycling, road racing or mountain biking.

You can find a helpful guide to choosing the right bike for you on the Sustrans website.

Electric bicycles

An electric bike, also known as an electric pedal-assisted bike (E-PAB) is a conventional bike with a fitted battery and electric motor that provides power to the rider. The motor provides power assistance only when the rider is pedalling. This makes it easier to start-off, climb hills and overcome strong winds. You can purchase an electric bike from a conventional bike shop, second hand, or online. The price range for electric bikes is anything from £500 to over £5,000. It is recommended that you test ride a couple of bikes first to find the ideal bike to suit your needs. Head over to the Sustrans website for everything you need to know about electric bikes.

If you already own a bike, you may want to consider converting it to an electric bike, with a conversion kit. These can cost between £100 to £600. A kit should come with a motor, battery and control systems. If you can't fit it yourself, you can take it to a local bike mechanic to do it for you.

Choosing a bicycle for your child

How do you choose a bike for your child? It can be daunting to know what the right size of bike is to buy. Sustrans have a useful guide on how to get started.

Most importantly, don’t buy a larger bicycle now, hoping your child will grow into it. A smaller bike will be easier to handle, giving them more confidence to get pedalling.

Second-hand bicycles

Buying a second-hand bike is a good way of economising. These projects take old bikes and refurbish them, giving them new life for a new owner!

  • Monty's Bike Hub - This is a social enterprise based in the east of Southampton, taking bikes for donation and selling them on. Also offers cycle training, led rides, bike repair and cycle maintenance learning
  • University of Southampton's 'Unicycle' project - This is a cycling and refurbishment programme, providing bikes for University staff and students only
  • New Forest Bike Project - Community Interest Company (CIC) located in New Milton in the New Forest. This not-for-profit takes in donated bikes, refurbs them and sells them on for a second life