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GO Outdoors Bike Buying Guide

Is there anything better than a new bike? It was always the best Christmas present when growing up, but now you're a bit older you're probably looking for exactly the right kind of bike for you.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different options, and some of the terminology you might encounter when shopping for a new bicycle, so that you know exactly what will suit you, and exactly the type of thing you're looking for.

What are the different types of Bike?

Road Bikes

Road bikes are designed for speed with narrow tyres, lightweight components and drop handlebars for an aerodynamic riding position. Whether you're doing leisurely weekend rides or training for your next big sportive, we've got a wide range of road bikes to suit your needs and budget. Look for endurance models or relaxed geometry if you would like a more comfortable riding position that's a bit less bent over.

Shop: Road Bikes

Mountain Bikes

Built for off-road fun and adrenaline with big, knobbly tyres, suspension and tough components to take on rough ground. Cross country mountain bikes are designed for longer rides on smoother tracks while trail bikes are catered towards challenging trail centre terrain. Full-suspension models offer the very best handling and control for fast, aggressive riding on steep trails.

Shop: Mountain Bikes

Hybrid & City Bikes

Hybrids offer the best of both worlds, combining road bike speed with mountain bike comfort and stability. They are a great all-round option for getting around town as well riding for fun and fitness. City bikes are designed specifically for commuting and urban use with a comfortable upright riding position and handy features like pannier racks, mudguards and kickstands.

Shop: Hybrid & City Bikes

Folding Bikes

Bikes that fold down into a small package that's easy to carry and stows away neatly at home, the office or on public transport. Ideal for commuting and popular amongst caravanners too.

Shop: Folding Bikes

Kids Bikes

Not just smaller versions of adult bikes! Kids’ bikes come in colourful, fun designs and are extra stable to help budding cyclists learn to ride.

Shop: Kids Bikes

Bicycle jargon explained


- The frame is the central part of every bike and holds all the other components together. Different shapes, materials and features determine how the bike rides and what type of cycling it is best suited to.


- Connects the front wheel to the frame and the handlebars. Mountain bikes and hybrids often have suspension forks for greater comfort and control on rough terrain.


- Refers to the shape of the frame and the angles between all the different parts of the bike that affect handling, comfort and rider position.

Front/rear derailleur

- These are the parts that change what gear you are in. Also sometimes referred to as 'mechs'.


- Shifters are found on the handlebars and are used to make the derailleurs change gear.


- The rings in the middle of the bike that turn the chain around. Bigger chainrings move the bike faster but are harder to push, and vice versa. Bikes can either have 1, 2 or 3 chainrings depending on how many gears the bike has.


- The cranks are the arms connecting your pedals to the rest of the bike.


- Refers to the chainrings and the cranks as one complete unit.

Compact Chainset

- Compact chainsets have 50/34 tooth chainrings that are smaller and easier to pedal than the 53/39 tooth chainrings often found on performance road bikes. A good choice if you are new to road cycling or struggle on bigger, steeper hills.


- The block of cogs attached to the rear wheel that transfer power from the train to the wheel to make your bike move. The number of cogs on your cassette will depend on how many gears the bike has.


- Refers to all the parts of your bike involved in turning power from your pedals into rotation in the rear wheel. Includes the crankset, chain, derailleurs and cassette.

Hub Gears

- Bikes with hub gears do away with cassettes and derailleurs and instead have their gears integrated inside the rear wheel. A popular option for city bikes due to reduced maintenance needs.


- The amount of suspension a bike has, measured in mm. More travel means a bike can handle rougher terrain and can be ridden more aggressively.


- A hard tail mountain bike has a suspension fork at the front and a 'rigid' rear end with no suspension on the rear wheel.

Full Suspension

- A full suspension bike has suspension on both wheels for extra control on the roughest terrain

Fat Bike

- Mountain bikes with extra wide tyres that offer fantastic traction in snow, sand and mud and a unique sort of suspension over bumpy ground.

Adventure Bikes

- Designed for long, fast rides on gravel paths and rural trails as well as normal paved roads, often with pannier mounts for carrying luggage and camping equipment.

What are the different types for bike frame materials?

The material used to make your bike frame has a huge impact on the performance of the bike. The three most common frame materials are aluminium, steel and carbon fibre:


- The traditional bike building material, steel is renown for its durability and famously comfortable ride but is heavier than aluminium or carbon.


- Designed for long, fast rides on gravel paths and rural trails as well as normal paved roads, often with pannier mounts for carrying luggage and camping equipment.

Carbon Fibre

- A high tech material that offers ultimate performance for serious enthusiasts who are willing to pay a bit more. Not only lighter and stiffer than aluminium, but also more comfortable thanks to unique vibration-dampening properties.

Bike Maintenance

Bikes need regular maintenance to make sure they continue running smoothly and safely. Certain wearable components –such as the chain, cassette and tyres – will also need to be periodically replaced. A clean, well-maintained bike is faster, quieter and easier to pedal and will last longer too.

There are lots of handy bike-specific products available to make cleaning and maintenance easier at home. You can also bring your bike into one of our service centres for professional attention from one of our trained mechanics. Don’t forget that every new bike bought from GO Outdoors comes with a free 6 week safety check as standard!

Bike Accessories

Once you've got your bike there are plenty of accessories you can get to make your rides safer, comfier and even more fun.

Cycle Helmets

Keep your head safe in case of an accident with a high quality, well-fitted helmet.

Bike Lights

Stay seen in the dark with front and rear lights. It's not just a good idea - it's the law!

Cycle Clothing

Cycling clothes can make your rides much more comfortable and enjoyable. Technical fabrics help you stay cool and dry and the fit is designed specifically for a riding position. Reflective and hi-viz clothing will help you stay seen on the road and waterproof jackets will keep your warm and dry in the wet. Padded shorts also make a lot of difference on long days in the saddle!

Bike Locks

A must-have for commuting and city riding when you might be leaving your bike unattended in a public place.


Very handy to help you stay clean and dry in the rain and make wet weather that bit more pleasant.