How to choose your first bike

Several bikes laying on the group placed in a circle

Megan Whitfield

Posted June 19, 2019

So you’re a beginner bike rider? We’re here to help you choose a bike without breaking the budget.

So, you’ve decided to buy your first bike… Okay, maybe technically your first bike came at age five, but choosing the make and model yourself? That’s a whole new experience. 

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of cycling, looking for something for a casual ride on weekends or a quick trip to work here and there, this is the guide for you.

Edmund Kron from the Bicycle Network says before buying you should focus first and foremost on how you’re planning to use the bike. 

“Different styles of bicycles have different intended uses, so a mountain bike might not be the right bike to commute to work on,” Edmund says. “Think about where you plan on riding the bicycle – do you want to ride off-road, or just bitumen? 

“Do you want a basket or pannier rack to help you carry your work items? Are you more interested in comfort, and do you want a step-through to help you get on and off with ease? Questions such as these will ensure you buy a bike that will best suit your needs.” 

The Bicycle Network also encourages buyers to do so in-store rather than online, so you can get guidance from staff and try the bike before forking out. 

“Fit is crucial to making sure that you’re comfortable on the bicycle, and you can ride it safely. A good rule of thumb is that when you’re sitting on the seat you should be able to just touch the ground with your tippy toes.”

Reid Cycles marketing manager Raisa Dsouza also notes that if you’re intending to do lots of inner-city riding, consider a bike with thicker tyres as added protection against getting caught in tram tracks.

So, here are some beginner bikes that won’t break the budget.

Reid City 1, $379

A popular option from Reid Cycles, the Reid City 1 is a good beginner pick for commuters. It’s reasonably priced, comes ready to ride with mudguards and rack fitted, and has wide tyres for extra grip and comfort, making it a good workhorse for commuting and weekend rides. It’s available in three sizes.

Samson Single Speed Bike, $249

This ultra-low-priced bike is a good knockabout option for students or young city workers looking for a bike they don’t have to be too precious about. The single-speed model is a great low-maintenance option, but those training for a mountain road adventure will need to look elsewhere. It comes in four sizes. 

Reid Urban S, $349.99

Another one from Reid Cycles, the Reid Urban S is a simple, durable bike stripped back to the essentials for city riding. Shimano seven-speed gearing at the rear gives you all the gears you need for city riding, and it has a more upright riding position. It comes in four sizes.

Lekker Sportief Womens 3 Speed, $598

The Lekker brand is founded in the home of bike-lovers, the Netherlands. With a stylish vintage look, this bike puts the rider in a  comfortable upright position. The aluminium frame keeps it lightweight and rust-free, and the three-speed internal gears make gear changes easy. You can customise with leather saddles, wicker baskets or carrier racks in various colours, but they’ll add to the price.

Looking specifically for a commuter bike? We've got a guide for that too.

Did you know RACV has roadside assistance for bicycles?
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