Smaller than average wheels add to Brompton’s portability. This model has a more upright sitting position and gives a comfortable ride. Bromptons aren’t cheap but they’re hard to beat.
mangobikes.co.uk, from £269
Mango Bikes are splendid single-speed bikes. Customise the handlebar and saddle style and then choose frame, saddle and wheel colours. Great fun.
British brand Genesis was originally part of Ridgeback’s stable. Now its own outfit, it uses titanium for lightness and comfort.
This offers comfortable and fast city cycling. Specialized’s bikes are routinely well-specced and enjoyable to ride.
This fold-up bike’s excellence lies in its 250W electric motor and its great, shiny design. Start pedalling and the motor kicks in to speed you along. It has a range of up to 40 miles.
Road and racing bikes are typified by drop handlebars that will see you shoot along. Trek’s entry-level bike is well built and persuasively priced. Looks good, too.
This is a great road bike. Its gorgeous styling and light frame are delightful and the handlebars are superb for comfortable hand positions.
cyclefit.co.uk, from £3,100
Guru is a premium, Canadian bike brand designed for racing. The price is for frame and forks only, so you’ll need to add everything else. Still, an impressive, one-of-a-kind ride.
Italian-bred Bianchi is synonymous with cycle racing. This budget recreational racer has a fairly lightweight frame and forks and Bianchi’s own wheels. A fabulous looker.
Condor Cycles’ frames, hand-produced in Italy, range from top-price machines to all-rounders like this one. The price is for frame, fork and headset only.
A snazzy single-speed racer that’s smart and very fast. It’s low-maintenance, well-built, and, thanks to the aluminium frame and carbon fork, is light and easy to control. Enjoyable to ride, this is a real performer.
Designed for the female rider, whether for an excursion or a tough race. It includes plastic Zertz inserts to reduce vibrations and has a light aluminium frame. Smooth and effective.
Wilier specialises in high quality racing frames but it also produces complete bikes like this gorgeous, fully carbon-fibre frame machine. It has extra stability to make it suitable for racing newbies.
A classic road bike with added ruggedness. Designed to be comfortable enough for long distances but practical enough for the daily commute, with a luggage rack and mudguards. Solid, stable and charming.
This is a beautifully made-to-measure bike so you know it’s going to be a good fit. Each one is completely handmade, lightweight and elegantly styled. Comtat also has pricier bikes, all as attractive as this.
Folding bikes offer security as you can take them indoors with you. The 16in wheels give a compact fold. Brompton’s S2L, one of the lightest models around, will turn heads.
Tern’s fold-ups have 20in wheels and a snazzy design. The seven-gear Link is easy to fold, sprightly and fun. A great choice for a commute or nip to the shops. Heavier than some.
Fancy a folder with the speed of a full-sized bike? The 26in wheels make it less wobbly than most and you can easily roll it along when not riding.
The Mu range makes use of aluminium to keep the weight down. It is single-speed, which also makes it lighter and cuts maintenance. Comfortable and enjoyable.
Raleigh’s bike is a bargain and has seven gears, so hills won’t be a problem. It has 20in wheels so is bigger than a Brompton. It’s not as light but won’t break the bank.
Hybrids mix the upright position of mountain bikes with slim road-bike tyres for manoeuvrability. This model has a solid frame, and disc brakes for stopping power.
Marin, known for mountain bikes, also makes capable hybrids. This range is at home on the trails and the roads you take to get there. This model has disc brakes.
Sick of oiling the chain? Try a carbon-fibre reinforced rubber belt drive that won’t stretch or rust. This is a fast, well-priced single-speed bike with a lightweight aluminium frame.
An elegant hybrid with stepthrough frame, luggage rack and comfy sprung leather saddle. Named after Victoria, who wants to encourage more women to cycle.
The Stirling’s shape, based on a mountain bike, carbon-fibre front fork and other materials make it comfy and swiftly responsive. The company calls it a “fast urban” bike.
A ladies’ hybrid comfort bike, with 26in mountain bike wheels, an extra-comfy saddle thanks to springs in seat and seatpost, an aluminium frame and a laid-back ride. And 21 gears make city riding a cinch.
A well-equipped Chris Boardman bike. There are 18 gears so you can manage all but the steepest hills with ease (if the hills are that tough, just think of the exercise). Looks good and rides smoothly.
Ridgeback calls this a Tarmac and trail bike. It can handle off-road jumps and urban potholes and its large wheels give improved traction. Features include a Kevlar saddle.
The breathtakingly colourful Birdie is deservedly popular. It’s practical, with a luggage rack and chainguard, but for a speedy ride or more than three gears, look elsewhere.
Giant has a great heritage of affordable, reliable and enjoyable bikes. This ladies bike is great for commuting with a shock-absorbing seat stem and 21 gears. Also available as a gents’ ride.
The popular FX range is so versatile that it works well on roads and off, suiting fitness fans and commuters equally. It’s fast and comfy for longer rides.
Kona mountain bikes are very responsive, so are just as good on the road as off. The Cinder Cone, with hydraulic disc brakes and an aluminium frameset, is an all-rounder
This rear-suspension model is powerful and nimble enough for hazardous terrain. A relaxed ride will suit advanced and elementary riders equally.
An entry-level mountain bike with extra versatility thanks to suspension forks that lock out for road use if you need more control. Ideal for commuting and weekend off-roading.
This beautiful cross-country beast costs a packet but has a carbon frame, so it’s light and tough. It has bigger wheels, disc brakes and full suspension so you can ride for hours.
The Hardrock is an ideal starter if you want the confidence and safety of front suspension. It’s well specced and available in sizes down to a 13, to suit someone under 5ft.
An enjoyable fast, aggressive – and pricey – full-suspension bike. The impressively lightweight frame is sturdy and responsive. Great for cross-country or races.
It’s not advisable to skimp on a full-suspension bike or you’ll struggle with the weight of the rear suspension. A braking pivot means the suspension’s active even when braking.
This hardtail – suspension up front, rigid at the rear – has 29in wheels for better grip and bounce. Fast, responsive and well-priced, it is well-built, as you’d expect from Ridgeback.
Trek’s WSD range is designed for women’s body dimensions: bikes may have shorter cranks, a shorter top tube or smaller brake levers, for instance. The Neko is lively and capable.
Pashley – England’s longest-established bike manufacturer – epitomises elegant, classic design. This basket-equipped ladies’ bike, with skirt guard and mudguards, is delightful.
Designed for a laid-back amble along a beachfront promenade or a gentle mill along a flat country road. It has a comfortable upright riding position and the suspension seat-post makes bumps a doddle.
This open-frame bike – also available in a men’s version – has a comfortable saddle, sleek aluminium frame and plenty of style. It’s tough enough for a commute and carefree enough for weekend jaunts.
A convincing and attractive retro design with hub brakes for minimal maintenance. Five speeds, a light stepthrough frame, dynamo-driven lights, a rear luggage rack and a comfy saddle.
Pashley’s Roadster is instantly recognisable thanks to its large wheels and defiantly upright riding position. Well-built and intensely traditional. Don’t go looking for innovations, but charm is the key with Pashley.
Stunningly well made, from materials usually reserved for adult cycles, and with 24 gears so children won’t be put off by hills. IslaBikes will also take it in part-exchange for the next.
Like a mountain bike, but smaller: with re-sized brakes, gears and adjustable components to make it last longer. Handlebars adjust to suit the rider. A great starter bike.
This light and strong aluminium walking bike is a great introduction to cycling. It has 12in wheels and sporty tyres to build confidence. Also available in pink
Exclusive to Evans Cycles, this is designed for all-round use. The 16in wheels – and smaller training ones – are perfect for younger cyclists to start out on. A range of cool colours.
A full-suspension mountain bike to make off-roading a pleasure. Aimed at boys aged eight to 10, with 24in wheels, disc brakes and a cool design. Well-made, light, good value.