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.
Brake and gear cables are traditionally attached to bicycle frames with lugs on the outside of the tubing, this is known as external routing.
Recent advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to route the cables through the inside of the tubing, this is known as internal routing. Internal routing gives a very clean appearance, can increase the stiffness of the frame due to additional channels and in some cases may provide aerodynamic benefits too.
For certain applications, including full suspension bikes and cyclocross bikes, manufacturers use an outer cable along the full length of the cable to protect the inners from mud, water or accidental damage, this is known as full outer.
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.
There's an incredible variety of bike types available these days. Each is made for a different rider type. If you feel unsure about which type of bike best suits your requirements, please consult Wiggle’s bike buying guide to learn more about the various types of bicycle and how to identify the right bike for YOU.
First, be realistic about what sort of riding you do or aspire to. Some bikes are aimed more at competitive rider types, some at casual riders, while some fall part way between speedy and casual. Many bikes have aspects of road and off road use incorporated.
To make choice easier we've divided the bike categories on our website so that you can read and absorb more information about the way the bike types differ. We've kept it as simple as possible because manufacturers use their own ways to describe different bike types. But bear in mind that there will always be bikes that fall between the categories.