Bicycle frames are constructed from materials which place emphasis on being strong, lightweight and stiff to aid power transfer. Aluminium, titanium, steel and carbon are widely used in all levels of frame production.
Major bike manufacturers produce a new range of bikes on an annual basis and this determines the model year of a particular bike. This annual turnover is fuelled by advancing technology, industry trends and customer demand for a particular feature or style of bicycle.
Bicycle wheels come in a wide range of sizes from 12" wheels found on smaller Kids Bikes to larger 29" Mountain Bike and 700c Road Bike wheels. Larger wheels are normally faster and more stable at speed and their larger contact patch improves grip too. Smaller wheels are normally lighter, more manoeuvrable and have quicker acceleration.
Wheel sizes are defined by the country that first popularised the style of bike that used them - so you'll see some imperial and some metric measurements listed. Wiggle includes the ISO standard in brackets after each for ease of comparison.
Cyclocross bikes are similar to road bike, they are lightweight, with narrow tyres and drop handlebars. However, they also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they utilize knobby treaded tyres for traction, and cantilever style brakes for the clearance needed due to muddy conditions. They have to be lightweight because competitors need to carry their bicycle to overcome barriers or slopes too steep to climb in the saddle. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport, although un-ridable sections are generally a very small fraction of the race distance. Cross bikes also make good winter bikes or commuters, their frames have plenty of clearance which allows for mudguards, while the upright angles make them agile around town, meaning you can hit the trails at the weekend and then fit some road tyres and commute on them during the week. For more information on buying a bike, check out our guide on how to choose the best bike for you
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