Shopping and Design: You're never too old to do a wheelie

Summer is here, the great outdoors beckon, and nowadays there's a bike for every terrain - and rider. Shaun Phillips looks at some top models

Let's try a bit of word association. Bike. What came into your head? A BMX with a sand-blasted frame? A racing bike with Continental Supersport 100 tyres? A downhill mountain bike with a Rock Shox SID front fork suspension?

My first thoughts are of a three-speed yellow Raleigh Chopper, that I mangled while attempting to do a protracted wheelie down by the local tennis courts in 1978. I wasn't really bothered, though, because the bike wasn't mine.

Bikes are a bit like girlfriends. In your adolescence, you never get one as good looking as your mates' and when your luck is finally in, the love affair is invariably shortlived.

If your interest has been rekindled by a) the TV coverage of the PruTour, b) National Bike Week, or c) your wobbly waistline, then the following bikes are worth considering.

POSING IN THE CITY

Name: Ridgeback Epsilon

Price: pounds 499

Stockists: 01372 227 979

Description: This aluminium-framed bike has a polished-metal finish. It's not as well-suited for going off-road as the Handsome Dog, but dirt on the metalwork would spoil the effect, wouldn't it? Besides, the City Slick tyres and seat suspension make it perfect for the urban environment, and a gadget-bore friendly Shimano Flight Deck multi-function computer comes as standard!

Style: HHHH

Suitable for: Muji fans.

And if you won't be paranoid that it'll get nicked? The Handsome Dog Titanium 99XT (pounds 1,650, 01535 632 173) is the dog's bollocks. No dodgy paint job because the titanium frame won't corrode. The front wheel fork, meanwhile, has double-barrelled cylinder suspension, which provides 90mm worth of grace should you hit a pit in the road left by the cable company. No suspension on the back wheel, but that's hardly necessary for the trip to the newsagent and back.

BURN RUBBER ON ME

Name: Principia Rex

Price: pounds 1,754-pounds 2,111 (depending on configuration)

Stockists: 01705 594 646

Description: None more black, which is just as well, since some of Principia's other frames come in some stomach-churning colours. The Rex was the most popular choice of racing-bike frames in this year's Prutour road race (the UK's answer to the Tour de France), understandable given the two developments that the Danish manufacturers have incorporated into the 1999 design: a weight-shedding, carbon-fibre fabricated front fork and a steam-rollered, oversized aluminium down-tube that improves the aerodynamics of the bike's leading edge, and sets its styling apart from the ubiquitous racing bike look.

Style: HHHH

Suitable for: serious racers only.

Anything under a grand? The Lemond Tourmalet (pounds 725, 01372 227 979). Tasteful looks, platform pedals with clips and straps and solid Continental Supersport Ultra tyres.

AWAY DAYS

Name: Cannondale C900

Price: pounds 999

Stockists: 0930 200 300 (30p/minute)

Description: Very tasteful hybrid of touring/mountain bikes. The latter provides most of the technology for the lightweight aluminium frame and the grip-shifting 24-gear system. It also has anti-lock hub brakes (which ensure you don't go flying over the handlebars), and all the useful stuff usually found on touring bikes (mud guards, Dynamo light system and a rack on the back).

Style: HHHH

Suitable for: hip lecturers.

Anything for the Andes? If you're intending to ride across Mexico rather than go on a day trip to Brighton, then the more traditional Dawes Super Galaxy (pounds 800, 0121-706 6662) is in order. It features a sturdy Reynolds 531ST frame and drop handlebars, a must for anyone covering long distances on a bike. Most important of all, though, is that it comes in British racing green.

WILD IN THE JUNGLE

Name: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC

Price: pounds 1,200

Stockists: 01372 840 800

Description: Technically speaking, this silver bike centres around an A1 "Enhanced" double-butted custom aluminium frame. For downhill mountain bike virgins, this means it's lighter than you'd expect - around 27lb - and looks like an important section of tubing has been sawn off from under the saddle. Some full-suspension bikes have a huge spring at this point to allow the back wheel to flex as it rapidly crosses undulating terrain: this all-rounder though, has a neat piston unit (a Fox Vanilla Air) which looks both simpler and more stylish. This relatively restrained rear suspension system is offset by a more responsive (Manitou SX) front fork in bright red.

Style: HHHH

Suitable for: stylish maniacs.

Anything similarly robust at half the price? The Univega Flyte 800 (pounds 500, 0121-440 4632) is heavier, especially in the front-fork department, but it's still outstanding value.

Shaun Phillips is deputy editor of 'ZM Magazine'. For details of National Bike Week (12-20 June) check out www.nbw.co.uk or call the Cyclists Touring Club on 01483 417217, or London Cycling Campaign 0171-928 7220

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition