Picking the right bike is never as easy as riding it. Here's how to choose your next set of wheels.
A quick checklist to help match you up with the right back:
1 Whatever your budget, buy the best frame you can afford: you can always upgrade the parts later.
2 Get measured up and book yourself in for a bike fit.
3 Don't forget to factor in sundries - pedals, shoes, helmet: you'll be out of pocket another £500 before you know it. (Buying a bike never means just buying a bike.)
4 Get advice based on the type of riding you plan to do. Different bikes are built for different jobs.
5 "If it's your first proper bike, don't get too caught up with it all," says Eryn Nolan, of London custom experts Pretorius Bikes. "You'll change as a rider over time and discover the kind of things you want from your next bike: the handling, the stiffness, the weight."
6 Oh, and always buy a lock. Always.
01 BEST CUSTOM SET UP
Independent Fabrication XS (Above)
Built with carbon fibre and titanium lugs (carbon for strength, titanium for flexibility), you get to spec this model how you want. It's won the "Best Dream Road Bike" award — twice.
02 BEST WITH PEDIGREE
Trek 2013 Madone 6.5
Originally developed for Lance Armstrong, this model has Shimano's Ultegra Di2 electronic gear shifting, so no cables. Comes in various versions, but always the same frame shape.
03 BEST BESPOKE
Simple, stylish titanium road bike where the geometry is racy and efficient without being too extreme. Swift, responsive and comfortable, the ride quality is excellent.
04 BEST ENTRY LEVEL
Specialized Allez Elite
Carbon fork, integrated headset and 10-speed gears with lighter wheels for high-end performance at serious value. A good bike to get started on sportives and racing. Mark Cavendish rode a Specialized when he became world champion.