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Getting kitted out for cycling - what you need to know

24 January 2023
 
Man on commuter bike

Here at Planet X, we know how infuriating it can be to try to find good quality cycling gear without paying overinflated prices. Over the years, we’ve built up a community of cyclists both professional and amateur who love cycling just as much as we do - and we’re determined to make our sport as accessible to everyone as we possibly can. That’s why we keep our prices low and our standards high. 
 
Want some top tips from the horse’s mouth? Keep reading to get familiar with the best way to buy cycling gear so you can be sure you’re getting great value for your money.
 

How to tell if a bike is good quality

So, you’ve chosen a few bikes that could be contenders for your next set of wheels - but how do you know if they’re good quality? Well, the specific components you’ll want to check are up to scratch will vary from rider to rider, but there are a few mainstays that apply to any bike. 
 
Firstly, the frame. The frame of your bike goes through a lot - particularly if you’re looking at a mountain bike, so it’s important to be sure your frame will stand up to the task. Next, look at the suspension. This is a common feature on most mountain bikes and some gravel bikes as well, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking a bike that doesn’t have suspension will be a rough ride. Riding road or gravel bikes can be made smoother by changing the size of the tyres, amongst other things, and that can make all the difference when it comes to comfort in the saddle.
 
The wheels are also a hugely important part of your bike, so make sure they’re suited to your style of riding. Check the tyres as well and make sure the treads aren’t worn or damaged. This is where your bike touches the terrain, so any weaknesses can have a big impact. Don’t forget to also look at the places where the bike comes into contact with you - think handlebars, pedals and the saddle. Make sure you can adjust them to fit your size and stature to give you a comfortable ride.
 
Finally, remember to check the other key components - brakes, the chain, gears and more. It’s best to be as thorough as possible when you’re buying a new bike, as little things really do make a big difference. 
 

What is a good bike for beginners?

If you’re just starting out as a cyclist, you might be feeling a bit spoiled for choice. Should you go for a road bike or a mountain bike? Each type is designed for different terrains - but which do you choose if you don’t know what type of cycling you prefer yet? 
 
The answer comes in the trusty gravel bike. Put simply, gravel bikes are a marriage between road and mountain bikes, with all the best features of both. A gravel bike will allow you to tackle the widest range of terrains, making it easy for you to test out different cycling disciplines without having to buy a new bike for each one. 
 

What are essential bike accessories?

Similarly, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the range of options available for bike accessories. Enthusiasts can kit their bikes out with any number of gadgets and add-ons that enhance the experience, particularly for those going bikepacking or touring. And while they’re fun and useful items, not all of them are suited to all types of biking. In fact, if you’re just starting out as a cyclist, there are only a few things you need to get kitted out and ready to ride. These include: 
 
-Safety gear and clothing - helmet, cycling gloves, and bike shorts to beat the chafing
-Hydration kit - avoiding dehydration is key for cyclists of any level
-Mini maintenance pack - a multitool, a pump and some chain lube make a great start
-Bike lock - keep your bike safe no matter where you are
-Lights and reflectors - making sure you’re illuminated at night is both smart and a legal requirement
 
With these tips, you should be well on your way to getting kitted out for the beginning - or next leg - of your cycling journey. Safe pedalling!
 
 
 
 

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