Bike Buying Guide

How do I choose which bicycle is right for me?

One of the most important decisions you need to make when choosing a bicycle is what type of bicycle do I need? The choice can be confusing and the options are seemingly limitless.

At Chappelli we concentrate on just a few models that we have specialised in, that we believe will suit most urban riders and commuter cyclists. When  you come into one of our stores or speak to us on the phone we will ask you a few basic questions to help us understand what type of bicycle might suit you best.

  1. Why are you buying a bicycle?
  2. How far will you be riding each week and where will you be riding the most?
  3. How much do you want to spend on a bicycle and accessories?

Why are you buying a bicycle?

There are many reasons we buy bicycles, to get fit, to commute to work, to ride with the family, as a second bike, for fun with friends and for specific sports events like BMX racing or mountain biking. Each reason may require a different type of bicycle and some bicycles can be used for multiple purposes. At Chappelli we specialise in making bicycles for people who want to get fit, commute to work, ride with the family or friends and are looking for fun bikes to get around on. We don’t do highly specialised road bikes, BMX’s or Mountain Bicycles.

Most of our bicycles use similar frame shapes and geometry so they can be easily adapted to single speed, three or five speeds, a vintage style cruisers, a 29’er or a modern commuter. They are frames designed for city or urban riding and distances of 15-50km. If you are going to be riding longer distances regularly or doing off-track riding we suggest investing in a specialist fit for purpose bicycle.

How far will you be riding each week and where will you be riding most?

This is an important question because it will determine how many gears you need and the type of gears that you want.

Derailleur vs Internal Hub Gears

When it comes to gears you have a choice of external derailleur gears or internal hub gears. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Derailleur Gears Internal Hub Gears
Advantages Light weight, Lots of variability is number of gears – can vary front and rear cogs Easy to maintain, Simple to use, Limited servicing required, harder to damage and easy to repair, good range available,
Dis-Advantages Complex to maintain, Needs regular servicing, Can get damaged easily Heavier, More expensive than entry level derailleur gears,

At Chappelli we mostly prefer Internal Hub Gears because they are simple to use, easy to maintain and have a good range of gears. They are ideally suited for most city riding and commuting. However we also use derailleur gears on some models for aesthetic and historical reasons. Ie. our classic road bikes use derailleur gears because that is the style of bike back in the 1970’s that we drew inspiration from.

How many gears do you need?

How many gears you need depends on how far you will be riding and the type of terrain that you will be riding. If you are riding further or have more hills then you will usually want more gears. Generally we think about our bicycles like this.

Bike Type Type of riding or terrain most suited to
Single Speeds or Fixies Flat or fairly flat terrain, shorter rides of 7-10km a go. A single speed has a gear range of 100%. If you fit and do a lot of riding then you can do much further on a single speed, but generally most people use them for shorter distances.
Three Speeds (Mens & Womens) Low level hills and longer rides of 10-20km. A typical three speed gear range is about 160%, similar to that of a 6 speed derailleur bike but only has the top, middle and bottom gears. It has one for flat terrain, one for hills and one for going faster. If you find that the gear range is too low or too high for you, it is easy to change the rear cog size and move the gear range up or down.
Five Speeds (Mens & Womens) Slightly larger hills or longer regular rides than the three speed. Or for those who just want a few more options. Five speeds have ranges around 220-240% so slightly more than a three speed which will give greater range up hills and going faster. Like the three speed there is a base gear but it has two lower gears and two higher gears to choose from.
NuVinci Hub The NuVinci hub, is the ultimate internal hub with a fully sealed hub unit that is supposed to last 10’s of thousands of kilometres. It has a range of 330-380% depending on the model which is equivalent to a compact derailleur on a road bike. We recommend the NuVinci for people who are regular commuters or those who are looking for a seriously reliable and robust hub. The smoothness of the gear changes and the quietness of the hub also need to be experienced to be believed.

How much do you want to spend on a bicycle and accessories?

The question of budget is an important one. You need to think about whether you need a helmet, lock, lights and racks or baskets. All will add cost to a bicycle and whilst you can get cheap accessories when its for important safety issues like helmets and lights, theft prevention or comfort of riding its generally best to invest in better quality items that are fit for purpose and will last longer. Good quality helmets will cost $60-120, whilst sold locks are $30-$60 and lights vary from $50-$120. Racks and baskets can vary between $45 and $85 and may include a fitting fee if they are fiddly. So you can be looking at another $200-$250 in accessories for your bicycle. Puncture proof tyres, pumps, spare tubes and bottle cages are other items to think about. These items should be factored into your budget.